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On feeling like a girl October 1, 2011

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Fashion, Makeup/Cosmetics, Travel.
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Generally, I don’t really care how I look when I travel. Let’s be honest – I am not out here to “pull” anyone, I’m here to enjoy a country and experience the best it has to offer. Whether or not I look presentable or not isn’t really the priority here. In addition, I’m travelling. I don’t have that same easy access to girly bits and pieces, to straighteners and hairdryers and far too many pairs of shoes. If I was going to worry about my looks, I would be fighting a losing battle. Plus, if someone I meet is going to judge me based on whether or not they think I look good enough, then my normal approach to life still applies – they simply aren’t worth knowing.

As it happens, I think, most people don’t judge me. I have sported some pretty funky hairstyles these past weeks, I’ve spent nearly every day makeup free and blinking like a newborn foal in the sun, I’ve worn the same clothes all the time (and a secret relief it has been too).

However, that doesn’t stop the girly qualities catching up every now and then. Those days that actually anyone of any gender, of any inclination, can have. The morning when they wake up a little fragile, for some reason not approaching the world with quite the same casual ease as they normally do. And when that happens, you either battle on in your androgyny, or you accept the situation and do something to make yourself feel better. For me, I dyed my hair – no easy feat I belatedly realised, in the restricted facilities of even the best hostel. I also put makeup on – I may rarely wear it, but I have a basic little selection with me for just such an “emergency”.

And today? I feel pretty. People have told me I look nice (OK, drunken people, but who’s counting?!). Tomorrow, I’ll be off the makeup again. But for today, I needed to feel like a girl.

Tattooified! February 5, 2011

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Graphic Design, Makeup/Cosmetics, What I Wore.
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My new tattoo of a treble clef art deco style


Sorry about the over-show of thigh guys, but I had to share my new tattoo with you! Isn’t it perty?! It doesn’t even hurt, and although it is apparently like to sting when washed it hasn’t so far – maybe my Wolverine-like powers of healing are proving themselves useful yet again!

As for what it felt like to get a tattoo, well I used a numbing cream and so didn’t even vaguely feel the outline. Once that had worn off and the feeling was coning back, during the filling in section, it did begin to hurt. The feeling it most was like, to draw a comparison, was the feeling of using an epilator, not nice but not really nasty either. Some bits did hurt a lot, but in general it was easily managed. I wouldn’t be that scared of having one again, although I definitely think a numbing cream is worth using as it makes such a difference! Also, when the pain does come it appears slowly, giving your body a chance ot get used to it!

Dressember Days 20 & 21 December 22, 2010

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Dressember, Fashion, Makeup/Cosmetics.
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I can’t work out what happened to my Dressember Day 19 outfit. I had a lovely day going to see Tron: Legacy and then enjoying my solstice dinner, so that seems a pretty good excuse for forgetting to take a photo of the dress I wore. I did wear one though, honest guv! And, just to prove how cold it is, my hair actually froze on the way home, and it was still -11 when I arrived at work on the Monday morning!

Frosty Hair

Frosty Hair!

Anyway, Day 20 of Dressember was a rather boring day, I was dressed for warmth and that was all that mattered for me. After all, we still have the snow, so  wore a slip and a jumper under my jumper dress, and gave it a bit more structure with the waistcoat. I think it worked!

Dressember Day 20 What I Wore

Day 20, Nice and Warm!

Day 21 of Dressember was much more fun. I wanted to be all Christmassy, so I painted my nails sparkly red, put on my Dorothy Shoes, and wore a lovely velvet dress. I pranced and preened around the office all day, so I must have been in a good mood. The evening  was spent in the pub, but unfortunately I realised I had locked myself out of my house, and I had to spend the night at Lysy’s before the letting agents opened in the morning. Not my brightest moment! Consequently I am working from home today, but I am still wearing a dress, and will photograph it later!

red dorothy shoes

Buying my "No Place Like Home" shoes!

Dressember Day 21 What I Wore

Day 21 Feeling Festive

I also painted my nail a sparkly seasonal blue, I am loving having long nails finally!

Sparkly Blue Nail Polish

Sparkly Blue Nail Polish

What I Wore | Summer Colours (& Shoes #5, and 6!) April 17, 2010

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Makeup/Cosmetics, Vintage, What I Wore.
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No, don’t worry, I haven’t been going mad and happily wearing three pairs of shoes at once. But I have had a few outfits this week that I have liked – and the weather has been nice – so I have three outfit shots to share with you.

Outfit Shot - Red and Pink

The outfit above is one of the first times that I have tried to combine red and pink. I have been leaning more and more towards fancy-pants colour combinations, and this was the time to let rip! I felt the deep pink and the bright red worked in a way that was obvious, but not blinding!

Dress: Unknown
Jumper: Primark
Tights: Primark
Heels: Dotty Ps

Outfit shot - Studs and Knit

I am not as sure about this outfit. It looked quite cool from behind, with the amazing huge studs and the over-sized chunky knit – but from the front it looked a little… slouchy. That said, I wanted to be relaxed – and I was darn comfy!

Jumper: Vintage
Skull shirt: New Look
Jeans: Topshop
Studded boots: Topshop

Outfit shot - Summery in Yellow

Finally, my favourite outfit. Today was beautiful – hot, sunny, absolutely wonderful. Consequently I thought the time had come to take in this beautiful summer dress I bought on eBay. I folded it in on the seams and simple sewed it up inside out – it barely took a few seconds, but it worked and fit like a dream! It also turns out I can wear yellow! Whilst in town I nipped into Space NK in a fit of excitement, to buy my first gorgeous Lime Crime lipstick, from the wonderful and immensely talented Doe Deere. I was so pleased it lived up to expectations and was as bold and colourful as I had hoped for!

Dress: Vintage, eBay
Heels: Tommy Hilfiger, TK Maxx

I hope you are all having a lovely weekend!

What I Wore | The Princess Vibe (& Shoe #1) March 18, 2010

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Makeup/Cosmetics, What I Wore.
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Look! It is light enough to take an outfit shot outside when I get home from work! This means spring is finally on its way, and I really couldn’t be happier about that. You do have to excuse the blustery look, however – the wind was playing havoc with my skirt and the camera decided I needed a flash! I also think I probably ought not to wear my hair up like this, it makes my neck look odd.

I felt like a princess all day in this dress and skirt combo. The summery Laura Ashley dress rarely gets worn, but with the lace layers underneath it actually looked pretty cool!

What I Wore: Floral Dress

Dress: Laura Ashley
Skirt: Thrifted
Belt: Brand Unknown
Heels: The first pair worn in the Shoe Challenge – Topshop pink wedges.

I also thought I would share my lipstick from last weekend with you, and I was really pleased with how it worked. I lined my lips with simple lip liner, layered a simple warm red onto my lips, and then patted on an orange powder. I thought it looked quite funky.

Orange Lipstick

Do you like it?

Make me a… 1950’s Sexy Housewife December 7, 2009

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Advice, Fashion, Makeup/Cosmetics, Vintage.
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The fourth in my series helping modern girls to wear the fashions of their ancestors, this week I address the wonderful vintage fashion of the sexy 1950’s (apologies as this article is long overdue). These will contain clothes (both vintage, vintage inspired and direct repro), makeup and more, to help you achieve that distinctly vintage fashion style!

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This week I tackle the hourglass shape, sexy halter-necks and uncompromising love of polka dots that characterises the bright cheerful 1950’s.

 Rebelling, perhaps, against the classic and refined styles of the war-torn 1940’s, the 1950’s were a period of fun, frivolity and glamour. The American housewife style is the most popular and recurring theme, and this is the funky look that I am going to concentrate on. Best of all, this style works for a suprising number of body shapes, is immensely flattering, and is still quite modern.

1950's Fashion Vintage Dress

1950's Fashion Vintage Dress

  To begin, the dresses. For anyone who has even the vaguest inkling about 1950’s fashion, the wide skirted petticoat dresses are perhaps the most enduring mental image. As are the halternecks, bright colourful prints and combination of pretty little apron with feminine dress. In fact, 1950’s dresses couldn’t get more feminine if they tried, as women rediscovered their curves and celebrated their bodies. If you want to go authentic a full skirt, sweetheart neckline and full petticoat are essential for the look, with something like this blue vintage dress. alternatively, modern incarnations are rife, and the Vivien of Holloway’s ones are some of the most spectacular on the market. Any shape can wear this, just adjust the size of the petticoats to balance out your hits (thin if you have big hips, full if you have none!) and get a shape that suits your bust.

Funky Modern Petticoat Perfect for 1950's Fashion

 It is worth shelling out on an underskirt if you can, but bear in mind that these never get cheap. Vintage ones are likely to have damage in the lace, but you can get modern equivalents. To update the look, choose a bright colour and have it peeking boldly out underneath. You can even go a bit Gothic with a contrasting black petticoat.

Patent 1950's Inspired MaryJanes - Modern!

To really make the 1950’s look work for you, think hard about the shoes. If you are a true vintage enthusiast you can opt for some vintage pairs, although this will only work if you have incy teeny-weeny feet! The look generally leant towards thicker heels, kitten heels, and satin or leather heels that you could dance in. The modern equivalent are those sky-high MaryJanes, that I think look stunning with the vintage styling. Try some originals like this, or opt for something a bit different an unusual like this MaryJanes from Barratts.

Fifties Style Makeup


For hair and makeup, you might have to plan in advance. Rollers, hair pins, copious amounts of chemical hairspray – soft floaty curls were what it was all about. Whilst it was always about short curls and short hair, modern girls have the luxury of choosing whether to have it long ot short, tied up or straight down. Pair this with dark arched eyebrows and a peachy perfect complexion and you will be well on your way to channeling that 50’s vibe!The rules are a lot more flexible with 1950’s fashion than they are with other eras, perhaps because it is so flexible. Anyone can wear it, and there are a million and one different ways in which people feel the style should be worn. All that really matters is that you feel good and what people think can follow-up last.

Make me a… 1940’s Wartime Woman October 15, 2009

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Makeup/Cosmetics, Vintage.
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The third in my series helping modern girls to wear the fashions of their ancestors, this week I address the changeable period of time that was the war-torn 1940’s. These will contain clothes (both vintage, vintage inspired and direct repro), makeup and more, to help you achieve that distinctly vintage fashion style!

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This week I tackle the smart suits and working woman’s styles that characterise that most austere and determined part of history.

 The war had a dramatic effect on the women of the war in the 1940’s, plunging housewives into working roles for the first time in modern history. My own grandmother was a wartime worker, and never quite got over the disappointment of having to go back to the home once the men returned to their jobs. Because of this the need for practicality over high fashion was dramatically apparent, and women often wore suitable trousers and dungarees in preference to the suits and dresses that are used more often to represent this era. Consequently these are what I will show you now, suitable as they are for modern day wear.


1940's fashion denim trousers

1940's fashion denim trousers

The trousers are great fun, with a high waist and wide bold legs. I think that curvy girls with bigger hips can wear them just as well as the willowy type, mainly due to the fact that they were designed to be comfy and easy to wear. Vivien of Holloway produced these incredibly cute denim trousers, whilst if dungarees are your thing (much harder to wear in my opinion!) then try these from Freddie’s of Pinewood. Personally I think inspired looks are better for this, as you can look 1940’s whilst still getting to wear modern measurements for differently proportioned women.

1940's Fashion inspired dungarees

1940's Fashion inspired dungarees

 If you love the gorgeous dresses and suits of the 1940’s (and let’s face it, who doesn’t) then you are probably fed up of me going on about the wonderous trousers and funky vintage dunagrees. The suits and dresses, I must admit, are where you can really go all out and enjoy the look, cinched waist and all. For dresses try Swirls and pretty work wear, any online vintage shop will stock a beautiful example! Whilst the look was still designed for waspish beauties, curvy girls need to concentrate on excellent tailoring, spending a bit more to make the sexy look right. Think Christina Hendricks in Madmen (I know it is 1960’s, but the tailoring point stands across eras!) and you can understand that curvy shapes do work brilliantly for suited looks!

Beautifully Curvy Christina Hendricks

Beautifully Curvy Christina Hendricks

Keep the skirt length long to the knees to make the look 1940’s, and have a little fun with gently padded shoulders. Personally I would dream of a truly vintage suit, but inspired looks are available all over the interwebs and can often give a brilliantly modern twist on the general 1940’s look. The colour range out there is great, so why not try rocking this dramatic orange look if you want to add an 80’s on trend vibe, or keep it sophisticated and office friendly in tan. eBay is teaming with these! Having fun with a suit and adding some vintage feeling can really update your outfit, especially if you throw in a modern scarf or a totally noughties pair of heels!

1904's fashion vintage orange suit

1904's fashion vintage orange suit

1940's fashion vintage tan suit

1940's fashion vintage tan suit

If you really want to act like you live in the 40’s try being creative and making your own accessories with scraps you have lying around the house. After all, make do and mend was hot stuff at the time, and fabrics were rationed. If you are feeling a little lazy, however, try silver (gold was hard to get hold of in the war), along with paste gems, delicate chains and the occasion flower/bird motif.
Finally, you have to work the 1940’s makeup look. A little more accessible than the 1930’s, this makeup went for feminine bright lip colours and simply “unadorned” skin. Powders and soft shades were used, whilst the eyebrows were well defined/sculpted and the cheeks had a healthy rosy glow. I love this era as the makeup isn’t complicated but is beautifully effective. Try Fleur’s wonderful tutorials to see how to work fake bangs and curls to the best of their ability – trust me, she is an expert!

Why do we wear makeup? October 14, 2009

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Makeup/Cosmetics, Rants.
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I don’t wear makeup much. I am just not really a makeup girl. For me, I am aware that whilst my habit of eating too much salt produces black bags, I also have near perfect skin. Makeup neither completes me nor feels necessary, and I take pleasure in only wearing makeup when I feel I want to. Makeup, to me, is just great fun!

Lime Crime Makeup

Lime Crime Bright and Colourful Makeup

 (Image from the wonderful and bright Doe Deere, making makeup fun!)

Don’t get me wrong, I am not anti-makeup in any way shape or form. I, in fact, love the vibrant shades, the subtle blending, sweeps of dark liner and rosebud lips. But rather than having this every day (and losing precious sleep time!), I choose to only where it when I want to or when it is needed, and am happy to go bare on the days in-between.

At work this week, however, I experienced something upsetting. On a day without makeup I trotted pertly into the office, where a certain member enquired in a concerned fashion about my health. “Are you OK?! Just you have really big black bags under your eyes!”. I stumbled to find an answer, before explaining that no, I was not ill, I just didn’t feel the need to cover my flaws with makeup and that the bags were due to too much salt, which is my form of heroin!

So if girls are being told they look “wrong” or “ill” when they don’t wear makeup, where does that leave us?

Does that mean that those with perceived flaws should coat themselves in makeup day and night, even if they don’t want to? Does that mean the joys of a bright eyeliner, a sweep of spangly glitter or a completely different work of art on your face should be superceded by cosmetic work to correct faces, to fix flaws and to make people look presentable? Does it ruin the fun of makeup, and make it turn from something glorious, feminist and fun and into something designed purely to please the opposite sex, to confirm to societal pressures?

I have no doubt that part of all of these contribute to why we girls feel the need or the desire to wear makeup. And I think that should change. We should wear makeup because it is fun, enjoyable, because it makes us feel better about ourselves, or a dull day, or a questionable outfit. It should be something we choose to wear, not something we need, and definitely not something we have to wear.

Choice, people! It is all about choice!

Do you ever feel pressured to wear makeup or clothes that you don’t necessarily want to? What do you do about it?

Make me a… 1930’s Satin Beauty September 25, 2009

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Advice, Fashion, Makeup/Cosmetics, Vintage.
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The second in my series helping modern girls to wear the fashions of their ancestors, this week I address the exciting and tumultuous period of the 1930’s. These will contain clothes (both vintage, vintage inspired and direct repro), makeup and more, to help you achieve that distinctly vintage fashion style!

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This week  I tackle the satin and fur clad 1930’s, a period that is heading back into fashion at high speed.

The 1930’s evening wear produced some of the most iconic looks of the 20th century. The day clothes were wonderful too (just watch atonement if you need proof), but the 1930’s evening gowns are where us modern girls can have the most fun. Traditionally the style suits curveless girls (Keira Knightly looks stunning in anything 1930’s!), but I believe it can be adapted and converted to let any girls have a go.

The dress is always the obvious place to start. Evening gowns in 1930’s fashion often involved delicate lace (hard to find as vintage now due to the fragile nature of the fabric), satin and silk – luxury was high despite the economic difficulties of the time. If you do have the right slender form and the money to invest in a true vintage piece, there are some treasures out there – this incredible vintage beaded dresscould be yours for a depressing $625! If you don’t want to sell your soul for a dress, however, there a few things to remember. First off, traditional halter necks are a great look, as is bias cut. Anything in satin too will look great, and a long satin nightdress can happily be turned into a 1930’s evening gown!

Beaded 1930's fashion bias cut dress

Beaded 1930's fashion bias cut dress

Going reproduction is a more affordable way to buy, and means that you can find dresses in modern dimensions. Following our 1930’s SS Atlantica extravaganza, we have found that this Ghost dress is a great 1930’s look alike🙂 This dress makes a frequent occurence on eBay, so if this one is sold try searching for another.

Ghost 1930's style Satin Dress

Ghost 1930's style Satin Dress

Elegant evening gown out of the way, we can start thinking about the accessories. As art deco was very much in fashion around this time, we can happily get either vintage or modern jewellery that will suit the angular stylized look. Generally silver toned looks best for this era, but you can branch out and go with a more modern version to update the 1930’s look. If you want to go all out then the era leans itself towards intricate diamond numbers, but otherwise French connection offer a modern art deco necklace that can jazz up your dress. This green drop necklace, too, is a beautiful satin friendly necklace that comes from the 1920’s but matches perfectly with 1930’s fashion.

French Connection Art Deco Necklace

French Connection Art Deco Necklace

Green 1920's vintage green glass necklace

Green 1920's vintage green glass necklace

Finally, you need a stole of some description, or a feather boa. I know that whilst I don’t have a problem with vintage fur, many people do, so I will stick with faux fur reproductions. If you do want a vintage one, however, you will have to be willing to wear the fur that they wore back then, as faux fur wasn’t available. This white stole will suit any number of dresses (add an art deco clasp), and give you that vintage vibe. 
1930's style vintage white faux fur stole

1930's style vintage white faux fur stole

 Finally, lets address 1930’s makeup. If you are going for a vintage look, the makeup is the one part that probably should be updated to the 21st Century, except for the modern brushes and suppliers that we will use. Keep it surprisingly simple, focussing in on the eyes and again on the bowed lips. Rouge came into fashion in this era (just a little!), whilst eye makeup stayed dark, and aimed for a deep set look. again, no eye liner was used, apart from to smudge under the eyes. To go all out wear this look with actually finger waved or pin curled hair (the internet is full of tutorials), or add a modern twist with a funky up-to-date hair style.

Real 1930's makeup

Real 1930's makeup

Make me a… 1920’s Flapper Girl September 16, 2009

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Advice, Fashion, Makeup/Cosmetics, Uncategorized, Vintage.
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Off the back of my vintage fashion exploration a few weeks ago, I have decided to produce a “How-To” guide for each of the eras I covered. These will contain clothes (both vintage, vintage inspired and direct repro), makeup and more, to help your achieve that distinctly vintage fashion style!

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 This week  I tackle the gorgeous and brilliantly tenacious 1920’s flapper girl.

The dress is the main thing for a vintage 1920’s fashion look. straight and generally relatively curveless, this era really knew how to party. With long spindle like legs, little in the way of the chest department and hair cropped into a bob, they used to dance across many a dance floor in detailed sequined and beaded numbers. There were plenty of other dress styles, but this is the look that stuck in our minds and that truly represents that 1920’s vibe. You can go vintage, but bead in mind that the delicate beaded, lace and see-through dresses are approaching 90 years old and will be pretty darn pricey.

1920's fashion black lace flapper dress

1920's fashion black lace flapper dress

Try this stunning lace dress from Posh Girl Vintage if you do have the financial resources! If you are pinching the pennies (and the pounds), then try for repro. The 80’s in particular were fascinated with the fashion of the 20’s and 30’s, and tried to reproduce both faithfully and… well… not so. Nowadays Monsoon in particular have a good line of 1920s fashion inspired clothing; dresses like this beaded halterneck mean that busty girls can now enjoy that 1920’s flapper girl luxury!

Monsoon 1920's flapper dress

Monsoon 1920's flapper dress

I may get in trouble for saying so, but I don’t believe wearing vintage or being inspired by moments in fashion history mean you have to be loyal. Every body shape should be able to find something to wear, even if they are “too curvy” for the 20’s or “too straight” for the 50’s. These interpretations allow a happy middle ground.

 Ok, on from the dresses to the accessories. Cloche hats were one of the most popular styles out there, suiting those cute bobs and cheekbone-y faces. Luckily, these hats are really back in fashion again, meaning that you can happily either wear vintage of the surprisingly faithful versions popping up on the high street. Cute curls popping out from under this head hugging hat will look cute in any era!

For the perfect winter look, M&S are producing this cute grey 1920’s cloche hat that will go with any thick winter coat, whilst for a fancy evening this actual vintage 1920’s hat from Samaya Ling is just stunning in such a vibrant shade of green, with those gorgeous satin ribbon.

M&S pure wool 1920's cloche hat

M&S pure wool 1920's cloche hat


Vintage 1920's cloche hat

Vintage 1920's cloche hat










Finally, finish your flapper girl look with some beautiful makeup. With pale philosophical faces, the 20’s were about looking pale and interesting rather than rosy and glowing. Very light cream or pale natural shades were the best, leaving your face as a blank canvas for the lovely makeup touches. The lips had strong cupids bows painted on (the line of your real lips didn’t matter at all!) with a lipstick brush to give you a real “lip” shape and to shorten your lip width. The colours were generally dark, and reflected the equally dark eye makeup. With an excess of smudged-in eye liner, grey shadow and the occasional green/blue shade, this was an era of exaggeration and emphasis of the faces features.

Over-the-top 1920's makeup for the 21st century

Over-the-top 1920's makeup for the 21st century

 (image from here)


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