By the Sea: Vintage Bathing Suits

Grab your swim cap and towel and let’s go!

Summer is upon us again!  Whether your itinerary includes a beach side vacation or lounging by the pool you’ll need a stylish ensemble.  Check out these fun vintage inspired options for your next adventure.

Girls in swimsuits sip from a water fountain in New York, July 1948.

Check out the retro inspired swimwear from UK company For Luna Swimwear.

I love the pink stripes with navy sash of this swimsuit from Shabby Apple.  Also available in an several other color combinations.

Or if a two piece is more your speed check out this flirty black and white number with oversize bow top.

Unique Vintage has a fun selection of bathing suits and accessories including this adorable nautical inspired one-piece.

And if you want to really have a vintage experience, channel Esther Williams in a floral swim cap.

Finally add a little fun with some retro patterns from ModCloth.

Do you have a favorite?  Any other sites you recommend for vintage swimwear?


National Geographic, April 1930

Vintage Style: 1930s Party Outfit

Welcome to the second installment in our vintage inspired party looks seriesToday we look at the 1930s.

The 1930s were an interesting decade.  Despite the dire financial situation of the time there was a return to ladylike style and glamour in the evening wear of this decade.  Hemlines came down from the flapper style seen in the 20s.  Metallic fabrics and bead work were the rage.  The art deco trend started in the decade prior remains a key design inspiration for jewelry, clothing, art and home decor.

One inspiration for the party looks below came from George Cukor’s The Women (1939).  This film provides such an interesting look into women’s role in society and their relationships with each other during that time.  The fashions alone make it worth a watch.  Look at the range of fabulous styles in these publicity shots.

Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford and Rosalind Russell
Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford and Rosalind Russell in The Women 

Cast of The Women on set, 1939

Elegant 1930’s inspired party outfit

1930s party outfit

Vintage Inspired Home Decor: What a glorious feelin’

I’m happy again… Just singin’, Singin’ in the rain

The other night I was surfing through Pinterest and came across this fun and whimsical picture of suspended umbrellas turned into lights.  It sparked my imagination and inspired me to come up with idea boards for Singin’ in the Rain themed living rooms.

The first thing that came to mind was mono-chromatic wide stripes in shades of grey for the walls.  I’m actually thinking a metallic or high-gloss for the lighter grey would really give a cool, water/rain illusion.  Then I had so many ideas rattling around in my brain that I ended up doing two concepts. 

First up I thought tying in the classic bright rain coat yellow would be a cool and slightly contemporary spin on the color palette for this room.  I also enjoy the idea of taking traditional style furniture pieces, such as the tufted couch below, and pairing them with a bright and non-standard color.  Other fun elements include rain boots as flower vases and a film reel side table.

Second I went with what I consider a more traditional, old Hollywood style, color palette of grey, black, and white with pops of red.  Another thing I really like about this is the mixing of textures from the plush sofa, to the industrial metal floor lamp to the classic wood bookcase.  Those are the types of pieces I feel give a room character and prevent it from looking too staged.

Would you try a movie themed room in your house?  Any decor inspirations or ideas strike you recently?  We’d love to hear what’s on your mind.

Vintage Home: Blues and Greens

Some colors have such a vivid history they seem to have a return address stamped on them. Neon pink: If found, please return to 1987. Avocado green and goldenrod: If found, please return to 1974. Nowhere is this more true than in the home. As much as I can respect the standard modern palette of cream, beige, and taupe (not exciting, but not offending), I long for the quaint, nostalgic look of colors that we do not see anymore. Watch Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House and you’ll see what I mean. Myrna Loy requests a soft, light yellow in her new kitchen. Now, I don’t really like yellow, but if I imagine those old ads for kitchen appliances featuring sparkling “modern” kitchen… soft-yellow walls, crisp-white, appliances, touches of cherry red and mint green – I get it! So, this post is dedicated to the recent lot of fabulously vintage home accessories. And, blue and green are definitely striking the chord for 30s, 40s, and 50s style.

The alarm clock that Myrna Loy woke up to… maybe
How could you not be inspired to live a life with vintage flair when you wake up to this alarm clock from L.L.Bean? It’s a real, honest-to-original-manufacturer reproduction of the Big Ben alarm clocks that were available in 1931. Big Ben alarm clocks are an icon unto themselves. These clocks have been produced for many decades with periodic, but slight, changes to the design or colors offered. The streamlined feel for the one offered in 1931 is particularly outstanding. Even the numerals have an understated Art Deco look. And, the entire palette of colors, including a soft blue and vintage green is spot on for the 1930s and 1940s.

As Carole Lombard reached for her morning toilette…

Yes, it’s functional. It’s not frilly. But, it exudes loads of bygone charm. I think the key to this lovely bathroom storage piece from PotteryBarn is that it has a matte paint. The look is not unlike the painted iron beds and accessories from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. However, one of the best parts has to be its size. At only a foot square (28 inches high), it can fit almost anywhere

Speaking of vintage kitchens…
I’m going to say it. Turquoise. It’s not just for jewelry or nail polish. What 50s kitchen would be complete without a healthy dose of turquoise? Aside from the beautiful color, this cart from IKEA has rounded corners and rotating casters like we haven’t seen since industrial designers stopped trying to balance form and function and simply outsourced their entire craft to China. 

For the timeless kitchen goddess…

A digital timer will tell you when the pie is done, but it just doesn’t have any charm. This lovely timer (sold through has enough old-school functionality to help you get the pie just right and inspire you to wax the floors like a diligent Claudette Colbert in The Egg and I. Thankfully, it also has a magnet on the back side to stick to our ugly, modern refrigerators. (Unless you happen to own a restored, modernized appliance or a vintage look alike, in which case – ENVY!)
So, that’s what I’ve been inspired by lately. There’s definitely more out there. If you find something divine and vintage-ly inspiring please leave a comment on our blog. We love a good discussion.
In the meantime, go forth. Let’s buy these adorable and vintage-inspired items. Let’s vote with our dollar and tell companies that some of us still do care about style.

P.S. If the idea of decorating your home with a “color-by-decade” motif intrigues you, check out Sherwin-Williams historic color collections for interior and exterior paints.

Judy Garland’s Dorothy Dress and Other Classic Movie Costumes

In the news today it was announced that Judy Garland’s iconic blue and white gingham dress from the Wizard of Oz would be going up for auction.  How amazing would it be to own a piece of Hollywood history like that? 

That article got me thinking about my other favorite classic movie costumes.  It’s tough to narrow down but here are some of the ensembles I admire the most (in no particular order).

Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina

Working on the costumes for Sabrina started a professional and personal relationship that would span decades and countless films between Audrey Hepburn and Hubert de Givenchy.  When Audrey’s character Sabrina Fairchild comes home from Paris she brings with her this stunning gown that she then wears to the Larrabee’s party giving her the chance to live out a lifelong dream. 

Audrey Hepburn in Givenchy, 1954

Rosemary Clooney in White Christmas

I absolutely adore the dress Rosemary Clooney wears in the Minstrel scene of 1954s White Christmas.  It’s a black sequin trumpet style gown with a red tulle train.  It looks amazing as she sings and dances with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye.

Katherine Hepburn in The Philadelphia Story

Statuesque and classically beautiful Katharine Hepburn plays socialite Tracy Lord with a cool and charming grace in this distinguished 1930s gown.

Katharine Hepburn in a full-length Adrian gown in “The Philadelphia Story,” 1940

Vivien Leigh in Gone With the Wind

Scarlett O’Hara was an extremely stylish southern belle but to me the most memorable outfit was the slinky and scandalous red dress she wears to Ashley Wilkes birthday party.

Ginger Rogers in Top Hat

This iconic feather dress from the 1935 film Top Hat looked stunning as Fred and Ginger twirled around the dance floor.

Ginger Rodger in “Top Hat”, 1935

Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face
The entire fashion shoot featuring gowns by Givenchy is amazing but these two outfits top my list.  For years the finale wedding dress, that Audrey dances in with Frank Sinatra, was what I wanted to wear to my wedding.

Audrey Hepburn in Givenchy in Funny Face, 1957

Match Made in Heaven

In addition to being vintage enthusiasts we are both huge Disney fans so when we come across things that marry the two together we get really excited.

Enter Leslie Kay at DisneyBound.  She puts together the cutest outfits inspired by Disney movies, characters and parks.  Even the man himself Walt Disney and his lovely wife Lily.  I am in love with everything in this vintagey look.  I’ll admit I scooped up that dress in grey the same day I came across this. See where you can buy here.

Red Hot

Red lipstick is a signature of vintage glam.  Popular in the 1930s and 1940s this is a must have item for all vintage lovers.  It’s also an easy and affordable way to infuse vintage style into your everyday routine.  

Now I’m not usually a bright lipstick girl and my work is pretty casual but some days you just need to break out that red lipstick and go for it.  It’s amazing how something that simple can change your outlook on the day and add a bounce to your step.  Similar to a great pair of heels, red lipstick gives you that “I am a strong, beautiful women so look out world” feeling.  And don’t we all need that some days?

“Beauty, to me, is about being comfortable in your own skin. That, or a kick-ass red lipstick. “ – Gwyneth Paltrow

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I will admit that I was afraid of red lipstick for a while though.  It can be intimidating.  Do I go with cherry red?  Brick red?  A blue undertone or orange for my skin tone?  How do I keep it from smearing all over my face?  Never fear, we are here with a quick guide to all things red:

1.  Picking your shade:  This was always the most difficult part for me and there is lots of conflicting advice out there.  The best and most useful advice I found is that choosing a red is less about the shade (orange-red, blue-red, true red) but how bright that color is against your skin tone. So for instance if you have fair skin an orange-red will be a really bright pop on you.  Doesn’t mean it won’t work but it’s something to note and adjust the rest of your makeup accordingly.  More information and examples can be found in this article.

On a recent shopping trip to a local vintage store we were very excited to find this line of cosmetics.  The packaging alone is worth checking out Besame cosmetics.   I have their classic color lipstick in Red Velvet, described as a “deep, rich red flattering on most skin tones. Great for office wear or everyday red, neutral and not too bright.”  It looks great on my fair skin. 

2.   Keep the rest of your makeup simple and clean, especially for a day time look.  Personally I just do my basic foundation, blush, powder and mascara routine and let the lipstick be the star of the show.

3.  Prevent color bleed:  Find a lip liner shade that’s close to your natural lip color and use it to outline and fill in your lips.  This will help the color to not bleed and avoiding red liner will prevent a two-tone effect from mismatched shades of red.  An alternate option for preventing “bleeding” is to apply a little concealer around the border of your mouth.

Do you have any favorite red lipsticks or great tips for wearing red lipstick?  Sound off in the comments below.

“I said pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick, and pull yourself together.”  

 ― Marilyn Monroe