A Vintage Picnic Basket & An Art Deco Ring

The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University is a magical place, but not nearly as magical as the events that transpired there on Sunday.

I woke up and immediately began a scavenger hunt that Anthony organized. He surprised me with flowers and a letter with a Hogwarts wax seal on the back of the envelope. This was the first of seven letters. Each letter corresponded to one of the seven Harry Potter books and led me on a search to find the next.

We have several Harry Potter references throughout the house, including a Slytherin pennant (Anthony is a Slytherin), Luna and Snape’s wands, even our car is named Hedwig, and that’s where the fourth letter led me.

The next letter led me to believe that we were going on a picnic at the arboretum and that he would photograph me, “complaint-free,” for my blog. Not having set my hair the night before, I scrambled to produce a beehive (unsuccessfully), but ended up using a vintage scarf to hide the mess I created.

We really did sit down for a picnic, during which I finally used my vintage picnic basket that Anthony got me for Christmas. It was absolutely lovely. There was slight overcast, so it wasn’t too hot, families were walking their dogs and teaching their kids how to ride a bike. I didn’t think anything could top this.

Once we finished our meal, we moved on to photographs. The spot that we chose was off the beaten path of the arboretum, secluded, serene and breathtaking. Despite getting bitten by something on my leg, this photo shoot was heavenly and I love almost every picture he captured.

I thought the day was over until we pulled into our parking lot and he handed me another letter, playing as if he was unsure of why Harry got an owl in the first place. I was immediately confused as to why he asked this, explaining that first years at Hogwarts get to bring an animal of their choice and that owls deliver mail. This was when he dropped the letter in my lap.

We proceeded to walk down a path that I take quite often to get to one of my favorite coffee shops, but took a detour and stopped at a local restaurant that we love. We made reservations for later that afternoon and headed back towards our apartment.

As we approached a bridge that I love to cross, I saw a mirror standing in the middle of it. The mirror had words across the top that weren’t easy to decipher at first, being broken up into fragments, but after taking a few moments I realized that it said “I show not your face but your heart’s desire.” These are the words on the Mirror of Erised from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

Once I figured out what the words meant, Anthony said “you know my heart’s desire” and got on one knee. I didn’t even let him ask me to marry him before slightly hyperventilating and shouting “yes, obviously yes.” To be honest, I don’t even remember not letting him ask me. All I remember is crying with joy as he put the most beautiful ring I’ve ever seen on my finger.

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Pillbox Hats, Cap Sleeves & A Tea Garden

While shooting outside of a small-town luncheonette in western Massachusetts, an older couple approached me and asked “1940’s?” I agreed and proceeded to explain that the 40’s was my favorite era for fashion. The gentleman smiled and told me that he was born in 1940 and although he was a child at the time, he could tell that my outfit was a reproduction of what he had seen growing up. In that moment, I felt both proud and validated that I was doing justice to my favorite decade, but I couldn’t have done it without the Carolyn Dress from Karina Dresses.

Karina Dresses was founded on the idea of creating high-quality dresses that allow women of all sizes to feel beautiful in their own skin. On top of that, they’re made right here in the U.S. They provide a wide-array of styles and patterns that dazzle the senses and ensnare the mind’s creativity for curating an outfit.

The Carolyn is the quintessential 1940’s Cap Sleeve Dress. The cap sleeve was popular during the 1930’s, but when combined with some padding it took on a whole new look the following decade. These new-age deep cap sleeves were generally found on afternoon-style dresses and were traditionally cut in one piece with the bodice of the dress, creating an upside down triangular piece of fabric that lead to the waistline. Nowadays, cap sleeves are almost always attached separately, as are the sleeves on this gorgeous Carolyn Dress in Tea Garden.

The neckline of dresses from the 40’s varied from square to keyhole, sweetheart to slit, and v-neck to round. Skirts were generally a-line and used very little fabric which allowed the light-weight design to flow flawlessly with the body. The Carolyn embodies all of these characteristics with a higher v-neck neckline and a simplistic a-line skirt that comes just below the knees.

Karina Dresses is known as “the original easy dress” and for good reason! Not only is this dress the perfect 1940’s replica, it’s also indescribably comfortable, proving that you don’t have to sacrifice comfort for style. Their dresses are made from breathable microfiber that provides an incredible amount of stretch and never wrinkles. Yes, you read that right, it never wrinkles (and I put this baby to the test, leaving it crumbled up in an overnight bag). Because of this amazing fabric, the Carolyn is machine washable and can be hung up to dry. Who knew such a gorgeous gown could require so little maintenance!

Karina Dresses come in US sizes XS-XXL. Each size has a range of measurements, for example I’m wearing the S/M, which corresponds to a 34-38 bust and a 27-31 waist. If you’re unsure which size would work for you, try their Best Fit Size Guide!

The Carolyn is priced at $108, as are all of Karina Dresses fabulous frocks, and in my opinion they’re worth every penny. I have never owned such comfortable dresses that require so little care and am consistently blown away by the quality of their products. The prints are beautiful, and the designs are extremely flattering and versatile.

So if you’re looking for that perfect afternoon Hollywood glam gown, look no further than the Carolyn Dress from Karina Dresses. And don’t forget to check out all of their other designs, including their signature line: Karina Signature.

Dress: Carolyn Dress in Tea Garden c/o Karina Dresses | Shoes: Swing Along Heel in Noir- Modcloth | Hat and Bangles: Vintage- Etsy

Dying to get your hands on a gown of your own? I’ve partnered with Karina Dresses to bring you the chance to win one dress of your choice! You can enter the contest here! Best of luck, dolls!

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A Starfish, Retro Sunnies, and Tug Boats

It’s hard to believe that summer is just around the corner. I’ve always loved spring, but I’ve obtained some of my fondest memories during summer, such as walking along the boardwalks of my childhood beach in New York and surfing in the warm ocean waters of Florida. While I don’t get to partake in too many water-front activities here in Boston, I figured I’d welcome this glorious season with an homage to my childhood in the form of an ocean-themed outfit.

And what better garment could I possibly have chosen as the center of this outfit than the Jenny Skirt in Mary Blair Green Boat Border Print from Pinup Girl Clothing.

I discovered Pinup Girl Clothing before I was comfortable enough dressing as the pinup I’ve always wanted to be, so I dreamily stalked their site for some time. I finally made my first purchase last year  and instantly knew this was the beginning of a love affair.

I stuck with their blouses for a while, but had my eyes set on the Jenny skirts. After purchasing my first one back in October it’s been hard for me to even consider buying any other skirt.

The design behind the Jenny is a conglomeration of several vintage designs from the 1950s, the most notable being the circle skirt. These were cut from a large piece of fabric in the shape of a very thick doughnut and were considered to be the least bulky of all of the “full skirts.” This pattern made it easy for the fabric to drape flawlessly over the hips and swing freely while walking or dancing.

The other notable inspiration for the Jenny comes from the gathered skirts of the mid-century. These skirts were made from large triangular pieces of fabric that were gathered into the waistband, creating a tight waistline and full hips. The waistband was generally bulky, which gave girls with smaller hips the illusion that they had vivacious curves.

The Jenny incorporates both styles flawlessly with a neatly gathered waistline and a length just below the knee. Made from cotton sateen it’s both sturdy and moderately light, allowing for a petticoat underneath for extra volume (but it’s not necessary) without feeling overwhelmed by fabric. And the best part? Pockets! You can never go wrong with a skirt that has pockets.

The Jenny retails for $98-104 depending on the pattern and is available in XS-4X. Their items tend to range in size, so always check their size chart. For reference, I am wearing a M, which is generally my size in Pinup Girl Clothing, but sometimes I need a L depending on the garment.

I realize that this may come off as a big ticket item for some, but the quality of their pieces is second to none and will last years if treated properly. If you’re a pinup on a budget, sign up for their newsletter; they’ll often hold flash sales or larger U.S. holiday sales throughout the year. As for me, I’ll be anxiously awaiting the delivery of my recently purchased Jenny.

Top: American Apparel | Brooch: Ocean Wish Brooch– Erstwilder | Skirt: Jenny Skirt in Mary Blair Green Boat Border Print- Pinup Girl Clothing

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A Tea Dress, Orchids, and Modern Art Deco

If you’ve been following my blog, then you know that I’m enamored by the 1940s, but another one of my favorite eras is that in which Art Deco thrived: the 1920s through the 1930s.

Art Deco is a visually enticing style that originated in France during the 1920s and was inspired by Cubism. It was incorporated into various mediums, such as architecture, interior design, fashion, transportation, and my favorite: jewelry.

Art Deco lost it’s popularity at the end of World War II and was replaced by modernism, but today there are classic examples of this stunning style, such as this Art Deco Vintage Tea Dress from Lady V London.

The Tea Dress imitates the most iconic 1950s dress style: the “New Look” full-skirted dress with a signature fitted bodice and voluminous skirt flaring out from the waistline. The skirt is designed to come down to the knee even when wearing a petticoat- a classic staple of the conservative nature of fashion during the 50s.

The neckline of the “New Look” dress could be v-neck, sweetheart, boat-neck, or curved, such as those on Lady V London’s Tea Dresses. The back of the dress dips down into a deep v-shape and the waist can be adjusted using two straps that can be tied in a bow. But the best part about the design is that it has pockets! What is it about having pockets that automatically makes a dress infinitely more enticing?

The Tea Dress is made from stretchable cotton, so not only does it breathe, it also gives which adds to it’s comfort. It’s not lined, which I love because spring and summer can get quite hot here in Boston. Because of the material, its machine washable, on a delicate cycle, and should be air dried (how I’d love to have an actual clothing line to dry gorgeous dresses like this one on).

All of Lady V London’s Tea Dresses come in UK sizes 8-22. Each size chart provides measurements for the exact dress you’re looking at, so be sure to check even if you’ve ordered from them before.

I’m wearing a UK 12, despite normally being a UK 10. My waist is exactly between the two sizes, so I chose the larger just to be safe. Upon retrospect, I probably would have fit the UK 10 considering the way the garment stretches. Fortunately, the ties in the back allowed me to fit the waist perfectly to my body.

The Art Deco Vintage Tea Dress is priced at £50 (about $63 USD), as are all of Lady V London’s Tea Dresses, which is fabulous for the quality.  Shipping starts at £3.95 within the U.K., they ship to over 100 countries worldwide, and offer free shipping to orders over £150.

While I wouldn’t say that this is a true Art Deco print, it certainly captures the more abstract designs of that era with a modern twist, and that’s exactly what I love about it. So if you’re on the hunt for a vintage meets modern dress, look no further than the Art Deco Vintage Tea Dress from Lady V London. And if you want a similar style with a longer skirt, check out their Hepburn collection, you can catch me there staring at the Teal Cupcake print.

Dress: Tea Dress – Art Deco Vintage c/o Lady V London | Hair flower: Double Cymbidium Orchid in Deep Red and Black – Sophisticated Lady Hair Flowers | Shoes: Swing Along Heel in Noir – ModCloth
Special thanks to Georgia from Lady V London for this fantastic opportunity.

Teal, Navy, and Spring Daisies

For as long as I can remember I’ve been fascinated by the glitz and glamour of the Golden Age of Hollywood.  The acting was over the top and the fashion was even more dramatic. The way that fabric draped over the female form was even more tantalizing than the most scandalous garments you can think of today, particularly within the 1940s. Some of the most beautiful women were present within this time: Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman, and my favorite leading lady, Barbara Stanwyck.

My love for the aesthetics of this era knows no bounds, so you can only imagine my delight when I first put on the Megan Dress in Spring Daisy from Karina Dresses.

Take me back seven decades and make me Orson Welles’ leading lady because that’s how this dress makes me feel. The style is very similar to that of the 1940s working woman’s uniform dress, otherwise known as the cross-front or wrap dresses, and every detail is perfect.

Some wrap dresses wound around the entire figure, while others were only crossed in the front, just like the Megan dress. The sleeves have a slight puff at the shoulder, but slide halfway down the arm into a deep cap design, while the bodice tucks in the waist and slowly curves outward for a signature A-line skirt.

The Spring Daisy print is part of the Karina Signature line of in-house designs, along with five other equally beautiful patterns. The shade of teal used in this dress is positively radiant, and I chose to play off of the navy blue centers of each flower, and the 1940s design, with a navy fascinator hat.

Not only is this dress absolutely stunning, it’s unbelievably comfortable, as well. Made from breathable microfiber, this gown is designed for long-term wear and proves that you don’t have to sacrifice comfort for style. The material is machine washable and resistant to wrinkles, which is perfect for us ladies who are constantly on the go.

Karina Dresses come in US sizes XS-XXL. Each size has a range of measurements, for example I’m wearing the S/M, which corresponds to a 34-38 bust and a 27-31 waist. If you’re unsure which size would work for you, try their Best Fit Size Guide!

The Megan dress is priced at $108, as are all of Karina Dresses’ fabulous garments. In my opinion, this is an absolutely fair price for such a beautiful and versatile piece. They ship for free within the U.S. for orders over $150, but for those under that price point it’s only $5. Shipping internationally will range from $20-25 depending on the location.

I simply cannot stop gushing over this dress. It’s opened a doorway to a whole new world of affordable styles from the era I love the most. It’s flattering in every sense of the word and comfortable beyond belief. So if you’re looking for a show stopping gown that makes you feel like a 1940s film star, look no further than the Megan dress from Karina Dresses. And don’t forget to check out their new Spring line filled with endless stripes, polka dots, and florals!

Dress: Megan Dress in Spring Daisy c/o Karina Dresses | Shoes: Brown Leather Lace Up Oxfords – Office | Fascinator Hat – eBay
Special thanks to Trudy from Karina Dresses for this incredible collaborative opportunity.

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A Touch of Pink, Tropical Tiki Print, and a Modern Day Pill Box Purse

It’s been vastly dreary here in Boston this week, so I thought I’d liven things up with a bit with some bright colors and tropical vibes.

I’ve had this outfit for some time now and have been dying to show it off, but I’ve always felt that something was missing from it. I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was until I came across Lola Von Rose.

I discovered Lola Von Rose’s gorgeous handbags through their Instagram and immediately fell in love. Their design is unique and meant to mimic mid-century pill box purses. Made out of acrylic, their handbags are lighter than their original counterparts, which were usually made from lucite. The gorgeously curved handle folds down for easy storage, and almost encourages stacking, if you’re the type to showcase your wares.

Lola Von Rose provides measurements for all of their handbags, and even though they look elegant and petite, they certainly are sturdy and spacious. The length of each bag is 9.25″ while the height (not including the handle) measures 3.25″ and the width is 4.75″.

For some perspective, I was able to fit my phone, cardholder, keys, sunglasses and lipstick inside, and the sliver latch on the front kept them securely tucked away.

These vintage inspired handbags retail for $64 and currently come in five colorways: pink, white, black, red, and lilac, each of which will compliment any outfit conceivable. For those of you who are a little more budget conscious, Lola Von Rose offers sample sale items for $29.99, on which minor scratches or glue marks may be present. Since these are bulky items, shipping costs $12 within the U.S. and $23-25 elsewhere, but the time it takes to arrive is faster than expected.

So if you’re searching for the perfect handbag for a stroll in the park or a night out on the town, be sure to check out Lola Von Rose. And be on the lookout for their newest colorway, seafoam green, coming soon! You can bet your bottom dollar that I’ll be stalking their site until it’s release.

Handbag: Pink Vintage Inspired Purse c/o Lola Von Rose | Top: Pinup Couture Peasant Top in Pink – Pinup Girl Clothing | Skirt: Laura Byrnes California High Waisted Pencil Skirt in Green Palm Springs Tiki – Pinup Girl Clothing | Shoes: Ione in Fairy Pink– B.A.I.T. Footwear
Special thanks to Lola Von Rose for this incredible collaborative opportunity.

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Black, White, and Vintage Bakelite

When I was 16, I wouldn’t walk out of the house without several large bangles on. As the years went by, I became less and less enticed by accessories that led me to stand out. Fast forward ten years later, and chunky bangles are back on my arm.

I’ve always found true bakelite bangles to be rather expensive. The price can range anywhere from $20 to several thousands, and you’re lucky if you find anything for under $50. But sometimes luck is on your side.

Bakelite jewelry was most popular during the Art Deco period (1910-1940s). The bangles were not meant to be expensive. They were intended as costume jewelry, giving those without expendable income the ability to own quality pieces.

The height of Bakelite’s popularity was towards the later half of the Art Deco period (1930-1940s). The pieces were available in major department stores, like Saks Fifth Avenue, as well as high-end designers, such as Chanel. It was made in several different color varieties, but green, red, white and brown were the most popular. Over time these colors have faded, particularly white, which turns into a cream or tan brown.

Since Bakelite is a form of plastic, it was used for numerous things aside from jewelry, such as toys and electronic components. In the early 1940s, however, many companies stopped using it as the demand for products designated for World War II increased. By the end of the war, Bakelite had become obsolete, but much of it has gained more value than when it was originally created.

Because of it’s current popularity, there are a lot of “bakelite” bangles that are actually “fakelite.” Fortunately, there’s a way to test if your jewelry is true bakelite plastic. Because real bakelite cannot melt or burn, placing a match up to the plastic will indicate whether it’s real (has no sign of damage) or fake (melts or burns).

Truth be told, I’m too nervous to test mine. I’d rather live under the illusion that these are true bakelite, than find out they’re actually fakelite. So if you’re fortunate enough to find bakelite for a reasonable price, such as most of the beauties from Brighter Bakelite, don’t hesitate to grab it and flaunt it.

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