When did the pin-up look take over the vintage esthetic?

Discussion in 'The Powder Room' started by Lady Day, May 31, 2015.

  1. sheeplady

    sheeplady I'll Lock Up Bartender

    I do think my grandmother used more makeup than the average woman did, but my grandmother was very style conscious and read all the latest magazines to make sure she was wearing the color of the season nail polish and such. When she died at age 70 she had four piercings in one ear and three in the other because that was the style in the early nineties. She had been contemplating getting several more piercings in her ears shortly before she died, had talked herself out of a nose ring (am not kidding), and if alive today, I think she would likely would have a tattoo someplace given all the celebrity women who do.

    She wore all sorts of things as far as makeup. I think she wore eyeliner and the ilk. I wasn't into makeup at the time she passed away, but I remember a rather full stash of things on her makeup table in little tubes (mascara and liquid eyeliner maybe?) as well as several bottles and other substances. I know she wore mascara, blush, lipstick, and perfume when she left the house. I can't remember if she wore eyeliner, eye shadow, or foundation, but given the sheer amount of stuff on the dresser she likely did.

    My grandmother didn't look like a pinup, but she didn't look frumpy, we'll leave it at that.

    But my grandmother was likely an anomaly, and I doubt she wore all that stuff when she was younger- they simple didn't have the money to do so. But when my grandmother got her social security check, she set aside some of that each month for things she wanted- her collections and makeup and clothes.
     
  2. lolly_loisides

    lolly_loisides One Too Many

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    My Nan (who was born 1911) had her ears pierced when she was in her 70s (so this happened mid 1980s, she died when she was 80). I asked why she hadn't done it before & she said when she was young only "fast women" had their ears pierced, "nice ladies" wore clip on earrings. I asked her as a joke if she was a fast women now. Her reaction was to laugh and call me a cheeky bugger :)
    Nan only ever used Woolworths house brand make up (I think the brand was called Tania) Translucent pressed powder, red lippy, pink tinted nail varnish & brown block mascara. I remember she used to lick her finger to dampen the mascara block before she used it. Thinking back that must have been very unsanitary, but I don't remember her ever getting an eye infection.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2015
  3. Flicka

    Flicka One Too Many

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    For me it's the same with all the "I can't wear 20s because I'm too curvy" – lots of people were curvy in the 20s. Not the ones in the fashion drawings maybe, but real people, and they looked really good too (and comfy). But I suppose most people aren't into the "ordinary look" as you say; they want to look like a fashion plate which quite often has as little in common with what ordinary people wore as today's haute couture...

    I think it's sort of like the icons always being cited as inspiration are movie stars and pinups and never female writers, thinkers and politicians. It's mostly about looking good for most people, and being influenced by modern tastes, that mostly means a modified vintage look.

    So it's all about why you're into vintage and what you are trying to achieve. The problem now, as I see it, is that one ambition/motivation is so completely taking over and it's not at all what I find appealing about the era (of which the aesthetics is only a small part).




    Thank you! :)
     
  4. St. Louis

    St. Louis Practically Family

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  5. Flicka

    Flicka One Too Many

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  6. St. Louis

    St. Louis Practically Family

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    Thanks for that really wonderful and thoughtful response. I agree with you -- there's no need to criticize the modern "pin-up" look, and if the ladies feel attractive wearing those styles, then why not. I don't think it has much to do with a historic era , of course. I doubt that the people wearing the modern pin-up styles are obsessing about the original context.

    I love the 1930s and 1940s, and I've mostly retro-fitted the house and my wardrobe to those decades--but probably a less stylish or modern version than the one you're describing. That is, my furniture is more of an old-fashioned hodge podge. I like the "revival" designs of those decades rather than the more modern ones.

    But to get back to fashion--I've never figured out exactly why I like to dress in 30s and 40s styles. I do believe that it's important to know why I do the things I do (b/c I don't like living the unexamined life) but whenever people ask me why I've recreated that era in my house and wardrobe, I don't have a good explanation. I simply feel more comfortable and put-together in them, and above all, more myself.

    If I could, I'd do the full-on Golden Era look every day, but (returning to the idea of a costume) I can't do that without eliciting comments & negative attention. It wouldn't be good at my workplace. I risk looking as though I'm dressed up in a costume, and that would be inappropriate in that environment.

    Essentially: no seamed stockings at work, and the hairstyle is a more informal & relaxed version of a 40s 'do.

    I have a coworker, though, a man in his late fifties, who feels more comfortable dressing in feminine clothing. By "feminine," I mean, he wears culottes and flowered scoop-neck tops instead of trousers and shirts. He has grown his hair long and prefers to be called a female variant of his name (let's say Jean instead of John.) I don't want to take this thread down a completely different path, but I often think, well, if Jean can do it, why can't I? In other words: Jean is courageous enough to express himself through his clothes, and he doesn't catch much flak for it, so why shouldn't I?

    But I'm not that brave.

    I know I'm way off the pin-up topic, and I'm sorry, but I guess the idea of self-expression is somewhat relevant.
     
  7. Flicka

    Flicka One Too Many

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    I used to do the full retro-thing every day but then I gained weight and just didn't feel comfortable drawing attention to myself and my looks any more. However, I was lucky to only receive positive responses at work. People I didn't know would tell me how much they liked my look at the coffee machine and our general director (I work in a government agency) would compliment my sense of style. And I found it served as a nice ice breaker in external meetings too. So for me it worked great, and I hope to go back to it one day (I just need to build a new wardrobe first since nothing fits me anymore). And I can't pin my hair due to having to wear a bike helmet on my way to work (with a doctor sister who used to work in neurosurgery I'm a bit paranoid about protecting my head :p ).

    We're generally very liberal when it comes to dress codes in Sweden though, so that may have something to do with it. And people very rarely comment in public; it's all been ladies stopping me to tell me they think I look lovely.
     
  8. Amy Jeanne

    Amy Jeanne Call Me a Cab

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    Some things just ARE.

    I can't actually believe this 100%, but I have fun with the idea that I somehow possess energy from a past life in the 1930s. When I am around things from the 20s/30s/early 40s I get a very strong attraction and attachment to them. I think how it is "no fair" I have to pay so much for something that should be mine. I LOVE going to cemeteries by myself and a friend recently brought it to my attention that I'm so attracted to them because the energies of my past relationships are there.

    Again, I can't 100% believe this because I need hard proof, but I have fun with the idea and strongly hope that it is the case.
     
  9. St. Louis

    St. Louis Practically Family

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    I know exactly what you mean, Amy Jeanne! That's a nice way to put it. If there is such a thing as a memory from the past that transcends one's current existence (which my hard-headed common sense streak won't really allow me to believe) then that would account for it. I'm happy to accept that as an answer, anyway, because I sure don't have a more rational explanation.
     
  10. Amy Jeanne

    Amy Jeanne Call Me a Cab

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    I've been told I have "unfinished business" from my 1930s life. This is why I carry it out into the 2010s in my present life. It's very fun to think about. I've toyed with the fact I am reincarnated from someone who lived her prime in the 20s/30s. I was born in 1975 so if I was born in 1905ish in my past life that would be just right. Again -- just fun to think about. I can't bring myself to believe it 100%.
     
  11. lframe

    lframe One of the Regulars

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    So much to think about

    This thread has been so thought provoking. I don't comment a lot, but am pretty sure I'll have commentary. However, I found myself nodding along with everyone during the discussion.
     
  12. Frk.W

    Frk.W New in Town

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    Yes to a lot of this. Discussions of modesty aside, though, I don't find that aspect very relevant and I enjoy being outrageously vulgar every once in a while, you know how hard and uncomfortable it can feel to wear something you feel really ugly in? Work clothes you hate but have to wear, say, or dressing up as a completely unsexy, unattractive character for Halloween? I think that discomfort, which arises partly out of all the habitual preferences and insecurities we have about what flatters us, and partly out of an ingrained need to look our best. Or fear of not looking our best, perhaps - because as women, we learn that so much of our social worth hinges upon how we present ourselves and our bodies. I also think that plays a part, to some extent, in the way pinup aesthetics in all honesty speak to and look attractive to more people.

    Whether we like it or not, we look at the past with contemporary eyes. Through that 21st century filter, a great big part of "authentic" (quotes because there were plenty of vulgar people back then too, there were burlesque dancers, there were vaudevillians, there were prostitutes, there were shopgirls and typists and farm girls and spoiled upper middle class girls in housekeeping school who liked to have a bit of fun, there was Mae West, God bless her, and John Willie's wife Holly Faram, and all of that is part of the huge variety of different classes, ethnicities and walks of life that are all "authentic", if more or less common) - a great part of what is authentic looks, you know, uncomfortably frumpy. Because we live in a post-sexual revolution world where non-marital sex does not really pose a very real risk of completely derailing your entire life, and thank God for that, right? But we still feel the pressure to look our best, always, and the definition of what looking our best means has changed. It takes a real intellectual effort for a lot of people just to realise that beauty is not a constant thing, to realise that Rubens' Venuses and graces and Susannas don't look like that because they were all out of Gisele Bundchens, but because they actually are the photoshop-enhanced Gisele Bundchens of the early 17th century Netherlands. They are supposed to look like that. It's not a mistake or a coincidence. They are the ideal.

    And ideals haven't shifted quite as much as that between 1935 and 2015, but they have shifted, quite a buit, and every era cherrypicks the parts of another era that best suit its needs. It's very visible if you look at the 1970's version of 1930's, even the very well-made adaptions, or the early 1990's version of 1940's. There are always individuals striving to go deeper, to adapt aspects of the past that are less appetizing to current tastes, but ultimately we are all here now, with our contemporary lives and needs, and that does colour our perception of the past.

    But yeah, personally I am chronically bored with the pinup/rockabilly aesthetic. To each their own. I really enjoy some smutty John Willie-esque tight-suit-and-leather-opera-gloves pinup aesthetic on occasion, though. I enjoy being vulgar on occasion. It's fun. I just don't want it on a daily basis.
     
  13. glittergalaxie

    glittergalaxie New in Town

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    I just want to say, I love how you described yourself as going for the middle aged frump look. That gave me quite a chuckle.
     
  14. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    Some of us don't even have to aim for it. It's as natural as getting up in the morning.
     
  15. TheSacredFemme

    TheSacredFemme One of the Regulars

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    Hip, hip hooray to occasional moments of vulgarity!
     

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