Archive | January 2014

A Lady on the Street or The Importance of Manners and Etiquette and Why One Should Care

Hello Darlings!

I do hope you are thoroughly enjoying the new year. I am quite excited about all the fresh new things going on in my life, both personally and professionally. I’ve received a great many requests to write a series on manners and etiquette, and now that I have the proper format, I am only too happy to oblige! The art of manners and etiquette is quickly eroding away as time progresses. One need only take a trip to the local Wal-Mart or drive in rush hour traffic to understand what I mean.
Sadly, when most people think of manners and etiquette they think of rules meant to dominate life; hard, cold, feeling-less things forcing us into social servitude. But the truth is manners and etiquette aren’t about us at all, they are about the people around us. They are a standardized set of behaviors meant to help us in unfamiliar territory. For instance, if one is invited to tea, but has never attended such a social gathering, manners and etiquette are there to save the day! With just a bit of coaching one will know how to hold a teacup, eat finger foods, and engage in polite conversation without offense or embarrassment. To quote Emerson, “Good manners are made up of petty sacrifices”. Indeed, good manners are devoid of selfishness.

“The true aim of all etiquette is the development of a kindly interest in and consideration for others.” The New American Etiquette

Etiquette guides us through all life situations: love and courtship, marriage, children, finances, social gatherings, even divorce and death. Etiquette is such an important aspect of life it is one of the first lessons we learn as children. As soon as we are able to speak, we are taught to say “please” and “thank you.” As tikes being introduced to social situations we learn to share, to take turns, and not to interrupt. Yet somewhere along the way we forget many of those lessons. We neglect to thank our server, we cut people off in traffic, we forget that we are not the only inhabitants in this great wide world. In this modern world of rush, rush, rush, I, I, me, me, ME we have lost the beauty of ritual, refinement, and grace.

I am thrilled to be able to introduce these things back to the world in whatever small way I can. Every month will feature a post on Manners and Etiquette taken from my favorite vintage resources and modernized a bit for today’s less refined world. I hope you will take what you learn in this series and share it. Think of it as Ms. Manners pays it forward. If there is anything you would like to see covered here or have a question about etiquette, please do drop me a line!

Time for Tea Photo by Margo Von Pigtails

Time for Tea
Photo by Margo Von Pigtails

XOXO

Dolly Marlowe

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A Return to Glamour… or The New Sexual Revolution

Hello Darlings!

Pardon me for sounding too Provincial, but I think the sexual revolution of the 1960’s was the great downfall of the feminine mystique. Now, understand I am talking about fashion, not politics (though it’s amazing how the two are connected). So, before I get a slew of angry e-mails from the Gloria Steinem fan club, allow me to just say I abhor  misogyny, I support equality, women’s suffrage, and all that jazz. But, I assert that women burned more than just their bras during that revolt. I believe we burned our fashion identities!

Case in point: I took in a movie the other night with my sweetheart. Whilst standing in line for overpriced stale popcorn, I noticed a woman standing in front of me wearing ratty fuzzy slippers. As my eyes wandered up this poor creature’s frame, I was horrified to behold her fashion choices (yes, I said “fashion choices” for I doubt anyone held a gun to her head as she dressed). In addition to her bedroom slippers, she wore baggy cotton pajama pants so faded I could hardly make-out their pastel plaid pattern topped by, what I assumed once was, a white spaghetti strap camisole and bright blue bra. Her sandy blonde locks were thrown together in some sort of bun held together by a scunci so stained by make-up the original color had been lost completely!

Sadly my friends, the fashion atrocities did not end with this woman. As I looked around the theater lobby, I saw ladies of all ages and shapes dripping in terry-cloth and flannel. There were exposed muffin-tops and whale-tails galore! Flip-flops, short-shorts with slogans on the seat, skinny jeans slung so low that it looked as if a major accident had taken place (I’m talkin’ #2 here!), and  lest we not forget, leggings as pants. As far as the eye could see, one fashion crisis after the other.

 

 

muffin top

One does not “have” a muffin top. Muffin tops are made by wearing ill-fitting clothes. Do your body a service by draping her in flattering fabrics and shapes. The top  image is yours truly wearing dungarees a size too small. Yes, I can get them on, but I think we can all agree they’re none too flattering.  The bottom image is a pair of slacks that fit just right. In fact, that funny seam down the middle was from me experimenting different ways to take in a waistband and seat. 

 

Please know I’m not trying to be catty or rude. I loathe the “petty woman” stereotype! My heart genuinely goes out to these gals because the way one dresses is a reflection of how one sees oneself. Is this really the price we must pay for equality, or are we just being lazy? As the incredibly fashionable Dita Von Teese wrote in her book Burlesque/Fetish and the Art of the Teese, “… modernity has removed breathtaking costumes from our closets to make room for sweatpants and ‘sensible’ threads.” Like Ms. Von Teese, I too find sweatpants spiritually chafing.

nudee dudee

Nothing is as easy to wear as a cotton sundress. This one from Nudee Dudee is an absolute summertime favorite of mine (and it has pockets!). Wedge heels are a comfortable way to wear “all day heels” and not have your feet hate you in the morning. Pop on a few simple accessories and you’re ready. Effortless style without resorting to yoga pants.

When I think of all those bullet bras and corselettes burning in the fires of change, it makes me want to cry! This is why I say to you, Ladies, NO MORE! We can stand on equal level with men without being men! All of that satin and lace is what makes the female of the species so wonderful. Why ruin it?

This begins a series of educational diary entries. I will discuss not just fashion on a superficial level, but the passion and romance behind women’s clothing. If you’ve ever wanted to dress like a pin-up or just want to spice up the old wardrobe… or perchance, you are the gal at the movie theater (at least metaphorically), do not miss this series! You don’t have to “dress vintage” to get something out of this series either. You can be an impeccably dressed modern lady savvy enough to avoid some common pitfalls of modern dress. I will also be introducing you to some of my favorite style bloggers, ladies from whom I draw great inspiration.

Disney blog

My best gal Pal Elley Darling and I in the fashion pages of the Disney Parks Blog. We spent an entire day at the parks (husband and child in tow) without the “aid” of athletic wear or trainers. Cute and comfort can be friends!

This is a call to arms, darlings! The New Sexual Revolution is upon us. Let us return to glamour. Viva la Revolution… and stockings!

Save the Date! 2014 Social Calendar

Hello Darlings!

My lovely friend, Sara Ellen, and I getting frisked by a couple of coppers at the Great Los Angeles Air Raid last year

My lovely friend, Sara Ellen, and I getting frisked by a couple of coppers at the Great Los Angeles Air Raid last year

I am thrilled to be writing to you from my new diary home! This new format gives me a great deal more freedom to be interactive with my readers. As always, I struggle with all things tech, so bear with me as I fumble my way through the new format. Most things improve with time, and I hope this will be no exception. On to the topic at hand!

I make no apologies for being a red-blooded American girl, and living in Southern California is an absolute dream! I can drive one hour in any direction and have just about anything my little heart desires… mountains with snow, falling leaves, the ocean, HOLLYWOOD! You name it, and I have it at my disposal. But even with all that, I can’t help but feeling the slightest twinge of jealousy when reading my favorite blogs and periodicals from across the pond. Jolly Old England boasts all sorts of Glorious events like the Tweed Run and The Chap Olympiad, not to mention all the dances, reenactments, and weekenders! We have a good bit of fun and entertainment here in the states as well, but so much of it is lacking in, shall we say, cultural refinement? There is nothing wrong with a good rockabilly show. I cut my teeth on rhythm and blues… literally (my daddy was a blues man and I chewed on his records and music equipment as a wee babe). But I just don’t see myself as a rockabilly girl. I prefer a gimlet over a Pabst any day. I’d swoon over gents like Bogie and Sinatra before giving Elvis a second look. And I like my music to swing rather than bop. In sunny california one can stand on any street corner, throw a rock, and hit a rockabilly show. So, what is a highbrow vintage loving gal to do? Sure, I’ve been to Viva Las Vegas and had a perfectly lovely time, but I want something more! I don’t mind telling you all that when I want something I generally find a way to get it. Like the old saying goes, If you want something done right, you’ve got to do it yourself!

I submit for your approval my 2014 Social Calendar! I’ve scoured the interwebs and contacted every Art Deco mucky-muck I could find to bring  you the most wonderful events in the greater Southern California area! For those of you not residing in the southland, please feel free to visit or use my little calendar as some inspiration to find events in your neck of the woods. There will be a dearth of rockabilly events, save for those of some significance, not because they’re awful (they’re not), but because there are SO MANY of them!! I’ll also be adding events as I hear of them, so if you know of an event, drop me a line and I may add it. If you’re an event coordinator and would like to have me cover your shindig, you may also contact me to set things up.

So where is this wonderful almanac of social gatherings? For ease of use, it is located on the side bar of my posts, and there it will remain. Just give the “Google” button a click and it will whisk you away to the full screen version with all the details! Be sure to visit often as new things will be added on the regular. Also, you can subscribe to my posts via electronic mailing, that way you won’t miss a thing! I hope you find it useful and keep an eye peeled for yours truly as I am sure to pop up at a gathering or two!

XOXO

Dolly Marlowe