Who is your vintage style icon?

Who is your vintage style icon? A question posed by Sparkle O’Hara in their competition mentioned in our blog post https://rations2rocknroll.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/who-is-your-vintage-style-icon-tell-sparkle-ohara-to-have-a-chance-of-receiving-a-personal-dose-of-sparkle/.

With much consideration I have; perhaps unusually although I hope with valid reasons, selected a fictional character in Joan Holloway from Mad Men portrayed by Christina Hendricks.

The 1960s saw many women chosing to raise their hemlines to almost indecent lengths and ditch the more restrictive lingerie and hosiery of the 1950s. 

Contrary to this trend Joan continued to wear her traditional corsetry and fashion that reflected the earlier decade…

…this floral pencil (wiggle) dress being an example.

As a ‘person’ Joan projected herself as a strong and confident woman. She was actually very vulnerable and it is these flaws that appeal to me as we each have our own.

It is however her 1950s style; build on a foundation of the corsetry of my favoured fashion era, that has led to my selection of Joan Holloway as my vintage style icon.


#sparkleoharaboutique #bringbacktheglamour #1950s @SparkleOHara


“Who is your vintage style icon?” Tell Sparkle O’Hara to have a chance of receiving a personal dose of sparkle. 

My blog post collaborations have given me a number of wonderful opportunities to connect with many energetic and fascinating #womeninbiz. 

A question that I like to ask is about the women; either contemporary or historically, that have provided inspiration. 

I am therefore delighted to see that Sparkle O’Hara are running a competition; running through to 11pm 29th September 2017, in which they ask “Who is your vintage style icon”?

In an event that will be filled to overflowing with sparkle Fiona; from Sparkle O’Hara, has provided a selection of the fabulous items that can be chosen by the lucky winners.

FIRST PRIZE – A private and personal shopping appointment “Sparkling Sparkles” at the Sparkle O’Hara boutique in Willesden Green, London and a vintage/vintage inspired dress worth up to £100. This includes a private showing of all Sparkle O’Hara dresses, fitting and selection with a bottle of Pink Prosecco or Sparkling alcohol-free alternative.

We have a large selection of dresses for occasionwear – silk..hand-beaded…vintage from 1950s onwards…new vintage inspired…glamorous…elegant…cocktail dresses…prom dresses..ballgowns…the list goes on! A number of these dresses are priced at £100 or under. Upon visiting the boutique, the first prize winner will be shown a number of dresses at a private and personal consultation. They can then select their perfect dress.

Navy satin halterneck evening gown with pleated skirt – £95. 

Short silk hand-beaded cocktail/party dress – £90. 

50s style party dress, swan motif with sweetheart neckline – £65.

We have a number of dresses priced above £100 up to £300. If our first prize winner would like to select one of these we would deduct £100 from the price.

Silk pleated gown and shawl perfect for cruises, holidays or a special party – £120. 

Jovani crystal encrusted ball gown with train – £165.

SECOND PRIZE – A pair of vintage inspired semi-precious gem earrings worth up to £50 to be selected at the boutique.

Sparkle O’Hara also offers a wide range of vintage inspired jewellery to go with your perfect outfit. The jewellery is sterling silver and set with semi-precious gems such as topaz, ruby, sapphire, citrine, and emerald as well as some stunning polished crystals such as rose quartz, carnelian and chalcedony. Second prize will be a pair of semi-precious gem silver earrings priced at up to £50. The second prize winner can choose from a range of earrings at their visit to the boutique.

Stud silver earrings set with citrine – £50. 

Topaz, citrine and amethyst silver drop earrings – £50. 

Stud silver earrings set with sapphire -£50.

THIRD PRIZE – A £25 gift voucher. 

This can be redeemed in a number of ways. Our third prize winner could use this to deduct money off a dress or jewellery of their choice and we also have some beautiful accessories such as hats, gloves and 100% tibetan wool scarves.

100% Tibetan wool shawl – £25.

Entry is via Twitter @SparkleOHara, Instagram @Sparkleohara, or through Sparkle O’Hara’s Facebook page with full terms and conditions available on http://sparkleohara.strikingly.com/. 

Sparkle O’Hara tell us... “We will announce our Prize winners on 1st October 2017. We will contact prize winners directly and
arrange a mutually convenient time and date for them to visit us. Ideally we would love to host our winners at the boutique however we are mindful of those that might not be able to make it or may require special assistance. We will endeavour to support people to visit or select a suitable dress
remotely should they need.”

@Rations2R_n_R sends our best wishes to each entrant and thank Fiona and Kirstie of Sparkle O’Hara for allowing us to share details of their fabulous competition.


Rations2 Rock “n” Roll…A Top 100 Vintage Blog. (http://blog.feedspot.com/vintage_blogs/). 

A dress that’ll bring you to your knees. Black velvet if you please. 

Welcome to today’s vintage fashion pick.

From http://www.melamela.co.uk (link below *).

1950s Vintage Wiggle Dress by Blanes Black Velvet with Ruffled Neckline. The dress is sleeveless, and is fitted at the bust, waist and hips in the classic style of the wiggle dress. The dress fastens at the back with a zip. Hips 34″. Bust 34″. Waist 28″. Measures 33″ from underarm to hem.

* http://www.melamela.co.uk/1950s-vintage-wiggle-dress-blanes-black-velvet-ruffled-neckline.html#.Wb0qX0HTWEc

Rations2 Rock “n” Roll…A Top 100 Vintage Blog. (http://blog.feedspot.com/vintage_blogs/). 

@Rations2R_n_R neither owns the copyright to the images nor much of the written content included herein. We use our blog to showcase retro and vintage fashion and, where we can, credit the copyright owner of any content by way of a link to their website. Please email rations2rocknroll@outlook.com if you are the owner of any content included and would like us to either change or remove anything that we post. 

What is a “vintage style fashion pick”?

Welcome to the second blog post of the day in which I feel compelled to explain my; usually daily, “vintage style fashion pick”.

This post has been prompted by the following comment from “Aby” in response to my last blog post https://rations2rocknroll.wordpress.com/2017/08/28/living-next-door-to-alice/.

In reply to the first point it is natural that there are different tastes and that diversity is a unique trait of the human race that we should all celebrate.

To continue…my “vintage style fashion pick” is my choice of a retro, vintage or vintage style garment that I like or; more importantly, I believe that my blog readers and twitter followers will like.

Each “pick” includes the following statement…

“@Rations2R_n_R neither owns the copyright to the images nor much of the written content included herein. We use our blog to showcase retro and vintage fashion and, where we can, credit the copyright owner of any content by way of a link to their website. Please email rations2rocknroll@outlook.com if you are the owner of any content included and would like us to either change or remove anything that we post”

…that I believe is self-explanatory.

The dress that I featured from Lindy Bop is available in my local independent retro shop but, as explained in my blog post, did sadly not fit.

The compliments that I often receive regarding my fashion picks lead me to believe that they often generate traffic to a retailer’s website as well as, and more importantly, sales.

They are a “guide” and they are fun and nowhere have I suggested anything different.

Being “A Top 100 Vintage Blog” (http://blog.feedspot.com/vintage_blogs/) I must be doing something right!


Introducing Maud and her Vintage Emporium. 

Welcome to today’s blog post in which I am fortunate to be able to feature another collocation, and one in which I introduce Brenda Maguire; creator of Maud’s Vintage Emporium.

Thank you for talking with me Brenda. 

Christine @Rations2R_n_R (C) Firstly I am sure that our readers would like to hear a little about the woman responsible for the creation of “MaudsVintageEmporium”. 

Brenda @VintageMauds (B) For as long as I can remember I have been really into homes and interiors. As young as 6, I used to make up pretend rooms out of play dough and draw out room plans and make furniture for them. When I moved into my first home in 1994, I became hooked on buying vintage furniture and bits and pieces for it, even down to my cutlery. I’d always been wearing vintage clothing but now my love of it could continue into my home. From that date to now, I have only ever bought one new piece of furniture (a metal Ikea cabinet which I still use). I have never really hunted for a particular piece, preferring to stumble across pieces that catch my eye. I prefer mid-century furniture, and have had an ongoing love affair with Ercol, Gordon Russell and G plan. My philosophy is to never throw anything away, to recycle, re-use, up-cycle and down-cycle and this was initially my reason for buying pre-loved furniture for my home.

(A dresser from a charity shop that I upcycled. All of the tea sets will be on Etsy in the coming days/weeks). 

(I absolutely love this dressing table which is from the 1930’s. Although I won’t be selling it, much of what is displayed on it will be listed soon.)

(C) I am interested in the reason for the name “MaudsVintageEmporium” and would love to hear why you chose this.   

(B) My love of vintage spills over into names too. I always had a list of vintage names that I’d call any children I may have (but ended up not having). My pets have all ended up with old fashioned names, and Maud’s Vintage Emporium is named after my cat!  

(C) My particular interest is retro and vintage fashion and would like to hear about plans for your preloved vintage clothing section.   

(A favourite vintage coat which I still wear, and a dress which is for sale). 

(B) I have a lovely selection of vintage clothing that I regularly wore in the past, some belonged to my grandmother, some belonged to my mother and the rest mainly from charity shops. I have a selection of day wear and party dresses that I want to sell. I no longer wear this lovely wardrobe of clothing and it’s been in the loft for a few years now. I do keep my favourite dresses and coats hanging from picture rails in my house, as beautiful clothing is most definitely art in my eyes. I still wear some of my vintage coats so am thinking carefully about what I can part with!

(1960s floral dress.)

(C) I am sure that our readers would like to know about your own interest in vintage clothes, when it started and how it has developed.  

(B) When I was a teenager I used to visit London’s Covent Garden most weekends. I came across a shop called Flip which sold second hand clothes from America. The basement was booming with 50’s rock and roll music with rails and rails of Levis and checked shirts. I used to adore going to this shop and it set the scene for my future shopping habits. I was always attracted to charity shops and I have very rarely ever bought any clothes from high street stores. I realised way back then that I could buy clothes with a bit of history, looked gorgeous and allowed me to express my style, and that no one else would be wearing.  

(Size 14 black lace dress.)

(C) Do you have a particular fashion era of which you are fond?  

(B) My taste is eclectic, and I have bits and pieces dotted around my home from the Victorian era to the 70’s, but I prefer the 50’s and 60’s for both clothing and interiors. I have fallen in love with one or two art deco pieces furniture and accessories.

(C) Are there women, especially from history, that you admire and why?  

(B) There are so many women I admire from both history and modern times, it’s hard to name just a few. Simone De Beauvoir for laying the foundations for the contemporary feminist movement, Helena Bonham Carter for her quirky individual style, Frida Khalo for crossing boundaries with her style and art, and even though she’s fictional, I admire the curves and nature loving Hilda by the artist Duane Bryers! I’m also very lucky to have some very inspirational and strong women in my life.

(C) I see that you also run a green design and decorating business using recycled paint and are also a lover of up-cycle. Please tell us more about this obviously important part of both your business and personal lives.  

(A simple but cute way to re use jam jars. I painted these to store some of my paintbrushes.)

(B) Two years ago, after a couple of life changing events, I decided to leave full time teaching to lead a lifestyle that would energise me and use other skills I had developed. I had 21 years’ experience of decorating under my belt but had only decorated my own home, and those of friends and family. I went on to become a sole trader, got full liability insurance and joined a fantastic business start- up group called Sophia Hubs (http://sophiahubs.com/redbridge/), and started on my design and decorating journey. Where possible I use reclaimed paint from a social enterprise called Forest Recycle Project (http://www.frponline.org.uk/.) I’ve been busy decorating other people’s homes since then.

Again, since getting my first place, I have upcycled my older pieces of furniture that needed a little ‘something’ to bring them back to life, and more recently started to use recycled paint to do this. FRP has always got a wonderful selection of great colours for a fraction of the usual price. I also take on upcycling projects for other people too.

Shortly after starting my decorating business I was offered a fantastic part time teaching role as art co-ordinator in a local primary school. I was torn because I had just started my own business, but I accepted it and now split my time between teaching and painting people’s homes. It’s been the most significant and rewarding lifestyle change I have ever made.  

Your readers may be interested in a blog that I wrote a couple of years ago when I started my decorating business…

Guest blogger Brenda Maguire announces her vintage, quirky, recycley, fab internal painting/decorating business and passion

(C) I should be very grateful if you would be comfortable in sharing your life-changing events with us Brenda. 

(B) Four years ago I had a routine thyroidectomy and due to complications I had to stay in hospital for three months. Before and during my hospital stay I’d also been having a particularly turbulent time in my five year relationship. My relationship ended while I was in hospital. Coming home to an empty house and still being quite ill was a very challenging time for me. I knew if I could face this challenging time, that I could do absolutely anything!  

(C) I would like to hear more about some of the other items stocked by MaudsVintageEmporium.  

(Up-cycling in my kitchen including scaffold boards for my worktop from FRP and a sink that was a planter in my garden. Apart from my kettle, everything in my kitchen has already had a previous life and, although not for sale, I believe shows the benefits of up-cycling.)

(B) My stock is initially a mixture of clothing, fashion accessories and household accessories. Largely they are things I have already enjoyed living with or worn. I’ve often bought things in the past with the intention of selling on but ended up keeping because I fall in love with everything I buy. My stock ranges from mid-century homewares, cute floral tea sets, brooches, vintage evening bags, vintage petticoats and the occasional bigger piece of furniture which I have upcycled. Some friends have commented that my house looks like a vintage shop, so I thought it’s about time I opened an on line shop. I wish I could put a shop sign outside my front door and open up to passers-by!

(Cabinet found in a charity shop. It was lovely as it was (dark brown varnished wood) but imposing.) 

(A pineapple from the 70’s and a camera and radio bought in the early 90’s.)

(C) What are your aspirations and plans for the future?

(B) I am currently in the process of starting a Facebook page for Maud’s Vintage Emporium. As I have just started out, I am happy to see where this takes me and continue to make sales through Ebay and my Etsy shop. The bigger goal ultimately, is to move to a house with a workshop so I can dedicate more time and space to upcycling furniture for other people.

(The halfway stage in upcycling an old certificate board from a school skip.)

(C) You are situated in East London. Where do you ship to?

(B) I’m happy to ship worldwide.

(C) Where can MaudsVintageEmporium be found on Social Media and how can you be contacted?  

(B) I can be found on Twitter and contacted either through Twitter or my Etsy shop. (https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/MaudsVintageEmporium?ref=seller-platform-mcnav).

Thank you Brenda for taking the time to chat with me and for being so open in your replies.

I am grateful that you have let us into your life and shared some of the wonderful pieces in your own home.

I send my best wishes to both you and Maud and wish Maud’s Vintage Emporium every success.


Rations2 Rock “n” Roll…A Top 100 Vintage Blog. (http://blog.feedspot.com/vintage_blogs/). 


“Life’s a Party. Dress like it”.

I am pleased to be able to publish my latest blog post collaboration and honoured to have been able to chat with Fiona Ainslie, owner of Sparkle O’Hara, and Kirstie Sivapalan, Social Media for Sparkle O’Hara and owner of Astro-Rocks. 

Thank you for finding time to introduce yourselves to our readers. 

Fiona Ainslie- Owner of Sparkle O’Hara 

Christine @Rations2R_n_R (C) Please tell our readers about the woman behind Sparkle O’Hara.

Fiona @SparkleOHara (F) Ever since being a little girl I have loved fashion. In particular, like most little girls pretty sparkly frocks! As I grew older my favourite film was Gone with the Wind where the gowns and the romance that went with it began to influence my style and my wardrobe choices.

I had a passion for history and loved different fashions from the past now referred as vintage. I loved the old-fashion glamour of the 40s and 50s with the classic black and white movies. This was my perfect idea of romance.

(C) Sparkle O’Hara…I’m sensing a “Gone with the Wind” influence. Please tell us about the name.

(F) My friend came up with the name as she always used to laugh at the amount of sparkle in the shop and it seemed a natural progression from there.

(C) I love the tag line “Life’s a Party. Dress like it” and would like to know more.

(F) This is a classic quote from Audrey Hepburn and it just fits in with our style and my view on life. I also love this quote from Mary Quant “Fashion is not frivolous. It is a part of being alive today”.

(C) Our readers would be fascinated to learn about the Sparkle O’Hara shopping experience.

(F) We like to find our customers the perfect dress for them that suits their personality and, above all gives them the confidence to shine. Customers often come to us looking for a dress for a special event. With my knowledge and understanding of the dresses and what looks good on people (which people refer to as my “eye”) we can provide the customer with a number of different options for them to try rather than spend their time looking for the dress themselves. We do this by either customers stopping by during our opening hours or we can book an appointment where the customer can have privacy and comfort, often this involves opening a bottle of bubbles!

(C) You stock both vintage and vintage inspired dresses. I would like to know the inspiration that led to Sparkle O’Hara and, in particular, why this style of fashion is so appealing to you and to so many women.

(F) Vintage fashion appeals to me because whatever your shape you can usually find something vintage to suit. When you put on something that makes you feel really good and glamorous you can feel like a different person. You feel more confident and even empowered.

After being made redundant at the age of 53 I thought it was time to follow my passion and do something for myself. I started with jewellery based on old-fashioned designs in the famous Portobello Road. I then decided to sell some of my own ball-gowns which went so well I decided to select and sell dresses for special occasions.

(C) Please tell us more about the items that you stock. Do you also retail vintage and vintage inspired accessories.

(F) We have a wide range of dresses and two-pieces for special events be it weddings, proms, summer and winter balls, a day at the races or work conferences. We also have provided a number of outfits to singers and actresses for performances and red carpet events.

Our dresses are mainly vintage from 1960s to 1980s or vintage inspired from 20s Jazz Age to the 50s RocknRoll and always glamorous! We also sell a selection of silver and gold jewellery set with semi-precious gems, a number of vintage brooches and pendants as well as some fun vintage inspired costume pieces. 

(C) Our readers would love to hear about the women that have inspired you.

(F) There are too many to really feature out but strong women that have always followed their dreams and passions have inspired me such as Joan Collins, because of her love of glamour, Adele who is a great modern role model for beauty and elegance, Maya Angelou for her incredible and powerful words and of course Coco Chanel for rising to iconic status by following her own inimitable style.

(C) How do you envisage the future development of Sparkle O’Hara?

(F) We plan developing our website sparkleohara.strikingly.com to offer an on-line shop and are planning an event for the autumn. Last year we had a fashion show and a number of open evenings so we will carry on this tradition. We also have a surprise in store for September so watch this space!

(C) Where may we find your wonderful products?

(F) We are based at 4 Queens Parade, Willesden Green, NW2 5HT. We are less than a 2 minute walk from the Jubilee Line and only 15 mins from central London.

(C) Please tell us how you may be contacted.

(F) Our website; sparkleohara.strikingly.com, is the best way to contact us. We are also on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

I am further pleased to have been able to talk with Kirstie Sivapalan – Crystal Lady at Sparkle O’Hara. 

Kirstie Sivapalan – Social Media for Sparkle O’Hara and owner of Astro-Rocks 

(C) Please tell us about yourself Kirstie and, particularly, about your enthusiasm for crystals.

Kirstie @AstroRocksUK (K) I work with and sell crystals for healing and the home. Crystals have been in my life since I was a child in some form or other as semi-precious stone and finding curious rocks on various beaches, until about 20 years ago when a friend introduced me them to help me with my symptoms. (I have M.E). Being of a scientific mind I was blown away by the sensations I could feel from these pretty rocks such as amethyst, rose quartz, citrine and jasper and something deep inside was triggered. My intuition. I then trained in Crystal Healing to deepen my understanding in 2003 whilst still in my career as an HR professional, teaching and sharing my love for crystals along the way. Now, I divide my time between Sparkle O’Hara and my own business, Astro-Rocks where I sell and teach others about crystals, and provide Astrology readings. I am also planning on writing a book about my experience with crystals and how crystal can support our personal growth and our evolution.

(C) Your Twitter bio tells us that you are a proponent of vibrational medicine. I’m intrigued and would like to know more.

(K) Vibrational medicine works on the key premise that everything is energy. Everything is in a constant state of flux and we, ourselves, are an energy system including what we call our physical form. Vibrational medicine such as crystal healing, acupuncture, reiki and homeopathy work on this principle of assessing and changing our vibrations which through our lifestyles, thoughts, environment and other factors may not be “in tune”, to help us find the optimal healthy vibrations that works for us. It is individual as everyone is unique and has their own specific vibration patterns.

(C) You provide astrology readings and guided meditation. Please tell us about this and how you may be contacted.

(K) Astro-Rocks is the name of the consultation that I do. It is based on analysing a person’s birthchart, looking at the position of and the relationship between the planets and what astrologers call “angles”; specifically their sun, moon and ascendant which are the main (but not all) components of our character. The Sun indicates our desire, essential self, where we shine, Moon indicates our instincts, our emotions, where we are comfortable and the Ascendant our first reaction and how we approach the world. Most of the time the Sun, Moon and Ascendant are in different sometimes conflicting signs. By exploring how this manifests for the client I am able to recommend certain crystals to help integrate the conflicting energies or to enhance qualities they want to bring out. This can support them in making different choices with more information and awareness.

I also run a group where we work with crystals and I conduct a guided visualisation meditation to deepen the group’s work with crystals.

I can be contacted through my website crystallisingdream.wordpress.com where I have also written extensively about my own spiritual journey. I also have a Facebook group Astro-Rocks where people can join and share their work with crystals.

Once again I would like to thank both Fiona and Kirstie for their enthusiasm for providing such fascinating responses that I know our readers will enjoy. I wish them both well for the future. 


The Lux Look.

Thank you for reading my latest blog post in which I shall offer myself as “Miss Fisher” and “investigate” a vintage advert presented to me by @b8eak by way of an intriguing tweet. A tweet that suggested that the following vintage advertisement is from the 1940s.

A timeframe that I questioned as the advertisement says that “Lux helps stockings to retain their elasticity…”. 

In the 1940s stockings were (if available) manufactured from Nylon that has no elasticity; as any of us that wear 100% Nylon stockings nowadays are able to confirm.

So let us start with a history of hosiery during the first half of the 20th Century.

Stockings first emerged as a fashion accessory in the 1920s as the “flapper” styles of the time exposed the calves; with shorter dressses, ranging in length from mid-calf to just below the knee. 

Stockings of the era were made from silk, wool, cotton or rayon…a synthetic material.

Moving forward to the 1930s hosiery thoughts would turn first to silk stockings, although stockings could also be selected with a wool content; including a combination of wool and Rayon or wool and silk.

Silk stockings were replaced by the man made synthetic fibre Nylon in 1939 by DuPont; although supply of hosiery was interrupted during the World War II years. 

Nylon, like its predecessors of silk and Rayon (sometimes referred to as artificial silk) has no elasticity. It was not until the invention of Lycra in the late 1950s; and its subsequent introduction into hosiery, that we see stretch stockings with which we are familiar today. 

Returning to the advertisement and clues as to its date.

The spellings indicate of British origin and interestingly state that “…now that Lux is unrationed…”. Obviously post World War II with rationing of soap products continuing from 1942 to 1950…with each person receiving four soap coupons per month to meet their cleaning needs. 

The reference to “”Moonlight Becomes You” connects with the 1940s and the Paramount Pictures release Road to Morocco (1942). The reference to sketches in Paris Harambure may refer to P d’Harambure who; apparently, operated as a photographer during the 1950s.

I am finding much to challenge me but I would unreservedly suggest that the advertisement cannot be 1940s as soap rationing would still have been in place at the time.

I further support my position that Nylon stockings; that have no elasticity, were the hosiery of choice at the time as women chose to  “regain” their “femininity” after the austerity of World War II.

An interesting advertisement with much remaining unanswered.

I would love to hear comments that either support my conclusion or prove it as being inaccurate.