Summer Sugar Stripes

Summer's in full swing, Heart of Haute-lovers, and we have great new styles perfect for all the fun in the sun you'll be having! To help you stay true to your style, and stay cool in the heat, take a peek at our new Sugar Stripes Collection.  

The Maybeline Dress (shown below in Purple Stripe and Blue Stripe) is the perfect dress for your next BBQ, beach party, or even a night out at the local county fair. This sleeveless dress, with adjustable straps, is perfect for those hot summer days and warm summer nights. The Maybeline Dress even has pockets (and who doesn't love a dress with pockets?!)

Maybeline Purple Stripe

Maybeline Blue Stripe

Model: Stephanie Weber

Summertime is known for concert season! Headed to go see your favorite artist or band? Whether you're off to see a hot act at the Hollywood Bowl, or the LA Philharmonic at the Walt Disney Hall, you'll be a show stopper wearing the Regina Dress (shown below in Purple Sugar Stripe.) It's just casual enough to be comfortable, but dressy enough for any special occasion. (If you're anything like me, fantastic live music is always a special occasion!) For a fancier venue, dress it up with your favorite pumps, or keep it simple, and more on the casual side, with a cute pair of ballet flats.

Regina Purple Stripe

Model: Dollie Deville (www.therockabillysocialite.com)

  My favorite part about summer is that it stays light out later into the evening. Take advantage of the extra sunshine and show off the Vee Dress. Reflect the blue summer skies in the Blue Sugar Stripe fabric (shown below.) This dress has pockets, also! (Have I sold you on the pockets yet, ladies?)

Vee Blue Stripe

Model: Dollie Deville (www.therockabillysocialite.com)

    Step into the sunshine and off to your next adventure while showing off your fabulous sense of style with our new Stripes Collection.  Don't forget the sunscreen!

Blue Stripe

Models: Stephanie Weber (left,) Dollie Deville (right, www.therockabillysocialite.com)

    With Love & No Regrets, Katrina Marie =^.^=      

Pin Up Cowgirl and Country Style with Heart of Haute

The country girl is a staple of mid century pin up imagery. The sweet and sexy rural cowgirl is an icon of American style. Often dressed in gingham, denim, bandanas, and a cowboy hat, it is a look that combines innocence and toughness. A general fascination with the American West has been an enduring staple of international pop culture.

Western films have been popular since the era of silent movies, but they had a surge in popularity in the 1940s and 1950s. Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Jane Russell and many others starred in Western films - pinup images from these movies were popular during World War II. Soldiers and Sailors got tattooed with the image of the sexy cowgirl, a motivation for and reminder of home in the American countryside. In addition, as cities and suburbs grew, I think that many people felt a fascination with and idealization of the "good old days."

Jane Russell in The Outlaw

 

 

Whether you are going to the "Hulabilly" themed Tiki Oasis, or just looking for some vintage American summertime style, we have the unique - and American made - pieces that can make your retro look! For a complete outfit, try our Sweetie sundress in all American gingham or the Peggy Sue Dress in picnic-perfect ketchup and mustard prints.

Our Heart of Haute halter tops will help you create the ideal country heat. Available in  many colors and patterns, including the bandana-influenced Annie print. Our Ellie Tie Top in red gingham or Mustard picnic print has a sweet, cropped casual look with a little more coverage than a halter. Don't forget our matching headbands and bows! Our Gretta gingham blouses will bring a Western element to any outfit - even at the office! Our Gigi tee - in white or black - matches perfectly with our print skirts or your cowgirl jeans - right out of Jane Russell's "The Outlaw" wardrobe!  

Model Spotlight: Dinah DeRosa

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to shoot Miss Dinah DeRosa  in my home for Heart of Haute. I've recently had to take photography into my own hands for our company and I'm learning more and more as I go along.  It's a lot of fun, creative, and also a ton of work. I have a GREAT appreciation for photographers as well as models. I've been on both sides of the camera and I know how much work goes into a shoot for both parties. *whew* Dinah has been modeling since she was 17 and she's a natural. In addition to modeling, you can find her managing the Unique Vintage store in Huntington Beach or dancing on stage for The Hula Girls.  To be graced with Dinah's presence, you'll find yourself not only looking at a very attractive lady, but a very attractive soul. This girl is one of my favorite models to work with for a reason. Very genuine, kind and just a really cool chick! Here's just a few shots from our photo shoot...   dinahmitzilauren dinahmowhiteoribit dinahhhmilan dinahHHmilancelery dinahhhmonteivoryback     With Love & No Regrets, Mandie Bee!

Your Retro Tiki Weekend Wardrobe

Mid century America was crazy for all things tropical and Hawaiian. Many served in the South Pacific during World War II, and returned home with tales of palm trees and rum. Hawaii's 1959 statehood and the advent of quick and more affordable jet travel made it a popular - yet still exotic - travel destination. "Trader Vic" Bergeron opened his first restaurant in California in 1934, serving an approximation of Cantonese food and concocting cocktails like the Mai Tai. All over the country, Polynesian pop culture spread - tiki bars, backyard luaus, and Exotica albums and movies were everywhere. Those who still still celebrate the sips, styles and sounds from this era meet up at various tiki weekend parties all over the country. Two of the biggest are the Hukilau (June 6-9th in Fort Lauderdale) and Tiki Oasis (August 15-18th in San Diego).

257828_10100136482430178_3901742_oMe (on the right) with friends at the Mai Kai

Heart of Haute will help you pack your bags to arrive as the perfect retro tiki pin-up! Having attended a few of these events, here are my tips:
  • Bring more than one bathing suit. A lot of the events are poolside, and you don't want to be pulling on a soggy suit after a midnight dip in the Ocean. A stylish swimsuit cover up, like our quick drying Knotty Dress, is also a must.
  • At the Hukilau, the Mai Kai can be quite warm inside. I like a cocktail dress that will still keep me cool. The Sweetie Dress in Hip Kitty has an authentic vintage shape, and a print that will help you stand out in the sea of floral aloha wear. Get to the Mai Kai with plenty of time before your dinner show reservation to enjoy the gardens and the great happy hour prices in the Molokai Bar. The Moonkist Coconut is my favorite drink.
  • The Paradise Dress has a great retro wiggle dress shape in a perfect tropical pattern, with a faux sarong front that ties at the waist.
  • There is a lot of standing, dancing, and walking around. I like wedges for just a little more comfort.
  • Tiki Oasis has a theme each year - for 2013, it's "Hulabilly." For this mix of Hawaiian and country rockabilly style, bring our Ellie Tie Front Top in Red Gingham, a sweet Heart of Haute top, or gingham headbands and hair bows. Our best selling Sweetie Dress comes in red, blue, olive, and black gingham - the perfect fit for this "Hawaiian Hootenanny."
  • Accessories! These parties are not the time to be subtle. I always bring tons of hair flowers, sunglasses, and jewelry. A few extra to loan to your best friend is always a good plan.
  • I don't actually stay at the official Hukilau hotel(s). I like the Best Western Oceanside. It's right next door and has a cute little pool and free breakfast.
  • Don't overdo it! Take a nap every afternoon and alternate drinks with water. Have some snacks in your room and wear sunscreen.
Love & Moonkist Coconuts, Mrs. V  
Tiki Weekend Style

Dress heartofhaute.com

Dress heartofhaute.com

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Dress heartofhaute.com

Sarong swimsuit pinupgirlclothing.com

Mustard heartofhaute.com

Flower hair accessory heartofhaute.com

Flower hair accessory heartofhaute.com

Red Gingham heartofhaute.com

Nine West ChillPill vip.zappos.com

Black heartofhaute.com

Heart of Haute: Attire for the Workplace

For many years, I had my "work clothes" and my "real clothes." My work clothes were your typical boring unflattering dress pants, ill-fitting collared shirts, and floppy cardigan sweaters that I had somehow decided were what office jobs required. I put much more thought and effort into my "real clothes" and felt more comfortable in the unique dresses and outfits I wore to fun events with my friends. I have since largely integrated my work wardrobe and my "real clothes." I no longer have a division in my closet, and I am not ashamed to meet friends at the tiki bar right after work (in fact, sometimes that mai tai is essential and must be acquired ASAP). Many of us have requirements for work wear (no jeans, covering tattoos, natural hair colors) that are limiting, but they don't make expressing your style and feeling great impossible. If you are in a conservative industry or position of authority (yes, and yes for me), the rules (or rules you place on yourself) may be even stricter. Thankfully, a lot of retro dresses and other pieces work well for the office. I like skirts and dresses for work to touch the top of my knee when standing. Feel free to disregard my suggestions if you are confident that you are in a more creative or permissive arena, but I don't think that miniskirts belong at any type of office job. I also abide by no cleavage at work, but daring dresses and tops can easily be worn with a scarf or camisole. A few items that do more than their share of heavy lifting in my work wardrobe: Dresses - comfortable, cute, and great for those mornings when you forgot to pick an outfit the night before - no decisions to make! I wear both knit and cotton dresses most days of the week. Ponte knit is a great fabric that is comfortable yet has a very refined look. Cotton dresses will keep you looking sharper and feeling more comfortable in the warmer months. High-waisted black pencil skirt - any top tucked into this looks more pulled together. The three piece rule can also be helpful. Three pieces can make a more complete looking outfit. Skirt, shirt, sweater. Pants, top, scarf. Dress, jacket, scarf. Plain black blazer - great for making any outfit look like serious business. Look for jackets that are fully lined. A structured blazer thrown over a cotton dress like the Monique is a great look, and an easy way to make more casual dresses work appropriate. Leave the blazer at work during the summer to take the chill off of excessive air conditioning. A sleeveless Ella blouse and swing skirt like our Twirl Skirt is an outfit that can keep you cool during a hot commute. My business travel and or conference uniform is one blazer thrown over several knit dresses. It is as put-together as a suit and certainly more comfortable for long days in meetings. A large tote bag is essential for carrying your shoes, lunch, work, purse, and even gym clothes without looking like an overburdened pack rat. I have this canvas tote - it is stiff enough to keep its shape well, and has a zip top. It is decent enough to carry into a meeting, yet can be thrown into the washing machine. With spring comes many graduations, and then new jobs and internships. Take some time to really think about the look that you want to project at work, and invest in a few key pieces. You will feel better, and look great – the corner office is waiting for you! Mrs. V
Retro style at work

Dress heartofhaute.com

Dress heartofhaute.com

Dress heartofhaute.com

Coffee shop modcloth.com

Blazer modcloth.com

Nanette lepore piperlime.gap.com

Blazer modcloth.com

Lining shoes modcloth.com

Wedge heels modcloth.com

G.H. Bass shoes bassshoes.harborghb.com

Blue heartofhaute.com

Black heartofhaute.com

What Do I Wear to This Wedding?

Spring is finally here - warmer days, blooming flowers, and a pile of wedding invitations in your mailbox. Weddings now are not always the church and banquet hall celebrations of the past. Couples have gotten more creative, and often more casual. Looking for the perfect dress to wear to a non-traditional (or traditional) wedding? Heartbreaker has you covered! You never thought your wildest friend would ever settle down, but she is getting hitched in Vegas! It's sure to be an outrageous party, and you want to look the part. The Sweetie Dress in (limited edition) Hip Kitty leopard fabric will look right at home on the Strip, downtown on Fremont street, or posing with the Elvis Impersonator who performs the ceremony. Don't forget a sweater to ward off the freezing casino air conditioning, and a hat for a hungover pool day. For your very practical and private friend, there was no ceremony - they simply went down to the courthouse on a Tuesday. For the informal after party at a local bar, try our popular Beverly Dress in Black Dynasty. The gold metallic print elevates it from typical daytime wear. For a more traditional, semi formal wedding, try the Elsie or Elaine Dresses by Heart of Haute. These cocktail dresses are polished  and versatile, whether you prefer a fitted or fuller skirt. Sheer black stockings and your highest heels complete the look. For a tropical destination wedding, the Rebecca Dress has a full skirt and halter top that will keep you cool and comfortable in the sun and sand. Remember your sunglasses, sunscreen, and no tanning until the ceremony is over - no one wants to be the lobster sunburn girl in the photos! Kork Ease Sandals are comfortable, come in many colors and heel heights, and look better than flip flops. For a casual ceremony in the country (or even a bridal shower), try our Aimee Dress in (limited) Strawberry Patch. The Marseilles Dress in the Katherine Floral Print is a great choice for a chic country or beach wedding. For wedding gift ideas, I like a couple of cookbooks (Nigel Slater and Mark Bittman are both great), and a cast iron skillet. It is something that every kitchen (and barbeque grill, and campsite) needs, and one will last a lifetime. I hope that you have a great summer filled with top shelf open bars, good appetizers, and inspired dance moves gleaned from other people's parents! Mrs. V
What to Wear to Weddings - Summer 2013

For the Ethical Shopper - Why Buy American Made?

Hello Heart of Haute Fans, I will warn you now, this wont exactly be the most feel-good or happy post. In fact, it may be eye opening to some of you or saddening. I want to address something that we feel strongly about and that is sweatshop labor. We believe in paying people fair wages and providing a comfortable work environment for our employees. Not just because it's the law, but because we want to! We know that happy employees makes good quality products and service.

I'm sure many people are aware of the concept of what a sweatshop is. The majority of items you can buy from the mall or big box stores, often called "fast fashion," are made overseas in sweatshop factories all around the world. Check the label in the dress you're trying on, it will surely say  "Made in China" or Bangladesh or Indonesia or Vietnam or Mexico... There were two recent catastrophes in Bangladesh. These disasters occurred due to the factory owner neglecting to keep the building safe for working environments.

From the industrial revolution, to the scandals involving Nike in the 1990s, working conditions that produce consumer goods have often been questionable. In 2013, there was a fire in a garment factory, which provided items to WalMart, that left 112 dead.  On April 24th of 2013, a garment factory building collapsed, which left more than 500 people dead. The building collapsed because of power generators shaking the walls. Both of these incidents could have been avoided if upgrades were made to the buildings, and with all the money the companies are making from this cheap labor, you would hope they would at least take that responsibility.  It's just unfortunate - and issues like these continue today.

So what can you do?  There are many alternatives to fast fashion, but it requires a little extra time and creativity.  You can also make a personal effort to avoid spending money in places that you know use sweatshop labor.

  • Shop American-  As you know, Heart of Haute is all made in the US within a 20 mile radius of our main office in Los Angeles county, if not under our own roof in San Dimas.  Shopping for products made in the US means you're supporting American jobs and you'll also find  yourself with a better quality item.
  • Shop Etsy- There are tons of young entrepreneurs  who are hungry to share their  unique designs with the world! You can help them and have a good experience. There is something very special about knowing an item is one-of-a-kind or maybe even made just for you. www.etsy.com
  • Shop Vintage- I know we love shopping for vintage! These items always come with their own story and are also usually much better quality than most things you can find today. Compare a vintage dress from 1962  to a contemporary  mall-bought dress. There's a reason that Vintage dress has lasted as long as it has.
  • Shop Recycled- Sure, you have to sift through racks of random articles of clothing.  Check out places that also donate to support good causes: Buffalo Exchange, Out of the Closet, and Goodwill.

Interested in learning more?  Check out this book, Overdressed  by Elizabeth Cline. She explores the world of cheap and fast fashion. This site even includes a list of online stores and designers that follow ethical practices. So, I do apologize if this has left you feeling icky or sad about your own shopping habits- that is certainly not my goal.  Shopping and new clothing should make us feel good. I think if we become more aware of the connection we have with the maker of our items, it gives us reason to continue to make good choices for ourselves.

With Love & No Regrets, Mandie Bee

Heart of Haute History! The Original Halter Top

Hello Heart of Haute Honeys, It seems not-so long ago that I was sitting in a hallway at Cal State Fullerton waiting for my next class to start. I spent many hours in my sketch book coming up with new designs; simple things to get Heart of Haute started. Back in those days, we were only selling on eBay and Live Journal communities.  The Heart of Haute Halter Dress, The Heart of Haute Halter Top, Aline Skirt, and Sweetie dress were the very first items in our line.  I can tell you that some of the styles I came up with are still in our line today. As months and years go by, some styles prove to be true classics in the eye of my fashion-friendly female customer. Styles like the Sweetie Dress and the Super Spy Dress, which have both been our line since 2005.  When we notice a decrease in sales and interest on a particular item, we may eventually retire a design. The Halter Top and its big sister, the Heart of Haute Halter Dress, are two of our original designs we decided to put away- but surely, not for good! I recently began receiving e-mails and requests on our facebook page for our original halter top. In efforts to keep things moving forward, I would regretfully tell the customer that item was no longer offered.  Though, after some thought about it and enough requests, we decided to bring this classic piece of Heart of Haute design history back into action! Here's a look back at some of our original photos on models- these date back to 2006. Miss Bernie Dexter Screen shot 2013-05-02 at 2.39.11 PM Cherry Dollface yhst-45547213099599_2261_709281682 Jasper James jasperblackhalter   The Heart of Haute Halter Top is now available on our website for order. I realize these are short tops, but I always advise those who don't want to bare their bellies to layer it over another halter or seek out a high waist-ed skirt or pants. Here's to an excellent summer, Heart of Haute lovers. Grab your halter tops for only $28.99! We will be adding more print options in the coming days. With Love & No Regrets, Mandie Bee        

Book a Pinup Photoshoot with Tara O!

Hello Heart of Haute Fans, This entry is dedicated to simply promote a super fun photo shoot session that I am hosting with my Pinup Photographer friend, Tara O.  We are currently booking ladies who may want to build up their portfolio, give the whole pinup girl thing a whirl, or just a good time while getting some killer pics- because photo shoots can be a lot of fun! Heart of Haute is rewarding those brave ladies who want to contribute to the pinup culture world with a $75 Gift Certificate!  Bookings and deposits should be arranged with Miss Tara O  (email: tara@taraophotos.com)  but you will receive your credit either in an e-mail or in person on the day of the shoot from me, Mandie Bee. Tara is bringing her trusted make up artist, Sabina Chowaniec.  I, myself, have done shoots with Tara for Heart of Haute as well as for personals and I pretty much insist that Sabina does my makeup. I think she's great. She's a great gal, too! In addition to Sabina, our long-time friend and seasoned Pinup model, Angie Alamilla, will be assisting with hair styling. Want to know what it's like to work with Tara? Check out the 'behind the scenes' video from Viva Las Vegas: https://vimeo.com/64684736   (I'm the silly, dancing girl). There will be a follow up to this blog which will include images of the locations at which we are shooting as well as props and other ideas. Gosh, I may even make a video about it.  Stay tuned! With Love & No Regrets, Mandie Bee        

The Sweetie Dress: The Ultimate Sundress

The Sweetie Dress has been with Heart of Haute since day 1.  It fits well, it's classic, and ladies just love it how it flatters their figure. We love it, too! This halter dress features the oh-so classic sweetheart neckline, full swingin' skirt, and princess seems through the body for a versatile fit. This dress really does looks wonderful on every kind of figure! It's no wonder we offer it in 21 different ways! I say it's the ultimate sundress. Why? First of all, the majority of the materials we choose are 100% cotton and machine washable! That's right. No trip to the dry cleaners for these sweet things.  The Sweetie Dress is also a simple piece, making it open to many interpretations to accessorize. Add a belt. A petticoat, perhaps. A cute lace slip to pop out above the neckline. It's also rather cute to pair with on of our Betty Boleros. Most importantly, The Sweetie dress FITS. I can't tell you how many of these dresses I've had in my closet over the years. It's a good standby for those summertime parties, weddings, and outings.  We continue to offer this style in new fashion prints each season as it has proven to be a staple in many ladies' fashion diets.  If you were on the fence about this style, maybe now is the time to take the plunge and find yourself lookin' sweet in one of our Sweeties.   LudellaSDBlkging I recently received this e-mail from a happy customer named, CarlyAnn, about our ever-popular, Sweetie Dress.
My name is CarlyAnn, and I just have to say I love your Sweetie Dress. I have never, NEVER been able to find a dress that fits my body off the rack without a single alteration- and certainly not online! I took a chance and purchased my second Sweetie thinking that maybe I just got lucky with the fit of the first one. But low and behold, it's two for two! I simply need to thank you for your amazing product! Please don't ever retire this cut! -1

Thank you, CarlyAnn for your testimonial!!!

With Love & No Regrets,

Mandie Bee