Tag Archive | lingerie

Pinup 101Photo Shoot Checklist

Hello Darlings!

Today I thought I might share with you my checklist for photo shoot preparations, including what to bring. Every model should have a model bag that holds the various odds and ends needed on any given photo shoot or runway show. The contents of your bag may change depending on the job, your experience, and so on. I’ll go over the basics, and you can add on from there. I’ll also share with you how I prepare for photo shoots with my pre-shoot schedule.

First, lets touch on the importance of being prepared. I have heard some pretty interesting stories from photographers about models who have shown up late (really late), with unshaven legs and/or underarms, unkempt finger and toenails, soiled or wrinkled wardrobe, and so on. No matter how much or how little actual experience a model may have, showing up prompt and prepared is the mark of a true professional. The opposite is, well, exactly that. In a sea of beautiful faces, a professional attitude and a winning personality will set you apart and keep the jobs rolling in.

The Model Bag 

The model bag is a model’s personal bag of tricks. It holds everything one could possibly need during a shoot or show. Even if hair, makeup, and wardrobe are being provided, there are things specific to you that you alone are responsible for bringing. Here’s my checklist, and while your bag will be specific to you, this is a good start.

Dolly _Marlowe's_Model Bag

My model bag is a vintage train case that has doubled as a prop.

*Water bottles (Lights get hot, stay hydrated)

*Straws (Stay hydrated AND keep your makeup in place)

*Energy snacks (Bite size things are best to keep from ruining your makeup)

*Safety panties (Thong or g-string panties as close to your skin tone as possible. These are for wearing under a photographer’s or designer’s wardrobe, especially swimwear and lingerie.)

*Full coverage panties in black, white, nude, and a fashion color like pink or red (These are for show, so make sure they are in nice condition)

*Heels in black, white, nude, and any fashionable style or color that suits your wardrobe (Beware of too ostentatious a shoe if you’re working for a designer, their clothes are the focus, not your shoes. Make sure you can walk in the shoes you pack if you’re walking the runway)

*Bras in black and nude, with AND without straps


*Stockings: black, nude, fishnets, nude pantyhose (Bring backups in the event of snags)

*Scarf (For wardrobe changes to prevent makeup transfer)

*Makeup, yes, even if its being provided (Foundation, lashes and adhesive, oil blotter, translucent powder with brush, lipstick, liner, chapstick, hair pins, hairspray, comb and brush, tissues, cotton swabs, cotton balls, anything you need for your specific look)

*Body lotion

*Nail polish remover

*Clear nail polish

*Colored nail polish to match your freshly manicured nails

*Nail clippers and file

*Small first-aid kit with clear bandages, NSAIDs, allergy medications, cough drops, feminine hygiene products


*Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss

*Breath mints

*Baby wipes or makeup remover wipes

*Static Guard

*Small sewing kit with safety pins

*Fabric tape

*Portfolio, resume, and comp cards if you have them

*Your handbag with your usual things (Be sure to have cash, cell phone, and your ID)

*Music (I have several playlists depending on the mood of the shoot, and a compact bluetooth speaker)

*Something to do (There can be quite a bit of downtime, so have something to keep busy)

*Wardrobe and accessories (Even if the photographer is providing, it’s always a good idea to have options. The only time it’s not appropriate to bring your own wardrobe is if you’re shooting for a designer, then you’ll obviously be wearing their pieces)

*Travel clothes and robe (Loose fitting clothes that won’t leave impressions or red marks on your skin whilst you travel to your gig or sit for hair and makeup. Don’t wear socks!)

Pre-Shoot (or show) Preparation Schedule

Preparations for a photo shoot or runway show start long before you ever show up to your gig. Everything from eating right and getting a good nights sleep effect your performance in front of a camera. Here is how I prepare for shows and shoots.


Calendar art by Alberto Vargas for Esquire Magazine

Always (as in, I’m always doing these things because they’re important in the long term):

*Exercise and eat right. This doesn’t mean you have to be a size two, but you should strive to look and feel your healthiest best.

*Practice. I’ve covered this before, but it’s so very important to know how to pose and feel comfortable in those poses. Have a wide variety of poses, facial expressions, and moods to show (at least 10).

*Take a dance class. This may sound silly, but nothing trains your body to move with poise and grace better than dance. It doesn’t matter what style of dance class you choose, just pick something and get moving!

*Don’t pick at your face! If you have a pimple that decides to make an uninvited appearance, use a spot treatment. Picking will only cause irritation and scarring which will take a lot longer than the original blemish to disappear.

One Month Prior (as you book more jobs, this will became a standing thing):

*Gather wardrobe pieces and items for your model bag if you don’t already have them. If you need to order things, give yourself enough time for delivery and exchanges if needed)

*Make any sewing alterations to wardrobe as needed

*If your shoot has a theme, collect some props. This is an especially good idea if you’re doing a package shoot where the photographer has a set theme and is offering it up to multiple models. Bringing a few small props will give your photos something a little different. Though, respect the photographer’s wishes if they’d rather not use them.

*Double check your schedule. Make sure you have time off work, babysitters, transportation, a chaperone, and the correct day and time of the shoot.

Two Weeks Prior:

*Double check measurements and wardrobe fit, especially if you’ve changed your diet or started working out. You’d be surprised how the loss or gain of a couple of inches can drastically change wardrobe fit. Make any alterations (or contact whomever booked you if you’ll be modeling for a designer) as needed

*Double check that schedule!

*Start whitening your teeth if you’ve never done it before.

One week Prior:

*Do any kind of facials or skin treatments now so your skin has time to adjust. I do not recommend trying any kind of new treatments this close to a shoot, should your skin positively freak out on you!

*Start sleeping 6 to 10 hours a night. Sleep experts say it can take a whole week to catch up on one bad night, so be sure you’re getting plenty of beauty rest.

*Drink water. Proper hydration not only keeps you healthy, but it also fills in fine lines, wrinkles, cellulite, and clears the skin. (*pro tip: “water” is in bold because I mean water, not juice, not soda, not energy drinks, but actual WATER).

*Have your hair done. If you color it, get that done. Have a trim done as well. When you book your appointment, ask for a deep conditioning treatment as well to add some luster to your locks. Again, now is not the time for anything new, just maintenance.

*Wax whatever needs waxing, if you are so inclined. Remember, your skin will need some recovery time.

*Whiten your teeth if it’s part of your maintenance beauty routine.

Two or Three Days Prior:

*Groom your eyebrows. It’s best to have this done by a professional if you’re not experienced in this area.

*Exfoliate your face and body.

*Keep drinking water and getting good sleep!

*Cut out high sodium foods and alcohol. Too much salt will make you look bloated, not hydrated. Cut out as much salt as you can. Take it easy on sugary foods too. They can lead to weight gain and skin issues. Alcohol will make you look tired and puffy, so skip the cocktails until your shoot is over

*Steam and press any wardrobe, then hang it in a garment bag being careful it won’t get crushed or creased. DO NOT FLAT FOLD YOUR WARDROBE!

*Contact the photographer. Confirm wardrobe, hair and makeup plans, etc.

*Arrange a safety contact if you don’t have a chaperone.

*Double check that schedule.

The Day Prior:

*Keep drinking water!


*Have a manicure and pedicure done. Buy a bottle of matching color nail polish if you don’t have one at home.

*Pack your model bag.

*Wash your hair in the morning or the night before, and don’t use any heavy styling products. Your hairstylist will want “day old hair” to work with. (*Pro Tip: Day old hair, not dirty, nasty, stinky hair).

*Shave your legs, under arms, and bikini line if you don’t wax. Be sure to moisturize after.

*Get good sleep!

*Charge your phone

The Day Of:

*Wake up early enough that you’re not in a mad rush.

*Shower and shave again. Don’t forget to moisturize after.

*Wash and moisturize your face. Don’t put on any cosmetics if you’re working with a makeup artist.

*Throw anything in your model bag you used that morning you may need later. Don’t forget your phone charger.

*Eat a good breakfast. Stay away for greasy heavy foods, and opt for quality proteins and carbohydrates that will give you energy without weighing you down.

*If you’re supposed to arrive photo ready, be photo ready.

*Let your safety contact know when you’ve arrived and where you are. Keep in contact throughout the day during breaks if it’s an all day shoot.

*Show up 15 minutes early. Use the restroom if needed. Put your phone on vibrate.

*Relax and have fun!

After You Shoot:

*Thank the photographer and HMUA (and anyone else who worked on your shoot) for their work.

*Give them copies of your comp cards or business cards and exchange contact and social media information. Never miss an opportunity to network.

*Clean up your mess. Photo shoots are fast and hectic, no doubt your stuff is everywhere. Pack up your things and throw away your trash.

*Go over any details with the photographer regarding publication, photo sharing, etc.

*Call your safety contact when you’re in your car and ready to leave.

*Stop and reward yourself with a greasy, sugary treat. You’ve earned it!


Every photo shoot and runway show will be different in some way. As you gain more experience, your bag and routine will change accordingly. What’s important is that you get in the habit of being prepared. As always, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to drop me a line via electronic post or in the comments section below.


Every time I pack for a shoot, I have to remind him that he can’t come with me.


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