Until recently, my familiarity with the pin up world did not extend past that one Varga Girls photo shoot on America’s Next Top Model, Bettie Page, and how Emily usually dresses.
When Amber came down with a debilitating cold and asked me to take her spot at a Lucy La Riot afternoon pin up class taught by Anna Pantin and Renee DiDio, I said aiite.
The promise of a mini photo-shoot after spending the day learning about the makeup, hair, and clothing sounded fun. Plus, I recognized Anna from an episode of "Married at First Sight" – who doesn’t love that show??
I don’t know if many people realize the pin up culture is still alive, and is exactly that – a culture. Emulating the pin up aesthetic is so much more than slapping on some red lipstick. From the tedious rituals of overnight hairstyling to a curated selection of lingerie and undergarments, today’s pin-up girls have perpetuated the art of cultivating a highly feminine vintage style. If you’re into fashion, beauty, fashion history, or sexual freedom, you will respect the process as much as I do.
Skin: Create a smooth, porcelain face with a matte cream or liquid foundation, and setting powder. If you already have clear skin, combine both steps with a powder foundation. I love the Cover FX Pressed Mineral Foundation.
Eyebrows: The darker and more defined the better. Natural feathery brows need not apply for this look. Use an eyebrow pencil like the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz to add shape and accentuate a high arch.
Eyes: Sweep a bone colored shadow across the lid and up to the brow bone. Then, create a thick cat eye with liquid liner – you can use a clay pot and brush or felt tip liquid liner. NYX’s the Curve Liner is great and easy to control. Cat-eyes can go from 0 to 100 real quick if you don’t have a steady hand or patience. A strip of faux lashes will also add to the doe-eyed sex-kitten appeal. Believe it or not, the Katy Perry Eyelure Sweetie Pie Lashes are my favorite. A swipe of mascara will blend your natural lashes with the faux.
Blush: Apply a rosy blush to the apples of your cheeks. Do NOT try any of that sneaky YouTube beauty guru shit and add blush to your nose and forehead. The goal is to keep your face as silky and porcelain as possible.
Lips: Matte red lips are the defining attribute of any pin up makeup look. MAC Ruby Woo is a safe choice – a matte, true red that will make your teeth pearly white. Prime with a lip liner within the same color family of your lipstick – Chanel Bois De Rose is a great match for Ruby Woo. Oh, and no lip gloss.
Fun Touch: Play up pre-existing moles by darkening them with eyeliner, or create a cute beauty mark by your lip or cheekbone.
The process and preparation for a pin up hairstyle reminded me so much of how the black women in my family have always (and still) styled their hair. I’m personally no stranger to overnight wet-sets or satin scarves.
You have three options for setting pin curls: an overnight wet set with sponge curlers if you really want to commit (best for straighter hair textures -- these curls will last three or more days), using a curling iron and letting your pin curls set and cool (maybe two days but with a looser wave), or using hot rollers (samsies).
Curls created with just a curling iron alone won’t last. You have to set them in pin curls while they cool. Sectioning your hair and starting at the nape of your neck, slide your hair off of the curling iron, and quickly pin a small loop while the hair is still hot. Repeat a million times until you resemble the photo above. Creating a deep side part, curl your bangs away from your face.
Any body type is the right body type to mimic this vintage aesthetic. Here are the flattering staples every aspiring pin up girl should have in her closet:
- A high-waisted, tapered pencil skirt that hits just below the knee
- A standard swing skirt, like the poodle skirt, or a box pleat skirt can be worn with a petticoat underneath for extra flare
- A swing dress, halter dress, or wiggle dress
- Pusher pants, or high-waisted shorts
- Shoes: Lengthen your leg with nude heels and a little toe cleavage. Mary Janes, peep toe wedges, and saddle shoes also compliment this style.
Renee owns SlapBack, a neo-vintage shop in Williamsburg that sells all of silhouettes I’m talking about.
My favorite part! Even though the pin up aesthetic strays very far from my personal style, I love the idea of incorporating ultra-feminine undergarments into every-day wear. (I basically only wear push-up bras and thongs from the 5 for $27 Victoria’s Secret Pink underwear sales). Here are the essentials:
- Underwear with corset snaps
- Shapewear with boning
- Crinoline petticoats to add volume to full skirts
- Tights with back seams
- Garters that sit high on the waist
Like I mentioned earlier, our afternoon class ended with a summer-themed photo shoot. Drumroll…..
I normally hate seeing pictures of myself, but this one I can handle. After spending an entire afternoon learning and playing with hair, makeup, and costumes, I felt so feminine and confident!
I love the idea of gifting a personal pin up photo shoot session to one of the ladies in your life, or surprising your lover with a pin up calendar. Doesn’t that sound cute? You can schedule a session with Anna (who is super nice and will make you feel comfortably at-ease posing for a sexy shoot) at Lucy La Riot’s cute Brooklyn studio by e-mailing booking@LucyLaRiot.com, or calling (925) 389-3223. Let me know if you try it out! I would love to see some pictures.
P.S. This group photo of all the beauties in my pin up class makes me smile! :D
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