gemnewcol.jpgGemma Cartwright writes...

You'd have to be an idiot not to have noticed a rather large percentage of posts from me recently concerning vintage fashion and retro style. I've always written lots about the 40s and 50s, burlesque and pin-up girl glamour because I love the era, but recently, I've gone a bit OTT.

Part of the reason for this is that it goes down well. Judging by the comments and the amount of hits to pages like the Dita Von Teese gallery and the retro swimwear feature, there are plenty of girls out there who love the look as much as me. It's flattering, sexy and timeless.

But I'd be lying if I said I wasn't indulging myself just a tiny bit too...

I try very hard not to make all my posts on Catwalk Queen about what I like, but it's the nature of blogging to be a bit self-indulgent from time to time, and fashion is so objective that you'll always gravitate towards your own style. But that's why we have a team here. If you don't like me, you might like Isabelle, Kim or Kelly. I know not everyone is an Old Hollywood-obsessed curvy girl with a Zooey Deschanel girl-crush, but I'm glad most of you don't mind reading about someone who is every now and again. If you do, hit the back button now. It's 'MEMEME' time!

I come from a family that's slightly obsessed with fancy dress. In the last 24 years-and-however-many-days I've dressed up as everything from Marilyn Monroe to She-ra, a pumpkin to a saloon girl. I've done the 80s, the 50s, Toffs & Tarts, Princesses and Pirates and even Alice in Wonderland. I've been a cavewoman, a bunny girl, a vampire and even Anna Wintour (no, they're not the same thing). And that's just the beginning.

This weekend is my birthday party and obviously, I needed a fancy dress theme. I wanted something that most people could attempt without too much effort (since not everyone is as keen on dressing up as me) and that would look good in photos (because we all know my geeky friends will be facebooking the hell out of the whole thing). It also needed to suit the time of year...we actually have sun at the moment.

What I came up with was 'Retro Tropical Tiki', an homage to tiki parties and hawaiian bars in the 40s and 50s...think bright, bold dresses, hibiscus flowers and pin-up girl hairdos. The less said about the friend coming as a pineapple, the better.

So, of course, the last few weeks have been spent investigating costume options, not just for me but for all the invitees who have no idea what goes on in my head when I say things like 'it's retro tiki, darlings!' and expect them to understand without some visual prompts. Hence my days have been spent sneakily looking at pin-up girl websites and vintage shopping sites at work. No change there, but I did up the ante a bit. I needed to find a way of justifying that...and luckily you lot have wonderful taste and will happily tolerate the odd post (or ten) about wiggle dresses and retro bikinis.

If I was planning a gothic themed party I'm pretty sure I'd be posting lots of leather corsets, velvet skirts and platform boots, so maybe you had a lucky escape?