20 things every modern pinup should know

20 things every modern pinup should know

What makes someone a pinup? Where are the requirements for vintage gal status written down? Personally, I think anyone who wants to claim the title is welcome to it, but I also had a lot of fun thinking about the various “skills” a modern pinup needs. Some of them are the same as glamour girls of days gone by, but some are very specific to today’s world. I’d love to know if you agree!


  1. How to draw a wing so sharp it could kill a man
  2. How to open a bottle of champagne
  3. Where the nearest bathroom is
  4. How to accept a compliment
  5. When to call it a night
  6. What her favorite red lipstick is
  7. How to rock a sale
  8. When wearing heels is worth it…
  9. …and when it isn’t
  10. Which Old Hollywood starlet she most wants to emulate
  11. How to make it a week without breaking a nail
  12. How to use the restroom while wearing complex undergarments
  13. The best antique/thrift shops in her city
  14. The value of a well-used hashtag
  15. How to do a curl set
  16. The approximate location of the nearest tiki bar and/or cocktail lounge
  17. Which Mad Men character she would be (even if she didn’t watch Mad Men)
  18. How to complete an outfit with a well-placed accessory
  19. How to use a record player
  20. When poof is called for, and when EXTRA poof is called for

How many of these can you check off? What’s on your list?

PS: Speaking of sales, I’m on a no-buy right now but I’m drooling over everything in the Modcloth sale! Let me live vicariously through you.

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how to dress pinup on a budget

how to dress pinup on a budget

Back when I was just a simple schlubby college student wearing ill-fitting jeans and hoodies and daydreaming about pretty pinup clothes, cost was definitely a major hurdle between me and the aesthetic I wanted to achieve. At that time, I didn’t think it was one that I would ever overcome, but hey – look at me now! I do wear vintage/pinup attire every day, and I didn’t win the lottery or anything. I’m totally against the predatory lending practices of our modern age, and I don’t carry any debt (apart from my student loans, boo) and pay off my credit cards every month. So here are my quick and dirty tips for achieving vintage style on a budget.


A caveat: The idea of “budget” means something different to all of us. Things that are easily achievable to me may not be to everyone, and things that are prohibitively expensive to me is nothing to someone else. These are only tips from my own experience.

  • Don’t rush. Sure, we all want to have exactly what we want right now, but you don’t get a trophy for acquiring the most stuff fastest. Be patient, save up, wait for sales. I owned ONE Pinup Girl Clothing dress for many years, and you better believe I loved that dress to death and wore it to every single special occasion. This is definitely one that’s gotten the better of me with all the limited releases lately, so it’s worth reminding myself: slow down.
  • Mix in non repro. Reproduction 40s/50s/60s clothes are a specialty style mostly made by small manufacturers. They’re always going to be expensive. Personally, I tend to buy more skirts and dresses from repro brands and mix in vintage-inspired blouses from places like Target or New York and Company (when they’re having a super good sale) to complete the outfit. We’re lucky that a lot of retro styles (especially pussy bow blouses) are pretty trendy right now. You don’t need head-to-toe repro to be legit – it actually can be more fun to mix in an unexpected piece so you don’t feel like you see yourself coming and going (as my mom would say) all over Instagram.
  • Don’t buy it if it doesn’t fit your aesthetic. If you really want to commit to a ~vintage aesthetic~, stop buying clothes that don’t go with your wardrobe. This is the one tip that I would say really made my full-time pinup/vintage look possible. Obviously you can wear whatever you want, but this keeping this in mind does so much good when I’m tempted by whatever random pretty is on the rack at Target.
  • Consider cost per wear. Yeah, stuff at Forever 21 is cheap. But that’s because stuff from Forever 21 is cheap. If you find a brand you like with quality fabric and solid construction, those pieces are going to last a lot longer. It also makes me happy to know that I’m supporting mostly women-run businesses and ethically produced clothing.
  • Work the accessories/layers. You can really transform a piece with different cardigans, scarves, brooches, etc. One dress (like the Havana Nights, perhaps?) can quickly become several outfits thanks to the power of accessories. I always make sure to add to my rainbow of cardigans when there’s a good sale!
  • Think about your monetary vices. We all have them! Personally, fashion definitely is my major vice. I don’t eat out much, I don’t smoke, I don’t even buy coffee regularly. My “fun” money goes to helping me achieve my aesthetic, because that’s what makes me happy. You certainly don’t have to make fashion your priority – but keep in mind what the other things you choose to spend money on are when you’re feeling like you don’t have the budget for new clothes!

My personal favorite “budget” brands are probably Hell Bunny and Lindy Bop. These both offer nice quality, fun pieces at a cost that’s more in line with “mainstream” fashion than the more high-end repro brands.

And finally, no clothes are ever worth going into debt over. Make good choices!

What are your favorite tips for being fiscally responsible while also looking fabulous?

how to dress pinup in the workplace

how to dress pinup in the workplace


The question of how to maintain your personal style in the workplace is one that comes up over and over again. I always see girls in vintage groups wishing that they could wear their pretties to work, so I thought I’d write up this little 101 guide on how to be a professional and a pinup, at the same time when possible!

First off: know your office and your field. Unfortunate as it is, it is possible that you just aren’t able to let your retro flag fly in the workplace. This varies a lot depending on how conservative your field is overall, but also by specific offices. I work in a creative, non-client-facing role in a small organization in a field that’s not particularly conservative, so I definitely can get away with a lot of personal flair within the limits of the dress code. Pay attention to what other people in your workplace are wearing, particularly the people who are in the roles you’d aspire to. Think one level ahead. This isn’t to say that you have to dress exactly like those people, but it should give you an idea of how much “personality” you can inject into your wardrobe.

SO you’ve considered your workplace and decided that you can try adding some pinup style. Excellent! Let’s b-b-break it down.



Accessories are a great way to dip your toes in the water with retro style and see how comfortable your work (and you!) are with it. Pearls are always timeless, as are colorful beads. Jewelry is often a place you can get a little bit extra creative as well – you may not be able to wear cherry print clothes to work, but cherry earrings might be a cute touch. Try wearing brooches, though I’d stay away from anything oversized or novelty to start out with.


You’ll never go wrong with classic patterns. Polka dots,  stripes, plaids – they’ve all been around for a very long time for good reason. Florals can also lend a very feminine vintage vibe. Your ability to wear novelty prints will vary by office, but personally, I feel like fruit patterns are generally pretty widely acceptable while still being fun.


Cleavage is the enemy of professionalism pretty much across the board (more’s the pity!). Avoid anything low-cut or super tight at work. Pussy bow blouses and Peter Pan collars have a lot of retro flair and have the bonus benefit of being pretty trendy in “mainstream” style right now! Cute cardigans and sweaters are a great way to add a little bit of a retro flair to a look as well as work-ifying dresses and tops that might otherwise be a bit too fancy.


Good news! Demure swing skirts and sharp pencil skirts are both great for the workplace, so whichever style you prefer, you’re set! Note: you want to look for a traditional pencil skirt that’s mostly straight up and down; the curvier wiggle skirts might be a bit too clingy. I will recommend Pinup Girl Clothing’s Doris skirt as my ideal work skirt (read my review here); it has a very retro silhouette, but in a subtle way. Wide-legged trousers are also a very chic vintage style for the office; you might not be able to go as over the top as some of the reproduction brands, but you can definitely get the same vibe.


Even if you wear a uniform every day, you can still know that you’re a pinup under it all…literally. A pretty bra and panties or even a garter belt if you can get away away with it can do wonders for lifting your spirits when you aren’t able to show off your style the way you’d want to.

I hope that answered some questions about retro office attire! If you have specific questions, please feel free to comment below or reach out to me on Instagram or Facebook! I’d be happy to do a follow-up if more info would be useful.


summer essentials: shorts

summer essentials: shorts

This summer essential requires a bit of a peekaboo…look quick!



My next summer essential is a good pair of shorts. I honestly don’t think I could survive through the warmer months without these! Let me tell you why.

First off, those of us with bodacious thighs know the dreaded curse of summertime friction. I’ve heard of all sorts of preventative measures, from special powders to deodorant, but a plain ol’ pair of shorts do the trick just fine with a bevy of other benefits that pinups of all sizes can appreciate.

Want to plop down on the ground without constantly fretting and rearranging your skirts around you? Afraid that a rogue gust of wind will be much less charming on you than Marilyn? Need to clamber over a fence for totally legitimate reasons? SHORTS. Wearing a pair of shorts under your pretties means you’re 100% ready for whatever adventures summertime might have in store.

There are a lot of different options, obviously, but this trusty pair of black Champion exercise shorts have served me well for a long time. There are a lot of pretty bloomers out there that are a bit more aesthetically appealing, but I kind of like the “can-do” sporty feel of my black shorts. Plus, the spandex provides a nice subtle smoothing effect…I’m not really big into shapewear at any time of the year, and I’m definitely not about to try to cram myself into something thick and restricting when it’s hot out. But a nice, simple pair of exercise shorts helps everything stay in place while I’m out and about.

Do you wear secret shorts under your fabulous outfits?  Let me know!

summer essentials: sunhat

summer essentials: sunhat

It’s finally summer, even up here in the chilly Midwest (please oh please don’t snow again)! In order to celebrate the season, I thought I’d start sharing some of my personal pinup summer essentials. Everything you need to have a fun and fabulous summer! First up: a big floppy hat.


Is there anything more glamorous than a wide-brimmed hat? Nope! Plopping one of these on your head automatically makes every outfit much more fabulous, whether it’s a sundress, a stylish bathing suit, or even just shorts and a t-shirt. The wider the brim, the higher the glamour, though you do have to take care that your brim is stiff enough to stand up to its own weight. No one likes to be blinded by their own hat.

2015-07-11 11.46.39

Floppy hats are also especially useful for pale girls, like myself, who want to avoid a deeply UN-fabulous sunburn while gallivanting around at car shows and festivals and barbecues. I got this hat for around $15 at Target two summers ago, and I definitely have gotten more than my money’s worth for it! I’ve had my eye on this ultra-giant hat from Pinup Girl for a while now…maybe this summer I’ll finally take the leap.

Are you a hat person? Don’t forget to follow for more summer pinup tips!