Sunday, April 11, 2010

From Plain to Pin-up in 5 Easy Steps

My very good friend Kate is an amazing photographer. (Seriously, check out her site here and her blog here.) She and her business partner are two of the most incredible wedding photographers I have ever seen. This of course doesn't surprise me as I have always known Kate is remarkably talented. Their style is unique and fun and it looks like having them as your wedding photographers would be a blast.

Another really fun thing that Kate and Lara (business partner) do at the Studio Nouveau is "Boudoir parties." I imagine these are SO much fun. You'll have to contact the Studio to find out all the details, but having heard Kate talk about it, and of course seeing the photos gave me an idea. I'm going to teach all of you how to go from plain to pin-up in 5 very easy steps. There's a very simple formula to mastering this particular style, but holy cow does it have some major impact!

And yes I think this is an empowering way for women to dress, as long as they are choosing to do it for the right reasons. I would never want any woman to be merely objectified, but as women we can use how we look to our advantage and that is a powerful thing.


You don't have to actually wear nothing but lingerie to work the pin-up look, so don't freak out on me right away. The idea or inspiration behind ANY pin-up girl outfit is the feeling or implication of lingerie. That idea holds many meanings and for any girl wanting to create this type of look for herself, starting with an outfit that makes you feel great is the most important thing. If you are comfortable in a bustier and lacy panties, great, but not everyone I know would be okay wearing just that. So when thinking about your outfit, try to be inspired by lingerie. Sweetheart necklines are a great place to start and they are a flattering neckline for just about any woman. As for what exactly to wear? That's really up to each individual. Swimwear, dresses, even menswear can be appropriate depending on how you style it. Take a look at these vintage pin-up girl illustrations:

Not a single one of these five illustrations shows a woman in mere undergarments, yet each image is incredibly sexy because they each either show a hint of lingerie or they imply that it's there, just under the surface. Sometimes leaving a little to the imagination is a good thing. Read on for the next five steps, and at the end of the post are some pin-up outfit ideas.

Step 2: LEGS
You gotta show 'em, that's a given, but how to make them look their best? I recommend a pair of high quality fishnets. Capezio makes a great ones that make your legs feel instantly shapely and toned. They are available in black, white and three different shades of nude, so depending on your skin tone, you can match them pretty darn close. Style is #3000 and you can find them here. If you're going for a more bare leg look, obviously choose one of the nude shades. If you want to go for a more stylized look, then black is always a very powerful choice. In that case, I recommend taking it a step further and wearing fishnets or stockings with a seam up the back. Once again Capezio makes a great pair that even has rhinestones accenting the seam. (Style #3002 found here.) And for those of you who prefer thigh-high stockings with the back seam, they are easy to find. Some inexpensive (but effective) ones can be found here and here.

Ok, they don't have to actually be Christian Louboutins, but the heels you wear should be killer. What makes Louboutins so appropriate for this style are two things: the red soles and the high spike heels.The red soles are obviously not necessary, but they add a great little punch of sexy color. And as far as the heels go, slim and sleek is key. Don't wear a "heavy" shoe. Thick, chunky heels appear heavy as do heels with too thick a strap. Your shoe choice needs to be a strong one that is also very feminine so go with a rounded or peep toe pump. Also, select a very high, but also very narrow heel. Did you ever wonder what it is about heels that makes you feel so sexy? It's actually completely physical- the psychological part is a result of the physical aspect. High heels cause the muscles in our legs and butt to flex which makes them appear incredibly shapely. In addition, because of how you have to stand in them, they actually cause your booty and bust to raise up and stick out just a little bit. But that little bit goes a looooooong way. So, no it is not purely psychological that heels make you feel sexy- they actually do things to your muscles and posture that makes you hold yourself in a much sexier manner.

Step #4: LOCKS
Hair is very important in terms of the overall look. You don't have to have long hair to accomplish a sexy pin-up look, but curls definitely help a great deal. If you want to be authentic and wear pin curls, more power to you, but even just adding some waves and volume will make a huge difference. (P.S. For great How-To videos for pin-curling your hair, click here and here.) Finally, don't hesitate to add an accessory to your hairstyle-a headband, a flower clip, rhinestones- whatever suits you.

Step 5: LIPS
Did you know that the concept behind rouge and lipstick is that when a woman is aroused, her cheeks flush and her lips take on a deeper hue? Fascinating, right? Make-up is essentially a means of creating that look of arousal and thats why every pin-up girl you see has bright red lips and rosy cheeks. It's no accident. To complete your pin-up look, select a flattering, but deep or dark shade in pink or red. The lips should be the focal point of your make-up, with rosy cheeks and smokey eyes helping to accent them.

So there you have it: Five easy steps to go from plain to pin-up: Lingerie, Legs, Louboutins, Locks and Lips. If anyone out there has ever done a shoot like Kate & Lara's "Le Boudoir" I'd love to hear about it. Leave me a comment and tell me about what inspired you to do it and what it was like. And if this isn't enough to get you started, here are some fun pin-up inspired outfits.

The Beach Babe:
Retro-style bathing suit, Modcloth, $89.99
Yellow color-block wedges, Make Me Chic, $22.65
Wide-brim beach hat, Amazon, $15.99

The Girl Next Door:
Pin-dot Dress, Modcloth, $54.99
Flower Hair Pin, Etsy, $13.99
Vintage Gloves, Etsy, $5.50
Patent Peep-toe Pumps, Vicious Style, $44.99

The Vamp-y Vixen: 

Black sequin corset, Oh Cheri, $69.95
Lace Boy Shorts, Snaz75, $19.99
Rhinestone Fishnets, Capezio, $52
Floral Choker, Etsy, $28


Beth said...

I just checked out their website and blog. OMG they are amazing. I wish I lived closer so I could do a session with them. It seems like they would be so much fun to work with.
BTW-Is that a photo of Kendra above?

kate said...

Fantastic! One of my favorite topics, from one of my favorite people. Thanks for the blog love, too!

Renée T. Bouchard said...

Beth- I think the picture you're asking about is Christina Aguilera. Those blonde bombshells look the same a lot of the time. lol

shanecastane said...

I like this blog so much, saved to bookmarks. "American soldiers must be turned into lambs and eating them is tolerated." by Muammar Qaddafi.
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