Viva Las Vegas 16!

It was clear last year, but it’s even clearer this year. Viva is an art form of strategy. There’s SO MUCH to do, so much to buy, so much walking, so many people…you really do have to plan it down to a science if you want to get the most out of it. Last year was like a test drive. This year, knowing what I learned from last year, went a LOT better.

First of all we went in a much larger group. Instead of two people, we were about a dozen, spread out over three rooms. This meant that no matter what you wanted to do, there was always someone around who wanted to do it with you. So we got to do a whole lot more of what we personally planned, whether it was clubbing on the strip or checking out a ton of burlesque. Here are some other tips I’ve learned.

-Don’t lose track of the time. Keep serious track of that shit. It gets away from you and then that one-time event is over. And don’t forget to make sure your phone is set to the right time zone! D’oh!

-Travel wearing your largest items, like your crinoline. It’s crazy how much space it takes up in your luggage.

-Bring a camera, or a phone that takes pictures if you’re ghetto. Like me!

-Don’t even bother with pretty shoes unless they’re also the comfiest ones you own. You’ll be miserable. The amount of walking/standing/dancing you do is beyond anything else. The foot pain can get pretty epic. The best is to find ONE pair of super comfy shoes that go with everything from a bathing suit to an evening dress, because then you also save room in your suitcase. I have some leather maryjanes with a modest heel that I couldn’t live without. I packed NO shoes, I just wore those the entire time. No regrets.

-Leave room in your luggage for all the stuff you’ll buy. Making all my crap fit for the trip back home was quite the feat.

-If you can’t stay at the Orleans, try to stay at the Gold Coast, Bill’s Gamblin Hall, or somewhere within short walking distance of these places. There’s a free shuttle to the Orleans every 15 minutes and it beats the crap out of taking the bus or paying for a cab.

We stayed at The Palms, and could see - and hear - The Orleans from our room.

We stayed at The Palms across the street from The Gold Coast, and could see – and hear – The Orleans from our room.

-Show up to the car show early. It won’t be as hot, and it makes a hell of a difference when you can quickly get around, take pictures, and get autographs without a big ass crowd in the way. And seriously, if there’s a shop doing a big sale, you’ll want to get there first. I went to the car show on just three hours sleep and nevertheless I’m glad I didn’t sleep in.

-You don’t have to look a certain way by any means, there is no competitive attitude and everybody looks very different (in the same room you might find one girl in glittery evening wear and another in a playsuit). That said, if you have ever wanted to go all the fuck out or experiment, this is the time and place.

Trinity

-You might decide that sleep is overrated. Bring a flask. Not for alcohol, but for espresso or Redbull.

-Alcohol however, you might decide is not overrated at all. If you want to get drunk on a budget (while eating some super amazing Italian food) go eat at Batista. It was crazy delicious, and your meal comes with unlimited wine. AWESOME wine.

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-Once/while getting drunk, drink plenty of water. This goes for all year round.

-If you plan on clothes shopping, it’s best to wear something you can try things on over. Change rooms are very scarce.

-If you decide you like sleeping more than setting your hair, do pincurls. They can last 2-4 days depending on your hair and what you do with them at night. I’m so glad I did them Friday night, because they lasted from 9am car show to 11:30pm burlesque competition easily. My hair still looks pretty good after sleeping on it, the flight, over two and a half hours in the car, and I still have curls on Monday.

-For the love of god bring a sun hat or buy a parasol if you have any plans on going to the car show. It’s the fucking desert.

-Glitter.

And now the final tally!

What we did:

-Shopping. So much shopping

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-Relaxed by the pool

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-Attended a dance class, at which I was a total fail train

-Went to the car show and spent absolutely no time looking at cars. There was just too much great shopping to be had.

-Hung out briefly with Cholita and Micheline a couple times. They’re super sweet.

And people to meet

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-Did a ton of people-watching, because absolutely everyone looks incredible.

-Took in a super fun kickoff burlesque show at a pub, a world class burlesque showcase, then burlesque competition

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-Took an amazingly efficient and helpful burlesque class by Miss Karla Joy

-Saw La Cholita and the Kreeps. They’re AMAZING. FYI, Cholita broke her leg in a tumble at the burlesque show on Thursday night, and kept on rocking like a trooper despite being in a wheelchair for the rest of the weekend. I fucking love her.

-Said hi to Tempest Storm

The haul:

-5 dresses

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-2 vintage cardigans, including one in hot pink cashmere

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-3 flower hair clips

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-3 snoods

-1 tshirt

-1 little cherry print duffel bag

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-1 signed DVD, Modern Pinup Hair and Makeup by Micheline Pitt

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Self:

-About 11 hours of sleep over 3 nights

-About 2 bottles of wine, and a boot full of strawberry daiquiri

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-100% foot pain

-Still feeling sore, achy, and mysteriously bruised

-No hangovers

-A tan, no sunburn.

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And when I got home, I found this note that had been left for me.

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Bang Thing

First of all I really have to thank Micheline Pitt for this one. She posted the video that taught me this. It wasn’t my idea, I’m just sharing it with you.

I always thought clip-in bangs were expensive. I remember seeing them only for about 50$, and I definitely wasn’t going to pay that, so I never got any, as cool as I thought they would be. Then Micheline posted a hair video. I was shocked to learn that her bangs weren’t real, and even more shocked to learn that at least one pair came from Sally’s for a mere 7$. She was using one more expensive kind for long side swept bangs, and the Bang Thing from Sally’s for bettie bangs, which she cut herself. I did a complete double take, and ran off to the website to buy two of them immediately. I was not disappointed.

The Bang Thing looks hilarious when you first put it on. Actually it looks really stupid. But for 7$ you’re not mad, you just laugh at the hilarity of it. But it really just takes a minute to get it looking good. Clip all your own hair neatly out of the way, clip in the bang thing, and style it by putting one small piece on the thin side of the part to keep it looking natural, and ease the rest into place to the side, out of your eyes. Simple, and very cute. Micheline uses a scarf as a headband to hide the top edge of it. You can use that, or a bandana, or a headband, or anything else equally obvious. I know she doesn’t use this brand for the long bangs, but I find they work really well. They’re a tad bulky for sure, but I just tucked some of the top hair under my bandana and it helped, as well as to hide some of my natural hair in the front, since it was important as my hair is really faded right now and doesn’t quite match.

“Did you tell her about your little hat there? You know, your little hair hat there.”

Things got only slightly trickier when it came to cutting the second Bang Thing into bettie bangs. Micheline is experienced at cutting hair, but recommends having a stylist do it for others. Of course I was way too impatient. Making that first cut was a touch terrifying. Almost like cutting your real hair. You instantly wonder if you’re being an idiot and going to need to buy a new one. But I figured it out and it was quite the success. Here’s what you do.

And for my next clever disguise…

First cut the bulk of the bang thing just enough to indicate the approximate length you want. This should be at about eyebrow level or so. If you’re nervous at all, go a little longer, just enough so you can see. Then get the thing off, because you don’t want to risk cutting your own hair anymore. I was already starting to make this mistake, it’s easier than you think. Now, one important thing to keep in mind is that bettie bangs are actually round. I would have had an impossible time getting the shape right while it was still attached to my head, so I got the idea to use a bowl as a stencil. Yeah, I gave my fake hair a bowl cut. Get a decent sized cereal bowl and press it firmly over the bang thing, right up to the edge of where you cut. Make sure the hair is pulled taut so you’ll get it even. Then just cut all the hair that sticks out from the bowl. This makes a mess, so best to do it over a paper towel, even if you cut the paper towel in the process. Actually this even helps, because otherwise the hair just wants to creep out of the way of your scissors if they’re not especially sharp.

You. Rawr!

When you’re about done, lift it up, comb it straight out with a fine tooth comb, and inspect for any uneven pieces. Fix them carefully, still without the bang thing attached to your head. Now get a really small barrel curling iron or small flat iron and curl the very ends under. This will help give it the final shape and disguise any pieces that might not be quite perfect. You’re done!

When you put it on you can adjust the look of the length by placing it further forward or back on your head. You’ll use the same bandana or scarf or whatever to cover up the back edge. Mine looks super cute, and I totally suck at this. So there you go! Watch Micheline’s video, and add that tip about the bowl for the bettie bangs, and you’ll have some really cute bangs that you can play with for different looks without the commitment, or barely any money. Bang Thing rules!

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.

Pinup Girl Clothing

Pinup Girl Clothing specializes in a slightly edgier version of clothing styles from the 1950s and early 1960s, but they are so much more than just pretty dresses, separates, shoes, and accessories. They absolutely epitomize the idea of not just selling you an item, but an entire lifestyle to go with it. This is largely due in part to the accessibility of its owners and models, and the community of customers that was built round it on facebook.

First, let’s talk about the clothes, shall we? What gorgeous clothes they are! You obviously know by now how much I love classy, sexy vintage-inspired clothing, and this site delivers, but they have something a little different. With one of their house brands Deadly Dames, you can get clothes with an edgier more modern feel, perfect for punky yet sweet rockabilly girls. This is just what these clothes need to stand out from all the other vintage-inspired clothing being sold out there today. They even sell monster shoes, super high heels with zombie and werewolf prints. Even while different they retain the ability to be incredibly flattering on absolutely any body type. Going beyond rockabilly, another of their house brands Pinup Couture has a sweet more classic feel, and Dixiefried effortlessly recreates the look of the stars from the golden era. There’s never been an easier way to have fun with your look.

PUG as they’re known are also very unique for the models they use. One of their models, Micheline Pitt, is also the designer for Deadly Dames, and a makeup artist among other things. Another one of their models, Masuimi Max is an accomplished fetish and pinup model and tightlacer. Many of their models have tattoos, and most importantly, they’re all different sizes. The absolutely stunning Doris Mayday (my personal favorite) is envied by tons of girls for her sexy curves, and amazing burlesque performer and PUG model La Cholita remains a prominent feature despite being plus-sized. For good measure they still have slim girls, and variety is the point. PUG is extremely in tune with what their customers want, and one thing that is often lacking from other clothing companies is being able to see what an outfit would look like on YOUR body type. Beyond anything else, this company shows you that gorgeous has no size.

If you become a fan on facebook, you’ll become a member of a community of girls who love pinup style. The boards are always active with topics such as how to achieve the perfect vintage look including what underwear the models have on under certain outfits, what size to buy and how to launder the items, and even items for swap and sell. You can browse through hundreds of customer photos and post your own in the hopes of getting a comment from one of the amazing women behind the company, and they’re always giving hair and makeup advice, and sharing the latest coupon codes.

PUG doesn’t just try sell you a lifestyle to make you buy their clothes, they deliver. And this is one of the reasons why I’m so devoted to this store and its brands. These are beautiful people inside and out, and with these clothes you’ll feel extremely beautiful too. Pinup Girl Clothing offers the whole package.

Vintage Hair Part 1 – The Haircut

There’s nothing like vintage hair to complete the look of a cute and sexy vintage dress. I’ve always been really low-maintenance with my hair. It’s really fine and doesn’t like to cooperate. As far as vintage hair goes I actually really love the 1930s short bob with finger waves look, but I refuse to get a haircut that short, so I’m learning a lot lately about styles from the 40s and 50s. I’d like to pass on what I’m learning to you.
There are three basic elements to the 40s and 50s style; the haircut, curls, and rolls. These go from easiest to hardest respectively. In this article I’m going to focus on Step 1, the cut, which is the easiest since the stylist would be doing that for you.
Since there was a war going on, 1940s hair tended to be short, rarely past the shoulders. Women showed their support by keeping their hair off the collar as women working jobs in the service. THE haircut of the 1940s was the middy, and most modern haircuts are based from it. This is basically just a cut with layers, a requirement for showing off vintage and rockabilly curls, and a true 40s middy comes in 3 lengths, the longest of which is only 6 inches at its longest point. Rita Hayworth was an exception with a 10 inch version. This looks like rocker hair when worn straight, but it’s the very best cut for curling up into adorable vintage styles. The middy was invented for the versatility required for a number of 1940s hairstyles.
Here are a couple videos by Lisa Freemont Street about the middy and how to style it. She has the very best videos about vintage hair, and has taught me virtually everything I know about how to achieve it. You don’t need to have this exact haircut of course, anything with layers will do. But it’s always valuable to know where the roots (ahem) of a style come from. Enjoy the videos!