Friday, January 30, 2009

Favorite Things Roundup: January 2009

  1. Corset liners by Amy Crowder (Wasp Creations)
Any regular tightlacer knows how important corset liners are. They're often overlooked, partially because they're completely unglamorous and not meant to be seen, but they can't be ignored. Corset liners help protect your skin against chafing and absorb some of your perspiration and natural body oils that can damage the corset itself and shorten its lifespan. (And there's no getting around the fact that you do have to fork over the dough for specialized corset liners, as anyone who has ever tried to use a thin tank top as a corset liner will tell you.) However, important though they are, I have found exactly one corset liner that I like, made by Amy Crowder at Wasp Creations. For a while, I only had one of her corset liners and wore it constantly, and went into denial when it eventually failed to serve its purpose. So you can imagine my joy when my guy put two of the liners in my Christmas stocking!

Like many other corset liners, hers are custom-made with your measurements, but my favorite thing about them is that they are long. Some corset liners are cut to cover just the section of skin under your corset, but this isn't enough. Over the course of a day, corset liners have a tendency to move around a little, inching their way up to your waistline, and that sucks. Amy's don't do that because there is length to spare, but also because of the ribbing she puts around the top and bottom of her liners which help them stay put. She also adds some red stitching to the side of the corset that is meant to be worn on the inside touching your skin. Really, it doesn't get easier than that. (For the record, her corsets are pretty incredible too, and among my favorites.)

2. Pin curls

I won't claim to have mastered them yet, but I've certainly improved with the help of my pin curl book and duckbill clips. One of the secrets is to have the patience to wind hair in appropriately small sections; it's tempting to take too much hair for one curl. The other secret is the aforementioned duckbill clip. Bobby pins make unsightly creases in the curls, but duckbills lie flat across your hair. Plus, they're easier to remove than bobby pins, since they're bigger. The look that comes out with proper pin curling is one that looks natural and holds better than any set of rollers I've ever used, be they foam, plastic or velcro hot rollers. Yes, it's a bit of extra work, but trust me--it's worth it!

3. Aretha Franklin's hat

I may be going out on a limb with this one, but I have to say I liked it. She's gotten some teasing about it, but on the flip side there has been a rush of orders to the milliner who made it. I think it was at once both bold yet appropriate for the occassion. Opting for a blue-grey color was subdued enough for the inauguration, and I love that the hat was not much more than a pillbox with an oversized bow, and a border of rhinestones to catch the afternoon sun. Being Aretha Franklin, she could have shown up wearing a giant-brimmed rainbow job teeming with feathers and pulled it off, because after all, the inauguration was a joyful event well worth celebrating. She toned it down from what she might usually wear onstage, but stayed true to herself and kept some of her bravado in style, all while evoking the big-hat style found in many black congregations--for this was a holy occassion in many ways. And may I say that standing on the Mall listening to her sing, I felt there could be no compromising of her style regardless of her clothing.

4. Puppy Bowl

Okay, I know it's not at all related to pin-ups, and technically it takes place in February this year, but Puppy Bowl has to be added to this list. Watching puppies roll around and play in a playpen tricked out like a football stadium is so much more enjoyable to me than football. And then they have the kitty half-time show, and the parrot singing the National Anthem to open the whole thing, and I'm gone. As in, I'm trying to convince my man that we need to adopt more puppies and kittens immediately. Watching it makes me happy, which is more than I can say for most things on TV.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

And the winner is...

First off, thanks to everyone who participated in our very first giveaway. The winner, who will receive one free pair of frilly knickers, is wanderingblueeyes!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Last day for Pandora's Choice Giveaway! is the LAST DAY to enter in the Pandora's Choice giveaway! Visit the site and comment back here by midnight tonight(EST) to be in the drawing for one free pair of frilly knickers! See my post below for more info.

(And, share the lingerie love by linking to them on your own site or blog!)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Pandora's Choice Giveaway!

As you know, I don't endorse things here that I don't genuinely adore. I'm not paid to endorse anything, and there are no ads on this blog. So when I tell you that Pandora's Choice is every pinup's one-stop shop for vintage lingerie, I mean it. To prove it to you, I have arranged with the lovely people at Pandora's Choice to give away frilly knickers to one lucky Pin-up Tales reader!

Here's what you do: Go to the Pandora's Choice website. Browse around, then comment back here and tell me about a couple of your favorite items on the site. This shouldn't be too hard, given that the shop has everything from stockings by What Katie Did (my personal favorites), to corsets, girdles, bullet bras, bustles, petticoats, makeup, gloves and more. Next Thursday, the names of everyone who commented will be put into a hat, and one lucky pinup will win a pair of frilly knickers! For the guys out there, these make a great gift, and Valentine's Day is coming...

And that's it! Get your soon-to-be-frilly-knickered rear in gear, browse the beautiful site and comment back here no later than midnight on Wednesday, January 21. Please spread the word about the giveaway on your own blog or website, and be sure to link to Pandora's Choice as well. If this goes well, we may be able to do it again!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Under My Tree

Happy new year, readers! Apologies for taking some time to post this week. It's taken some time to get back to life sans holiday plans…holiday life was fun while it lasted.

It lives on, though, in the amazing gifts I had from Santa under my tree. The big present from my guy this year was a pair of shoes by Natacha Marro. If you're not familiar with her, you should be. She's a French shoe designer living and working in London, all of her shoes are custom-made (my guy slyly traced my foot months ago), and they can often be found gracing catwalks and red carpets all over the world. Mine are the Tango in black patent, and the heel is a perfect six inches tall. Especially smart is the metal end she places on the bottom of the stiletto--ever notice how that plastic piece on your heel wears down so quickly? Plus, the insides are super-padded, so these vertigo-inducing shoes are actually quite comfy to wear.

Another favorite gift is a hat from Noxenlux Chapeaux. Like all great hats, it is a piece of sculptural art in itself, and makes a statement that is at once simple, bold and elegant. I wore it on a recent day out, and several smiles appeared as I noticed eyes drifting upwards at my head. Of course I get pleasure from wearing it, but it's especially fun when others get some sort of pleasure from seeing it.

Finally, in my stocking I got a gift that keeps on giving in a book called "1940s Hairstyles." It is my understanding that this book is no longer printed, making it very difficult to find and purchase. Having seen pages of it here and there online, it is one I have long coveted, and now it is mine. Perfect pin curls, pageboys, finger waves, bumper bangs and many other assorted hair styles are covered, giving you what you need to know in order to make yourself pinup perfect the same way ladies did it over 50 years ago. With the book I got a set of pin curl clips. Together with the book, I've been practicing my pin curls, sometimes with much frustration. I'll get it right eventually. Practice makes perfect, and some of these styles are a lot harder than they may look.

And when I say it is a gift that keeps on giving, I mean it: I am giving it to you. "1940s Hairstyles" exists as a PDF file, which is shared for free from folks in the know (copyright be damned). So go ahead--click here, practice, and enjoy. I hope it brings you joy and beauty through 2009 and beyond.

Coming soon: The First Pin-up Tales Giveaway! Check back here on Tuesday, January 13!
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