Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Happy Birthday to the Queen of The Pin Ups

Hey guys and dolls!

That's right today is Bettie Page's birthday! She would have been 92 today! I have an undeniable love for Bettie Page since she is one of the main reasons I found  passion for all things vintage. I was around 14/15 and was dealing with a bad hair cut so my bangs were a mess so I ended up cutting them short and rounded unaware that this was the beginning of my vintage journey. I remember an older lady coming up to me in Walmart saying how I reminded her of a famous pin up named Bettie Page. I kindly thanked her despite having no clue what she was talking about. I later went home and searched this ionic women that the older lady mentioned. The instant I seen her I fell in love with her raven hair, bright blue eyes and smile, and those killer bangs. I wanted to be just like her, so I being exploring vintage fashion and noticed how natural it felt so then I started to look at vintage furniture and cars. I felt like I belonged for once in my life.

Enough about me though lets talk about the babe called Bettie Page. As we all know Bettie was born on April 22, 1923 in Nashville Tennessee. She was one of six children to Walter and Edna Page. She actually went to college and going to be a teacher, but then changed over acting hoping that she could be a movie star like the ones she use to embody as a teenager with her sister. She did graduate with a Bachelor of Arts. Her first job was typing for an author before getting married and then divorced. She later moved to New York purse being an actress, and also worked as a secretary to support herself. Though in 1950 Coney Island would forever change Bettie's life. She was noticed by Officer Jerry Tibbs who recommended her to try pin up modeling, and was also the one that gave Bettie the idea for her signature bangs to hide her high forehead.

Bettie went on to pose for camera clubs, and became a hit due to her openness with posing. Her images appeared in many men's magazines, and was actually Miss January 1955 in Playboy. Bettie went on to work with Irving Klaw and his sister Paula, where she would pose for both pin up and fetish/BDSM themed shoots. These photos are some of the most well known photos of Bettie. Whether it was her being the dominate one or being the helpless victim. Even in the 50s everyone had their fantasies that did not conform to the 50s ideals. She was also featured in two burlesque films with stars like Lili St. Cyr and Tempest Storm.
Bettie Page and Irving Klaw standing next to each other
Bettie also worked with pin up turned photographer Bunny Yeager, which in my opinion turned out to be some of my favorite photographs of Bettie. After a few years of posing for Bunny and Irving Bettie disappeared from the public eye, up until she found out about her growing popularity, and the rest is history.
Bunny Yeager and Bettie Page posing with two live Cheetahs
Like many women I have Bettie Page to thank for my interest in the vintage/pin up world, as well as showing that it was okay to be yourself. I always make sure I celebrate Bettie's birthday since I owe her so much. And just like every year today I was able to add on more piece to my Bettie Page collection.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Vintage Television

Hey guys and dolls! 
Today I will be talking about some of my favorite vintage television shows! Growing up I was always with my grandparents, and my great grandma Kathy so of course I was always surrounded by old television shows. As I got older I started to love them more and more, and once they started coming out on DVD and at times blu ray I become a collector.

First up we have one of my all time favorite shows The Twilight Zone.

You are traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. Your next stop, the Twilight Zone!
The Twilight Zone was created by a man named Rod Sterling that aired from 1959 to 1964. It featured unrelated episodes with different themes that ranged from thriller, drama to horror and science fiction. It was also the starting point for many famous stars during the 60s.

I grew up watching The Twilight Zone with my Father every Saturday Morning when the Sci-Fi/Syfy channel would show reruns. I fell in love with it and was one of my favorite shows growing up but was never able to talk about it with other since other children and teenagers had no idea what I was talking about. I grew distant from it once the Sci-Fi/Syfy channel stopped showing it, but I found it on Amazon Prime and Netflix and instantly fell in love again.

Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, Batman!
Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, Batman!
Batman, Batman, Batman!
Batman was a live action television show that aired from 1966 to 1968, and was based on the character Batman from the DC comic books. The series took you on adventures of two crime fighters Batman (Adam West) and Robin (Burt Ward) in the city of Gotham.

I sadly cannot say that I have loved the Batman television show for that long or even knew about the series until recently, but I have always loved the comic book, and cartoon shows of Batman. About a year ago my cable company added a channel called Me-Tv that shows old time televisions shows, and on Saturday they have Sci-Fi Saturday that features shows such as Superman, Batman, Wonder Women, Star Trek, and then a old Sci-Fi movie. I learned about the live action Batman show I instantly feel in love and ended up pre ordering the blu ray collection of the Batman Series.

I Love Lucy
I love Lucy and she loves me. Were as happy as two can be. Sometimes we quarrel but then. How we love making up again. Lucy kisses like know one can. She's my misses and i'm her man. And life is heaven you see. Cause I Love Lucy. And she loves me.
I believe that I love Lucy is one of the most iconic television shows ever. I have seen Lucille Ball's face on just about everything. As many of us know I Love Lucy is about Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball) and her husband Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz) and all the antics that Lucy puts them in. The show also features Fred Mertz (William Frawley) and Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance) who are Lucy and Ricky's best friends as well as their landlords who join in on the fun whether they like it or not. The show ran from 1951 to 1960, and gave way to two more shows featuring Lucille and Desi. 

I wold say that I Love Lucy was on of the first shows I ever watched in black and white and instantly fell in love. I also found it fascinating how Lucille and Desi were actually married in real life, which is not something you see very often, unless you are watching a reality television show. Whenever I am feeling down I always pop my I Love Lucy DVD and let the laughs and smiles come out. Fun fact for you all, the town where Lucille Ball was born and grew up is only a couple of hours from where I live. They have a museum dedicated to both her and Desi. Sadly I have never been there but I hope to one day.

Leave It to Beaver

When I think of 1950s culture I instantly think of Leave it to Beaver. Although it started in late 1957, I feel that Leave it to Beaver exhibits what every all american 50s family shrived to be. Leave it to Beaver tells the adventures of Theodore or known as "the Beaver", as well as the rest of his family. 

I have a soft spot for Leave it to Beaver since it was a show I use to stay up to watch on Tvland as a child. As I got older though I started to enjoy the show more because I started picking up on the queues for stereotypes and stigmas that the show reinforced about 50s culture, and as a college student that's fascinated with subliminal messages in both media and advertising, this was a show that was still appealing as I got older. One episode I will never forget though is the one when Mr. Cleaver is outside grilling, and Beaver asks him why Mom is not out there cooking. Mr. Cleaver pretty much says that it's because Mrs. Cleaver is a women and that means that she is suppose to stay in the home and in the kitchen, and that grilling is a man's job. It does not offend me, instead it makes me laugh a bit because that's just how the family dynamic was back then.

Those are just a few of my favorite vintage television shows, and I hope to hear about your favorites as well. I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend, and a great week ahead of them.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

The House Across the Street

Hey guys and dolls!

I have lived on my street for a little under 18 years, and like most streets around the area where I live there is always that one house you never see anyone visit or even leave. As a child growing up I was always told by the older kids that the house was haunted, and that a murder took place there. Mostly the typical things that teenagers use to torment children. Well recently I noticed people coming and going out of the house, curiously but naively I went over to see if they needed help "being a friendly neighbor", but mainly it was because I was being nosy. I found out that the old lady that was living there had passed away sadly, and that the family planned on selling all the items in the house and invited me to come. I of course gave my respects to the family, and then said I would definitely come since I've never been to an estate sale.

So the day comes that estate sale is taking place. I dragged my mom with me since I felt slightly uneasy about going in to a house with people I have only talked to on one occasion. We walked in and made small talk with the daughter of the older lady that had passed away. She started going on about what was in the house and some of things that they had up for sale.

That's when the adventure had begun. I have been to several yard sales, and had a knack for finding different kitsch things, and vintage treasures. I had 4 levels of house to cover and I felt like I was in heaven. On the second floor was when I found the love of my life. A 1940s bed set that belonged to the owner of the house, and the price tag said 40 dollars. 40 dollars I thought to myself, that's awfully cheap for this beautiful set, then another thought came to my mind. Someone may buy this and end up ruining it, instead of caring for it like I would and respect the craftsmanship that went into making it. So my mom turned into my personal handler as she carried around this big box filled with pink and white cloth.
Here is the pattern of the the bed set, with my cat Sky in the corner. I am to worried to spread it all out just yet, but once I do I will post a better photo.
I rummaged around in a few more rooms when I found something I could not leave without. Have you ever had that feeling when you hold something in your hand that you just have to have it? Well that's how I felt when I picked up this mirror and bush set. As soon as I picked it I had this feeling that it was meant to be mine, and that I could not leave the place without so it went home with me especially since it was only 10 dollars. Strangely though that night something made me watch Vincent Price's House On Haunted Hill, which is a movie I usually save for Halloween. As I was watching I noticed something eerily strange, his wife in the movie uses a brush and mirror that looks somewhat like the set I bought earlier in the day. Have you ever bought something vintage and seen something similar is an old movie?

Next time you watch A House on Haunted Hill look for my brush set! ;)
So a few weeks later they opened the house up again to sell more items that did not sell the first time around. So excited about my bed set and brush set I decided to venture over there again. I talked to the family and told them about how I was so excited about my recent purchases, and just talked with them a bit. They learned how much I loved vintage items and presented me with a never used before vanity set that was from the International Silver Company, and vintage hats that belonged to the mother. I nearly died from excitement seeing these beauties.

I feel like a vintage vixen when I use this set. ;)
I sadly do not know the years of these hats were made. I only know that the old lady wore these out when going to special occasions during the late 50s up to the 70s. That is about the only thing the family really told me about the hats. I got these for 15 dollars and could not be any happier with them. I have started to wear all of them expect the pink one since I do not own anything vintage that is pink.

Vintage hats galore! 
I also bought a vintage dress and skates, but I do not have pictures of those. The dress is currently being altered by my amazing grandma, and the skates are being repaired by my wonderful father so I can attempt to use them. 

Please let me know about any of your vintage finds! I love seeing what other people find while treasure hunting. 

Friday, April 3, 2015

Pin Up on a Budget Part 1

Hey guys and dolls! 

The one things I hear most from women is that they cannot afford the vintage style, and I can agree especially since I'm a college student living on a set income. There is hope though, especially for those who just want to take the style for a test drive, before fully committing and spending tons of money. So today I've decided to create a mini series of posts to help those who are on a tight budget for pin up clothing and accessories, some may disagree with some of things I pick out which is fine. This is not meant to tell you want to buy or like, merely just to point you in the right direction.

Please remember that I am not being paid or anything of that manner from the stores you are about to see, they are just places that I or my friends have used before and had good results.

So we will begin at the head. I'm found and DIY are your best friends when it comes to hair accessories. You can use Amazon, and eBay as well, but sometimes you do not get the best quality from my experience.

First we will start with hair flowers.

Model: Cara Mia
Photographer: Mark Coffin
For these I usually just make my own hair flowers. I usually just go to any dollar store, find flowers that fit the piece that I want to make, glue a little bit of felt onto the back of the flowers to ensure they do not fall apart and then glue them onto clips. There you go you have just made hair flowers.

If you do not want to make them yourself or do not have the time. Then here are two shops I have found on that I have used before, or know people that have.

Project Pinup - I have personally never used this store, but a girlfriend of mine who likes pin up with an edge uses this store for all her accessories and recommends them to everyone. They are not your typical cheesecake pin up, but pin up with edgy/nerdy flare which is awesome if that fits your style.

Voodoo Betty's Boutique - This shop is located in the London, UK, but do ship worldwide. I have never personally used them, but heard girls raving about them while I was a tiki event so I had to check them out. They have a mix of edgy, and cheesecake hair flowers so everyone can find something that fits them in this shop. They are a little pricier, but still not super high and from seeing the accessories they are well made, and worth the few extra dollars.

There are just two of the many stores that are out there that sell hair flowers, so go out there and explore! 

Next are bows.

A bit of vintage humor. ;)
For these I normally buy them, since I can't make a perfect bow. There are tutorials on Pinterest that tell you how to make bows, if you want to try and make them yourself.

On to the etsy shops!

Rockabilly Revolt - This is my go to for bows! I love the how simple the bows are, and how you can get bottle cap buttons with your favorite characters on them. I use these bows to sneak a bit of my nerdy side, but still keep the classic vintage look.

Caitlin's Bowtique - I have used this shop a few times just for simple bows, and I have never had a problem. They do not carry a lot of bows per say, by they do offer bows that have the vintage look, and come in several colors to match anything you may own.

Then there Fascinators.

Model: Idda Van Munster
Photographer: Muna Nazak Photography
I personally am not a fan of fascinators since I use hair flowers and bows to dress up my hair, but I know a few of my friends live by them. So I figured I would include them on the list. I have not shopped at these stores, but I have friends that have.

Amy Wonderland -  This store sells almost all hair accessories, on top of fascinators. So this could be a one stop shop if you like the products. My friend Emily posts about them all the time, and talks about how the quality is amazing. Also 10% of your order is given to the Charcot-Marie-Tooth Association, so it's a win win!

Lovely Millinery - If you would rather make your own fascinators, you can always visit lovely Millinery to buy the bases for tear drop fascinator and get creative! 

Hatshadows -  Another store that you can buy fascinator bases in different shapes if tear drop ones are not really your taste. 

On those lazy days there are Snoods and bandannas/hair scarfs.

Snoods make life easier. ;)
I absolutely love snoods, and hair scarfs! They allow me to have that vintage flair in my hair, without all the work for a vintage hair style. I use these if i'm just running out and do not really want to do anything to my hair or just to spice up a pony tail.

VivaDulceMarina - I have used this store before for both snoods, and hair scarfs. Both of which I was pleased with. They offer a wide selections of snoods, and hair scarfs so you are bound to find something that fits with your wardrobe.

If you have any other stores that you by snoods or hair scarfs please leave a comment to let others know since I have only used VivaDulceMarina before.

Then lastly there are hats.

For hats, I usually try to buy vintage ones when I am out thrift store shopping for cheap. I found etsy stores to be a little to steep for my blood.

If you do know a store that sells vintage or vintage reproduction for a decent price, please drop a comment and let everyone know!

*All images used are from Pinterest and belong to their owners, unless said otherwise as my own.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Swing into the 40s

Hey guys and dolls!

This past Saturday I attended a fundraiser held at our local fort called "Swinging into the 40s". I have never tried swing dancing nor have I ever attended an event that allowed me to interact with those who share the same passions I do, so this was a new experience for me. To say I had an amazing time is an understatement, I'm normally a very shy and reserved person, but the minute the live swing band started playing I was having the time of my life. From this experience though, I learned I have two left feet and no coordination. My boyfriend/dance partner helped me though and we had the time of our lives. 

When we were not on the dance floor, we where down in what I believe to be the basement of the officers' club. Down in the basement they had food and beverages that you would have if you lived during that time period, along with reprints of newspapers showing major events going on during that time. There were also board games and other activities going on, so there was always something to do. 
All the people that attended were quite the characters, and they made me feel as if I was home. 

I highly recommend that everyone should at least attend one event such as the one I went to. I can promise you.

Here are a few photos that were taken by my boyfriend and also the photographer that was at the event.
Can we just appreciate the fact that I was actually able to do victory rolls? 
That was my entire outfit for the night. Not bad for vintage on the fly. ;)

Of course my Brian had to ruin a perfectly good photo.
Brian had to teach me how to dance since I could not keep up.

Friday, March 20, 2015

First Post for The Retro Years!

Hello guys and dolls!
It's Kathleen here, and with The Retro Years I am very excited to venture into this blog, and meet fellow enthusiast. ;)
I would like to use our first post to talk about how this blog came to be, and do not worry my other posts will be a lot better as I get use to this so please stick around! 
This blog began as a school assignment, and I decided to turn it into something so much more. 
I live in an area where vintage is not very common, and it is like searching for a needle in a haystack when it comes to finding others with similar interests. 
So I decided to turn to blogging hopes that my blog would help connect me with fellow vintage enthusiast. 
I would like for this blog to focus on many aspects of the vintage community, and welcome those who are just getting started.
I'm very excited about this crazy journey that I am about to undertake and I hope you all are along for the ride. 
Don't forget The Retro Years also has a Pinterest and Instagram