Saturday, December 26, 2015


I've kept this blog, off and on, for seven years. It's helped me meet some really cool people, both offline and IRL, and I've learned so much. But I haven't updated my blog for the last three months and I think it's time to declare the blog's end, or at least an extended hiatus. Not that it means I don't still love my vintage clothes and my events. You're welcome to follow me on Instagram @itsdlovely or read some of my most popular posts (take a peek at the sidebar).

Thanks for your support and happy New Year!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Pearl Davies is Coming to Town!

This year at Viva, I had the chance to meet the wonderful Pearl Davies and her husband. Pearl is a pin-up photographer from Australia who'd decided to spend the year touring the US. Her next stop is (finally!) New York.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

It's Been A While, So Here Are History Lessons from My Vacation

It's been quiet around here for a long while. Things have been insane lately--I'm essentially working two jobs right now, and grabbing all the extra work I can. I haven't shot any outfits, really, but I have been to a ton of burlesque shows.

Anywho, please enjoy some photos of my August trip to Martha's Vineyard. It's such a beautiful place with a really rich history. I feel so lucky to have grown up spending my time there. Unfortunately, it's a little inconvenient to reach from New York unless you get a good deal on a JetBlue flight, but my week there was perfect for decompressing.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Retrofit: Tutti-Frutti

I don't know what it is about fruits but I love to wear them. More unexpected than flowers, they're still predictably cheerful. Case in point, this 1960s halter dress I bought from my friend Aly at Aly Rose Vintage.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

I'm Not a Cat Lady, But a Lady with a Cat

You may or may not have seen the coverage of Girls and Their Cats, a really sweet photo project that is exactly what it sounds like. Photographer BriAnne Willis comes to your house, if you're a woman, and takes a picture of you with your cat. BriAnne is interested in the relationship a person can have with a cat, despite dog people arguing that cats just aren't that into you. My friend sent me a link to Girls and Their Cats a month or so ago and I had to sign up.

via Girls and Their Cats

Friday, July 24, 2015

"Every Woman Has A Beauty of Her Own": Studio Rezin (Part 2)

Last week, I shared a Q&A with boudoir photographer and fashion illustrator Michi Rezin. She's amazing, and if you can shoot with her, you absolutely should.

What's wonderful about Michi is she's both really open to working with your ideas. Elizabeth Taylor in her slip is "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" is iconic, so I started there with my inspiration.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Go See: MoMA's "Mexico at Midnight"

Still from "La diosa arrodillada" (1947)
Last week, New York's Museum of Modern Art announced "Mexico at Midnight: Film Noir from Mexican Cinema's Golden Age". The series starts this Thursday and runs through July 29.

Mexican cinema's Golden Age has the pretty much the same timeline as Hollywood's, stretching from the mid-1930s to the early 1960s. It even had a studio system similar, and Mexican stars like Dolores del Rio and Lupe Velez found fame on both sides of the border. But of course, these films aren't just copies or translations of American films. MoMA says, "Even seasoned noir fans will be startled and thrilled by these selections, which treat sexual passion and murderous jealousy with a vigor unimaginable in contemporary Hollywood productions." This is pretty timely next to the Investigating Film Noir online class that TCM has launched in June.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

"Every Woman Has A Beauty of Her Own": Studio Rezin (Part 1)

In a world where everyone takes selfies, it becomes even more powerful to step in front of a photographer's lens. You can learn something about yourself, especially in a boudoir shoot. With the help of Michi Rezin, I realized once and for all that  a woman who has cartoon characters on her underwear can be sexy.
self-portrait of Michi from her Instagram. She is slaying.

"Pour le beaute feminine" is the tagline for Studio Rezin, based in Brooklyn, and it's perfect. For about a year and a half, this former fashion photographer has been capturing stunning burlesque performers on camera and helping ordinary women find some of the glamour themselves. The clothes and the makeup are important, of course, but what makes a photoshoot a special experience is the amount of attention. I've gotten to play around with a few photographers before but Michi is incredibly attentive and helpful when you're not quite sure if you've got it. And the results take your breath away. Michi's images from our shoot are so warm, rich and luxurious. I saw the photos and almost didn't believe I was seeing myself. For the really bold ladies, Michi will shoot you outdoors in lingerie (!) or in lush fetish-inspired sets.

I talked to Michi about her studio, her inspiration, and more.

Come back later this week for more on my shoot with Studio Rezin.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Does This Dress Make Me Look Insensitive?

I'm a great big nerd, and being interested in vintage clothing means spending time doing something I love--research. And I felt there was plenty of research to be done when, early in my time as a vintage collector, I was reading about something called a "squaw dress". I clutched my pearls at the name because in today's world that's deeply offensive. Perfectly fine for yesteryear, but not OK today.

I've written a little bit about patio dresses on the blog before, but I really dove into it (pulling up newspaper articles from 1955 and stuff) for my job's website last week. The vintage community is a large and diverse one, and I think we all kind of owe it to ourselves to know about the impact of the garments we're wearing, both then and now. Here's an abridged version below, about the amazing designer behind the original patio dress.

The author in one of her patio dresses 

...When I first started seeing and reading about squaw dresses, I stopped short. By no means am I ignorant of our country's history of violence and displacement against Native Americans, but to see that disparity so glibly called upon to describe a dress was nasty. A squaw dress is a one or two-piece dress created in the early 1940s for vacationers to wear in the resort towns of the southwest. They're cotton with colorful borders, trim, and rickrack and don't need a lot of care. A lady vacationing in the desert doesn't want to fuss with changing outfits too much; she needs something she can wear to the market and still look nice enough to receive guests. That dress, based on the "broomstick" dresses worn by Navajo women, is perfect as she gets back to nature, but she doesn't go so native that she'll forget cocktail hour.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

What to Do for 4th of July in New York City

We're so close to the weekend, you guys. And if you want to celebrate your weekend with something vintage-y and maybe a little naked, here's your list.

Liberty Belle Extravaganza
If you want to the 4th in the biggest way possible, this is where you go. More than 40 performers two floors of Hudson Terrace. Bae Dandy Wellington is the emcee. Starts at 3pm and goes late.
$30 advance, $35 at the door, group rate available. More info

Monday, June 22, 2015

What Do You Want?

I posed this question on my Facebook page, but thought I should ask it here, too. I'm all ears--what do you want to see more of on this blog? More movies? More events? Should I bring back Monday Man Candy? Let me know in the comments. If you're feeling shy, go ahead and comment anonymously, or send me an email at if you want it to be our little secret.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Retrofit: Woof!

I love something a little unexpected, which why more and more I'm hunting down vintage novelty prints. At first, you can't really tell what these little blue things are.

Are they flowers?

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Dandy's Got an Album!

Photo by Rose Callahan 

Congratulations are definitely in order--Dandy Wellington and His Band just released an album! Last week, the band released the EP "Harlem Rhythm" on iTunes. He has a really tight band and is an all-around showman. Such a treat to listen to. I couldn't be happier for Dandy and for even more people to hear his music. I first saw him at brunch three years ago for my birthday and I've gone to see him roughly a million times since then. Congrats, Dandy!

See the band live.
Dandy's regular engagements
Hotel Chantelle Dinner - Tuesday - 8PM
Penthouse 808 Dinner - Wednesday 7PM
Hotel Chantelle Brunch - Saturday - 11:30AM
Penthouse 808 Brunch - Sunday 11:30PM

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Summer School for Film Noir Nerds

When Turner Classic Movies announced they'd be holding an online course about film noir, I dropped everything I was doing to sign up. The network teamed up with Ball State University and, the online course platform, to bring fans "Into the Darkness: Investigating Film Noir". And it dovetails with "The Summer of Darkness" film noir series happening on TCM over the next few months.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Get It: Bettina May's "Everyday Bombshell"

If you haven't seen Bettina May, either onstage or in her pin-up work, you're missing out. The backstory: a poli-sci major from Canada becomes a Suicide Girl then a pin-up and burlesque performer, and becomes the first person to get a U.S. visa based on burlesque alone. And with that magic visa, Bettina is spreading the gospel of mid-century glamour and self-love with her traveling pin-up classes (learn to do your own hair and makeup or have Bettina make you over and take your photos), a series of instructional DVDs and now her book, "Everyday Bombshell".

Friday, May 22, 2015

Retrofit: The Uniform

We all approach midcentury style a little bit differently, but there are obviously some things we share in common. Julie Mollo, a Brooklyn-based designer and all-around sweetheart, has it down:

Tee - Julie Mollo

The pin-up/vintage lover's uniform: red lipstick, red nail polish, black eyeliner. Check, check, and check. This is a great, easy t-shirt to dress up and it's so soft.

Check out the rest of Julie's sweet creations. She just released her spring/summer collection and psst it's on sale this weekend.

Monday, May 18, 2015

On "Why Is Vintage So White?" by Emileigh of Flashback Summer

Emileigh on the blog Flashback Summer ran a conversation with some women about how white the vintage community is. She spoke to pinup goddess Angelique Noire, Candace, the creator of Black Pinup Models, Carla of Tiny Angry Crafter, Nora of Nora Finds, and the lovely Daffny of A Vintage Nerd. All the women gave thoughtful, honest answers. I'm glad this is getting out in the open, especially with the help of a white woman; it makes it harder for readers to say, "Oh, people of color are just complaining about nothing." I've gotten some crap for bringing a lot of the same issues up (I had to eventually stop reading the comments on my The Frisky/xoJane article about being one of the few black people at rockabilly events--it got a little ugly).

There is, of course, nothing wrong with white people. But when things like Confederate flags alienate people of color from subcultures that claims to celebrate the work of many black artists, it's time to ask questions. And you have to wonder why it is that there aren't many people of color at events that celebrate, say, the Jazz Age (hello, Harlem Renaissance) or at Northern Soul nights. Or how, with the tons of pinup magazines in print and online, so few feature models of color.

What's keeping people of color away?

Some thoughts from the ladies:

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Viva Las Vegas 18: I can't believe I have to wait another year

Viva photobooth fun!

In the past month, (can't believe it's been a month), I've learned it takes roughly two weeks to recover from Viva. That's counting the time it takes to overcome withdrawal--you feel so sad you don't have bands or sunshine to look forward to--and to gett over the post-Viva plague. Days with almost no sleepand being around thousands of people leads to a nasty cold. File this away for next year: do not head out to Vegas without some Airborne or Emergen-C.

So to answer your question, yes, I had an amazing time at Viva, and I still can't quite believe it was a month ago.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

I'm Here! Hope Vegas Is Ready for Me

A photo posted by Desiree (@itsdlovely) on

I arrived in Vegas yesterday afternoon and I'm so, so excited to be here. I did a little sightseeing yesterday evening and had a great time at the pre-party. Now I'm starting to plan the rest of the weekend.

A photo posted by Desiree (@itsdlovely) on
Bowling? Burlesque Bingo? What will I do after helping Pearl Davies at Saturday's car show? Watch Instagram for updates and please say hi! I'm all about meeting cool new people here at Viva.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Viva Las Vegas Advice for First-Timers and Everyone Else, Too

Last year, I went to my first Viva Las Vegas and had the time of my life. It is intense. Viva is a marathon, not a sprint, so it helps to plan ahead. I've been combing the Viva Las Vegas Facebook group for tips (I'm not a four-, nine, or even -18-year veteran like a lot of the people going!) and compiling my own so we can all have an amazing time. Please come say hi if you're there!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

"Mad Men" Mood Boards to Inspire Us All

Creator Matthew Weiner on set (via)

The end is nigh--"Mad Men" is drawing to a close after seven incredible seasons. To celebrate the show's swan song, the costumes and props landed at the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens this past weekend. We've all loved the costumes for years, so it's really exciting to see them honored in a museum. A big part of the exhibit is seeing the inspiration behind the show, so it was pretty cool that costume designer Janie Bryant shared mood boards for some of the key characters with T: The Times Magazine.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Retrofit: Sisterhood of the Vintage Dress

Months ago, I agreed to participate in Joanna of Diving Vintage's Sisterhood of the Vintage Dress. Joanna selected a dress that travels to different bloggers, getting a different look each time.

The dress, a 1940s print rayon dress, made its way to me about a month ago, and I finally got to wear it last week.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Q & A with Black Pinup Models Founder Candace Michelle

I have no idea how I found the Black Pinup Models Facebook page and magazine, but I'm so glad I did. It's great to scroll through all the beautiful women of all shapes, dressed up and looking gorgeous. It kinda goes without saying that sites and mags like Delicious Dolls don't feature a lot of models of color, which is a shame, because they're definitely out there. After ogling the beauties of Black Pinup Models, I figured it was time to talk to the founder, Candace Michelle of Dallas, Texas.
Candance Michelle

What inspired you to finally start Black Pinups?
Candace: I'm an old soul and I've always been into history since I was a kid, so that's where it all started. Two years ago I was online and I just happened to type in "black pinups" and I'm like, I wonder if there are any black pinup models out there? I didn't see any. The only one I really came across was Angelique Noire and I followed her on Tumblr and then I found Ashleeta. Then I friended them on Facebook and started a page and it's been going ever since. That was three years ago. January 12, 2012, when I still lived In North Hollywood, California.

At what point did you say, "I have to start a magazine"?
I think it was around October of that year and I went on another pinup page and this voice said, 'Hey, you should come out with a magazine!' I had no idea what I was doing; I went to school for fashion design, but I just slowly put together a magazine and I made the announcement the following year. My sister, thank God, she told me that to create a magazine, you have to have InDesign, so I went from there. It was slow, but I launched the magazine December 27, 2013.

Tell me more about your background.
Fashion has always been in my family. All the women on both sides of my family made clothes and quilted and cross-stitched, so I was always busy with my hands. So, I just decided one day I wanted to be a fashion designer. My style is kind of in between J. Lo and the classic Kate Middleton styles.
Candace with models

What attracts you to both of those styles?
I love sparkly things, and I love how J. Lo is with her clothing. I'm a real big fan of Selena, and I feel like if Selena were still here, she and J. Lo would have similar styles. My mom raised my sister and I to be Audrey Hepburn and little Princess Diana, so I have that classic style that's always in. And because I'm into the pinup world, I think that style is adorable.

Do you collect vintage?
Not vintage clothing. I collect a lot of antiques. That's why my apartment's not furnished. I can't find stuff that fits my style online.

Have you gotten in front of the camera?
Only once. I want to do it again, but it's just time and money. I do want to set up photoshoots this year. I want to do five. I don't know what photographers I want to work with because I'm a fan of so many photographers.

How did your first shoot go?
I felt fine. I wasn't nervous. We were copying Jean Harlow. I think I was more of a director than the photographer was, like, "Why is this not looking the way I wanted it to?" I watched a lot of "America's Next Top Model", so I kind of had that modeling experience in a way. I took a lot of pictures of myself posing, working on the facial expressions.

How do you pick the photos that get featured?
They have to be professional, and I pretty much pick anybody. Everyone's accepted. As long as it's a time period before 1980. I don't really share a lot of selfie pictures of the girls.

Do you have any involvement in burlesque, car shows?
I don't have any experience with burlesque. I just go to watch. There just aren't enough car shows in Texas. In LA, there was a car show or a rockabilly show every weekend. There are a few car shows in the summer in Dallas. Everything's a lot slower in Dallas as opposed to LA.

Have you been to Viva Las Vegas?
I keep trying to go but it hasn't worked out. I wanted to go last year but I had just launched my magazine. I wanted to go for fun before I started the page but now that I have the magazine, a lot of the ladies are going and they keep asking me and they definitely want to have a meetup. There's the whole thing of setting up a party and getting everyone together. Oh dear, it's very overwhelming. I'm still not 100% sure how to do that yet.

What comes next for Black Pinups?
I have five pages of what I want. There's going to be the calendar and then I just started another page called Pinups of Color that includes all ladies that are ethnic. I'm still not sure if I'm going to do a magazine for that. We'll see. I want to work on a documentary but we'll see what happens. That might be next year.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Are You Drooling Over Ponyboy Magazine Yet?

I was browsing through my Facebook feed this week and saw that Ponyboy magazine had just put out a new editorial. And I realized I hadn't written about Ponyboy on the blog yet, and that is a very bad thing. Sorry for keeping something so good to myself!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Retrofit: About Those Gold Pants

Even if I'm not celebrating a milestone, I like to make a big deal of my birthday. This year, I did it by getting some gold cigarette pants. If you follow me on Instagram, you've already seen them, but I'm showing them again because I can't get enough of these pants.

Monday, January 26, 2015

The Best 2015 Pin-up Calendars (NSFW)

If there's one thing I love, it's pin-up girls. I've, eh-hem, dabbled in some pinup modeling myself and have always dreamed of being a calendar girl. I'm not there yet, but here are a bunch of ladies who are. It's still January, which means it's not too late for you to snap up a calendar for a whole year of hotness.

Nurse Bettie 2015 Burlesque Calendar
The burlesque beauties that perform in Calamity Chang's weekly show "Spanking the Lower East Side" at pin-up themed bar Nurse Bettie come together for a beautiful, gorgeous calendar.

$20.60, buy it here

Thursday, January 22, 2015

A Night of "Vintage Black Glamour" at the Schomburg

A photo posted by Desiree (@itsdlovely) on

Tuesday night, I had the pleasure of going to "Between the Lines: Vintage Black Glamour", a talk about the book "Vintage Black Glamour", at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. "Vintage Black Glamour" is a coffee table book with brains. Journalist Nichelle Gainer started sharing rarely-seen photos of black activists, entertainers and socialites on her Tumblr of the same name and it became so popular, British publisher Rocket 88 approached her about a book. I was one of those people on Twitter asking, "where's your book?" and she definitely delivered last year. It's a stunning volume that I still don't have my hands on yet (Ma, if you're reading this, my birthday's coming up next week, eh hem.)

Sunday, January 4, 2015

2014 Vintage Trains, plus Awkward Tourists

I missed the big vintage train ride this year, with all the swing bands playing in cars from the 30s through the 60s and on the platforms. But on the very last Sunday that the MTA trotted out the nostalgia trains, my friend Emily and I squeezed in a visit.