Apple Cider Vinegar Toner

Hello Darlings!


I’ve been asked time and time again to share my skincare ritual, and seeing how I celebrated my 40th birthday last month, I think that’s a splendid idea! But before I get into all that, I thought I’d first share a recipe for my go-to, all natural, organic, apple cider vinegar toner.

Apple cider vinegar has a long list of beneficial uses: from weight loss, to skin care, medicinal purposes, cleaning and disinfecting, teeth whitening, I could go on forever. Thanks to my grandmother’s expert tutelage, I’ve been using ACV for ages. My favorite use, as I’ll share with you today is as a skin toner.


Rich in alpha hydroxyl acids, ACV does a swell job in reducing the look of pores, fine lines, and wrinkles. It’s antiseptic properties help prevent and treat acne (including blackheads). It lightens discoloration caused by acne scars, sunspots, and age spots. But best of all, ACV actually improves skin tone and texture, all for around $5 every few months. Just think of all the money you’ll save ditching the expensive store bought toners! You’ve got better plans for that cash anyway… like shoes!

The Recipe:

1 part Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar

2 parts water

a clean glass jar


Simply divide your jar, whatever size, into thirds. Fill 1/3 up with the Braggs ACV (yes, use the Braggs, it’s raw, unfiltered, organic ACV, and only about $5 for a bottle that will last you MONTHS). Then, fill the rest with filtered water. That’s it!

Directions for use:

**If you have sensitive skin, go slow. ACV can be drying at first. Use once to twice a week for a couple of weeks, working your way up to everyday or even twice daily.

  1. Wash your face with a gentle facial cleanser and pat dry with a soft, clean towel.
  2. Shake your jar of ACV toner, then dip a cotton ball or pad in the solution.
  3. Swipe it all over your face, neck, and décolletage. Be sure to swipe under your eyes where we tend to collect wrinkles, but DO NOT GET IT IN YOUR EYES! (It burns, Precious, it burns!)

As the solution evaporates, the fumes tend to irritate the eyes. I like to take this time to close my eyes and relax a bit. Skincare time is me time, so I do like to soak it up.

Fair warning, ACV stinks like, well, vinegar. The odor will go away, usually by the time I’ve finished with my entire skincare ritual (more on that at a later date).

I can honestly say of all the products I’ve tried, nothing comes close to my ACV toner. Try it for a few weeks and tell me what you think!



Dolly Marlowe




Beauty Review: Besame Cosmetics Cashmere Foundation Stick

*This is not a sponsored or paid review

Hello Darlings!

I have, as of late, been on a mission… a mission of glamorous proportions! For over a year I’ve been searching for a foundation to replace my beloved Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation, which is sadly no longer cruelty free. I’ve tried lots of different foundations; high end, drug store, BB creams, powders, you name it. While some were decent, none really hit the mark. That’s why when Besame Cosmetics announced the launch of their new Cashmere Foundation Stick, I was over the moon, if not a bit skeptical. I love Besame, but I’ve not had much luck with stick or pancake foundations in the past. I decided to order one and give it a whirl!

Anytime I do a review, I like to test the product for a few days, sometimes even a few weeks to get a feel of how the product truly performs. Over the last few days, I tested the foundation stick in lots of situations. I tested it at my ballet class, yoga, whitewater rafting, running errands in 114* heat, and under hot photography lights. Let’s see how it did, shall we?

Day 1

On the first trial I did my makeup as usual, moderate coverage with finishing powders and the like. I had an afternoon of running errands in 114* heat (yes, you read that correctly, 114*).


I’m wearing Besame Cashmere Foundation Stick in Bisque and Besame Brightening Powders in Violet and Vanilla Rose.


After a very hot afternoon of shopping, the powders wore off, but the foundation stayed put. I did, at one point, touch up with some pressed powder.

Day 2

On day two we went whitewater rafting. Knowing I’d be in the sun and water, I did a light foundation application (with no powder). I really didn’t expect much, especially because I had to wear loads of sunblock.


My face before our time on the river. The foundation stick is a buildable coverage, so I opted for a lighter application.


Moi, looking glamorous as ever in my little green helmet, along with my Mr. and man-cub, and four complete strangers. Oh, and Matthew, our competent guide who kept my man-cub from falling out of the raft on more than on occasion.


After a couple of hours on the river, in the sun, and my foundation stayed better than my so-called “waterproof” eye makeup. Though I didn’t actually go swimming, I did get splashed pretty well a few times… I was soaked!

Day 3

I very much wanted to test the full coverage claim under studio lights. It’s one thing to look nice at the beach or grocery store, but it’s quite another to step in front of a camera under hot lights.


This is the unedited photo. I applied my makeup as I would any photo shoot. Cashmere Foundation Stick in Bisque built up to full coverage, Brightening powders in violet and rose, e.l.f. High Definition Powder, and Besame Cherry Red lipstick.


This is the edited version. As you can see, other than some smoothing and light balancing, there really wasn’t a whole lot of editing to be done. 

The Review

Formula: I’ve always been a fan of Besame’s commitment to clean makeup, and while I’m no chemist, the Cashmere Foundation Stick  stays true to that philosophy. Not only is it free of lots of the “junk” found in other foundations, it has some lovely skin calming additions like cucumber, chamomile, and green tea. The ingredient list can be found right on their website, so for those of you with sensitive skin or allergies, there’s no mystery as to what you’re applying to your face. Best of all, Besame is 100% committed to being cruelty free! No animal testing, no animal by-products, and they don’t sell in countries that require animal testing.

Color Match: I have very light skin with pink undertones; the Bisque color was an absolute perfect match! The Cashmere Foundation Stick comes in a wide range of shades that can be blended together if you can’t find your perfect match or if want to contour and highlight.

Coverage: Besame calls the foundation stick full coverage, but I wouldn’t go quite that far. When it comes to full coverage, I always compare foundations to Estee Lauder’s Double Wear foundation which is truly full coverage (and tested on animals, unfortunately). While the Cashmere Foundation Stick has plenty of coverage for me, if you have serious acne or rosacea, it may not be enough. BUT, the coverage is buildable. It was a cinch just to add a little bit more to get the desired effect. If you’re looking for sheer or light coverage, simply adjust the amount of product you apply. Need a matching concealer? Use a concealer brush and dab away! So, while I wouldn’t exactly call it FULL coverage, I love the fact that I can wear as little or as much as I want with no hassle.

Application: I’ve heard some complaints about the application, but I think there are a few things to remember when using a solid foundation: first, wear moisturizer! Everyone should be wearing moisturizer anyway, but especially when using pancake makeup. You’ll find you have a much smoother application when you prepare your skin properly. Second, after you swipe on the foundation, blend it in with a brush. Besame sells a lovely boudoir brush for such a purpose, but any foundation brush will do. You won’t get that etherial airbrushed look with a sponge blender. And third, if you have large pores, like moi, blend up and away from the pores to keep from pushing the makeup down into them.

Once you have that down, the application is exceedingly easy. Just swipe a bit on your forehead, nose, cheeks, and chin, then blend away. There is virtually no mess! Another plus is how portable it is. Throw it in your bag for a quick touch up at the beach, gym, or wherever your adventures take you.

Wearability: Besame says their foundation is feather light, and they aren’t wrong! No matter how much I used, my skin felt naked. I have normal to oily skin, and as I mentioned before, I live in an oven. That being said, my skin never felt greasy or caky. It also wasn’t drying in any way. It truly felt as if I was wearing nothing… at least on my face, anyway. And talk about long lasting! During my rafting trip, my foundation stayed better than my “water proof” eye makeup! Ballet class, yoga, summer heat, the Cashmere Foundation Stick stayed put through all of it. Removal is easy as pie. A little cold cream, and it wiped right off with no lasting residue (my white towels stay white!).

Cost: The price for this wonderstick is, in my humble opinion, beyond reasonable. For $25 you get a pretty generous amount of makeup. Now I’ll be honest, it doesn’t look like much, but as with all of Besame’s products, a little goes a long way. Not to mention one typically uses less of a solid foundation than the liquid sort. Plus, no mess means no waste! While it may cost a bit more than a drugstore foundation, it’s half the price of high end department store cosmetics, and it beats both in quality by a mile!

Availability: As of right now the foundation is only available through Besame’s website or their two locations. Hopefully it will be at a Sephora near you soon. I don’t have a Sephora near me, so I buy at I realize buying a foundation on-line, without being able to test it, can be nerve-wracking, but Besame’s color descriptions and swatches are incredibly accurate. If you just do a search of  #besamecosmetics or #cashmerefoundationstick on Instagram, you’ll find lots of ladies showing off their preferred shade which may help you find yours.

Rating: I give it and overall 9 out of 10. The only issues I see are that it’s not quite full coverage, and for some ladies that may be an issue, and it’s only available on-line or at a Besame store right now. Honestly, I can overlook both of those things because I love this product so much! If it’s ever discontinued, I shall throw myself into the pit of despair!

I do hope you have found this little review helpful. If you try the Cashmere Foundation Stick, please let me know what you think! As always, you can find me on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. If you have a beauty or vintage lifestyle question, feel free to drop me a line via electronic post, Until we meet again!


Dolly Marlowe

Pinup Pouf Hair Tutorial

Hello Darlings!

I’ve been making an effort to be nicer to my hair. I put it through quite a bit of abuse when it comes to styling: wet sets, backcombing, pin curls, more backcombing…So. Much. Backcombing. In order to minimize breakage, I try to only wash my hair every four to five days. By the end of that cycle, my hair is, well, nasty. Since going into hiding is a less than reasonable option, I need a quick and easy hairstyle to hide my dirty hair. The best part of this style, other than being quick and easy, is it works best on dirty hair!

Pinup Pouf


Supplies: brush, rattail comb, hair elastic, bobby pins, hair net, hair rat, hair spray, decorative bits and pieces.


Step 1: Brush out your nasty hair! 

*Apologies for the poor quality photos. We’re renovating and my lighting is seriously wanting.


Step 2: Brush your hair forward into a ponytail, right where your bangs sit.


Step 3: Divide your ponytail into two sections.


Step 4: Backcomb like crazy!


The goal here is to look like a Tim Burton character. I told you I do A LOT of backcombing.


Step 5: Attach the hair rat to your hairline just above your forehead. Two bobby pins on each side should do the trick.


Like so.


Step 6: GENTLY brush your hair forward being careful not to brush out the nice little rat’s nest you’ve made. I use a soft bristle brush for this reason.


Step 7: Roll the ends of your hair under and spread them out a bit.


Step 8: pin the rolled ends of your hair under the hair rat, and secure the ends. Smooth out any lumpy bits and spray it in place. Your hair is already dirty, so go ahead and shellac that mess!


Step 9: Stretch the hair net over your pouf. Fine mesh hair nets work best.


Step 10: Secure the netting behind the hair elastic on top of your head.


Step 11: Choose some decorative hair baubs to enhance your do.


A simple bow works nicely.


You can get as dramatic as you like. Use LOTS of flowers. The higher the pouf, the more hair baubs you can use!


And just like that you are ready to face the world in glamorous (albeit dirty) hairstyle.

Let me know if you try this style and how it works for you.


Dolly Marlowe

Every Day is like Sundae…Shoes

Hello Darlings!

Pardon the bad pun in the title, but I just couldn’t resist. I’m so very excited to share with you a fun make-do-and-mend project. If you’re not familiar with “make-do-and-mend”, it’s just an old fashioned term for DIY, and I love me some DIY especially when it combines sweets and shoes!

This project comes from fellow vintage living blogger, Miss Amy May. If you’re not currently subscribed to her blog or following her on social media, I highly recommend you do so. I had never heard of Shoe Bakery until I read Amy’s post. While their shoes are adorable works of art, they’re a little over the top for my taste. I’m a “less is more” kind of gal. The shoes that I really fell in love with were the ones Amy made herself, and so I decided to take a crack at making a pair.

I don’t wan’t to reinvent the wheel, so I’m just going to link back to the original post here, plus add a few things I did differently, and share my supply list for the American crowd. So, without further adieu, I give you my version of Miss Amy May’s version of Shoe Bakery’s   Ice Cream Sundae shoes.


I love the added texture and color from the jimmies. Maybe the next pair will have rainbow sprinkles?



  • Shoes you’d like to decorate (For an ice cream cone look, you’ll want nude or tan shoes with an exposed platform)
  • Calking gun
  • White silicone calk (I used HDX brand from Home Depot)
  • Wax paper
  • Butter knife or cheese spreader (one you will not be using again)
  • “Chocolate Jimmies” clay sprinkles (I purchased mine on Etsy)
  • Cherries (you can find these at Walmart, Michael’s, or Hobby Lobby)
  • Masking or electrical tape
  • Piping tips (I used the medium star shape. Again, these will not be used for food…ever)
  • Toothpick or bamboo skewer
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Q-tip
  • Modge Podge (Gloss and Outdoor respectively)
  • Fine red glitter
  • Paint brushes with synthetic bristles

Directions Part 1:

I basically followed Amy’s tutorial with a few exceptions:

  • I used wax paper instead of news paper for my work surface.
  • Because I don’t have the most steady of hands (translation: I’m a colossal klutz), I taped off the edges of my shoes where I didn’t want the calking to get to. This made clean up much easier…and I still made a mess.
  • The Q-tips and rubbing alcohol are for clean up. If you smudge, spill, or otherwise get calking where you don’t want it, clean it up before it dries.
  • I also taped my piping tip directly to my calking tube as I was fresh out of pastry bags.
  • When the calk was still wet, I sprinkled on my jimmies and then used a bamboo skewer to gently push them into the calk for a better hold.
  • Finally, I painted over the calked bits with outdoor Mod Podge. I wanted to be sure I could wipe my shoes clean if needed and the Mod Podge helps keep my jimmies in place.

Directions Part 2:


I love the added sparkle and pop of color the glitter adds, but a week later, and I’m still cleaning it up! Though it has stayed on my shoes remarkably well.

For this bit I followed a tutorial for glitter soles I found on Pinterest. There were a lot of them, and they all used the same method. You want to be sure your calking and Mod Podge are completely dry before doing this bit. Once glitter gets onto a wet surface, there’s no going back! I also taped off the “whipped cream” bit to keep it as clean as possible. Or, even better still, do the glitter soles first, then do the frosting part.

One thing I notice was that the glitter and Mod Podge did tend to get a bit clumpy.While I don’t mind how it turned out, next time I think I’ll just do the single coat of glitter without going over it again.


I’m going to be designing a lot more outfits around these shoes.

And there you have it! Adorable custom shoes that will have everyone begging to know where you bought them. How gratifying will it be to say, “I didn’t buy them, I made them”?!

I’d love to see what you come up with. Tag me in your Sundae Shoes images on instagram!


Dolly Marlowe






Corsets, and Girdles, and Garters, Oh My!

Hello Darlings!

Once upon a time my Mr. and I were week-ending in Vegas with friends. For some ridiculous reason we decided to dine at the Planet Hollywood formerly inside Caesar’s Palace. I know what you’re thinking, “with all the unbelievable restaurants in Las Vegas, how in the world did you end-up there?!” Well, let us just say, when it’s late (or early, depending on point of view), good decisions are hard to come by. At any rate, while waiting for a table, our little party wandered about eyeballing the Hollywood memorabilia, when what to my wondering eye should appear, but the loveliest little suit worn by none other than Lauren Bacall! Now friends, when I say little I mean little! I couldn’t fathom how a woman, who in my mind, was  larger than life could fit into a garment so small!

The suit in the Planet Hollywood exhibit was this Milo Anderson number Laren Bacall wore in “To Have and to Have Not”. It is frequently confused with the houndstooth suit she wore in The Big Sleep. This suit, however, has a much more exaggerated New Look waistline. 

The answer, one word, shape-wear… or is that two?

Now, I’m not suggesting shape-wear was the ONLY reason vintage clothes are so small. We were, generally speaking, smaller way back when. We were more active, we ate differently, and we were shorter too! And Ms. Bacall was indeed, a tiny woman. But shape-wear did play a significant roll in how clothes fit.


Sophia Loren in the Millionaires wearing all the things!

Yes, ladies, there was once a time when women put just as much thought and care into what they wore under their clothes as the clothes themselves. Different fads in fashion called for different undergarments. And, with the introduction of Dior’s New Look, the structured female form was back in a big way! It is for this reason why so many women become frustrated by vintage shopping. Many of the really high quality dresses seem to have an impossibly exaggerated hourglass shape. Frustration comes when we look for vintage fashions with modern eyes and forget our fashion history. If you, no matter what your size, want that lovely vintage silhouette, then you’ll need to invest in some really good shape-wear. (Don’t you just love an excuse to shop?) After-all, those nipped in waists weren’t held by willpower!

The Corset

The Grand Dame of all shape-wear is the corset. No other undergarment is steeped in as much history and controversy as she. I could devote an entire diary entry (or eight) to the corset… perhaps someday I will. But, for now, I shall stick to the basics.


What I wouldn’t give to pay $14.75 for a real steel boned corset!

To acquire real waist reduction, a quality steel boned corset is a must. Depending on the wearers body type, a reduction of two to six inches can be achieved. Corsets come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and infinite style combinations. Corsetry is a true art-form, so when looking for a quality corset, be prepared to pay handsomely for it! Most are made by hand to your measurements and are extremely labor intensive. I also HIGHLY recommend going to an actual shop to be fitted in person for your first corset. Once you’re more familiar with fit and wear, you can go crazy shopping on-line. Sure, you can get a cheaper corset with flimsy plastic bones from a mass production lingerie dealer at the mall, but with a little research , you can find quality corsets for close to the same price.


As attitudes towards fashion began to change (thanks to the likes of designers like Coco Chanel), so too did the attitudes towards undergarments. The rigid form of the corset began to morph into the more flexible corselette thanks to new innovations like “lastex”. Seriously?! $1.98?! I need a Delorean and a Flux Capacitor.

The Girdle

A little less drastic, but no less alluring than the corset is the girdle. “Egads! Did she say girdle?” Yes, honey, I did! I realize the name sounds decidedly unsexy (kind of like “granny panties”), but the girdle, especially the open bottom variety, oozes with sex appeal and pin-up charm. The girdle comes in as many styles and sizes as the women who wear them—full body corselettes, or open bottom half girdles, girdle panties, with or without garters—the options are endless! Most girdles use mesh or power net and spandex and/or rubber to slim and smooth the figure. The corselette has a built-in bra to aide in the enhancing of the bust while eliminating any bulges in the mid section. The girdle is by far the best way to hold up those fully fashioned stockings as it will not move or sag no matter how active you are!


Jantzen today is mostly known for their swimwear, but they were also makers of lingerie. The two aren’t so very different.

The Garter Belt

If the girdle is a bit much for you and you want something a bit more diminutive to keep those stockings in check, then a garter belt is for you. Those flimsy little things one finds in standard lingerie retail shops will not do the job! Those are for the boudoir, not for galavanting around the city streets. In no time at all that poor excuse for a slingshot will start to fall and you’ll be stuck with sagging stockings… not sexy! Instead, opt for a garter belt made specifically for holding up fully fashioned stockings. They are just as (if not more) lovely than their scant counterparts and a whole lot more effective!


I love vintage advertisements. They are a window into a world long gone.

The Bullet Bra

No feature on shape-wear would be complete without mentioning the holy grail of vintage lingerie… the Bullet Bra! The mere mention of it invokes the memories of Bettie Paige and scandalous B movies like Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! and Kitten with a Whip. Paired with a waist cincher, the bullet bra creates dynamite curves—protruding bust, nipped in waist, full bottom—the thought just curls my toes! Now, you may not believe me when I say this, but the bullet bra can actually minimize the larger bust, sometimes even a whole cup size. Because it pushes out rather than up, a slightly subduing effect can occur. So, for all you busty dames out there, it’s best to go up a cup size and down a band size if you can. For the same reasons stated above, the bullet bra will enhance the smaller bust. No matter what size you boozums, you’ll want to use bullet bra pads to fill in the ends of the bra cups. This will keep your sweater from mashing in your bits!


Look closely and you will see the spiral stitching on the bra cups. This is the hallmark of a true bullet bra. Also, can we just take a moment to admire the alligator’s terrific form and turnout?

If a bullet bra is a bit too extreme for your tastes, look for bras with a three seam cup (my go to bra). They give a perkier and more pointed shape keeping in-line with a vintage look without poking anyone’s eyes out. Avoid molded cups. A round bust is a decidedly modern silhouette.


A corset I had custom made years ago, still very much in fantastic condition. This one was used for a fetish shoot, so I requested to have the modesty panel left out. 

Well, there you have it, dearies. I trust you’ve enjoyed our little tete-a-tete on shape-wear. I do hope you find fabulous pieces to spice up your wardrobe and your life! Hang the recession! Go shopping, you deserve it! I leave you with a few of my favorite places to shop for shape-wear.


Dolly Marlowe

Now for some of my favorite places to shop:

What Katie Did – The Morticia corset is on my wishlist (Blast you, spending freeze!).

LoriAnn Costume Design – from gothic to steam punk & everything in-between (my pictured corset was made by Lori Ann).

Melon Sweet Cheeks – Hand made (super cute) lingerie… LOVE her bullet bras!

Dottie’s Delights – If you crave vintage inspired couture, Dottie’s Delights is for you… oh how I wish I lived in Chicago!

Secrets in Lace – Not only do they have a magnificent section of shape-wear, but a wonderful stocking selection as well!


Orchard Corset – A new favorite of mine. Beautiful and functional steel boned corsets at unbelievable prices (that sounds a bit car salesmany, but it is nonetheless true). 


Stockings: The Daintiest of the Dainties Part Two

Hello Darlings!

As promised, I bring to you the second installment of my stockings series. Part three will be a fun little make do and mend project, so be sure to subscribe to my diary so you don’t miss a thing! We’ve already discussed the who’-its and what’s-its of stockings, now it’s time to discuss wear and care. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all of the questions an feedback I’ve gotten here and on social media. If you have a question or a topic you’d like to see me cover, drop me a line!


Now, I’m not one for hard-line fashion rules such as “no white after Labor Day, shoes and purse must match” and all that, but I will agree that most “rules” do have a purpose. While taking fashion risks can be fun and exciting, one must always beware of how small detail can affect the overall look of an outfit. So, here are my “Top Five Rules”, if you will, in regard to the wearing of stockings:

Rule #1: When wearing seamed stockings, your skirt’s hemline should fall below the knee (mid-calf is best). A seam traveling up the back of your stems draws the eye in the same direction. There is enough suggestion and sex appeal in that alone to set the world on fire! Adding a miniskirt to the equation cheapens the look. *The exception is in the case of a flirty costume… think French Maid or Cigarette Girl.

Showing just enough leg & seam without showing one’s girlie bits!

Rule #2: Opaque toes are appropriate for closed toe shoes, sheer toes for open style shoes. Opaque, as in can’t see your toes and the color of your polish through the material. Stockings with a reinforced toe sheer enough to see the toes through the material are perfectly appropriate for open toe shoes or even strappy sandal types. Some exceptions can be brightly colored opaque tights with contrasting open toe shoes. Use your best judgment and pay attention to the overall look.

Rule #3: Don’t wear flats with your seamed stockings. Rarely have I ever seen flats and seams worn together well. Remember, the idea of a seam is to draw the eye up, elongating the leg. Flats do the opposite of this. It doesn’t take much of a heel to give your seams the boost they need. A one inch kitten heel can be just enough to do the job.

Rule #4: Be era appropriate. Now, I’m not suggesting you must be historically accurate. It’s just that some of the best pieces in your wardrobe won’t always work together. If you are wearing a 60s inspired scooter dress, then choose stockings without a seam or  better yet, coordinating tights. 

Rule #5: When wearing fully fashioned stockings, pay attention to fit. Stockings too large will sag, and too small with be uncomfortable and run easily. It is also worth noting that even the best fitting full fashioned stockings will being to sag at some point. Because they are sans elastic, wear will stretch them out. If you’re going to wear stockings all day, either opt for reproduction stockings with a mock seam (and lots of stretch) or bring a fresh pair to change into when your first pair loses their shape.

Getting Them On

Because FF stockings have virtually NO stretch, putting them on requires a bit of extra care. To accomplish this, without tearing them to shreds, roll the stocking down evenly from welt to toe and then unroll them over your (slightly bent) getaway sticks. Be sure to check that the seams are straight. If they are not, roll the stocking down and start anew. Do not, for heaven’s sake, try to pull them straight while wearing them! You’ll put your thumb right through, especially with vintage stockings! Attach your garters (or suspenders, depending on what side of the pond you reside) not more than halfway down the welt. Fasten the garters where they fall naturally when not holding your stockings. If they are clasped too far forward or back they will twist the stockings (making for a crooked seam) or ruin them all together. We’ll talk more about garter/suspender belts in an upcoming post.



Now that you know how to wear your stockings, let’s chat about how to care for them. No matter how advanced your washing machine is, your stockings will NEVER survive the ravages of said machine… not even in a lingerie bag. You must ALWAYS wash your dainties in a delicate lingerie bath.

To prepare a lingerie bath, fill your sink with hot water and a gentile lingerie detergent. Dip your stockings repeatedly until the water cools. Bear in mind that most vintage stockings will bleed dye for the first couple of washes, so be careful to only wash like colors together. Once the water cools, drain the old water and refill the sink with fresh hot water. Gently rub the stockings on the foot area only, frequently dunking them in the fresh water. Then, rinse them under cool water.

*Important Note: Before washing your stockings, remove any jewelry and be sure your nails are filed and your polish is free of chips. Nothing is worse than shelling out mucho dinero for stockings only to have them ruined by a hangnail!

I personally take my stockings into the bath with me. A bubble bath makes a lovely lingerie wash, and stockings in the tub is oh so girlie! After your stockings are rinsed, gently manipulate them back into their original shape (this keeps them wrinkle-free) and wrap them in a towel to dry.

Now, this final step is completely optional, if not a little OCD, but I so love the look of stockings fresh from their vintage packaging that I re-board them after washing. To re board your stockings, you’ll need a steam iron with a silk setting, a towel, and a hard surface to work on.

 Lay out your slightly damp stocking on a towel and carefully smooth out any wrinkles.
Be sure the seam runs up the back without any overlap which would result in unsightly creases.
Fold the towel over the stocking.
DO NOT place the iron directly on the stocking unless you want melted stockings!
Iron the stocking through the towel (on the silk setting).
I know, I’m wearing a bracelet. I should follow my own advice!
Once your stockings are pressed (one at a time), fold them in thirds around their cardboard form  and wrap them in tissue paper or slip them into a satin lingerie pouch.
I always keep the original packaging from my stockings.
Not only are they fabulous storage, but I love the vintage artwork!

And there you have it. Our next and final installment of my stockings series will feature a bit of DIY fun. Now I leave you with a few more places to shop for stockings and other lovely foundation pieces.

Calendar Art by Alberto Vargas
Moi, preparing for an evening with my Mr.


Just Figures (formally Girdle Bound) has a great selection of new fully fashioned stockings and shape-wear!


Secrets in Lace is one of my all time favorite place to find vintage repro lingerie and stockings!


Ho-hose is my new favorite place for vintage FF stockings! Be sure to read the Pretty Polly articles on fully fashioned stockings… really fabulous information like don’t smoke while putting on your stockings!


What Katie Did  Stockings, corsets, and all things soft and sexy! I LOVE this shop. If you’re ever in Hollywood, put WKD on your list of places to shop.


Etsy and eBay are a great place to find vintage stockings for less funds than a traditional vintage shop, but buyer beware! Not every seller knows their product and you may end up with less than you paid for.


Dolly Marlowe

Stockings: The Daintiest of the Dainties (part 1)

Hello Darlings!

Nothing compares to the feeling of fully fashioned stockings stretched over freshly shaved gams. If you’ve not had the pleasure, please read on!

Somehow efficiency beat out romance in the hosiery department. Lovely, sheer, soft seamed stockings fell out of production to make room for crumpled pantyhose mashed inside plastic eggs (or more recently, inside cardboard boxes akin to the mini milk cartons we were served in kindergarten). Because of this, there are entire generations of women who don’t know how to wear stockings!


Seriously, who was the marketing genius behind this?! 

These next few posts will be devoted entirely to ladies hosiery (more specifically, fully fashioned stockings)…

The image of delightfully seamed stockings peeking from beneath a full skirt and frothing petty-coat conjures up ideas of the femme fatal masquerading as the girl next door… irresistible, no? It is sexy and mysterious without being vulgar.

Stockings ad

But before we get into the do’s & don’ts of stockings, let us first learn what’s what. I’ve whipped up a little glossary of terms just for you.

*This glossary is by no means exhaustive. The world of ladies hosiery is a complicated one, indeed! This is just enough to get you started.

Let the education begin!

Dolly Marlowe’s Stocking Glossary, por vous!

Hosiery: A term referring to anything that is meant to cover the leg ie: stockings, pantyhose, tights, socks, and the like.

Pantyhose aka All the way ups: A one piece hosiery contraption that involves 2 sheer stockings attached to a panty and waistband. These should only be worn out of costume necessity and NOT as everyday wear!

Tights: Essentially the same construction as pantyhose with the major difference being  a heavier denier and gauge, opaque, and available in a large variety of colors and patterns. These are acceptable for daily wear, usually in colder weather.

Stockings: Sheer hosiery meant to be worn individually and secured with garters. These little treats come in a bevy of styles and are a staple in my everyday wardrobe.

Holdups: Stockings that function without the use of garters (not much fun in that!). They hold-up on their-own by little silicone strips under the (usually lace) welt.

Fully Fashioned Stockings aka Flat Knit Stockings: My absolute, can not live without, if I were stranded on a deserted island what would I bring, favorite wardrobe item! Fully fashioned stockings (vintage or vintage reproduction) are produced on the original flat knit machines. The stockings were knitted flat, cut to size, and stitched up the back (yes, that seam does have a function). True FF stockings have a welt of doubled over fabric and a finishing or key hole. FF stockings have very limited stretch, so pay special attention to sizing.



Berkshire Knitting Mills, once the largest  factory producing full-fashioned stockings in the world.

Mock seams: These stockings are the modern version of the FF stocking. They are produced on circular machines and then given a decorative seam. While they have all the benefits of technology: sheerness, durability, stretch to fit sizes, and more economical prices, they are not nearly as fun as their vintage counterparts! These work well for costuming and as a reliable back-up stocking. Most major lingerie dealers cary mock seamed stockings.

Welt: The top portion of the stocking made up of a heavier fiber where the garters are to be attached. In FF stockings, the fabric of the welt is doubled over and stitched with a finishing hole.

Under Welt or Shadow Welt: The area just below the welt made up of decorative stitching, logo, or design unique to the manufacturer or stocking style.

Finishing Hole or Key Hole: In FF stockings, this small opening is where the welt was folded over and secured. The finishing hole also gives the welt a little extra stretch for ease of movement and comfort. The finishing hole is the hallmark of the fully fashioned stocking.


Lace Top: Stockings with a lace top rather than a traditional welt. These are commonly offered in the hold-up style.

Denier: The unit of measure relating to the weight of the yarn. Now, depending on the type of fibers used (nylon, silk, lycra…), the denier tells you how sheer your stockings will be. Without getting too technical, lets just say the lower the number, the sheerer the stocking. A 15 denier is quite sheer & pretty much the standard. There is a formula of weight per unit length, but that information is hardly necessary for shopping!

Gauge: Another unit of measure given to us by our British friends. It relates to the fineness and amount of needles used in the knitting process. All you really need to know is that 51g & 60g are the most common gauges used. The 60g stockings are more refined, while the 51g were still quite smooth, but more moderately priced.

Cuban Heel: Quite possibly the most popular foot style in seamed stockings, the Cuban Heel is a rectangular reinforced heel.

Havana Heel: Similar to the Cuban Heel, but wider on the heel and more narrow on the foot making it a nice choice for d’Orsay heels.

French or Euro Heel: Less common in vintage stockings than the Cuban heel, the French heel (or Euro Heel) is a pointed reinforced heel.

Manhattan Heel or Deco Heel: A personal favorite of mine, the Manhattan Heel features a nifty little Art Deco detail over the heel.

stocking Heels

Reinforced: Sections of the hosiery that have been strengthened by double knitting resulting in a darker or more opaque area, thus resulting in a design feature. Necessity is truly the mother of invention!

RHT: Reinforced Heel & Toe. This style came to popularity in the 1960s after the advent of circular knit machines… also marking the demise of the fully fashioned stocking. A sad day indeed!

Sandal Foot or Sandal Toe: Also known as a sheer toe. Pretty self explanatory.

Opera Length: A longer length stocking made for the taller gal or one with a heavier leg. These usually require shorter garter straps.

Boarding: When hosiery is still damp from the dying process, it is pulled over a leg-shaped form and pressed. This is what gives FF stockings their delightful presentation. I love the look so much that I board my stockings after washing!

Now that you’ve become acquainted with some terminology, let’s talk fit. There are 3 main kinds of fit out there: American, UK, and another that escapes my memory (for lack of use). For time purposes, I’ll demonstrate American sizing. Fear not my European friends, I’ve not abandoned you! Because stocking sizes are based on shoe sizes, the conversion process is the same as American to UK shoe sizing and vice versa. So, American sizing is as follows:

Shoe Size    Stocking Size

5-6                    8 1/2

6 1/2                 9

7                       9 1/2

7 1/2                10

8                      10 1/2

8 1/2 – 9           11

9 1/2                11 1/2

10 – 10 1/2       12

There is another number one must be aware of when selecting FF stockings: Length. The length is the measurement in inches from the heel to the top of the welt. This is not how long the stocking will be when worn. You will likely loose 2 to 4 inches depending on the fullness of your leg. If you happen to be a shorter gal with curvy stems, I would suggest going up a size or two depending on your leg shape. If you are a leggy creature (lucky you), or if you enjoy a longer fit, then opera length is for you.

Now you’ve enough information to get out there & shop, but before you do, let me share a few of my favorite stores.

Where to Buy:

Secrets in Lace –   This is where you will find Licensed Dita Von Teese & Bettie Paige Stockings.

What Katie Did Modern made FF stockings on vintage machines and mock seam stockings as well.

If you’re into real vintage ebay & etsy are always great resources!

Stay tuned, soon I will delve into how to wear & care for your new stockings. Until then, enjoy!


Dolly Marlowe