Pinup Girl: Why We’re Still Fascinated With Glamour

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If you’re a makeup and beauty junkie like me, then you’ll appreciate some of the classic or vintage looks that keep making a comeback. I had the pleasure of learning a little bit of history behind it all while researching for my novels–hey, who said history can’t be fun?

Glamourdaze owner, Stevie, runs an amazing blog with resources and downloadable guides that can take you from the 1900’s to the 1960’s, and she’s been so kind to stop by and chat with us about why we still love the pinup girl look, and how we can rock a bit of glamour even on a sweatpants & t-shirt day.

Q&A With Stevie

It’s 2013, and yet there is still a movement of fashion and beauty junkies who enjoy the 1940s pinup girl look. Why do you think that is?

I guess it’s hard to top that glamorous look. There’s a certain danger to it all, as the look came with the backdrop of war. It represented a new sexual maturity and sense of liberation for women. That said, the 1940s pinup look of today is largely inspired by the glamorised work of illustrators such as Gil Elvgren and the Hollywood ideal of women like Betty Grable. Ordinary
women in the 1940s would have been lucky to afford a tube of lipstick.

What’s the significance or importance of the classic “red lip”?

The pouting full blooded red lip was celebrated again by Hollywood makeup gurus such as Max Factor in the 1930s. When Technicolor came in – the artists would actually ‘paint’ in shades to make their starlets stand out. But the ‘red lip’ is as old as the hills; going back through the geisha look from Japan, the Eqyptians’ use of special dyes.

Can you explain the clothing choices of women during the war period, and the reasons behind them?

Rationing played a large part for women of an average income – certainly when it came to the choice of clothing or rather the lack of choice! So many coupons for so many lengths of fabric per year and maybe – if she was lucky – one pretty ready to wear frock a year. The 1940s Silhouette with its shorter skirts and padded shoulders developed from about 1937 onwards and as in all fashion eras – women’s choices of dress were dictated by the fashion lines [silhouettes] of the moment.

What were some of the most interesting or creative innovations women used due to scarcity of certain materials?

There were so many ‘tips and tricks’ columns in women’s magazines during the war offering all sorts of fashion and beauty advice on a budget. How to extend the life of your dress was hugely important. Salt and lemons and vinegar seemed to pop up alot when it came to removing stains. The lack of silk or the new nylon due to rationing brought about cosmetic stockings -with seams drawn up the back of the leg for the final effect. In the States there were lots of cosmetic stocking products available while in the UK – women had to make do with homemade dyes using tea and gravy and such like.

I remember once reading that the women who worked in factories were encouraged to not wear their hair out. Did this have an impact on their day-to-day style? Did more women prefer certain hairstyles over others?

Certainly during the daytime it did. With the new updos being necessary for factory workers [for safety  reasons] ever resourceful women resorted to wearing colorful headscarves. The bobby pin was Queen and the infamous ‘hair rat’ [cuttings of your own hair rolled up in a net] were used to create the latest ‘victory roll’ hairstyle. It wasn’t until the end of the war that the new ‘sidesweep’ came in and hair began to loosen up again.

I have to admit, sometimes I’m in sweatpants or jeans. What are some simple ways to add a little more glamour?

Accessories! Interesting makeup. Or a lovely 1940s roll with the all important red lipstick. The choices are endless for a girl.

Thank you, Stevie, for sharing your insight into this era which seemed to have been a mixture of hardships and bits of glamour. Readers, if you want to know more about this topic, or just drool over the beautiful vintage hair and fashion guides, please visit Glamourdaze!


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