Subtle Pinup Tutorial Part 1: For The Shy Pinup

I was recently asked to produce a series of posts for a regional Queensland pinup group, with a focus on helping new and shy pinup girls to gain confidence in how to put together outfits and looks ranging from subtle retro, to retro-using-modern-clothes, to full blown pinup.  I was chuffed to have been asked to help, and this post is the first in that series.  In the hope that these posts will help others who are unsure about dressing full-retro in public, I’ve decided to make the tutorials available here on my blog as well.

This first tutorial focuses on the little differences between creating a slightly retro look and creating an overtly retro pinup look.  Part 1 will look at putting together the subtle look, while Part 2 will show what I changed to make the look more obviously retro.SONY DSC

The first step we’re looking at is makeup.  The makeup products I used included Maybelline foundation and Bourjois blush, Models Prefer eyeshadow and gold eyeliner, Rimmel mascara, a Maybelline eyebrow product and a pinky red lip gloss from W7.  All these products should be available at your local Priceline, except for the lipgloss which you will find at Chemist Warehouse.WIN_20150907_103003

Here is my face with no makeup applied and my hair tied back out of the way.

I first applied foundation, then added blush to the outer part of my cheeks, avoiding applying the blush too close to my nose, which is naturally a bit reddish.

WIN_20150907_103229I then applied a light gold eyeshadow to my mobile eyelid (the part that sits over my eyeball) before adding a chocolate-coloured shadow just above the mobile lid, to give definition and depth (aWIN_20150907_103254s shown in the photo).

I then applied a soft gold eyeliner pencil to the outer two thirds of my lower lash line, to brighten my eyes.  This is a great spot to add a little splash of a colour of your choice, such as a lovely turquoise or a jungle green.

I next applied mascara to my top lashes only, as I want this to be a wearable daytime look and I don’t want to risk panda eyes by putting mascara on my lower lashes, considering today’s humidity.


My eyebrows were next, with a light handed application of brow gel that helped even my brows and filled in the gap in my right eyebrow caused by an old scar.  Finally, I added my lipgloss, which gives colour without needing a precise application.  Gloss also gives you the benefit of being quick and low-key.  As you can see in the photo, my face is now even and defined, without being too eye-catchingly strong!WIN_20150907_103841

On to hair.  My hair has been recently washed and allowed to air dry.  Today’s hairstyle requires no tools apart from a few bobby pins, and gets quicker and easier to do with every practice.


We are going to start on one side of the head by taking a section of hair a couple of inches thick and forming it into a roll, like a small, unteased victory roll.


Work it towards your head, rolling as you go, then (instead of pinning it to sit upright like a victory roll), let it lay flat against your scalp.


Pin it in place with bobby pins and add a little hairspray to stop any loose strands from uncoiling.

You will see that this has created some visual interest as well as a bit of volume above your temple, which is flattering for most face shapes.WIN_20150907_104349Repeat this action on the other side of your head, so that you have two flat coils, one pinned above each temple.  And that is this simple hairstyle done!  It has a hint of retro styling while still being modern enough to avoid attracting lots of attention.

SONY DSCOnto our outfit.  Today’s look is based around a generous skirt.  You can use an A-line skirt from a modern retailer such as Target, or a half, three quarter or full circle skirt from a reproduction company such as Pinup Girl Clothing or Hell Bunny.  My skirt today is from reproduction company Tatyana (formerly “Bettie Page Clothing”).  I like it because it has a pretty flocked pattern, pockets, and fullness without being puffy.  Pleated skirts are best for this subtle look, as gathered waistbands tend to give too much volume for super-shy pinups.  For this subtle look, I have decided not to wear a petticoat, as I think the full skirt has enough volume by itself.

I have paired my skirt with a modern, short-waisted knit top from Target in order to dress the skirt down a little.  You could wear any sort of fitted knit top with your skirt, and places like Supre are great for cheap and cheerful fitted tops.  If you’re looking for subtly retro knits, try Collectif for tops like the breton-striped “Martina”.martina

My shoes are standard black block heels in a patent leather and are by modern company Red Ginger.  Shoes like these are a great investment because they go with just about any outfit: retro or modern.

You can see that I have left off wearing any necklaces or brooches with this outfit, because the decorated neckline of the top does not need anything competing with it.  My plain black jet bead bracelets are enough for this outfit.SONY DSC

What do you think of this subtle pinup look?  What skirt do you have in your cupboard that would work well for this outfit?


About Vera Gin

A pinup/vintage/retro style fan from sunny Queensland, Australia.
This entry was posted in Accessories, beauty, Fashion, Hair, style and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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