Going for an Ava Gardner Look

Did you know there’s something called “National Vodka Day?”

Neither did I.

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This alleged marketing holiday is technically on October 4th, but truthfully, who wouldn’t mind kicking back with a cool vodka cocktail after a long day at the office?

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I was invited to attend an event in honor of this day with Wyborowa Wódka, a premier Polish vodka. U.S. President of the Polish Vodka Association Andrzej Szumowski was in attendance to share the pride of Poland with us at Schapiro’s Eatery and & Cocktail Bar on the Lower East Side.

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There were tons of pierogis to eat and drinks to savor.

For the evening, I wore this thrifted 1980s label-less electric blue silk dress and paired it with a corselet belt.

Photo by Alexcia Foster
Photo by Alexcia Foster

Looking back, it reminded me of 1940s glamour goddess Ava Gardner, a sultry Hollywood dame who enjoyed cocktails and was also the love of Frank Sinatra’s wife.

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It’s been described that her swears were like hearing a truck driver and a sailor have an argument. Now that’s my kind of lady.

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For a similar look:

  • 1980s Electric Blue Beaded Silk Dress (size 2) $75, Etsy.com
  • Vintage 1980s Electric Blue Wiggle Dress (size medium) $50, Etsy.com
  • 1980s Cocktail Electric Blue Dress (size medium) $75, Etsy.com
  • 1980s Old Hollywood Glam Beaded Electric Blue Dress (size medium) $112, Etsy.com

Another personal pick you should check out? The super popular Ava dress collection by vintage-inspired retailer Pinup Girl Clothing. Not only are they drop dead gorgeous and super comfortable, but they also come in an array of sizes, ensuring that their brand offers style “for every body.” And who doesn’t love that? I would like to believe Ava would approve.

Pinup Couture Ava Dress in Sky Blue
Pinup Couture Ava Dress in Sky Blue

On sale for $57(!) at PinupGirlClothing.com.

Ava Dress in Teal
Ava Dress in Teal

$114, PinupGirlClothing.com.

I really enjoyed my personal take on this classic look!

Photo by Alexcia Foster
Photo by Alexcia Foster

Also, if you’re ever in North Carolina, make sure you check out the Ava Gardner Museum. It’s on my bucket list!

Photo by Alexcia Foster
Photo by Alexcia Foster

Get Shorty

A bar named after me? Sign me up!

Shorty in New York City's Nolita.
Shorty in New York City’s Nolita.

Alright, so Shorty isn’t exactly named after me, but as someone who’s 5’2″, the name definitely catches my attention. So when I was invited for its exclusive grand opening party, you know I was going to check it out.

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Shorty, a sexy cocktail den in Nolita (that’s north of Little Italy), can easily be overlooked in a city where lounges, speakeasies, and restaurants are found practically on every block. But if you look carefully for the sign, and head down some stairs, you’ll find a 1970s Parisian bordello-inspired haven where the drinks are cool and the music is sizzling hot like the weather.

Cocktails at Shorty.
Cocktails at Shorty.

My favorite libation from Shorty is the Paloma, a classic cocktail highlighting thirst-quenching silver tequila (a must-have for the sweltering summer season), as well as fresh lime juice, tangy grapefruit juice, and Sprite for some citrusy bubbly.

Photo by Alexcia Foster
Photo by Alexcia Foster

For the party, I wore a vintage 1970s black and white pinstriped dress, which takes a lot of inspiration from the 1940s. Seriously, I felt like I could have picked up a gangster named Johnny Knucklebreaker with this thing. Its slinky fabric and pleated skirt hugged all of my curves, yet it was super comfortable.

Photo by Alexcia Foster
Photo by Alexcia Foster

The dress was purchased from Portland-based Etsy vendor Jumblelaya. If it were up to me, I would buy everything she’s selling. If you’re a vintage fan, her dresses are nothing short of enchanting.

Photo by Alexcia Foster
Photo by Alexcia Foster

The original designer is by Jen-Jen New York, which was apparently pretty popular during the 1970s for its nightlife-friendly gowns. Sadly, there isn’t much information in existence now. However, you could still find some Jen-Jen New York dresses on Etsy.

Photo by Alexcia Foster
Photo by Alexcia Foster

For a similar look, here are my picks: There’s this handmade 1950s-1960s dress on Etsy for $52, a maxi gown ensemble from ModCloth for $32.99, a 1950s-inspired swing dress from Unique Vintage for $138, and another swing style dress in color block form by Pinup Girl Clothing for $142. You can even get similar black and white pumps from Pinup Girl Clothing for $52. They’re way too cute to pass up.

Photo by Alexcia Foster
Photo by Alexcia Foster

As for jewels, I stuck with pearls. These are from H&M. It seems to no longer be available, but here’s a similar one for $5.95.

Photo by Alexcia Foster
Photo by Alexcia Foster

So yes, you don’t need to be a shorty to visit Shorty. It’s a cozy bar that’s perfect for date nights or when you feel like unwinding on a weekday and prefer being a bit hidden in New York City. Because sometimes, you just need a sweet escape for the night and that may involve heading to a bar that’s secretly the home of a French madam.