Rosie’s ‘Do

Alright other vintage and rockabilly ladies! This is a shoutout for help. I am working hard to build a new me, at the gym, three times a week. The only problem is, I hate ruining the set I struggled so hard to create! I need some help figuring out what is the best thing to do with my hair, while working out. (Because if I’m not sweaty and nasty by the end of my session, I’m not doing a good enough job!) Currently, this is what I look like at the gym. If you need to laugh, it is fully justified.

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I have amassed a small collection of “Rosie the Riveter” patterned bandanas so I don’t look as dopey as I would in a flowery scarf.  BUT I still get my fair share of strange looks.  Under that sexy piece of gym headwear, I have loosely pin-curled my hair up again; as if I were to go to bed.  In fact, I go home, shower, (shower-capped, of course!) and pretty much hit the hay with my head still bundled up the same.
In doing research on vintage workout wear, I discovered a problem. Photographs taken in gyms and during activity, during the 30s, 40s, and 50s, are shots taken for magazines and publicity. So every lady is made up, hairstyled, and often wearing heels! Even during brief research, I only found one photograph of a woman with a sensible hairdo.


It appears that in schools, at least, girls in the 1950s and 1960s were given a gym uniform by the school. I love this concept; not only is it equalizing, but it takes the fuss out of dressing for athletics. You just hop into your issued-playsuit, and out onto the field.

And while the Bomb Girls wore their “turbans” on the job, the scarf was more there for protection from the chemicals than from sweat.


The Bomb Girls

As a fun tidbit I found while researching this subject, I discovered a fantastic 1950s fitness guru, Jack LaLanne! There are episodes of his show on Youtube!  He was the first TV fitness guru, and his show demonstrated easy ways for the housewife to stay fit, in her home, in her spare time.  But even after viewing some of his show, I can’t help but feel like the gym is somewhere you would never EVER find a lady.  Ever.  So the problem I am dealing with, is one that didn’t really exist until (informally) the 1960s, and (formally) the 1970s.  And by the 70s, no young and hip person bothered setting their hair anyways.

Does anybody else out there have a good solution to preserve their set, while being active? This is something that has been challenging me for some time now.


Original caption: “From the mid-1950s to the early 1970s, women had to appear as ladylike as possible, even when doing something as traditionally masculine as working out with weights. This girl is doing a seated press with respectably heavy weight, but her high heels and helmetlike hairdo are like fig leaves preserving her femininity.”

i wish i could look this good working out!

I wish I looked this good on one of these machines!


Seems a bit too easy to be effective, doesn’t it. Maybe I’ll just stick with Dr. Ho’s machine…


1940s yoga? Although the high heels are (thankfully) missing, their hair seems a bit high-maintenance for a good workout.


Marilyn was a huge fan of yoga, and practiced it for most of her adult life.


This 1930s era lady makes me want to burst out laughing. Her outfit, her lipstick, her heels!


Two fashionable ladies in the 1920s demonstrate a modern treadmill.

BL-Exercise  horrorpopdarling-2009062910534-00-original7d_1_b_3417_1



All spiffed up and only missing my lipstick, I was in the truck with my ladies, on route to a baby shower. I opened my purse, dug for my lipliner, and pulled down the sun flap mirror as I did so. But when I looked down at my hand, I discovered one of my lipsticks had exploded! And not just any lipstick, it was a RED one.
So there was now heavily pigmented red crème all over my hands, all the other lipsticks and glosses, and the inside of my cosmetic bag. The culprit was my NYC Retro Red, whose cap doesn’t close very securely. I had a moment of panic that it might be my beloved Russian Red by MAC that had broken. If that were the case, my afternoon would well and truly have been ruined.
I was able to slip into the party, and into the bathroom without much trouble, cleaned up the mess on my hands and surviving comrades, and I emerged at the party refreshed and red-lipped. Thank goodness I keep all the lip products in a separate bag in my purse!
I’ve never had an issue like this with a lipstick before. Lip glosses, I find, often tend to squirt up into their screw-cap threads a little every time you close it, and then end up drooling all over your handbag. I learned this lesson the hard way, which is why I now bag my lip products separately. Not that I wear gloss often anymore. The few times I do, I find myself unhappy with the slimy texture, the stickiness, the lack of colour, and the way it seems to transfer magically into my hair even though I have it pulled away from my face.
Not to mention, wearing lipstick instantly makes your face looked pulled together. Especially red. In fact, I find when I wear red, I can wear nothing but mascara on my eyes and only a little blush for colour, and it looks like I’ve spent ages perfecting my makeup.

Lucille Ball

Lucille Ball
The doe-eyed eyeliner look hadn’t come about yet, in the 1940s. But do note her beautiful exaggerated 40s upper lip!

Now if only I could learn to schedule it into my morning, so I can leave the house with red lips instead of sitting in the car at my destination applying in tiny mirrors…


Hooray! My alarm went off at a painful hour, and I dragged myself from my warm bed, and I dressed and made up and sat for ten minutes under my hood dryer to make sure my hair was fully set….all in the name of Vintage Hunting! Today was the exciting and wonderful Vintage Victoria Fair.
However, being a colossal fool, although I had my camera with me, I did not remember to snap any pictures. So you’ll just have to believe me when I say the fair was chock full of amazing things. It was impossible to know where to look first!
This fair felt much smaller than the last one I went to, but it could have just been the venue. The one on September 29th was at the Victoria Crystal Gardens, and it was laid out a bit more simply. This fair was in several rooms in the basement and annex of Fairfield United Church. I have to admit though, the setting was a bit more appropriate to a vintage goods sale, than the Crystal Gardens, even though it was a bit more crowded.
I dragged two friends along with me, and there were many scores to be had. I shopped modestly, being on a budget, and my first score was a fantastic black velvet hat. This thing looks like it has always belonged on my head. Seeing as it’s a Juliet cap sort of style, I am going to guess it’s from somewhere in the 1950s. It looks too quiet for a 1940s hat. The label says “PIKO Paris New York”. If anybody knows anything about the brand, please share! I’ve not found anything conclusive on the google machine.
Among my gleeful finds today was a lovely acetate scarf, and a charming set of earrings and brooch. Also an Xmas present, but I can’t spill the beans until after December 25th on that little treasure!

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I’ve been calling it my brain coral jewelry…

And of course, thanks to yesterday’s stupendous haircut, I also had an UTTERLY adorable ‘do. I love how fresh cut hair feels! I encountered trouble when I tried to wet-set it though; all those lovely fresh snipped ends REFUSED to tuck into the middle of the curl as I was forming it. I had to keep fiddling with the darned hair to get it to cooperate, and instead of saving me time, it cost me.  Oh well.

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Almost Lauren Bacall!

I forgot to photograph my hand with the lovely “I Have a Herring Problem” by OPI on it, which I did wear mid-week too.

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OPI “I Brake for Manicures”

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OPI “I Brake for Manicures” with a coat of China Glaze “Get Carried Away” overtop.

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Essie “Fishnet Stockings”

If anybody is wondering how to accomplish the half-moon manicure easily, you’re in luck! I drew up a quick tutorial a few weeks ago, which can be found on deviantART here.

And before I depart, I will add that the Essie “Fishnet Stockings” had a horrible formula. It leaked into my cuticles everywhere, but was too thick to nudge close to the sidewall of my nail. And once I got into daylight I was horrified to discover pale holes in the polish where the second coat had dragged a little pit in the first coat. I am not impressed. All my previous experience with Essie has been positive. This one will be passed off to a friend (with warning, of course!) And it’s such a shame, too, as the colour is stunning!

Victory Rolls!

Today I was brave enough to wear victory rolls in my hair to work! I tested them out over the Halloween week, asking everybody who was unfortunate enough to make eye contact with me if my hairstyle was work-appropriate. It turns out that I am way too conscious about these little things.



But I am still not brave enough to have my rolls upright! One toe at a time, I am gingerly easing into this vintage look. I made an appointment to have my hair cut (it’s getting too long to pin curl quickly) so these are the last photographs at this length!  More pics to come tomorrow.


Still pretty close to my head.

The rolls are a perfect way to disguise the fact that my hair is beginning to need a wash. Before, I just threw a couple of combs into the side to pull it back, but I think I like this option better. I grabbed a couple of barrettes from the dollar store, and have been itching to try a “Samantha Stevens” hairstyle! She usually has it clipped in the back in a half up, half down sort of ‘do. It makes me smile to notice how the sixties hairstyles often seem to look like grown-out and inflated fifties hairstyles.


The adorable Elizabeth Montgomery.

At this length, it takes me about an hour to pin curl my whole head. I am looking forward to a shorter ‘do, mainly to cut down on setting time. But of course when I’m curly, I don’t have to wash my hair every other day, so it ends up saving me time and energy in the long run. PLUS, when I wake up I don’t have to think about what to do with my hair that day. I can just unpin, brush, and I’m done!

A Journey in the Right Direction

I am a work in progress.  I suppose we could all say this of ourselves, but I feel like I have been really working towards a goal.  And this goal is a vintage lifestyle.

I am at a point in my life where I have decided to please myself, even if it means being the only lady in town to do her grocery shopping in a circle skirt, and to bring devilled eggs or Jell-o salads to potluck dinners.  Life is too short to be someone other people think I should be.  But it has taken a long time to learn this lesson, and it’s going to take a long time to implement the many changes (let’s call them “upgrades!”) I wish to accomplish.

To me, a Vintage Lifestyle is one that embraces the benefits of the old-fashioned-modern way of life.  So I aim to collect (and use!) old bakeware, and to cut down my curtains into clothing when their lives are done gracing my windows.  I want to sew my own clothing and trim my own hats.  I will scrub my house top to bottom with baking soda and vinegar concoctions instead of noxious store-bought cleaners, and wear a cute apron while I do it!  A Vintage Lifestyle is about being green and thrifty, creatively solving household problems and employing long lasting solutions.  This is who I want to be!

And not just to pin curl my hair and wear wiggle dresses.  Although I intend there to be plenty of that in my future, too.  So here’s to my journey backwards, with all it entails!

My first real vintage hat!

My first real vintage hat!