Monday, 9 February 2015

Pinup Wardrobe basics ~ The staples to a starter wardrobe

Its post time! Taking a break from my flower making to do a post about something I get asked frequently, that is about the staples to a starter pinup wardrobe! This post IS BIG just as a warning!

Prior to embracing pinup life around 18 months ago, I literally have NOTHING that was pinup in style! My previous style of dress which basically was a more bo-ho style as its loose styles meant clothes had more chance of fitting me. I hated the style but it was all that worked with my body so I stuck with it. It wasn't til I took the plunge in late 2012 and bought myself my first hell bunny dress that started a love affair!

I get a lot of asks about how I started building my wardrobe, so I thought I'd do a post detailing things that are inherently 'pinup' that you can get to get a starter pinup wardrobe!


While there are some 'pants' brands within pinup (I'll discuss them a little later on!) most pinups wear skirts or dresses! When I started out, I favored dresses over separates as they provided an entire outfit in one purchase and they helped me build up the confidence to feel I could style separates.

The two types of dresses that pinups primarily wear are swing dresses and wiggle dresses.

Swing dresses are characteristically tight on the upper body and flared at the hips! They can come in a variety of styles and can be worn with or without a petticoat. Swing dresses are fun, great for girls who are a big self conscious of their lower half and offer the body a great silhouette. Swing dresses can be full or more of an aline in cut as well, depending on the make and style. Swing dresses in block colours, polka dots, florals, harlequin prints, gingham, cherries/fruit, classical animal prints and other bright patterns are great pinup staples!
Hell Bunny Miriam Dress in green
 Examples of swing dresses can be seen below:
Lindy Bop Audrey Dress in red Gingham

Pin Up Girl Clothing Maria Dress in Blue and Green Floral
Tatyana Boutique Malibu Dress in red
The other type of dress pinups wear a lot are wiggles/pencils! Wiggles are characteristically firm fitting and tight, designed to show of your curves by embracing the hips! These are great if you want something that screams SEXY and want to channel your inner Marilyn Monroe. Again, these can come in a variety of cuts, colours and patterns! Some go from being extremely Va-Va Voom while others go for a more demure classic cut. When buying wiggles ensure to take into account the fabric as it will dictate the amount of stretch in ag garment which will affect the fit. These again can come in a variety of prints as listed before as well as block colours! Some examples from various companies can be seen below:

 Hell Bunny - Magali Dress

Lindy Bop Vanessa Dress in red/white dot
Pin Up Girl Clothing Monica Dress in Teal
Tatyana Pencil Dress in leopard


There are a lot of different separates that can be incorporated into a wardrobe but first I'm going to talk about tops/skirts and then brand out!

There are a HUGE variety of pinup style tops that one can wear to give the right look! Companies tend to have multiple top styles within their brand which is great for variety! I find tops with structure give the best finish for the pinup look! I've decided to break tops (and skirts) by company to show you the variety that is available! Tops can be matched with skirts, shorts or pants for a complete look and as you will see there is a HUGE variety of shapes and fits!

 I suggest for a starter wardrobe getting tops in at least your basic block colours: red, black and white in a shape you like best. Most pinup brands their tops in a variety of colours. PUG tops are personally my preference due to their incredible structure which give AMAZING shape but the others below are equally as great!
As I branched out I started incorporating more colours and top prints into my wardrobe.

Hellbunny tops:
Shelli Top in pink

Skelebow top in pink
Rock on Crop top ~ Designs with a matching skirt
Felicity top
Dannielle top
Lindy Bop tops: 

Ally top in red Jersey
Cillia Top in red
Frenchy top in black/white polkadot
Linda top in blue/white polkadot
Pin Up Girl Clothing:

Doris Top in White
Sean top in purple
Lauren top in White
Zooey Top in Red
Vixen top in red
Vamp top in baby blue
Peasant top in white


Dolores top in black
Freddie knitted top
Alice top in pink
Tatyana Boutique:

Pullover in purple
Tie top in white


Just like dresses, there are two different kind of skirts that are primarily worn by pinups: swing and wiggle/pencil. However, there are again multiple types of swing skirt (wiggle remains pretty uniform across the board). In pinup fashion the skirt is always worn on the hips generally with the shirt tucked in! Just like the tops, I've broken skirts into brands. My personal favorites for skirts are again Pin Up Girl Clothing and Hell bunny! I prefer to keep my tops in block colours and have fun with prints in the skirts! Florals, gingham, cherries, polka dots and more! You also can't go wrong with one plain black swing skirt either! Its a great staple and mine is personally the Doris Skirt in Black from PUG. I'm also a HUGE fan of the PUG Jenny skirt range! I've listed some of my favorites!

Swing first:

Hell Bunny:

Lacey Skirt in Turquoise
Paula Skirt in Pastels
August Skirt
Mariam Skirt
Pin Up Girl Clothing

Doris skirt in black
Jenny Skirt in Classic Harlequin
Jenny skirt in castle print
Audrey Skirt in pink
Kinky skirt in Red Hawaiian print
Lindy Bop:

Peggy Skirt in black
Peggy skirt in turquoise florals
Peggy skirt in red/white polka dot

Liesel Gingham Circle Skirt
Aida Zak Natalia Skirt
Mary Plain Swing Skirt
Tatyana Boutique
Black rose skirt
Fan skirt
Poodles of Paris skirt
Wiggle/pencil skirts are a great staple in any pinup wardrobe! Again there are a variety of brands/fabrics/patterns out there! Skirts are a great alternative for wiggle dresses if your body size varies a lot from top to bottom!

Hell Bunny:

Joni Skirt
Lock Heart Pencil Skirt
Western Pencil Skirt

Bebe Rock Skirt
Pin Up Girl Clothing:

Retro skirt in black
Deadly Curves Skirt
Kinky Ruffles pencil skirt

Agarva Blackwatch Check Skirt

Polly Polka Flock Skirt

Vanya Cherry Skirt
Tatyana Boutique:

Catwalk Skirt red
Manhattan skirt

Shorts and pants

Shorts are amazing in summer for your pinup look! Pants & jeans are great for the winter months. The trick is to keep it high waisted! High waisted shorts/pants give you that hourglass shape by nipping you at the waist! Play with colours and patterns here too! Great with tie tops and crop tops in summer or structured tops in winter! If you aren't a fan of tight pants then swing pants may be the go for you! Capris are also killer! I have 2 pairs of capris and 1 pair of carpenter jeans and they are amazing!

Hell Bunny:

Pin Up Girl Clothing:

High waisted trousers in Tropical Print
Capris Pants in hot pink
Cigarette Pants in black
High Waisted Harlequin Shorts

Marilyn Cropped Jeans

Bonnie Blackwatch Cigarette Trousers

Glenda Swing Pants
Tatyana Boutique:

Carpenter Capris

Cardigans are the quintessential pinup staple when it comes to keeping warm. I'm not going to devote a huge section to these! I honestly buy most of mine from no name stores in different colours! Cropped and full length are both great. Brands like Hell Bunny do gorgeous embroided cardigans if you want something with a pattern and then there is the highly sought Dita Cardigan from Wheels & Doll Baby 

A cardigan should compliment your outfit. Having a range of colours is great for mix and match as well!

Petticoats & Crinolines

Petticoats and Crinolines are designed to be worn under swing styles to give a fuller shape. By flaring the skirt at the base it smooths your hips and makes your waist look small! This diagram isn't necessarily pinup specific but you get the gist!

My recommended petticoats are from Vivien Of Holloway or if you are budget conscious Hell Bunny (can be found on eBay and a lot of suppliers). aren't ready for the fullness of a petticoat I suggest picking up a Crinoline instead. I started with them and they gave me enough shape to eventually be confident enough to take the dive to a fuller petticoat. I picked up my first one on ebay for $9.99 and it helped me feel comfortable in a slightly shaped skirt


Finally we near the end! Shoes! Now shoes are probably the easiest part of pinup! Flats can be as simple as ballet flats:

 They don't need to be expensive. I use to buy mine from kmart when I just started out!

Saddle shoes are also a great staple flat for a vintage look!

As well as tennis shoes!

Sandals are also great in achieving the pinup look!

And this season Jelly Flats also came into fashion!

For a more authentic look I'd recommend BAIT footwear for a range of flat and heels!

In regards to heels, most wedges and classic pumps are also appropriate! Have fun with colours and fabrics of your shoes! They can really add to an outfit!

Above all else remember to have fun, take risks and find what works for YOU and YOUR style!

I'm going to leave that here! I think this post is long enough! I hope you found it helpful! I'll be bringing a budget buy guide to you all over the coming week as well!

Weekly outfit overview on its way! Til later!


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this! Oh to have the confidence to go "full pinup"