Thursday, December 2, 2010

Dead Gorgeous

A few years ago I watched a fabulous movie on MYSTERY!, called Dead Gorgeous. Set in 1946 England, the story tells of two women who worked together during the war, lost touch with each other, and then meet by chance on the street one day. Both women are now married, and both are wishing they weren’t, though for very different reasons. The two characters are complete opposites—there’s Rose Bell, a quiet, reserved woman resigned to marriage to an oafish man who has a drinking and womanizing problem, and Antonia, a spoiled, scheming woman who married for money and now has decided she wants to trade her husband in for a younger Italian model (but she’d like to keep her hubby’s riches, naturally.) Essentially, the story is an updated version of Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train. Anyway, as I was saying, I watched this movie several years ago, found the storyline to be an entertaining one, and was taken by the fabulous wardrobe (socialite Antonia’s outfits were to-die-for.) Some time later, I came across the book this movie was based on, Peter Lovesey’s On the Edge, but for some reason never got around to reading it. I decided to pick it up this week, and boy am I glad I did—the book is even better than the movie, though the latter does stay fairly true to the former. There are some differences, mostly minor ones (like the color of Antonia’s hair; in the movie she’s a striking brunette, and in the book she’s a green-eyed blonde), but the movie mirrors the book quite well on the whole. As you can see, the costuming for the show was delicious—Antonia wears a host of extravagant suits, decadent hats, and smashing evening wear. And the book descriptions of her outfits were a treat too—doesn’t this outfit sound divine?

As promised, Antonia was by the bandstand at half past two, conspicuous in a lilac-colored coat with bishop sleeves and a matching Breton sailor hat tilted back rakishly. She was getting some long looks from the nannies walking their prams.”

So, if you’re looking for a good read or movie, be sure to check this one out!

Amanda Lee

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Deco Doll

Doug of Atomic Age Pictures and I decided to do a little something different for our most recent shoot, and came up with a deco-inspired series on the waterfront at Tempe Town Lake. I wore two dresses from Matilda’s Closet—the first is a late 1930s black taffeta evening gown studded with rhinestones, the second a 30s-style reproduction with rhinestone trim—and had my hair done in a modern take of a 30s-style. Since it was quite chilly, I also wore my Able Grable capelet. The finished look was a fun step away from our usual favorite eras!

On another note, I’ve been terribly neglectful of my blog due to my very busy schedule of late. However, I want to remedy this, and would love to hear from you—what sorts of posts would you like to see here? what sorts of posts would you like to see here? I do have another Motion Pinup in the works, and a hair tutorial should follow soon as well—what other suggestions do you have for me?

Amanda Lee

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Beautiful Bombers

I'm wearing Able Grable's "For the Boys" frock
with my red linen 40s platforms, a red patent purse, and red celluloid jewelry

Two Sundays ago, three Commemorative Air Force planes landed at the Deer Valley Airport--B-17 The Sentimental Journey, B-25 Maid in the Shade, and the only flying B-29, FiFi. I stopped by to check them out for a bit before heading to my cigarette girl gig later that evening. I was glad I made it to the event--there was a wonderful turnout to see these amazing bombers! I even got to meet two gentlemen who trained B-29 pilots, which was quite a treat! I also got to meet one of my blog followers, Brittany, who was a real sweetie. I have to say that I love how blogging connects us--I've really enjoyed meeting so many wonderful people both in person and online!


Amanda Lee

This is one of the gentlemen who trained B-29 pilots.
He told me he works at the Pima Air Museum
and to stop in and say hello the next time I visit :-)

Posing with another WWII vet--he came to the show with his daughter, who is taking the picture

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Vulture Mine Photo Shoot

Last Saturday, Matt Carson and I decided to take a trip up to Vulture Mine for a shoot. We had been once before about a year ago, and found the place to be a fantastic setting, with wonderful old buildings that though slowly decaying, made for wonderful backdrops. The faded walls popped brightly on film, and the history of the place is quite interesting. This trip, we were disappointed to find that a number of our favorite buildings were now roped off, as they had been deemed unsafe to enter. It's true that you enter them at your own risk, as they are indeed disintegrating, but it was odd that other spots, where half the building had collapsed, were still accessible. At any rate, we found a new building that we hadn't seen before, and it proved to be an excellent shooting location. Anyway, here are the results of our adventure!

Amanda Lee

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Jazz in AZ Big Fall Swing Dance

On Sunday, Jazz in AZ hosted a big band dance at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort. The stellar nine-piece band, conducted by Auggie Mendoza, featured the group MayneSwing (a trio of sisters who sing in the style of the Andrews Sisters) along with Sinatra-style vocalist Vito Mayne (yep, he's the brother of the MayneSwing sisters--there's plenty of talent in this family). It turned out that photographer Doug Monce's brother, Denny, was one of the trumpet players in the band--now there's another family that is bursting with talent! I sold raffle tickets for the Big Apple Raffle (the winner will receive a trip for two to New York, including an evening at Dizzy's Club Coca Cola--doesn't that sound like fun?), and wore a fabulous original 40s cigarette girl outfit provided by Matilda's Closet. The hat was made for me by the lovely and talented Jennifer of The Pin Curl Diaries, and I also wore my favorite black velvet pumps. All in all, it was a fun evening that I enjoyed being a part of!

Amanda Lee

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Latest Finds--Polka Dot Platforms

Okay, I am supposed to be saving right now, but when I came across these marvelous 40s platforms I just had to bid! I mean, I really did need a pair of white shoes to replace my current pair (which I adore but are too delicate to wear except for photo shoots these days), and it really is hard to find white platforms in a size 7.5. Especially ones with ankle straps and cute polka dot cutouts! So, I think I was justified in snagging these, don’t you think? ;-)

I'd love to hear about your latest finds--what has found its way into your closet recently?

Amanda Lee

Thursday, November 11, 2010


I have't posted an OOTD photo in ages, so I made sure to take one today! This is a typical look for me when the weather cools off--sweater and skirt combos are classic and easy to put together in a rush :-)

1950s pale pink cashmere sweater with button-trimmed collar
1950s black wool skirt
Narrow patent belt
Black patent 40s-style heels
Lucite 'A' brooch
Pink and yellow floral reverse carved lucite earrings

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Making Room in My Closet

I've been cleaning out my closet again, and have started listing some of my collection on eBay. Right now I have a fab 40s western dress, a deco 40s dress and jacket combo, and a couple of pairs of platforms up--check 'em out and maybe you'll see something that needs to be in your closet!

Amanda Lee

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Hot Rod Girl

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to shoot with photographer Ron Ricci, and I'm really happy with how the photos turned out! The shoot took place at DRT Automotive, and the Boston Bad Boys provided some amazing cars for the models to shoot with. We also had the chance to work with new designer Celena Garcia of Krabbie Gurl, who had sewn up some super cute pinup looks for us to wear! Ron is a very talented photographer, and his assistants Joleen and Maryam made the shoot run incredibly smooth. I hope you like my latest work!

Amanda Lee

I'm wearing my own wardrobe here--a 1940s yellow linen sun top by Koret of California
1950s black velvet shorts with rhinestone buttons

Remix platform heels

1940s carved bone earrings

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Final Frontier

My Sweetie played a Halloween show on Saturday night, and we decided to dress as Captain Kirk and Yeoman Rand. My Sweetie found his costume at Easley's (how I love that place--I've rented so many cool costumes there, and scored a couple of amazing vintage pieces there as well), and I had mine made by Sherry of Silk Surroundings (the same seamstress who made my ghost costume for The Pinup and the Poltergeist).

Here we are posing with my Sweetie's two daughters--aren't they pretty? His younger daughter went as a flapper (I did her makeup) and the older daughter went as Katy Perry :-)
Amanda Lee

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Pinup and the Poltergeist

For our second Motion Pinup, Doug of Atomic Age Pictures and I put together a spooky short just in time for Halloween. I hope you enjoy it!

Amanda Lee

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Morse Code

One of my all-time favorite singers is the dynamic Ella Mae Morse. With her powerful, rich voice and a style that blended jazz, country, boogie woogie and swing, this underrated singer turned out such hits as “Shoo-Shoo Baby,” “Mr. Five by Five,” and “The House of Blue Lights,” while putting Capitol Records on the map. Her career had a brief start at the age of 14, when she was hired by bandleader Jimmy Dorsey She’d told him she was 19, and when he found out her real age, and that he was now responsible for her care, he promptly fired her. Ella then joined forces with former Dorsey pianist Freddie Slack in 1942, and had her first gold single with “Cow Cow Boogie.” Though her records were always well-received, she never developed a huge following, and she retired in 1957.

The lovely Ella passed away on this date in 1999, and in honor of her passing, I’m posted a video of my favorite songs.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Indian Summer Photo Shoot

These past few weeks have flown by in a whirlwind, and I've hardly had time to catch my breath, let alone visit with my blogging friends! I hope you forgive my absence, and I promise to get back on track with regular posts :-)

Over the weekend I had a chance to shoot with my good friend, Matt Carson. We always have a great time, and I always love the shots he takes! He has a fantastic eye for color, don't you think?

The first outfit I wore was a red reproduction midriff sweater by Dixabilly, paired with navy blue sailor shorts from F21 (you can't see my shoes in this shot, but I'm wearing a pair of 40s red leather platforms trimmed in brass nailheads.) The second outfit I wore was the 1950s gingham cotton dress I scored in Tucson recently, paired with my "grown-up Dorothy" Betseyville heels. I also had the chance to wear a stellar 1940s-50s peach and gray Hawaiian playsuit, borrowed from Matilda's Closet, along with a matching pair of coral heels from Urban Outfitters. As you can see, the weather is still quite warm here!

I look forward to catching up with everyone!


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Retro Style Goes to Work

How do you dress for the office?

I’ve discussed this topic before, back when I first start this blog, but I wanted to revisit it as I am working in a new office with a much more relaxed dress code than my previous workplace.

I’ve always worked in “business professional” settings, where you are expected to dress neatly and can only wear jeans on Fridays. My attire consisted of tailored vintage or repro dresses, blouse and skirt/trouser combos, and the occasional suit, and though I was dressier than most (standing out even further by wearing red lipstick, reverse rolls, and the like), I found that retro style was right at home in the office. For years I had Fridays off, and rarely had the option of wearing jeans. On the rare occasion that I could wear them, and chose to wear them (I find dresses to be more comfortable to wear than jeans, though I love the look of cuffed dungarees), I wore a vintage or repro high-waisted style, again with a nice blouse or top.

Now my new office is very laidback, and employees have the option of dressing casually every day of the week. Most do, and I was a bit apprehensive about being too dressy—I like to blend in while acclimating to the new environment, but luckily people dress in a wide range of styles, and have no issues with my retro look (which I’ve been slowly easing into—I always tone things down a bit at first ;-).) It seems they do encourage uniqueness, which is always a good thing no matter where you are

How do you dress for your job? What kind of environment do you work in, and do you have to change or tone down your vintage look for day? Considering that vintage styles are very classic and well-suited for an office environment, I think most places would be very accepting—but I’m sure there are some places out there that would mind!

Amanda Lee

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tucson Travels

One of my purchases from How Sweet It Was--a 50s black and white gingham dress trimmed in soutache and sequins
Red linen 40s platforms
Red carved plastic bracelet
Red Bakelite earrings and necklace
Red patent purse
Fully fashioned stockings
On Saturday my Sweetie and I took a short little jaunt to Tucson--we had a free night stay at El Conquistador Resort, and we drove down Saturday afternoon. We had just enough time that day to take in a little shopping and a nice dinner, and later we hit the town in search of music and cocktails (I had a most divine beverage called the Ghost Orchid at the Congress--creme de violet, peach and ginger liqueur, oh my! My Sweetie went with his favorite standby, a dirty vodka martini.)

The next day we had breakfast at the Cup Cafe (always a hit) and then toured the Pima Air Museum before heading home that afternoon. It was much too short a trip, but we hope to be headed back sometime in October for a special project ;-)

Amanda Lee

1940s-50s grey denim trimmed in red bandana cotton top and skirt
Matching bandana belt
Rocket Originals "Georgia" Wedges

Carved red Bakelite earrings and bracelet

Red patent purse

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

What's Your Scent Style?

Do you remember your first perfume? I do; I vividly remember receiving a bottle of Malibu Sun and Old Navy for my 13th Christmas (hope I haven’t dated myself too badly *tee hee*). It felt so grown up to have my very own perfume—even though it was one that wasn’t at all “grown up!” (But what did I know, right?) A few years later, when my middle sister moved out, she gave me her bottle of Lady Stetson and Charlie, and even though I don’t recall ever wearing either of these, just having them on my dresser made me feel ever so mature *smirk*.

Now my tastes have developed quite a bit, and I find myself drawn to floral and oriental scents. I particularly enjoy trying out vintage perfumes, and generally seek them out over modern creations. Chanel and Guerlain’s famous creations don’t agree with my chemistry (sadly, as I adore Shalimar on others—on me it smells of acrid powder), but as I’ve learned what scents suit me (both in style and chemistry), I’ve found a few that I love. One of my favorites is Tabu; this one was created in 1932, and though it has a negative rep these days (it is not a perfume that can be applied heavy-handed), I enjoy its spiciness. It’s a “man-magnet” too; whenever I wear it men seem to go crazy!

For something a little sweeter, I adore violet fragrances, particularly those of the candied variety. Two favorites are Violetta di Parma (created for Napoleon Bonaparte’s second wife) and Violettes de Toulouse (created in 1932); both are delicately sweet and perfect for spring and summer. My only complaint is that neither is very long lasting, but one can’t always have it all ;-)

I do wear a couple of modern perfumes as well—I’ve recently discovered two that I enjoy very much: Kenzo Flower and Caron Aimez Moi. Kenzo Flower is a delightful bouquet with a soft powdery tone; it has a definite vintage feel and I think that is one of the reasons I am drawn to it. It is a fragrance that people—both men and women—always comment on, and it’s fairly unique as well. Caron’s Aimez Moi was inspired by one of their famed scents, N’Aimez Que Moi, a perfume created in 1916 for soldiers to give to their sweethearts before they went off to war (. The latter is no longer readily available, and is said to be a more complex version of the Aimez Moi. However, I am quite taken with the warm, sweet rose and violet bouquet of the new version. The original is on my “someday” list though!

So, now that I’ve told you my scent style and history, do tell me about yours! What perfumes do you love, and what was your first perfume?

Amanda Lee