Say the phrase pin-up and most people will think of Bettie Page or maybe Marilyn Monroe, but since the dawn of photography, every era has had its own pin-up icons.


Pin Up Definition

The term “pin-up” actually comes from the way in which these images were intended to be used literally, they were pinned to the wall. The concept of pin-up images was first documented back in the 1890s (shortly after photographic images became more easily mass-produced).

Actress Ava Gardner – a 1940s pin-up star.

Actress Ava Gardner – a 1940s pin-up star.

Famous Pin-Ups Through the Years

Clara Bow
Gloria Swanson
Bettie Page
Marilyn Monroe
Gypsy Rose Lee
Mae West
Raquel Welch
Betty Grable
Jane Russell
Bo Derrick
Farrah Fawcett

What did these feminine icons have in common? Well, for one, they oozed sexuality. They also stretched the social norms of their eras with regard to their dress and demeanour.  They most often posed in bathing suits and in tight curve-hugging and revealing fashions. They also epitomised what was considered to be the feminine ideal of their era–slender or curvy, leggy or busty. Many of them were actually considered to be “sex pots” by the public, but most just chose to (and knew that they would have to) use their female sexuality to advance their careers. Sounds like a bunch of smart ladies to me.

Actress Ava Gardner – a 1940s pin-up star.

How to Get the Pin-Up Look?

One important aspect of getting that pin-up look is to exude sexy confidence. Vamp it up a bit and imagine yourself to be a femme fatale. That attitude is probably your greatest accessory to completing your pin-up look.  A corset or push-up bra, peep-toe heels, stockings and garters and a red lip can’t hurt either.

Actress Ava Gardner – a 1940s pin-up star. bedroom

Where to Shop?

Once you’ve decided on your pin-up era or a specific pin-up icon, then it is time to go shopping for your look. You can choose to shop for strictly vintage items or mix them up with new vintage-inspired options. Here are some great online shops at which to start your search.

Pin-up Girl ClothingRemix Vintage ShoesI Love Vintage
Rusty ZipperNasty GalLight in the Box
Sammy DressModClothRuche
Devoted 2 VintageDevoted 2 VintageLa Vida Chic
EtsyA’muse BoutiqueI Love Miss Daisy
Decades VintageArchiveAdored Vintage
Shrimpton CoutureDorothea’s ClosetLace Affair
Heartbreaker FashionPoetrie
CMadeleine’sModern Vintage Boutique

Need Some Inspiration for an Outfit?

The 1940s – Here’s a 1940s inspired outfit. It’s modern, but with a nod to Lauren Bacall or Rita Hayworth.

Actress Ava Gardner – a 1940s pin-up star.

Vintage-inspired Aubergine Swing Dress
Movie Star Cat Eye Cutie Sunglasses
Vegan Faux Adding Awe Stole
Got It Masquerade Fishnet Tights
Vampy Vintage Myrna Pump
Steel Boned Overbust Corset

The 1950s / 1960s – And here is a 1950s/early 1960s inspired look. It’s a little bit Kim Novak or Elizabeth Taylor.

Actress Ava Gardner – a 1940s pin-up star. lingerie

Black and White Pump Shoes
Vintage 1950s Bombshell Polka Dots Dress
Vintage Emmanuelle Khanh Rose Sunglasses
Elvette by Dawbelle Polka-Dot Gloves
Onyx and Ivory Drop Earrings

Take a look over at Ultimate Lingerie Boutique for the perfect undergarment compliment to your Pin-Up Girl exterior.

Moschino 2021 catwalk.

Betty Brosmer

 Betty Brosmer inspired Billie Eilish in her latest Vogue shoot. The woman with the impossible waist, thanks to corsetry was America’s most successful pin-up girl.  What can we learn from Betty Brosmer’s career?

betty-brosmer pin up girl

Known for her exaggerated hourglass figure (she was nicknamed “the impossible waist”), photographs of Brosmer papered the walls of bedrooms and offices across America when Marilyn Monroe was still chorus dancing in small-budget studio comedies.

She was born in Pasadena but got her first modelling gig in New York, for the department stores Sears & Roebuck, at the age of 13. Soon, she caught the attention of celebrated pin-up photographers Alberto Vargas and Earl Moran, and, two years later in 1950, she moved permanently to New York with her aunt to spend her teenage years modelling for men’s magazines, including Modern Man, Photo, and People Today.

Her image appeared in advertisements everywhere from milk cartons to billboards, and on the covers of popular pulp romance novels;

She won numerous beauty contests, including Miss Television, for which she was photographed on top of the Empire State building for the cover of TV Guide.

Billie Eilish vogue 2021

Any 19 years old will be experimenting regarding their public image.