The Perfect Eyeliner

Eyeliner isn’t easy. It takes a lot of practice to apply properly, and the brands can be hit and miss. So I’ve been meaning to write about it for a while.

I mentioned Stila eyeliner when I posted about my last trip to Sephora, but I feel the need for a quick update here…
This stuff sucks.
On my hand in the store it was great, but I learned something important. The pressure you use on your hand in-store is notably more than what you would use on your eye, which is more delicate. So while it seemed great at the time, I found that the lighter level of pressure you use on your eye is not enough to get the pigment out. I have to press harder, and this makes it almost impossible to get a steady line. It makes my lines wobbly, thick, and smudgey looking, and the fine points on the wings are impossible. The Kat von D Autograph liner, while it takes a long time to dry, only requires the most minimal – if any – pressure of the fine brush, so you can create the delicate lines you need to easily. So I threw out the Stila went back to the Kat von D autograph liner. It felt good. I know some of you will still prefer a felt tip over a brush tip, but if you haven’t decided yet this is something to consider.

Now, the technique. A lot of people just stretch their eyes out and keep the line going out past the corners. Ehhhhh not the best. If you’re just doing a basic job it’s ok, but I wouldn’t do it that way for the pinup look. Clearly when you let go of your eye it changes shape. And a nice 50s wing has a distinct upward curve that continues the shape of the lower lash line. This seems challenging, but it’s not as bad as it seems. First of all, you want to do the wing before anything else. You should start by drawing a line from the corner of your eye, continuing the upward curve of the lower lash line going towards the end of your eyebrow. If your eyes are hooded you may need to take it up a little higher so it doesn’t get lost. If you have trouble getting it even, I find it helps to actually start at the tip, or mark off how high you’re going with a very tiny dot, and make sure the dots line up on each eye before continuing. Then you can start from the dot and curve down to match the lower lash line, or do as before and follow that line up to that point. This is all very wordy and sounds a bit tricky, but it’s it’s really not bad.

Once you have that done, you can line your upper lash line, just regular. Then go back to the tip of your wing, and make a line that swoops in a downward curve and connects seamlessly with your upper lash line. The less you swoop it, i.e. the straighter your line connecting down is, the more 60s the final product will look. Fill it in, and you’re done! Then if you want to add a little more drama, you can use an angled brush to smudge some eyeshadow into your lower lashline. Black is standard, but you can actually use any color you like and have a little fun with it. I like bright teal. This is my cop-out way of mixing it up.

This video mixes up the order a bit but it’s basically the same. I just like to do the wing first so I can open my eyes to check if it’s even without smudging anything since my eyes are hooded. It takes a while to get going (I hate that) so start at 2:40 if you want to cut to the chase.

Update: I recently found this. Even better than the video!

The Beehive!

Sunday night at Drawn and Plastered Stars in Pink Hawaii, I wore my first beehive. I did it myself and had it perfected and expanded by our hairstylist for the night Holly Hui. And now I want to wear one every day! Not Marge Simpson at all, it’s a super cute look and I’m its newest fan. It’s really not all that hard either. So I’ve decided to map it out. You will require: A rat, fine-toothed comb, hairspray, and the Austin Powers soundtrack.


The first thing is just to grab all the hair on the top of your head and comb it forward so it’s out of the way. This is all about the crown. This should take about a second and a half. I’ll wait.


Now, the most important thing to create a beehive is a rat, or hair filler. I mean, you don’t NEED one, but it’s a hell of a lot harder without it, and you’re more likely to end up with a rat’s nest instead. I use a long narrow rat for bumper bangs, so I curved it into a U shape with the middle facing up for this look. You can also just use a round or ball-y shaped one. A lot of people put cotton or fake/real hair into some pantyhose or a hair net for this. Bumpits are crap btw. Put your rat on the crown of your head or slightly higher in case of sagging or just to make it all the more epic. Pin it in place. Then bit by bit, take the hair from the top of your head and tease the living shit out of it, and pin it over the rat. Do this until you look like Dolly Parton. The last bit that will cover the surface should be left smooth. Then you just need pomade and a light touch with a comb to smooth the top out, and lot of hairspray. I slept in mine and it somehow actually survived, only shrinking a little. Which was perfect as I was feeling lazy and liked it and wanted to leave it up for work. Anyway, you can leave the bottom in beachy waves like Bridgette Bardot, put it in a ponytail, or for more of a Hairspray or formal look, twist it up into a French twist and tuck the ends in.
Holy crap that was easy.

This is not me, but I do feel this fabulous.

It’s Winter, It’s Cold…What the hell am I going to wear?

Ever since it snowed for the first time this year my style has been on a downward slope. Part of the problem being that I’m not getting rides to work right now, and the bus drops me off two blocks away. First I had to give up my awesome tattoo heels, because I would kill myself in them on the ice, and the new American boots from Walmart only barely resemble the really nice Canadian ones they used to sell. Those were the shit. I can’t find anything else very practical at the moment. Now I also have to make the hard decision every morning between freezing my legs and an extremely unflattering dress pants/sweater combo. I might as well show up in sweat pants and a hoodie the way THAT makes me feel. It really makes me miss working at home, on my cozy couch under a cozy blanket. What’s a girl to do?

Really, it all comes down to layering. What can you add to warm up a dress, especially a vintage style one? Well, what did they wear in the vintage era? Winter didn’t just get invented. They wore girdles, sweaters, and stockings. Full skirts of course are great with a crinoline for looks AND warmth. Spanx are super cozy, while in the summer they just make my butt itch. Then you can always add a tank top/undershirt under whatever shirt/dress you’re wearing. And 50s sweaters are so adorable I don’t know why I don’t own one yet.

On the subject of stockings, they’re actually warmer than you would expect. They’re actually comparable to pants, believe it or not. But they’re a pain to replace every wearing or two because they run all the time. The answer? Fully Fashioned stockings, the kind with the back seam that require garters. They’re made the old fashioned way, and I hear they last for YEARS. I have to get me some of those. Soon.

Speaking of pants, don’t shun them. I avoid them because I feel dumpy in them (yeah, there’s something wrong with me), I don’t find them comfortable, and dresses are just too easy. But I have been looking into 40s and 50s style pants, high-waisted with a wide leg. The wide leg reminds me of some kickass comfy emo pants I had years ago, giant black things with chains. Clearly I am now too old for these. But I really miss how they felt. I’m hoping vintage style pants would feel similar, but the high waist is throwing me off. I’m probably going to check out the mall to see if I can find something I like, but if not, I think I’ll give the pants from Freddies of Pinewood and Heyday a try. Then of course I need some tops and sweaters to go with these pants.

Topping this all off, long coats are handy. It’s a luxury if you can find a long vintage fur coat that doesn’t reek of the early 90s. Vintage coats of all kinds on Etsy are extremely affordable, easily 35-60$. Tall boots are best for pencil skirts, and short fur-lined boots are adorable with fuller skirts. Check out this picture of my meme and her sisters in the 50s. Aren’t they cute? Keep in mind this is one of the coldest cities in the world, so if it’s warm enough for them, they’re warm enough for you, unless maybe you live at the north pole.

Finally, one of my favorite little accessories is the muff. They’re so pretty and so warm. You can get them very affordably on Etsy, and they’re even easy to make. You essentially just sew a pillow, one side the width of the muff, the other side the measurement you need around your hands and arms. Then sew the ends together to form a tube. You can make these in so many ways. Remember the old Clueless episode where Cher started a muff business? You can put pockets on them, cover them in faux fur, and add a rope to hang around your neck. I got a gorgeous one on Etsy a couple years ago that looks like real wolf fur. I’ll have to remember to pull that out tomorrow!

Clearly I have yet to put a dent in my winter shopping list.

My Love of the Swing Dress

I noticed that despite this being a blog mainly about style, it’s been a while since I actually wrote about CLOTHING. Maybe it’s because I’ve only just recently become somewhat adept at hair and makeup, and new things are exciting. So anyway, I decided to write about something I’ve felt quite strongly about for some time now, my love of the swing dress.
This is not a love I’ve had all my life. When I was a kid, no dress was big or poofy enough for my taste. If I dressed the way I wanted to in my fantasies, I would have needed to block off whole streets to get around. But then, I grew up. An appreciation grew in me for all things sexy, sleek, adult.


When I saw swing dresses, I thought they were horribly frou frou. They were too juvenile and too girly. I wondered how a girl could be taken seriously in them. However once I started to really explore my love of vintage style, I knew I couldn’t avoid them forever. I didn’t have to like them, but I did have to give them a chance.
And this is a perfect example of why stepping out of your comfort zone can be a great thing. I purchased two simple halter swing dresses  in blue from Trashy Diva on clearance for 35$ each, and they immediately revolutionized my wardrobe.


First of all, these particular dresses were about as simple as a plain white tshirt. They begged for some artistic expression. There’s something incredibly appealing about something you can make you own, but that already has the hard work done for you. On one of the dresses I spent days sewing a white ribbon trim an inch or so above the hem. This is now my “sailor dress”, inspired by a dress from Pinup Girl Clothing that I neither could afford nor ever saw available in my size. The second I dyed black, or at least I tried to, since it ended up coming out a dark navy. It’s just as well, because now I plan on sewing a black ribbon to the hem of that one and the two can be good and evil twins.


What I didn’t expect, but should have if I had thought about it any length of time, was how unbelievably comfortable they are. They’re hands down the least restricting thing you can wear below the waist. I feel like I have nothing on at all, and have been tempted many times to fall asleep in them. This is why I find it incredibly amusing when people are so stunned by just how “dressed up” I am to do every day normal activities. One pizza guy nearly lost his damn mind. I’d hate to see how his girlfriend dresses.


But above all else, I would have to say that the most appealing thing about the swing dress is how flattering it is on every body type. Like I’ve said about other vintage style clothes, they don’t hide your curves, they celebrate them. If you don’t have any to begin with, these dresses will create them. Either way, they’re incredibly easy to get in your size, since your hip measurement doesn’t factor in at all, perfect if you’re a different size on top than on the bottom. This is the most universally flattering and easy to wear clothing item I have ever encountered. My mom once had to poke me in the ribs to prove I wasn’t wearing a corset, while I had decided on that dress because I was planning on stuffing my face that day and knew no one would be the wiser. I scoff at people who say their hips are too big, or they’re just generally too fat. I PROMISE you, a swing dress will make you look amazing.


Then finally there’s something to be said about the fantasy factor. If you’ve ever had that familiar weirdo dream of prancing around in Victorian gear, the swing dress can give you the same feeling as being a proper civil war lady without actually looking anywhere near so odd. The way they move when you walk, the beautiful upside-down flower shape you see when you catch yourself in the mirror – all these things are the subtle little somethings that make swing dresses make me feel good. Even when I’m not in the mood for one on a particular day, if it’s all I have to wear and I put it on anyway, it still makes me feel pretty, still puts me in a better mood, so I wonder how I ever could have considered putting on anything else.
So now the formerly anti-frou-frou me is slowly building up a collection. I just got my first true vintage swing dress a couple weeks ago, a gorgeous copper number probably from the early 1960s.


Even if you have any doubts, try one, just once. Get it cheap, because it’s easy, or make one, because that’s easy too. You’ll see. I’ve seen this change of heart happen in others besides myself, and you’ll probably see it in yourself too.

A Revelation About Rats

This article is probably going to be fairly short, since what I have to teach today is awesomely easy and simple – you don’t have to buy anything for a rat. They don’t even have to be your hair color, though it’s nice if it is, and they don’t even have to be shaped to perfection.


You can of course buy rats. I’ve seen them on Amazon. They’re in different hair colors and snap together at the ends to make a bun shape. Some people decide instead to get some of their hair, or fake hair, and put it into a hair net and shape it. That’s a good idea too. But I do even less than this and it’s been quite a success.
I’ve always been partial to socks in my hair. I don’t mean that they look nice or even particularly sane, but I’ve found them to be a good tool in the ol’ hair arsenal. When the cats kept stealing the rag strips I was using for curling, I started using long, thin trouser socks, like short stockings instead. I only needed about 8-10 and they did a great job. I would even say they were better, since they were bigger and less fiddly. I’ve even used paper towels to achieve this, so I’d like to think of myself as something of a hair McGuyver.


So I knew there had to be an easier way to make a rat. Easy as hell really. I simply cut the leg off a pair of torn fishnets, rolled it up, and tied an elastic around it to hold it together. That’s it. The length and thickness was perfect as-is. And because I used fishnets instead of regular stockings, the bobby pins easily have a place to go and it takes minimal pinning to keep it in place. If the ends poke out the sides of my bumper bangs, I do what Lisa Freemont Street instructs and pin up some hair on the side to cover it. A flower does a great job of this too. It’s an extremely adorable and quick style to do, especially if you want to have a pinup look but didn’t have the time or motivation to curl your hair.


Fishnets aren’t the only thing you can use for this. A rolled up bit of lace works too. Anything with holes in it like that is ideal for pinning. I’m sure there’s something in the room you’re sitting in right now that will do. No need to go to the store at all 🙂

The 1950s Look

I haven’t done a book review in a while, since I don’t usually read about fashion and style. So I thought it would be a good idea to write about “The 1950s Look” – even though I didn’t finish it.
I wanted to love this book, I really really did. I kept looking for other reviews about it to see if anyone else felt the same way about it I did, and was left with that feeling like someone just told a hilarious joke and you’re the only one who doesn’t get it. I hated this book. And once again, it was my arch-nemesis of literature, a great topic ruined by dry writing. And oh god was this ever a good topic, and oh god was the writing dry! In fact there was hardly any writing at all. More than half of it was magazine excerpts, which sounds great, but in reality just doesn’t work. I would have thought that reading old magazine articles would be fascinating, and apparently to most people it was. But it ended up coming across to me as just lazy. Zero of the author’s personality came through. And with the best of intentions, the work was much too detailed. I don’t care what fabric men preferred for their suits in 1954 vs. 1953. I just don’t.
So in an effort not to give up completely, I decided to plow through and at least try to find some interesting sections. To my disappointment, even the parts about some of my favorite topics, underwear, makeup, and hair, were boring as hell. I just couldn’t do it. Even now I’m tempted to try again because the topics are so great, but every time I did that I immediately gave up. Still, I guess I’m glad to have it on hand as a reference in case I ever need it.
I won’t tell you to avoid this book completely because it is full of interesting information, pretty pictures, and most people who read it absolutely loved it. But if you can manage to read a few pages before buying it, that would definitely be a good idea.

A 1910s/early 1920s style for every length

Since the hairstyles in the early 20th century were generally fairly short – about shoulder length or shorter – I’ve seen many requests online from women with long hair wondering how to recreate these styles without going for the chop. I can sympathize. I can’t remember where it was that I saw instructions for this style, probably Lisa Freemont Street, but I thought I would try to put it into my own words since trying it myself and seeing great results on the first try. I also want to spend a little time on it since I find it surprisingly versatile.


So here’s the look we’re going for. This is a Gibson Girl, the very first pinup. Personally it reminds me of those really old Edwardian Coke ads. It looks really hard to do. It’s not.

See? This was my FIRST try!

First you want to tightly curl all your hair. It’s up to you how to do this, either with pin curls or rollers. I just did my usual roller set. The beauty of this is that it doesn’t matter if the curls don’t turn out perfect. After you pile it all up there nobody can tell.

If you want to look really Edwardian, part your hair in the middle. You don’t have to, I parted mine deeply to the side the way I always do. Then grab 3 or more side combs. Chunk by chunk, fold your hair in half upwards so that the ends are sticking out from the top, and secure them with a comb. You can do a french twist sort of thing if you hair is shorter and/or you want to keep the sides really neat. But it doesn’t matter so much because you’ll be covering it up later. Don’t you just love styles that involve covering the mess of pins instead of making it perfect?

So keep doing this all around your head until all your hair is up except for some curls that you would like hanging out around your face. The piece in the back should be centered. Now this won’t look too good, so don’t get discouraged. It will be really messy and floppy. Take some bobby pins/kirby grips and pin those floppy curly ends up a bit higher. Leave the very top smooth for a look more like the Gibson girl, but you can just make yourself a big nest up there too if it suits you. that’s what I did. If you did an exceptionally good job this is where you might start to think this looks rather 1930s, in which case you’re free to stop there and enjoy 🙂

Otherwise, grab yourself a very long head scarf. Mine is just a big piece of black satin I cut. This can be either wide or narrow, but I like wide because it covers up more of the pins and odd bits, and you can always fold it later if you want it more narrow. Place it at the top of your head in a way that you like, likely with some curls from the back falling forward on top of it, and tie it at the bottom. You can leave these long ends to trail behind or over your shoulder, or wind them around your head and pin them. The second time I did this I pinned them with a peacock feather hair clip. It was very pretty if I do say so myself.

Now you take the pieces in the front that you left out, and if they’re quite long, pin them up higher with a bobby pin and tuck the remaining loop of hair under the scarf. More pieces looks older, less looks more modern.

Finally, you might want to do a little more arranging and pinning. If the back shows, try to get some curls to fall down over it and pin them in place. If you just can’t get it looking the way you want, go for it again. This is a quick one so it’s easy to get lots of practice.

You might find that with the scarf, this style moves back a little over time. In fact when I’ve done it I’ve seen that it likes to do its own thing, which somehow always ends up looking just as good if not better. As it’s very secure, it doesn’t fall out any more than a few tucks back under the scarf can’t fix. I was finding that mine ended up looking a little Greek, and oddly enough, modern at the same time. So here’s where you have the option of pinning it further back in the first place, and/or switching up the scarf for a couple narrow headbands, or nothing at all if the whole thing looks nice enough to show. You could even use a dread wrap if you want to keep it casual. I ended up with this.

My apologies for the terrible quality.

And accessory-free…

Looking very modern here.

So as you can see this is a great style to try out and play around with. I know I mentioned that this is great for long hair, but you can actually do this with ANY length that you can fit around a roller. More pinning for longer hair, less or even no pinning for shorter. There aren’t too many of those! Also, while this is technically an Edwardian style (the Gibson Girl picture is from 1912), I find it very conducive to the 20s as well. Just like wearing 40s hair with 50s clothes, wearing 10s hair with 20s and even 30s clothes looks just fine. I think I may have a new look for casual Friday in the works!