Inside my vintage clothing collection there are a few prized possessions; this is one. This dress is an original 1940’s Pake Muu, designed for elegant holiday lounging. It is a cotton dress with a long zip up the back and is extremely fitted with no stretch. Sadly, this is the last time I wore it , as it is as the seams have become to old and fragile, the fabric is now tearing beyond repair. This illustrates one of the key reasons I buy such pieces in the first place; they are so beautiful that if I can own them and make patterns from them, then they can live on for many more years.
As a hostess dress, this is one of the most flattering and comfortable garments in my wardrobe. It has a simple elegance not seen in this century, the kind I always long for. Many of these original dresses can be seen for upwards of $300 online, but in my opinion, if you are a keen sewer and like to work from the detail of an original piece, they are a great investment.
Original 1940s Pake Muu via Etsy
Yellow bakelite bangle
Leopard print Tiki heels – Pinup Couture
Lips- MAC Russian Red
Shot on location at – Porter Davis World of Stye Bali Room
Vintage dressing gowns form the backbone of my collection. There is nothing so glamorous and relaxing as having these to swan about in after work.
Pieces from the late 1930s through to the mid 1970s all have a home with me. Satins, silks, velvets, cottons and yes, even pretty polyester have their place in my wardrobe. You’ve seen my latest green velveteen find, so today is another great op shop discovery that is perfect for warm spring afternoons. Like good lingerie, good robes or dressing gowns, can transform the everyday into something very special. The feeling of slipping into something floaty or frilly, soft and feathered or long and silky after a hard day is simply transcendent. This is where that wonderful feeling of “feeling sexy” comes from; from inside. When you treat yourself like someone special, just for you and no one else, it springs from within and your mood lifts to meet it.
There is so much talk on the vintage pages of the internet about “what is the perfect hair cut for vintage“? While there is no single answer, given we all have preferences for different eras, different hair types and different lifestyles; the most often recommended style is The Middy Cut. There are original cutting diagrams floating around of these, and so many of you will have already taken these to your hairdressers, often with disappointing results. You can read more in last week’s post about my new 1950’s Middy hair cut here.
In the wake of showing you those photos and telling my story, I’ve received a flood of messages from ladies wanting to get the same hair cut. I have sent my hairdressers details to a number of you in Melbourne, but it must come with a word of warning. This is NOT a wash and wear hair cut. You must be committed to styling it every day. This isn’t necessarily time consuming, but you need to have the skills to do it. In fact, it takes me about ten minutes each evening to roll this up, then about five or less in the morning to style it. And so, today’s tutorial is designed to help set you on the right path and show you how I style my Middy Cut with a simple pin curl set.
This set is all rolled in a downwards direction from the centre part and takes about 2-3 hours to set, or even better, can be done over night. The key to this style is knowing how to do a good comb out. You’ll see how with the same pin curl set I’ve achieved quite a variety of looks, from the soft and sexy, to the sleek and classic.
Please feel free to ask me comments on the video (so everyone can benefit from seeing the answers there) and make sure to share this tutorial as it is one of the keys to success in understanding why Middy Cuts and vintage styling isn’t just a one step solution.
Since 1997 I have been trying to get this hair cut. Like many of you I have all kinds of pictures, illustrations and even original cutting diagrams. So the questions is, after such a very long time, why have I never been able to get this cut to happen correctly?
Although I’ve had some fabulous hairdressers over the years, I now understand what the difference is. It is all in the training. The modern hairdressing schools teach a very different style of cutting than was taught in years past. There is a myth out there that hairdressers all know how to do the same thing, and nothing could be farther from the truth. They all have different skills and different specialties.
For instance, the hair styling that I provide in my Melbourne based Vintage Hair and Makeup company, is far more complex and time consuming than what most hairdressers have ever tackled. It it what I live and breath, as well as requiring a very different skill set than those skilled colourists for instance. But I don’t cut, I don’t colour.
Last week I was recommended to a career hairdresser (Maggie Timms) who has had over 40 years experience and was taught the Vidal Sasson way of precision cutting. She has an excellent understanding of the finished styling I want to achieve, and although this cut isn’t asked for by her day to day client, the core requirement of specialty precision cutting remains. In no time at all, (and without any diagrams needed), she snipped away and created my 6inch middy hair cut.
It is perfection.
Although my regular colourist is also an excellent cutter, the difference between the close approximation of a 1940s or 1950s style hair cut I usually sport and this new cut, has made an incomparable difference. How can I tell? This cut looks perfect set or unset, it brushes out into so many different styles with the one set, and it has cut my rolling time by more than half.
In a nutshell, if you’re looking for the key to a successful Middy Cut, it isn’t in bringing pictures and diagrams, but in finding a long term hairdresser experienced in precision cutting.
What do you think?
What are the biggest problems you have when trying to explain your hair cut requests?
Here’s the perfect vintage hairstyle for Christmas – our summer holiday season!
Christmas in Australia is often during the hottest part of the year, so choosing the right hairstyle to keep you cool and chic is an integral part of putting your look together.
This is a cute 1940’s hairstyle that involves pin curling and a roll at the nape of the neck. I’d suggest this as an intermediate skill level, or one you want to try a few times before the big day. It takes about 1 1/2 hours to do, simply because the pin curls need to dry in the middle of it. So this isn’t a last minute before you leave hairstyle either.
You could choose to skip the pin curl setting and shave off a heap of time by using a curling iron for those sections if you want to.
You’ll see for my Christmas theme I’ve used tartan ribbon and a (ridiculously oversized) holly at the back, but of course you can substitute these for the ornaments of your choice. In fact I quite like the idea of adding bells, but it may drive you crazy…
If you do decide to give this one a whirl, let me know how you go and maybe even share pictures of your ‘do’ on Instagram with me!
Learning how to tie a headscarf retro style, is easier than you think.
It’s one of the quickest ways to solve a bad hair day and the varieties are only limited by your imagination.
I’ve been asked many times how I tie my simple headscarf. The one I wear when I’m setting my pin curls and still want to be able to go out on errands looking half way decent.
I often wear my hair up like this when I’m working especially in hot weather, to keep it out of the way. It’s a fantastic way to create a cute look while still getting your hair to do its ‘secret work’ (setting) without anyone knowing.
It’s particularly good if you have an event or big night out and have to work right up until the last minute.
I have a simple video tutorial for you, taking you through three simple and easy to achieve looks with a large square scarf.
Keep in mind this was created way back in 2010, so the quality isn’t brilliant, but the lesson is solid.
There are so many I could show you, but don’t want to overload you by creating a whole two hour tutorial! So here are the first three ways that can be adapted to suit your own style.