23 November 2012

Katharine Hepburn: A true fashion rebel

When we think of 1930's and 1940's fashion we think of long dresses, siren suits and corsets that made you unable to eat another piece of cake, thank god we don't have to deal with that situation anymore. Katharine Hepburn did not conform to the prim style of the time, with her high-waisted pants and button-down shirts she was an early style icon of androgynous fashion. Now her fabulous style is being celebrated in an exhibition in New York called Katharine Hepburn: Dressed for Stage and Screen.

Katharine is a Hollywood legend and is famous for films including 'Guess Who's Coming to Dinner' and 'The Philadelphia Story'. Her career spanned sixty years on stage, screen and television and she was known for her independence playing characters that were often strong and sophisticated women. She died in 2003 at the ripe old age of 96 and had saved almost all of the costumes from her films, including 'The African Queen' and 'On Golden Pond'. The display at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts which runs till the 12th January, contains some fabulous looks, including her personal collection of seven khaki pants arranged on mannequin legs.
Influential style: Hepburn was a big fan of high-waisted slacks and jodhpurs
A suit worn during publicity photos for the 1967 movie Guess Who's Coming to Dinner,Katharine famously once said: 'Anytime I hear a man say he prefers a woman in a skirt, I say, try one, try a skirt.' You go girl, I totally agree with you, although the thought of Mr. Boyfriend in a skirt is just a tad disturbing.

Her originality in wearing what was different to the norm influenced American women and showed them that you don't have to wear a girdle, stockings and a tight dress. You can actually be comfortable, thank god for her otherwise we'd all have to say bye bye to our hoodies and onesies.

She worked closely with all her designers to help create her performing wardrobe. If she really liked the costume she would have copies made for herself, sometimes in different colours or fabrics. She had a silk dress and coat made by Norman Hartnell from 'Suddenly, Last Summer' copied and a green raw silk jumpsuit by Valentina from 'The Philadelphia Story'. Katharine shopped at the major cutting-edge New York couturiers and worked with the best costume shops of the time, including Muriel King and Valentina. She really appreciated quality fabric and good construction and even her trousers were couture. No Primark for this lady.

A white satin and lace wedding dress by Howard Greer, from the 1934 production of
Howard Greer, 1934
Stella Surrege in The Lake Katherine Hepburn The exhibition contains 700 gems from her estate including a gorgeous stunning satin and lace wedding gown created by Howard Greer for her role as Stella Surrege in The Lake. One of my favourites of the collection is a beautiful gown made by Muriel King from the 1937 RKO movie Stage Door, which is feminine yet comfy and I'm sure showed of Katharine's twenty inch waist amazingly. Yes ladies, she did have a twenty inch waist, but remember Fox's biscuits weren't around then, or Domino's.

The main thing she cared about was being comfortable and always wore her signature look made up of khaki's and a shirt to rehearsals and publicity appearances. Katharine did cause some controversy  amongst RKO executives, who once hid her trousers in an effort to persuade her to abandon them. In retaliation she threatened to walk around the lot naked, well to be honest if I had a twenty inch waist I would find any excuse to show it off, wouldn't you? In the end she only stripped down as far as her silk underwear before stepping out of her dressing room, but she made her point and got her trousers back.

The exhibition also contains film clips, movie posters and archival photographs of the lovely lady wearing her beautiful outfits. False eyelashes, make up trays and her sensible shoes are also on display. If you are unable to go to the exhibition like me (sadly I just can't afford the plane fare, especially after my recent Asos spree) you can drool over her style by reading the book that has been launched to accompany the exhibition. Katharine Hepburn: Rebel Chic can be found here on Amazon.co.uk or for all you lovelies across the pond here at Amazon.com. I suggest you all indulge or at least put it on your list to Father Christmas, it's never too early.

Katharine was a true style icon and showed that you don't have to follow the crowd, you can wear what you want and be comfortable in doing so. So I'm taking inspiration from her today, monkey pyjamas and fluffy slippers it is then.

Second Hand Rose

11 November 2012

A huge big fat Remembrance squeeze

Today (the 11th November) the country was silent for two minutes to remember all those totally amazing people who have and continue to lose their lives for our little island. In World War One around 703,000 men lost their lives in a war that was so terrible and in World War Two 298,950 died, not to mention over 64,000 people killed at home. There were also millions injured and sadly today we have lost 394 troops in Afghanistan and a 179 in Iraq killed in action, this doesn't even include the people left injured. These may seem just like numbers, but that is over one million six hundred families that have lost a loved one. Shockingly, there has only been one year since World War Two where a British Serviceman or woman has not been killed in conflict. Just a little bit of trivia from me to you. Actually it's my Dad's Trivia, his other snippet is just far too boring to even mention.

Sadly and I hate to admit that I am part of a generation of people that just see those numbers as useless facts to learn for our history GCSE exam and not lives lost. I'm not saying that everyone doesn't appreciate them, I just don't think they get enough recognition by us all sometimes.

Today I snuggled down in my monkey PJs, with my cat and some chocolate biscuits to watch the lovely David Dimbleby present the coverage on the Remembrance Sunday at the Cenotaph. While wondering if the Duchess of Cambridge had a Philip Treacy hat on, (she did have by the way), I saw the line of the veteran troops walking proudly in their uniforms and every year the line sadly gets shorter and shorter. One day there will be no Great Uncle Albert left to tell us about what happened during the War.

Those veterans may not look like young nineteen year olds now, but they once were. Sadly unlike teenagers nowadays they spent their days fighting for us, not playing on an Xbox or downing a bottle of wine in 5 seconds. They didn't have the freedom to stay in bed till 2pm and doss around all day, they were out in the cold fighting a war not knowing when or whether they were going to see their family again.

Women were lucky if they saw their man once a year and now us girls moan and spend hours on the phone to our girlfriends debating why we haven't heard from a guy all day.
In World War One women felt helpless, but in the second war women went to work in factories doing dangerous jobs filling in for the men, helping the military and working on the land getting their manicured hands dirty.
With that bought shorter hemlines and trousers, so along with keeping the country together we have those women to thank for us being able to wear trousers and get away with not shaving for two weeks.

So on behalf of my generation may I offer all you men and women a great big fat cuddle and a huge thank you. Without you we may never have had The Only Way is Essex and the Spice Girls. I mean can you imagine a life without them?

Second Hand Rose


25 September 2012

Love & Marriage: A 20th Century Romance

Sorry for the lack of blogging recently my dear internet decided to go on strike, for what has seemed like an eternity. I personally think its done so in protest due to the fact that Bradley Cooper is not appearing on Strictly Come Dancing this year, but the engineer disagrees. Who could resist him in tight shirts and sequins shaking his pecks? My cat Jasper is drooling just thinking about it now.
So apart from crying over the loss of being able to access Asos every day,(no shopaholic should have to deal with that situation) I've been cuddling down with Jasper and a pack of Fox's biscuits watching some pretty Kleenex worthy tv. I've been engrossed in The Bletchley Circle, Mrs Biggs and developed quite a crush on the Queen of baking, Mary Berry from The Great British Bake Off.

'Love and Marriage: A 20th Century Romance' explores love and relationships through the decades starting of in the early 1900s. Last weeks episode looked at the period between the 1900s and the late 1950s, when life was more about surviving two world wars together, then having date nights each week. There were no 2 for 1 Orange cinema tickets in those days.
Last Tuesday BBC Four began a new series on love. I'm not talking about the 4 shots for a £1 let's have a quick fumble kind of love, I mean real deep never ending love that when you see between two people makes you go all mushy inside and start putting hearts over your i's, or is that just me?
There are some lovely stories involved in the programme, including one from John who was in the Merchant Navy. "I took Dorothy to Sefton Park, and we sat down on a bench and I said, ‘Darling, I’ve got 25 quid. Will you marry me?" It's hard to imagine a man saying that now, I mean what are you going to get with 25 quid, a Chinese takeaway to celebrate?
Divorce wasn't an option in peoples minds at this time and the most important thing was providing a stable and loving home for yourself and your children. Many marriages began with friendship, there was no third date rules, it took two years for my Granddad to hold my Grandma's hand, now that's taking it slow.
Marriages survived the terrifying effects of the wars with men leaving home to go and fight, with their wives and girlfriends not knowing whether they would see each other again. The thought of not knowing whether I'd see Mr.Boyfriend and his smile again or not would just terrify me. I'd miss our Dad's Army and Porridge marathons a hell of a lot too. Women used to religiously write to their sweethearts every day and had to deal with the agonising wait for a letter back. Thank god for email and Twitter now.
The programme also covered the naivity of people in those days going into a relationship. How many partners you had was not a question and not many people knew about the intimate side of relationships and what it actually involved. There was no Cosmopolitan magazine telling us '50 things he'll love' and 'How to Unleash your inner goddess' in those days.
The programme contained some beautiful and moving love stories with some of the couples still being married today for over 70 years, that's an awful lot of anniversaries to have to subtly remind your husband of. The series continues tonight with episode two out of three focusing on relationships in the 1960's and 1970's, when the idea of marriage was questioned, divorce was on the rise and mixed race marriages were bravely happening.
I urge you to check this programme out, you can catch up here. It's available for another two weeks, so you have plenty of time to snuggle down with some Galaxy and watch real love stories in action. It continues tonight on BBC Four at 9pm. Who needs Hollwood when you have real can't live without love stories going on around you every day. I won't lie, Liam Hemsworth is pretty hot though.
Second Hand Rose

05 September 2012

Happy Birthday to my Blog! NEW PAGE ALERT=SALE!!

My biggest fan
I can't believe I'm writing this, but yesterday my baby was a year old! No I haven't been hiding a mini Second Hand Rose from you all, I'm talking about my blog. It's hard to believe it's a whole year ago that I nervously wrote my first post 'My big hello to the world' and have now written 94 posts! It's crazy that I've been rambling on to you all for a year now and I haven't been banned for all my obsessing over Christian Louboutin's and Rock Hudson!

I would have written this earlier in the week, but Jasper the cat and I were celebrating with plenty of Sex and the City episodes, chocolate and biscuits, any excuse. Jasper and I happily spent Monday dancing around my bedroom singing Happy Birthday to ourselves, we know how to live. I can't believe that I have 142 people voluntarily following my blog and have had over 18,200 views. My blog has literally changed my life, when I'm out or talking to people, I'm always finding things to write about and share with you all. Everytime my phone chimes and tells me I have a new comment it makes me smile like a kid in a chocolate shop and I value every single word that people leave on my blog, even those 'I can make you rich' scam comments.

I regularly check my stats for the day and where in the world people have clicked onto my blog. Daddy Second Hand Rose and I love looking at all the statistics and comparing them to the day,week or month before, yes we are just a tad geeky. My blog has been a platform for me to gush about everything I adore, I think Mr.Boyfriend is pretty pleased now he doesn't have to listen to me waffle on about Marilyn Monroe or how I wish I had a 1950's wardrobe as much as I used to, that boy deserves a medal.

So to celebrate my blog blowing out its first candle I have added a new page! I've been wanting to do this for a while now and this seems the perfect time to start! The page is called 'My Treasure Chest' and features vintage clothes, accessories and patterns that I'm selling. I have created a page dedicated to all these gorgeous items, it was either that or Rock Hudson.
Over the past few months I've been rummaging around vintage fairs and going crazy in charity shops over gorgeous things. I am starting to sell them to a) Try and start carving a life for myself and b) The Asos sale is just way way too tempting!!

Every week I will be adding new items to the page and I'll be blogging about them too, so please keep looking! I am also offering 10% off to my fabulous blog followers! Just bid and when you've won pop me an e-mail and I will happily deduct the money, or give you a huge squeeze and serenade you, it's your choice.
They will be wrapped securely with love in pink acid free tissue paper to help preserve them and tied up with ribbon.
Here's a sneak peek of what I'm selling, click on the page for more details. Enjoy!

22 August 2012

How to look like a Vintage swimwear vixen: 41 Great looks!

I was asked by the lovely Elizabeth from ButterflyBoo to do a guest post for her, while she is away on her holidays. I wrote all about the history of swimwear and you can find it here. To coincide with it I'm going to show you how to achieve the styles with high street pieces. Don't worry we'll have you catching the hunky lifeguards eye in no time.

My post included the 1900s and the 1910s, however to get the look these days would be pretty hard and it's not very practical for tan lines. Women wore black, knee-length, puffed-sleeve wool dresses, worn over bloomers or drawers trimmed with ribbons and bows. Accessories included long black stockings and lace-up bathing slippers. No heels or lip gloss, sorry TOWIE ladies.
1920's Swimsuits
Thankfully by 1915 heavy fabric swimsuits were reduced and became more athletic and androgynous looking due to women swimming more. So I'm starting my how to get the look post at the 1920s.
In the 1920s bathing suits changed into a one piece with a long top that covered shorts. The fashion was to have a pattern swimsuit such as spots, stripes or an abstract pattern.

I've found these gorgeous swimsuits for you to try and achieve the look. Get the trend with boy type shorts, but make it more modern by showing off more of your lovely assets. The spotty ones are super cute and can help hide any lumps or bumps you have.
ASOS ruched skirt, £43 / Shorts / Seafolly one piece bikini swimwear, £92

1930s SwimsuitsCatching the sun and having gorgeous tanned skin became a hobby in the 1930s. Swimsuits changed from being made of wool jersey to Lastex stretchy cotton. Prints were still popular along with ribbons or belts around the waist. 
The one piece was made shorter with little over skirts becoming popular, along with an exposed v-neck. No more brown face and white body for those ladies.

I found these beautiful pieces, some with little skirts to help hide your thighs. I love the blue zig zag swimsuit with the 30's style belt to help clinch the waist in and make you have a waist to rival Dita von Teese. I love the lighter blue swimsuit too with the tie around the middle, which is also a great waist clincher. Wearing one of these you'll definitely blag yourself your very own Clark Gable.
Plus Padded Skirt Swimsuit - Marks & Spencer / Panache swimwear, £50 / Red Or dead, £48 / Tummy Control Spotted Skirt Swimsuit - Marks & Spencer / French Connection Zig Zag Belted One Piece Swim Suit, £35

1940's Swimsuits
Along with meat, vegetables and all the important things in life such as chocolate, there was a shortage in fabric. Factories began to make smaller swimsuits and cutout midriffs to create the tankini. Halter and bandeau bras and skirted bottoms and shorts were available, so women had a lot more styles to choose from. Bottoms were high waisted and covered the tummy button. No thong just yet ladies, so relax.
ASOS vintage top, £38 / ASOS one piece swimsuit / Aso, £6.50 / Seafolly beach bikini, £73 / ASOS animal print swimwear, £10

The looks I've found reflect the 1940s style, but with a modern twist. The flowery one has a flattering halter neck fitted shape to it with a boy short type look, which was still worn at the time. The red and white polka dot swimsuit has a frilly skirt type bottom, with bra cups along with the patterned white one with a halter neck top. The first tankinis include a great black spotty set with high waisted bottoms along with a gorgeous leopard print patterned tankini. Don't worry you won't look like you've got granny pants on with these beauties.

1950's SwimsuitsWith Marilyn Monroe and her curves constantly on show, swimsuits became more curvaceous and fitting. Zips were used in the back of swimsuits to create a corset like appearance along with boning and padded shaped cone bras. Bandeau styles and strapless low cut styles became very popular. Women wanted to keep their hair dry, so bathing caps were introduced with flowers and petals on as decoration. Let the Lady Gaga looks begin.

I adore this pink, blue and orange patterned fitted swimsuit with a halter neck and moulded cups. This also has a black waistband to give you those Marilyn type curves. The pink swimsuit takes the zip from the 1950's and gives it a modern twist, by having the zip in the middle on the front. It is a bandeau style and is contoured to make you look super lean.

The black swimsuit with white polka dots is iconic of the 50's, with a low cut bandeau style to show off your cleavage and a white tie as decoration. The white patterned halter neck is brilliant too and very flattering, especially once you have a tan. If you want to show some more flesh check out this gorgeous tankini with a cadillac print and high waisted bottoms. This floral print turban is a great modern change to the hat look keeping your hair under wraps, no crazy frizzy beach hair for you.

In the 60s bikini's became a lot more popular and for the first time the belly button was shown. In the late 60s swimsuits began to show a bit more skin with mesh net panels or cut out midriffs, filled in with plastic rings. Sorry ladies, its time to do some leg lifts.
1960's Swimsuits

These bikinis with their halter neck styles are flattering on the figure with patterns, bright colours and ruffles to help you look even more gorgeous. The black bikini helps turn the 60s cut out panels into a modern look with the bikini bottoms having cut out sides. If you'd rather completely cover your hips, you can still work the look in this pink bikini with cut out straps on the top. Wearing these you'll get some seriously cool tan lines.

Seafolly beach bikini, £62 / ASOS hipster bikini, £6.50 / Aso, £4.87 / Panache Fleur Bikini Set at ASOS

With the 70s being full of free love and hippys, swimwear got on the bandwagon becoming more revealing with triangle cups and string bikinis becoming popular with bottoms fitting on the hips. Being oh so sexy was the aim, with some women even wearing sheer swimsuits, now that takes some serious confidence, that or too many Martini's.
1970's Swimsuits

I've found you a white sheer bikini, but if you don't fancy the Playboy bunny look you can work this blue maxi dress over your bikini for a great cover up on the beach. Tie dye was popular in the 70s so give this a tribute with this superb pink and white tie dye triangle bikini. The swirly painted triangle string bikini will also have you looking colourful and dazzling.
If you fancy being a bit more flamboyant get this lavish bright technicoloured bikini with turquoisey feathers. This is literally the 70's in a bikini.

Bandeaus tops became even more popular along with racer T backs being worn, to show of toned arms and backs as the athletic build was sought-after. It was not all muscles and abs though as the thong bikini was introduced mainly by the playboy bunnies, thanks very much Hugh Hefner, no more second helpings of puddings for us. 
1980's Swimsuits
ASOS bandeau bikini, £12 / ASOS sporty swimwear, £4.33 / Ruffle bandeau bikini / O'Neill swimwear, £15

Get the althletic look with this racer style bikini that's perfect for imitating the likes of Christie Brinkley. These gorgeous strapless bandeau styles with prints will make you sparkle more then Joan Collins' outfits in Dynasty, believe me that's a hard task.
If you're boobs are bigguns try this halter neck style bikini to keep them all in. We don't want them to pop out whilst seductively lusting over the hotel waiter, do we.
1990's Swimsuits
The one piece was still popular but contained lots of cut outs, criss crosses and halter necks. The famous high V cut bottoms were introduced, that thank god aren't seen anymore, no one wants a bikini wax every 2 weeks do they?
Bright and bold colours were in style as long as zazzy prints.

You can get the look with this figure flattering swimsuit with lattice and beaded detailing, along with this coral coloured one with mesh detailing. If you fancy covering up a bit more but still working the trend, try this printed halter neck swimsuit with a sexy mesh insert in the waist. If you want to brave the bikini wear this bold coloured green triangle bikini or this bejewelled red triangle bikini, that Liz Taylor would be jealous of.

Asos, £16 / ASOS hipster bikini, £4.33 / Mark Fast bikini swimsuit / French Connection string bikini, £17 / Asos, £15

2000's Swimsuits
Within the past 12 years so many styles have become available with it being all about what suits your body and being uber stylish at the same time. The high cut V bottoms of the 90s have become a lot softer V, hallelujah! 
Work the metallic and underwater trend this year with this dazzling metallic mermaid style asymetric cut out swimsuit. This bold coloured printed cut out suit is great if you want to cover up your tummy a little bit more, but still get a great tan. If you want go for a bikini, wear popular pastels in this strapless bikini and work the printed look with this bold yellow, black and white bikini. 
Want to be a bit more extravagant? Try the fringe trend with the salmon pink bikini, so much more practical then wearing the whole cowgirl getup.

Asos / River Island hipster bikini, £8.67 / Lepel padded bikini, £17 / ASOS hipster bikini, £7.59 / ASOS cut out swimwear

Swimwear has evolved a lot over the past hundred years and now we can cover up any wobbly bits we have or flaunt our curves as much as we want. From fringing to high waisters we can conquer any style we like and pull off any trend. Let's just keep our fingers crossed Lady Gaga does not bring out a meat bikini collection, you'd be pretty popular with sea creatures if she did.

Second Hand Rose

17 August 2012

Marilyn Monroe: Intimate Exposures-Yes more photos!

If you are a regular reader of my blog you will know that I'm a bit of a Marilyn Monroe addict. I've done several posts about her and I can't get enough of the blonde beauty and her look.

On the 5th August it was 50 years since the world lost a bit of sparkle and Marilyn was taken away from us. I did a commemorative post all about her here, containing some juicy facts and very cute photos. In order to celebrate her life an exhibition has been put on in London. The exhibition contains some gorgeous photos taken by the fabulous Bruno Bernard.

Bruno first met Marilyn as he was leaving the dentist, with a 'I've been good at the dentist' sticker and a lollipop I hope.
Bernard at the time was already one of the most iconic photographers of the 1940's being known as the 'Bernard of Hollywood'.

His pictures were more glamorous then others at the time and he invented the 'pin-up' look. Bruno had his own studio on Sunset Boulevard, where celebrities including Elizabeth Taylor, John Wayne, Ginger Rogers and the gorgeous Gregory Peck and Clark Gable would come to pose. I'd certainly love to be a fly on that wall ogling over Gregory.

He also photographed Strippers, Vegas Showgirls, and many starlets. As well as David Conover who took photos of Marilyn at the munitions factory in 1945 where she worked, Bruno was another photographer who helped launch her career. His photographs on many 1950's magazines now sell for hundreds of pounds.
Some of the most famous photos taken of Marilyn were by Bruno, which included the famous Seven Year Itch dress picture. He loved to photograph her because she was so at ease in front of the camera. No awkward arms and cheesy smiles from her. Facebook users please take note.

By late 1946 Bernard had put her on several covers, but it didn't make her squeal as much excitement as she thought it would. She desperately wanted to be an actress, so Bruno helped her get a screen test with 20th Century Fox.
He organised a silent screen test, as he was afraid of her high pitched voice. Norma quickly changed her name to Marilyn Monroe which he helped her choose. I can just imagine her sitting in her frog pyjamas eating ice cream with him trying to think of a name, although I'm sure it was a lot more glamorous then that.

Her career took off in the the 1950's and she became a world-famous actress staring in films such as “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”, “Some Like It Hot” and “How To Marry A Millionaire”. Marilyn never forgot how Bruno helped launch her career and thanked him by saying Remember, Bernie, you started it all.”

This exhibition of Marilyn’s life runs through her early pin-up photographs, candid snaps from glamorous Hollywood parties and rare behind the scenes shots from some of the bombshell’s most famous motion pictures.
They include a head shot of Norma Jean in a beret and sweater; a giggling Monroe on the set of “The Seven Year Itch”; and a heart wrenching photo of her escaping journalists following her divorce from Joe DiMaggio. Waterproof mascara was definitely needed that day.

The exhibition Marilyn: Intimate Exposures runs until the 9th September in the fabulous gallery Proud Chelsea, 161 King's Road, Chelsea. You won't have to fake a dentist appointment to get off work go and see it either, because it's on Monday-Sunday, 10am-7pm and the entrance is free. So you can still buy that lipstick you want and go and admire the beauty!

The cherry on top of the sparkly cake is that Bruno's daughter Susan Bernard has released a book to go with it called Marilyn Monroe: Intimate Exposures, which you can find on Amazon here for £17.50. The book contains over 208 glossy pictures of the beauty with 40 never published before photos. Expect a mad rush ladies and gentlemen.

I hope you enjoy these photos I've hunted down for you and if you want to see even more unseen photos, please check out another Marilyn post I did here. They're not to be missed!
If you are able to go to the exhibition I hope you have a fabulous time drooling over her, but try not to take your man with you, you probably won't be able to get him out of there. Even the offer of food probably won't shift him from gawping at her, who can blame him though.

Second Hand Rose