Guest Vixens

The Body Image Problem & How to Fix It by Denise Delany

beauty in every shape and size

Photo by: Vonnie-Seiyuki-Chan.

Growing up I never had a problem with my body and how it looked. I never thought about trying to be like the superstars on screen or the models on television. I can safely say that I haven’t had many issues with how I look I have always liked what I see in my reflection. Oh sure sometimes I wish I was prettier or taller but never thinner, fatter or slimmer. Then one of my friends said that I had a male’s body image, in short, I think I look good in anything.

Then I went through a horrible illness that rocked my world and I had a taste of what my friends were going through. I hated what I saw in the mirror and just couldn’t keep up with my wildly swinging and bloating body. The dresses from Pin Up Girl gave me my confidence back and once again I looked “normal” (even though I was going through a lot). I am on the road to recovery now and my confidence has returned full throttled. So I have decided to share my secret with all the women out there.

When I see women, I see perfection regardless of size, colour or shape. What I do see are people wearing clothes that simply do not flatter their bodies. Designing is an art form but lets face it, it’s a moneymaking industry. Many designers either have a lack of understanding in regards to the female form (as they are males) or it’s easier to design clothes that do not compensate for curves because it’s easy to mass-produce and there is little skill required.

Now here’s the best trick that these people have played on us, they have somehow blamed their inability to design clothes that flatter our bodies on us! Its some how our bodies fault that their clothes don’t flatter our body shape. This is classic blaming the victim mentality, its somehow our fault that their designs look like garbage on us. That’s as good as me writing a report that consists of garbled sentences that look like it should make sense but just doesn’t, and then blaming my boss cause she/he didn’t understand it.

So if a designer can’t design something that looks flattering on me its THEIR fault not my body’s’. I would rather spend my money on quality brands like Pin Up Girl Clothing, who understand women and their curves than throw away cash on a Ralph Lauren T-shirt made in china in some production factory that looks like a sack on me. Why throw away good money on cheaply made and terribly designed clothing just because its got a well-known brand associated with it?

My other secret is confidence. Yes that C word that most of us lack when we look in the mirror. A little bit of ego and not caring what other people think goes a long way. You could wear a potato sack and still look glamorous because you’re confident, your body language changes, your smile changes in short you radiate beauty and THAT’S what people find attractive. So if your feeling down about your body don’t change it, change your clothes I guarantee it will help.

So women of the world unite and rejoice in your body, as it’s a glorious piece of art. Don’t let designers inability to design clothes that flatter you get you down, simply give them the flick and patronize designers that know how to design for your body shape.

Its time we stopped blaming ourselves (and trying to make a square fit through a triangle). Blame the designers poor design do not for one second blame yourself.

Remember that you are PERFECT JUST THE WAY YOU ARE.

- By Denise Delany

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I’m Poor, But My Wardrobe Is Still Fabulous by Jasmine Norrie

I’m a single parent of an autistic child, and in the early stages of setting up my own small business. Goes without saying: money is super tight. Yet my wardrobe is stuffed full of beautiful dresses, fluffy petticoats, and shoes (glorious shoes!), and I rarely step out without a shiny red lip.

So it goes without saying that I quite often receive frankly intrusive questions about how I manage to afford my wardrobe. If I dare to mention that a new dress has just arrived in the mail, I’ll quite often be met with an eye-roll and rudely snapped “Aren’t you supposed to be an impoverished single mother?”

As someone once said to me: people always presume poor people shouldn’t have nice things.

Darlings. This simply isn’t the case. We all deserve a little glamour in our lives – especially if we’re poor!

I’m poor. But my wardrobe is still fabulous!

Here’s how I do it.

First: don’t think you need to rush out and buy everything at once. It takes time, thought, and planning. Which is great, as it gives you more time to save money!

I started accumulating all these bits and pieces about four years ago when I started burlesque dancing (which also coincided with some fairly significant weight loss and the need for a new wardrobe). I was trying to redefine my style (which, at the time, was largely post-pregnancy-full-time-post-grad-tracksuits-I-hate-myself), and started by reading a lot of blogs and getting an idea for what I liked. I kept images of ‘inspirational’ outfits I liked. When I started to get a really clear idea of what I liked, I made my first purchase: a Vivien of Holloway dress and petticoat.

I was sensible about it. I bought the dress second hand on Ebay for less than half the cost price. I bought a middle-range petticoat to go with it. The dress was black with red polka dots, the petticoat was red. I already had a pair of black heels for burlesque dancing. It was a fabulous outfit, cost less than $100, and at first I kept it for special occasions.

Not long after, I bought my second VoH dress. I made sure it went with my petticoat (a red petticoat for a black/red dress and then a blue/white dress). I had a red belt that went with both. You see what I’m saying here? Then – and now – when I purchase anything, I make sure I already have coordinates in my wardrobe. It means I don’t need to buy anything else just to go with it, and it doesn’t languish unworn in my wardrobe because ‘I have nothing to wear it with!’

In short: do your research, and don’t impulse buy. Know what’s in your wardrobe, and if you need to, keep a written list of what you need to round out what’s already in there. If most of your wardrobe is in blues, reds, and blacks … red shoes are a solid investment.

Always keep an eye on Ebay. Living in Australia, the cost of returning clothes to the US is absolutely prohibitive, so anything I buy that doesn’t fit goes straight to Ebay – and I’m not the only one who does this. PUG, Vivien of Holloway, Bernie Dexter, Trashy Diva, Stop Staring … there’s a constant supply of new and near new dresses on Ebay. Sometimes you won’t save much on the cost of the dress – but you can save a lot on postage! Also for Australian/NZ ladies, you’re less likely to encounter the epic Australian mark-ups you’ll find in Australian stores.

Join the Facebook page of your favourite stores, sign up for newsletters, and register for a member account online. Promotions and discounts will be posted in these places first. Some shops will offer you a discount on your birthday, others will offer a discount just for being a member (What Katie Did comes to mind). Always Google for a promo code before you go through the checkout! If you’re not in a hurry for a particular outfit, it can be worthwhile to wait for a promo code to become available.

On the topic of Facebook: increasingly there are groups dedicated to swapping and selling pinup clothing and accessories. Some are brand specific, others are more general. This is a great way to swap a dress that didn’t fit or hasn’t been worn, or to outright sell an item.

The likes of Bernie Dexter, Pinup Couture, Trashy Diva, Hell Bunny and so on have dozens if not more retailers online, and the prices vary wildly (I’ve seen Bernie Dexter dresses as low as $98, as high as $190, though the RRP is $156). RESEARCH AND COMPARE PRICES! Shop around! Also: don’t be scared to ask about price matching. You can also ask about discounted/free shipping if you’re spending a significant amount of money, particularly with smaller businesses who really do rely on each and every sale – at Betty Le Bonbon, we offer discounts to repeat customers and anyone placing a particularly large order. It’s our way of saying thanks to people who support us.

Speaking of shipping: In the case of some stores (such as Pinup Girl Clothing), it’s cheapest to purchase directly from them. Postage is expensive, but if you spend over X amount, postage is free – for international customers, if you spend $300, you get free shipping. $300 is a lot of money – so I maintain a wish list, and I save my money until I have enough to place an order.

Don’t buy cheap knockoffs that are poorly made and last only a few washes. There are a lot of them on Ebay, and while it can be tempting when you’re poor, you’ll just be left with a rag after a handful of washes. There’s a couple of stores I can think of who seem to have zero shame in cashing in on well-established brands, branding and designs (Queen of Holloway is particularly notorious for ripping off other designers, and they’ve even pinched images of bloggers in the original brands and used the images to advertise their knock off clothing). The clothing is crap … and you’re supporting intellectual theft and dickery. Please don’t support dickery.

Bide your time! As I mentioned above, keep a written list of what you want to add to your wardrobe. When you have a reasonable list, see if you’re able to get a few of those items from one shop to save on postage. Pinup Girl Clothing offer a range of items, not just clothing. Perhaps you’re planning to buy a dress – why not see if they’ve got a black cardigan, red ballet flats and purple hairpin you’ve got on your list? You can also try ASOS, Modcloth, Unique Vintage or various other online stores who offer more than just clothing.

Where possible, support small business women! Not only are you supporting an independent business, but you can build up a rapport with the owner, and there’s a good chance she’ll support you in return (helping you to source dresses in your size, offering payment plans, giving you a head’s up on sales etc).

Finally: I’m absolutely ruthless when it comes to culling my wardrobe down. If I haven’t worn an item in a year, it goes on Ebay. If something arrives and it doesn’t fit, it also goes straight to Ebay – I don’t shove it to the back of the wardrobe for ‘when I lose weight’, or hold onto it and hope one day it’ll inexplicably look better when I wear it. I’m regularly going through my wardrobe and know which items are no longer working for me. When people ask me if I’m wearing a new dress and start carrying on about me being poor, what they’re not realizing is that I probably sold another dress from my wardrobe in order to fund the new one.

What are your top tips for saving money when shopping for your wardrobe?

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For more great posts by Jasmine, check out Betty Le Bonbon’s Cheek Boutique’s Blog! www.bettylebonbon.com

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Categories: All Posts, Guest Vixens, Randomness | Tags: , , , , , , | 8 Comments

A love affair with Besame… by Cara Hill

A couple of months ago, a friend of mine invited me to a Vintage Glamour party at her place: a company in Wellington, The Vanity Case (www.thevanitycase.co.nz), does them – they’re like tupperware parties but with Besame makeup instead of stupid plastic containers (actually, Tupperware is pretty cool too, just not as good as makeup). Claire, owner of The Vanity Case, will come to your house – where you’ve assembled a group of makeup-loving ladies – and demonstrate retro makeup and hair styles, as well as sell the Besame product range and the Lauren Rennells books to those who want to buy them.

It sounded like so much fun, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend my friend’s party. Not to be left out, however, I decided to hold my own. I had heard about the Besame range through Pinup Girl Clothing and was eager to try it out. I invited a bunch of ladies, bought lots of nibbles and champagne and looked forward to a great evening. I wasn’t disappointed. How can you not have fun playing with makeup and hair, laughing and drinking with a bunch of friends?

The lovely ladies at the Vintage Glamour Party

But the highlight of the evening was discovering Besame, a makeup company that is an ode to the colours, styles and glamour of the 30s and 40s. I was Claire’s makeup model, and the quality of the makeup was noticeable the second she put it on my skin. She started with the Cashmere Pressed Powder – which comes in a beautiful Deco-style compact, and my slightly pink and blotchy bare face became clear and matte in seconds. She put it on half of my face to start with to show the contrast between the before and after, and the rest of the girls actually ‘ooohed’ and ‘ahhhhed’ at the difference.

I won’t go through the whole process, but she used a number of the products on me and all of them were impressive – I wanted to purchase the lot! But I had to be realistic, so I settled for my favourites:

As I mentioned above, the Cashmere Pressed Powder was an instant hit. It made such a drastic change in my skin tone, provided great coverage and took the shininess away for the whole night – despite going out and sweating it up in a dance club after the party. No powder has done that for me before; my face is usually a shining beacon of light within an hour of going out on the town, but here it stayed matte all night. Best purchase ever. I also love that it takes the place of foundation and is so light on the skin; I am not a fan of heavy foundation at all – I don’t like to feel my makeup – so this is great for me. An added bonus, the compact is gorgeous and it comes in a little red velvet bag. But the best part is the fact that you can buy refills of the powder, so you only ever have to buy the compact once.

I also bought the 1930s mascara. It too comes in the lovely gold Besame packaging, so is very pretty to look at (an important but often neglected feature of makeup!). The mascara didn’t blow me away as much as the powder (although, the powder is my new favourite thing in life, so it is kind of hard to top!), but it is still a quality product. It is made from a bunch of natural ingredients that are good for your lashes and eyes and smells divine. It is rather subtle, but it is perfect to layer and never clumps. It also doesn’t smear or goop, but still comes off easily with a gentle eye makeup remover. Did I mention the smell? It is lovely, I have to sniff it before putting it on every morning.

Finally, I chose a lipstick. I already had lovely red and pink colours that I loved (MAC’s Russian Red and Insanely It, respectively), so I decided to go for an orangey colour. Besame’s Carmine fit the bill – it is a beautiful orangey red, not too orange and not too red. I wasn’t sure how it would look on me, but I loved it on. Besame lipsticks are quite matte, but never feel too dry. They have beautiful colour and are apparently quite faithful recreations of vintage lipstick colours. In fact, I was lucky enough to win another Besame lipstick at Dr Sketchy (The Vanity Case is one of the sponsors of Dr Sketchy, hence the lovely lipstick in the prize goody bag!) – Red Hot Red, which is a recreation of Marilyn Monroe’s favourite shade of red. I hadn’t tried it on at the Vintage Glamour party, so devoted to Russian Red as I was, but I was blown away when I finally did. It is such a gorgeous colour – there is no doubt as to why it was Marilyn’s favourite. In fact, don’t tell anyone, but it has surpassed Russian Red as my favourite red lipstick. Besame lipsticks are also packaged in lovely gold containers and come in little red velvet bags – so lush.

All in all, I am supremely happy with Besame and will continue to use the products – in fact, you’ll have to pull my powder compact from my cold, dead hands in order to get me to stop using it! Needless to say, I recommend this range wholeheartedly, not only to those who have a love of all things vintage and vintage-inspired, but also to those who are just looking for quality makeup products. Besame fits the bill on both counts.

Not the best photo, but this shows the loveliness that is Red Hot Red and the great coverage and matteness of the powder (other than cropping it and fixing the red eye, nothing has been done to this photo).

In the US, Europe and Asia, Besame can be purchased at select retailers and from their website: www.besamecosmetics.com.

In New Zealand, The Vanity Case is the sole distributor of Besame – I think Claire supplies it to certain retailers, but you can also buy it directly from her website with free shipping: www.thevanitycase.co.nz. I would also highly recommend having a Vintage Glamour Party if you can; they are so much fun and Claire really knows her stuff, as well as being a truly a lovely person.

For more about me and my love of all things pretty, please check out my blog: http://ilikeprettyclothes.tumblr.com.

Categories: All Posts, Beauty, Guest Vixens | Tags: , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Rule The World With An Iron Fist!! by Chrystal Allen

Iron Fist Clothing is a UK based brand that began in 2001 as a men’s clothing line. Four years later, the minds behind IFC ventured into the brave new world of women’s shoes. This is where I happily fit in as consumer. My first exposure to these wonderfully colourful and detailed shoes came about by looking at pin-up photos on Pinuplifestyle.com. I saw the famous and first of my collection, Zombie Stompers, on a gorgeous redhead (I couldn’t find the photo to credit, sorry). It was shoe love at first sight and I knew I just had to own the shoes that were literally smiling right back at me, ASAFinanciallyP!! I was able to finally find them at a new (at the time) local shop, Get Funky Boutique! So lucky was I that this unique store opened up on one of the main streets in my hometown, as I had coveted these shoes for months online but was too fearful to order them without trying them on. What if I got the wrong size?! Panic? No more! I now had the chance to see and feel them in person and I was not disappointed, ladies. The store owner, who has her own awesome look and is extremely friendly warned me that Iron Fist pumps tend to run a half size large. I have to admit, I was kinda relieved, as I “usually” wear a 7.5, and Iron Fist doesn’t make half sizes. So I ask for a size 7 and PRAISE THE COBBLER, they fit like a glove!! I’m not talking “Ok, they squish my shoes but don’t cause too much pain” kinda fit, because we’ve all have shoes like that, or is that just me? I mean they honest and truly fit like they were made for my feet*!!!!! Even more delighting was the realization that even though they’ve got a 4″ heel, they’re super comfortable! You can actually put these bad boys on and walk around ALL DAY (I’ve done it!) without feeling like you’re wearing bear traps on your tootsies by the time you take them off. Bonuses are, all Iron Fist shoes are 100% vegan, and they come with really cute decals on the very bottom. I’ve shown these in the photos but please ignore the fact that some are well worn.

*I’m aware that some of you won’t have the same luck with Iron Fist, and I’m so sorry for your loss ;(

In this photo I’m wearing Zombie Stomper pumps, a Living Dead Souls swing dress, Cuban heel stockings, red lipstick and a $2 headscarf. I was not having a good hair day, ladies, please be kind.

So far, I’ve got 4 pairs of Iron Fists in my too-slowly-growing collection. Let me introduce you to my “feet babies”….

Zombie Stomper – My eldest. Lime green peep toe pumps with fuchsia zombie eyes and white zombie teeth. The heel is a black textured suede (faux, of course, see above) and there’s a cute satin bow at the back. $80 @ Get Funky.

All Hope Abandoned – Black pumps with sugar skull and flower decals, in the flower is a shiny rhinestone to add some “oooohh” factor. This pair also came with a second pair of heel tips, just in case. I believe they include these heel tips in all Iron Fist shoes from 2009 to present, but I could be mistaken. Got them for $45 @ Get Funky (I love 50% off sales).

Race With the Devil – Charcoal pumps with pinstripe details. Chrome finish heel and hanging dice from the back. I also included a photo of the shoe off, because the print inside is so cute, makes these shoes feel even more like Vegas (in my humble opinion)!! $80 @ Get Funky.

Society Suicide – Somebody vomitted rockabilly all over these, and I LOVE THEM!!! A black satin-y platform pump with tropical flowers and sparrows. Cute polka-dot mary jane strap with a moveable (not RE-moveable) bow, the inside is leopard print. The left and right shoe are slightly different, they laid the print across them differently to give some extra character. $90 @ Get Funky, or a very Merry Xmas present from your clever and loving father :)

These shoes can add character and sass to many outfits, I personally love to wear them with a LBD or a pair of jeans to show off just enough of my personality to not scare folks away. I have to also mention that while I personally have a penchant for pumps, Iron Fist uses a lot of their designs on different styles of shoes and other items such as – flats, flip flops, booties, rubber boots, Ugg style boots, bikinis, dresses and bags. So they really have something for everybody who likes a little unique flair! ~C

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