One of my style heroes is the designer Peter O’Brien.Peter is an Irish designer who worked for years in Paris at Christian Dior, Givenchy and Chloe. In 2006 Peter brought out a collection for ‘high st’ store A-wear. I fell in love with it, the classic shapes, the colours and materials all seemed much more expensive than the actual price and I invested. I bought a tuxedo style, navy pinstripe trouser suit and a masculine style overcoat, all very Bette Davis or Katherine Hepburn. I still remember how excited I was at the check out, the beautiful way they were wrapped and the bags they were put in, the lovely postcards which were tied to the outside of the bags which I kept, everything.
(I have this dress in navy)
Since then every time Peter has brought out a collection for A wear I have bought something and they have pride of place in my wardrobe. Just last Sunday I wore a navy silk belted dress with a lace front and collar which moves so beautifully and is always admired, topped by that same coat that I bought back in 2006, now thats what I call an investment!
Peter if you’re out there, thank you!

The lovely Imelda May is going to play the ‘big top’ at the market in Limerick city for the second time this year, on the night before Christmas eve . I am really hoping I can go to this as I missed the last gig which was supposed to be a brilliant night.

This is something I give a lot of thought to. I definitely feel ten times better the days that I dress in something that has even a little retro flavour to it. Personally, I do not have a problem with wearing modern clothes that have a retro style to them, they are usually easier on the pocket than true vintage. Most days I wear a mix of retro and modern clothes and I like to wear something old even if it is only one of the lovely 1940′s to 1950′s brooches I inherited from my grandmothers.

I am always more self conscious though when it comes to make up. I love the full red lip, black flicked liner look but do not feel up to facing the school gate like this. Maybe I’m being a bit of a wimp but I was comforted to watch this interview with Dita last night. To hear that even she has days when she goes with just powder, mascara and a red lip and has gone for weeks without her liner! I was shocked but I love that she was being so honest and down to earth.

Another situation which occurs each week is what to wear when working out. I hike, do yoga and bellydancing, all of which are not well suited to stockings and heels! I enjoy my work outs but hate spending so much time in the dreaded lycra!

I would love to hear from anyone else who likes to dress retro, do you do it sometimes, on special occasions, or every day, is it head to toe hair style, make up, clothing and underpinings or a mix? Feel free to comment!

I’ve been doing a lot of research on the web as to what constitutes a good retro skin care regime. I am lucky enough to have a source for one of the best, my Dad used to work for the makers of good old Nivea creme which has about a million uses.

I always thought of it as a moisturiser which could be used on any part of the body or face but since doing my research I have found that loads of people actually use it as a cold cream as well. I even came across this video on you tube where a girl tested it against Pond’s cold cream for make up removal powers and their are plenty more videos like this one!

On vintage discussion boards many women say they use a cold creme regime nightly and use witch hazel as a toner one or two nights a week. I think this is the one I am going to try because my skin is quite oily so it would need the witch hazel. Both of these products are quite cheap so if you are interested why not try out a more low tech approach to skin care and see how your skin likes it!

I have finally found a great tutorial on the 1940′s look including the winged eye liner ‘trick’ which the make up artist Maeve Byrne of Dirty Fabulous makes appear so easy! Can’t wait to give it a go!

 

Today I was reading an interview  in the Sunday Times with the legendary Christian Louboutin. In it they were trying to come up with the answer as to why women are willing to spend so much money on something that is not even comfortable to stand in for very long, let alone walk in. Mr. Louboutin put forward the naughty suggestion that women derive a certain amount of the pleasure from discomfort or pain, even going as far as to quote the Marquis de Sade. Apparently, studies have recently found that the shape of a woman’s foot in a high heel, recreates the position of the foot in orgasm!

They discussed the various celebrities like Victoria Beckham and many others who have huge collections of the famous red bottomed stiletto. To most of the women mentioned, the price tag on a pair of Loubutins is the equivalent of pocket money. What I found myself much more interested in was the ordinary women that Mr. Loubutin has met through ‘shoe signings’ who manage to purchase a pair of the much coveted shoes. He met women who saved, he even met women who went bankrupt, all in the name of their efforts towards glamour.

This put me thinking, it is relatively easy for the Victoria Beckhams of this world to be perpetually glamorous. Not only do they have staff to attend to ‘menial’ tasks like school runs, cooking or ironing, they also live in their own little bubble where no one around them would dare question what they choose to wear. If Christina Aguilera chooses to walk around half naked (ahem), no one around her will look twice but if you or I wear something as ‘daring’ as a retro style dress or hairstyle, total strangers are likely to feel free to comment on it.

So for me, though I do love someone like Dita Von Teese who dares to be different, the real style heros are ordinary women who make real sacrifices and take real risks for the love of vintage glamour. The mums who wear heels to the school gate. The woman I met at a course earlier this year who came and sat for the day in a centrally heated office in a leopard print fur coat. The ladies who (like me) wear 40′s style red lips when everyone else at the party is in various shades of nude. The many women (and men) who put the pennies away for those treaured heels.

Everyday divas champion glamour in their own way while still getting on with their lives and they deserve kudos for it.

A few days ago I collected the first consignment of clothes for the shop. I was so excited, two gorgeous, mint condition fur coats, one a very dark, very shiny hip length jacket with ornate buttons, the other a paler brown but equally shiny full length coat. I also received a classic 1980′s leather skirt suit in moss green which hardly appears to have been worn and a current label, 50′s style full skirted dress.

I personally don’t have a problem either wearing or selling vintage fur or leather as it is not supporting the continuity of the fur industry and I think it would be a shame to consign these pieces to the land fill. More detailled descriptions and pictures to follow when the shop is up and running.