Mr. Selfridge – Decadent Costumes, Divine Shopping, and Gibson Girl Hair

Mr.Selfridge is arguably the most beautiful show on television right now. Yet another period drama currently mid-season on PBS, the Masterpiece series explores the sumptuous world of Harry Gordon Selfridge, who was a colorful American tycoon and creator of the famed Selfridge’s department store in the UK. Set in Edwardian London, Mr. Selfridge is cast full of deliciously beautiful women decked out in astounding quantities of silk, satin, lace, organza, tulle, and voile topped by swirling, fluffy Gibson girl hairstyles and often monumental hats adorned with netting, flowers, feathers, and sometimes whole birds. Granted, there are some handsome men too, but it’s the ladies that really capture the screen. 

Amid all of the beautiful costuming, there’s plenty of drama. All the while, Harry Selfridge creates what we know as the modern shopping experience. Ever wonder who thought to put fragrance and cosmetics at the front of department stores? Harry Selfridge! This season has 10 episodes and the second season has been approved for another 10 more. So, if you haven’t yet seen the show, go to and watch earlier episodes and the extra features before episode 7 premieres on Sunday, May 12. 

Are you watching Mr. Selfridge? What’s your opinion of the show?

“Cloche” Encounters of the 20s Kind

We’re calling it! With the release of The Great Gatsby this weekend, we predict an onslaught of stylish, 1920s-inspired fashion hitting stores this summer. One of the first things we’re seeing are charming and face-flattering cloche hats.

Target $12.99
Target $12.99

Lulu by Lulu Guinness at JC Penney $20

Nordstrom $54.00
Ralph by Ralph Lauren $58

BCBGMAXAZRIA at Nordstrom $58

Gatsby is the Cat’s Pajamas

The merchandising and marketing machine is working at full speed in anticipation of Baz Luhrmann’s film The Great Gatsby, opening Friday, May 10th.  Here’s some fun products inspired by the film and the 1920s Jazz Age.

Our favorite vintage cosmetics line has gotten in on the act with their new Art Deco Collection.  Channel the elegance and beauty of Daisy Buchanan with Noir Red Lipstick and Black Liquorice Lip Glaze.

For the fellas check out Brooks Brothers Gatsby Collection.  Inspired by the costumes designed by Catherine Martin for the film this collection is the pinnacle of the stylish and suave man of the 20s.  Sadly this is a menswear line only.  Worth checking out the site to see the collaboration behind creating the collection including pictures from the Brooks Brothers archives.
Striped Regatta Jacket
Real men wear pink linen
Now for the drool worthy portion of our post.  Tiffany presents an extraordinary collection of jewels for director Baz Luhrmann’s film The Great Gatsby, created in collaboration with Catherine Martin.  They are truly stunning, I can’t wait to see them in the film.  Check them out here.
*Post updated May 9th
Kate Spade, my favorite brand, has gotten in on the Gatsby craze as well.  Adding to their collection of book cover clutches check out The Great Gatsby Book Clutch.

Call the Midwife and Puff Sleeves!

PBS has brought us another engaging period drama from the UK with Call the Midwife.  Now in season two it follows the lives of the young midwives and the nuns of Nonnatus House, located in the East End of London in the late 1950s.  Based on the memoirs of Jennifer Worth it is a touching and charming look into a way of life that really isn’t that far in our past.

Season 2 Episode 3 – Plot Summary
Jenny is seconded to a short staffed London Hospital to work on the male surgical ward and finds herself working under an intimidating surgeon, Mr. Tracey. Back in Poplar the midwives have a new addition to the household, Jane, who lends a hand in Jenny’s absence. In one of their most unusual cases, the nuns and midwives are introduced to a forthright pair of twins Meg and Mave Carter. The two women are identical in every way; they even share a husband; except one of them is now pregnant.

I enjoyed the plot lines of this episode and found the relationship of the twin sisters to be very touching and sad at the same time.  But what was really great about this episode was the outfit Jenny wears while filling in at the London Hospital.  As the hospital matron tells Jenny, “They were designed by Norman Hartnell, they’re practically couture.” 

Jenny & Jimmy at the London Hospital


These puffed sleeves are out of control!  They are the sleeves Anne Shirley pined for in Anne of Green Gables.  The lilac color is lovely especially with the crisp white of her apron and hat.  It’s funny to imagine this as a uniform in the surgical department of any major hospital these days but that’s what makes period shows fun.  I love the glimpse into the past.

Here’s a behind the scenes clip for more looks at the fun fashions.

We also get a brief look at a fifties wedding at the end of the episode.  The screenshots aren’t great but the wedding gown is a pretty lace tea length dress with a lace veil.  Beautiful!

What do you think of Call the Midwife? 

Vintage Style: 1950s Inspired Bridesmaid Dresses

Apologies for the long absence.  It seems like life went into hyper-drive in December and still hasn’t slowed down.  For instance, my wonderful big sister is getting married this month so it’s been a whirlwind of wedding planning and bridesmaid duties recently.  However planning weddings is one of my dream jobs and when they involve vintage touches so much the better. 

My sister chose a stunning vintage ivory brocade dress from the 1950s for her wedding dress.  With that in mind I had been scouring the internet for 50s style dresses that would be bridesmaid appropriate.  Thought I’d share some of the options and websites that stood out.


This is a really cool site to check out if you haven’t already.  In addition to having sizes up to 36W they allow you to customize various elements of most of their dresses.  So if you prefer a cap sleeve or a shorter hem you can get that.  Perfect for a wedding with a diverse group of bridesmaids.  

Fifties Colorblock Dress

Havana Dress in Spring Green

Virginia Dress


Great selection of vintage inspired clothes and accessories.  They even have some true vintage pieces if you can snag them.

Lady Love Song dress

Reception to Follow Dress

Project Runway does flappers and new Gatsby trailer

This was a big week for fans of the 1920s.  A new trailer was released for Baz Luhrmann’s “The Great Gatsby” and Project Runway: All Stars challenge of the week was 1920s inspired.  Vintage fans rejoice!

“Can’t repeat the past?…Why of course you can!”

Really looking forward to this adaptation of “The Great Gatsby” coming out in May 2013.  Baz Luhrmann has proven he can do literary adaptations in an amazing way with 1996s “Romeo + Juliet“, also starring Leonardo DiCaprio.  Then there is “Moulin Rouge!“, the heart breaking musical set in turn of the century Paris.  Just those two films make me confident that this will be a great movie and respectful movie adaptation of what has been called “the great American novel.” 

Make it work!

This week’s challenge on Project Runway: All Stars was to create a 1920s inspired look for the modern woman.  The remaining six designers were paired off and given an event to design for in a fashion face-off.  Overall I think they did a good job of capturing the spirit of 1920s fashion and it was fun to see them celebrating the decade that kicked off the modern fashion era.

What did you all think of the designer’s looks?  Would you wear any of these 1920s inspired outfits?



Garden Party – Emilio vs. Joshua

Emilio’s 1920s Look: Tea length dress with lace detail

Joshua’s 1920s look:  Purple and grey drop waist dress

Social Soiree – Laura Kathleen vs. Uli

Laura Kathleen’s 1920s look: Pant suit with beaded top & fur vest

Uli’s 1920s look:  Beaded and fringed white dress with wrap

After Hours Speak Easy – Ivy vs. Anthony Ryan

Ivy’s 1920s look: Beaded chevron pattern dress with feathers

Anthony Ryan’s 1920’s look: Fringe dress with feather capelet

Countdown to Downton: Downton Abbey Style for the Modern Girl

30 days until we welcome the Dowager Countess back!

Downton Abbey inspired party outfit

We’ve shown some great Downton Abbey style clothing for those who want to live in the dream world of the Crawley family.  Those who prefer a more modern take on the Dowton Abbey look will be happy to see the line of dresses discovered at Target.  These lacy confections come in a variety of colors and would be perfect for a romantic date, cocktail party or girl’s night out.  Pair them with some vintage inspired jewelry and a slick pair of pumps for a fun party look.

Downton Abbey Inspired Party Outfit

Countdown to Downton: Dress Like Part of the Downton Abbey World

36 days until Downton Abbey season 3 premiers!

The guests for your dinner party arrive and as you all shuffle into the richly appointed dining hall, the entire crowd is a shifting mass of fine wool tuxedos and silk, velvet, and beaded lace dresses… Kiss, kiss… Oh! Pardon me. Did my diamond and feather hairpiece muss your created-by-a-personal-maid-in-2-and-a-half-hours chignon? Let me get you a crystal flute of champagne…

Oh, yeah. We’ve all had it. The “Downton Abbey Dinner Party Dream.” It’s like our own lives – except totally different. Who knew such pomp, tradition, and ceremony could occur in one single event? In fact, most of us Americans watching it don’t even perceive the complete extent of the ceremony involved. But, it is easy to perceive THE CLOTHING. The attire. The adornment. Somehow, I fear the English language lacks an appropriate adjective to properly convey the sumptuousness and splendor of the Downton Abbeycostumes. And, I also fear that it is nearly impossible for a woman to watch all of that delicious beauty and not feel slightly weak in the knees or at least a tickle in your heart.
Thankfully, clothiers have agreed to give us a smackerel of that loveliness…

What to wear, what to wear, what to wear?

The 1910s were an odd time for clothing. Tight corsets, ornate clothing that covered neck to floor, and generally “fluffiness” were on their way out (think the Dowager Countess). Instead, women’s clothing became less body conscious and more angular, livable, and trim – with a slightly exotic, artistic edge. Your skirt may have still covered your ankles, but it was not yet showing your knees (ok, or even your calves). Waists had not yet dropped to the low of the Flapper 1920s, but there certainly was a lot more draping and ease to the fit of a gown. However, some of the artistic element had crept into fashion brining with it a certain avant garde angularity (think Gustav Klimt, Henri Matisse). This left clothing that was easier to wear than high Victorian/Edwardian, but still had a lot of style and femininity. How modern! Obviously, we’re not the only ones who think that this styling is quite apropros for a modern woman. Take a look at some of the 1910s-Downton-inspired fashion that you can buy – right now. (BTW – Never, ever, ever strapless! So, mid-20th century!)

Black by Komarov V-Neck Tiered Gown
JS Boutique Draped Jersey Gown


J Kara Embellished Chiffon Gown
Velvet Gown from Talbots

Or if you have plenty of extra money, Ralph Lauren has a lovely lace blouse.

Lace Tabby Blouse

The lace blouse paired with a nude camisole and this long skirt would be heavenly.
Velvet Sharon Skirt

Hats, headwraps, and hair ornaments

Back in the day, a woman was not considered properly dressed unless her head was in some way covered/adorned/embellished. Downton seasons 1 and 2 take place 1914-1918. At that time women were no longer quite as obsessed with the big, fluffy Gibson girl Victorian updo but, they were not quite to the Flapper bob – yet. So, hair was often a compromise between the two. Up, but tighter, or low and contained, maybe a chignon. And hats were not the ornate bird, ribbon, netting, and flower festooned concoctions that the Victorians/Edwardians were so proud of. Instead, they progressed toward more streamlined, and sometimes functional, hats. Think boater, upturned-brim sunhat, and modified cloche. Oh! And, don’t forget my favorite, the feather hair ornament!

Given the fabulous – and fabulously affordable – series of cloches that Target featured this spring/summer (which are no longer available, but, see above), it’s no coincidence that some of their fall/winter offerings are equally fabulous.

The headwrap that Sybil wears with her risque harem pants! Must I say more…? At Nordstrom.
Cara Accessories ‘Beautifully Amazing’ Head Wrap

Feathers just seem luxurious. No wonder they make refined hair accessories. Also at Nordstrom.
Tasha ‘Poison Feather’ Hair Clip

Seriously? I live in the 21st century!

If dressing likethe Downton girls is just too much, but you just love it all too much not to take part in some way… This may be the solution. The collective genius at a catalog called Signals has the best collection of Abbey Addict t-shirts seen so far.


Countdown to Downton: The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook

We here at Pink Champagne & Pearls are big fans of Downton Abbey and are eagerly anticipating season three.  In honor of that we will present our “Countdown to Downton” series in the weeks leading up to the January 6th premier. 


38 days until the premier!

Mrs. Patmore, in the kitchen, with the knife

I’ve been pining away these past months, suffering from Downton Abbey withdrawals. Imagine my joy then to receive my Downton Abbey inspired cookbook and pretend I was living the life of a Crawley sister, complete with my own Carson and a full retinue of servants catering to all my needs.  Well, okay, the cookbook didn’t come with all that.  A girl can dream though.

The book is cleverly divided into two sections, the first part being “Dining with the Crawleys” and the second being “Sustenance for the staff”.  For the wealthy class at this time meals were an important part of their society and daily rituals.  Meals were a work of art steeped in tradition.  As you would imagine the recipes featured in the upstairs portion are decadent and fancy, the type of meals you would expect to be served by liveried servants with white gloves.  The downstairs section by contrast is full of hearty and traditional English dishes.  Meals that would give you energy for a full day of honest work. 

In either case the food is delicious and it’s entertaining to try out some new dishes, many of which are not the normal fare for the average American.  Below is a sample of the recipes you’ll find within this cookbook. 

Upstairs Recipes:
~ Potatoes with Caviar and Creme Fraiche
~ Crab Canapes
~ Seafood Crepes
~ Leg of Lamb
~ Roast Duck with Blackberry Sauce
Downstairs Recipes:
~ Guinness Corned Beef
~ Bangers and Mash
~ Mutton Stew
~ Treacle Tart
My experiences with the recipes thus far has been very positive.  I made “Mr. Bate’s Chicken and Mushroom Pie” (a creamy gravy with chicken, mushrooms and peas under a flaky, buttery crust) and “Mixed Berry Scones” (super moist, fluffy scones bursting with strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries).  I took the scones to work and they were a big hit with my coworkers.  Due to the moisture in the berries the scones come out with more of a muffin consistency than the common dense consistency of the scones most of us are used to. 
My main complaint with this book though would be the absence of pictures.  It’s a small thing but I do so love to look at those perfectly styled treats found in most cookbooks.  All in all though I would definitely recommend to all fans of Downton Abbey whether they be pros or novices in the kitchen.