The Resurgence in Popularity of the Pin-Up Girl

Posted by on Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Guest posting by Maggie Ewles

In the fashion world, trends are cyclical. What's in right now will soon be out, but back in a few years from now. That's just how things work.  So, in a sense, nobody should be surprised to see the 1940s-influenced styles starting to make a big comeback in the fashion world. With blogs like , Bobbins and Bombshells and Living Vintage showcasing the growing popularity of vintage sensibilities we can see the influence that this trend is having on contemporary designers. But there's something much more interesting going on with the resurgence of the classic pin-up girl and interest in pin up related culture.

Your typical pin-up girl photo spread featured a buxom model with natural curves, reposing in a suggestive, yet tasteful pose. She typically wore clothing, swimwear or lingerie that was revealing, yet still left plenty to the imagination. It is the innocence and naturalization of feminine sexuality that defines these iconic images.

In the 1950s, during the heyday of the pin-up girl, the world was still fairly uncomfortable with female sexuality. While the cusp of the sexual revolution was just a decade away, repressive rules and strict publishing governance were still the norm, and the pin-up girl was the closest thing the mainstream world had to an acceptable expression of male desire and female beauty. Thank goodness for the wildness that was Betty Page! Thanks to her pioneering efforts, fabulous folk like Dita Von Teese and Scarlet Johansson are celebrated for their curves and alternative beauty.

It's interesting that, in today's hyper-sexualized world, tasteful expressions of sensuality and sexuality are enjoying a resurgence in popularity. The Pin Up Peep Shop believes ìPin up fashion and art wouldÖ rise again with the help of independent burlesque troupes during the mid nineties, as well as the underground resurgence of Rockabilly and Swing music amongst many younger people who would mix the fashions popular with these music fans, along with vintage pin up fashion. The most published pinup artists were Elvgren and Vargas whose original pinup art is highly sought after todayî and those people seeking to embrace a pin up aesthetic often turn to their iconic images.

Burlesque troops, Stars and classes and organizations have sprung up all over the globe and fashions are trending more towards the styles of the pin up. Swimwear and lingerie designers are featuring full, high waist bottoms with low cut legs and luxury fabrics that are a welcome change from the drab, utilitarian, cottons of the 90ís.  Finally we have teddies, garters and slips in elegant gossamer fabrics with stunning lace and ribbon details. The clothing is easily attainable through online shopping at stores such as Unique Vintage, The Babygirl Boutique, Lolita Girl and Lucy B.

There are several interesting reasons this is happening. First, as any sex expert or psychologist will tell you, the brain is the most important sex organ. Study after study has shown that a woman wearing suggestive and revealing clothing is more arousing than a fully nude woman. With pictures and videos of naked women engaging in everything from fairly innocent stripteases to full-on sex becoming easier to access than ever, it was really just a matter of time before people reverted to less graphic representations of sexuality and sought out ways to reintroduce themselves to the world of arousal and intimacy.

Second, the world has been bombarded with images of ultra-thin women for decades, and this beauty standard has dominated both the fashion world and the pop culture mainstream. Todayís pin-up girl models can also be viewed as something of a backlash against that impossible, unattainable ideal. It's a celebration of the beauty of natural women with real curves and real bodies. Full figures and curves are sexual and sexy. According to Lauren Wise ìNowadays, a pinup model is revered as a pioneer for women's sexuality and feminine power, and many women respect that and live their lives by it. They dress like the old style pinup girls and wear similar makeup and accessories. They represent female confidence and power, which is very attractive in the 21st century.

Finally, you can also view this revival as being tied in with fashion commercialism. The fact is that very few women have bodies like stick-thin supermodels, and most women not only have curves but want to celebrate them. Making real bodies more visible in mainstream pop culture is not only boosting the self-esteem of women everywhere, it's also boosting sales of average- to plus-sized fashions.

Maggie Ewles is passionate about getting women back in touch with the glamorous aesthetic of the vintage pin up model. She adores retro swimwear and vintage lingerie for the way they showcase her curves and connect her to that alluring era.


  1. Love your blog! The images are amazing! Can you give me any details of where you got the first image of the pin up and her dog? I love it and want to get it printed onto a canvas but this image resolution is too small! Any info you could give me would be greatly appreciated!

  2. Thanks for the follow! Followed you as well :)

    Definitely, Maybe


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