SUGAR, DARLING?

BY NANCY WHITTINGTON-COATES

Summer Essentials for a Vintage Loving Gal (Plus Product Reviews)


Painting by the king of pin ups Gil Elvgren

I think my favourite thing about Summer is that you can wear really vibrant colours and some more adventurous items of clothing that may usually seem a little too ridiculous for day to day life. I say ridiculous in an affectionate sense, meaning something a bit more unusual or eccentric.

The heat is definitely not my forte and I don't tan as much as I burn and resemble a red boiled lobster, so I am a liberal user of a high SPF sun cream and UV protecting moisturiser under my foundation which also has an SPF factor. What can I say, I love being pale!

Other than a good sun screen, I think the following items are essential for any vintage loving gal's Summertime...


Now if you're a vintage, kitsch or retro loving lady I know you'll look forward to cracking out your vintage head scarf collection as much as me! I absolutely adore chiffon and nylon square scarves and head straight for them at any vintage fair I find them at. None of mine have cost me more than £3 and you can use them in sooooo many different hair styles. Here are a few bad Instagram photos showing how I like to wear them!


I also have an overly large collection of hair flowers in varying colours, sizes and styles so I have at least one that will go with any outfit. Again I haven't paid a great deal for any of them, probably £5 at most, usually finding them in Primark, Peacocks, market stalls and in supermarket clothing sections. The pretty butterfly clips above were only £1 from Primark and are made from painted feathers!


Next on the list are some items to stop your skin drying out too much in the heat - crispy is great for barbecued chicken skin, but not for yours!

First up we have something my best friend gave me as a gift Chanel Coco Mademoiselle Fresh Body Moisture Mist - at £28 it's more of a luxury than an essential, but it does double duty as a moisturiser and perfume. I like to spritz a little on my arms and legs after a morning shower as it gives your skin a gorgeous silky soft feeling and pretty scent all day long - I put it on this morning before work and can still smell it on my arms now at nearly 8pm!

Secondly you want a good hand cream as you'll probably be giving your hands a hard time frolicking about in amongst nature in country parks and stately home gardens. My absolute favourite hand cream is Body Shop's Wild Rose Hand Cream - from £5. It's actually advertised for mature skin, and as most people consider rose an old lady scent I suppose that makes sense but I just love it, both scent and texture. It's not as thick as other hand creams I've tried and so doesn't leave you feeling like your wearing a glove like coating of something on your mitts that always bugs me to death. It's also SPF15 so gives even more pale protecting power!

Since you'll be running about in sandals or sling backs for much of the day you want your feet to look soft and spiffing, so I recommend using a good foot cream to get rid of those pesky dry heels. My favourite is Heel Genius by Soap & Glory - £5.50. It has a lovely fresh minty citrus scent and gives your feet a pleasant tingly feeling. It seriously works miracles on dry skin if you put a good layer on at night, let it sink in for a few minutes then pop on a nice clean pair of socks and sleep with them on.

Finally I find with daylight lasting longer in the Summer you tend to stay up later partying away or relaxing in the garden. This coupled with the bright sunlight can end up with dark circles under your eyes, so a hydrating eye cream is essential for putting on before bed so you wake up looking bright eyed and bushy tailed! I really like Boots' own Simply Sensitive Hydrating Eye Cream - a bargain at only £1.74. It has soothing aloe vera and helps calm and refresh those tired peepers so you don't feel the need to wear your sunglasses inside as well as out.


A few make-up favourites now! I always get my brightest colours our for sunny fun days out and think a good pink blusher is an absolute must. My favourite at the moment is Seventeen Blush Powder in China Pink - £3.49. A little goes a long way as it is really highly pigmented. Just gives the apples of your cheeks a quick sweep and you'll instantly look like a beautiful English rose of a girl.

The right lipstick can make all the difference to your look too, and I think I've found the perfect peach lipstick in YSL's Rouge Volupte in shade 13 - £24.50. It might seem a bit pricey but you've never worn a lipstick like it, it's so smooth and light that it feels like water on your lips. Plus the tube itself is iconic and eye catching - you'll definitely want to pop it out of your purse and reapply in public (gosh!) and watch the envious eyes follow it to your lips.

A nice manicure and pretty bright nail polish is the perfect finishing touch and of course I usually go for a nice shade of pink. I'm currently wearing Barry M's Bright Pink 279 - £2.99 -with a few brightly coloured gems dotted over it.


Last but not least, I feel Summer days are best spent lounging around in a pretty garden reading a good book and drinking iced tea. Of course you'll need some pretty sunglasses to protect your eyes from the glare of the pages - I pretty much always buy mine from TK Maxx and have scored lots of designer brands there for between £10-15 including some wonderfully kitsch Betsey Johnson pairs. The gemstome rimmed pair above were from Primark and were £1.50.

My current reading list includes The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty a fictional tale centering around the early life of Louise Brooks the drop dead gorgeous silent movie star of the 1920's and 30's, most famous for her role as Lulu in Pandora's Box. I'm only at chapter four but am already hooked and desperate to find out the fate's of the two main characters Louise and Cora.

My current 'dip in and out for a bit of amusement' book is Eccentric Glamour by Simon Doonan. I will admit that I only bought this book as it was recommended by Dita Von Teese in an interview, so I thought I'd give it a shot. It has some really amusing little comments about different stereotypes within the fashion world and on the styles of different fashionistas around the world. It's irreverant and over the top so I really enjoy it, but it may not be to everyone's taste. It definitely inspires you to step outside of your comfort zone and wear what you really want, even if it may shock and amuse others!

I'll leave you with a little video showing some fabulous 1940's Summer fashion! Do let me know what your favourite Summertime beauty products are!

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