Monday, April 28, 2014

Three Tips for Old Hollywood Starlet Style

[Here is a part of our new book, From the Corner of Hollywood and diVine: Your Guide to 30 Old Hollywood-Inspired Spots in Southern California, that didn’t make it into the final manuscript. The book guides you through what a day as an Old Hollywood Starlet, Heiress, Hipster, Hot Mama and Working Girl might look like, with six places in SoCal assigned to each iconic personality type. All of the places we recommend are open as of the writing of the book, and many of them have been around since the Art Deco era (1925-1940). We wanted to include a section on how to style yourself to get the look of each gal, but we were ending up with a book that was way too long, so we will be sharing some of the style guide stuff here on the blog. First up: The Starlet!]
“You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it,” said Edith Head, famed costume designer for Paramount Pictures and Universal Pictures. And Edith knew what she was talking about; she won eight Oscars, outfitted actresses like Ginger Rogers and Bette Davis for their films, and also designed many of her clients’ wardrobes for their personal lives. She believed (and showed, through her work) that the right attire could turn the girl-next-door into a ravishing beauty, and vice versa. (The Dress Doctor, Prescriptions for Style, From A To Z, Edith Head, p.7) So how can someone who does not have an army of “fitters, drapers, cutters, figure makers, beaders, dyers, and milliners” in a studio wardrobe department working practically 24/7 to help them look perfect get Starlet style? (Gowns By Adrian, Howard Gutner, p. 26) These three tips will get you off to a great start!
    1. When it comes to the fit of your clothing, a dress should be “tight enough to show you’re a woman, and loose enough to prove you’re a lady.” (The Dress Doctor, p. 49 ) The dresses and gowns in the 1930s had moved away from the low waistlines and boxy shapes of the twenties to embrace a woman’s curves, with the waistline hitting in the proper place and fabric skimming over hips and breasts. You want to go for snug, not sleazy, to transform into a Starlet. And when we think bombshell Starlet, a form-fitting, drapey, floor-length gown is usually what comes to mind. And remember, if you find a vintage gown that’s a steal due to a small imperfection, it can sometimes be repaired by a skillful tailor while she’s making sure your dress fits you perfectly and is the proper length for the shoes you will wear with it. 
2.     Pay attention to your posture. To rule the red carpet (or your company holiday party) and show off your carefully chosen dress, you need your shoulders back, your spine straight, and your hips slightly tucked. You could even visualize a glam Art Deco skyscraper, like the Chrysler Building, standing tall to get yourself into the proper frame of mind. Better yet, check out a Pilates class to strengthen your core and help your posture, or try this exercise at home: Back up to a wall, and now make sure the back of your head, shoulders, small of your back, hips, and heels are all touching the wall. When it feels like your gut is going to explode from sucking it in, you’ve got proper alignment.

3.     Be realistic about your resources. Starlets at the top of their game never wear the same thing twice, but they’ve got huge budgets and freebies arriving constantly from designers, so they can go for some big statement pieces because they have bottomless closets. If you’re an up-and-coming or wannabe Starlet, you might be tempted to splurge on something elaborate and feathered or sequined or with 17 colors so you’ll stand out, but before you slap down your credit card take a cue from MGM costume designer Gilbert Adrian (who just went by Adrian and dressed gorgeous gals like Greta Garbo and Joan Crawford) and keep it simple; invest in a black sheath dress and change out your accessories to keep things looking fresh while you wear the dress over and over. (Gowns By Adrian, Howard Gutner, p. 22)
 Purchase From the Corner of Hollywood and diVine: Your Guide to 30 Old Hollywood-Inspired Spots in Southern California, by Lara Scott and Cori Linder, at

Monday, April 21, 2014

Stay in Old Hollywood Style in Southern California

My (Lara) latest guest post at Vintage Shopper is up! You'll find out about the Culver Hotel in Culver City, Millennium Biltmore Hotel (pictured) in Downtown Los Angeles, and Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood. Which one was rumored to have a secret tunnel to the MGM lot? Which one had silent film superstars Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks for investors? And which one hosted the Oscars in the thirties and forties? Click here to find out!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

How to Steal Hearts Like THE THIEF OF BAGDAD

The Thief of Bagdad (1924) is a fantastical romantic adventure that Douglas Fairbanks said was his favorite movie that he ever made. Douglas plays the title character, and watching him on the big screen recently at Old Town Music Hall in El Segundo it was easy to see why he had Mary Pickford and every woman in America swooning over him. Even though the film is 90 (!!!) years old, there are some timeless lessons in it for men who would like to dazzle like Douggy F.

1. Show off your assets. Work out, wax your chest, tan, and then never wear a shirt again. But if you have to, make sure it is skintight and has a deep v neck. Favor billowy, pajama-style pants that show off the muscles in your legs when you are in silhouette. Smile a lot, to show off your white teeth. Sport a pencil-thin mustache, gold hoop earrings and the occasional pearl necklace, and work your collection of headscarves.

2. Do your own stunts, like climbing magic ropes, jumping from windows,  fighting off spidery creatures at the bottom of the sea, and riding a winged horse. You might also try a  handstand as you shake golden coins from your hair and pockets. Be shirtless when u do this. (see Tip 1)

3. Have a wingman. Choose someone who is not as handsome or charming as you, and who is grateful to be your pal, so that he will do things like assist you in "borrowing" clothes from merchants so that you can present yourself as a prince, help you capture a city, and ride beside you on a donkey. He could also disguise a bush as you so you can sneak away to woo a princess.

4. Honor your lady's beliefs. If she believes that her true love will touch a certain rose bush, then don't just put a hand on it--get thrown off your horse and actually land in the middle of it.

5. Wow your sweetie with your honesty. Gaze soulfully at her and tell her that you are a thief, but at the moment when you held her in your arms, "the evil in me died." And then when she practically passes out from the sheer romance of it all and how manly you are...

Bonus tip: Always leave her wanting more. Kiss her hand, and then kiss it again. And before you leave, touch the hem of her dress.

And if all else fails...use an invisible cloak to get your love away from her controlling family , and then take her for a ride on your magic carpet.

The 1924 version of The Thief of Bagdad is available on DVD and Blu-Ray; I (lara) found it at And for a schedule of upcoming classic films at Old Town Music Hall, check out

Friday, April 11, 2014

Our Book is Here! From the Corner of Hollywood and diVine: Your Guide to 30 Old Hollywood-Inspired Spots in Southern California

After two's finally here!

Cori and I (Lara) are so excited to share From the Corner of Hollywood and diVine: You Guide to 30 Old Hollywood-Inspired Spots in Southern California with you. My intention with this book was to shine a spotlight on so many special places here in SoCal that have been around since the Art Deco era, or at least capture that vibe. It's a perfect guide if you are coming to LA for a visit, as you'll discover some really cool places that most tourists have never heard of. And if you live here in Cali, you might discover some places you've been passing by for years without giving them a second glance.

In our book, you'll find out the answers to these questions, and so many more:

Which Art Deco palace (that now hosts live stage shows) was once owned by Howard Hughes?

Which glamorous restaurant (that also hosts big band concerts and old-school radio shows) was once a fancy men's store?

Which pyramid-topped building in Downtown Los Angeles contains THIS glorious room?

You can grab From the Corner of Hollywood and diVine at! Thank you so much for reading my blog and supporting this work. It's exciting to think that together we can get the word out about how important it is to preserve historic buildings, and a piece of our past.

P.S. The answers are...Pantages Theatre, Cicada Restaurant, and Los Angeles Central Library.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

We're Up For A Blogger Award!

We just started guest-blogging for a fantastic site called Vintage Shopper, and are incredibly honored to be nominated for the March Blogger of the Month Award! Lara's post was on a self-guided tour of five historic spots in Los Angeles designed by architect John Parkinson, including Bullock's Wilshire (pictured). You can vote for us and check out the blog here! Thank you so very much! As they liked to say in the 1920s/1930s when someone was are the bee's knees! (The voting closes Friday afternoon.)