Friday Fashionistas: Rita Hayworth


how to dress like Rita Hayworth and get her classic vintage style

Rita Hayworth vintage fashion

Rita Hayworth in color

This week's Friday Fashionista had effortless style, rare beauty and the best hair in the history of the planet (at least I think so!) She was a model, actress and dancer....Rita Hayworth!

Rita Hayworth in color

The Lady
Margarita Carmen Cansino was born in Brooklyn  on October 17, 1918. Her parents were both dancers and enrolled Rita in classes when she was very young. Due to her dancing, she got her first feature in the short film, La Fiesta when she was eight. Her father took Rita with him to Hollywood to make her a dancing star but the Great Depression killed his business. Since Rita was too young to perform in night clubs in California, he took her to Tijuana, Mexico, where they performed under the name "The Dancing Cansinos". She had a few small roles in films throughout her dancing years but when the dance act was noticed by an executive from Fox, he signed her on for a 6 month movie contract.

Rita Hayworth young Rita Cansino

Through small roles with Fox and Columbia Pictures, Rita was type-cast as an exotic foreigner but Columbia Pictures soon decided that she needed to change her look. She dyed her hair red, re-shaped her brows and raised her hairline. She began using the name "Hayworth" from her mother's maiden name "Haworth"

The Legend

In 1941, her photo appeared in Life Magazine, making her one of the top pin up girls of World War II, second only to Betty Grable.
rita hayworth boudoir robe

In '46, she appeared in her legendary title role, Gilda as the alluring femme fatale. Her song and dance number in the slinky black dress caused quite a stir,

Rita worked as a model for Max Factor, throughout the 40's, promoting their classic Pan-Stick makeup and Tru-Color lipsticks.  The Artists League of America voted her lips "best in the world" in 1949
rita hayworth max factor color vintage makeup ad


 Get The Look
 Rita was known for her wavy red locks, satin gowns and glamorous style but while she was relaxing, she wore
peasant blouses and circle skirts, funky shoes and typical 40's day wear 
Rita Hayworth full color
That's one hot mama!
Rita Hayworth in Gilda as a femme fatale
Rita in Gilda

 Rita Hayworth vintage latina styleRita Hayworth color in vintage 1940s shorts fashionrita hayworth vintage style

Heyday Trousers: How I found my correct size


1940s plus size pants swing trousers from Heyday

After many of you expressed interest in my Heyday trousers, I thought I'd talk a little bit about how I chose the right size for my shape. 

 I am always worried about fitting pants because of my curvy figure. I have a 35.5 inch waist, 46.5 inch hip, belly pooch and junk in the trunk. Heyday's models are all gorgeous, physically fit ladies so I wasn't sure if they would be a good fit for someone with my shape. Fitting pants is always a challenge because our bodies are all different.

 The Heyday site advises to go by your hip measurement because the waist can always be taken in or let out by a seamstress. 
size chart from the Heyday website
My current hip measurement is 46.5 inches and waist is 35.5. Although my waist size falls between the size 16 and 18, my hip is half an inch bigger than the size 18. I went up to the size 20 so I'd have enough room for hips and butt. It's always best to have plenty of room in the hip because you can alter the waist if needed.

How to Measure your Body
To measure your waist, measure around the smallest part of your mid-section, not around your belly button. Your natural waist is actually a few inches above your belly button.
1940s plus size pants for casual vintage fashion 

 To Measure your hip- measure the widest part, which is a few inches below your belly button (See the first image above). When measuring, make sure that you are breathing normally and standing straight for the most accurate measurement. Hold the measuring tape firmly but not tight while taking your measurements.
Waist- Heyday trousers are generously cut to allow for adjustment. My size 20 trousers have enough seam allowance in the waist to be let out an extra few inches, if needed.

Length- The leg length on all of their trousers is 31.5 inches so if you're tall like me (I'm 5'7), you don't have to worry about high-waters. If you're shorter, the hem can be easily adjusted at home or by a seamstress.

Tricks for Trousers
My main worry about these (and any) high waist trousers is my mom belly. I was curvy to begin with but after having two kids in the past 2 1/2 years, that lower belly area certainly hasn't gotten any better. My trick are high waist panties with a little bit of belly support or if you need more support, a pantie girdle or Spanx. Granny panties are a curvy gal's best friend. I wear mine every day and they are wonderful. They give you a little nip in at the natural waist, smooth out any lumpy areas and create a smooth foundation for any form fitting garments.  I buy mine at Target, next to the shape wear.
1940s plus size pants for casual vintage fashion

One of my favorite points of the Heyday trousers are the darts at the front and back, which create a flat surface and smooth line across the belly and rear. Bless them for those fabulous darts! A wide leg trouser of any kind is a flattering fit for someone with a large hip or waistline. That illusion of thickness at the lower leg balances out the wide middle and these high waist trousers create a fantastic curve at the hip and definition of the waist.

If you order the wrong size, most purchases are easily exchanged.  Before placing your order, See Heyday's Shipping and Return policies for details.

Anyway, I hope that helps you ladies out when ordering your Heyday trousers. They really are fantastic pants and I hope you love yours as much as I do! Do any of you gals have a pair? Tell me all about them!

 Heyday Vintage Style is a sponsor of Va-Voom Vintage. All of the above opinions are my own.

Tutorial: Marilyn Makeup


 I finally decided that it was time to try my hand at a makeup tutorial so I started with Marilyn. I'm still getting the hang of YouTube tutorials so please excuse some of the shadows and mirror in the shot. I think I'm going to bring my sun lamp in next time I do one of these! Anyway, here it is...

Friday Fashionistas: Mamie Eisenhower


mamie eisenhower fashion icon, how to get her classic vintage style

 The Lady
Mamie Doud was born on November 14, 1896 in Boone, Iowa. her father made his success in the meat packing business. Throughout her childhood, he showered her and her sisters with fineries. Mamie attended public school in Denver, Colorado, followed by finishing school at the high class Miss Wolcott's. For the health of her mother and sister, Mamie's family spent winters in the warm climate of San Antonio, Texas. It was there, in 1915 when she met Ike Eisenhower, a very handsome Lieutenant.They were engaged 4 months later and married 5 months after that. Although Mamie was used to ordering servants around, she became an army wife, traveling the world, living on base with her husband until World War II. During the war, Mamie was very active in volunteer work and charity. She had two sons, "Little Icky" and "Johnny". Little Icky died of scarlet fever at the age of three and Johnny became a student at West Point. 

Mamie was so well known for her graciousness that the family's military homes became known as "Club Eisenhower". She was a kind hearted, genuine woman who cared deeply for her loved ones. She took great care to maintain her appearance with the grace and elegance of a high class lady. 
mamie eisenhower 1950s fashion
Ike and Mamie- 1945
The Legend
 Mamie Eisenhower became the 34th First Lady of the United States in 1953. On the same day of the inauguration, Joan Olander signed her contract with Universal Studios and became named "Mamie Van Doren" after the new first lady. 

mamie eisenhower 1950s fashion

Mamie Eisenhower was the embodiment of the perfect 1950's wife.  She viewed her job as First Lady as a simple one. She was the hostess of her home, a wife and mother.While other First Ladies had an agenda such as charity or fighting drug abuse, Mamie Eisenhower's only duty was to take care of her home and her family. Although she was a grandmother, she dressed the part of a youthful, beautiful woman. 
mamie eisenhower 1950s fashion
Just an average 50's housewife, taking inventory of the basement pantry...but always in style!
"Eisenhower followed her husband's lead in using a "hidden hand" approach to make her opinions known. The first lady never spoke openly about her views on integration but made her point by being an honorary member of the National Council of Negro Women, inviting Mahalia Jackson to perform at one of her birthday celebrations and making sure the 4-H Club Camp for Negro Boys and Girls were included in special tours of the White House."- from

mamie eisenhower 1950s fashion

 Get the Look 
 Mamie Eisenhower was all about pink! Her famous inaugural gown was pink, covered in 2,000 rhinestones. During the Eisenhower administration, the White House was called "The Pink Palace because the First Lady decorated the presidential bedroom completely in pink. Ike must have been a saint of a husband to put up with all of that pink! Mamie was so loved by American women that they followed her lead and wanted pink bathrooms, kitchens and more so the rosy shade was named "Mamie Pink". Her short, curly fringe became known as "Mamie bangs"

mamie eisenhower 1950s fashion pink gown

Mamie loved classic accessories such as cheerful hats, dainty earrings and brooches, pearls and white gloves. She was always on the lists for "Best Dressed" and "Most Admired"

Date Maker 1946


1940s date maker cardigan and heyday vintage clothing swing trousers

plus size 1940s trousers and victory rolls
Loving my new trousers from Heyday
 It's date night again and this week is much needed. The kids have been crazy this week!!
 Some date nights we go out for dinner, movies, fun with friends without little ones but sometimes, we like to grab some food and go back home to veg out and enjoy the quiet. This is one of those quiet, relaxing "dates".

 Today, I wore my 1940's date maker cardigan that I knitted all by myself! I'm so proud of it, as it's my first knitting project. I first saw the pattern at By Gum by Golly and fell in love but when I saw how gorgeous it is all knitted up at Tickety Boo Tupney, I had to make one too! It took me about a month and a half to complete. I love it so much, I will eventually knit a another in a different color. The weather in St Louis is getting too warm for chunky knits but you will be seeing a lot of this cardigan in the fall. Thank you SO much to Tasha for posting this amazing pattern!
1940s date makers cardigan and victory rolls
check out that lovely "V" shape down the sleeve

 I chose this mustard yarn (Vanna's Choice by Lion Brand) because I love mustard but it's hard to find pre-made cardigans in the odd color. Since it was my first project, I wanted a decent but cheap yarn in case I decided to give up on knitting, like I have done so many times in the past.  I really love the details of this knit. The diagonal rib, forming the "V" in the back, the belt and crocheted buckle all really make this cardigan special.
1940s date maker knitted cardigan and victory roll updo
hair tutorial coming this weekend!!
  Last time I wore it, I paired it with a navy skirt . Since it's a casual date night, I wore it with my new Heyday swing trousers and vintage white button-up blouse. I practically live in these trousers. They are incredibly comfortable, fit beautifully and great to wear while romping with my babes
1940s style swing trousers plus size from heyday vintage clothing
Getting tackled and ticked by Rhys-beast, the diaper butt man
1940s plus size pants and free knitting pattern for 1946 date maker cardigan

vintage blouse- estate sale
1940's date maker cardigan-knitted by me!!
1940's style swing trousers- Heyday Vintage Clothing
1940's repro Rug Cutter wedges-Aris Allen (
vintage fabric hair bow- Jack's Daughter

Heyday is a sponsor of Va-Voom Vintage

How to Identify Bakelite


how to test and identify vintage bakelite jewelry from Va-Voom Vintage

bakelite jewelry and accessories collection from Va-Voom Vintage
Bakelite bracelets, a hair brush, buckles and carved button

After my past few posts, I've had some requests for how to spot Bakelite. It's usually pretty easy to tell, especially because there are so many testing methods. Some of these testing methods have exceptions so it's always best to use multiple tests for the most accurate results

Leo Bakeland, inventor of bakelite
Leo Baekeland, The inventor of Bakelite
 Bakelite is an early plastic, created in 1907. It contains phenol, formaldehyde and a wood flour filler. When the phenol and formaldehyde are mixed together, the reaction of the the chemicals under the correct pressure and temperature creates this amazing, hard plastic.

 In the case of jewelry, the Bakelite was extruded, sliced, molded or carved to create the shape of the piece.

Visual Inspection
 Many Bakelite pieces are kept in cases, behind glass so you can give it a good look-over before bothering someone to unlock the case. A visual inspection is the only thing you can do when buying Bakelite online.

Check for Seams- Checking for seams is the first test I do when looking at a bangle. Bakelite bracelets should not have any seams on the inside of the bangle.

Of course, there will be exceptions to the rule if the piece is made of different colors stacked together, like these green and black earrings.
two-sided Bakelite earrings, which do have seams

Inspect Hardware- if buying a brooch, the pin back will be embedded into the Bakelite or riveted on, not glued. In the case of new brooches made using Bakelite findings, the pin back may be glued on.  I also have a few pairs of Bakelite earrings with the clip-on earring back glued on.

a riveted pin back on a Bakelite brooch
Chips and Wear- Bakelite that is carved may have small chips along the carving and scratch lines inside of the carved space, which is evidence of the tool used to create the design. If the carving lacks scratch lines, it may be a modern reproduction.

It is not uncommon for older Bakelite pieces to have a small chip. In fact, a chip may help you to reveal the identity of the plastic. If the piece has a chip or scratch, the color of the plastic revealed from the damage will be the same as the surface color. In my recently purchased fake bangles, one of the bangles had a scratch which, revealed a white plastic under the surface, a tell tale giveaway.

an example of chips and carving lines
On the Surface- Bakelite has a very distinctive shine. It reflects light but is not too glossy. The surface should be extremely smooth. In online photos, the surface can be difficult to determine due to camera flash and unclear photos but any pock-marks or lumpiness in the surface will sound alarms.

Fake Bakelite or "fakelite" sometimes has a chalky coat , which does not occur on Bakelite. Below is an example of the marbling, shine and translucency of Bakelite versus other plastics. The bangle is real and the earring is modern plastic.

Colors and Marbling- the colors of Bakelite are usually obvious but on occasion, there are odd shades that pop up. Bakelite comes in various shades of red, green, black, butterscotch, cream, orange, brown, root beer (brown translucent swirl), apple juice (translucent pale yellow) and my favorite-blue or turquoise.

 Some Bakelite pieces are a mixture of colors swirled together, like this yellowy green "creamed spinach" or this swirled red. In any marbled piece, there should be vertical lines on the inside of the bangle. This root beer bangle (top bangle on the right) is pretty swirly on the inside but still has a general vertical pattern.

Once it's in your Hands....
after you get to touch the piece, you can really begin the investigation. 
Weight- Bakelite tends to be heavier than modern plastics, Lucite and celluloid. Familiarizing yourself with the proper weight of a piece and to compare it to other Bakelite jewelry items will make a world of difference in your Bakelite hunting adventures. If it feels very light, try some of the other testing methods.

Texture- as mentioned above, Bakelite is generally very smooth. There are odd cases when it comes to a very worn, old piece or bangle that is heavily carved. Bakelite should not be lumpy to the touch and if you run your fingernail across the piece, your nail should slide with ease and it should not be grainy.

Sound- One thing I really love about wearing Bakelite is the clack noise when they tap together. This is another way to test the authenticity of the plastic. It should be a heavy, low-pitched clack. The size and weight of the items will create a different sound so this method isn't as reliable and should always be used with other tests. It is fun and interesting to try and has really helped me to identify Bakelite.

Smell- the rub and sniff is my tried and true method of choice and is very handy if you don't have any chemicals around to test it. Rub the piece with your thumb until it becomes warm and give it a sniff. If it is Bakelite, it will give off the chemical scent of formaldehyde. This test has worked on every piece in my collection, although some older pieces or black jewelry needs a bit more rubbing before it works.

Some pieces give off a stronger scent than others. The smell test doesn't work for everyone so don't be disappointed if your nose can't detect the smell, it may still be a genuine piece of Bakelite. You can also do this test by running it under hot water for a few seconds. If you do use the rub and sniff, be careful. I don't know how many thumb blisters I've had from rubbing loads of plastic over and over!

Using Chemicals
After trying the above tests, it should be conclusive weather or not you have a genuine piece of Bakelite. I have never needed to use chemicals to test my Bakelite but if you want to give it a try, here's how! Please note that you should always ask permission before using chemicals on a dealer's goods. Always test the piece on the inside of the bangle, back of an earring or any inconspicuous area. The chemicals should be rinsed off right away.
 Simichrome- Simichrome is a metal polish that comes in a tube and a tiny bit goes a long way! Get a little bit of Simichrome on a q-tip and gently rub the surface of the piece. If the piece is Bakelite, the q-tip will turn yellow.

This method may not work on heavily lacquered pieces or on black Bakelite.I asked the gals on my facebook page about Simichrome last week and they all confirm that they have never had a piece of fakelite test positive with Simichrome.

409-an all purpose household cleaner, used the same way as Simichrome. The cotton swab should turn yellow if it is genuine.

Harmful testing
Scrubbing bubbles was once used to test Bakelite but it has been found to strip the surface of the plastic. The hot pin test is also a possibly damaging test in which a pin is heated till red and pressed into the plastic. If it is Bakelite, it shouldn't melt but it's not worth attempting.

If It Fails to Pass The Test
If it fails to pass the test, it probably is not Bakelite but that doesn't mean that it's worthless. There are loads of beautiful Lucite, celluloid and other vintage plastics to collect or wear just because you like them. Celluloid and Lucite can be just as collectible as Bakelite.

Some collectors might shoot me for saying so, but I think fakelite is pretty awesome. If you can get it for a dirt cheap price, you get the look of the real deal for less! Many costume jewelry stores carry plastic bracelets, necklaces and earrings that look a lot like Bakelite. I bought each of these Bakelite look-a-likes for $1!

Where to Find Bakelite
Etsy and eBay have lots of beautiful Bakelite pieces, but buying online can be scary business sometimes. There are lots of reputable dealers out there so my best advice is to read descriptions thoroughly, inspect the pictures with a close eye and ask questions if in doubt.

When buying in person, check flea markets, estate sales, garage sales, vintage fairs, antique shops, resale stores and rummage sales. I think the best find still goes to my best friend, Amanda, who found a bakelite spacer at a clothing resale shop for a quarter!

 Stick your tube of simichrome in your purse, keep a watchful eye and may the best gal find the treasure!

 I hope this post helps! I would love to hear any of your favorite testing methods and experiences with Bakelite

Also be sure to check out my e-book, Pins for Pin-Ups: DIY Brooches for Retro Girls for 12 vintage brooch projects, including a bakelite-inspired cherry brooch!


My Bakelite Collection


bakelite jewelry collection from va-voom vintage

I'm a collector of many things but one of my main obsessions is bakelite. I started collecting bakelite about 2 years ago. When other wives want diamonds from their husbands, I want old plastic. I love the clack noise that they make and all of the beautiful colors.  Many of my bangles and earrings were found digging through antique mall booths and flea markets. I found several of them marked "plastic bracelet" at the cost of a few bucks and a blister from the rub-n-sniff test.  I find such excitement and suspense, digging through piles of junk, looking for my plastic treasures, inspecting, rubbing, smelling them like a lunatic and finally striking gold. I am so thankful to have a husband with rough hands and a keen sense of smell to help me!

bakelite earring collection from Va-Voom Vintage

carved bakelite earrings from Va-Voom Vintage

carved bakelite bangle bracelets from Va-Voom Vintage

blue bakelite bracelet

red bakelite bangle bracelets

green bakelite bangle bracelets

pink bakelite spacer bracelets
bakelite earring hoops
the dangling butterscotch earrings were my first Mother's Day gift from Pj and Olivia

bakelite necklace and hat pin
                                      a bakelite necklace and hat pin, both a surprise find!
bakelite button stud clip earrings

bakelite rootbeet bangle bracelet
My first bakelite
red and green bakelite bangle bracelet
Christmas gifts from Amanda (red) and Pj (green)
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