Independence and an Itsy Bitsy, Teeny Weeny Red & White High-Waist Bikini

I’m never fully convinced it’s summer until the 4th of July. Most of the memories I have of this holiday are venturing out to the Hamptons with my Dad, listening to The Beatles or The Police the entire drive. Every year my Aunt, Uncle, and Cousins would get together for a big lobster boil and fireworks on the beach, and despite my distaste for seafood, we always had a great time (albeit, I always wanted to release the lobsters from their tanks at the grocery store).

The past few years have been different, however. Anthony and I have stayed in Boston, grilling burgers and hot dogs, gathering with neighbors, eating ice cream and watching the Twilight Zone marathon on SyFy, and gazing up at fireworks. This year was our quietest 4th of July yet, but we took some time to head over to Fort Independence where I could show off this stunning high-waist bikini from Red Dolly Swimwear.

Let’s get the obvious out there: I’m not comfortable in bikinis. I never have been and probably never will be. I struggle with my perception of myself, I have some cellulite, I’m neither skinny, nor overweight, which feels like a very awkward place to be, and I either obsessively exercise and eat healthy or give in to my desire for junk food.

But two things happened while wearing this suit. 1. I felt beautiful, which is something I never felt in a bathing suit before. 2. An elderly couple walked by as I was posing for a photo. The husband turned to the wife and said something along the lines of “look at that girl in the high-waisted bathing suit looking beautiful, just as you did in those.” These are the moments I love the most– bringing memories back to those who lived in the era that I try to emulate.

And now for some history. The bikini was invented in 1946 and was similar to what you might see today on a beach in Miami or Brazil: tiny, revealing the entire stomach and bum! These new bikinis were banned by most public beaches until the 1950’s, but they weren’t exactly the type of suit worn by your everyday woman of the 40’s.

For most women, the two-piece swimsuit was the perfect mix of a one-piece and a bikini. It maintained a sense of modesty that was so popular at the time, while revealing just enough skin to be seductive. These two-piece suits looked as if a one-piece has been split directly through the center. The top provided full coverage with either two spaghetti straps or a halter top, while the bottom started at the waistline and continued on to the bum, covering every inch.

Lucky for me, this Bella Red & White Polka Dot High-Waist Bikini from Red Dolly Swimwear is the modern embodiment of a 1940’s two-piece swimsuit. Every detail is perfect. The top is designed with a gathered center bust and thick straps, providing security and support. The bottom covers both the belly button and the backside, which I’m eternally grateful because I am not one to flaunt what little derriere I have.

If you’re looking for a more traditional pinup vibe, you can have padding sewn into your suit for an additional fee ($6.50), of which my suit contains (and it’s totally worth it!).

Part of Red Dolly Swimwear’s mission is to allow every woman to feel beautiful, confident and comfortable in their suits and boy have they succeeded. Their bathing suits come in sizes S-XL, with plenty of room to stretch. For reference, I’m wearing a L and my measurements are 36″ bust, 28″ waist, and 38″ hips.

And when they say all women, they mean all women, as in little girls and infants! Red Dolly has matching girls and babies swimsuits, so you and your little diva can go to the beach in style. And if their bathing suits alone aren’t enough, owner and designer Heather Stepanik creates matching headbands and swim skirts, which are another staple of the 40’s (and I’ve got my eyes on them).

Red Dolly’s swimsuits range in price from $46-89 and ladies, they’re worth every penny. I have never found a more comfortable bathing suit that I can honestly say I felt confident in. If you’re not into two-pieces, they’ve got gorgeous one-pieces as well. They’re based in the U.S., but ship internationally for around $16.

I can’t drive home this point enough: I am not a bikini person, I am not a bathing suit person, but I would gladly spend $86 for a suit that makes me feel as confident and sexy as this one does. If you’re not a bathing suit girl, either, I encourage you to give Red Dolly Swimwear a chance. As for me, I’ll be stalking that Bella Black & White Polka Dot High-Waist Bikini for my size and it’s matching swim skirt.

Special thanks to Heather from Red Dolly Swimwear for this tantalizing opportunity.

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Fairy Pink, Roses & Polka Dots, and the Return of Winter

I’ve apparently been lulled into a false sense of spring, so much so that I pulled my favorite floral frock from the back of my closet, only to have to put away again.

The Emma 1950s Dress from Hell Bunny is a robust mid-century housewife reproduction. The eye-catching design features pink and yellow roses, white polka dots, and several rows of buttons down the front.

The wide collar creates the illusion that the dress wraps around the bodice and secures with the use of the buttons, when in fact, it zips up the back. With the help of the adjustable belt and full, a-line skirt, the dress creates a flatteringly small waist.

Although the skirt itself is quote voluminous, I wanted to add an extra bit of poof, so I made sure to wear a petticoat underneath.

The weather this weekend put me in such a spring-time mindset that I finally wore my Kate Spade Mother of Pearl Clip-On Earrings. I’ve had these sitting in my jewelry dish for months now, but didn’t feel inspired enough to show them off, mainly because winter is positively dreary.

Additionally, I’ve never fully trusted clip-on earrings. My ears have been pierced since I was a little girl, so I’ve never experienced anything other true earrings. I have to say, though, these babies grip your ears. After wearing them for a few hours I have no doubt that they will stay on all day long.

And once again I’m wearing my Ione in Fairy Pink from B.A.I.T. Footwear. I think I need an intervention or possibly just need to buy some more shoes, but look at how perfectly the fairy pink matches the pink roses on the Emma dress! I couldn’t pass up this pairing.

The Emma 1950s Dress is made out of 98% cotton and is machine washable, although you may want to air dry it. It’s available in US XS-XL, but I find that it runs slightly large, so check your measurements before ordering.

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An Antique Trolley, Modern Florals, and Pin Curls

One of the reasons I love living in Boston is the history, but you don’t have to head downtown to experience it.

I recently posted this black and white photograph to my Instagram. It’s an image from 1955 of the trolley station across from my apartment building. This trolley is still running and I take it to and from work every day.

Milton Station originally opened in 1848 under the name Milton Mills. It was a subsidiary of the Old Colony Railroad and was placed on the border of Boston and Milton. The trolley only stops at seven stations, which makes up about three miles. It’s a short ride, but it’s filled with natural and man-made beauty.

The most breathtaking part of the ride is the “Healthy Heart Bike Trail,” part of which I used as backdrop in this post. As you pass over a bridge, you see a field filled with what appears to be wheat stretching over the horizon towards the Neponset River. On the other side, you can peer into Cedar Grove Cemetery, which was established just after the Civil War (pictured here).

I can’t help but love riding to work in one of the oldest streetcars in America, and because of it’s history I wanted to ensure that I captured an equally historic look in these photos.

This dress may look vintage, but it’s anything but. This Birdie Dress in Mustard and Purple Floral from Pinup Girl Clothing has been my dream dress for years. I originally saw it on the beautiful Modern June Cleaver from Junebugs and Georgia Peaches and instantly fell in love.

Years later, I finally have my unicorn. This Birdie Dress’s mid-century housewife cut mixed with outrageously gorgeous florals made it perfect for this historic to modern-day theme.

As for my hair, well that’s another story. I’ve been trying to achieve a more authentic look, but my locks are quite thick and heavy, so the brush out can be quite a handful (get it?).

I’ve been contemplating a Femme Fatal Middy cut (and a deep, natural red color), but it would all be such a drastic change and I doubt my complexion could sustain red hair.

What do you think? Go shorter? Take a risk and go red? Or leave it as is?

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1940s Wiggle Skirt, Floral Blouse, and Self-Esteem

“Like my grandmother used to say, ‘there’s no better dressing than meat on bones.'”

Although I was a chubby child, and a chubby preteen, and a semi-chubby teen, I wasn’t self-conscious. What impresses me most about my young self is that I felt utterly beautiful despite the fact that I was more or less average and a bit overweight.

Perhaps seeing the film Real Women Have Curves helped shape my confidence at the fragile age of twelve; or maybe we’re so carefree at that age that body image doesn’t necessarily exist. Whatever the reason for my misguided perception, it eventually disappeared as I grew older despite the fact that I also became thinner.

Fast forward to my early twenties and I’m diagnosed with a mild form of Body Dysmorphic Disorder, in which I still physically feel, and see myself, as overweight. Because of this, I’m generally uncomfortable wearing wiggle dresses, wiggle skirts, or anything that clings to my stomach. But for some reason I feel confident in vintage clothes, particularly in this vintage skirt from the 1950s, which makes me feel anything but self-conscious.

Over time, and it’s still a work in progress, I’ve come to realize that although I may not have a perfectly flat stomach or a thigh gap, my figure is beautiful. I have an hourglass shape with curves in all the right places, just as my grandmother did, and just as all of the other bombshells from the 1940s and ’50s.

So here’s to the girls who may not look, or feel, like the models of today, but who are built like the models of the midcentury. And those are the women who are truly sexy.

Blouse: Floral Button Down – H&M | Skirt: Vintage 50s Fontana Army Green Wool & Leather Pencil Skirt – Birthday Life Vintage | Shoes: Brown Leather Lace Up Oxfords – Office

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