Loving Lillian Madison Designs


I discovered Lillian Madison Designs through a Pinups of Color post on Instagram. I was so pleased to see an accessory that you could customise not only to your own style, but your own skin tone as well. I was not alone in my reaction as there were lots of comments from people who were so happy to see different skin tones being represented.


To many people finding an accessory in a similar skin tone to your own may not seem like a real issue. However growing up I never saw a doll that looked like me, make-up was swatched on skin tones I couldn’t relate to and when I entered the pin-up and vintage world, accessories still lacked diversity. Thankfully things are changing; many make-up brands are using models in a variety of skin tones, dolls are being made in different shapes and colours and Angelina of Lillian Madison is helping to diversify pin-up accessories. All of these efforts (no matter how big or small) help to show the world that there is not just one shade of beauty!

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In Angelina’s words:

There are so many shades of beauty in the world and I wanted to make a brooch to represent that.
I designed and created these cute Vixen Pinup Brooches to reflect every woman in every skin tone.


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I knew I definitely had to get my own mini-Cacao and, as a good pin-up wifey, I had to get Flo involved.

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When I showed her the brooches, she was really impressed by the amount of customisation you could have. You don’t just choose skin colour; you can choose hair, dress, shoe and jewellery colours too. If that’s not enough, you can even choose to add glitter to the different options at no extra cost. There are hundreds of  combinations to choose from – it was pretty difficult to make a decision!

Cacao: Skin Tone: caramel, Hair Colour: black, dark brown eyes, Dress Colour: green glitter, green shoes, Jewellery Colour: no necklace, gold earrings


Flo: Skin Tone: cream, Hair Colour: purpley brown, blue eyes, Dress Colour: red, red shoes, Jewellery Colour: white (pearls)


Each brooch cost $40 and was shipped in the US, though keep in mind that there’s an option for international shipping too – just be aware of customs charges.

Angelina’s customer service was great throughout. She thoughtfully sent us images of our brooches mid-production so we could see what they looked like before she added resin.


The brooches arrived in sturdy packaging with a lovely note from Lillian herself.


Each brooch comes with a date of creation, which is a nice touch. These brooches aren’t thin and flimsy but they aren’t too chunky either, they are definitely robust enough to withstand the strains of everyday life.


Upon receipt of our brooches, Flo and I obviously had to have a go at recreating the looks of our new mini-mes. Flo’s outfit is by Vivien of Holloway and my dress is by Collectif Clothing.

Thank you Lillian Madison Designs for creating brilliant brooches for different skin tones – we really appreciate your designs!



Getting the Most Out of Your Lana Dress

Dress C/O Vivien of Holloway

If you’ve read some of my previous posts, you’ll know that I have quite a collection of Vivien of Holloway pieces – the majority of these being their halter neck style dresses. When Vivien of Holloway gave me the chance to try a new style, I could have become a little overwhelmed. However, I was particularly drawn to the Lana dress (not just because the name makes me think of a character from Archer).

In Vivien of Holloway’s words:

Here we have a gorgeous new 1940s style Lana Dress, created with one of my favourite movie stars in mind.

The dramatic draping collar and lightly padded shoulders give a great contrast to the fitted bodice. The skirt has flattering gathers at the front while having an A-line at the back to slim the hips. We have added some pockets for extra detail- everything a gal needs to look like a 40s goddess! Perfect for any occasion, just pin on a matching brooch to complete your look.

The dress has a loose fit to drape gorgeously, so we have allowed a little extra room on the waist.

I love hibiscus prints; they remind me of my grandma, who has an ‘abstract’ hibiscus tattoo on her forearm. Sadly, the Golden Hibiscus print wasn’t available in my size but then I fell in love with the Hibiscus Black Pink print. There’s a lovely contrast between the black background and the large but delicate soft pink floral print.

With regard to the sizing of the Lana dress, you should definitely size down. I am normally an 18 in pencil styles and a 16 in swing styles. In the Kitty and Lana styles, I go down to a 14. The shop and website team are really helpful so if you’re stuck, they can definitely help you choose the right size.

Now Vivien of Holloway dresses are quality garments, hence why I own so much! This does mean that they aren’t super cheap; the Lana dress retails for £99. Do not let this put you off though. I treat my wardrobe as an investment, so I try to make the most out of each piece I own. Your beautiful items shouldn’t just be saved for special occasions, enjoy them as often as you can! With this in mind, I put together three different looks with the Lana dress.

Style 1: Casual


A denim jacket and a black maxi skirt quickly turn the dress into a much less formal top. Also, if you’re out and about, the extra layer over the delicate skirt helps to protect the fabric. The jacket is old M&S and the skirt is old Primark but there are tons of similar styles on the high street currently. I used a white elasticated belt from eBay to define my waist.  Sandals and sunglasses keep this look summery but you can easily swap these out for a scarf and boots when it gets cooler.

Without the jacket, you still have all the gorgeous detailing of the top just with the casual skirt.


Style 2: Splash of Colour


This look simply adds hints of colour in the form of a pink belt and cardigan to pick up on the subtle pink colour in the fabric. This would be quite wearable for a day or evening occasion, actually it’d be perfect for a wedding.  My cardigan is old Primark and the belt was taken from one of my Lindy Bop dresses.



Style 3: Subtle and Simple


Finally, here’s the dress just as it is. You can keep the belt or take it off. I also added a home-made hair flower to keep a hint of colour.


This dress is incredibly beautiful. The collar detail, the draping in the skirt and glorious pockets just make this a wonderful piece to own. I hope I’ve shown you how you can wear this in different way so your dress can live up to its wardrobe potential! I’m so glad that this garment is now part of my Vivien of Holloway collection.


How do you get the most out of your wardrobe? We’d love to hear your ideas and suggestions!

Face to Face: Pin-up Makeup for Different Skin Types and Tones – Cacao Papow

The world of pin-up is full of diverse beauty; in these posts, we will be creating a classic fifties look on two very different faces. Flo will post her routine next week, so I will be sharing my make-up routine first. Hopefully, this will give you some idea of products you can use to help you achieve the pin-up look.

Cacao Papow
Skin Type: Very oily, medium tan, prone to scarring and hyper-pigmentation.

Before I go through my step-by-step, I must state that I’m definitely not a make-up expert! This is what works for me  and I know it’s not perfect. I don’t wear make-up on a day to day basis – I really only wear it when I’m not at work.

Step 1: On a clean face, I start with Bare Minerals primer. I just use a small amount on my fingers and spread it lightly all over my face. This really helps my make-up stay on – even with my oily skin.


Step 2: If, I need to, I’ll use a small amount of Bare Minerals concealer for my scars. Using a soft brush, I use the Bare Minerals matte foundation powder. Usually I start at the T-zone, then spread out and blend the powder from there. I can use a lot of powder or a little, depending on the coverage I’m after. Powder is definitely my preference over liquid foundations; I feel it works well with oilier skin types.


Step 3: Using a very light touch, I apply blusher to my cheeks – this one is a HD Brows powder. Overly bright blushers tend to stand out too much on my skin, so I usually stick to a dusty rose colour.


Step 4: Before I put any make-up on my eyes, I warm up my eyelash curlers with a hair-dryer and curls my lashes (make sure the curlers aren’t too hot before you put them near your face!). When I do this, I feel the curl is more dramatic and lasts a lot longer. After that, I tight-line my lash line using any black kohl eyeliner I have to hand.


Step 5: I do my winged eyeliner using Collection 2000 felt tip liner. For me, this liner is the easiest for drawing fine lines with control. More often than not, one eye is perfect first time and the other needs a bit more time and attention. Patience is key! Finally I apply a couple of coats of mascara (usually a tester from the bottom of my make-up box).


Step 6: Sometimes your natural lip colour can be quite dark; this can change  the lip colour you want to wear. One way to get the best colour from your lipstick is to prime and line your lips first. I use a primer from Bite then I line with a colour similar to the lipstick I want to use.


Step 7: To begin with, I carefully line around the lip the fill in the rest. Using a highly pigmented product will also help keep your lip colour vibrant. For the classic pin-up look, I use MAC’s Lady Danger. Normally, I apply a layer, blot with tissue and then apply a final layer.


Helpful Tips
. Even if you use mattifying products, your skin will still shine – blotting papers are a godsend
. It doesn’t matter what price range of foundation you use, take time to find the right colour for you and make sure you BLEND!