Saturday, January 26, 2008

Fashion: 50s, 60s and 70s

Fashion Pictures - Styles of the 50s, 60s and 70s This site brings to you a large selection of women's fashion pictures from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. The point is to show what women really wore in the streets, at work, at home or to go out with friends. So neither is this about "haute couture" nor is this a fashion history.

Maybe it will remind you when you were a teenager, or how your mother looked like, and maybe you will think girls in those days were just as beautiful as today (or even more ?). Of course there were these lovely skirts, dresses (and legs)... You will also notice some of the "newest" trends look very similar to former fashion styles.

andrea nicole baker

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Fashion: The Corset in Contemporary fashion

I love the look and feel of gorgeous corsets. This a bit of history of corsets by  Tara Martin-Miller" (

Why is the corset still in fashion? The presence in contemporary wardrobes of a garment from the 19th century, physically oppressive and associated with women’s inferior status, suggests that somehow the image of the corset still finds an echo in our societies - though perhaps its meaning has evolved and changed. Fashion designers from Central Saint Martin's School, London, share corset-inspired work. Curvaceous Fashion in Motion, the result of a competition took place at the Victoria and Albert Museum in October 2001. BA Honours students were briefed to use 19th-century corsets, crinolines, bustles and brassieres from the V&A’s collection as inspiration to create contemporary designs.

The disappearance and reappearance of the corset in 20th-century fashion seem to be linked to the cyclical changing of female shapes, especially to the waist being enhanced or concealed. During the 20th century, the corset was regularly revived as outerwear when part of a revival, or simply suggested by designs that try to obtain the hourglass figure inherited from it. According to the official story, in 1909 Poiret banned the corset after centuries of tyrannical reign over women’s fashion. The fact that at the same time Poiret put women into hobble-skirts suggests that he didn’t discard the corset to free them, but because the shape of the corset interfered with the lines of his newest designs. Poiret’s dresses, with the focus positioned on the shoulders and not on the waist, would evolve into the bi-dimensional dresses of the 1920s.

The flat and square dresses of the 1920s became an ideal canvas to display the artistic and sophisticated motifs of the Art Deco period. The female body became almost abstract and the natural waist a feature from the past. To achieve the desirable silhouette, the rigid corset was abandoned for a softer one that flattened the female form. This decade saw a real fight between designers who saw the shapeless dress as limiting, and women for whom this fashion was a liberation. In 1928, the designers won and dresses started showing some volumetric features.

In the 1930s fashion brought the waist back into focus, with the help of intricate cuts or bold colour combinations. There was an evolution towards a more tri-dimensional figure all through the decade. This can be seen in the importance of the waist and, later, the shoulders. What could be more appropriate than the corset to put the rediscovered female form into the spotlights? Incidentally, by the end of the 1930s, soft corsets and bodices on evening gowns became part of a Victorian revival, popularised by movies like Gone with the Wind and Little Women. The waist was small, the shoulders broad, and the whole shape prefigured the hourglass figure of 1947 'New Look'.

From the late 1940s, designers would try to achieve the same tight-fitting silhouette, previously obtained with the corset, through ingenious cuts, padding and boning, the most potent example being the archetypal and iconic 'Bar' suit designed by Dior. Again, as if to reaffirm its role in the phenomenon, the corset came back, this time transformed into a 'bustier' and used in most of the evening gowns of the late 1940s and early 1950s.
By the mid 1950s, there was definite research into a more geometric and architectural fashion. In search of new shapes, designers studied dresses as volumes and experimented with the waist, moving it up, down or concealing it totally.

In the mid 1970s, Vivienne Westwood became the first designer of the 20th century to use the corset in its original form since Poiret had rejected it. Her approach was both artistic and theatrical and set a new and definite trend in contemporary fashion. The use of historical garments combined with her unique perception of the zeitgeist, became the core of her work. Her corsets from the 18th century gave women a feeling of glamour and power not felt for a long time. In the 1980s, other designers would follow in her path, but using the 19th-century Victorian corset this time. In Jean-Paul Gaultier and Thierry Mugler’s hands, corsets would become armour for a late 20th-century cyber-woman out of a science-fiction cartoon. From then on, the corset would serve as a base from which designers created powerful designs. The features of the corset were stylised or exaggerated, or they disappeared and only the shape was kept and transformed into a plastic moulded armour.

The results were stunning. The corset had become an 'objet d’art', with a new meaning, artistic of course but also social - almost a statement. No longer the symbol of women’s oppression, the corset had become a symbol of sexual empowerment. Gaultier’s corsets became iconic when Madonna wore one during her world-tour in 1990. Since then, the corset has been Gaultier’s fetish and his perfumes are sold in a corset-shaped bottle. The presence of corsets on the catwalk was not fortuitous. Westwood’s corsets were a 'catwalk' expression of punk sexuality. Gaultier and Mugler’s armour-like corsets epitomised power fashion and the cult of the body in yuppie culture. There again, the factual corset co-existed on the catwalks with the 'ghost' corset found in the triangular shape of the 1980s: narrow waist and broad shoulders.

The 1990s were to be dominated by a more eastern conception of fashion, which banned constriction in favour of unshaped, layered garments. Alongside collections focusing on ethnic inspirations, some designers such as Lacroix and Mugler still presented sophisticated corsets, mostly in evening gowns or wedding dresses.

The innovation of 2001-2 is the translation of the corset into daywear. It comes in two versions: the 'obvious' corset, largely inspired by the Victorian original, worn solo or over a garment (Stella McCartney), or a more abstract corset, suggested in the curved shape of a jacket, or suggested by sophisticated lacing, or by intricate stitching (Balenciaga, Saint-Laurent).

Worn over a garment, or pulled over like a jumper, the corset has been given a new dimension by Comme des Garçons. Other designers such as the brilliant Nicolas Ghesquiere (Balenciaga) and Tom Ford have recreated the shape of the corset in their suits, dresses or shirts, not only with a tight fitting cut but also by adding some volume at the hips.

Another novelty is the experimentation with the corset’s idiosyncratic lacing and boning, recreated on casual daywear garments, on a jacket, or on the back of a shirt (Gaultier and Saint-Laurent). Never before have designs based on the corset reached such maturity and harmony. Designers seem to have captured the essence of the corset, they have transcended its shape, and its extremely refined and inspiring features. Today's corsets are sophisticated and extremely wearable.

The passage of the corset into daywear marks the final stage in the transfer of a garment’s use, a regular phenomenon in fashion, by which an underwear becomes an outwear (T-shirt, boiler suit). Throughout the 20th century, the corset has evolved into bustiers, bodices or armour, but it has left the indelible fantasy of an idealised, flattering, tight-fitting female silhouette, which is timeless and still appeals today. The corset is full of paradoxes and that probably explains why it is still part of our society: it is timeless but it has never stopped evolving. The corset bears an everlasting sexual attraction: it glorifies, underlines, exacerbates and idealises the female form. It has evolved esthetically and symbolically: from underwear to outerwear (in late 19th century ball gowns), from corsets to bustiers, from constriction to power, from lingerie to armour.

The corset expresses contradictory messages: constriction and freedom, dominance and submission, femininity and power. And it refers to current social values: violence, war, sex, nostalgia and conservatism. The popularity of the corset can be explained by its strong connotation. The corset, still being a historical garment, probably gives the wearer the feeling of timelessness and freedom felt when wearing fancy dress. It lets her adopt a role, a character, maybe a powerful seductress, which is not allowed during daily life. It is also a reminder of an idealised past, pictured in Toulouse-Lautrec’s paintings and in the movie Moulin Rouge.

The corset is a beautiful object, with harmonious lines and volumes and it celebrates the beauty of women’s bodies. In the 'minute culture' of our societies, dominated by the ephemeral (Lipovetsky, Gilles, L'empire de l'éphémère, Poche, 1991), the corset remains a timeless element of seduction and will continue to inspire future generations of designers.

andrea nicole baker

Friday, January 18, 2008

Andrea's new Home Page

I have completely revised my web site.

Check out the new version of "My Galleria". The focus is on fashion with less photos but the best of each selection.

Andrea Nicole Baker

It is still a work in progress, but it is taking shape. Any suggestions for content are always welcome.

andrea nicole baker

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The most important fashion accessory

I was recently asked,  
"What is the most important fashion accessory". 

Immediately I started thinking about jewelry, shoes and other like objects.  But then I realized that what makes a person attractive to another is the flashing of a gorgeous smile.  It almost always causes the the other person to return the same.  

Do you remember the song from Annie, "You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile"?
Here are the lyrics.  Don't they make you smile?

Hey, hobo man, hey Dapper Dan
You both got your style, but brother
You're never fully dressed without a smile

You're clothes may be "Beau Brumelly"
They stand out a mile, but brother
You're never fully dressed without a smile

Who cares what they're wearing
On Main Street or Saville Row
It's what you wear from ear to ear
And not from head to toe that matters

So, Senator, so, janitor
So long for awhile, remember
You're never fully dressed
Though you may wear the best
You're never fully dressed without a smile

"andrea nicole baker" 

Monday, January 7, 2008

Fashion: What's in your closet?


This two piece outfit is both classy and feminine. The top is 100% shimmery silk. It wears and feels as good, if not better, than it looks.

The skirt has a soft pleat. It is multi-colored (black, turquoise and blue ) with bands of blue and black stripes at the hem. The skirt is mid-calf length. It's a perfect complement to the dark blue top.

Note the lovely turquoise necklace with the large stone above the scoop neckline.

The shoes are Franco Sarto with 2" chunky heels. You can see the nickel buckle on the front of the shoes. They help make the outfit a classy fashion statement.

I asked 20 people what their eyes were drawn to (and in what order) when they looked at these photos. The consensus answers (in order) were:   Face, Breasts, Legs, and Hair.

Then I asked what would you change or like to see more of.
The consensus answers (in order) were: More legs (shorter skirt and higher heels), frontal view of my cleavage, hands on my hips.

Do you agree or disagree. Please leave a comment.

"andrea nicole baker"

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Entertainment: Chick Flicks

Have you had a chance to see "Enchanted" yet?  Enchanted is festooned with extravagant set pieces — there's a great number in praise of romantic gestures, and a ballroom scene to make even grown-up girls swoon.

It's a silly romantic comedy that is nothing but pure fun and enjoyment! Go see it on the big screen while you still have a chance.  I've seen it 3 times.

Here is a fun review from Entertainment Weekly.

Giselle (delectable Amy Adams) is a princess ejected from her magic kingdom by a curse from her evil potential mother-in-law (Susan Sarandon) in the inspired Disney fairy-tale mash-up Enchanted. And when the heroine pops up in New York City, dazed by her transformation from animated cartoon girl to live-action beauty, she's put up for the night by a stranger, a harried divorce lawyer (Patrick Dempsey). But there's a hygiene problem. He's the distracted single parent to a little girl (Rachel Covey), his girlfriend (Idina Menzel) is on his case for more commitment — and with no time to clean, his apartment is a mess. So Giselle does what any classically trained, sweet-natured Disney heroine would do: With a lilting yodel, she summons her charmed animal friends to help her tidy up, and they sing, sing, sing while they toil. Of course, this being New York, the wildlife workforce consists of rats, pigeons, mice, and well-organized cockroaches.

The hilarious ''Happy Working Song '' production number, with music and lyrics by Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz, encapsulates the joys of Enchanted — an unironic affection for classic Disney fairy tales of old, salted with modern smarts about how the non-Disney world really works for single parents, kids, working women, divorce lawyers, and cockroaches. Somewhere deep in the movie's genetic structure is a chromosome or two of Rocky and Bullwinkle's bi-level wit mixed in with the DNA of Mary Poppins. The resourceful heroine is soul sister to Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White, and as such she comes accessorized with a handsome fairy-tale prince (Hairspray's James Marsden, wonderfully earnest, and therefore charming, as a princely dolt). But New York works its own magic on Giselle — and so does Lawyer McDreamy.

"andrea nicole baker"

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

A girl should be two things: Classy and Fabulous" - Coco Chanel

Gabrielle Bonheur "Coco" Chanel (August 19, 1883 – January 10, 1971) was a pioneering French fashion designer whose modernist philosophy, menswear-inspired fashions, and pursuit of expensive simplicity made her arguably the most important figure in the history of 20th-century fashion. Her influence on haute couture was such that she was the only person in the field to be named on TIME Magazine's 100 most influential people of the 20th century.

The influential Chanel suit, launched in 1923, it was an elegant suit comprising a knee-length skirt and trim, boxy jacket, traditionally made of woven wool with black trim and gold buttons and worn with large costume-pearl necklaces. Coco Chanel also popularized the little black dress, whose blank-slate versatility allowed it to be worn for day and evening, depending on how it was accessorized. Although unassuming black dresses existed before Chanel, the ones she designed were considered the haute couture standard. In 1923, she told Harper's Bazaar that "simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance." Chanel always kept the clothing she designed simple and comfortable. She took what was considered poor fabrics like jersey and upgraded them.

Keeping this standard of fashion in mind, what is the modern definition of a "girly girl"?

Girly girl is a slang term for a girl or woman who chooses to dress and behave in a traditionally feminine style, such as wearing floral dresses, blouses and skirts, and talking about relationships and other activities which are associated with the traditional gender role of a girl. It is an informal term, and in most contexts, it is at least mildly derogatory.

The term is sometimes seen as a term of disdain or abuse, particularly among tomboys and some feminists, since the "second wave" of feminism in the 1960s and '70s, after which gender-blind clothing and/or behavior started to become more prevalent among females. Whether "traditionally feminine" traits are inherently repressive or harmful to women is a matter of some debate. Some women may be offended by this term.

More recently, a resurgence of the use in a more positive light has occurred. Women have embraced a softer, more feminine, view of womanhood and have embraced the term "girly". Examples of this can be seen in the artwork of popular publications such as Cosmopolitan, Glamour, and Redbook which have all recently made use of "girly" type characters. Examples of a younger movement embracing the term can be seen in the rising popularity of Girly Layouts used on popular sites like

I found this very cute description on While this was written for young girls I think it has some value for girls and women of all ages.

How to Be Girly
Do you love being girly? Its great for girls to express themselves in what ever way they like to. This is just for anyone who personally loves it which is great too! No matter who you are hopefully this how to will help you come into your more girly side!

1. Have a bright personality, bubbly and happy. Don't giggle all the time, because people will find that really annoying. Instead, make other people laugh, and be really cute. Don't take yourself too seriously.

2. Be clean and neat. Being dirty and grubby has never been girly and never will be! Have clean waxed or tweezed eyebrows. Either get a professional to do them or do them yourself at home. Also have neat finger and toe nails. Have regular manicures and pedicures. Either get them done in a salon or do them at home.

3. Make your room more girly by having pink walls and bed spreads. If you can't paint your walls, then cover them in posters of all your fave celebs!

4. Wear some make-up! Make-up shouldn't be a chore, it should be fun! A slick of sheer lip gloss and you're done.

5. Have fun with your hair - straightened, curly or wavy if your going to wear it out. If you have naturally straight hair, then great! You can just leave it out how it is, or you can wave it or curl it. If you have wavy hair, then you can leave it as is or straighten it..or you can make it more curly. If you have naturally curly hair then you can leave it as is, straighten it or make it wavy. You could also tie your hair up in a cute style - pony, bun, braids etc! You could add accessories like head bands and flowers - the styles are endless. Most importantly, keep your hair clean.

6. Get girly clothes - skirts, cute shirts, accessories, jeans, cute shorts...anything pink is good. Make an effort to look around. When you first start coming out of your "comfort" zone you won't like anything and will keep saying, "No" to everything you see. Go to EVERY store you can. You might get tired of walking around, but just looking is a big step! Go with your friends who HAVE style or with somebody who has any style different then yours! Let them help you, but develop your own style and don't just copy theirs.

7. Wear jeans that fit. Don't wear low cut jeans if you don't feel comfortable, but make sure your jeans fit you. Not tight, not baggy. A belt is ok, but the fit says it all. Try on lots of brands, styles, cuts and sizes. Not every size jean will fit the same depending on the brand. The same goes with shirts. Not tight, not baggy. If your shirt is so tight you can see your bra or you have trouble getting your shirt off of your back, then it's too tight. If your shirt is so big that you can pull it up and see your belly button then it's too big( nothing against belly button shirts)! Things like camisoles are supposed to fit tight.

8. Play sports - although everyone thinks sports are for boys, they can be girly - try cheerleading, dancing, tennis, netball, basketball, volleyball, swimming, soccer, etc. Sports also keep you in shape!

9. Listen to music that is soft on the ears and is opitmistic.

10. Consider your fashion. Most girly-girls wear pink, sparkly, feminine, lacy/frilly, and neat clothing. Buy clothing that people would consider very girly. Skirts are also very popular for girls.

11. Choose a scent. Buy shampoos, body wash/lotion, shaving cream, deodorant, perfume, etc. that has girly scents. Some scents would include: flowers, roses, fruit (strawberries), etc. This also covers the subject of hygiene...You must be clean and smelling good.

12. Put your best face forward. Makeup is a very important aspect of looks for girls. Lip gloss is all that is needed.

13. Keep your teeth nice and white. There are several ways to get the perfect dazzling smile. If your teeth are crooked, don't shy away from braces. Just think of them as jewelry for your teeth! For whitening, you can either do it yourself at home with a store-bought product (such as crest white strips) or go to a dentist that also has expertise in the area of cosmetic dentistry to get them professionally whitened.

14. Be modest; this includes clothing AND personality.

15. Be neat and organized. This is a common trait shared among the feminine types.

16. Girliness is also associated with romance sometimes. Be sure to read/write romance novels and develop a keen interest in poetry. You can also make this your music style by listening to love songs.

17. Hang out with gal pals. Girls love the mall, shopping, and almost anything associated with beauty. Get a group of friends and have a shopping spree, makeovers, a sleepover, or any girl-related activity.

18. Accessorize. Don't forget the jewelry! Always have a nice pair of earrings at hand. Earrings are a total must-have. Chandelier earrings are especially nice. Also, don't forget a purse! You MUST have a nice purse if nothing else!

19. Keep your nails and toenails polished in a stylish way. The most popular style is the "French manicure/pedicure."

20. Be emotionally sensitive.

21. Be delicate and careful. This includes GOOD MANNERS and being POLITE at all times.

22. Always smile that beautiful smile.

"andrea nicole baker"