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Kim Novak in Bell Book and Candle

Kim Novak in Bell Book and Candle: a beatnik stereotype


Recently, my friend Gailynne asked me to write an article for our costumers’ guild newsletter. She knows I love mid-century fashion, and she needed someone to write a piece on “beatnik” fashion for our “On the Road” event coming up in November. I thought it would be fun, so I jumped on it! I figured it would be a good way to learn more about the “Beat Generation” and the (old school) hipster culture that inspired – and was inspired by – it.


When most people hear the word “beatnik,” they probably imagine bored-looking bohemian gals in berets and guys in turtlenecks and weird little goatees. These stereotypes are rooted in truth, but like the term “beatnik” itself, they’re not really very representative of the movement defined by the “Beat Generation” nor the people inspired by its counterculture philosophy. The reality is that the intellectuals, artists, and anti-bourgeois iconoclasts of mid-twentieth century America dressed a lot like everyone else.


Legendary San Francisco columnist Herb Caen created the term “beatnik” in 1958, a portmanteau of “beat” and “Sputnik” (as in the Soviet satellite) that – in conjunction with a short report about freeloading hep cats helping themselves to booze at a magazine party – was meant to poke fun at common perceptions of the counterculture. Namely, that the group was full of lazy opportunists with far left political leanings. According to Caen, however, Beat Generation mainstay Jack Kerouac didn’t find it very amusing. “You’re putting us down and making us sound like jerks,” Kerouac apparently told him. “I hate it. Stop using it.”


I’ve linked the newsletter .pdf below if you’d like to read the whole article!


http://www.gbacg.org/newsletter-links/finery-issues/2014_SeptOct.pdf













This is Haunted Halloween Collection CD art...

This is Haunted Halloween Collection CD art…


I know it’s still early September, but Halloween’s definitely already in the air. For those of you itching to get into the holiday spirit, here is a curated collection of audio (mostly music, with some sound effects) and video to enjoy while you stay home to serve the trick-or-treaters!



“This is Haunted Halloween” is a very special collection of Halloween party music and spooky sound effects. My pal Jason and put this together a few years back with the intention of creating a near-definitive selection of tracks for dance and spooky ambience. Some tracks, including our special “Skerrymix,” are unique mixes engineered by Jason. Perfect for your Halloween night haunt or relaxation at home in the dark, This is Haunted Halloween delivers your favorite spooky aural memories!



Disc One is packed with a selection of macabre party hits, from a new extended mix of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” to Sheb Wooley’s campy “The Purple People Eater.” Disc Two follows with pieces reflecting the darker side of Halloween. Here, spooky film themes, ghoulish classical favorites, and other grisly tunes mix it up with creepy sound effects perfect for a stormy night.


 


Produced by Jason Pittman and Kali Pappas, this collection offers new presentations of old classics alongside several fun surprises. But beware — this is not your average Halloween mix tape. Listen and share!



Find more information and download links HERE!


The Great Pumpkin

The Great Pumpkin!


If you’re looking for some fun things to watch, here’s a collection of noncontroversial Halloween favorites. The title link will take you to the film’s product listing at our Amazon Astore. Subsequent links will take you to an online version of the source literature and/or a purchase link for the source literature at our Amazon Astore.



Those who like an old-fashioned gothic novel or otherwise spooky story should check out these old favorites, some of which are listed above with their film adaptations. The title link will take you to an internet edition of the story, and the “buy the book” link will take you to a copy of the book at our Amazon Astore.












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Fall’s coming – it’s Pantone time!

Fall 2014 Pantones

Fall 2014 Pantones


It’s almost autumn, which means it’s PANTONE TIME! The Fall, 2014 women’s Pantone palette is nice and colorful.


There’s only one brown, and it’s not bad – Cognac, which would make a nice silk evening gown or scarf. Radiant Orchid is a rich pink-purple that reminds me of summer, and Sangria is a hot cranberry tone that says fall without getting all tweedy. Two strong blues, Misted Yellow, and Aurora Red keep things from feeling too chilly. Primary colors are chic and seasonless!


In all, I like it! Do you?











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Fall’s coming – it’s Pantone time!

Fall 2014 Pantones

Fall 2014 Pantones


It’s almost autumn, which means it’s PANTONE TIME! The Fall, 2014 women’s Pantone palette is nice and colorful.


There’s only one brown, and it’s not bad – Cognac, which would make a nice silk evening gown or scarf. Radiant Orchid is a rich pink-purple that reminds me of summer, and Sangria is a hot cranberry tone that says fall without getting all tweedy. Two strong blues, Misted Yellow, and Aurora Red keep things from feeling too chilly. Primary colors are chic and seasonless!


In all, I like it! Do you?











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End-of-summer vintage

Here are a couple of lovely vintage cotton non-frocks from the 1950s!


The first comes from Anna at LeDressingdeMabel on Etsy. It’s a lovely drop-waist dress with tabbed shoulders and a gorgeous purple butterfly print. It’s crisp and cute, perfect for hot weather.


Papillon dress

Papillon dress.


Papillon dress

Papillon dress.


The second is another crisp summer beauty from Sascha at LaBelleVIntage. It’s a comfy fiesta dress in my favorite midcentury color combination, green and blue!


Fiesta dress!

Fiesta dress!


Fiesta dress!

Fiesta dress!











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Backyard Adventures!

I’ve managed to make my little back yard a little more livable this year! I’ve added oleander and bark to the back fence area and some new plants!


Bougainvillea and fountain!

Bougainvillea and fountain!


Crepe myrtle, oleander, and pink flamingos!

Crepe myrtle, oleander, and pink flamingos!



Fountain and bougainvillea!

Fountain and bougainvillea!


Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland


Fountain

Fountain


Bougainvillea

Bougainvillea


Bougainvillea

Bougainvillea


Bougainvillea

Bougainvillea


Palm and hydrangeas!

Palm and hydrangeas!











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Backyard Adventures!

I’ve managed to make my little back yard a little more livable this year! I’ve added oleander and bark to the back fence area and some new plants!


Bougainvillea and fountain!

Bougainvillea and fountain!


Crepe myrtle, oleander, and pink flamingos!

Crepe myrtle, oleander, and pink flamingos!



Fountain and bougainvillea!

Fountain and bougainvillea!


Bougainvillea

Bougainvillea


Palm and hydrangeas!

Palm and hydrangeas!











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Summer’s almost over, so I’m working hard to clear my warm-weather posts from the blog queue. I promised a review of another wonderful custom reproduction by Esther of Morningstar84, this beautiful version of Marilyn Monroe’s eyelet halter dress from 1953.


Morningstar84 Marilyn Dress

Marilyn Monroe’s Grauman’s dress.




Marilyn wore the original dress to her Grauman’s Chinese Theatre handprint ceremony with Jane Russell, her gorgeous costar in the film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. I’ve always loved the fresh, curvy look of the outfit, so when I discovered that Esther made a version of it, I fell on it as soon as I could.


Marilyn & Jane

Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in 1953.


I opted for white with a red sash on the separate belt, but Esther offers options. The dress is fully lined, boned, and comes with molded foam cup-tips in the bust to keep things looking smooth. The dress is fitted, but long enough to keep things modest. This is a classic 1950s “sexy in a covered-up way” dress!


Morningstar84 Marilyn Dress

Another shot of the Marilyn dress.


I’m wearing this with Spanx hi-rise shorts and a Wacoal Red Carpet Long Line bra. I got my bra at Bloomingdale’s, but it’s available in most better department stores. This one was recommended to me by Amber for its comfort and cup range. Indeed, this one’s right for those with moderately large boobs. It goes up to a G cup, but know the bra runs about a cup size large. I normally wear 36E (DDD), and the 36DD is just right for me.


Another shot of me in the Marilyn dress

Another shot of me in the Marilyn dress.











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You know that color theory people throw out there – the one that involves gravitating toward colors that look good on you? Yeah, well, I like turquoise, and apparently, turquoise likes me. I’m also a big fan of Trashy Diva and cute mid century repro, so it was just a matter of time before the 1940s-inspired Deb dress in pastel turquoise faille and the Maria dress in turquoise floral were MINE MINE MINE (cue Daffy duck in “Ali Baba Bunny”).


Trashy Diva Maria dress in turquoise floral

Trashy Diva Maria dress in turquoise floral.


Since I missed out on the embroidered Maria last year, I’ve been pining for another shot at a pretty one, and boy is this turquoise floral print PRETTY. It’s a little greener in person, but it still photographs beautifully. The rich yellow, purples, and pinks really POP against it, and the rayon crepe has just enough texture to make the fabric feel really vintage. In fact, with the separate belt and decorative buttons down the front, this one looks like it’s straight out of the 1940s. I busted out the Remix Rita repro slingbacks and my Bakelite and the effect is pretty authentic.


Trashy Diva Maria dress in turquoise floral

Trashy Diva Maria dress in turquoise floral.


Trashy Diva Maria dress in turquoise floral

Trashy Diva Maria dress in turquoise floral.


I went with my usual size 14 in the Maria. The fit is roomy but not too big. The belt is just right. I suspect they use the same size belt for the 12s and 10s. For reference, I’m 42-32-48.”


Trashy Diva Maria dress in turquoise floral

Trashy Diva Maria dress in turquoise floral.


Trashy Diva Maria dress in turquoise floral

Trashy Diva Maria dress in turquoise floral.


The pretty Deb dress is another winner. I’ve wanted this one since it came out early this year, but decided to wait because the price was kinda steep. Plus, I’d just shot my wad on the beautious Lena dress in the olive green faille and was still high on the acquisition. Since the color is limited edition, I used the first good discount code I could muster and bought the thing before it sold out in my size (once again, 14).


Trashy Diva Deb dress in pastel turquoise faille

Trashy Diva Deb dress in pastel turquoise faille.


This is another Trashy Diva turquoise that photographs more blue than it truly is. That’s not to say that I’m disappointed in either color; I like the 1950s swimming pool aqua in the photos and I like the dusty light turquoise that showed up in the box on my doorstep. In fact, the real color is rather 18th century-ish. Given the pleated, pinked ruffles on the hem and bust, the whole effect is rather Marie Antoinette in the contemporary “we like this!” way and not the “holy crap, they wore these color combos back then?” way.


I’m wearing it here with a vintage dress clip from the 1930s and my sweet 1930s repro Remix Ritz heels in silver.


Trashy Diva Deb dress in pastel turquoise faille

Trashy Diva Deb dress in pastel turquoise faille.


Trashy Diva Deb dress in pastel turquoise faille

Trashy Diva Deb dress in pastel turquoise faille.


Trashy Diva Deb dress in pastel turquoise faille

Trashy Diva Deb dress in pastel turquoise faille.


Trashy Diva Deb dress in pastel turquoise faille

Trashy Diva Deb dress in pastel turquoise faille.











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If I’m anything, I’m an oldschool Disneyland nerd. I was born twelve years to the day after Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room opened in 1963, which I fully credit for my obsession with all things tiki, tropical, and Disney! So, when I saw DailySparkle’s adorable Jose the Tiki Bird-inspired felt circle skirt on Etsy, I knew I had to have it!


DailySparkle Tiki Room skirt

My DailySparkle Tiki Room skirt, featuring Jose the Tiki Bird. My top is the “Voodoo Vixen” by Deadly Dames. The wicker purse is by Pinup Couture.



Tiki skirt

Tiki skirt! With my mom and Mrs. T.


Brigid – the lady behind the magic that is DailySparkle – combines the vintage whimsicality of Juli Lynne Charlot’s iconic 1950s felt applique skirts (of “poodle skirt” fame) with today’s popular Disney themes to create works of wearable art. Perfect for a Day at Disneyland or a lunch date with friends, my Jose skirt is an instant conversation starter.


Jose applique

Jose applique! A close up of the felt and crystal design.


My Jose sits on a fancy perch, just like the audio-animatronic original does in the Tiki Room attraction. He is surrounded by tropical flowers and accessorized with a few sparkly Swarovski crystals. And what a sweet birdy expression on his face! I can hear Wally Boag’s voice in my head whenever I look at him (“I think someone has left the shower running!”).


Enchanted Tiki Room poster

Enchanted Tiki Room poster, with tiki birds! The first Disney attraction to utilize audio-animatronic figures, the Tiki Room is the technological forerunner of Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Haunted Mansion, and many other theme park favorites.


While my Tiki Room skirt is a “stock” design, Brigid is happy to take fully custom Disney-themed commissions. Every skirt – stock design or not – is made specifically to your waist measurement.


Aloha!











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