Spotlight Saturday: Review of Tatyana’s Havana Top and Annette Skirt

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As an Arizonan of 15 or so years, the burning heat of the desert causes a familiar struggle. My eczema flares up, and even such simple tasks as walking from my apartment to my car results in pain. Finding positives in my city can prove to be challenging, but I do have to admit that I’ve developed a type of grudging kinship with the atmosphere.

While other places might still be happy in their springtime temperatures (like in San Diego where I just managed to get the worst sunburn of my life in 60°)…

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…sometimes it takes a little bit of desert fashion to make your 9 months of summer seem acceptable. So today, up for review, is a gloriously summer friendly outfit from Tatyana, a reproduction clothing store I’ve yet to feature on my blog.

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The Havana Top and Annette Skirt from the shop are a classic retro pairing that’s a great start for anyone looking to start expanding their Western-wear closet.

The top itself is made from a swimsuit-like material that breathes and expands with the body, making sizing quite versatile, and eliminating any sweat stain problems that the heat could cause. As a lover of Le Bomb Shop’s Marilyn Tops, which have a similar design, I figured a comparison would be helpful.

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When comparing the Havana Top and Marilyn Top (pictured in purple right above) in photos, a few differences are obvious: the Marilyn is cut lower on the sides and the middle, and the Havana ties at the neck while the Marilyn ties around the waist. In person, a few more differences are apparent: the Havana is made of a much thicker spandex-y material, and features gathering at the sides on the waist.

These differences mean a few things in practice: the Marilyn is MUCH more revealing, but it’s also more curve-hugging. I never fear I’ll fall out of my Marilyn tops, but the Havana lays less like a second skin since it’s made of a thicker material, and so I had keep an eye on my bust to make sure I was staying fully covered. However, the flip side of the coin is that if you’re self-conscious of your nipples showing, the Havana will help smooth things out the way that Marilyn will not, and the fabric really does cover more surface area when in place.

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When it comes to the gathering at the side, my waist size hasn’t changed much since I wore the purple Marilyn in the image above, but it looks slimmer simply because there’s nothing bunching up and adding weight to my waist. And, the ties at the neck mean you really could have any length of torso and bust size with the Havana as long as your under-bust falls within a few inches of the measurements listed on Tatyana’s site. You also have the ability to choose how to tie the neck which adds versatility to the table that the Marilyn doesn’t have. I do wish that the ties weren’t made of the same thick material as the rest of the top because it bunched up at my neck so much, but I’ll probably just wear my hair up when wearing the Havana in the future so it doesn’t tangle everything up so much.

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The Annette Skirt, obviously the star of the show, is a 24″ circle skirt in a bright, olive-y chartreuse decorated with black, desert-themed line work along the bottom. It has plenty of fabric to fit a petticoat underneath (a requirement for most skirts in my book), but is incredibly lightweight. Again, a great option for hot weather. Although I do generally prefer my skirts a wee bit longer to properly fit my Malco Modes Cosette petticoats beneath, I don’t mind it in this case, and would’ve paired a black petticoat with it if I had one. Fit-wise, Tatyana’s smallest waist size is only a 26″ (while I’m a 24″,) so I definitely had to belt this guy, but I happened to have a belt that matched perfectly! Obviously meant to be.

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All in all, the pairing of the Havana Top and the Annette Skirt is perfect for summer time, whether you live in the desert or not. Heat-friendly styles are few and far between when it comes to true vintage, so I always turn my gaze to reproduction vintage instead when it gets too hot to bare. The Havana with its versatility and the Annette with its thematic novelty print are a perfect addition to the wardrobe of this Arizona gal.

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To purchase either of these items, you can head to the links below:

Havana Top: $56

Annette Skirt: $115

Love,

Miss Lark Bahar

 

 

 

 

Spotlight Saturday: Vivien of Holloway’s Katharine Trousers

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As someone whose body type has always easily fit into 1950s clothes, my dream of late has naturally been to expand out of my comfort zone into the 1940s and 1930s styles that don’t flatter me quite so easily. One of the key wardrobe staples from these eras is, of course, the swing trouser.

Watching actresses like Katharine Hepburn (my idol) in their films and seeing their photographs has always instilled a deep desire to replicate this menswear inspired ’40s look. Katharine’s straight-forward yet debonair fashion sense – a fashion sense frequently punctuated by beautifully tailored trousers – felt like an unattainable ideal given my proportionally small waist, large hips, and short, stocky legs. The likes of Katharine and Lauren Bacall had tall, lithe, lean bodies that perfectly accentuated the structure and look of trousers, and I could only imagine what such a flared fit would do to my strong, thick legs, yet my love for ’40s overpowered this fear enough that the search for the perfect vintage swing pants always hovered in the back of my mind and at my fingertips during every online (and in person) search. Despite this, nothing ever appeared, and so it remained a pipeline dream. At least, until I turned my gaze to reproduction clothing.

Several brands offer some version of a swing pant. My roommate greatly favors Pinup Girl Clothing’s Doris pants, which fall with a wonderful weight and basically have enough fabric in each leg to make two skirts:

But these have never been offered in a size small enough for me, and the amount I would have to pay to get the smallest size tailored made them not worth the search. So, I set my heart elsewhere still, and found myself continuously coming back to Vivien of Holloway, my favorite vintage reproduction brand. With several of their blouses in my arsenal as well as a dress and a pair of capris, I knew they were a reliable brand. Having tried both their capris and 1950s jeans, I knew they made a size with a small enough waist and ample enough room in the leg and hip, but fear of their 1940s trousers hugging my legs in an unflattering way (and/or being cut with less leg room) remained ever-present. It’s amazing what fear of the unknown coupled with self-consciousness can do. Add the factor that I had to order directly from them in the UK to the pot, and my fingers were officially stilled.

I never thought I would take the plunge until Viv had a 50% off sale on a sarong set and skirt I had been wanting for work. With the excuse of not wanting to order from an international shop out the door, I took a deep breath, threw in a pair of trousers in my dream shade of emerald green, and never looked back.

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When I received my selection of goodies (which arrived faster than shipments from many USA-based brands), I pulled out my Katharine trousers, nearly jumped for joy upon seeing the waist-to-hip ratio and the beauty of the pants, before setting them aside to try on later. In retrospect, the fact that my pants went untested for nearly 3 days (unprecedented for new clothes in my book), speaks to how self-conscious I was about my body. No matter how much self-confidence and self-love one develops, there will always be certain things that get to a person. My legs are certainly mine.

Yet somehow, I steeled myself. And I put them on one foot at a time. And I buttoned them up. As if I wasn’t just trying on a pair of pants, but facing some great obstacle from the fantasy novels I so adore reading.

When I finally looked in the mirror, I let out a breath of relief and confirmed that the trousers looked as good as they felt: perfect. The waist fit snuggly. The legs flared out softly and dropped after my hips without squeezing them. During the sitting test, I found that the rise didn’t cause them to ride up uncomfortably as high-waisted pants are wont to do when cut too short for me. They ran quite long on my 5’5, short-legged frame, but this was an expected problem, and I knew it would be an easy fix. The only real difficulty was that the crepe material used for this pair of trousers was very light – meaning panty lines were definitely a thing. I don’t have an aversion to skipping underwear, so it wasn’t a problem for me, but the more squeamish sort might want to invest in a pair with different material since Vivien of Holloway offers a good range of fabrics.

Finally, feeling like I really had just overcome a battle in a fantasy novel, I threw together an outfit, and out I went to show myself off!

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Since I now had the perfect pair of swing trousers, I knew I had to at least try to find some more 1940s blouses in my size, so my roommate and I headed to How Sweet It Was, the biggest vintage shop in Tucson.

I left with the PERFECT 1940s blouse for work, and a 1940s houndstooth cropped jacket with green detailing that matched my trousers exactly. I was definitely a happy camper.

Since we didn’t really want to end the day, we then perused 4th Avenue a bit, what Tucsonans consider to be their “cultural hub,” so to speak. After deciding on a few new books to add to my pile of “to-be-read” items, we went home, and I felt deeply contented with the day’s proceedings.

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Although these trousers still may not flatter me as much as some other options, the fact that I don’t mind speaks volumes for the pants. They’re comfortable, soft, casual, yet cool. The perfect option for work, lounging, or simply days when you can’t be bothered to shave your legs. I’m still undecided whether I actually want to get the pants hemmed since I prefer them a bit long, but I have few shoes with high enough heels to accommodate the length. Perhaps this is my excuse to add 1940s platform shoes to my ISO list, right? Now, to continue the hunt for 1940s shoulder-padded tops to match!

To purchase these trousers and view the myriad of colors and fabrics available, you can head here on Viv’s website. The pair I’m wearing are the crepe in emerald green in the size Waist 24 Hip 36. My measurements are 24″-39″, and I would definitely not suggest sizing down in the waist as there was no extra room and they fit true to size. The hips, however, fit with plenty of room to spare, so sizing down is perfectly fine. Now I just need a black pair for work! And…well…basically every other color, too.

Have you tried Vivien of Holloway’s Katharine trousers? What are your thoughts? I would love to hear opinions from gals with different body types!

Love,

Miss Lark Bahar

The Bésame Cosmetics Series: Cashmere Foundation Sticks

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For those who have been longtime followers (and even those who’ve recently joined me for the ride), it has been no secret that my love for a certain vintage-inspired makeup brand is rampant. As such, I’ve been trying to find the time to put together proper review and how-to videos using their products showing off the one company who has earned my brand loyalty. Well…now is the time!

Bésame Cosmetics, founded by the stunning Gabriela Hernandez, is a makeup brand that constantly strives to recreate shades and formulations from the 1920s-1960s, all in the most beautiful, retro packaging. Although I can’t remember how I first discovered the brand, it was certainly years ago, and it began with their lipstick Red Velvet – a beautiful, incredibly wearable neutral red shade based on a 1946 color. Since then, I’ve collected (almost) the entirety of their lipstick range, cake mascara, cream and powder rouges, perfumes, powders, makeup brushes, and most recently, their new Cashmere Stick Foundations.

As their most recent product release, I wanted to start with a review of their Cashmere Stick Foundations as well as a mini how-to to show off how the foundation applies. Of their 8 shades, I tried 5 to find the perfect shade, and settled on my three favorites for concealer, foundation, and contour. You can catch the full review on my youtube channel:

I’m excited to get the first video of my Bésame Cosmetics series up and running and can’t wait to play with the video lights on their way to me so I can stop relying on ever-changing natural light! Stay tuned for more videos reviewing, swatching, and gabbing about this unique brand.

P.S., any other Bésame Cosmetics fans geeking out over their announcement of the new Snow White and Agent Carter range?

Best,

Miss Lark Bahar

 

 

Spotlight Saturday: Call My Baby Lollipop with Doll Me Up

Could anything be sweeter than apple pie? Debatably, and my newest outfit from Doll Me Up might certainly take the cake. All puns aside, in the good ol’ summertime it’s a constant struggle to find items that capture the bright cheeriness of summer while being comfortable in the heat and offering functional pockets. Doll Me Up is certainly the place to cast one’s eyes in this search as their collection of garments not only features cute prints, heat-friendly designs AND pockets, but also clocks in at a wide range of prices to appeal to those shopping on a budget as well as those with the means to afford more. Doll Me Up is a one stop shop with all any pinup or vintage-fashion lover could possibly want.

When putting an outfit together for myself, I knew I had to tick off a few necessities, first being pockets, second being separates that I could mix and match with my preexisting wardrobe while bringing something new to the closet, third, being some sort of a novelty print that doesn’t resemble anything I already have. The most difficult decision was definitely choosing between their amazing and absolutely adorable range of novelty prints. Although the watermelon print dress was tempting (particularly considering how summery watermelon is,) I decided to opt for the Unique Vintage Candy Shop High Waist Circle Swing Skirt.

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With the pinks, reds, mints, and checkerboard floor pattern, I knew this would be a smart investment that would easily fit into my closet, and anyway, who am I to pass up a skirt with a candy shop on it??? I can’t resist anything that would look good in Honeydukes. And besides, the smallest size exactly fit my waist according to the size chart (which clocked it in at 24″), and it had pockets.

To pair with the skirt, I decided to try out the Vixen by Micheline Pitt Powder Puff Top in Baby Pink since I’m lacking pink tops in my wardrobe and I’ve been dying to try the style since they were released. To finish off the look, I opted for Doll Me Up’s Scalloped Edge Square Scarf in Pink to give it that extra something.

When I received the items, a few things quickly stood out to me. The Powder Puff top is made of a soft but VERY stretchy material, meaning a cone or bullet bra might actually work! Another was that the skirt was made of a lighter weight material than most of my modern novelty print skirts, making it cooler for summer and puffier due to the lack of weight.

When I tried the outfit on, I naturally gave it a go with a cone bra and my petticoats. I noticed that my cone bra worked perfectly under the Powder Puff top, but the top’s stretchiness also made it hug the figure in a way that showed off where my bra squeezes me in the back. I would definitely wear it with a longline bra next time to eliminate the back fold. Otherwise, the shirt was cut with a beautiful, nipped in waist that fit me perfectly, the large puffy sleeves (the best part of the top) fit without squeezing me even the tiniest bit, and the seaming lined up exactly with my cone bra.

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For the Unique Vintage skirt, at 26″, it was a bit too short for my Malco Modes Cosette petticoat and I’m not a huge fan of my pettis showing, so next time, I will definitely shorten them to avoid petti-peek. I also noticed that the sweep was a bit smaller than what I’m used to, but I was still able to fit my two petticoats in easily. I would say that the bell shape of the gathered skirt probably wouldn’t fit a petticoat much more voluminous at the bottom than the ones I wear.

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To complete the outfit, I threw in my pink seemed stockings from What Katie Did, pink earrings from Daisy Jean Floral Designs, and pink satin heels that I thrifted for $0.25. I challenge you to find a cuter outfit!

Although I anticipate many photoshoots in the future in candy shops, Honeydukes, ice cream shops, etc., for now, I took a stroll around the garden to show everything off.

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Since the true test of any top in the summertime is how it fairs when you sweat buckets, I would say this top faired extremely well. It remained breathable and comfortable despite having sleeves, and I didn’t have a problem with sweat stains.

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You can see in the closeups that there’s absolutely no digging in of the top (my bra’s another story……), and it moves easily with me. It’s nice having a blouse that doesn’t restrict my movement as vintage and reproduction tops are wont to do.

All in all, I absolutely adore this outfit and know it’ll see the light of day often. All of the pieces are versatile, and the scalloped edge on the scarf makes it a special addition to my growing scarf collection. I can’t wait to mix and match all of these items and create new looks!

If you would like to follow Doll Me Up and/or purchase one of their wonderful items for yourself, you can head to these medias:

Website

Facebook

Instagram

Love,

Miss Lark Bahar

All Was Well: A Very Potter Review of Bettie Page Stockings from Playful Promises

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To say that I’ve become an avid stocking fan in the past few months would be a a gross understatement. I’ve come to the point where I’m wearing stockings more often than not for going about town (also known as working) despite the 110º+ weather Arizona’s been experiencing lately. I truly find that they complete an outfit, and help give a look that special something extra in a uniquely vintage way. When Playful Promises asked me to feature their new stockings from their collaboration with Bettie Page lingerie, I happily agreed, eager for a pair of fully-fashioned nylons with proper seams. While I only have limited experience with fully-fashioned stockings (as the stockings I wear these days outside of photoshoots are a modern interpretation), I’ve been in love with the feel of them since I first donned a pair – no matter how much more delicate they are.

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While modern, stretchier stockings are shapeless until pulled onto the leg, fully-fashioneds are shaped so you can see the curves of ones legs and feet even when off the leg. This makes them fit and wrap around one’s body like a dream, and the silky, slinky material is unbeatable. Playful Promises’ recent collaboration with Bettie Page lingerie has led to stockings that are no exception to these tendencies. The black ones that I received are particularly flattering as the material used really slims my leg.

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As someone who’s always been self-conscious about having thicker ankles, calves, and thighs, I love what these do for me. However, the pros of this style of stocking also lead me to the cons. As someone with larger thighs specifically, having some stretch to the welt of a stocking is much needed. Although I adore the foot and leg fit of fully-fashioneds, I do wish that the style was more comfortable in the thigh. I also found that Playful Promises’ style featured narrower welts that couldn’t help but squeeze my thighs when walking around. I would love to see a design that was friendlier to curves comfort-wise. Nothing worse than walking around tugging up one’s welts (or feeling like one has to)! Although I instinctually try to pose to camouflage spill-over, you can still see it a bit in the image below. The welt is pulled tight around my 24″ thighs and so, not terribly comfortable.

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But goodness, look at that beautiful pointed heel! And the reinforced heel detailing. Truly dreamy. One must choose one’s battles!

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Since the 20th anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter & the Philosopher’s Stone happened recently, I wanted to pay a little homage to one of my favorite book and movie series by shooting these perfect black seamed stockings against the backdrop of the Gryffindor common room (which I decided to crash despite being a Ravenclaw…because it’s my living room and I can do that). Although the bookshelf you see on the left is permanently set up as our “Harry Potter” corner, as is our bathroom, my roommate pulled most of it together for a mini Potter-themed shoot. I also paired my navy vintage silk skirt ft. silver triangle detailing with my Cinderella heels ft. glittery rhinestones to rep my (movie) house. My Reed wand naturally also made an appearance.

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And it really, really made me miss the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I also tried my hand at a few Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans.

And we all know how that goes……..(cue blurry candid).

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And, of course, with the book that started it all: Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone.

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Although my earliest memory of Harry Potter is sitting in an orthodontist’s office waiting to get myself fitted for a retainer as my mother read the Chamber of Secrets to me, this first novel will always be nearest and dearest to my heart, and it’s given me happiness in the darkest of times. Nothing can beat the magical innocence of those early years and Harry’s wonder at his brand new world always echoes mine. Since that first book, I’ve often found myself glancing at flickering street lights wistfully, or dreaming of getting a piece of mail that will never come and how very much my life would change (even if I’d stick out like a sore thumb as a 25 year old at Hogwarts). I’ve grown up with Harry Potter as most my age have and I’m so happy that I’ve been able to.

Playful Promises’ fully fashioned stockings certainly help give a bit of witchy pizzazz to my Potter-inspired look, and are the perfect pairing to any vintage or vintage-inspired outfit. This Ravenclaw gives them a definite thumbs up. Now, to start my Harry Potter movie marathon, eat licorice wands, and play with some polyjuice potion!

To purchase these stockings and take a look at the rest Playful Promises has to offer, you can head to their website. I’m personally eyeing the Bettie Page overwire longline bra and can’t wait to try more items from the brand!

Love,

Miss Lark Bahar

 

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Spotlight Saturday: Sun-Soaked in Miss Nouvelle

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Hello all!

Today’s Spotlight Saturday features an up-and-coming clothing company since I’ve lately been featuring brands that are already established. I’m always on the lookout for new retro clothing brands to support as I like to balance my wardrobe with new, sturdy items that I don’t have to worry about deteriorating (particularly at work). Upon being contacted by Miss Nouvelle for a collaboration, I was happy to find a growing collection full of fun prints and desirable cuts perfect for any pinup wardrobe. From playsuits to pom pom tops, Miss Nouvelle features a variety of summery items that can help add a little playful glamour during this steaming time of year.

I chose the Twirl Skirt in the Sunsoaked print to review since I absolutely fell in love with the print for featuring summery objects like sunglasses and magazines. I went for the smallest size – a small – knowing that it might be a bit large since the measurement is listed as 25″-26″. Luckily, upon receiving it, although the waist WAS large, the belt that arrived with it had holes down to a size plenty small enough for my 24″ waist!

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Which brings me to my favorite aspects of the skirt. A matching belt!!! I don’t have any other reproduction skirts that come with a matching belt (and belt loops) and I absolutely love this feature. AND the skirt has pockets. Can you really argue with that? Although the skirt clocks in at $115 and isn’t the cheapest option out there, these features alone make the skirt worth it in my opinion. The pockets mean I can wear it to work so I can carry around my phone, and the belt helps keep the skirt in place and flattering even when petticoats are thrown under and add to one’s waist measurement. The material is obviously sturdy, and I could easily fit my petticoats under since it’s such a full skirt. Definitely a thumbs up from me on all accounts.

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And the fact that this skirt matches so many of my tops was definitely a huge seller. So many possibilities! I paired the look with one of my sweater tops today since I’m wearing it to work and need a little warmth inside, but I already have a thousand looks planned that I can’t wait to put together.

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And you can see how full the skirt is in action in a little video I filmed for Instagram:

Since this skirt is so useful for work, I definitely hope to add more to my collection as well as branch out into their other styles since they’re all so gorgeous. This two-piece seersucker playsuit’s particularly caught my eye:

And the pom pom tops are to die for!

If you’d like to take a look at some of Miss Nouvelle’s other designs or treat yourself with a fabulous garment, you can head to their various social medias:

Website

Instagram

Facebook

Etsy

Best,

Miss Lark Bahar

Spotlight Saturday: Revisiting The Ambrosia Bowl

Upon quick review of my blog, I was genuinely astonished to find that it’s been so insanely long since I brought you guys a review of anything Disney related! With my impending one day trip to Disneyland and Phoenix Comicon to meet Dick Van Dyke next week, my life has been a flurry of planning bounds and outfits to wear. When my favorite Disney brooch maker, The Ambrosia Bowl (whom I reviewed here about a year ago), released two new designs featuring Smee and Rafiki, I knew I had to add them to my collection, and bring her shop back into the light.

Since acquiring her fearless Jasmine brooch for that first review, I’ve added her Ariel, Mulan, and Belle brooches to my collection; and now, Rafiki, Smee, and Madam Mim (the brooch that first led me to her shop) join their ranks. Erin’s unique character and expression choices continuously astound me, and the execution of her little wooden designs is impeccable in every single brooch I receive. I’m so impressed, in fact, that I am reaching the point where her designs might need their own special brooch board! Since I plan on adding her Gaston and her Ursula brooches as well, and goodness knows I fall in love with each new design she reveals, it might be time to get out the foam board!

Since Rafiki, Smee, and Madam Mim each have such distinct color schemes, I put together individual outfits to show each one off properly.

Madam Mim, the zany witch from “The Sword in the Stone,” gave me the chance to pull out my vintage skirt/capri set and a pink Marilyn top to play homage to her wardrobe and the feel of her character:

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Madam Mim is the first brooch from Erin in my collection that doesn’t feature a painted border, and up close, the wood definitely looked a bit burnt. I had thought this was a fluke since she kindly decided to send me this gal when she discovered her at the bottom of a drawer (they’re currently only up for pre-order as she sold out), but upon closer inspection of other designs without the painted border, this is just the way they look. Luckily, it’s something that’s not noticeable except upon close inspection.

Mr. Smee, one of her two newest designs, features the lovable, familiar character dancing with glee. Since the border color she chose reminds me so much of water and rain, I decided to pair him with a dress in a print with a similar feel:

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I was amused to realize that Mr. Smee’s belly button doesn’t show! I’d thought this a fluke in the design as well until I googled it and realized his pants actually cover his belly button. Who knew? Learning new things every day.

Rafiki, the second of her two new designs, is perhaps my favorite of this batch. There always seems to be a lack of Lion King merchandise despite how incredibly popular it is, and Rafiki feels like the perfect subject for an Ambrosia Bowl design. With his coloring, he also matches a large quantity of my wardrobe that often gets overlooked by Disney brooches, and wearing him to work reminds me to take a deep breath in times of trial:

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If you’re in the market for unique Disney designs, then my first suggestion is hands down Erin’s work. Her painted brooches are identical to the original artwork in the films (a huge bonus), and I love seeing characters caught in moments that feature more than the generic pleasant smile.

If you would like to follow The Ambrosia Bowl in her endeavors (as I would highly suggest given her consistently wonderful releases), you can head to these social medias:

Etsy

Instagram

Spotlight Saturday: The Importance of Foundation Wear (and What Works & Doesn’t for a Curvy Shape) featuring What Katie Did

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For the longest time, I’ve found one of the big factors involved in an outfit looking authentically vintage versus looking like a modern interpretation to be the underpinnings involved. Items like garter belts and bullet bras primarily remain in pop culture as symbols of sex and boudoir. I see them as a necessity for the creation of a truly vintage look. Something as simple as a bullet bra and a petticoat change the entire feel of an outfit, help true vintage items fit correctly, and show you’re willing to go the extra distance – which many are not willing to do or are not interested in doing.

Until recently, my collection of foundation wear was composed of a thrifted Maidenform cone bra (which is sadly coming apart and I can’t seem to find again), two of Malco Modes’ Cosette petticoats (which I gushed about awhile ago here), a bullet bra, a few modern high-waisted panties that fit poorly, the odd pair of fully fashioned stockings that don’t quite fit, and a garter belt that rarely gets worn given my lack of stockings. This hodgepodge collection of undergarments were luckily recently filled out by two cohesive sets and a rainbow of stockings from THE leading lingerie and hosiery reproduction company out there: What Katie Did. Although I’ve been showing off my stockings on Instagram over the past few weeks, I wanted to bring you all a fully flushed review and hopefully shed some light on how much of a difference having items like these in your wardrobe can make while highlighting item comparisons with discussions of comfort.

To get the discussion started, My measurements are currently 36″-24/25″-39/40″ with thighs clocking in at about 24″ around each, a general bra size of 32DD, and I clock in at 5’5 when it comes to height. Since my waist to hip and leg proportions are so extreme, I tend to avoid high-waisted panties, girdles, stockings, and other similar items that cut off at the thighs for fear of discomfort and bulging. With this batch of What Katie Did items (the breakdown of which I will provide below), I was able to mix and match to find what combinations decreased leg discomfort as well as finding wonderful alternatives to certain items! To show off the items and their fit, I worked with the wonderful photographer Fenix.Fox, and I felt it important that he didn’t edit or smooth out my body in any way. I wanted to show exactly how these items fit with zero pretenses.

I’ll begin by discussing the peach set I can now call my own. Here’s a breakdown of the items I received (excluding the color ways of stockings I’ve already been showing off on my Instagram):
Peach Set

 

I chose the CC09 bra and set because I knew I needed something to help show off the 1940s vintage I’ve been donning for work. The bra caught my eye for having gorgeous detailing and providing a bust shape that’s a bit harder to find these days. As with What Katie Did’s bullet bras and true vintage bras from the earlier decades of the 20th century, this one features no underwire, making it much more comfortable. Its smooth, soft, satiny feel is incredibly luxurious and supportive despite how thin the bra is.
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You can easily see the beautiful detailing on the bra, and I appreciate the wider band along the bottom. Proportionally, this bra fits my shape a bit less naturally. My breasts are decently round and while I fill the cups fully in this size, I found that the point tended to droop down and could only be fixed by tightening the straps to an uncomfortable point.18254204_754797620657_915842804_n

It should also be noted that I didn’t have the space for bullet bra pads with this style, something I often rely on to fill out the tips of vintage bras since my breasts are too round. You can tell in these images that this bra is plenty stuffed and fits me snugly. It’s nice on one level, not having to worry about crushed bra tips under clothes, but I’m hoping that, as the bra eases with use, I can tighten the straps to help pull up that point so it feels a bit less saggy.

(PS If you’re looking for bullet bra pads, an add-on I would highly recommend, I suggest Lucy B‘s which run around $15. What Katie Did also makes them, but I use bullet bra pads to accentuate the point versus just making my breasts larger, so I prefer Lucy B’s as they’re solid and firm instead of soft, relatively round, and malleable.)

Luckily, when actually worn under clothing, that droopiness isn’t quite so noticeable, so I consider this bra a win!

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When it comes to the bottom half of the look, the combination of panties, tap panties, and garter belt was completely new to me. The tap panties were suggested as a solution for concealing panty lines while feeling luxurious. They certainly did the job and the fact that their waist size is about 26″ and so too large on me was not a negative. I was actually glad to have a bit of extra space since they have no stretch and I’ve been popping a lot of buttons lately!

The high waisted panties fit shockingly well. My legs are squeezed a bit, but not in the uncomfortable way they usually are with other modern high-waisted underwear, and the waist actually fits! Hallelujah! I feel like I’ve been waiting for panties like these for too long and I definitely want my underwear supply to fully change over to What Katie Did’s high-waisted styles instead of the selection of modern-day styles it’s currently composed of.

The garter belt fit well and features 6 metal straps, which is the minimum requirement if you want actual functionality with your foundation-wear. I did find, when comparing this item to the girdle in the other set I’ll discuss, that the garter belt actually ends up making my stockings squeeze my legs more. I find myself having to tug my stockings up throughout the day on the insides resulting in some rubbing in the thighs that I don’t experience with the girdle. Although the belt fits beautifully, it starts getting more uncomfortable throughout the day. It might be that my larger thighs simply need extra straps to try to keep the stockings up comfortably, but you can see the problem in the image below (and this was with constant tugging for the sake of photos).

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Black Set

Overall, I would say I probably prefer the black set if only because of the bra. I opted for this longline bra because I’ve been on the lookout for as long as I can remember for a bra that would eliminate back lines and the discomfort caused by the skin pinching between shorter bras and the belts I wear with my outfits. I have looked around at brands like Maidenform which offer similar styles, but the waist never ran small enough to fit me. I also wanted something that could provide a little cinching power for those pieces of vintage my waist is too big for. What Katie Did’s longline bra is everything I could ask for – and more.

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The boning combined with mesh panels makes it flexible yet firm, while the fact that it closes in the front is unbelievably convenient. Fit-wise, it cinches my waist in gloriously without being uncomfortable, the length falls almost exactly at my natural waist and never threatens to roll, and the cup-shape is soft and wearable. The cups run large, I would say, as my breasts are the perfect shape for filling out cone bras normally, but this one had a bit of extra space as you can see in this image:

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I don’t see this as a problem as it leaves room to use my bullet bra pads if I desire. My one problem with the bra is that I found the sides tended to rub against the skin of my armpits, but they’ve already softened up from wear enough that it’s substantially less noticeable. Either way, I LOVE this bra!! Definitely my favorite item from the lot, and look how teeny my waist looks in this 40s gown!

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When it comes to the bottoms of this set, the high-waisted panties fit just as beautifully. The main difference was that these feature a subtle point in the front that the peach version do not – a design choice I adore that makes them even more flattering in person. I wouldn’t say that either of these provide much tummy control – although my body shape doesn’t carry much weight in the tummy so it’s hard to say. They’re also very breathable and don’t feel constricting like my modern high-waisted underwear. You can see in the image I linked above for the bra that my legs are barely squeezed and fit quite comfortably.

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I also mentioned above that I preferred the girdle method of keeping stockings up to the suspender belt method. This was something that greatly surprised me as I’d always been too afraid to try girdles since they cut off at the leg. This was my first time trying one, and I was pleasantly surprised. While a piece of shape wear, I wouldn’t say that this is a particularly extreme example – which I personally prefer. It smooths out the bump of hip created by the longline bra (which I appreciate), and as there’s less space between the stockings and the undergarment, it leaves less room for the stockings to slide around and down, so I prefer wearing this to the suspender belt. I tend to lean toward the suspender belt on hotter days, or when I need light colored lingerie, and the girdle when I have a full day of moving around and want to wear my longline. I know it sounds backward, but it’s what’s worked best for me.

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So that brings me to my rainbow of stockings. Up to receiving my slew of What Katie Did Glamour Seamed Stockings, I had only tried vintage stockings (both full-fashioned, and not). All have squeezed my thighs even when freshly pulled up. I was nervous to try the Glamour Seams because they had stretch and I prefer the look of the beautiful vintage nylons and silks that feature little to no stretch – even in the welt. I realize now that I should’ve gotten over this preference ages ago, because these stockings are astounding! While their material renders them warmer than my alternative, the stretch makes them fit absolutely PERFECTLY. The fact that my legs aren’t in pain because they’re spilling over stockings so much is astounding. Although I do miss the form-fitting styles of fully-fashioneds, I’m a convert!

I now hope to stock my wardrobe with a full rainbow of these seams. And they’re perfect when one’s work garments must be black and/or white but can be accessorized with color. They’re a great way to add a little element of surprise. That little extra something more!

Hopefully, this review can help if you’ve been thinking of springing for a What Katie Did or vintage/vintage-inspired foundation-wear item. Having a pointy bust line and showing off a stocking seam can enhance any retro outfit with ease. I’m happy to finally be expanding my undergarment collection, and would love to hear if you’ve tried anything by What Katie Did!

Love,

Miss Lark Bahar

Spotlight Saturday: Lady K Loves Says Hug Me Baby

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If you’ve been following my blog a decent amount of time, you’ll know that I’ve reviewed a whole slew of items in the past from the wonderful brand Lady K Loves (you can find the posts here and here), but this is the first time I’m venturing into the territory that Lady K Loves is famous for: jeans!

With my 24″-38″ waist and hip measurements, I’m definitely a gal who needs a jean cut for curves, and Lady K Loves’ Hug Me Baby style is specifically designed for dames with a 12+ difference between waist and hip. Jeans are something that I’d completely given up since committing to being all vintage all the time (with the exception of a pair of Vivien of Holloway capris), but my eye has been on the Hug Me Baby style as long as I’ve known the brand. So few brands cater to larger legs and hips, even in the repro world! And finding vintage that fits is certainly almost as difficult. Seeing gals like Diablo Rose rocking the Hug Me Babys gave me hope that perhaps…just perhaps, a jean that would fit my curves was out there.

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#preach #hellyes #shutthefudgeup #respect @diablorose – 🚫 NO CATCALLING ZONE 🚫 Dear random ass guy stood outside the penny arcade at 10.45am on a Thursday spitting on the ground. You were on the phone and as I walked past you, you said "man… that's a fat ass" I don't know if you meant that as a compliment or insult but you have ZERO right to comment on my body, I have ZERO interest in whether you like it or not, and now I'm getting to point of ZERO tolerance for this catcalling bullshit. I get commented on all the time in the street and it is not okay, my body is not here for anyone else, it is not up for public discussion by idiotic guys in the street. So guys, just stop it! Urgh! Are you with me ladies?!! . . . PS Catcalls have no affect on my own body positivity, I actually love my figure! Especially in these jeans!! . #nocatcalling #nocatcallingzone #catcalling #mybody #mybodymyrules #beatitcreep . #Regrann

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Knowing I would be receiving a pair of the Hug Me Babys to review, I was admittedly a bit nervous. While the playsuit I first reviewed fit PERFECTLY in the legs and hips, the May trousers that I reviewed were larger in the waist, so I was hoping that the measurements listed online were accurate. When they arrived in their package, I did the usual “hold up to guess whether it’ll fit” test, and quickly knew it would. I’ve gotten pretty good at judging waist sizes that’ll fit me with a glance, and the legs were obviously sizable enough to fit my 23″ thighs, so I felt immediate relief. When I actually tried them on, I had trouble getting them over my hips (as all clothes that fit my waist AND hips generally won’t fit over my hips easily). Luckily, the material of these pants is EXTREMELY sturdy. No lightweight denim here! So, I wasn’t in the least worried that anything would rip. They were certainly long on me, but these jeans are made to be cuffed (and also come in two lengths, 32″ and 36″), and otherwise, the fit was as if they were made for me!

I ended up taking photos in one of our (almost green) parks after going out to acquire donuts for an early Galentine’s Day with the bestie and my lil sis. Naturally, I went for pinks and reds in celebration.

The first batch of photos show me sitting in the jeans. Since they’re very high-waisted (in other words, fit for one’s natural waist instead of the high-rise pants modern clothing designers claim to be “high-waisted”), they do squeeze the waist when sitting…but I don’t see this as a problem. Everybody’s got skin, it’s just a side effect of high-quality, high-waisted jeans! So worth it. And most importantly, my legs NEVER felt squeezed, no matter what position I sat in.

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The next batch, featuring my sister wandering around in the back, is a front view where you can see how long the rise is and exactly how much I had to cuff proportionally. I will note that I only rolled the pants up once instead of creating a prettier cuff, but there’s certainly enough material there to cut some off if desired. The cut of the leg is quite obviously perfect as it fits my proportions as if tailored for me, and they taper in at the end just enough to feel flattering AND vintage. As someone who lived in skinny jeans for many years, it was admittedly a bit odd at first, wearing denim that didn’t squeeze my ankles to death, but by the time I’d stepped out of the house, I’d acclimated to the aesthetic.

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And the final angle, undeniably my favorite angle, is the back view. Not to toot my own horn, but…..DAMN they look good from the back! I can honestly say that I’ve never liked the way jeans have looked from the back on me. Ever. The Hug Me Babys are a true miracle jean!

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Am I right, or am I right? Now I just need a pair of saddle shoes to pair with these babies!

As Lady K Loves’ jeans are so popular, most sizes are sold out in all three of their styles, the Hug Me Baby, the Classic, and the Le Wild  (all designed for different body types so there’s something for everyone); however, they’re currently holding a fundraiser over on Kickstarter to bring their jeans back!

Already halfway past the goal they’re seeking to hit in April, they have a variety of pledge options available, with a nice range of prize packages (many of which include a preorder for the actual jeans). The largest prize package includes all of these items (and is available for the Hug Me Baby and Le Wilde styles):

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If enough is raised, Lady K Loves plans on returning the Classic as well as introducing a new style called the Polly – designed exclusively for petite gals! As a company that so obviously works to cater to all body types (and is always actively working to expand their styles), AND is focused on ethical production, it’s a great company to support.

If you’d like to donate to the kickstarter, you can head here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ladykloves/high-waist-vintage-style-jeans-from-lady-k-loves

If you’d like to follow Lady K Loves on their social medias, you can follow these links:

Website

Facebook

Instagram

Love,

Miss Lark Bahar

 

 

Spotlight Saturday: Retro Sunnies, Glamour in the Sun

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As a gal who lives in the Arizona desert, sunglasses are an accessory MUST if you want to protect your gaze from the sun’s harsh rays. In the vintage reproduction community, brands exist that sell retro-inspired items ranging from shoes to bras to make-up, but no prominent brands revealed themselves whenever I went on the look-out for some sunnies. When Retro Sunnies contacted me through Instagram for a collaboration, I was completely surprised and excited to see a shop producing (and specializing in) something that often gets overlooked as a marketable accessory in the repro world.

Scrolling through their Instagram, my interest was sparked as I absorbed a feed full of gorgeous midcentury gals showing off their sunglasses, and happy customers showing off their Retro Sunnies. While a whole slew of styles are available on their website, I naturally gravitated toward styles replicating the true vintage cat eye that’s surprisingly difficult to come by in modern sunnies, and one of their statement sunnies.

The Vicky

The Vicky Sunnies, priced at $45 and available 4 color ways, had the roundest shape of the 3 I chose, but something about the flow of the band on top with the metal bar running parallel below gave a very butterfly-y, almost art deco-y feeling to them that immediately appealed.

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As the highest priced sunnies I received (and one of the highest on the site,) it was interesting to feel the difference in quality from the lower priced Ava sunnies I received. While looks-wise, there is no perceptible difference in quality between the pricier sunnies and the cheaper ones, these felt much sturdier when wearing them. Luckily, Retro Sunnies provides a handy little measurement chart to ensure the glasses will fit before committing to the bill:

Lens Width: 60 mm
Bridge Width: 17 mm
Height: 46 mm
Temple Length: 132 mm

On my rounder, fuller face shape, these probably flattered me the most. The metal striping through towards the top helped give just enough of that cat eye feel that they fit into my wardrobe, while flattering me like modern, larger shapes tend to do. Plus, the detail, while simple, is absolutely stunning. Perfect for statement glasses that can double as a neutral staple.

 

The Maria

The Maria, clocking in at $35, is a bit cheaper than the Vicky, while retaining the same sturdiness and quality level. She is available in 3 colorways, but I opted for tortoiseshell to break up the black I generally lean toward. 

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Unlike the other two sunnies I chose, these were the only ones featuring metal instead of plastic, and I generally tend to prefer this as I find they’re a bit more malleable and can be shaped to head size more because of it; however, like the Vicky, Retro Sunnies did provide the chart to double-check and make sure they’ll fit:

Lens Width: 51 mm
Bridge Width: 21 mm
Height: 48 mm
Temple Length: 132 mm

Shape-wise, these are a nice in between cat eye. These are definitely more angled with that lovely point on each side, but they’re large enough that someone who’s not necessarily into dressing vintage or retro all the time could still wear them without seeming out of place.

The Ava

The Ava, which clocks in at $24 but is on sale for half off at the moment, is the most affordable pair of the three, but definitely my favorite. While available in only 2 colors on their website, I did notice scrolling through images of customers that they were once available in white as well as black and tortoiseshell. For these, I opted for black as the colors in my wardrobe match it best, and I knew these would be my new staples sunnies.

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These sunnies are definitely my favorite, and for obvious reason. I tend to lean toward repro items that echo styles that have gone out of fashion or are simply harder to find easily. A truly thin cat eye pair of sunglasses is hard to come by unless shelling out the big bucks for a vintage pair (something I have never felt comfortable doing). The Ava perfectly satisfies this desire of mine with it’s slanted, long shape. Of the three, it’s a style that will perhaps not flatter everyone’s face shape, but I find they actually accentuate the fact that my face is oval instead of making it rounder by hiding my cheeks.

With Retro Sunnies’ wide range of styles and prices, there’s definitely something for everyone! Whatever your wardrobe (or your features), they’re sure to have something that’ll fit into your look while flattering you. You can head to their sites here to take a look at other styles, and they’re currently holding an Instagram contest that’ll win you the chance to get a few pairs for yourself for free should you win!:

Instagram

Website

Love,

Miss Lark Bahar