The Bette Davis Club: a BBRBF Book Review and the perfect red hat

The Bette Davis Club

Welcome to February’s edition of the BBRBF Book Club! My apologies for being late this month; lots of things happened in a short amount of time, and I didn’t get time to sit and read as I normally would! As always, check out Sara, Noelle, Kat, and Helene for their reviews, and be sure to welcome Laci and Justyna as our newest wonderful members! Our little club is growing! If you want to join us, be sure to let us know. Next month we are reading Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko.

As usual, here’s the synopsis: “When Margo’s niece becomes a runaway bride — taking with her a family heirloom– her mother offers Margo fifty grand to retrieve her spoiled daughter and the invaluable property she stole. Together with the jilted and justifiably crabby fiance, Margo sets out in a borrowed 1955 red MG on a cross-country chase and finds herself along the way”

I actually did not intend to use this outfit for this review. I had shot this dress and my newest vintage hat (which I found on Etsy for ten dollars!) on Valentine’s day, but then by the time I’d half cooked up an outfit to go with The Bette Davis Club, it rained. However, this dress goes remarkably well with the yellow-and-red cover. We’ll just pretend I’m the human incarnation of Margo’s father’s classic 1955 MG TF. 

Now, I have a confession to make: I am still not done reading this book. I’ve been trying all day, but toddlers, man. I am, according to Kindle, 65% done and likely will finish tonight, at which point perhaps I’ll update this post with my review of the latter half!

For the former half, however, I can offer a little review!

I found it hard to get into at first. It is the same quirky style of writing that many modern authors have taken on, with overly witty quips at first. When I began, I’ll be blunt, I thought I was probably going to hate it. I got tired of this style of writing with Swamplandia!, and was dreading getting through this novel.

However, after a few chapters the characters began to grow on me. I got used to the author’s present-tense style of writing (which is confusing at times) and started to invest in the adventure of Margo and Tully as they chase after his ex-bride. While I do think that their relationship felt a little stilted and awkward at first, and not in a purposeful way but as if the author just wasn’t quite sure how to put them together naturally, it started to smooth out as they hit roadblock after roadblock in their search. With time, they grew to understand each other, and it’s almost as if the author grew with them.

I love how Margo’s carefree and careless personality clashes with Tully’s more sedate and sensible one, how they contrast between Margo being somewhat of a floater and Tully being established in life. I like that you can see Tully begin to care about Margo as a friend, through his bugging her to quit smoking, and Margo’s reciprocation of that friendship through realizing he’s not just a jilted lover, but his own man.

Since I don’t feel like I can give a full review not having finished the book, I’m going to leave this post a bit sparse so I can update it when I’m finally done. I apologize for this half-review! And for being so late with my post. Hopefully next month won’t be so scattered for me.

But now let’s chat about this outfit, and most specifically, this hat. I feel like this ensemble is also so very apt for this review, even though by accident, because early on in the book Margo and Tully discuss the various value that things have. Some are valuable because they can bring in a lot of cash. Others are valuable because of sentimentality. Others, as Margo muses her friend Dottie told her, give the finder a sense almost of (she very bluntly put it) arousal, a rush of feeling even though there’s no sentimentality or large sums of money involved.

This hat, for me, holds the latter value. While I was browsing Etsy for the perfect hat to pair with the lipstick dress — which, by the way, arrived too late and was never marked as shipped, nor was it shipped via priority mail as claimed in their shop, and they charge almost $2 extra if you require a tracking number. Which was on my box when it arrived and is free of charge via USPS mail. And, the hat arrived smelling like cigarette smoke and heavy perfume, which was not disclosed in the listing. So… avoid this seller!

Anyway, as I was browsing for the perfect hat to pair with the lipstick dress, I stumbled upon this beauty and felt a rush of excitement. It was listed as a brand new 1950’s fascinator and the seller was letting it go for only $10!

Upon arrival — which was swift, taking only three days to arrive — I found it to be even more beautiful than it looked. It is in absolutely perfect condition. I did some research though, and discovered that it’s possibly actually 1980’s or newer, which doesn’t really bother me. The seller likely assumed 1950’s based on the look of the hat (something I have done on occasion until I am corrected by research) and I don’t believe they meant to mislead anyone. If I am correct in my research on the tag, the designer, B Michael, began designing hats under Oscar de la Renta, Nolan Miller, and Louis Faurad for the show Dynasty in the 1980’s, and following his success there decided to launch his own line, which came out in 1999.

Although, I have found several listings on Etsy and eBay with this same tag, which reads b. Michael New York and looks like this, and I’m not 100% sure whether this is the same B Michael, or whether there was indeed a vintage designer from whom this and other hats sprung. If anyone knows, please do tell me!

The feeling I had placing this gorgeous accessory on my head was thrilling. Ever since making myself wear a hat out in public, I’ve felt an insatiable desire to have the perfect hat for every outfit. The wall in my room has quickly become a place to hang beautiful head toppers, and with the help of some friends and some excellent finds online, I’m starting to have quite the collection! This one, though, tops all the rest. It is such a beautifully constructed piece, like art for your head.

And, when I read the passage in the book of the owner of Mommie Dearest going on about the artifacts from the stars and how he felt about them, I could so relate! Do any of you have feelings about things that maybe aren’t super valuable to anyone else, but for which you feel a thrill? For me, it’s vintage pieces, or items that just have a story behind them. I love the history of pre-loved clothes and it’s such a thrill to find beautiful pieces that were once a part of someone’s life once upon a time!

Dress, (old) c/o eShakti | shoes, thrifted | hat, Etsy from MyShop1020 | Necklace, grandma’s | earrings, vintage | Gloves, vintage/old

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Lipstick Print Dress, Seychelles Lipstick Shoes, and Valentine’s Day!

A Wink and a Smile | eyreeffect.comA Wink and a Smile | eyreeffect.comA Wink and a Smile | eyreeffect.com

A Wink and a Kiss

Happy Valentine’s Day! Today I am sharing one of the best dresses I’ve ever had, and a pair of the cutest shoes I’ve ever owned.

When my friend Elleyna sent me a message to ask if I’d be willing to trade a handmade, custom dress in return for blogging about it, I immediately said yes. I mean, who wouldn’t accept that offer? She admitted she wasn’t sure if I would actually want to work with her, but I have seen her make so many amazing dresses on her Instagram, Button Button, and in her Etsy shop and I was beyond excited to work with her. I can tell you honestly that the experience went above and beyond my expectations.

A Wink and a Smile | eyreeffect.com

First, we chatted about what style of dress I wanted, and she sent me several photos of the fabrics she had on hand. I immediately zoned in on this lipstick print. After having seen Sara wear her fabulous handmade lipstick skirt, I’d been wanting a lipstick print something for a while. I didn’t want it to be too close to the Bernie Dexter lipstick dresses, though, so I sent Elleyna a photo of a vintage dress I had been in love with for a while, and asked if she might be able to create something similar.

After a little consideration and digging through her vintage patterns, she decided to just create the top from scratch. No pattern needed! With my request for a smaller keyhole in mind, she worked her magic and made this dress in a day so that she could get it to me to share with you all for Valentine’s day! I’m so impressed with her work. It fits me well, it’s the perfect length, and I think literally the only thing I can think of about this dress that’s bad is how much it makes me want to go buy about 50 more.

A Wink and a Smile | eyreeffect.comA Wink and a Smile | eyreeffect.comA Wink and a Smile | eyreeffect.com

A couple things you should know about the process and Elleyna’s dresses:

When you order a custom dress, she will ask you for photos of what you like, discuss what kinds of fabric you like, and get a good idea of what you’re looking for before she starts. You can choose your own fabric, you can hire her for labor only and send her fabric you have, or you can order one of the dresses in her shop to be made to measure.A Wink and a Smile | eyreeffect.com

Since she makes so many of these dresses (at the time she was making mine, she had 37 other orders to work on!), the fabric is not pre-shrunk and all of her dresses are hand-wash only. This is also to ensure a nice, crisp, “new” look that pre-shrunk fabric loses. Often when tossing fabric in the dryer, it can get a used, wrinkled look that even a good bout of ironing won’t get it back to that pretty crisp new-ness.

For me, it’s not a big deal as I tend to not pre-shrink my own handmade items either, and I own a lot of vintage that needs hand washing. However, if you want to be able to toss it in the washer and dryer, she’ll add some room for shrinkage!

A Wink and a Smile | eyreeffect.comA Wink and a Smile | eyreeffect.com

And, while she will accept cancelled orders, she can’t accept returns or exchanges due to the custom made nature of her garments. But I’m pretty convinced that she is the Fairy Godmother of all dresses, and can make you anything your heart desires! Be sure to follow her on Facebook and Instagram to keep up with all the pretty things. She recently shared a breastfeeding-friendly design that blew my mind, and I think I need one!

A Wink and a Smile | eyreeffect.comA Wink and a Smile | eyreeffect.com

And can we briefly talk about these shoes? After deciding on the lipstick fabric, I saw someone post these darling Seychelles in a BST group and I pounced. Of course they’re not a perfect match, being black and red where my dress is navy and pink, but I don’t even care. ONe simply MUST wear winking kiss heels when one is sporting a lipstick dress. IThese heels make me want to search far and wide fro every lipstick-related item I can do accessorize this dress with.

So if I show up wearing a plethora of lips, you’ll know why.

I hope you all have a wonderful Valentine’s day with the people you love! Whether it be a significant other, family, or friends, I love having an extra special day to shower the people I adore with some cheesy cards and delicious chocolate.

Dress, c/o Button, Button | shoes, Seychelles (can’t find them!) | belt, thrifted | hat, vintage (similar here and here and here) | Bag, Target (similar here)

A Wink and a Smile | eyreeffect.com

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Floral applique, Lindy Bop Dress, and the 1940’s Working Girl

Rosie the Riveter

I don’t know why, but this outfit reminds me a lot of the photos of 1940’s working girls. Perhaps it’s the headscarf, or the more practical side of my style, or the comfortable flow of this dress, but in the moment I felt as though I could have walked straight from a 40’s WWII photograph. It helps that this gorgeous cardigan really emulates the proclivity towards face-framing applique and embroidery then, and my styling was a bit more relaxed and less corset-and-petticoat of the 50s’ looks.

So, I decided to edit these photos with a vintage flair once again. When I did this before  I was a little less sure of how to get that vintage-tinted look, but I think I’m getting somewhere! One little detail I noticed was that in many photos of the 40’s, the women have what looks to be emphasis on blushing cheeks or a generally glowing complexion. So I did a lot more in editing than I would on a normal basis, taking care to gently brush a tint onto my cheeks and lips, editing the color so that my skin is that smooth-looking, even plane you see so much in old photos.

Of course, in old photos the smooth look is due mostly to the lesser technology of cameras back then and inability to shoot with quite as much detail as we can today. But in my case, it’s simply color editing and a bit of brightening here and there. And also makeup.

I love the challenge of getting a vintage look not only with what I’m wearing, but also in how my photos look. Of course my method is far from perfect and I need to do a little more research to find out how to manipulate the colors just right. But it was a fun experiment and I think it compliments this look!

Celebrations

I wore this outfit for my mom’s birthday. I had to get ready in a hurry, and had gotten this dress in the mail only the day before. Just before we left, the mail came, delivering this cardigan as well, and while they aren’t perfect color matches I love the way they work together! The flowers seem to echo each other and add in a bit of that 1920’s or 1930’s bohemian vibe that Skye has talked about before. It was the perfect outfit to wear for a family party where I knew I would be helping out a lot and corralling my kids!

This Lindy Bop dress is SO comfortable. My one complaint with Lindy Bop is that many of their dresses have a waistline that is just a tad too high to hit my natural waist, but a bit too low to be empire waisted. This dress is one of those cuts, but once belted it didn’t bother me as much. And the fact that the sleeves actually stretch and move the way sleeves should? So perfect.

I had actually spotted this dress on Lindy Bop months and months ago, and agonized over whether to get it or not. Ultimately I decided to pass it up in favor of another dress I needed for photography work, but I always had this dress in the back of my mind as the one that got away.

Then last week, someone posted it in a BST group, new with tags still attached, because she’d purchased it and it didn’t fit her as expected. So I JUMPED at the chance to own it, and I am so glad I did! It fits me just as I would have expected even with the waist issues (which I just figured would be a given!) and I couldn’t be happier.

I hope you will forgive my being late to post this! I got sick again this past weekend, and then once I was well enough to shoot it rained for three days straight. I only barely squeaked in a little photoshoot in this dress before it started sprinkling again! You can actually see the rain in a few shots as I rushed to get done before the deluge started up again.

But it’s supposed to be sunny this weekend, in perfect time for my husband and I to have an early Valentine’s day adventure alone! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Dress, Lindy Bop (similar here) | shoes, thrifted (same brand similar here) | belt, thrifted | cardigan, Coldwater Creek (similar vintage here and here) | headscarf, thrifted | brooch, vintage (similar here) | tights, Target (similar color here in teal)

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Floral dress, Wardrobe Shop shawl, and cupcake dolls

The Wardrobe Shop sent me an item for review free of charge. All opinions are my own!

Cupcake Doll

Does anyone remember Cupcake Dolls? When I was little, those were my ultimate favorite toy. With their frosting hats, and their delicious scents, and all of the little accessories and sets; they were the sweetest toys and I adored them. I’m not sure if they were a product of the 80’s or the 90’s; I remember by the time I was about 7 or 8 they were getting harder to find and phased out completely a few years later.

This outfit reminds me of a Cupcake Doll. It’s the ultimate confectionery ensemble, from the pastel green of the dress to the delicate lace of this Wardrobe Shop shawl, to the ever-so-girly polka-dot flowers in my hair. I don’t think I have ever felt more feminine, and that’s saying a lot as a woman who wears dresses 90% of the time.

I thought this was the perfect sugary outfit to showcase this beautiful Wardrobe Shop shawl, though, and I will be wearing the entire affair to a Valentine’s Day Tea Party with my cousins next week It’s a yearly event, and requires the prettiest, sweetest, most feminine attire possible. When Katerina contacted me to collaborate, we discussed several options before finally settling on a little review of one of their delicate shawls. I was immediately drawn to this sheer embroidered number.  It has an air of flapper about it, yet could work over almost anything as that one accessory that sets you apart.

It has a pretty little rhinestone button, and the embroidery is so lovely. My only complaint is that it isn’t made of the softer lace material, but a slightly rougher netting. I would love it if the material was as soft as it looked, but since it’s meant to be worn over other things it’s not a big issue. I think this would be GORGEOUS in a wedding, though that’s not something I’ll ever get to do again. Perhaps it’s time to break out my wedding dress just for fun.

Be Mine

And, the collaboration couldn’t have come at a better time, since it’s the month of love and romance and all things sweet! I am looking forward to following a theme this month, and have so many Valentine’s inspired outfits all month long. The more settled I get in my style, the more I want to follow themes and coordinate perfectly and create a pretty magazine of retro and vintage looks.

My husband and I are planning to go away without the kids on the weekend before Valentine’s Day (I’d better not get sick!) for a day of antiquing and thrifting and exploration. We haven’t been able to explore sans-kids for a long time, but Evie is finally well on her way to being fully weaned (she only nurses at night now!) so we can finally leave for a full day and not worry that she’ll just not eat all day (which she has done before) until she sees me. I am so looking forward to alone time with my man!

I haven’t quite figured out what I’ll wear yet (travesty!) but of course it’ll be something fancy and pink or red, and romantic. And most likely catered to my husband’s preferences; while he appreciates the way I dress, he definitely likes florals and feminine cuts much more than wiggle styles or bold solid dresses.

It’s always interesting when I explore styles that I tend to wear less often, like the  Bettie bang and the more rockabilly style, as he very much does NOT like that look. Obviously, he never tells me what I can and cannot wear, but I love putting together an outfit that he enjoys. Luckily, our tastes run in the same direction; I much prefer a soft, feminine look to the fierce, rockabilly look. (Rockabilly is fun, though, don’t get me wrong!)

Do you have any plans for Valentine’s day? Aside from the weekend expedition, we will also be going out to a fancy dinner on the actual day. It is our prerogative to find the best steak in town!

I hope you have all had a wonderful weekend! We are currently enjoying snow that has stayed all day long. I can’t believe our luck!

Dress, Amazon | shawl, c/o Wardrobe Shop | shoes, (my wedding shoes!), Macy’s | belt, thrifted | hair flowers, bought as individuals from Michaels crafts | petticoat, Amazon

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eShakti Dress, vintage hair, and Elizabeth Taylor vibes

The Dress of Dreams | eyreeffect.comThe Dress of Dreams | eyreeffect.com

The Dress of Dreams

I had big plans for this dress. It is so glamorous, so romantic, and so glorious, I had hoped to take photos in a winter wonderland, emulating the 1950’s with my husband in a romantic photoshoot while we were on vacation. I had everything packed and planned, down to the coordinating bow-tie my husband was going to wear. And then… I got sick. So sick I spent the entire four days of vacation in bed, and all plans of photoshoots in the snow were very concretely abandoned.

At first, I was so disappointed. I wanted to create a fairytale with this dress! It is a princess kind of dress with its embroidery and color, very Anna-meets-Belle, and it evokes the glamor of 1950’s Hollywood to me. The Dress of Dreams | eyreeffect.comThe Dress of Dreams | eyreeffect.com

But then today as I prepared and shot the outfit, I realized that perhaps it’s a good thing I was delayed. For one, I now have a corset which works much better with this silhouette than my other corset (review coming next week!). For another, I wouldn’t have had the idea to emulate Elizabeth Taylor in my hair and makeup, and I think that really makes this look come to life! And lastly, I wasn’t freezing my toes off in the snow. Which is always a plus!

The Dress of Dreams | eyreeffect.comThe Dress of Dreams | eyreeffect.com

Just imagine if I had violet eyes. I really want to do a series on YouTube where I recreate vintage beauty icons, especially after today! Hopefully I can kickstart my channel soon; I know I have been talking about it a lot, but life has a way of moving way faster than I expect! I’ll jump in really soon with sewing and makeup, I promise! The Dress of Dreams | eyreeffect.com

Back to the dress, though! Last year, eShakti had contacted me about collaboration and of course I said yes! I brought up the idea of possibly doing a lookbook with them, and got a green light, so sent over a few items that I thought would make a really cute Christmas lookbook. However, after some of the messages got lost in the Holiday jumble, they ended up only being able to send me the Deer dress, and this dress. So the lookbook may never come about, but after wearing this gorgeous thing I’m okay with it! I still want to create a lookbook, and have a few dresses I’m keeping my eye on to purchase in the future and create something special. The Dress of Dreams | eyreeffect.com

Everything about this dress is perfect. The fit is phenomenal — I utilized their custom fit feature, as always — the zipper doesn’t stick like it can with thicker fabrics, the fullness, even without a petticoat, is fairly great, the bra strap stays are so useful, the length is ideal… I’m so in love. Usually with any sponsorships or collaborations, I try to be as critical as I can to give a fair and unbiased review… but there is literally nothing wrong with this dress. I have zero complaints!The Dress of Dreams | eyreeffect.comThe Dress of Dreams | eyreeffect.com

Beauty and the Beast

And a few people have mentioned that I really need to wear it to the opening of Beauty and the Beast, so now I am torn! I cannot decide whether this or my Belle dress would be a better choice. Which means, of course, I’ll just have to go see it twice!

Is anyone else extremely excited for this remake? I cry every time I watch the preview, and I’m not exaggerating that. It hits me RIGHT in the childhood. It IS my childhood. I am tearing up just thinking about it right now, which is ridiculous and perfectly expresses just how much I adore Beauty and the Beast. I was so afraid at first that the casting might have been off, but having watched the latest preview I’m no longer skeptical. I think they chose extremely well.   The Dress of Dreams | eyreeffect.com

I plan to go see it with my mom, as I only recently found out that it’s her favorite fairytale as well, and then with my husband since he really likes these remakes. Ugh. I can’t even express how excited I am!The Dress of Dreams | eyreeffect.comThe Dress of Dreams | eyreeffect.com

Are you planning to see Beauty and the Beast? And what do you think about this gorgeous dress? More importantly, which dress should I wear the first time I see the aforementioned remake? Because that is a momentous occasion.

Dress, c/o eShakti (On sale and available in maroon and black!)| corset, c/o Orchard Corset | shoes and belt, thrifted | necklace, old | earrings, vintage | fur stole, vintage | petticoat, Amazon

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