24 August, 2010

A Fabulous 'New Look' Lilli Ann coat - a nipped in waist to die for!

Regular readers would know that I absolutely love Lilli Ann (see previous posts) and was so pleased to find this 'New Look' nipped waist Lilli Ann coat on ebay. Finally here are the photos of me wearing said coat!

This coat is an absolute pleasure to wear, it is so well-tailored and drapes beautifully (it is quite heavy actually, I think Lilli Ann coats are often weighted around the bottom to enhance the shape). The only thing I would say is that it is quite 'snug' to I have to wear it with a waist cincher!

Gotta do a spin !

Do you think I look anywhere near as good as the model? (perhaps not!)

By the way, I wore the coat out to a friend's play (Adelphi Players) at Labassa House. It was a set of short Chekhov plays and they were absolutely fabulous. I find some of Chekhov's plays a little hard to take (very intense and a little of their time), but these ones were great (the best one: 'The Bet' - google it, a fabulous one).

Labassa House is a National Trust house located in Caulfield North. I think it is open to the public occasionally so please take a visit: see Labassa House.

17 August, 2010

A Vintage Pendleton Houndstooth skirt suit

As regular readers would know, I absolutely love houndstooth - the classic black and white pattern that has been used for eons in fashion. Although houndstooth skirts are fairly easy to get online, I have always found it a difficult to find a houndstooth skirt suit (they are very sought after and often go for quite a lot on ebay and etsy). So I was very happy when I found this lovely 1960's Pendleton suit on etsy a few months ago.

I bought the suit from 'Dear Golden Vintage' who is a very good seller on etsy (see here for a link to her etsy shop). She has very good quality items at reasonable prices - highly recommended.

It was such a good investment because I have absolutely worn it to death this winter (and of course being vintage it doesn't look worn to death at all!). Look at this close up of the wonderful fabric, what a classic design . . .

The 'Pendleton' label

I must say I had never really heard of 'Pendleton' before, but it seems to quite a famous US woollen company. It is so-called because the mill and company are situated in Pendleton, a town in Oregon.

This woollen company started up in 1909 with the manufacture of blankets and over time has diversified into other areas, including the creation of mens and women's clothing. It began to manufacture women's clothes in 1949 with the release of a woollen jacket that became so popular it is known as the '49er jacket'. The 49er jacket was developed over the years into different incarnations and colours, as can be seen from this 1957 ad . . .

I have to say I am not a fan of plaid and you should be warned that a lot of the Pendleton suits online do seem to be plaid, but if you keep on looking, you should find something a little less, well . . .  plaidish (!)

I was also interested to see, from their website, that Pendleton is what they call a 'vertically integrated company', which means they basically perform each step in the manufacturing process - they dye, spin and weave the wool and then manufacture that wool into suits. That control over the whole process is probably why their clothes are of such good quality.

The Pendleton Mill and Company still functions today and from the look of their website it looks as if they make beautiful clothes (although nothing contemporary can be as good as vintage in my book!).

I hope you enjoyed that insight into one of America's very interesting clothing companies and good luck with buying your very own houndstooth suit!

08 August, 2010

A 'Mad for Mad Men' Dinner Party - Part 2 - Invitations, Menus and Trivia

As promised in my last post, I thought I would give you my tips on how to host a great 'Mad Men' dinner party.

The table set in preparation for dinner - I brought out my best china and linen napkins! (PS I served the appetizers in the lounge with drinks, they are just on the dining table to keep them away the hands of my little children who would have devoured the lot otherwise!)

First, the most important thing: dinner and drinks. I was going to cook an exact replica of the 'trip around the world' dinner Betty hosts in Season 2 but I didn't really like the food she cooked for that (I am not a fan of gazpacho for a start!). So instead I devised a menu based on food and drinks featured in various Mad Men episodes (or with a New York theme), as follows:

Appetizers: Caramelised Onion dip in a 'Chip and Dip' with crackers, melba toast and pretzels (Season 1: Pete Campbell takes back an unwanted wedding present to the store, a 'Chip and Dip' which he says is used to serve onion dip and chips; Season 3: Betty looks for Melba Toast to eat whilst pregnant)

Entree: Waldorf Salad (Season 3: Connie from The Hilton mentions this iconic salad)

Main: Beef Wellington (Season 1: Roger Sterling orders this for one of his rendezvous with Joanie); served with Potato Gratin and Creamed Spinach (Season 1: Betty orders this during a dinner with Don)

Dessert: New York cheesecake (not featured in Mad Men but obviously very New York!).

I got all my recipes from the internet, except the New York cheesecake one, which I got from Jamie Oliver's 'Cook with Jamie' book (its called "Bloomin easy vanilla cheesecake'). I will leave it up to you to find the recipes you most like as the Beef Wellington can be made several ways (some use veal pate, others use prosciutto). I highly recommend the Jamie Oliver cheesecake - it is made with real vanilla pods (not essence) and orange zest and is absolutely fabulous. One tip for the Waldorf Salad - don't use commercially bought mayonnaise - yuch. Homemade mayo is fairly simple to make (again, I used a Jamie Oliver recipe), you just need an egg yolk, dijon mustard and lots of olive oil. It really made a difference to the salad - it was really nice and fresh with homemade mayonnaise.
Now onto drinks - yaaay! Obviously no Mad Men dinner party would be complete without the mandatory 'Old Fashioneds', 'Gimlets' and wine (Betty is always holding a glass of red wine in the evenings when Don comes home from work)(I try to emulate her!)

There are various recipes for 'Old Fashioneds' so I will leave it to you to find the one you like the most. I found that having some orange and lemon zest added a nice zing to it (I am not a fan of Bourbon whiskey) and some soda water makes it more palatable (otherwise it can be rather strong).

Next to creating a 'Mad Men' ambiance for your dinner party. As well as printing out vintage ads and putting these around the house, I also made up some menus to incorporate the theme of Mad Men and to show the guests the link between each course and the relevant 'Mad Men' episode. . .

(I have attached a copy of the menu to the bottom of this post if you want to look at it more closely)

I also put on some 1950's and 60's music (such as Frank Sinatra, Bob Dylan). If you want to be really authentic, you can download the actual music used in the series from http://blogs.amctv.com/mad-men/music/.

Another great way to get guests in a 'Mad Men' mood is to have games, so after the main course  for my dinner party I organized a ‘Mad Men’ trivia quiz, which was great fun. There are a lot of trivia questions on the Official Mad Men site http://www.amctv.com/games/. I have attached below the trivia questions I used (a mixture of my own ones and the ones from the Mad Men website). I included some silly ones to add some fun to the evening (eg: Exactly how many hours of work does Bert Cooper do per week? How many times in the series (S1-3) does Betty say to her children ‘Go watch TV’!)

I have also attached below a copy of the invitations I made up for my dinner, so feel free to use these if you wish!

I hope you have great fun holding your very own 'Mad for Mad Men' dinner party!




Where: [insert address]

Time and date: [insert]

Dress: Please dress as your favourite Mad Men character (if possible!)

Highlights: Gimlets, Old-fashioneds; a ‘Mad Men’ Triva contest and other fun-filled 1950’s and 60’s activities
Menu: I will be serving a 3 course meal, including a beef main. Please let me know if you have any dietary requirements.
Please bring: a bottle of wine and lots of room for food and drink!
Contact details: [insert]



Friday 23 July 2010

Caramelized Onion dip served in a ‘Chip and Dip’ with ‘Utz’ potato chip Pretzels and Melba toast (S1-3)
Waldorf Salad (S3)

Beef Wellington served with potato au gratin and creamed spinach (S1)

New York Cheesecake (S1-3)


1. An easy one to start off with. Who said this?

‘What you call love was invented by guys like me to sell nylons’

Ans: Don Draper

2. Where do the Drapers live?

Ossining, up State New York?

3. What does FDDT stand for?

That’s how Bobbie Barrett refers to Don Draper’s way with the ladies: getting the Full Don Draper Treatment

4. Who at Sterling Cooper discovered Donald Draper and where? Ans: Roger Sterling, as a fur company

5. What are Joan Holloway’s measurements (bust, waist and hips please)?

Answer: I have no idea, but I would guess: 38DD; 27, 40

6. This is one for the girls: What would you do if Don Draper burst into your bedroom:

(a) ask him to take off his clothes and give you the ‘Full Don Draper treatment’

(b) ask him to leave his clothes on and admire his fantastic early 1960’s suit with white breastpocket fold and gold cufflinks all night

(c) ask for the Full Don Draper treatment but tell him to keep his brilliantly shined black shoes firmly on and be very careful not to tousle his immaculately groomed hair.

7. What does Betty give to Glen (Helen Bishop's son), per his request, when she is babysitting for him?

A cookie

A beer

A lock of hair

Her garter

A lock of her hair

Now onto some hard ones:

First, some from Season 1:

8. When Ken chases down the office girl to peek at her underwear, what color does he say he discovers?

• Blue

• Tangerine

• Pink

• White

Ans: Blue

9. What war did Don fight in?




Bay of Pigs Invasion

Ans: Korea

10. Which character says the following line: "Psychiatry is just this year's candy pink stove."

• Don Draper

• Roger Sterling

• Mona Sterling

• Ken Cosgrove

Ans: Roger Sterling

11. Which character says this line? "If you had your way, I would be stranded in some paperweight with my legs stuck in the air."

Helen Bishop

Peggy Olson

Joan Holloway


Ans: Joan Holloway (to Roger Sterling)

12. Which of these characters has sex in the Sterling Cooper offices?

• Pete Campbell

• Harry Crane

• Peggy Olson

• All of the above

Ans: all of the above

13. What breed of dogs are in the cage on the roof of Menken's department store?

Black Labs

Golden Retrievers

German Shepherds

Pit Bulls

Ans: German Shepherds

Now onto Season 2:

14. What is the name of Roger's childhood nanny?





Ans: Belva. During dinner at Toots Shore, Roger says, "My nanny Belva made fried chicken. I used to take it to school wrapped in wax paper."

15. Pete's postcard refers to Niagara Falls as "The ______ place on earth."





Ans: wettest. "He's on a honeymoon, right?" asks Peggy. "Hasn't left the room, apparently," Ken replies.

16. Which Frank O’Hara poem does Don Draper read from in Season 2?

Mayakovsky from the book ‘Meditations in an Emergency’

(read from it)

17. The characters on Mad Men do quite a bit of reading. Link each of these books to the characters that either referred to them or read them in the series

Atlas Shrugged - Bert Cooper told Don in Season 1 to spend $1.99 on a copy of Ayn Rand's book

Meditations in an Emergency - Don reads from this in Ep 1, S2

Ship of Fools - Betty reads on couch after defrosting the fridge

Lady Chatterley’s lover - Peggy asks to read it in S1 - I think it is Joanie’s copy

18. Airlines were mentioned frequently in Season 2. Which one was actually a Sterling Cooper client?

American Airlines

Mohawk Airlines

Pan Am


Ans: Mohawk: Eventually, however, Mohawk was dropped as a client when Sterling Cooper decided to go after American Airlines.

19. What is the name of the Draper’s family dog?

Polly (golden retriever)

20. At his physical, how much does Don admit to drinking and smoking every day?

4 drinks, one pack a day

4 drinks, two packs a day

5 drinks, two packs a day

5 drinks, one pack a day

The correct answer is 5 drinks, two packs a day

"You live too hard," the doctor tells him.

Now onto Season 3 I think:

21. When Gene and Sally go for a drive, how fast does Gene make the car go?

25 mph

30 mph

35 mph

40 mph

The correct answer is 25 mph

With Bobby sitting in the back seat, Gene takes the car to 25 mph to keep traffic flowing while Sally is driving.

22. How much time does Peggy spend going to and from work each day?

1 hour

2 hours

30 minutes

90 minutes

Ans: 2 hours Peggy tells Anita her total commute is two hours, requiring her to spend a fortune on subway fare, cabs and new pantyhose.

23. According to her ad for a roommate posted up in Sterling Cooper, how does Peggy feel about pets?

She'd prefer a pet-free home.

She'll only consider cats.

She's allergic to cats; dogs are fine.

She's a lover of all kinds of animals.

Margaret Olson, as Peggy calls herself on the ad, is allergic to cats but "will tolerate dogs

24. What does Duck send Peggy after their lunch time meeting?

A box of Godiva chocolates

A Cartier watch

Earrings from Tiffany's

An Hermes scarf

"Elegance and success" reads the attached note. Peggy muses, "I wonder who wrote that for him."

25. Where did Betty go to College?

Bryn Mawr?

For extra points, what was her major?

What did she say after revealing this tidbit? "We all have skills we don't use," says Betty

26. How much does Don tell Sal that the Lucky Strike account is worth to Sterling Cooper?

$5 million

$10 million

$20 million

$25 million

The correct answer is $25 million

"They could shut off our lights," says Don to Sal about letting his firing stand.


1. Who was the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in 1963?

Supreme Court in 1963?

Earl Warren

Felix Frankfurter

Thurgood Marshall

Warren Burger

Ans: Earl Warren

An Eisenhower nominee and former governor of California, Warren was chief justice from 1953 to 1969.

2. Which Brit was proclaimed an honorary U.S. citizen by President Kennedy?

honorary U.S. citizen by President Kennedy?

Harold MacMillan

John Profumo

Queen Elizabeth II

Winston Churchill

The correct answer is Winston Churchill

Churchill was recognized on April 9 at a ceremony in the White House. Only five others, including the Marquis de Lafayette and Mother Teresa, have received the honor.

3. On June 11, Gov. George Wallace stood in front of the doors of what university to prevent black students from registering black students from registering? black students from registering?

University of Alabama

University of Georgia

University of Kentucky

University of Mississippi

Ans: Uni Alabama

Wallace was elected on a platform of segregation, declaring at his inauguration, "I say segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever."

4. Who was the highest paid movie star of 1963?

Cary Grant

Elizabeth Taylor

Sean Connery

Steve McQueen

Ans: Elizabeth Taylor - she received a $1 million salary for starring in that year's Cleopatra.

5. Which of these toys was introduced in 1963?

Crissy Doll

Easy Bake Oven

Etch A Sketch

Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots

Ans: Easy bake oven - Kenner introduced the pint-sized oven in 1963 for $15.95. Hasbro sells a modern version today.

6. On June 11, 1963, Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc assumed the lotus position in the middle of a Saigon street and proceeded to light himself on fire. As he burned to death, more than 300 fellow monks warded off police so that he could finish what he had set out to do. What was the monk protested? Against South Vietnam president Ngo Dinh Diem, a Catholic, U.S.-backed leader accused of repressing Buddhists

And a few general ones to close:

1. If you were a psychiatrist and Don Draper came to see you, what would your prognosis be?

2. How many sessions would he need to have to be cured?

3. Exactly how many hours of work does Bert Cooper do per week?

4. How many times in the series (S1-3) does Betty say to her children ‘Go watch TV’

5. Which Mad Men character are you most like?

6. Finally, if you were on a desert island, which character from Mad Men would you ask to take along with you and why?


07 August, 2010

A 'Mad for Mad Men' Dinner Party - Part 1

As any vintage lover worth their salt would know, Mad Men is the best show on television, not just because of the great story (and the drop-dead-gorgeous Don Draper of course!), but because of the fabulous fashion. To celebrate this (and the fact that it shows people drinking hard liquor at 10 oclock in the morning!) I decided to celebrate the best TV series of all time by hosting a 'Mad for Mad Men' dinner party. I invited two friends who are both Mad Men fans also (no sense in inviting people who don't watch the show given that we were going to be talking about it all night!). It was a great night of eating decadent 1950's style food (potato gratin has a lot of cream!), Old Fashioneds and red wine.


To add some atmosphere to proceedings, I printed out some great ads from the 1950’s and 60’s which featured Sterling Cooper clients, including Samsonite, Monarch Airlines, Lucky Strike and Clearasil, and put these up on the walls. I just did a google for 'vintage 1950's ad', 'vintage samsonite ad' etc and was able to print the ads out. I also printed out the 'Utz' logo and put that on a chip packet. You can actually buy Utz chips from the US but you have to buy a minimum of 6 in a box and its quite expensive to ship so I passed on that!

Unfortunately, I was too busy cooking to take an outfit photo of myself, but I wore a lovely black figure-hugging 50’s cocktail dress from Frocks and Slacks in St Kilda (I will try and do an outfit post on that later).  I would like to say that I looked very much like my fashion idol Joanie Holloway, but I don't think I have the measurements for that!

My hubby looked fantastic in a lovely 60's suit from Old Hat in Northcote, teamed with a skinny 60's tie from Frocks and Slacks, St Kilda. The suit is of unbelievable quality, it was actually made in Northcote and still has an old Northcote local number (3 digits) on the label inside. Pure class. My hubby uses one of my vintage napkins for his fold by the way, a little tip for you vintage gents out there. . .


My friends went to a lot of effort and wore vintage clothes which was great. As you can see, they looked very gorgeous. . .

In the next few days I will be doing a separate post on how I did my invitations, menu, place settings etc, so stay tuned for my 'A Mad for Mad Men Dinner Party-Part 2' blog post coming up soon . . .