Top Tips for Vintage and Retro

On Sunday I attended the Brighton Vintage Fair at the Corn Exchange as an invited blogger and had a thoroughly brilliant time. Despite the monsoon rain outside, the place was absolutely packed out and chock full of stalls selling clothing, jewellery, and ephemera. There was even a vintage hair and beauty salon, and a tearoom where I had a rather fab cup of coffee in a gorgeous china cup.

Louise, the organiser, welcomed a very soggy me at the door, and I set off to glean as much information as I could about starting out in vintage when you're either on a budget or are a newbie. Everyone was incredibly helpful and eager to share what they knew - so don't hesitate to ask questions at vintage/retro fairs, market stalls and shops!

What I Learned

  1. Do your Research: There is no point in going out just to buy "old things". Find out the difference between 20s fashion and 60s fashion. Find out who the key designers were, what the shapes and trends were, what jewellery was popular, what the makeup looked like. Look at old issues of Vogue. watch old movies. Look at old photographs. Really get to know your stuff, and recognise good workmanship and tailoring. Also understand that some clothes just aren't there for you to buy anymore, such as 60s fleeting fashions that weren't built to last. Learn how to sew - not only to recreate looks, but also to mend, maintain and alter what you do find.
  2. there is not point in going out just to buy "old things"
  3. Keep your own individuality: it's fashion, not just vintage or retro. You can live the life authentically from underwear through to lipstick, or you can mix the styles to suit your personality, but make sure that it's your personality wearing the clothes and not the other way around.
  4. Know the difference between quality and junk: just like today, not everything from a certain period is well-made. If you're investing money in pieces, make sure that they have a good cut, that the stitching is polished, that the details are there, and that these items will continue to last and look good. Again, a knowledge of sewing is useful for any wear and tear.
  5. Know the difference between "vintage", "retro", and just plain "old": knowing which era fits into which category will save you a lot of money! Check the video above for the definitions. Also, again, just because it's vintage doesn't necessarily mean that it's good.
  6. Realise that vintage and retro makeup is NOT the same as makeup today: research colours and styles, but also look at specific techniques and textures. makeup then was not shiny or dewy or glossy, and most looks were a lot more structured, matte and polished than they are today. Work that eyeliner and line those lips!

HUGE Thank You To:

Other Wonderful People To Check Out:


3 Shadows 1 Liner 1 Mascara

Hi Tory,

High on impact, low on products - here's a quick and easy look that adds depth and dimension to the outer and inner corners of the eye, but with a pop of highlight in the middle!

You can ring the changes with neon brights or pretty pastels, but the principle and technique remains the same - three shadows, one eyeliner pencil, and one mascara - it's a snap!

high on impact - low on products

Products Used

  • MUA Single Shadow in 13
  • MUA Single Shadow in 2
  • MUA Single Shadow in #15
  • MUA Intense Eye Colour in Black
  • MUA Mascara in Black

Hugs and kisses,


Poolside Goddess Recreated!

Hi Tory,

I'm recreating a tutorial here that originally appeared on the Makeup Geek site - whilst the tutorials are usually videos, this one was in pictures only, and I thought it might be helpful to have an active recreation as well, and using more affordable products for those of us on a budget.

a lovely pop of intense teal, a bit of sparkle, and a gorgeous wash of rusts and browns

There's a lovely pop of intense teal, a bit of sparkle, and a gorgeous wash of rusts and browns to set it off - a nice dramatic look that you can still wear during the day and look ultra pretty, and then stack on the glitter, strengthen the edges and put on some fake lashes for the evening.

Products Used

  • MUA Professional Palette in Dusk Til Dawn
  • MUA Single Shadow in #15
  • MUA Single Shadow in #28
  • MUA Glitter Eyeliner in #2
  • MUA Intense Eye Colour in Black
  • MUA Liquid Eyeliner in Black
  • Collection 2000 Big Fake Lash in Black
  • MUA Blush in #6
  • MUA Lip Gloss in #1

Hugs and kisses,


Sleek and Peachy!

Hi Tory,

I live in the vain hope that the brief flash of warm weather we had a while ago might come back and turn into the Spring at last. Ever the optimist! With that in mind I had a play with the Sleek palette I picked up for the ever-so bargain price of just £3. Why so cheap? Someone had dropped it and smooshed a few of the shadows, but we know how to fix that!

There are some gorgeous peaches and champagne colours in the palette, with a nice 50/50 mix of matte and shimmer, so I went with a soft and subtle blended crease and wash of peach to give me a Springtime lift. Enjoy!

there are some gorgeous peaches and champagne colours in the palette

Products Used

Hugs and kisses,


Makeup Artist Kit for Beginners

Hi Tory,

Over the last year I've been slowly getting back into doing makeup on a more professional basis, after a break from beauty therapy and doing fashion shows. So I'm pretty much building my kit up again from scratch, which can be done at a more affordable level.

These are a few tips and hints on what I've put in my kit (minus makeup!) that may help anyone else out there who's starting up as a makeup artist. If anyone has any further tips - do share!

Pouch One

  • Hand sanitizer
  • Surgical spirit
  • Witch hazel
  • Setting spray
  • Brush cleaner
  • Makeup remover
if anyone has any further tips - do share!

Pouch Two

  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Lash curlers
  • Sharpener
  • Micropore tape>/li>
  • Hair grips

Pouch Three

  • Cotton pads
  • Cotton buds
  • Sponge wedges
  • Tissues
  • Mints
  • Lipbalm

Pouch Four

  • Brushes

Pouch Five

  • Moisturizer
  • Eye primer
  • Face primer
  • Babywipes/makeup wipes
  • Mixing medium

Pouch Six

  • Powder
  • Concealers
  • Blotting sheets
  • Clear mascara
  • Coloured mascaras

Pouch Seven

  • Blushers
  • Bronzers
  • Brow pencils
  • Eye pencils

Pouch Eight

  • Shadows
  • Pigments

Pouch Nine

  • Lipsticks
  • Lipglosses
  • Clear lipgloss

Be polite, be professional, be hygienic, and hand out those business cards!

Hugs and kisses,


Coalface by LUSH - Week Three

Hi Tory,

I'm now at the halfway point with LUSH's Coalface soap, and the problems I was having last week with the red bumps has pretty much disappeared altogether. Next step is to use the soap twice daily, and step it up with an exfoliator. It's looking good!

Hugs and kisses,


The Fashion File by Janie Bryant

Hi Tory,

I am a MASSIVE fan of AMC's "Mad Men", the hit show set in an advertising agency in New York in the 1960s. If you haven't seen the show (where have you been?!?), it's notable not only for its compelling storylines, but also for the incredible attention to period detail - everything from cans of food through to clothes, hair, makeup and furniture is authentic and lovingly researched.

tons of vintage and retro tips for the modern wardrobe

So I was really excited to find that Janie Bryant, the award-winning costume designer who works on the show, had written a style bible with tons of vintage and retro tips for the modern wardrobe. It's gorgeous to look at as it's peppered throughout with her watercolour fashion illustrations, but also has a wealth of "Mad Men" tidbits to keep the fans happy.

Each chapter takes you through finding your personal style and building a capsule wardrobe, right through from shoes to clothes to makeup, and there are also handy tips on maintaining vintage pieces and tracking down key items.

I've got the hardback version (available from Amazon here), but you can also get a Kindle edition. It's definitely my purchase of the month!

Hugs and kisses,


A Pop of Orange!

Hi Tory,

I'm calling it Spring at last - it might be a little tentative but the days are definitely getting sunnier and warmer, so it's time to inject some colour into our makeup.

Intense and bright colours can seem a little daunting, but as long as you pair them with neutrals to begin with, they work really well at giving you that fresh pop of colour. If you think along the lines of interior design schemes with accents of colour in the form of accessories, that's the general principle. Take a neutral base palette and inject that colour alongside it!

intense and bright colours can seem a little daunting

Products Used

Hugs and kisses,


How to Remove Glitter Polish

Hi Tory,

I'll be honest with you, taking glitter polish off is a complete and total nightmare. You end up shouting and swearing with shredded cotton wool and lumps of glitter still resolutely stuck to your poor nails.

I have often contemplated getting an electric sander out

I have often contemplated getting an electric sander out in the past and using that... until now. This method quite simply has to be seen to be believed - and it really does get ALL your glitter polish off in one fell swoop.

A massive thank you to London Beauty Queen for the original link, and to Isabelle who did the picture post for the technique. It's astounding!

Hugs and kisses,


Coalface by LUSH - Week Two

Hi Tory,

Smoother, more even skin - a big plus! Little red bumps here and there - not so sure!

It's a bit of a mixed-bag review this week - I don't know if the red bumps are a reaction or whether they show that my skin is detoxing... answers on a postcard! I'm going to persevere and see how we are next week.

Hugs and kisses,


Grooming Your Eyebrows

Hi Tory,

In the last couple of videos I've realised that my eyebrows are looking decidedly Neanderthal, so I figured it was about time that I showed you how to groom your eyebrows and get them all tidy and polished. (I can hear mum screaming in the distance!)

it opens up your eye space and makes your eyeshadow look polished

When you groom your eyebrows and tidy up all the scraggly stray hairs, it opens up your eye space and makes your eyeshadow look polished, and generally just frames your face better. It does hurt, but it's more of a temporary sting and you do get use to it.

What You'll Need

  • Cotton pads
  • Tweezers/li>
  • An eye pencil
  • Witch hazel
  • A mirror - preferably a magnifying one

Do this roughly every three weeks and you'll always look well groomed! (I can still hear mum screaming in the distance...)

Hugs and kisses,


UPDATE - Neutrogena Wave Duo

Hi Tory,

it just didn't work for me

Well, I've been using the Neutrogena Wave Duo on and off for two weeks now, and this is my final update... it just didn't work for me. I was hoping that I'd found a more affordable alternative to the Clarisonic, but sadly not, so it's back to saving the pennies for me!

If you don't have any issues with sensitive skin, then the Duo is a nifty little gizmo, but any areas of sensitivity just don't gel with it at all, and I am genuinely gutted about that.

Back to the drawing board!

The Duo Wave is available at Boots and Superdrug, and retails for around £9.99.

Hugs and kisses,


A Simple French Manicure Trick

Hi Tory,

I trained for two years and then spent another two years working as a Beauty Therapist, and even I find French Manicures tricky to do, especially on the toes! You need a really steady hand to get the tips even with a nice, crisp line.

even I find french manicures tricky to do

So, after a lot of practice, and trial and error, here's a quick trick to help get those crisp tips for a beautiful French Manicure without all the fuss and muss - and all you need is a pack of hole reinforcers from a stationers.

If you want to do a contrasting tip over a coloured background, you need the base coat to be absolutely bone dry - I'd allow a good hour after painting to make sure that's the acrylic is totally dry and hard to the touch, or the sticky backing of the hole reinforcers will make a mess of your painting. You'll also need to put a good top coat over the finished manicure to keep it free from chipping.

Give it a go and you'll never have to worry about steady hands again!

Hugs and kisses,


How to Mend an Eyeshadow

Hi Tory,

It's first thing in the morning and you're in a rush. You grab your makeup to do your face, and one stumble later your palette is on the floor and there are bits of eyeshadow everywhere.

Don't panic!

your palette is on the floor and there are bits of eyeshadow everywhere

Eyeshadows (and blushers, and bronzers, and anything that comes in a pan) are really easy to fix with a little bit of surgical spirit and a little bit of know-how

What You'll Need

  • Surgical spirit/rubbing alcohol
  • A teaspoon (to pick up the loose shadow)
  • A few cotton pads
  • An eye dropper or pipette (you can pick these up in the pharmacy section of your local chemist

All fixed!

Hugs and kisses,


Week One - Coalface by LUSH

Hi Tory,

I can see an improvement in my skin tone

Here we are at week one of using Coalface by LUSH, and already I can see an improvement in my skin tone and the number of blemishes and dark spot on it. At £4.50 for a 100g chunk, it goes a very long way, and if the results keep on like this I'll be very happy indeed! The next update is in a week's time :)

Here are all the specs for Coalface on the Lush website

Hugs and kisses

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