Actress Beauty Tip #23: Fashion copied in films

This is the twenty-third  installment of the monthly classic actress beauty tips that I have read about and tested.  I can’t believe the last beauty tip review was in April.

Like March and April’s beauty tip, July is going to focus on fashion trends from films. For the time being I’ve run out of regiments to test, but I’m still digging around for some. If you have anything you want to read about, let me know!

Esther Williams-the Million Dollar Mermaid

One of my favorite actresses is Esther Williams, “The Million Dollar Mermaid”.

The Olympic swimmer turned movie star may not have been the greatest at acting. However, she always looked lovely gracefully swimming through the water during a synchronized swimming extravaganza that was featured in nearly all of her movies.

Williams in the 1940s

Not only was her swimming ability fascinating, but her figure always looked great in a fashionable, one-pieced bathing suit.

When summer rolls around, I’m sure I’m not the only classic film fan scouring eBay and vintage clothing stores looking for 1940s, Maillot pin-up looking bathing suits.

Esther Williams does have her own swimsuit line, but it’s hard to justify spending $90 on a bathing suit when you are on a budget, so you search for alternatives.

Two years ago I found a new a new-old maillot style bathing suit and got to wear it for the first time this weekend to a party.

(left to right) My friend Kitsey and I, modeling our vintage looking swim wear.

It was comfortable and I wasn’t self-conscious as a bikini might have made me, but still felt like a 1940s pin-up.

Friends even said I “looked like I had stepped out from another decade”-making me feel even more like  Esther Williams.

To review: Though bikinis are considered more sexy and commonly worn these days, don’t be afraid to buy a vintage style one piece. It looks just as nice and get you feeling like a Hollywood starlet.

Check out the Comet Over Hollywood Facebook page for the latest updates.

Actress beauty tip #22: Actress jewelry

This is the twenty-second installment of the monthly classic actress beauty tips that I have read about and tested.

Like March’s beauty tip, April is going to focus on fashion trends from films. For the time being I’ve run out of regiments to test, but I’m still digging around for some.

While watching a movie, of course you notice the fabulous gowns, minks, hats and suits your favorite actresses wear. But you can’t deny that jewelry plays a large part of the outfit too.

Even Carole Lombard’s belt is a jewelry accessory. (From No Man of Her Own, 1932)

The website Hollywood Collection which sells replica costume jewelry that stars from Claudette Colbert to Marilyn Monroe supposedly wore on screen and in their personal life.

I’ve been shopping from Hollywood Collection since 2005, and loved everything I bought from there. I have the:
-Diamond ring Vivien Leigh wears in “Deep Blue Sea”
-Bette Davis’s sunset sapphire ring.
-Carole Lombard’s canary earrings from “To Be or Not To Be”
-Carole Lombard’s deco onyx ring that she wore to the “Gone with the Wind” premiere.
-Jean Harlow’s antique diamond ring.
-Betty Grable’s diamond earrings.
-Esther Williams champagne diamond ring from “Easy to Wed.”

Editor’s note and update Aug. 5, 2021: Several of these items may be discontinued now.

Carole Lombard onyx ring

I love the style of the jewelry. Though none of it real, it’s all flashy and gets attention. However, I do wish the rings ran in half sizes. I buy a size 5 ring and still have to wear a ring guard so it fits properly.

The jewelry is beautiful, but I balk at paying $80+ for a cubic zirconia ring, bracelet or earrings. My only main complaint is how much the prices have raised over the years. For example, I think I remember the Lombard canary earrings being about $45 when we got them. Another would be this Paulette Goddard bracelet that I’ve always admired. I never got it because it was $80 and now it’s even higher.

To review: I understand companies hurting, but the raise in prices has really turned me off. The jewelry is beautiful and I still wear it on a regular basis as part of my every day wardrobe. However, the prices have gotten too high for my tastes, and haven’t bought from the website in a year or two.

Check out the Comet Over Hollywood Facebook page 

Actress beauty tip #21: Fashion copied from films

This is the twenty-first installment of the monthly classic actress beauty tips that I have read about and tested.

First, I would like to apologize for not posting a beauty tip in February-it’s the only month I’ve missed a beauty tip and I don’t plan on making it a habit.

March’s beauty tip is going to focus on fashion I have copied from films. For the time being I’ve run out of regiments to test, but I’m still digging around for some.

However, fashion, hairstyles and jewelry are just as important to a film star’s beauty as how she washes her hair or face.

As many of you know, “West Side Story” (1961) is one one of my all-time favorite films. The music, the colors, the sadness, all make the movie perfect, but another thing that has drawn me to the movie are the beautiful outfits.

Who can forget the purple dress Anita wears to the dance and the white dress Maria feels makes her look like a baby? But my favorite three are the yellow dress Maria wears while singing “I Feel Pretty,” the blue dress Maria wears as she waits for Tony after the rumble and the orange dress we get a brief glimpse of Anita wearing in the dress shop when she catches Maria and Tony together.

Anita warning Maria she must be home in 15 minutes-both wearing two of my favorite outfits in "West Side Story."

I buy several vintage clothing items on Ebay that reminds me of classic films: peasant blouses, fiesta skirts, silky formals, pinafore dresses, flashy earrings.

But I rarely find anything in a contemporary clothing store that reminded me of an outfit I’ve seen in a movie. The only other time I’ve seen something similar to a film outfit was a white dress in Dress Barn that made me think of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.”

Then one day I was in TJMaxx and sticking out of the rack I saw a sleeveless orange dress. I immediately thought of Anita in “West Side Story” and bought it.

Bought this dress at TJMaxx because it reminded me of my favorite movie.

To review: Fashion is important to me, but particularly if it reminds me of something I’ve seen in a movie. The best places to find movie like clothing is on ebay or stores like, but sometimes you can get lucky!

UNRELATED REMINDER! Comet’s Gone Too Soon blogathon is on the 9 and 10th. Follow this link for more details and a list of who bloggers are covering- Further updates will come this week.

Check out the Comet Over Hollywood Facebook page for the latest updates.

Actress beauty tip #20: Jane Powell exercises

This is the twentieth installment of the monthly classic actress beauty tips that I have read about and tested.

Jane Powell in 1954. Had a great figure then and still does!

Since the holidays are over  (no more sweets and heavy foods to slow me down) I’m ready to start exercising even more.

From past posts, many of you know I’m partial to Jane Fonda exercises, along with contemporary workouts like Jillian Michaels.  But recently I’ve been trying to find new exercises.

Keeping in tune with my 1980s Jane Fonda workouts, I’ve had my eye on an exercise tape actress and singer Jane Powell released in 1986 called “Jane Powell’s Fight Back With Fitness.” After letting it sit in Ebay watch list for months, I finally bought it last week for $6.

Jane Powell’s 1986 workout video

The exercises are for people with arthritis. I knew this when I bought the tape, but I still was interested in watching the tape and figured some of the exercises could still work for me.

Well….I was a little wrong.

The first 24 minutes of the video is breathing and stretching and the last 22 minutes consist of some floor work.

I mainly just watched the warm up portion because the exercises weren’t really for me. For example, some of the exercises involve touching each finger to your thumb, or breathing deeply and stretching your arms up to open your ribcage.

While I didn’t participate the whole time, I could tell that these would actually be very good exercises for someone with joint problems.

I did join in for leg and stomach exercises during the 22 minutes of floor work. While Jane Powell only did five slow reps, I would pause the tape and do several more.

Aside from exercises that weren’t appropriate for my physical level, it was a really fun work out tape.

Jane Powell in her 1986 video.

Jane is adorable and sometimes counts in a sing songy voice, so we get just a taste of her operatic voice. She wears a bright, sunny yellow leotard and is very sweet to the people exercising with her-understand their limitations and complimenting them the whole time.

To review: For those who are looking for an exercise video to get ripped and toned, this isn’t for you. But for a film fan who wants to see one of their favorite musical stars in another medium, it is a lot of fun.

Jane Powell is 57 in this video and looks wonderful-and looks great today as well!  I think it’s good that she did a workout video taking into consideration that some people aren’t able to do more strenuous exercises.

Check back for February’s beauty tip!

Check out the Comet Over Hollywood Facebook page for the latest updates.

Actress beauty tip #19: Golden hair

Marlene Dietrich and her beautiful, golden hair.

This is the nineteenth installment of the monthly classic actress beauty tips that I have read about and tested.

During the holiday season, glitter and sparkle seems to be all the rage.  Garland, holiday dresses, sequined shoes.  Well why not add some shine to your hair?

As I’ve highlighted in a prior tip, Marlene Dietrich is well known for her eyes. Another noteable feature is her shining, golden hair.

According to the book Max Factor: The Man Who Changed the Faces of the World, Max Factor would sprinkle real gold dust over Marlene’s golden locks and wigs to add extra shine and sparkle.

Since I don’t see myself stumbling over gold dust, I decided to buy the next best thing- lose gold powder.

I know it exists, but I was about to give up hope at Wal-Mart when I came across some. It’s made by Hard Candy and is called “Show Girl loose glitter” with the name of “Vegas Baby.”  It was a very funny name, but it served it’s purpose.

My hair with a hint of sparkle.

“Vegas Baby” had a tiny little brush that you use to apply, but that took too long on my hair. I ended up turning it over and sprinkling it like a salt shaker.

I’m not sure what real gold dust looks like in hair, but the loose glitter showed up just fine.

To review: The glitter showed up and added some extra shine to my hair, but I’m not sure if I would wear it to the grocery store or to work. It might be something to add to an evening look or for a holiday party.

Stay tuned for January’s beauty tip!

Check out the Comet Over Hollywood Facebook page  or follow on Twitter at @jnpickens. 

Actress Beauty tip #18: The Hollywood figure

This is the eighteenth installment of the monthly classic actress beauty tips that I have read about and tested.

Barbara Stanwyck in "The Lady Eve" showing off the ideal 1940s figure.

Back in May I did a post about Jean Harlow weight loss in honor of swim suit season.  Now that we are getting into colder months full of comfort food and holiday gatherings, it can be difficult to keep down the weight-sometimes a little artificial help is handy.

Hollywood actresses always usually looked impeccable. I’ve always envied the tiny waists and flat hips they have-especially in the 1940s. Several of them were thin due to athletics and exercise-Barbara Stanwyck was very outdoorsy-and constant dieting-Claudette Colbert was very careful about what she ate. However, even the skinniest actresses hid any lumps, bumps and imperfections with the use of undergarments, particularly girdles.

I’ll admit I’ve always been interested in girdles/shapers and have wanted one for awhile.  These beauty tips gave me the perfect opportunity to try one and see what women of the 1940s and 1950s went through.

I looked around on Ebay to find a reasonably priced, cute and hopefully effective girdle. Ones made of rubber from the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s were harder to find and a good bit more than I was willing to pay.

I ended up buying a latex girdle that fit like a strapless one piece bathing suit.  I wore it during the past weekend, including while riding in the car for long periods of time and under my Halloween costume.

An example of a 1940s girdle. This is from 1946, advertising the use of rubber in girdles since war time rationing had ended.

I didn’t see a life changing difference figure wise, but it wasn’t uncomfortable to wear. It was a little snug but not squeezing my insides (some women had health problems when girdles were popular because they were too tight. I think this is why my mom didn’t want me to get one). The only problem I had with it was one side of the plastic boning is starting to come out so it poked me in the side and left some scratches, though I think I can try to fix it.

To review: The type of girdle I got was not painful to wear, though I plan on buying a few others especially ones made of rubber.  If you aren’t wanting to buy a vintage girdle, the thing that would be most similar to a girdle would be “Spanx” camisoles, shorts and hosiery.

Stop by in December for more beauty tip fun!

Check out the Comet Over Hollywood Facebook page .

Actress Beauty Tip #17: Carole Lombard Curls

**Firstly, happy birthday to my dad-famous to all of you for his insightful “Summer Place” comments 🙂 **

This is the seventeenth installment of the monthly classic actress beauty tips that I have read about and tested.

1930s Carole Lombard hairstyle I was trying to copy

In honor of Carole Lombard’s birthday on October 6 (what also happens to be my mother’s birthday), I wanted to try to style my hair like her’s.

I’ve always loved the way her hair is a soft halo around her face, particularly in the late 1930s and early 1940s.  However my hair is too short to accurately copy that styles so I decided to try Carole”s early 1930s look.

I’m not the best at styling my hair so I kept it simple and used heat curlers.

After heating the curlers, I divided my hair into four sections-2 on my left and right side and one in the back. Then I rolled my hair under and all the way up to the root.  I kept my hair parted to the side when I rolled my hair. I let the curlers sit in my hair and then unrolled them. This was the result:

Front shot of my hair

Side shot

Back shot of my hair-had a hard time in the back with the short hair along my neck

To review:  I was pretty pleased with the way my hair turned out and thought it was sorta similar to early 1930s Carole. I did have a hard time rolling my hair because it was slick. If any of you have this issue, maybe try spraying a light coat of hairspray on your hair first- I’m going try this next time. My hair has been short since October 2009, but I plan on growing it out this year-that way I can test some 1940s actress hairstyles for more beauty tip fun.

Check back next month for November’s beauty tip. Also check back this weekend for more Carole Lombard fun for the Carole Lombard blogathon celebrating Carole’s 103 birthday!

Check out Carole & Co's blogathon!

Check out the Comet Over Hollywood Facebook page for the latest updates.

Fashion in Films blogathon: I guess I’m easily influenced

Old movies have influenced my life in many ways, fashion is one of them.

When my classic film love started to really kick up in the middle school, I noticed fashion the most in the movies.  I always looked for the fashion designers during the credits and became familiar with Givenchy, Edith Head, Helen Rose, Walter Plunkett and Irene.

I even went through a period of time where I drew clothing for paper dolls based off costumes that Rosemary Clooney wore in “White Christmas” or Elizabeth Taylor wore in “Father of the Bride.”

All throughout high school I always wanted to buy vintage clothing, but my mom said it was too risky, “What if it doesn’t fit/is dirty/torn?”

Once I got to college and became VERY friendly with Ebay and started spending a lot of my free time…and money searching and bidding on vintage clothing. My constant Ebay purchases even became a bit of a joke with my friends.

All of my vintage clothing buys have been dictated by fashions I’ve seen in film.  Below are a few photos of some of my vintage clothing buys along with what inspired them: 

Donna Reed in peasant style clothing from LIFE.

Peasant Style: In the 1940s, Latin style outfits were all the rage as a result of the Good Neighbor Policy that the United States had with South American countries.  I’ve always been a big fan of the fashion during this era.  Actresses like Hedy Lamarr in “Tortilla Flat”, Jane Powell “Holiday in Mexico”, Shirley Temple and Jennifer Jones in “Since You Went Away” and Rita Hayworth in “The Loves of Carmen” (just to name a few) can all be spotted wearing peasant blouses and espadrilles.  I bought this outfit over the summer-its taken a long time to find an affordable set-so I could try to resemble some of my favorite 1940s stars.

Barbara Stanwyck in a plaid coat

Masculine Plaid Coats: Another style I’ve spotted alot in 1940s films are women in masculine-like plaid coats.  I first was drawn to this style when I saw Esther Williams in a red and green plaid coat looking beautiful and bright in Technicolor.  Last Christmas I found a Pendleton Wool jacket on Vintage Vixen and wanted it so I could look like Esther Williams.  Other actresses who wore masculine, outdoors coats like this are Barbara Stanwyck, Ginger Rogers or Margaret Sullivan.

Jane Powell in a formal.

Teenage Formals: I doubt I’m the only one who drools of the formals actresses wear in films.  I love all the evening gowns that actresses wear, but I have a certain fondness for teen formals in films. I love the dress that Elizabeth Taylor tromps through the mud in at the end of “Cynthia”, the adorable white and blue dress Jane Powell sings “It’s a Most Unusual Day” in during “Date with Judy” or the formals Ann Rutherford wears as Polly Benedict in Andy Hardy films.  Unfortunately, in today’s fashion culture, there aren’t many opportunities to wear formal gowns like they did in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s.  But I couldn’t resist this yellow satin gown on Ebay. I’ll admit, I’ve only worn it for posing in photos, but maybe one day I can wear it out.

Sandra Dee in a see-through frothy cocktail dress.

Chiffon Cocktail dress: Chiffon, ruffled cocktail dresses seemed to be all the rage in the 1960s. I have seen Ann-Margret, Deborah Kerr, Eleanor Parker, Dina Merrill and Kim Novak in this style of gown-unfortunately I couldn’t find photos of any of these.  Sandra Dee’s dress is similar to mine but doesnt have a V-ruffled neck line. I was looking for a dress on Ebay to wear to my cousin’s wedding last September and found this Lili Diamond dress from the 1960s. This usually isn’t my style (if you can’t tell I really like 1940s fashions) but it was a good price so I bought it. It’s ended up being one of my best Ebay buys and I’ve worn it several times. It’s light, comfortable and flattering.

Hedy Lamarr in “Algiers” (1938) wearing a turban

 Turbans: It seems like every actress in the 1940s can be spotted wearing a turban at least once. Lana Turner in “Post Man Always Rings Twice”, Ginger Rogers “Tales of Manhattan” and Gloria Swanson are just a few.  In Hedy Lamarr’s autobiography “Ecstasy and Me” she credits herself with making turbans a fad. Her character in “Algiers” called for an exotic, aloof style so she and the costume designer thought of this look for her. After this, turbans became all the rage, according to Lamarr’s book.  Though several of my family members and friends think I’m nuts, I’ve always been a BIG fan of turbans. I have even worn this out in public several times (along with a vintage mink hat I own). It’s really unfortunate that hats aren’t part of every day wear anymore, but don’t let that stop you from wearing them!

Hedy Lamarr in “White Cargo” (1942)

Tribal: This isn’t a vintage dress, but I’ll admit that I bought it to look like Tondelayo in “White Cargo.” Hedy Lamarr said she felt ridiculous in the role of an over-sexed half cast, according to her autobiography. Regardless, Hedy looks amazing and so I wanted to buy a dress that had that same look.

Espadrilles and Spectator pumps

 Shoes:  I actually don’t have a large variety of shoes-it pretty much consists of 4 different colors of the same pair of flats. But I bought these spectator pumps after seeing so many of favorite actresses wearing them. When Teresa Wright flees Joseph Cotton in “Shadow of the Doubt” and gets cornered in a pub, her shoes are the first thing I noticed. I also love Espadrilles popular during the 1940s-I was fortunate that Old Navy decided to sell this style in Spring 2011.

When it comes to dressing like your favorite stars, beware. Ebay is my drug of vintage clothing choice, but I’m cheap and don’t like to spend more than $30 or $40 dollars. Be careful of people claiming something is 1940s, but is really a 1980s replica. Another great vintage clothing resource is Vintage Vixen. They are friendly, have quick shipping and the most reasonably priced vintage clothing website.

**Thanks to my mom for being patient and helping me take all of these photos today 🙂 **

This blog post is a contribution to Hollywood Revue’s Fashion in Film Blogathon!

Check out the Comet Over Hollywood Facebook page  or follow on Twitter at @HollywoodComet

Actress Beauty Tip #16: Marlene Mascara

Marlene Dietrich with her intense eyes and high cheek bones

This is the sixteenth installment of the monthly classic actress beauty tips that I have read about and tested.

Marlene Dietrich is known for her glamour: her golden hair, prominent cheek bones, fashion forward style and perfect legs.

Dietrich also had striking eyes. Beneath drawn on thin eyebrows, her bedroom eyes could seduce or intimidate.

Dietrich’s eyes were sunken in and very big. To help create the illusion of large eyes she never wore liner or mascara on her bottom lashes.

Dietrich also kept her bottom lashes clean, because she said it would cast a shadow on her lower eyes.

I’m not sure about casting a shadow, but I have always had an issue with eyeliner and mascara rubbing off under my eye leaving dark residue- a partially resolved with waterproof eyeliner.

Like Marlene I have blonde hair and lashes. Without mascara and eyeliner, I look like a ghost.

This morning, I put my make-up on like usual, very black mascara and brown eyeliner on my top lids, but left the bottom clean.

The photo below shows the bottom lashes clean and then how I usually wear my make up-liner and mascara on bottom lid.

Left: Clean bottom lash Right: Mascara and eyeliner on bottom lash (Sorry for not better photos. It was 7 a.m.)

To review:  While the clean lashes didn’t look terrible, it’s not something I’m going to start sporting. It gave me a different look but almost looked incomplete to me. This is one of those tips that works differently for different people.  Darker lashes would work well, but people with very light lashes like myself might not feel comfortable with it.

Check back from October for an exciting beauty tip! I’m already shopping for the item I’m testing 🙂

Check out the Comet Over Hollywood Facebook page  or follow on Twitter at @jnpickens. 

Actress Beauty Tip #15: Bette Davis Eyes

Young Bette Davis

This is the fifteenth installment of our monthly classic actress beauty tips that I have read about and tested.

Bette Davis is known for her eyes. There is a cheesy song that emulates them, people reference them all the time.

I came across a beauty regiment of Bette’s that I’ve always wanted to try that Miss Davis used to keep her eyes striking and bright.

I think we’ve all seen advertisements, television shows or movies where people lie around with cucumber slices on their eyes. I have always wondered, “What does this do? Is there any purpose?”

Bette Davis would put cucumber slices on her eyes at night and would sleep with petroleum jelly under her eyes. This was to help reduce swelling and dark circles under the eyes.

I have relaxed for 10 minutes before bed over the past week with cucumbers on my eyes.  I made sure I had washed off my make up before I did this so the cucumber would touch clean skin.

It gives sort of an odd sensation. The cucumber gave a cool and fresh sensation.

It is very relaxing sitting with your eyes closed for a few minutes. The skin around my eyes felt softer, but I’m not sure if it actually reduced puffiness or dark circles.

10 minutes with the cucumbers. Watch out for your pets!

I’ve been sleeping with petroleum jelly under my eyes for about a month and could tell a slight difference. Under my eyes seemed a little clearer.

To review: I could tell a small difference from the cucumbers but not large enough to do it every night.  Honestly, I think the only real way to get rid of dark circles is getting sleep.  However, if you are looking for a good way to relax this is perfect.

Check out the Comet Over Hollywood Facebook page for the latest updates.