I first began my body confidence journey age 14, when I decided to stop trying to change every aspect of my body and start loving it. As time has gone on my style has developed and changed from wearing floral dresses to wearing all black to my style now, which is pinup meets classic chic.
Plus size fashion has evolved in the past five years, mainly due to the emergence and rise of a body confidence revolution and inspiring plus size bloggers. This has contributed greatly to my confidence as I have been able to turn to these women and feel not only more positive about my body but also, more daring in my fashion choices.
Pinup fashion is a fun and creative way to express yourself if you favour a more vintage style. The flared dresses and wide skirts are eye-catching and fun to wear, especially if you add a petticoat for extra twirl power! However, pinup fashion is also a niche meaning it’s expensive. Oftentimes I turn to the rockabilly style, because it’s a style I feel most comfortable in, which is so important! This means that most dresses I buy tend to sit around the £25-£35 mark, if I get it on sale or upwards of £45-£60 mark if bought full price.
This leads me onto the first issue of being a plus size pinup, it’s a costly affair! I am an avid follower of Miss Victory Violet and Fullerfigurefullerbust. Both these women wear either pure pinup or a mix of modern/pinup, and their wardrobes are to die for! However, most of the clothes featured cost a pretty penny and, let’s just say, this graduate has cobwebs in her purse. If you are in a similar situation, don’t fear, I am here to share some tips that I have adopted since incorporating more pinup fashion.
- Choose two or three key pieces that work for both spring/summer or autumn/winter. I prefer to choose dresses over skirts as this then saves on cost, but a 50s style circle skirt is an easy way to embody retro style on the cheap.
- There is no need to always have a retro top to go with these skirts. I own one pinup top (and it was ghastly) so I like to mix and match with slogan t-shirts, bardot tops, anything really. Tuck it into your skirt and away we go!
- I recommend always checking out sales, and also looking at sites such as Lindybop or even Amazon for cheaper alternatives.
- Forget pricey vintage style shoes. Yes Bait footwear is the stuff of pinup porn but their prices are the stuff of pauper hell. Most shoe companies will sell a low heeled t-bar or mary-jane style shoe and guaranteed it’ll be a smidgen of the price.
- Hair accessories! Nothing screams pinup more than a large hair flower (or three) adorning your curls. There are companies out there that specialise but eBay is your best friend on this one. Bulk buy fabric flowers and glue them onto hair slides or headbands if you’re feeling crafty; or else there are many cheap hair flowers already made.
- I have indulged in two Erstwilder brooches, but together they set me back 60 pounds!!! So I won’t be indulging again in a hurry. Scoure vintage shops or antique fairs for small treasures that are often quite cheap and always unique!
Secondly, do not worry about wearing ‘true vintage.’ I’ve often found it near impossible to find authentic 1950s/1960s dresses that fit me, for the very simple reason that, I am a lot fatter than many women were back then. If you are in a similar position, don’t panic! Clothes from the 1970s and 1980s have that much needed ingredient, stretch! So you can look fabulous in true vintage, without crying over a stuck zip or tight waistline.
This brings me onto my last difficulty as a plus size pinup. Reproduction clothing tends to run small. Not only are many brands such as Collectif, Vivien of Holloway, Pinup Girl Clothing quite expensive, you have to be careful with their sizing. I have ordered many dresses that are my ‘correct’ size but end up being very ill-fitting. My advice would be grab a tape measure and take note of your bust, waist and hips measurements. Do not be upset if you have to size up or down from your regular clothing, a label does not define you, and it does not matter if you need to size up two sizes to get the best possible fit! If you’re paying a lot of money for a garment, then you want it to look as fantastic as possible.
Having pinup style is unique and a lot of fun, but it is also worth being conscientious about building the best possible wardrobe; especially if you’re on a budget like myself. Have fun with colour and patterns, try not to get too hung up on clothing sizes and if you want to mix modern with retro, go for it! I hope this handy little guide to establishing your pin up style has helped, now go forth and be fabulous!