October 18, 2012

Becoming Marilyn - Four Eyes

Whoever came up with the old phrase, “Men don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses,” obviously didn’t see Marilyn in her spectacles. In How to Marry A Millionaire, Marilyn played beautiful bombshell on the hunt for a man with money who felt her bad vision and need for glasses took away her sex appeal. So wrong... Look how gorgeous she is in her cat-eyes! As a glasses-wearing-gal, I’m always on the look-out for retro style frames, so here are a couple of places to visit to fine-tune your four-eyed Marilyn.

I usually just write about modern day reproductions here on Retro Girl, but I couldn’t pass up sharing this amazing vintage shop called Collectable Spectacle on Etsy. They carry an incredible assortment of cat-eyes, rhinestone trimmed colored frames and vintage sunglasses from the 50s and 60s. If you are looking for something truly authentic, this is the place to visit.

Collectable Spectacle on Etsy

And here is a modern company with a line of vintage-inspired frames called Warby Parker. I have not ordered from them yet, however I really like their affordable policy - $95 for frame and lens and they also “give a pair” to organizations such as VisionSpring.org to help those in need who are not able to pay the high price tag for good vision. While they may not be as dramatic as authentic vintage frames, these 60s-era inspired glasses are a clean, updated look with a retro flavor.
Warby Parker: "Wiloughby Tennessee Whiskey"

October 1, 2012

Handbag Heaven

"Lucky Me" Kiss Lock
I may have mentioned my fondness for footwear, but I haven’t yet touched on the love affair I have with handbags. A gorgeous new bag can provide pure joy and has the power to take a simple outfit straight to over-the-top fabulous. My best bags are conversation starters, show stoppers and often envied by passer-bys . And that’s just the star treatment I receive when I tote around my Lux De Villes.

I recently purchased their Sin City Kiss Lock bag in Black (pictured below)- a first class ticket to handbag heaven. It has a very retro, yet contemporary feel to its quilted, black, patent-leather design. The silver dangle dice are the perfect Sin City accessory and the leopard interior adds a bit of drama each time you open the kissable clasps. What I love most about this bag is the seamless transition from day to night. I can throw it over my shoulder to run to the market or swing it from my arm for a night out on the town. The patent leather makes it super simple to clean and shiny black matches just about anything. Did I mention I’m in love? So much so I went back for seconds.

"Sin City" Kiss Lock
I spotted this spectacular leopard bag (above) at a trade show a few months ago and from that moment on I was infatuated. I'm very particular with my leopard prints and this bag hits it right on the mark. Since drooling is not a very classy thing to do, I had to remedy my problem asap and order the Lucky Me Kiss Lock bag pronto. This purse is a real head-turner with its luxurious fur-textured leopard pattern, 50s-style silver kiss-clasp and striking red rose accessory. While you can definitely use this bag daily, I save it for special occasions or to add a pop of “wow” to an ordinary outfit. And I’m not finished with Lux De Ville yet either... I have my eye on their sparkly Getaway Kiss Locks and their ultra glamorous Lucite line.  Love, love, love the Lux...

August 8, 2012

PinUp Girl Boutique

If you’ve read Retro Girl’s Guide, then you know how much I love PinUpGirlClothing.com (PUG). You know that I respect this business run by strong, beautiful women and you know more than anything else that I love their clothing styles and quality. Needless to say, I was giddy like a child waiting for Santa in anticipation for the opening of the Pinup Girl Boutique that just launched in Burbank, California.  Sadly, I missed the grand opening event, but the pictures and stories look just as fabulous as you can imagine.  I couldn’t however, let the first week go by without stopping in... And when my friend asked for my help today in shopping for a new dress, I knew right where we were heading.  

The shop is located on the charming Magnolia Boulevard and is a perfect addition to the vintage shops, eclectic boutiques and retro flavor that paves this trendy Burbank area.  The windows of the store are lined with mannequins staged in vintage-style settings all wearing PUG ensembles. It was the website brought to life.  A decadent, crystal chandelier dangles above the cash register which is surrounded by walls of gorgeous retro creations. The dresses, skirts, tops and accessories that I have bookmarked dozens of times are displayed beautifully to touch, feel and best of all try on. Online is nice, but nothing compares to experiencing it in person. It was heaven.

We were greeted by the lovely Margarita who was friendly, helpful and beautiful. She guided us through the store and told us about upcoming outfits that were soon to be arriving. She was warm and welcoming and made it feel as if we were shopping with another girlfriend. And then my style crush walked in - Doris MayDay. Whenever I fall in love with an outfit or a special look online, it inevitably is modeled by Doris. She has a special authenticity of a bygone era that is rarely captured by modern-day pinups. Most girls try to mimic “the look” and several come close, but Doris MayDay IS the look. And on top of all that retro gorgeousness, she is the biggest sweetheart. It was just as much fun chatting with her as it was seeing all of the beautiful PUG-wear in person. It truly was the website brought to life.

My girlfriend walked away with two knock-out dresses - including this adorable black-and-pink "pink elephant" dress modeled by Doris - (I’m such a bad influence - or good one depending on how you look at it) and I’m bringing her back for a Michiline Pitt makeover. I can’t wait to see the make-up diva in action and the transformation of my friend into a vintage vixen. I’ll be sure to document the event and share it here. The PUG gals also plan to have other events and parties at this fabulous boutique so be sure to “like” them on Facebook and visit their new PUG community, Pinup Girl Style.  All this glamour... on a Wednesday!  *Swoon!*

July 9, 2012

Retro Babes

Steady Clothing for Kids
How adorable is this little guy striking a pose in a swanky pint-sized bowling shirt? It’s cute-overload! Your mini cool-cat can match his dashing daddy in tiny versions of these classic button-downs by Steady Clothing. They are available in a variety of colors and patterns including leopard, cream and rockabilly red.  All are machine washable.

Now that your little darling is all dressed up, how about a little retro-redecorating? Guidecraft makes a furniture line called “Retro Racers.” Classic cars decorate this vintage red lounge chair and matching dining set - a sure way to make your little dude feel like the King of the speedway.  And who says girls have all of the cute things?
Shirts are also found at www.DaddyOs.com

June 25, 2012

Retro Kitchens with Big Chill

If you have always wanted your kitchen to take a step back in time, but desire the modern conveniences of today’s appliances then check out the beautifully retro Big Chill.  Powder pink, retro red, baby blue... it’s a 50s dream kitchen come true for today’s vintage lover.

Big Chill is based out of Boulder, Colorado and their 50s inspired kitchen appliances are created by an uncle and nephew team who brought their dream of retro living to life with these very modern and unique reproductions.  They began their business designing retro refrigerators and now have grown to offer their fridges in several sizes and styles along with coordinating stoves and matching dishwashers. But unlike the vintage versions, these current interpretations offer the modern conveniences that we rely on today in a fridge - such as self defrost and an ice maker. All of their appliances are trimmed with chrome and are offered in a wide variety of popular colors associated with 50s nostalgia.

Big Chill was recently featured on The Rachael Ray Show and has also been seen on numerous design programs, magazines and blogs. These appliance are gorgeous, glamorous and perfect for today’s modern Retro Girl.

May 27, 2012

Modern Day Crooner - Irby Gascon

Retro girls love to swoon, swing and sway to classics such as Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra and rockabilly king, Johnny Cash. Sadly, these greats are no longer with us, but the musical imprint they have left behind has opened the door to modern day rockers who can capture a bit of their essence. One person who conjures up the sounds of the past is singer, Irby Gascon. He can croon, he can rock and retro girls are sure to swoon when he belts out ballads from the 40s and 50s.

You can sometimes find Irby dressed as young Elvis cruising around Hollywood in a pink Cadillac giving tours of L.A.’s hotspots to visitors through Tribute Productions, the celebrity impersonator company that he shares with his lovely wife, Bella of MrsBellasDolls.com. Or maybe you’ll see him (you most definitely should see him) performing at the glamorous, 1920s style Cicada Club with his swing band, Zoot Suit Revue. He also performs parties, corporate events and red carpet affairs.  Irby is amazing. I hope one day he’ll record his beautiful voice to share with you here, but for now you’ll have to track him down at one of the local L.A. events. Lucky for you, he’s playing this weekend!

For more info on the event visit the EPNS Event Website

This Saturday, June 2nd from 5:00 - 9:00 p.m., Irby will be singing Blue Hawaii style in the San Fernando Valley at the Tarzana Cultural Center. Come out and enjoy a Rock-A-Hula Luau with us (yours truly will be there too!). Have drinks at the Tiki Bar, play games, participate in raffles and best of all Irby will be singing all evening. He’s performing as a huge favor to me, so take this chance to experience one of today’s best retro crooners and have some fun too!

To book Irby, contact him through www.TributeProductions.com

View Irby as Young Elvis on Facebook
Visit Bella at www.MrsBellasDolls.com
To see Irby this weekend, visit the EPNS Luau Event webpage

April 28, 2012

Why I Love PUG

As a retro loving girl, PinUpGirlClothing.com is an obvious choice for vintage inspired reproductions. Their styles range from bombshell-vavavoom to the charming girl-next-door. Their sizes fit sweet petites and the most voluptuous of vixens. Their fabrics are top quality and their clothes actually fit the provided measurements. Their shipping is lightning fast and their return policy is fair and quick. They are great. But these are not the only reasons why I admire PUG so much. Here’s a list of what makes PinUpGirlClothing a stand-out company:

Laura Byrnes - Supreme Overlord:  Laura Byrnes is the founder and creator of PUG. She has cultivated not just a retro clothing line, but an amazing brand. She has launched models into retro stardom and has given every girl who wears a PUG design that feeling of ultimate glamour, acceptance and beauty. She embraces and celebrates differences and truly provides something beautiful for everyone. And she does this with ease, openness and down-to-earth approachability. She abolishes stereotypes, speaks her mind and allows friends and fans of PUG to feel they are not only wearing something glamorous, but are a part of something glamorous. I don’t even know if she realizes she is doing this. She’s just that real. And it’s brilliant. Oh, and I haven’t even mentioned her photography. Amazing.

The PUG Models: Micheline Pitt, La Cholita, Masuimi Max, Doris MayDay... ring a bell? These gorgeous girls are the faces and backbone of PinUpGirlClothing. They are beautiful, they are talented and they are giving the modern bombshell a whole new meaning. What they aren’t: Just bodies for the clothes. They are personalities with big ideas that come to life through PUG. They are PUG yet they have also become their own brand, cultivating their own images and identities which have fostered and grown through this unique clothing line. There is no “cookie-cutter” PUG model. Their beauty varies in body shape, size, ethnicity, hair color and overall look. They are all different and they are all beautiful. There is a PUG girl for every shopper out there to imagine looking like. And again, it all seems so natural for this company as if none of it is planned. And it probably isn't. Or maybe it is. Either way, it works and works well.

Friendliness of PUG: The voice of PinUpGirlClothing is consistent and friendly. They truly embrace their fans and speak to them through their Facebook pages as if a friend is telling you what neat thing they just discovered. They are not just about constant self-promotion. They share interesting news with their customers. They promote their models and partners. They support other businesses. They even sometimes share their frustrations as an old pal venting after a bad day. Again, it’s very real, very relatable and they make the customer feel as if they are a part of something bigger. And then they take it one step further like their upcoming Day at Disneyland or meet-and-greets at various festivals. And let’s not forget their rockin’ yard sales. All of these events gives the retro girl a chance to be the PUG model for a day... Dress the part, wear the fabulous outfits, really do up the hair and make-up. And for some that’s just what is needed - an outting to put all this vintage glamour to good use. Afterwards fans will eagerly share their dolled up pictures in their PUG ensembles and PinUpGirl loves it.

Bottom Line: PinUpGirlClothing is much more than just a clothing line. They are a branded family of gorgeous, inspirational gals who have cultivated a glamorous club that the everyday-girl can join. Oh, and their clothing rocks too.


April 20, 2012

Travel Retro

If you want to take your retro experience one step further, why not plan a vacation around the kitsch, the cool and the swank of yesteryear? Travel Retro is a unique vacation destination website featuring the best of vintage Americana that has been revamped for today's modern traveler while preserving nostalgia from the 1940s, 50s and 60s

Travel Retro hunts for lost gems such as revived motor courts, vintage cabins and motels that were once vacation spots all throughout the American roadways. You can book and plan your travels right through their website for the ultimate retro experience. Their site and service is very unique and has a tremendous amount of interesting potential. I look forward to seeing their listings grow and their services expand. Their growing website will soon offer lodging, dining, attractions and a social blog for the retro enthusiast. Can you say pin-up girl road trip?

March 13, 2012

Glam in the Shower with Dry Divas

In the fifties women would sleep in curlers or spend a day at the beauty salon each week to get their signature hair-dos. To keep their look fresh and their curls in tact for the week ahead, shower caps were an essential part of the beauty regimen.

Flash forward... it’s 2012 and while most women don’t sleep in curlers anymore (although some retro girls still use them!) sometimes you want to keep your hair pristine for an extra day and that means skipping a wash. I squealed like a little girl when I saw these gorgeous shower caps by Dry Divas. Colorful patterns and a beautiful jeweled adornment makes showering a glamorous affair. And while they are meant for the bath, this just might be the perfect solution for maintaining dry hair while lounging in the pool or the relaxing for the day at the spa.

This is also ideal for my young daughter. She is blessed a mound of gorgeous hair that naturally looks like we put hot rollers in it and some days we skip the hassle of a wash. Dry Divas offer their caps in three sizes - Bouffant for women with long, thick hair; Ladies for us gals with cute, shorter dos; and Kids for, as they put it, darling little divas.  And for all you pin-up girls out there... how cute would these caps look in a photo shoot? I’m in love... they are different, adorable and oh-so retro. 

February 15, 2012

Pin-up Beauty Jessica Lynn Gahring

Makeup: Genn Shaughnessy
Photographer: Lorraine Murphy

I’m excited to have one of my favorite retro girls here today - the beautiful Jessica Lynn Gahring of the hit reality show, NY Ink on TLC. She’s a smart, funny, completely down-to-earth gal who loves vintage pin-up and old world glamour. She lights up NY Ink with her gorgeous style and sweet-meets-spunky personality. Here are some of Jessica’s best kept pin-up secrets for the modern retro girl!

RGG:  Hi Jessica! You have such a great style. Who are your glamour inspirations?
  • JLG: I wouldn’t really say that my glamour inspirations were a specific “who” but more of a ‘what’. I am completely inspired by anything retro, vintage and glamour. I enjoy taking little pieces of a million different images and tying them together to create something that resembles a “Modern Pinup”. To be specific, I love soft curls in the hair, make up that says “I’m sexy enough to refuse you dinner if you don’t kiss me once you walk in the door from work”, clothes that cover enough of the female form but leave enough open to the imagination where a male can linger in thought at what may lay behind her concealed walls. I find glamour inspiration in classic films, pinup magazines and models, fashion blogs catered to the beautiful pinup and friends that I meet along the way... such as you, my beautiful vintage friend, Rosina! <3  

RGG: If you could go back in time and meet one famous bombshell, who would it be and what would you ask her?
  • JLG: I feel like it goes without saying that I’d want to meet Marilyn and have endless deep conversations with her. I wouldn’t be content asking her just one question and my ability to converse with people would get her to open up comfortably with all of her deepest secrets (which of course I’d keep hush hush!). Specifically, I’d want to know how she dealt with that moment in time when she went from your everyday unknown pretty face to one that was recognized nationally. I would love to know what went through her mind in those moments and who she relied on for trust and inspiration.

RGG:  You have done pin-up modeling and you are on film all the time. Do you have any tips for getting comfortable in front of the camera?
Photo by Steve Prue
  • JLG: There is no possible way to prepare yourself to become comfortable in front of the camera other than just becoming comfortable in front of the camera. You can practice those pinup faces in the mirror all evening long but when you start working with those photographers who have their own ideas of pinup beauty then you realize that it has to be a dual effort. I watch every episode of our show and make mental notes consisting of things like, “Ohhh, those pants are exceptionally flattering” or “Damn, I look great in that dress!” or “Do not EVER wear my hair like that again!” and then I just laugh at myself! You learn by trial and error and then improve upon that process. There is no true 360 degree mirror that gives you a complete sense of yourself like that of being on film and in front of the camera!
RGG:  Your outfits on NY Ink are gorgeous! Where do you find most of your ensembles?
  • JLG: I compile my outfits from a number of locations, including my closest friends vintage businesses. However, my favorite pinup retailer is Pin Up Girl Clothing (www.pinupgirlclothing.com). They have a high-end pin up line that can be made professional or ‘dressed down’ for a naughtier look. The clothes are cut in all the right locations and are meant to flatter a curvy woman’s figure. Dear Pin Up Girl Clothing, I truly love you! <3
RGG: If you were stranded on an island, what is the one beauty item you could not live without?
  • JLG: If I was stranded on an island I would never wear makeup! I’d give my face the chance to breathe and revel in the beauty of my island which I would of course rename “Dixie Island” (laughs). However, if I had to chose one item that I could not live without then it would most definitely be a bandanna. How else could I grab coconuts from the tree tops and keep my hair out of my face?! Bandannas are by far my favorite retro accessory (wig wearing or not!).
RGG: What is/are your favorite shade(s) of Red lipstick? (Every retro girl wants to know!)
  • JLG: I am VERY picky about my favorite red lipsticks! I need my reds to have a hint of frost while also matching my skin tone. If the red is a matte then I apply a little bit of frost gloss just on my bottom lip to perk up the color. Currently, I have two (2) favorite reds and I choose which one I wear based on my clothing & wig choices. Enough of the tease, here are the color names: MAC VIVA GLAM III & MAC VIVA GLAM IV. Sadly, these are limited edition colors so I may have to eventually find others that grab my attention.  
RGG: I love listening to Marilyn Monroe and Anne Margaret when I’m getting ready for a night out on the town. What music do you listen to when you are channeling your inner bombshell?
  • JLG: I absolutely love listening to strong female voices with a hint of rasp and blues living somewhere deep within there. To be honest, I could listen to Etta James, Imelda May and the blues side of Eric Clapton all day long. The sound is so deep and sultry that it makes me apply my lipsticks with even a hint of sexy (winks).
RGG: What is/are your favorite vintage/classic movie(s)?
  • JLB: My top two (2) favorite classic films are Some Like It Hot (for it’s humorous story line) & It’s a Wonderful Life (for it’s strong focus on the devoted family)!
RGG: My personal style tends to resonate the early 60s. Do you have one particular decade that you draw your style from?
  • JLG: I definitely draw a lot of my style tastes from the late 50s into the early 60s so I’m right there with you hot mama! <3
RGG: I won’t leave the house without my red lips and groomed eye-brows. What is your out-the-door must have?
  • JLG: I can absolutely go without a bright red lip but I cannot go anywhere without my eyebrows groomed! My hair is so light blonde naturally that if I don’t pencil in my brows then they look as if they aren’t even there. All retro ladies know that a beautiful brow arch is cornerstone to that beautiful vintage look! I will leave the house with no other makeup on then just my brow pencil, eyeliner and mascara... but those are absolute must-haves!
RGG: Jessica, thank you so much for visiting with Retro Girl’s Guide today! You truly have a special spirit and beauty that shines both inside and out! XOXO
Jessica's beautiful artwork
  • JLG: You are very welcome, Rosina! Thank you for having me! You know that I always jump at the opportunity to feel the beauty of your spirit, as well. Thank you again for my beautiful Ginger’s Jewelry Box ring and for naming that ring after me. I can’t tell you how many compliments I receive on that ring! Kisses to you, beautiful, and to all of those beautiful retro divas out there! XO
You can watch Jessica on NY Ink Thursday nights at 8:00 p.m. on TLC. Be sure to visit her website www.jessicalynngahring.com, Facebook page and follow @MsRetroDixie on Twitter.

January 19, 2012

Fluff n’ Doodles - Modern Retro Art

Wild Thing by FLUFF
I love the classic pin-up artists of long ago. Elvgren, Vargas and Runci are some of the original creators of the beautiful artwork that cultivated the glamorous and kitschy images of pin-ups that we all love today. Flash forward to present day... We have some wonderful modern artists who take inspiration from the greats of yesteryear and put their own spin on pin-up beauty and retro style. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Olivia De Berardinis: Olivia is a modern day pin-up master. She has a gift of glorifying, glamorizing and celebrating femininity, sexuality and beauty of the female body. She has created numerous masterpieces of the iconic bombshells such as Betty Page and Marilyn Monroe and also beautiful art inspired by today’s pin-ups like Dita Von Teese and Bernie Dexter. My computer desk sits under a gorgeous, signed Olivia (lucky me!) and I look up at it every day for inspiration.

 Devilette by FLUFF - Claudette Barjoud
  • FLUFF: I’ve recently fallen in love with the cutesy-meets-glamour artwork of Claudette Barjoud, also known as Fluff. Actually, that’s not true. I’ve been in love with her artwork for quite a while now and have purchased numerous note cards with her sassy-sexy images for various holidays and thank-yous. I repeatedly fell in love her retro, pin-up cartoons and graphic imagery, yet never knew who was behind the pen until recently. And now I love her all the more. Fluff combines a bit of rockabilly, a bit of tattoo art, a bit of 60’s mod and a whole-lotta adorable pin-up goodness! My favorite (for obvious reasons *wink*) are her brunette girls. She sells cards, apparel, totes, bags and other fun items in her store Fluffshop.com.

  • Maly Siri’s Pin-Up Art & Doodles: Maly Siri is an artist from Montreal who creates illustrations of beautiful glamour girls with nostalgic flare. Even her basic rough pencil sketches are works of art before they magically transform into vintage inspired masterpieces. Her illustrations have an elegance and style reminiscent of the 1940s and like Olivia, she has featured some of today’s top pin-ups in her work. Maly is a not only an amazing artist, but has pin-up beauty herself. Check Maly Siri out on Facebook.

  • Shag: What can I say about Shag (aka Josh Agle)? He’s a pioneer in lounge art and brings the cocktail to a whole new level of kitsch. He is Shag. You know his work when you see it and while others have tried to imitate his style, no one comes close to capturing the cool that he has cultivated. I have been a huge fan of his since I published Modern Lounge Magazine many moons ago when we featured him in our second issue (he’s a nice guy too!). He continues to remain the king of swank and has gone on to put his 50s swinger touch on beloved Disneyland attraction art such as the Haunted Mansion, Small World and the Enchanted Tiki Room. Shag not only draws his dreams, but he lives it. And he’s fabulous. www.Shagmart.com
The cool kids at the Haunted Mansion by Shag

January 3, 2012

Faux Collars

Faux Leopard from Plasticland
I recently discovered a magical accessory - the faux fur, faux collar. It’s a furry little number that wraps around your neck turning any plain ol’ sweater into a fabulous, glamorous ensemble. Ahh-mazing! No wonder they were popular accessories in the 1960s.

I stumbled upon a variety of these interesting collars one day strolling by an Ann Taylor of all places. I spotted them from the window and instantly fell in love. It was difficult to decide on one since they were all so stunning. The transformation from ordinary to gorgeous was incredible... and incredibly easy. I ended up leaving with two - a medium grey, that ties into a bow and a dramatic, black collar that makes any top evening-wear ready. I’m addicted to them. (I would put links to the Ann Taylor collars I purchased, but I can’t seem to find them online. This one is similar).

I just received this beautiful, faux leopard collar in the mail today from Plasticland.com. I can’t wait to wear it! It lays so beautifully and feels so luxurious. And for only $15 it gives the perfect touch of retro glamour to any outfit. I’m also really impressed with Plasticland’s customer service. I had made an error over the holidays and they quickly fixed it for me with a pleasant email. They have speedy shipping and their product is high quality. Needless to say, I’m thrilled with this fabulous find!