Tuesday, January 29, 2013


I had the pleasure of spending my weekend with Michelle of Ravishing Retro, who flew over from Lyon to Helsinki to partake in vintage shenanigans.

We spent Friday afternoon visiting vintage shops in Kallio, then glamming up whilst sipping whine before heading out for burlesque and cocktails at a Tikibar.

On Saturday we woke up early and travelled to Tampere for Vapriikki-Vintage in a car packed with suitcases full of vintage pretties.

Organised in association with Fintage, Vapriikki-Vintage is a two-day vintage fair held at the Vapriikki museum centre. This year, the programme was very exciting as it featured not only a vintage market but also neo-Victorian photography, lectures, a live orchestra, a Charleston show and a quick lesson to the basics of the dance, a burlesque number from Holy Curves as well as guided tours around the museums. Etc. Certainly plenty to see, do and, of course, buy!

I was equally excited to introduce Michelle to my Fintage friends, especially my vintage wife/doppelganger Jirina, as I had a feeling they'd get bond. And bond we all did.

To say that Michelle was happy to discover that vintage is a tad bit cheaper in Finland than in Australia is one way of putting it. She bought quite a few dresses from Jirina as they happen to have the exact same waist size. When asked why Jirina was selling said dresses, the answer was more often than not, "it's just too 50s", to which Michelle said, "I'll take it." See, 30s and 50s vintage ladies living in perfect harmony! Michelle ended up flying back to Lyon in a suitcase full of 50s frocks and vintage inspired lingerie.

I spotted this shiny number at Alles Gute Vintage and immediately noted just how very Michelle it is. "I'll take it," she replied, practically before even trying it on. (And a perfect fit it was, as you can see below.)

My mission was to sell rather than buy this time. I did, however, take home these 30s shoes, also from Alles Gute.

Ah, the fashions! On the first day of Vapriikki, I wore a black 40s dress with one of my most recent Ebay purchases: a reversible 30s capelet; black velvet on one side, shiny silver on the other! Although brand new to me, it immediately became my favourite piece of clothing. It is just that amazing! I also wore the 30s silver heels and handbag that I bought from Old Touch last month. Jirina looked enchanting in blue velvet and trademark ginger fingerwaves whilst Michelle ended up changing from one 50s style frock to her shiny new one before the day was over.

Friday, January 11, 2013

1931 beauty stunts: Preparing for sleep

I came across an interesting article, titled "Beauty Stunts All Girls Can Copy From the World's Loveliest Women", in the December 1931 issue of Photoplay magazine. The article details various beauty tips and tricks that movie stars used back in the day. I thought I'd transcribe and share the details with you, my dear readers, as many of these are still just as usable in 2013 as they were in 1931.

The first part details Joan Crawford's nighttime beauty regimen. I hope you enjoy it! (I'm now officially on the hunt for a marcel cap!)

Preparing for sleep at night

You don't need me to tell you that you shouldn't go to bed at night with your make-up on, but just a dash of cold cream hastily rubbed off with a towel won't do the job. I'm going to tell you exactly how Joan Crawford prepares for bed and manages - miracles, miracles! - to look attractive when the job is all done. Some of the most beautiful girls look like orphaned slaveys when they're ready for bed. But not Joan.

She takes off the make-up with some good cream or remover, using a soft tissue. But she doesn't stop there. She uses an astringent after that - to get all the cream out of the pores - and follows with a good washing with soap and warm water, and cold water plentifully dashed on to remove the soap entirely. This leaves her face pink and glowing and not greasy from the cream (face builders she uses during the day).

When she's working on a picture her hair is finger-waved every night, but even it if isn't, she wears a marcel cap to preserve her wave. This is drawn tightly over her head. (Incidentally, Dorothy Joran wears a regular baby cap not only for her hair but to keep her ears tight to her head.) A marcel cap is not a ravishingly beautiful head-gear, so Joan wraps a soft, colorful scarf about her head over the cap and knots it just above her forehead so that it won't be uncomfortable. This also holds the hair more tightly in place.

She wears pajamas in winter, gowns in summer, and uses a fresh one every night. Her face radiant from the cold water, her head wrapped in the bright scarf - she is almost lovelier when she's ready for bed than when she's fully dressed and made up.

- Photoplay, December 1931

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Vintage haven: Old Touch, Stockholm

I have lived in three countries and visited many a city during my time as a full-time vintage gal. And I can honestly say that Old Touch in Stockholm, Sweden is, by far, my most favourite vintage shop to date!

I believe I first read about Old Touch through Miriam's Kafferep and I'd always hear great things about the shop from my Finnish vintage friends. I finally got to visit for the first time in August 2012 and it was like entering a true vintage haven! I visited again in late December and thought I'd write about it.

In the UK and in Finland, vintage shops tend to be either one of these two things: a) dominated by items from the 1960s onwards. Lots and lots of 80s and 90s pieces. An odd mid-century frock here and there, if you're lucky, b) mighty pricey. (Alas, understandable if you consider the history of these countries early to mid 20th century.)

Old Touch is neither of these things.

From items dating all the way back to 1890s to 1970s and plenty of the decades in the middle, I would say that Old Touch caters to every vintage lovers' needs! I'm not only talking about clothing, shoes and accessories; but also lingerie, textiles, jewellery, home ware plus random bits and bobs of curiosities. Both times that I've visited, I have literally stayed for hours and could have stayed for plenty more. There are just so many lovely things to discover!

1920s sequined evening gown that I didn't buy.
I did take the silver heels home, though.

Another huge perk is that the clothing and shoes come in a variety of sizes. As a plus size dame, I rarely bother looking at dress racks in vintage shops because I know that finding my size in my era of preference is so very rare. So most often I prefer to shop for dresses online. However, the first time I went to Old Touch, I happened to ask if they'd have 30s or 40s dresses in my size - and I was offered a handful of both daytime and evening frocks! I bought two dresses and fell in love with an evening gown that I couldn't afford at the time. In December, I asked for the same, bought a day dress and tried on several evening gowns, this time mainly dating back to the 20s.

Same applies for shoes. Most of us modern girls tend to wear a larger shoe than those 70 years ago. For example, a friend of mine who wears a European size 39 (8 1/2 to 9 in North America) found 1930s silver heels for a very decent price. I'm sure they'd go online for twice or thrice more, especially in that size.

Here are a few random snapshots via my iPhone:

Gold and silver heels galore - spot mine!

And a sneak peek at my purchases from December's trip. You will surely see these incorporated into outfits posts sooner rather than later. Same goes for my August purchases, which I'm still yet to properly photograph.

Green late 30s / early 40s day dress,
quite possibly never been worn - 125 SEK (around $20)
Black 1930s handbag - 100SEK (around $15)

1930s silver heels - 375 SEK (around $57)

As you can see, both day dresses and shoes are very affordable. Evening heels, such as my silver heels, are a bit more but still very decent priced, I'd say. Evening dresses in my size and era were around 1200 SEK+ ($180) so perhaps not for everyone's budget. But then again, evening wear rarely is.

If you're out and about in Scandinavia, Old Touch is most definitely worth a visit - or two! I'm already counting the days upon my next visit. A vintage haven, if there ever was one.

Old Touch
Upplandsgatan 43
113 28 Stockholm

Thursday, January 3, 2013

December via Instagram

Why hello, 2013!

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and a most fabulous New Year's Eve! Hopefully the food overdoses and hangovers have ceased by now - but that life still continues to be one gay ol' party, as December tends to be. Personally, I have a feeling that 2013 might be the best year yet!

Here is my snow and party filled Instagram round up for the month that was December 2012.

On our way to dance in early December.
Vintage dames in rare modern outfits
- oh yeah and we really, really like sequins!

Jirina sipping on her gingerbread cocktail.

Finnish Independence Day
drinks on top of Helsinki.

Fintage Christmas party time.