Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Retro Style Goes to Work

How do you dress for the office?

I’ve discussed this topic before, back when I first start this blog, but I wanted to revisit it as I am working in a new office with a much more relaxed dress code than my previous workplace.

I’ve always worked in “business professional” settings, where you are expected to dress neatly and can only wear jeans on Fridays. My attire consisted of tailored vintage or repro dresses, blouse and skirt/trouser combos, and the occasional suit, and though I was dressier than most (standing out even further by wearing red lipstick, reverse rolls, and the like), I found that retro style was right at home in the office. For years I had Fridays off, and rarely had the option of wearing jeans. On the rare occasion that I could wear them, and chose to wear them (I find dresses to be more comfortable to wear than jeans, though I love the look of cuffed dungarees), I wore a vintage or repro high-waisted style, again with a nice blouse or top.

Now my new office is very laidback, and employees have the option of dressing casually every day of the week. Most do, and I was a bit apprehensive about being too dressy—I like to blend in while acclimating to the new environment, but luckily people dress in a wide range of styles, and have no issues with my retro look (which I’ve been slowly easing into—I always tone things down a bit at first ;-).) It seems they do encourage uniqueness, which is always a good thing no matter where you are

How do you dress for your job? What kind of environment do you work in, and do you have to change or tone down your vintage look for day? Considering that vintage styles are very classic and well-suited for an office environment, I think most places would be very accepting—but I’m sure there are some places out there that would mind!

Amanda Lee

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tucson Travels

One of my purchases from How Sweet It Was--a 50s black and white gingham dress trimmed in soutache and sequins
Red linen 40s platforms
Red carved plastic bracelet
Red Bakelite earrings and necklace
Red patent purse
Fully fashioned stockings
On Saturday my Sweetie and I took a short little jaunt to Tucson--we had a free night stay at El Conquistador Resort, and we drove down Saturday afternoon. We had just enough time that day to take in a little shopping and a nice dinner, and later we hit the town in search of music and cocktails (I had a most divine beverage called the Ghost Orchid at the Congress--creme de violet, peach and ginger liqueur, oh my! My Sweetie went with his favorite standby, a dirty vodka martini.)

The next day we had breakfast at the Cup Cafe (always a hit) and then toured the Pima Air Museum before heading home that afternoon. It was much too short a trip, but we hope to be headed back sometime in October for a special project ;-)

Amanda Lee

1940s-50s grey denim trimmed in red bandana cotton top and skirt
Matching bandana belt
Rocket Originals "Georgia" Wedges

Carved red Bakelite earrings and bracelet

Red patent purse

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

What's Your Scent Style?

Do you remember your first perfume? I do; I vividly remember receiving a bottle of Malibu Sun and Old Navy for my 13th Christmas (hope I haven’t dated myself too badly *tee hee*). It felt so grown up to have my very own perfume—even though it was one that wasn’t at all “grown up!” (But what did I know, right?) A few years later, when my middle sister moved out, she gave me her bottle of Lady Stetson and Charlie, and even though I don’t recall ever wearing either of these, just having them on my dresser made me feel ever so mature *smirk*.

Now my tastes have developed quite a bit, and I find myself drawn to floral and oriental scents. I particularly enjoy trying out vintage perfumes, and generally seek them out over modern creations. Chanel and Guerlain’s famous creations don’t agree with my chemistry (sadly, as I adore Shalimar on others—on me it smells of acrid powder), but as I’ve learned what scents suit me (both in style and chemistry), I’ve found a few that I love. One of my favorites is Tabu; this one was created in 1932, and though it has a negative rep these days (it is not a perfume that can be applied heavy-handed), I enjoy its spiciness. It’s a “man-magnet” too; whenever I wear it men seem to go crazy!

For something a little sweeter, I adore violet fragrances, particularly those of the candied variety. Two favorites are Violetta di Parma (created for Napoleon Bonaparte’s second wife) and Violettes de Toulouse (created in 1932); both are delicately sweet and perfect for spring and summer. My only complaint is that neither is very long lasting, but one can’t always have it all ;-)

I do wear a couple of modern perfumes as well—I’ve recently discovered two that I enjoy very much: Kenzo Flower and Caron Aimez Moi. Kenzo Flower is a delightful bouquet with a soft powdery tone; it has a definite vintage feel and I think that is one of the reasons I am drawn to it. It is a fragrance that people—both men and women—always comment on, and it’s fairly unique as well. Caron’s Aimez Moi was inspired by one of their famed scents, N’Aimez Que Moi, a perfume created in 1916 for soldiers to give to their sweethearts before they went off to war (. The latter is no longer readily available, and is said to be a more complex version of the Aimez Moi. However, I am quite taken with the warm, sweet rose and violet bouquet of the new version. The original is on my “someday” list though!

So, now that I’ve told you my scent style and history, do tell me about yours! What perfumes do you love, and what was your first perfume?

Amanda Lee

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Beauty Finds

The beautiful Dolores Moran primping for the camera
I've been obsessed with cosmetics for many years; I've always suspected this had something to do with my mother not allowing me to wear makeup until I was a teen. She and my sisters are beauty minimalists (and are quite beautiful in their natural state, I might add, and of course being brunettes they were blessed with eyebrows that need no help), but I've been a glamour girl for many years! For me, applying makeup is an enjoyable experience, one that makes me feel feminine and well, glamorous, and I am always searching for the latest and greatest product (I attribute this to my grandmother, who was always trying the newest magic potions--it's got to be an inherited trait!)

A vintage look by Kryolan

So, I thought I would share a couple of my newest finds with you today! The first is a fantastic foundation made by Kryolan, a cosmetics company that started in 1945. As someone with very pale skin, finding a color match has always been a challenge. Because of this, I much prefer pro “stage” makeup lines, as they offer much wider color ranges (and I think we can all benefit from a greater variety of shades). Though they have a rep for being thick, “pancake” heavy makeups, the finishes and textures are actually quite lovely when properly applied. One needs a much thinner layer of product due to the higher pigment-to-filler ratio, and the high pigment concentration also means that the products wear very well (they need to survive under hot stage lights, making them great for hot/humid days.) I tried Kryolan’s TV Paint Stick on a whim, and have been thoroughly impressed with it for the few months I’ve used it. The finish is fantastic; it has lovely, buildable coverage; and the color TV White is a perfect match for my skin tone (which is about a MAC NC/NW5-10, if MAC made that color.) You can’t beat the $11 price tag, either! I've strayed a couple of times, but I always come back to this foundation--and dare I say it *gasp* I've lost all interest in trying more foundations!

The second product that I’ve recently tried is Proclaim Foaming Wrap Lotion. I cold set my hair using perm rods, and on occasion use setting lotion for extra hold (though on the whole, I set my hair with water only.) In the past I’ve been very loyal to Lottabody, but I may now be a convert to Proclaim! My hair is thick and fairly straight, and though color treated, it's in very good condition and now more reluctant to take the curl than it has been in the past. Enter Proclaim Foaming Wrap Lotion--and bam, my hair is curling like a dream! And the set lasts even better and longer than before--I am very pleased with my new solution. A mere $4 at Sally's sets you up with a generously-sized bottle that is easy to use (3-4 pumps of product, no diluting required) and pleasantly scented. Call me hooked!

So there you have it--my two latest beauty "wins"! What beauty finds have you come across lately, dear readers?


Amanda Lee

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Hawaiian Dream

Last week I had a photo shoot with the amazing Matt Carson, and I had an opportunity to wear the Hawaiian dress I mentioned a few posts back. I had it made from a late 1930s pattern, and asked the seamstress to customize it with peek-a-boo cutouts at the midriff and back. She paired it with a matching bolero and scarf, and I was thrilled with the way it turned out!

Amanda Lee