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Archive for February 2012

Show Us Your Blog (2012)

Monday, February 27, 2012





I did this in 2010 and thought it was so much fun, I'd do it again!

 I'm always looking for new blogs to read and love to spread the blog love. If you write a blog that you'd like to share, please drop your link and blog's name so we can check you out!  If you have multiple blogs, feel free to leave all of your links but please submit each link only once.  Leave a comment telling us what you like to blog about. You don't have to have a vintage themed blog to enter and if you submitted to my last Show Us Your Blog post, feel free to submit your link to this one too!


When the submissions end, I will randomly select one blog to feature in a post.


Almost Spring

Friday, February 24, 2012


 

I'm just not feeling my Friday Fashionista today so I hope to get her posted tomorrow. Blogs are all about fun and if you're not in the mood for something, it stops being fun if you have to do it anyway. So, on to date night instead :)

Yesterday was so beautiful and warm that I had the windows opened all day. When Pj got home from work, we took the kids outside to romp in the grass.

 Rhys was too little to crawl in the warmer months last year so this was his first time feeling the grass. At first, he didn't like it and kept crawling to me to sit on my skirt but after he saw Olivia run off, he wanted to chase her.


 For date night, I was really in the mood for sushi so we went to Sushi AI for dinner. I always get the honey roll, which is cream cheese, honey, rice wrapped up with tempura flakes on top. It's like sushi dessert! (that's the white/yellowy thing down there)

I also had eel and the spider roll, which is all cooked fish and crab. I'm not wild about the raw fish thing and am kinda picky about fish/shellfish in general so these are all tasty, non-bizarre things. The eel has a unique taste but is smoky and delicious!


 Every time we go, I do try to broaden my horizons and try something strange. This time, it was octopus sushi. It arrived and looked very pretty but I was still scared! (that's the white/purpley thing)








such a chicken

eeeeewwww!
The flavor was good but it was a textural freak-out, as Andrew Zimmern would say. Definitely not a fan, but I'm glad that I was adventurous and tried something new...and glad Pj was there to help me with the other half of it!

Outfit
skirt-handmade by me
vintage 50's blouse- estate sale
red cardigan-thrifted
shoes-thrifted
blue bird brooch-thrifted
vintage 50's earrings-Christmas gift from my Papa Dan 
*...and cute retro furniture from Lowe's last season!*


Tea and Knits in the Historic District

Thursday, February 23, 2012

 6
There's a tea room in St Charles that I've been wanting to visit for over 2 years.
 We finally went to Miss Aimee B's Tea Room. It's set in a beautiful Victorian house in St Charles, on First Capitol. The home is decorated in antique furniture, paintings of local buildings and dainty lace.





Delicious Italian sodas...and Lulu enjoying her OJ
  The food was absolutely delicious, the service was extremely friendly and helpful and the setting was gorgeous. I can't wait to go back!! There is a little shop upstairs, but the kids were feeling unruly so I hope to pop in next time.

Olivia's Apple Dumpling

Pj's Muffaletta

My Club Sandwich



 After brunch, we promised to take Olivia to play at the park on Main Street. Frontier Park is set on the Missouri River front of historic St Charles. Lewis and Clark departed from this site on their expedition of the Louisiana territory.
Getting ready for an expedition of their own


There is an old train station and lots of beautiful buildings. Most of these buildings are gift shops, with the attic space being rented out as apartments and lofts.




 
 We popped into the Knit and Caboodle for some yarn for my next project. I love all of the cute shop signs!

 Main Street is one of my favorite places on the face of the Earth. Pj and I had our first date and were married on Main Street. The hospital where my kids were born overlooks the old buildings and river. I grew up around here and I'm happy to call St. Charles home. If you're ever in the St Louis area, visit historic main street. It's a beautiful place to shop, lunch and explore.


 

60's Shelton Stroller dress- thrifted
50's cardigan-thrifted
50's brooch- from Great Grandma Alma
shoes-Kohls
tote/diaper bag by Transversion





Disclosure:Va-Voom Vintage is not an affiliate of Kohls or the St Charles Center of Tourism

I'm the model of the week!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Hello, darlings! I hope that everyone had a lovely weekend. Our was very relaxing. We took the kids out for breakfast yesterday and I rounded up my supplies for the Ooh la la Pin up Sew Along.  My printer kicked the bucket on me but my momma came to the rescue and printed my patterns for me. I'm making some of Anna's bias cut tap panties this week in addition to the bra and bandeau, which I love!



In other news, I'm the featured model of the week on Plusmodel411.com! Check out my interview and some of my favorite photos

  Plus Model 411 provides information, tips and inspiration for plus sized fashion models. While modeling is more of a hobby for me, there's still a lot that I needed to learn before getting into it and I learn more every time I go to a shoot.  If you've ever wanted to break into the world of modeling for fun or as a career, check out plusmodel411.com


 Va-Voom Vintage is not an affiliate of plusmodel411.com

Ooh la la Pin Up Sew- Along!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Lingerie aficionados, Anna from A Few Threads Loose and Sarah from Ohhh Lulu team up to bring us the fabulous Ooh la la Pin Up Sew-Along. The sew-along begins with Anna's new pattern for this amazing French Pin-up Corset garter belt and continuing with her French Pin-up Bra Corselet.



 A proper garter belt is a must-have piece for me. It has good tummy support for smoothing out any bumps and holds up your stockings without the discomfort of a full girdle. Finding a nice garter belt that you can wear (and not a Fredericks of Hollywood in-the-bedroom item) is no easy task so I am very excited to be able to sew my own!

 I'm joining in the fun, for sure! Pj worked from 3am to 7am this morning so after he has a good nap and I've sized my patterns, I'm going to the fabric store for some lovely pink satin.  I have almost all of Anna's gorgeous lingerie patterns and have been wanting to begin making my own unmentionables for a very long time. I'm so happy that I get to begin today. She sent me a copy of her 1940's Pretty Pretties booklet, which has a lot of information and how-to's on dainty details that you can do to add special touches to your handmade lingerie.


 Also on my must-sew is her beautiful vintage teddy pattern, which would be lovely to wear to bed on a hot summer night. The Pretty Pretties booklet gives instructions for a shell-edged hem and lace inserts. I think that would be beautiful to do on the legs of the teddy.


You can join in on the Ooh la la Pin Up Sew-Along at A Few Threads Loose and purchase the lovely sew-along kit (patterns for garter belt, bra and Pretty Pretties booklet) in her etsy shop, Mrs. Depew Vintage. Be sure to pop over to A Few Threads Loose for a coupon code for her shop and enter her giveaway to win the patterns for the sew-along!

A Day with My Sweethearts

Tuesday, February 14, 2012



Happy Valentines Day to everyone! I'm spending the day with all of my sweethearts. I was woken up by my darling kitty, Gypsy. I'm enjoying the day with my sweet kids and when Pj gets home from work, we're enjoying the evening at home, all 4 (5 including Gypsy) together.

 We never go out on V-day. It's just a mess. V-day in St Louis is always freezing cold, often snowy and not worth waiting an hour and sitting in a crowded restaurant to eat. Instead, we stay home, cook or order out and watch romantic comedies while lounging in our snuggly pajamas.
Braised Beef with Tortelloni via The Little Kitchen

  This year, I'm making one of my favorites, Olive Garden's Braised Beef with Tortelloni. The boneless spareribs simmer in the crockpot with marsala cream sauce all day and by the time dinner rolls around, the meat melts in your mouth. It's served with cheese-stuffed tortelloni and is divine! I really think that The Little Kitchen's recipe is even better than the stuff at Olive Garden.

 This afternoon, I'm watching some of my favorite romantic comedies on Netflix while I work on vintage repairs.

 How to Marry a Millionaire

 Marilyn, Lauren and Betty. Does it get any better? This one is great for the fashion and romance but so funny that it even made my husband laugh.

 Gentelmen Prefer Blondes


Marilyn again but this time with Jane Russell, about 2 gals, one hungry for love and the other hungry for money. Both getting into all sorts of trouble (and gorgeous outfits) while on a cruise ship. Also on Netflix is Gentlemen Marry Brunettes :)

Ball of Fire

I love Barbara's sassy attitude in this laugh-out-loud black and white flick. She's a showgirl running from the mob and Gary Cooper is a professor who needs to hear what street-talk sounds like so he can complete his encyclopedia entry for slang.

I hope that everyone has a lovely Valentines Day and gets to spend a little time with their sweetheart, be it a beau, a fur-baby or dear friend.
 x

Shopping at Sydney's Vintage Clothing

Saturday, February 11, 2012



I was on facebook this morning when I noticed a sale from one of my sponsors, Sydney's Vintage Clothing. She's having a 48 hour sale so you can save 45% off your order of $65 or more, just use coupon code "48HourSale" at the checkout.




I found Sydney's Vintage Clothing last year when I bought this fantastic 40's dress, which is one of my favorites! I love the print, the rhinestone buttons and all of the little details.



Sydney's arranges their clothes by size and era, making it easier to find exactly what you're looking for. Check out some of my favorite vintage dresses in large and extra large sizes



Sydney's has an excellent selection of clothing, amazing hats, shoes, jewelry, housewares and more. Be sure to follow her on facebook, twitter and check the site regularly for new additions and frequent sales.

Sydney's Vintage Clothing is a sponsor of Va-Voom Vintage

Friday Fashionistas: Wallis Simpson Duchess of Windsor

Friday, February 10, 2012



Thank you so much to everyone for your comments on my last post. It means the world to me that this little blog is such a big inspiration to so many people. I want you to know that you're an inspiration to me!!

Anyways, last week, I completely lost track of time and forgot to post my Friday Fashionista! So, I'm making up for it this week with an amazingly fashionable and intriguing lady, Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor.

The Lady
 Wallis Warfield was born in Pennsylvania. As a young woman, she attended a very high class school in Maryland and was described as always being well-dressed. She married and divorced a US Navy pilot and a shipping executive before meeting Edward, Prince of Wales, who was at the time, the heir to the throne.
 an excerpt from the Wallis Simpson biography at thebiographychannel.co.uk

"On 20 January 1936, King George V, Edward's father, died, and Edward became King Edward VIII. The Government and the people of Great Britain had high hopes for Edward, but his infatuation with Wallis distracted him from his state duties. He alienated palace courtiers and his unorthodox approach to Government matters caused concern amongst ministers.
Some claimed that Wallis may be a German spy, handing State papers over to the German government. Some historians still consider that she might have had connections there, given Edward's sympathies towards the Nazi regime in the late 1930s.
Marriage to a divorcee was a constitutional impossibilty, so King Edward was faced with three options: give up Wallis, keep Wallis and face the resignation of the entire government, or abdicate. He chose the last option."



The Legend

Many people hated the Duchess for her entire life. Rumors  spread about her private life, her fidelity and her loyalties to the allies during World War I. Of course, this photo didn't help matters! To this day, many people believe that Wallis was a Nazi sympathizer and was passing information to a high ranking Nazi official. Some say that her divorces had nothing to do with the abdication crisis and that her Nazi relationships were the cause of her exile.
The Duchess, looking delighted to meet Hitler....bad plan, honey!
 Maybe it's the romantic in me but I find her story to be fascinating and wonderful. Through scandal,  loss of the crown, and being practically exiled from England, Edward and Wallis stayed together until the day Edward passed away. Wallis remained single until her death in 1986.

I'm loving the matching turban and huge brooch
“I'm nothing to look at, so the only thing I can do is dress better than anyone else.”- Wallis Simpson

Madonna's film W/E, which chronicles the love story of Wallis and Edward was released in the US last week. It's not in theaters in my area yet but when I finally see it, I'll let you know! Be sure to check out the exquisite costumes in the W/E Vanity Fair spread.

Get Her Look
Since Edward gave up the crown to marry her, Wallis felt that she must always be thin and well-dressed for her husband. Likewise, since she gave up her reputation to marry him, Edward wanted nothing more than to shower Wallis with the finest jewels and clothes that money could buy. Her clothes featured sleek lines, outlandish jewels and the most couture and tailored details.



"If everyone looks at me when I enter a room, my husband can feel proud of me. That's my chief responsibility."



Read more about Wallis and her style here and here

Plus Size Vintage Q&A

Thursday, February 9, 2012


I get a lot of questions about my size, my wardrobe and how to find plus sized vintage clothes. I generally answer the questions as they come but Beth from Beth's Happy Day inspired me to write this post with her comment yesterday. Thank you, Beth!  This is a really long post but I wanted to be sure to answer all of your questions as best as I can. My carnival/car show photos were done by Leah Fauller in September.

Q:What size are you? 

 Honestly, I have no idea what dress size I wear. I sew most of my own pants and vintage dresses don't always have size tags. When I do find dresses with tags, I wear anything from a 16 to a 22. When I sew, I use pattern sizes 18-22, depending on the pattern maker.
My honest-to-goodness measurements are 43-36-47, I'm 207 pounds today, 5 feet 7 inches and wear a size 9-10 shoe. That's usually a wide shoe thanks to 2 pregnancies! Lately, I've been trying to get healthy so I have more energy to sew, knit, and of course, play with my kids.According to all reports, Dita Von Teese does Pilates, green smoothie for breakfast, salad lunch and responsible choices for dinner. I've been doing her method for 2 weeks and lost 5 pounds already! Hopefully I can keep up so I can fit back into some of my smaller dresses and girdles.

Q: What undergarments do you wear?

  For everyday, I wear high-waist panties with a little tummy control for that momma pooch of mine. And also a vintage/vintage style bra. My pointy vintage-y bras don't have any under wire in them but they really help support heavy breasts. I do feel like they have a minimizing effect too. A supportive bra helps to lift the breast and show off the waist, which gives an elongated look to the torso. I'm kind of odd because I wear vintage (used) bras. I find them at thrift stores, estate sales, vintage shops and online. If you aren't comfortable with wearing a used bra, you can still find brand new bras online. I  love the Exquisite Form Full-y bra style 532, designed for a larger cup size.I also have several of these lace cup crossover bras and find that they are comfortable enough to wear all day and give great support and both of these bra styles give a good vintage silhouette. When bra shopping, I look for anything with a 3 section cup, which gives a slightly pointy (but not too crazy) effect.
 I wear girdles but only for special occasions or with dresses that really need them. I have a few garter belts that I wear when I want stockings without the restriction of a girdle. All of my girdles are vintage. I found two at a local estate sale, a few from Donnaland, 3 from thrift stores and the garter belts from etsy. If you prefer brand new shape wear, check my vintage shopping page for online stores that carry lovely vintage inspired undies. 

Q: I'm completely confused on plus size sizing on the vintage girdles. Have no idea where to start...thus the fact that all girdles I own are very much modern day ones. Educate me please! 

 I'm not an expert on vintage girdles but I'll do my best! When you buy girdles online, they usually give you the measurements, so that's a good way to know if it fits. If it's a full girdle, sellers often go by the bust size. If it's a half girdle, they usually go by the waist or hip size. Some sellers simply label "large" "xl", etc.  If you're unsure, you can always ask for extra measurements before you buy. Not all vintage girdles have tags and ones that do have different sizing. Some of my girdles simply say "extra large" and others have bra size tags.
There are a lot of fitting issues that can be especially difficult for a plus sized woman. If the girdle has shorts-like legs, they might be constricting on the thighs. I have huge thighs so I either try it on before I buy or stick with open-bottom or panty girdles without long legs. I feel like open bottom girdles are usually the most comfortable and easy to fit. Another concern is that you want a girdle to be supportive but not too tight and if you have some extra junk in the trunk, you'll want to make sure it's long enough to cover the rear. Luckily, girdles have a little stretch to them. You can usually go an inch or two (sometimes 3 or 4) smaller without being miserable but you don't want to get a girdle that's too big unless you can make alterations.
If buying online, a seller often indicates how much stretch the girdle has. When buying online, be sure to check to see if the garter straps and stretch panels are dry-rotted. Over time that powernet can break down and become brittle, the garter elastic can dry rot and the garters themselves may need replacement. I've bought several really awesome girdles for a song and made repairs to them but not everyone wants the hassle of dealing with that.
this dress was found in an old attic in St Louis

Where do you find vintage clothes in bigger sizes?

All over the place! I find that a lot of plus sized 40's-50's clothes were probably older ladies garments but some of them are still very cute. Also, not all of my clothes are vintage. Some are modern with vintage inspired styling.
Thrift stores: Most of my clothes are from thrift stores. I'm on a very tight budget so I never spend a lot of money on expensive ebay purchases. I spend many hours scouring thrift stores for vintage but it's worth it! A lot of my skirts and blouses are modern (60's-now) with vintage inspired styling. Some of my dresses are more modern also. I have a few 60's-80's dresses that I really love. Some of them look totally 40's and they fit well so I go for it.  I used to buy shoes at thrift stores but most of them time, they don't fit quite right so I resist the urge and buy my shoes new.
Vintage Shops/Antique Malls: They aren't as affordable as the thrift stores but I do find cute things at vintage shops and antique malls. Sometimes, you can find great sales, especially off season at vintage shops. Since I'm on a budget, I shop vintage shops for special occasions like my birthday or after Christmas. If you find a booth at an antique mall that carries clothes, check back at least once per month for new additions. If something is damaged, some antique malls give a 10% off discount if you ask.
Craigslist/Estate Sales/Private Collectors: Check craigslist, estatesales.net and want ads. There are some people that collect vintage to wear or just for fun and often need to sell things to make extra cash or room for more. Some people have warehouses, attics, basements full of "junk" and if you're willing to dig, you can find amazing things. Buying in bulk is a great way to get bulk discounts too. Private collectors are likely to have larger sizes too. Some collectors are older ladies or cross dressers to tend to be larger sizes. On occasion, estate sale companies allow pre-sales by appointment or on weekday afternoons. If you can go before the madness begins, you might find plus sized treasures. See my post about shopping Estate Sales. When shopping private collections or random craigslist ads, always bring a friend and a cell phone. Meet in public if you can but never go alone. I've seen a few tempting craigslist guys who have a "huge collection of vintage in a storage shed". Don't take risks for the sake of clothes!
Online: There are so many sites to find plus sized vintage. Etsy and Ebay are my favorites, especially etsy. I do seaches for "vintage plus size" "plus size dress" 40's xl" "xl, l" or actually type the word "extra large" or "large" into your searches. Also, just check the "vintage" category. Don't limit yourself by era because some sellers don't know how to date clothes. You might find a gorgeous 40's dress that isn't tagged by era or you might find an 80's does 50's dress that you adore. By searching under "plus size" or one of the variations above, I avoid the disappointment of those totally adorable tiny dresses. I also search by lowest price first so I can find the best deals and won't be let down by things way out of my price range.
Sewing: When I first got into vintage, I sewed a lot of my own things. I started sewing when I was 12 and really loved making clothes. Making my own clothes ensures that things will fit perfectly. If you sew, you can enlarge really cute vintage patterns and make some amazing things in any size you like. I learned to sew from my grandma and great grandma. If you have a friend or relative that can teach you to sew, that's usually best but there are sewing classes at fabric stores, community colleges, community centers and private teachers. I cannot stress how valuable it is to sew, especially if you wear vintage. Some vintage dresses are 70 years old. If they get a rip, lose a button, need a hem or split at the seam, it's so important to know how to fix those things.

Q: I can never find cute vintage style shoes in my size. Where do you find yours? 

 A: Some of my shoes are thrifted, but like I said, I'm trying to avoid used shoes and buy new ones to last and to fit well. Believe it or not, you can often find great vintage-y shoes at Target, Kohls, Payless, and other shoe stores. Right now, I'm madly in love with shoes from Amerimark. I have a pair of t-strap pumps that I wear almost daily. They're affordable, very comfy and come in lots of sizes and widths. I always caution that they will call you after your order to try to sell some silly health insurance plan but after one "no thank you" they never bother again. They have some great bras, granny panties and shape wear also.

Q: What is the best vintage era for us heavy in the middle folks?
1930's plus size image via Bettes Bargains
A: I think the answer will be different for each person. If you're an apple or rectangle shape, you can either try to define a waistline or embrace your natural shape and have fun with garments that don't show off the waist. If you're wider in the middle with a slight waist and want to show off what you have, you can still play with nipped in styles of the 40's and 50's. A 50's dress with a full skirt can add volume to your lower half and give the illusion of a much smaller waist. If you prefer to not draw attention to your middle and/or don't mind that there's not a defined waist, you can have fun playing with styles of the 20's, 30's and 60's styles which are often very straight, tubular garments with fantastic details to draw the eye away from the middle. Apples or Rectangles usually have great arms and legs so those eras can really accentuate your best assets.

Q: Not all vintage clothes have size tags. How do you know what will fit when you find it?
A: The first thing I do is take accurate measurements of myself. I measure myself at least once per month, especially during periods of weight loss or eating too much over Christmas :) Burda Style gives great instructions of how to properly measure yourself. I generally measure only bust, waist, hip and bicep. Write those numbers down and keep it in your wallet. When you go shopping, make note of your measurements and measure garments with a measuring tape. I hate those disheartening dressing room struggles so measuring the garment prevents that and helps you to get a better idea of what size you really are.  Over time, you'll be able to tell if something will fit just by a glace. If in doubt, I go ahead and try it on. If it's a little too big, I buy it anyway and make alterations later. 



Junk in the Trunk! -Photo by Leah Fauller

Q:I'm having a hard time coping with my body size and I can't find any vintage in my size anymore. I used to wear a much smaller dress size. How do you get over those issues?

A: I always tell ladies to ignore the size tag because one brand's size 8 is another brand's size 12. What matters is how you feel. I would rather go up 3 dress sizes and be comfortable than try to sausage my butt into something just because the number on the tag.  I have saggy boobs from breastfeeding two kids, stretch marks from weight changes, scars from surgery, cellulite from too many french fries. I have "fat days" when I feel like a whale and I can't find anything to wear. I think that happens to most women, though.  I could throw on a pair of sweat pants and a t-shirt 3 sizes too big and hide under it or I could work with what genetics and my love of food gave me and do what I can to feel pretty. Life is too short to be insecure and unhappy about something as silly as dress sizes. I'm working on getting fit so I can have more fashion options but in the mean time, I try to have fun with what I have and show people that you don't have to be a certain size or shape feel pretty and be noticed. I went to the casino for my husband's birthday a few weeks ago. It was Saturday night. The skirts were tiny, the heels were tall and the tiny waists were abundant. I wore a pretty 40's dress, cute wedges and fixed my hair. I felt like the most elegant girl in the whole place. I got non-stop compliments all night from the gorgeous, skinny cocktail waitresses and smokin' hot girls prancing around in their little dresses. When you're comfortable in your skin and you feel pretty, that's all people see. They don't see a "fat chick" they see an elegant, beautiful woman that loves herself.


enjoying some of life's sweetness

I'm an odd shape and everything is too big or too small. What can I do to find clothes that actually fit?

Most women are not a "perfect" size. Many of us fall between a few size numbers. Most of my clothes need some sort of alteration to fit just how I like it. My bust and hips are bigger than my waist so I like to nip things in at the waist to show off my curves. I'm tall so I usually let a hem down and have to re-hem it so it not too short. In general, if a dress (or blouse or whatever) fits well at the largest part of your body, you can have alterations done to fit the rest of you. If pants are long but make your butt look great, you can hem them. If a cardigan doesn't gap at the bust but is too long, you can alter it to sit at your desired length. No matter what you wear, the most important thing is to have it fit properly to show off your best features. It's not always your body that's the problem, it's usually the clothes! 





Q: Do people say things to you when you go out in vintage?
A: Sometimes yes, sometimes they just gawk. I've never had a negative response though. People are just curious. My most frequently asked questions by strangers in public are "Why are you so dressed up?" and "How did you do your hair?" I've prepared myself for comments about my body size but so far, they have always been positive. Usually older gentlemen say nice things about "girls with meat on their bones" or that I look like their mother. A lot of ladies express interest in the style. It can be scary to expose yourself to the world when you're used to hiding your body but at the end of the day, it feels good to be noticed for being an elegant girl instead of blending in with the sea of t-shirts.


It takes a lot of time rooting through racks of clothes to find something that fits but believe me, there's loads of plus sized vintage out there, waiting for someone to find it and bring it home!

If anyone has any other questions about me or about plus sized clothes, you can email me at va_voomvintage@yahoo.com or leave your comment below. Thank you for your questions!!