how to pair tops with skirts

how to pair tops with skirts

A dear friend once asked me, “Have you ever written a post about how to figure out what shirt goes with what skirt?”

“No,” I replied. “Would you find that useful?”

“Yes,” she said. And here we are.

If anyone would know about pairing tops and skirts, it ought to be me since that combination makes up a solid 75% of my wardrobe. As always, fashion has no hard and fast rules, if you like how it looks keep on keepin’ on, but these are the three things I consider when I’m putting together an outfit.

1. Color


As with any outfit, you gotta consider your colors! I believe it was the venerable Clinton Kelly who said that your clothes don’t have to match, they have to go. When I was little, my mom used to have me perfectly matched from my barettes to my socks. Some people push back against that “matchy matchy” style now, but it still has a warm place in my heart! That said, you don’t want (and probably can’t afford!) to be perfectly matched at all times. Neutrals go with anything, so if you’re nervous you can get started brightly colored/patterned top paired with a black or grey skirt, or vice versa.

Ready to take it to the next level? It’s time to go back to art class…that’s right, the handy-dandy color wheel!


Pretty! There are lots of places that will cover color theory in GREAT depth, but we’re just here for the clothes, right? Basically what you want to keep in mind are tonescomplementary colors, and analagous colors. Tone-on-tone has been trendy lately and is something I enjoy a lot myself – that’s done by wearing multiple tones/variations of the same color. Complementary colors are across the wheel from each other (like yellow and purple or blue and orange), and they’re always a good idea to pair! Analagous colors are the ones next to each other on the wheel. So green + yellow and green + blue = pretty great. Green + orange = ehhhh. Now, you can definitely rock a look that breaks basic color theory rules and look rad as hell, but if you’re just getting started, those are good guidelines to stick to. Don’t let a patterned piece intimidate you – just pick one of the colors in the pattern to pair with it!


2. Silhouette & Proportion


Basically, you don’t want the shape of your top to compete with or disrupt the shape of your bottom (heh heh bottom)…it should all flow nicely together. You usually will want to pair a skirt with a wider sweep with a more fitted top (a blousey one can mimic the sweep of the skirt too closely and look awkward), while slim fitting skirts can work with both fitted tops as well as ones with more volume. Consider your proportions when making an outfit, but don’t forget you can “cheat” those proportions with accessories! I would usually tuck a longer blouse into the waistband of my skirt, since I’m going for that curvy, poofy pinup silhouette and want to accentuate my waist. But I can also leave the blouse on the outside and use a belt to define my waist instead, giving it a different look.

3. Type of Attire


Casual, Business Casual, Business Professional, Business Formal, Cocktail, Black Tie, White Tie..who even knows what we’re supposed to wear anymore? Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be that complicated. You’ll want to use the same basic ideas of color theory that we discussed above when looking at the different levels of attire – choose two pieces that are either at the same level, pretty close, or total opposites. A nice skirt definitely pairs well with a nice (or pretty nice) blouse, but it could also pair with a casual t-shirt if you want to get a little funky. Wearing pieces that aren’t on the same level of “formality” but aren’t different enough to be deliberately mismatched (another example: converse & prom dresses) can look haphazard.

I hope these tips gave you a little more confidence in making an outfit! At a certain point, it’s all just trial and error – don’t be afraid to put different combinations on and try them out. Sometimes you just don’t know if something is going to work or not until it’s on.

If you have any other questions about mixing and matching and creating outfits from skirts and tops, let me know below!

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how to winterize your retro wardrobe

how to winterize your retro wardrobe


The nights are getting longer, the days are getting colder, and one question is on every fashionable vintage gal’s mind: how am I going to keep looking cute all winter long? I see a lot of women asking about how to wear pinup clothes when the weather gets colder or being sad to put their pretties for the season, but a lot of the time fashion advice comes from Californians  and other warm-weather folk who, bless their hearts, just don’t know (or have forgotten) what Serious Winter can entail. I am a bonafide, true blue, blizzard-battered, polar vortex-surviving Northerner, and I am here to tell you that you do not have to give up on vintage style when the weather takes a turn for the worse.

Here are my top tips for dressing pinup in winter.

1. Accept the cold

It’s winter. It’s going to be cold. There’s no stopping it, and anyone who’s hoping for a magic bullet that will keep them toasty warm through the darkest subzero night is kidding themselves. But once you accept that the cold will come, it’s totally possible to stay comfy and cozy and still look cute.

2. Fleece-lined leggings/tights

These were 100% a gamechanger for me, and I credit them entirely with my ability to take a stand against pants, even when temperatures turn for the worst. I actually have to not wear my fleece-lined tights more often than not because I get too warm wearing them all day, but if you don’t run as hot as I do or are planning to be outdoors for any extended period of time, these will save your life.

3. Layers, layers, layers

You can’t just throw on a cardigan and call it layering in the depths of winter. Cardigans are great, but don’t forget about layering blouses and sweaters over or under dresses. Not only does it keep you warm, but it’s a great way to give new life to a dress and extend a spring/summer dress into a fall/winter one. (The Jenny dress is a perfect candidate for this – see how I styled my Halloween harlequin dress with a blouse.) An extra tanktop or t-shirt worn under a blouse or sweater can also help keep your core insulated. Wear an extra pair of leggings (or straight up long underwear) under your pants. Adding a scarf to an outfit can also dramatically increase how warm it is…every time I wear a scarf with a look, I end up taking it off since I tend to run hot during the day.

4. Decide what compromises you’re willing to make

I would be significantly warmer in the winter if I was willing to buy a not-cute puffy coat and wear a hat. But I’m not interested in smushing my hair, and I love pretty swishy coats. That’s a level of avoidable coldness that I accept. On the other hand, there’s no way I’m tromping over the icy death traps that are Wisconsin sidewalks in winter wearing heels. If I want to wear cute shoes, I have to be prepared to bring them along and change whenever I get where I’m going. It’s all about balance.

5. Plan ahead

Something that I’ll wear to a dinner out where I just need to run from my apartment to the car and the car to the restaurant is very different from what I’ll wear if I’m planning to walk to the theater after work (and then be walking back to my car when it’s even colder). Make sure you’re keeping the day’s plans in mind when you’re getting ready.

Follow these easy tips to keep looking cute all winter long! If you have specific questions, I’d be happy to put my Wisconsinite fashion sense to work on some cold weather clothing advice.


bats in the belfry: easy halloween diy

bats in the belfry: easy halloween diy

Uh oh…seems like I have an infestation on my hands…




I know that I’m not the only one ready to decorate for Halloween. I’ve been slowly collecting and bringing out some pieces,  but now that it’s officially mid-September (mostly), it’s time to really get started. This is my first Halloween decor DIY of the year, and it was so cheap and easy I don’t even really believe it myself!


To bring this flock of bats into your lair, you’ll need:

  • Black cardstock
  • Scissors
  • A bat template
  • Adhesive of choice (I used double-stick tape) ETA: After a few weeks, some of my bats started to “give up the ghost” so to say (yukyuk) – I’d recommend using sticky tack instead!

And that’s it! I always gravitate to paper crafts for decoration because it’s so easy to get started. You don’t need a lot of fancy equipment or supplies or even skills. If you can cut paper, you can make bats!


First, you’ll want to create your bat template. Just like when you made Valentines in elementary school, you can save SO much time and stress by folding your paper in half vertically (hot dog style, as we used to say in elementary school) and using a sweet HALF bat pattern. I didn’t find an existing pattern that perfectly fit what I was looking for, so I made my own!

I got a nice big pack of black cardstock at Michael’s. I was able to get three bats out of each piece…I definitely could have gotten four if I’d decreased the size of the bats slightly, but I like my nice big bats!

Once I had my paper and my template, I put on some Law & Order SVU and started cutting! There’s nothing like zoning out to a good procedural and doing some crafting…feel free to substitute your mindless show of choice 😉 I didn’t bother tracing the template or even taping it down, just held it into place while I cut around it. I didn’t fuss too much about following the lines of the template exactly – I liked having a little bit of variety!


It didn’t take long to amass quite a pile of bats. In addition to ease of cutting out, using the folded cardstock also gives you bats that already have some nice dimension to them. I used a single piece of double-sided tape on the back of one of the wings to adhere my bats to the wall. They look so cute!


I started with this little flock of bats, but I still have a bunch cut out and even more paper! I’ll be placing them throughout my apartment as I finalize the rest of my Halloween decorations.

Have you started any Halloween crafts yet?


Throughout Spooktember and October, I’m sharing everything a vintage gal needs to have the perfect Halloween with costume inspiration, decor, recipes and more! Click here to find all the Glam Ghoul’s Guide posts.

easy everyday vintage curl set

easy everyday vintage curl set

I’ve had a few requests for a tutorial on how I do my hair, so today I’m taking you behind the curtain and showing you all my secrets. Before we begin, I’ll warn you that I am definitely not a hair expert. My set is definitely not neat and pretty; it’s kind of haphazard, but it works for me so oh well!

Let’s go once more into my poorly lit, very yellow-y bathroom and get started.


I start with clean hair. If it’s still damp from the shower, that works…if not, I’ll usually run some water through it, but my hair is very fine and generally eager to curl, so I don’t worry too much about it.


I use Jane Carter Wrap & Roll as a setting lotion. It was the first setting lotion I tried (since you can buy it at Target), and I have no complaints so far!


So it turns out it’s super hard (indeed, impossible) to take photos of yourself curling your hair while…curling your hair. So here’s two stages. I take a small pump of setting lotion, then run it through a small chunk of hair. For the crown of my head, I do standing pincurls and roll it from as close to vertical as possible to help create more lift.


Like so.


I usually do about two rows of three curls on the side with more hair, and two rows of two on the side with less. Like I said – messy! It’s not much to look at, but it works out okay.


These are probably the ugliest pictures ever, sorry! I use these soft rollers from Walgreens to put up the rest of my hair, because I’m lazy and I don’t want to pincurl my whole head. They’re pretty easy to sleep on too, which is a must-have for me. How I wrap them varies from set to set, but it’s usually about three in a triangle on either side of my head, then however many it takes to do the back of my head.


Wrap ’em up, then off to bed for some beauty sleep! Note: I thought it would be fun to use one of my grandma’s vintage scarves to wrap my sets, but over the year or so I’ve been using it, it’s gotten pretty beat up. Definitely don’t do this with a nice, pretty scarf you would otherwise wear!




Remove your various rollers and pins. Be gentle with them – don’t tug!


I run my fingers through gently to help break up the curls and start blending them together before I pick up the brush. There are a lot of great brush out videos on Youtube, which I’d recommend you’d check out! I use a basic paddle brush and basically brush through my hair while immediately following the strokes with my other hand to smooth the curls. I usually tip my head to the side to kind of brush…out instead of straight down to help keep more body in my hair, if that makes sense?


When my hair is mostly brushed out, I section off my bangs and start brushing and shaping those separately.


Looking pretty good! Once I’m mostly done and happy with the shape of my hair (which depends on how much time I have in the morning TBH), it’s time to spray!


I’ve been using Suavecita firm hold hairspray for about two months now, and I’m a big fan. Smells good, works well – what more could a gal want?


But it’s a woman’s prerogative to change her mind 😉 Sometimes I still adjust my bangs and whatnot after spraying…it just takes a little bit of coaxing.


Put your glasses on and voila! You are ready to face the day with your easy retro ‘do!

I hope this was at least a little bit helpful…hair tutorials are pretty hard to communicate through still photos, haha, but I did my best!

easy everyday pinup makeup for lazy broads

easy everyday pinup makeup for lazy broads

There are three things you should know about me:

  1. I love makeup.
  2. I love spending a lot of time leisurely getting ready, experimenting to create the perfect look.
  3. I really love sleep.

As you might be able to guess, these things have a tendency to conflict when it comes to getting ready for work in the morning. I want to look fab, but I also want to stay in bed until the very last possible minute.

I’ve been asked to do a tutorial on my everyday makeup look, but honestly, this is way too simple for it to even count as a “tutorial” so instead, let’s just call it a get ready with me. So come with me into my not especially well lit bathroom – you can sit on the toilet or the edge of the tub if you like – and watch me do my face.


I start off with BB Cream. I don’t actually have any real allegiance to the one I’ve been using – I’d heard good things about it so I picked it up, but I’m not sure I really think it’s doing anything for me. But it has some SPF so at least that’s something! Dab it on and buff it in with a flat top brush.


Next up: brows! You can read a full review of the ELF brow stuff I use and my process for applying it here. Basically, I apply the cream with an angled brush; I’m just looking to accentuate my natural brows a bit, not do any dramatic reshaping. I use Urban Decay’s Vanity as powder to seal my brows, just for that hint of purple.


Getting ready for a special occasion, I love to play with eyeshadows. Getting ready for work? Slap a neutral color on that lid and go, girl. My go-to is Urban Decay’s DTF.


It’s hard to take pictures of yourself doing eyeliner. I use the NYX Super Skinny felt tip  marker. My basic method is 1) draw the bottom of the wing 2) draw the outline of the rest 3) go back and fill it in. This is from a Cherry Dollface tip and totally changed my eyeliner game! Give it a shot!


I use L’Oreal Miss Manga mascara. I’ve ping-ponged back and forth between high end/designer and drugstore mascaras for years, but for now I’m digging this one. It’s not the best I’ve ever used, but it works.


Apply blush. I use a Cargo blush that I got for free in a swag bag (aww yee) that has a nice blend of different pinks and a touch of gold that I find really flattering to my skintone. Realize you’ve put on way too much blush and blend it out with your fingers.


And voila! Put your glasses on and you’re done! I wear lipstick if I feel a particular outfit needs it or I’m feeling particularly sassy, but I usually skip it for the everyday. That’s pretty much what I do every morning before work…it’s not fancy, but it does the trick.

What’s your everyday makeup routine like?


how to dress pinup in the workplace

how to dress pinup in the workplace


The question of how to maintain your personal style in the workplace is one that comes up over and over again. I always see girls in vintage groups wishing that they could wear their pretties to work, so I thought I’d write up this little 101 guide on how to be a professional and a pinup, at the same time when possible!

First off: know your office and your field. Unfortunate as it is, it is possible that you just aren’t able to let your retro flag fly in the workplace. This varies a lot depending on how conservative your field is overall, but also by specific offices. I work in a creative, non-client-facing role in a small organization in a field that’s not particularly conservative, so I definitely can get away with a lot of personal flair within the limits of the dress code. Pay attention to what other people in your workplace are wearing, particularly the people who are in the roles you’d aspire to. Think one level ahead. This isn’t to say that you have to dress exactly like those people, but it should give you an idea of how much “personality” you can inject into your wardrobe.

SO you’ve considered your workplace and decided that you can try adding some pinup style. Excellent! Let’s b-b-break it down.



Accessories are a great way to dip your toes in the water with retro style and see how comfortable your work (and you!) are with it. Pearls are always timeless, as are colorful beads. Jewelry is often a place you can get a little bit extra creative as well – you may not be able to wear cherry print clothes to work, but cherry earrings might be a cute touch. Try wearing brooches, though I’d stay away from anything oversized or novelty to start out with.


You’ll never go wrong with classic patterns. Polka dots,  stripes, plaids – they’ve all been around for a very long time for good reason. Florals can also lend a very feminine vintage vibe. Your ability to wear novelty prints will vary by office, but personally, I feel like fruit patterns are generally pretty widely acceptable while still being fun.


Cleavage is the enemy of professionalism pretty much across the board (more’s the pity!). Avoid anything low-cut or super tight at work. Pussy bow blouses and Peter Pan collars have a lot of retro flair and have the bonus benefit of being pretty trendy in “mainstream” style right now! Cute cardigans and sweaters are a great way to add a little bit of a retro flair to a look as well as work-ifying dresses and tops that might otherwise be a bit too fancy.


Good news! Demure swing skirts and sharp pencil skirts are both great for the workplace, so whichever style you prefer, you’re set! Note: you want to look for a traditional pencil skirt that’s mostly straight up and down; the curvier wiggle skirts might be a bit too clingy. I will recommend Pinup Girl Clothing’s Doris skirt as my ideal work skirt (read my review here); it has a very retro silhouette, but in a subtle way. Wide-legged trousers are also a very chic vintage style for the office; you might not be able to go as over the top as some of the reproduction brands, but you can definitely get the same vibe.


Even if you wear a uniform every day, you can still know that you’re a pinup under it all…literally. A pretty bra and panties or even a garter belt if you can get away away with it can do wonders for lifting your spirits when you aren’t able to show off your style the way you’d want to.

I hope that answered some questions about retro office attire! If you have specific questions, please feel free to comment below or reach out to me on Instagram or Facebook! I’d be happy to do a follow-up if more info would be useful.