The Fitting Room Chronicles: Channeling Louise Brooks

When many think of flappers from the “Roaring ’20s,” images like these come to mind:

Joan Crawford
Joan Crawford
Colleen Moore
Colleen Moore
Clara Bow
Clara Bow
Barbara Stanwyck
Barbara Stanwyck

And of course, there are 1920 fashion guides, like this one, to help:

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But one overlooked garment from the famous era is the kimono. And really, what’s not to love about this comfortable, silky loungewear that instantly adds glamour to your home? The kimono was also big during this era as it was looser, easy to wear, and functional. The 1996 book, “The Kimono Inspiration: Art and Art-To-Wear in America” gives a lot of wonderful insight about the traditional Japanese piece and its impact in the United States over the years.

One silent screen star who made the kimono one of her signature looks was Louise Brooks. Apparently, it was her thing, along with a carefully cut bob.

Kimono-101

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During one of my thrifting adventures, I found this bold red kimono. While it’s more on the wiggle side, eliminating that loose comfort one would expect from a more traditional kimono, I felt ready for my close-up.

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Loungewear? Pul-eeze. This baby was meant to be worn out. I will need to work on my tip-toe walking, as modern steps won’t do in this gown, but that’s just another workout that comes with fashion.

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It sure beats those usual flapper getups that every Gatsby-obsessed dame goes head over heels for. And don’t get me wrong, I adore those waist-drop dresses too, but sometimes you just have to stand out. And who wouldn’t want to learn a thing or two from the “Kansas Cleopatra?”

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I can’t wait to rock this dress for a special occasion. Hopefully all those gin cocktails from past dinners and soirees haven’t caught up to me yet. How tragic would it be if my big ol’ butt couldn’t squeeze into this again?!

The Fitting Room Chronicles: Wiggle Here, Wiggle There

On Facebook, a friend of mine posted this definition of the wiggle dress:

1950s actress Jayne Mansfield
1950s actress Jayne Mansfield

A dress whose hem is narrower than the hips, causing the wearer to walk in short strides with legs close together, producing a sway or ‘wiggle’ of the hips. A fitted dress which enhances an hourglass figure. Every gal should own a wiggle dress or two or ten.

Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe

Wiggle dresses were extremely popular in the 1950s, when blonde bombshells like Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield wore dangerously alluring, tight-fitting garments dresses that felt like second skin and flaunted every single curve on their breathtaking bodies.

Jayne Mansfield
Jayne Mansfield

Marilyn Monroe was even known to have dresses sewn directly on her figure. One example that comes to mind is her infamous “Happy Birthday” dress, which she wore in President John F. Kennedy’s birthday bash in New York City’s Madison Square Garden.

Marilyn Monroe in her
Marilyn Monroe in her “Happy Birthday” dress.

I did not find a similar piece and I won’t be impressing government officials anytime soon, but I did find this lovely nude number.

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I believe it’s from the ’50s, and in true classic wiggle fashion, it fits like second skin. Sitting? Ha, that’s just for amateurs. But the best part? It was a mere 18 bucks. Gotta love those thrifting deals.

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Ladies, you need a wiggle dress, whether it’s for date night or a “just because” evening affair involving jazz or cocktails. Most vintage-inspired clothing lines offer them (Stop Staring! and Pinup Girl Clothing quickly come to mind). Or, you can hunt for one while thrifting.

Regrets? I have none.

Stop Staring: Part One

There are many reasons why I’m obsessed with old Hollywood. But if you need me to narrow it down to just one, I will say this: I absolutely adore how breathtaking those dames were back in the day.

Photo by Michelle Wild
Photo by Michelle Wild

These titillating bombshells have always fascinated me with their flawless features, never-ending curves, and those head-turning ensembles. Who wouldn’t want to transform into a head-turning pinup today?

I had the chance to do just that.

Photo by Michelle Wild
Photo by Michelle Wild

I’ve done a few photoshoots for photographer friends, and truthfully, I tend to feel very shy and awkward during them, but it was a real treat to shoot with an all-female team. Working with photographer Michelle Wild and makeup artist Nicole Francis was an absolute pleasure. Somehow I channeled my inner screen siren and it felt completely natural to me.

Photo by Michelle Wild
Photo by Michelle Wild

I provided my own wardrobe and I relied on Stop Staring! Clothing to make magic happen. If you’re not familiar with the vintage-inspired clothing line, then you must make an investment, like now.

Photo by Michelle Wild
Photo by Michelle Wild

You’re certain to make temperatures rise with Stop Staring’s form-fitting wiggle dresses. They hug my figure to a point that it proudly flaunted them with ease. Those wiggle dress are dangerous indeed, but they will change your life.

Photo by Michelle Wild
Photo by Michelle Wild

I wore Stop Staring’s Billion Dollar Baby dress in Red, but they also offer many other sinfully seductive pieces in the same hot shade. The opera gloves and coat are vintage, courtesy of Wild.

Photo by Michelle Wild
Photo by Michelle Wild

Look out for parts two and three on La Vintage Vida!

Spring Flowers and Chinese Cuisine

Forget spring and this blog title for just a second folks. New York City was experiencing a glorious 80 degree day. This may sound stuffy for some, but I have Dominican blood running in my veins, so anything that’s somehow related to the tropics gets me excited. I truly feel at my happiest when my skin can soak up that vitamin D (with sunscreen of course).

My view from Central Park.
My view from Central Park.

But enough of that. Let’s talk about the day.

I was invited to a media preview for Philippe on the Upper East Side to celebrate their new East Hamptons location. As someone who has been following this establishment’s history, I knew I had to be there. I was researching for future stories, of course!

A small preview of what was to come.
A small preview of what was to come.

The feast was nothing short of amazing. Succulent Maine lobster, juicy plump shrimp swimming in a tangy sauce, creamy coconut cocktails, and crispy chicken with a sweet-meets-fiery kick were just a few of the many dishes we savored. Even the fried rice was fluffy and perfectly paired with fresh veggies. Philippe impressed with their take on upscale Chinese cuisine and thanks to them, it looks like me and the takeout guy are going on a break.

Philippe knows how to feed hungry writers.
Philippe knows how to feed hungry writers.

And then came dessert. By then my stomach was ready to call it a night, but could you really say no to chocolate or red velvet? Didn’t think so.

Yum.
Yum.

If you are ever on the Upper East Side or in the Hamptons, and you need some Chinese food in your life minus the excess grease, give Philippe a chance. He knows how to please your belly.

After dinner, I was stuffed to say the least. I, along with my plus one, who happened to be my other bestie Alexcia, decided to burn off some calories by walking around. And behold, we encountered The Plaza, one of my favorite places in the world. Like with great Chinese, I could never say no to The Plaza.

Photo by Alexcia Foster
Photo by Alexcia Foster

What a happy accident that The Plaza’s flowers matched my dress! And speaking of the ensemble, this is a ’80s floral wiggle dress with dolman (long and loose) sleeves. These type of sleeves also give some wiggle (no pun intended) room for ladies with bigger busts. Our chests deserve to breathe. And the plunging V-neck elongates the body, giving it a leaner, smoother appearance.

Photo by Alexcia Foster
Photo by Alexcia Foster

I love the fact that it twirls! If it were up to me, life would be one giant Broadway musical so I can sing and twirl all day.

Photo by Alexcia Foster
Photo by Alexcia Foster

The dress was purchased from Girl in a Hat Shop on Etsy. I had it tailored for it to go just above the knee, which flatters any woman no matter her age.

I gave my usual red lipstick a break and decided to “think pink.”

Photo by Alexcia Foster
Photo by Alexcia Foster

My earrings, from Forever 21 (ha!), were purchased for about three bucks. They feature actual flowers within the jewel.

My earrings of choice.
My earrings of choice.

I also found this exquisite crown on Fifth Avenue. I believe it belongs to me.

Queen Bee.
Queen Bee.

And the evening concludes! See you all next week.

Goodnight.
Goodnight.