Look of the Week – Edmonton vintage lifestyle blogger, Retro Reporter

As we’ve said time and time again, we get a TON of our Style inspiration from Bloggers.  We are nosy individuals and quite enjoy this type of innocent online voyeurism!  Laurie Callsen is one of Mane Dish’s longtime beloved bloggers and is better known in the online world as “Retro Reporter“.   Laurie found this most suitable moniker by combining her two loves, vintage and journalism.  How fitting is the name “Retro Reporter” for a vintage girl that is also a digital reporter for Metro Edmonton?!…I mean, talk about perfection!

Laurie Callsen

Laurie continually gives followers a wide open window into her vintage lifestyle with not only her blog but also with her many other social media outlets.  Her Instagram is one of our favorites as you will always be sure to find  “before, during & after” shots of the beautiful retro hairstyles she creates…she even makes producing these intricate styles at home look achievable by all!

Can you see why we were so ecstatic that Laurie agreed to be our Look of the Week?  And also see why we couldn’t just give you a collage with photos of her as we normally do for Look of the Week, we wanted to know the story behind Retro Reporter and to get a little more dirt on her every day vintage style.  Check out our Q&A with Retro Reporter and perhaps decide if the whimsical vintage lifestyle is for you?!

Can you give us a brief background of how you came to start your blog Retro Reporter?  
I started Retro Reporter in April 2011 as an outlet for my vintage passion.  I was reading a lot of other vintage blogs by writers in the UK and US, but there are very few of us in Canada and I wanted to give it a go. I also hoped that I would be able to connect with other vintage girls (as we call ourselves) in western Canada. I actually never thought that I would make it to two years, but here I am!

We love that Retro Reporter gives an Alberta Vintage Directory! Was it difficult to unite with people in Edmonton that share the same passion for vintage living as you before you started blogging?
Definitely. While I knew a few people in Camrose with an interest in vintage, I didn’t meet another Alberta vintage blogger until November 2011, when I met Miss Bee Vintage at a dance and I just happened to talk to her, and we started bonding. Since then, it’s been my blog, Twitter and Instagram feed that has connected me with other Edmonton vintage girls – and there are a quite a few!

Where do you often find yourself when searching for the best Vintage swag in our fair city?
I dress a mix of “authentic vintage” (1940s – 1960s), “retro” (which I consider to be 70s-does-30s or 80s-does-40s), modern repro (from shops like Rowena or Mars and Venus) and pieces that have a vintage feel (my favourite store, believe it or not, is Sears!) In terms of vintage shops, I love Swish downtown in terms of authentic vintage, but have also had some great finds at Divine, Decadence and some Goodwills. My ABSOLUTE favourite vintage store is actually Imagine Vintage in Camrose. Small towns have the best stuff!


What has been THE MOST AMAZING vintage find you have ever come upon?
Ooooh this is a tough one. If I had to pick just one thing it would be my sectional that I found on Kijiji, but honestly I could rattle of a list of 50 favorites, whether it’s furniture, clothes or accessories.  I found the couch while browsing Kijiji shortly after my ex and I split up, and bought it right away even though he wasn’t moving out for another month – so we actually ended up having two sectionals in one tiny living.  I love the sectional not only because it’s in great condition and because it’s drop-dead gorgeous, but also because it symbolizes a new beginning in my life.

Grandpa and Grandma Marchant & Grandpa and Grandma Callsen

Who are some of your favorite style icons? 
Again, there are so many! I love the look of classic leading ladies of the past like Marilyn Monroe and Grace Kelly to current celebrities like Dita Von Teese and bloggers like Solanah and Fleur de Guerre. But one of my biggest role models, style and otherwise, are both sets of my grandparents, who were my age the 1940s and 1950s.



“Me and my mom after I shaved my head” & “My favourite hair (aside from now) was probably when I was in college. It was longish in the front and shorter in the back, with red highlights”

What are the best and worst hairstyles you have ever had? And do you have some photos?!!  We always love seeing people’s sad & happy hair past 😉 
As a kid of the 90s, I had some pretty dreadful bowl cuts back in the day (thanks ma). I had short hair – from bald to chin length – throughout my teens. My hair is the longest it’s ever been since I was 14, when I grew it out, donated it to a wig company and then shaved the rest to raise money for cancer research.  I’m not sure if I ever had really bad hair – I always thought it looked good at the time!

We adore seeing the Instagram pics with the daily hairstyles you create on your own, is there also a local hairstylist you trust your classic ‘do to?
Why thank you! In terms of styling my hair, it’s all me, but when it comes to trimming and thinning, I always go to Paige at Mousy Browns. Paige is a great listener (which is essential in a hair stylist) and always listens to my requests, like thinning my hair (I have a lot of it) and cutting it into a middy, which is essential for some 1940s hairstyles, but can look very strange if left straight.

What is your everyday hair routine?
I wash my hair every other day. If it’s a wash day (night, actually), I let my hair towel dry, set my hair in rollers – or pin curls if I’ve cut my hair really short – and go to sleep. The next night I re-set my hair without washing it or getting it wet.

Rollers, Pin Curls, Pin Curls after pomade but before brushing out

In the morning I take the rollers out and brush and brush and brush (I use 3 different kinds of brushes!), put pomade in if it’s a “new” hair day, and off I go!
If I’m too lazy to roll my hair at night, I usually keep it straight (my hair does not stay curled unless it’s in rollers) and put victory rolls (an essential retro hairdo to master) in it, or put it up in a scarf with a pompadour.

Everyday hair, Victory Rolls, Lazy day hair

Any stand out Vintage hairstyling tips & tricks you’ve learned along the way that could save our readers the learning curve?
Honestly, the first advice I give people is practice makes perfect. I’ve been doing the vintage hair thing for almost two years and am just mastering it now. “Experiment lots, practice and just keep brushing!” is my vintage hair motto. As well, the brushes you use (see below) are really helpful in creating the right style.

And finally, what are your can’t live without hair products & tools used in your hair routine?
I absolutely love Motions Foaming Wrap, which I put in my hair before putting it in rollers or pin curls to make the curls hold better, but without them being crunchy or hard to brush through.  I also use endpapers (or toilet paper) on the tip of my hair before putting it into rollers (so it doesn’t get frizzy) or pin curls (to keep the perfect shape). I use Got2B defiant pomade and Rockaholic hairspray. Two of my brushes – one for detangling my hair and one for smoothing flyaways – both by Brush Strokes, while my bristle brush (for shaping my hair into wave) is by Goody.

Mane Dish wants to thank Laurie for taking the time and really giving us some great answers to our snoopy questions!  We are so intrigued with Miss Retro Reporter that we’ve asked her to guest blog some Vintage tutorials for us in the future!  Make sure to watch for those and get first hand tips on how to easily wow people with stunning victory rolls and other vintage classics!

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