Vintage for Every Body

Every woman experiences body image issues, Whether temporary or long term, caused by self-doubt or caused by society, I think we can all agree – being self-conscious sucks. Comparing ourselves with other women, particularly those flawless and airbrushed models seen in the media, contributes to a downward spiral of unhealthy thoughts and dissatisfaction. There’s a lot of romanticizing of other eras of body and weight ideals, such as how Marilyn Monroe’s “size 12 (or 14, or 16) body” was the “norm” and a desire to return to that, which I feel is a dangerous – and frankly, foolish – mindset to hold.  The argument is that our perception of beauty as a society now prefers waif-thin girls over the hourglass shape of the 1950s, but that ignores plenty of thin, beautiful women from the years past while also turning a blind eye to the weight and diet issues that women in our target eras might have faced.

Weight Loss 1900sWeight 1925  Weight loss 1940

Just like today’s crash diets, complicated food systems, and diet pills, the vintage decades provided their own “instant gratification” solutions that promised to rid you of unwanted weight. And just like today, the “Golden era” was a society that relied on creating insecurities for monetary benefit. I’m sure there were plenty of women out there who desperately reached for “sanitized tape worms” or amphetamine at the urging of ads such as these. A well-known example: Judy Garland was cruelly exploited by studio executives who first-handedly caused her addiction to amphetamines, or “pep pills,” for energy and weight loss (and then, to combat their side effects, barbiturates for sleep).

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Women then, like women now, came in all body shapes and sizes. Though the hourglass figure was indeed praised, I don’t feel it is any less desired in our modern times. Famously buxom stars such as Betty Brosmer and Jayne Mansfield quite clearly boasted this figure, but even before photoshop, Brosmer’s 18 inch waist, or Mansfield’s and Monroe’s slightly less drastic 22 inch waists, were quite a difference from the average 25 inch waist of the 1950s.

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Marilyn herself, upheld as the ideal 1950s hourglass figure and the focus of many extreme claims, was a real woman with a fleshy stomach – I think that’s more important to remember than focusing on what dress size she may or may not have been. And like many of us, her weight clearly fluctuated, her celebrated tiny waist disappeared and reappeared, though she is considered no less beautiful by others for that.

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Alongside the weight loss ads stood weight gain advertisements, which used “skinny” as an insult. These products claimed to quickly pack on ten pounds and bring along a sudden rise in popularity and sexual appeal. I’ve found evidence of the above “Wate-On” product from the 1930s through the 1970s. Existing all at once, there are images telling you to both gain weight and lose weight. So what does this suggest about a societal ideal, after all?

September vogue 1956 Sunny Hartnett

Contrary to what people may proclaim about the 1950s body, many models from the fifties were quite thin with a very straight figure. No less celebrated and famous than the hourglass-shaped Marilyn, Audrey Hepburn was a tall, thin actress with a small bust (she reportedly wore a 34A) and slim hips. I don’t see any negative comments about her figure from the era that apparently idolized Marilyn’s style of extreme measurements.

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My point is that there were women of all shapes and sizes in the 30s, 40s, 50s, and beyond. Betty Grable’s legs were insured by her studio for $1 million. The waifish Audrey Hepburn existed alongside the buxom Marilyn Monroe. There were stunning burlesque performers boasting bodies that look like an approximation of our modern ideal, those with a slim and well-proportioned figure, as well as those with some banging hips that I could only dream of. All of these bodies existed and everything in between – and all of these bodies are equally “vintage.” Which means, so is yours.

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Janie Gregg (1940s), Sherry Britton (1940s) and Ethelyn Butler (1955)

My absolute favorite images while searching for content for this post are those showing the stars with a little bit of realism and humanity. Jayne with visible flesh, Marilyn with thick thighs, a cute little belly pooch, and a large scar on her torso – if we should be claiming anything about this era of bodies, it shouldn’t be that Marilyn was one size or another, or that hers and Jayne’s figures were the only kind admired in their time. It should be that it was an era full of real women with real bodies, straight figured and hourglass shaped and everything in between. Some had more of a backside and large bust, others had little bust at all; some were admired predominantly for their legs and others for the entire package. All are beautiful.

Jayne mansfield Marilyn MOnroe by Bob Beerman 1950

Marilyn Monroe with gallbladder scar 1961

I find myself comparing my own body to the more extreme measurements of the pinup body, when there were absolutely women like me in my favorite decades. And there were also women like you. Why pick and choose, when we all have a vintage body?

I’m leaving you with a little bit of Hilda, who was the star of a pinup series drawn by Duane Bryers from the 1950s through the 1980s, alongside a piece by Gil Elvgren. Not all pinups look the same!

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How do you feel about the commonly touted “vintage/pinup body”? Do you find it to be limiting like the modern ideal?

Until next time,
Lauren || The Homemade Pinup

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A Two-Piece Challenge

Hi darlings! If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen that I challenged myself to mixing and matching a 1950s two-piece ensemble for this entire week. That meant SEVEN DAYS of variations on the same outfit! For me, that’s almost unheard of, but I wanted to see how many ways I could wear this pair of pieces.

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Above is the full set, in all its vintage glory! It is light and airy and wonderfully comfortable to wear, which makes it perfect for the crazy heatwave we’re having in Southern California. Check out the below remixes for full views of each day’s outfit! For some of the days, I took inspiration from @hilaryrushford’s #StyleMeSeptember challenge, so I’ll note that below.

09/02/2015

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The theme on Wednesday was “Bisous from Paris,” and the checked skirt and blue cardigan felt very French country in my mind (I was inspired by toile for the blue color). My skirt is 80s vintage, in its second incarnation, and my sweater is thrifted. It was actually cool enough that day to get away with it, but not since >,<

09/03/2015

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Theme: “Skirting the Issue,” aka the easiest challenge in the world for me. With my me-made cotton blouse and a breezy skirt, how can I go wrong when the heat spikes?

09/04/2015

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“Vintage Vixen” – another no brainer. Pretty much everything I wear is vintage or vintage inspired, so this was the easiest challenge day! I think this combination was my absolute favorite from the week – this blouse is even better mixed with a little color!

09/05/2015

DSCF0836 DSCF0835 DSCF0838IMG_3581The theme was “Falling for Florals,” so double points this day with my Tatyana floral bolero, worn as a top, and a hair flower! Underneath it all is one of the most spectacular vintage full slips I own, but I rarely wear since it’s yellow. Fortunately, it worked perfectly for this outfit!

09/06/2015

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The challenge title for this day was “Borrowed from the Boys,” which to me translates to… not a skirt. Since my shorts and blouse are so close in color, I paired them with a bright scarf belt – which used to be my mom’s necktie in the 80s 😉 recycle, reuse, #WomensFashionArmy, etc etc! Sadly I think this will be the last run for this pair of shorts, as they’re fitting me a little tight lately…

09/07/2015

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I apologize for my mega awkward photos, but the sun was so brutal I couldn’t stand getting anything better. This was my day without a theme, as I found picking the coolest top in my repertoire to be the most important thing! I paired my skirt with a vintage sunflower blouse and Bakelite bracelet.

This challenge was really fun for me because it showed just how many outfits I can get by adding two matching pieces to my wardrobe. I never felt like my outfits were “getting old,” even though I was rewearing either the same top or the same skirt every. Single. Day. For me, this is evidence that we truly can make GREAT use of our wardrobes. If you feel like your outfits are getting a little stale, but don’t want to or can’t buy more items, try to think outside the box with your combinations. Better yet – start a challenge, like the one above!

My favorite part about my little self challenge? Realizing that I could travel in total chicness with minimal packing. Every outfit above is so vacation-worthy!

How are y’all doing? What items in your wardrobe do you mix and match most often? Check in below!

Until next time,
Lauren || The Homemade Pinup

Vintage, Pinup, Retro, Rockabilly… What’s the difference, anyway?

I’ve lately been pondering how very many distinguishing titles there are for us gals in the vintage-loving community. The nostalgic aesthetic can be taken very different ways, after all! The look of the fifties and sixties has been stretched to great heights, even to the dramatic niche aesthetic of psychobilly style. While I won’t be discussing that particular one here – I feel it reaches slightly beyond my understanding and my goal here on The Homemade Pinup – it certainly emphasizes the diversity of the past fashions when combined with modern tastes.

What’s the difference between all these groupings? Where do you fit in the range of familiar titles? Read on to see my understanding of the four most common labels below – and why they matter, anyway!

Retro

Come On Get Poppy MCCarlotte Heels by Miz Mooz RCrafty Cooking Dress MC
Come On Get Poppy Dress from Modcloth, Miz Mooz Carlotta Heels from Ruche, Crafty Cooking Dress from Modcloth

I begin with what is, in my mind, the broadest of aesthetic styles. Modern brands that recall this look include Modcloth and Ruche. “Retro” styling is quite often signified by the words vintage inspired. Consequently, it is appropriate that this wildly popularf trend picks and choses from past elements of fashion to create a look that lightly recalls the eras from which they come. Think ruffles, fit-and-flare dresses, soft hues, and quirky elements like tights, hats, and chunky heels or charming little ballet flats. These looks often include shorter hems and more whimsical patterns than their vintage inspirations. “Retro” is the most expansive and flexible of our related labels and fittingly appeals to a vast amount of individuals, whether they ascribe to other vintage tastes or not.

Rockabilly

Spotted Lady Dress - SteadySteady Swallow Capris - Sourpuss Day of the Dead dress HT

Spotted Lady Dress by Steady, Steady Swallow Capris at Sourpuss, Day of the Dead Dress by Hot Topic

The “Rockabilly” aesthetic is never one that I aspired to, but is nevertheless one that I feel I understand – a great testament to this fashion’s pervasive effect and distinct styling (I know the least about it, though, so forgive me if I don’t represent it perfectly). The rockabilly look is fascinating because it goes far beyond that – beyond just a look. Rockabilly styling extends into music and lifestyle as well! Some rockabilly clothing brands include Sourpuss and Steady Clothing – even your neighborhood Hot Topic tries their hand in the rockabilly game. The rockabilly look is powerful and bold, featuring bright primary tones, classic patterns or animal print, stiletto heels, and details such as skulls, bows, and swallows. The beauty styling can include unnatural hair colors, piercings, tattoos.. Where other aesthetics may not display much in this area, in rockabilly these elements shine. Cherry Dollface is a figure who really exemplifies this style in my mind! Rockabilly fashions can include many of the features seen in the category below (“Pinup”), or none at all, making it a very flexible aesthetic. A cool feature of this is that you don’t necessarily have to buy specific brands to get the look, but can, for example, supplement with a striped or polka dotted shirt from a discount store or wear your favorite pair of jeans.

Pinup

Lauren Top Harlequin Jenny PUG Lauren Top, DD Capris, HeadscarfMid Century House OBSLauren Top and Harlequin Jenny by PUG, Deadly Dames Capris by PUG, Mid Century House Skirt by Oblong Box Shop

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The beautiful Jessica of Pinup Persuasion rocking an equally beautiful flower by NicCoCo Creations

I often find “Pinup” to be the hardest aesthetic to pin down (pun intended ;). Made famous particularly by cult brand Pinup Girl Clothing, as well as by small businesses like The Oblong Box Shop and NicCoCo Creations, this style has created countless mega idols like Miss Rockabilly Ruby, Miss Victory Violet, Jessica of Pinup Persuasion, and of course Amanda and Katie of Junebugs and Georgia Peaches. It is women like these, and many others, who serve as constant inspirations to a world of pinup mavens. The modern usage of pinup, however, strays from the pin-up art that originated the term. The modern label doesn’t necessarily recall the sensual and suggestive artwork of Gil Elvgren and Alberto Vargas, though our usage today does indeed retain some of that fantastic sex appeal.

The greatest thing about this aesthetic is how wonderfully figure flattering the cuts of most garments are. Skirts emphasize the natural waist, dresses hug the curves, and tops embellish what nature gave us. Common themes include circle skirts, chiffon headscarves, cleavage, and novelty prints. Shoes are often less vintage and more, well – sexy! The hair and makeup are decidedly modern with a solid vintage inspiration, featuring exaggerated elements like fluffed up curls and large victory rolls (hello, suicide roll). Though I sometimes have mixed feelings about the pinup aesthetic for myself, I absolutely adore how confident and beautiful women clearly feel when dressed in this fashion – and select pieces can be carefully chosen from these well-known brands to create a truly authentic vintage look! Which leads us to…

Vintage

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1940s Chinos by Freddie’s of Pinewood, Pencil Skirt and Swagger Jacket by Vivien of Holloway

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Miss L Fire “Mildred” Shoes, photo by Mode De Lis, Claremont Oxfords by American Duchess

Finally, vintage is the look that is perhaps most particular, since it attempts to recreate the look of eras past. This is the style that I love best and try to work it into my daily life. Branding is more difficult, since true vintage is the best way to go if authenticity is the goal, but several niche brands such as What Katie Did, Miss L Fire, and Rocket Originals offer beautiful and faithful representations of vintage pieces. Clothing can be far more difficult… it is quite challenging to get the right vintage “feel.” Freddie’s of Pinewood, The Original Bad Girl, and Vivien of Holloway offer some lovely repros that look the part; if perused and purchased carefully, Trashy Diva, Pinup Girl Clothing, and even Unique Vintage can help fill in your wardrobe (though the latter toes the line of retro, pinup, and vintage all at once). Fortunately, vintage shoe companies are quite plentiful, with even more offerings from Re-Mix Vintage and Royal Vintage Shoes to complete the look. The best (and worst) part of vintage is that it requires some hunting, whether for true vintage or repros, but I think the thrill of the perfect find makes it all the more exciting!

So why does it matter?

Well, in short, it doesn’t. How you dress should make you happy, regardless of labels and titles. But as much as labels can limit us, they can also give us the opportunity to meet and bond with other individuals who feel the same as we do. How many of us have met good friends through the retro, rockabilly, pinup, or vintage communities? I’d say a very large amount, and that’s the beauty of this. Though initially about dress alone, we can create lasting connections that mean so much more than the clothes we put on or the way we do our hair. A particular aesthetic also brings with it a particular lifestyle and community, so I consider (these) labels to be a very good thing after all. With labels can come self-discovery and awareness, after all. Putting ourselves “in a box,” as labeling is often viewed, can indeed be truly positive if it extends so far beyond clothing.

Dovima Ballerina dress UVThe absolutely dreamy and decadent Dovima Ballerina Dress by Unique Vintage, I’m sure named after the famous model Dovima!

Do you fall under any of these categories? What are your favorite brands for your favorite aesthetic?

Until next time,
Lauren || The Homemade Pinup

Me Made Monday: A Wearable Muslin

Hello dollies!

It’s been a long, long while since I’ve posted, it seems. Too long! As some of you may know if you follow me on Instagram, I’ve been battling some health issues that are quite pervasive. While I’m not healed yet, I do believe I’m on the mend – I can see the light at the end of the tunnel! Unfortunately, when illness or some other unexpected issue strikes, one is forced to rearrange their priorities. For me, that meant no blogging, reduced Instagram interaction, and few outings, all of which has affected me greatly. My natural inclination is optimism and a cheerful disposition, and I’m hoping that returns in full force as my physical health improves. I’m trying to force motivation into myself again, as something like this really has a way of draining you of your “normal” life and attitude.

This is a project that I finished a couple of weeks ago, and I can’t even tell you how much I adore it. The blouse is actually a “wearable muslin” for a vintage blouse pattern, Advance 6261 – I was testing out a few alterations, and lo and behold, they worked perfectly! The size I purchased is a 34, which is my true measurement, but vintage bust measurements are notorious for being quite roomy, so I pulled up the shoulder seams and reduced the sides by about an inch on each side. Perfect!

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{My apologies for the unsightly power lines in these photographs. The idea of gearing up to take photos at a distant location has been rather unappealing since I started feeling ill.}

In an effort to reduce my impact on the environment as well as my wallet, I used a dress I purchased 4 years ago from Urban Outfitters for the fabric. The dress was really atrocious – it was the kind of thing that truly wouldn’t be flattering on anyone, regardless of body type – and even then I only bought it because it was $5 and I knew the fabric could make something wonderful. I actually bought TWO of them, in two colors, and so this is the second redo I did. The dresses were a really lightweight cotton, perfect for the horrid weather we’ve been having in SoCal, so I’ve been wearing my newly re-made garment quite a bit lately. I wish I had a before picture, but this blouse came from the skirt of the dress – the pocket is now at center back, stitched together and trimmed off so it looks like a seam. Some artful finagling 😉 I’m pleased with how versatile this piece is, from skirts to pants to shorts, tucked and untucked.IMG_3305IMG_3306

I try not to buy buttons either, as I have quite an extensive collection gifted from various relatives and acquaintances, but the placket on this pattern was too big for my small buttons. I didn’t want the buttons to be swallowed in such a large space, so I purchased these lovely, woven-textured wooden buttons from Joann for something like $2 – not a huge expense, I’d say!

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All in all, I’m incredibly pleased with this quick project that resulted in a very useful, wearable, attractive piece to add to my growing collection of separates. I already have fabric to make more from this pattern! To be continued…

Until next time,
Lauren || The Homemade Pinup

P.S. A quick thank you to everyone for sticking with me during the hiatus. I’m doing my best to get everything back to normal – I’m eager to get it back – so hopefully I’ll be sewing and posting up a storm soon!

Weekly eBay Round-up: Week of 08/02

Can you believe it’s August already? It hardly feels like I’ve been home from college this long, or that I’ve had this blog up for only a couple of months! Strange how time can seem to move both fast and slow all at once.

I’m already looking ahead to winter wear. My eBay searches will reflect that, but I promise to keep some summer style in the picks for those of you who aren’t as eager for colder weather 🙂 as always, these are all pieces that I’ve found on eBay going for a GREAT price, but since I can’t buy everything I’m sharing the love! Please let me know what you’d like to see next week and PLEASE let me know if you end up getting anything!

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Vintage Brown Paisley Print Eyelet Trim Ruffle Circle Broom Skirt$2 + $6.50 shipping, 25″ waist, auction ends TODAY 6:52pm PST
Such a lovely, summery skirt. This one would be so cool on hot days, and work for many eras!

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Vtg 60s Komay of California Cotton Floral/Leaf-Print Blouse/Skirt Set-S/M$14.99 + $2.75 shipping, 39″ bust-27″ waist, auction ends TODAY 7pm PST
I am SO into this set! There are some minor issues, but I agree with the seller that they won’t detract from its fabulousness. Please, please get this and send me a photo of you in it!

Green:Yellow Set

5 PAIRS OF NEW VINTAGE HOSIERY STOCKINGS 3 PAIR SEAMED, SIZE 10 ½ LONG$9.95 + $2.71 shipping, auction ends next Sunday 1:05pm PST
It’s really cool to find a lot of stockings all in the same size. This could be the start to a collection for a lucky lady!

Stocking lot

VINTAGE PLASTIC WICKER & WHITE BEADED PURSE HANDBAG MADE IN HONG KONG: $7.99 + $8.85 shipping, auction ends Monday 5:45pm PST
I love a good wicker purse, and this one is so unique!

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VINTAGE 1950s 60s SCARF LOT OF 35 CHIFFON VINTAGE NYLON HEAD SCARVES$14.99 + $6 shipping, auction ends Monday 6:26pm PST
I almost didn’t include this listing because I want it so badly, but decided that would be wrong. Considering you can pay over $10 for a single nylon scarf, this is SUCH A DEAL!

Scarf lot

Vintage Large Tortoise Lucite Hair Barrettes Clips 2$5 BIN + $2.65 shipping
I’m a big, big fan of hair clips for a little pizazz for casual outfits and these are great, simple pieces for every day wear.

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Vtg 1930’s-1940’s Fabulous Wool Mink Nip Waist Jacket Poque’s Kennie Original$12.99 + $7.05 shipping, ~40″ bust, auction ends Thursday 5:53pm PST
While this jacket is definitely later than the seller says, it’s still a lovely piece in great condition. Get it now for a low price before everyone else starts thinking of winter clothing!

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Vintage Brooch – 1950’s Painted Enamel Regal Bird Pin$7.95 BIN + $3.95 shipping
I know this little bird has some “chipping” – not sure if that’s intentional or from age – but either way I think it adds tremedously to his charm. Look how sassy he is!

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Vintage 1960s Purple Gingham Shirt Blouse Top Short Sleeve Rockabilly Homemade: $1 BIN + $3.50 shipping, bust 38″, listing ends Saturday 11:36pm PST
This shirt is $1. ONE DOLLAR! You can get an adorable shirt for under $5, and vintage to boot. What more can you ask for?!

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Vintage Cashmere Sweater S Upcycled Mod Go Go Shell Beaded Black Small B-33″: $19 BIN + $3.94 shipping, listing ends 8/10 at 6:49am PST
Anyone close to me will tell you that I have a problem. A cashmere sweater problem. So someone PLEASE buy this before I add another to my vast collection! This is one case of vintage re-do done very, very right. I LOVE IT!

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That’s it for now, ladies.

Until next time,
xx Lauren | The Homemade Pinup

Vintage When the Going Gets Tough

As an authentic vintage hopeful, the goal of my dressing vintage isn’t to look the part of a particular fashion or style aesthetic. “Vintage,” to me (as the term is so personal and subjective), does not mean pin-up, retro, rockabilly, or even vintage-inspired, though at the moment I often come closer to the latter than anything.
(As a side note, I plan on writing a blog post on the difference between these aesthetics in the near future.)

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Rather, my intention is to take a solid step back in time: I try my darndest to wear authentic vintage styles and sport an authentic vintage beauty look because of my intense admiration for the years past. Obviously that includes wearing dresses or shoes in 1950s style, for example, but occasionally it comprises an embodiment of the vintage mindset. While I certainly don’t have any desire for a time when women were considered secondary to men, when their employment opportunities were scarce and underpaid, or when a woman in higher education was a rather rare thing, there are many aspects of vintage female life that could be desirable – and relevant – for our modern times.

I’ve always admired the elegance and social grace of the years past. For this moment, however, I’m not considering that kind of quality, ones that signify a well-dressed or well-bred woman more than anything else. Instead, I’m talking about how women in the past, when push came to shove, were not afraid to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty – both metaphorically and literally. During World War II, life became extremely tough for entire populations regardless of gender or age. With rationing and a severe lack of resources and manpower came a push to actively and inventively participate in bettering one’s own life and, in turn, the outcome of society as a whole.

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Women were vital to the war effort, both across seas and on the home front. In an instant, the stereotypical female role was turned on its head – women worked in military, agriculture, industry, and business positions, to name only a few. Society, and women in particular, adapted to the new requirements demanded by their country in war, and together they excelled.

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My particular favorite image is that of the Land Girl in the Women’s Land Army: civilian organizations created to encourage women to take up vacancies in vital agricultural jobs after men went off to war. Present in Britain since World War I, and later created in other Allied countries such as the United States and Australia, women were directly responsible for the sustenance of their country – an inspiring and powerful thought.

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On a similar thread, women at home were encouraged whenever possible to start their own Victory Gardens – to grow their own food, and therefore take some of the burden off of the government to provide when its resources were desperately low and to supplement when ration points got low.

Plant a Victory GardenCanning

Women could have simultaneously worked vacant jobs, raised their children, and personally provided food for themselves and their family, on top of maintaining a 1940s aesthetic – certainly more time-consuming than the modern day ponytail-and-yoga-pants ensemble that many wear during busy times. As noted in D-Day, women “became proficient cooks and housekeepers, managed the finances, learned to fix the car, worked in a defense plant, and wrote letters to their soldier husbands that were consistently upbeat.” That’s a hell of a lot of daily responsibility, but they succeeded with flying colors and looked good doing it. It’s women like these that are most inspiring to keep on goin’ strong when life gives you lemons: roll up your sleeves and hand squeeze those lemons into some sweet (and authentic!) lemonade.

My lemon at the moment is an exceptionally difficult statistics class required in order for me to graduate after four years of college. Only one more class and I get my degree – though that sounds much easier than it is in reality. I’ve found my motivation fading as the material accelerates and I struggle to understand the increasingly complicated concepts: a common theme, I’m sure, but one that I wasn’t familiar with while studying topics I adored in my major of choice. Combine that with the fact that I haven’t formally worked on math for five years, and the challenge is quite evident.

I’ve been chastising myself for not updating Instagram or this blog, for failing to take outfit photos, for going back on my intentions and my promises for future content – when in reality, like those 1940s women, I’ve got bigger fish to fry. My nails, usually extremely manicured and red-tipped, are currently in an embarrassingly short, chipped state. When I let those go, you really know how tough things are on my own “home front.”

On this blog, I devoted a day to posting eBay finds for y’all and another for showcasing a new me-made garment each week. This week, I’ve failed at both of those, and it’s not the first time. Failure is not something I’m accustomed to, and it’s not something I’m proud of. I’ve come to realize, however, that sometimes it isn’t possible to do everything. In quintessential forties attitude, I must make do and mend.

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Women were encouraged to refashion or repair their old, worn clothing rather than buying (or in my case, sewing) completely new garments. I’ve interpreted that to mean that while I may not be able to realistically sew a brand new clothing item each week, I can find inventive ways to repurpose or mix-and-match what I already have. I’d love a larger vintage wardrobe, but right now, it just ain’t gonna happen. Little money and little time are certainly a formidable combination.

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I guess this is my way of explaining away my absence in the social media realm lately. When I do post, I’m sure it will be of clothing or outfits that I’ve already showcased before – but that’s okay. The type of blog that features “hauls” or posts frequent professional photoshoots of expensive reproduction brands is exactly what I was reacting to when I created The Homemade Pinup, after all. The Homemade Pinup was, in essence, my answer to what can arguably be considered a commodity-driven, instant gratification, disposable view of fashion.

My intention is not to say that women who have blogs like that are wrong – for all I know, they have likely worked extremely hard for the money to purchase these beauties – but their image is not one I’m familiar with on a personal level. So my goal has always been to be completely real and realistic – to show others out there that there are people like you who don’t or can’t purchase pricy brands or who are unable to get a new dress every week (or even every other week, or every month!). Despite that, a vintage aesthetic is entirely possible and is made even more authentic for the struggle. Just like our foremothers, all it requires of us is a little inventiveness and a lot of grit.

What do you do to maintain your vintage ideals when the going gets tough? I intend to keep up my vintage hair and makeup aesthetic, while finding new ways to incorporate the well-loved but still lovely pieces in my wardrobe. I’d love to hear your suggestions and thoughts – Lord knows I could use all the help I can get! Let’s think of it as the Women’s Fashion Army 😉

Until next time,
Lauren || The Homemade Pinup || General of the #WomensFashionArmy

P.S. Hashtag that. Seriously. I think I would die of happiness if we made that a thing!

Me Made Monday: {Pique-nique} Skirt

Today my Me Made Monday offering is one of which I am particularly proud! I named this special skirt “Pique-Nique” after one of my favorite words I learned in French class, not only because I love it but because English seemed far too ordinary for such a fabulous and fun skirt as this. I’m sure y’all realize that it’s pronounced just as it looks, which happens to be exactly how it is in English but call me a sucker for flair, if nothing else!

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The {Pique-nique} Skirt is made from vintage fabric (I think meant for upholstery), a vintage metal zipper, and even some vintage thread – simply because I was too lazy to wind my own bobbin and found a red one in the supplies that came with my 1970 sewing machine 🙂 She is a full circle, which is delightfully swingy as always, but I feel that my use of several couture techniques rocketed up the quality of this one far above my previous two circle skirts.

Rather than my usual left-hand zipper and right-hand pocket, I decided to go for two pockets – because a lady can never have too much convenient storage. In an effort to use up some relatively unsavory synthetic fabric leftover from my high school prom dress (it’s been taking up space in my sewing storage since 2011!), I made the pockets from a bright red fabric rather than matching the print. It really does lend a fun bit of whimsy to this skirt to see the red peek out when I use the pockets. See below. Obviously, using the fun red pockets was wearing off on my mood 🙂

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I also used that red fabric to create a very wide facing to finish the hem, which by far is the most beautifully elegant way to finish a circle skirt. Though it’s quite time consuming – I turned and stitched the facing by hand so as not to see so many obvious thread pricks – the results are without compare. My boyfriend, who took these photos for me, noted that he feels this is my best skirt yet and looks of professional quality. That’s the goal, isn’t it? Who wants a homemade dress that looks obviously homemade? So I’m pleased as punch, and I’m sure you can tell. This skirt is such a joy to wear.

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The making, however, wasn’t without its mishaps. When cutting for the zipper, I didn’t take into account that a lapped zipper won’t lay flat in the fabric without a seam without some serious thought. I solved it by sewing a false seam down the center back, which worked wonderfully. Later, I sewed the buttonhole vertically rather than horizontally – TWICE – but the third time was a charm when I took a friend’s advice and butted the two edges up evenly with hooks and eyes. So all’s well that ends well. Ahh, I love a cleanly finished garment!

DSCF0542Unfortunately, the only glimpse of the red facing is in the above photo with my love, who was sick as a dog but still indulged me with a picnic and a photo. It really does look delightful when it peeks out! I think whenever I wear this skirt, I’ll be a bit happier simply because of the thought and detail that I included. It’s all in the little things, isn’t it?

I’m sure I’ll be “pique-nique-ing” plenty in this sensational skirt in the future. The use of such a thick fabric makes it drape in such a lovely way that I don’t even want to include a petticoat. Not only that, but I’ve been realizing since watching more and more vintage television (Leave it to Beaver!) that ladies didn’t necessarily wear the full, full skirts in daily life. At all! And my goal in dressing vintage is to look the authentic part, so my pettis will be kept aside for mainly formal and special events.

What is your intention or goal when you dress vintage? Be sure to tag your own garments on Instragram with #memademonday and @thehomemadepinup, and drop your blog link down below in the comments if you participate. I’d love to feature your Me Made Monday beauties each week as well!

Thanks for stopping by!

Until next time,
Lauren || The Homemade Pinup

Weekly e-Bay Round-Up: Week of 07/12

Hello dollies! I’m back to a regular schedule here at the blog after my friend left after her weeklong stay. I found some really fun pieces at some great prices, though they may go up, of course.

As always, and for those of you who may not have been to the blog before, the eBay listings below are ones that I have searched out for this week. They are not my own listings, but a way of possibly making the hunt for vintage a little easier. I hope you enjoy, and please comment below if you’d like to see anything specific! I tried to keep things light and airy for summer in this week’s post.

I am thinking of listing my own vintage for next week, and including them in next week’s post. I don’t often go for self-promotion, but I’m working on saving up money to start sewing circle skirts and novelty appliqué skirts as a business! I’d really appreciate any support with that, so my auctions could be a way of raising a little more money. Let me know if y’all would be interested! Enjoy this week’s shopping!

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50s I Miller Brown Leather peep toe sling back heels size 7: $5 + $7 shipping, auction ends Monday 5:29pm

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Vtg 40s Saks Fifth Avenue Sheer White Nylon Womens Fitted Short Sleeve Blouse: $7.99 + $2.65 shipping, bust 40″, auction ends Tuesday 9:37am

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Vintage Pearl Collar/Necklace with Beading: $6 BIN + $6 shipping

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Vtg Pair Cloisonne Butterfly Floral Enamel Hair Combs: $7.99 ($12.99 BIN) + $2.50 shipping, auction ends Wednesday 6:30pm
I’ve always wanted vintage hair combs, but was never too successful in my search. I’ve been inspired by the ones that Nurse Jenny wears in Call the Midwife to search smarter, and lo and behold! There they have been hiding all along. This lovely cloisonne pair are quite charming.

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Vtg 1940’s Black Suede and Mesh Peep Toe Strappy Heels *Size 8.5 ~ UK 39: $12 + $6.10 shipping, auction ends today 7pm

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GREAT VINTAGE YELLOW SUMMER SAILOR DRESS IN GREAT CONDITION- S OR XS: $11.61 + $4.90 shipping, auction ends Saturday 5:53am

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VINTAGE GENUINE test BAKELITE CHERRY RED MARLED DACHSHUND LENGTHY DOG PIN BROOCH: $10 + $4.25 shipping, auction ends next Sunday, 10:46am
I love this whimsical little pooch!

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Vintage Open Weave Linen Blend Cap Sleeve Top/Sweater-Light Beige$6.45 BIN + $5.40, bust 38″, auction ends 7/25 at 9:06am
This neckline has a very The Original Badgirl vibe!

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1950s BOBBY LOU High Waist Black Cotton Nautical Shorts-XS S$1.04 + $3.14shipping, waist 24″, auction ends Tuesday 5:28pm
Someone please buy these shorts, they are so cool!

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Very Pretty Vintage WICKER PURSE$13.35 + FREE shipping, auction ends Saturday 10:37am

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Until next time,
Lauren || The Homemade Pinup

Me Made Monday: “Ray of Sunshine” Dress and Vintage Reception

Hello dolls! As promised, my Me Made Monday contribution is coming a day late, since I couldn’t resist the opportunity to include photos taken at Disneyland in my newest creation. This dress was originally supposed to be the one I graduated in, as yellow is one of my school’s colors, but my sewing machine chose to revolt and conk out when I was about halfway through. Oh, well. Sometimes the sewing fates decide things for you.

In an attempt to make do and reuse (so forties), helping the environment as well as my currently limited budget, I remade a dress of mine that I completed back in 2011 (!!!). It was certainly not my best work, as I was still learning then, and was showing its age as well as its lack of style. I always felt the dress lacked a certain panache or detail; additionally, it had too short a skirt for my current taste, so apart it came! Here’s how it used to look…

tumblr_lklattQlSQ1qzm4qr tumblr_lkfsviKwtk1qzm4qrIt was originally sleeveless, though even then I covered the bodice with a sweater since the neckline didn’t turn out how I intended. (Also, I couldn’t resist including the latter photo. I’m wearing a pair of gloves my grandmother gave me, that her father gave her in the forties! Aren’t they divine?)

My new dress is constructed from Simplicity 1459, a delightful reprint from a sixties original. I may do a review of this pattern in the future, if y’all would like that! I think I’ll be using it again; the three-quarter sleeve option looks incredibly similar to PUG’s Birdie dress!

IMG_0262 IMG_0273The white collar and skirt panel were done by necessity – I simply didn’t have enough fabric leftover from the last dress to do otherwise – but I think they added so much more charm to this number! Additionally, gingham skirts with a thick white border are quite authentic and I think the effect is darling.

31a9890ef604e85bdbd0053064e17855Florida Fashions, 1951

And CHECK OUT how identical the below dress is to my own dress! Such an exciting find to run across a period photo that closely matches your in-progress piece.fe645b16fbe87a2a453f7a411f56e9caMontgomery Ward, 1959

The reception of vintage is unlike anything else, I’ve noticed. People respond incredibly well to these classic fashions, from young children to mothers and fathers and grandparents alike. I think there is something incredibly relatable to vintage era dresses, as they can be demure, sweet, sexy, adorable, and more all within the same outfit – a very hard thing to achieve, particularly within the limits of modern fashion.

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My close friend Rachel (who dressed in her own handmade gingham dress, hers from a forties pattern) and I received a great amount of attention, all positive! Young girls stared or pointed, several adults noted how they thought we looked lovely, and a few people even mistook us for cast members, which was the second best compliment, I think. The first? The Evil Queen herself (from Snow White) repeatedly called me a “ray of sunshine” (in a begrudging voice 😉 ) in this dress, which delighted the inner child in me! I think I have a new favorite face character at Disneyland – she was too fabulous. She whispered to me with narrowed eyes how my hair reminded her of that of another “fair maiden” (her name for me) that she knew. Disney goals achieved. Though my smirk isn’t nearly as epic as hers.

IMG_0305 IMG_0303 IMG_0306 IMG_0307Vintage has an effect unlike any other, and while I don’t sew for the attention, it certainly validates my efforts when complete strangers stop me to mention how much they love my garments.

What is your favorite compliment you’ve received while wearing vintage?

Until next time,

Lauren || The Homemade Pinup

Patriotism: America the Beautiful

Sometimes I find that American patriotism is not met with the most positive of reactions. I was raised in a family extremely proud of our roots, of our successes thanks to the U. S. of A. On top of that, several family members have served in the military, devoting their lives to serve their country and protect its citizens, so I never understood being ashamed of the place where I was born and raised. And those of you who have visited and read my blog before may remember my quick comment about the USN future of my boyfriend – I am no stranger to strong servitude devotion to America, sometimes extending beyond personal desires (hello, multiple military moves – my future looms ahead). DSCF0479

I’ll admit that I wasn’t always such a constant fan of this country, though. Oddly enough, it took an extended time outside of America for me to appreciate it! I was outrageously excited to leave the States and spend months living in Ireland for my study abroad semester, eager to experience a new place and expand my horizons outside of America’s borders. I had lived twenty-one years within the state of California and was quite done with American culture, American accents, American ways. My first trip outside of the US was one that lasted five months, so I absolutely got my wishes!

I didn’t anticipate how much I would miss, however. The most ridiculous things brought heavy nostalgia: colors, foods (burgers!), even American money. I’m completely serious – euros are small, colorful, almost sterile compared to U.S. notes. The bills remind me of Monopoly money! U.S. dollars, on the other hand, are green and dingy, with their own distinctive smell and feel. Missing something like that may sound odd and gross, but the currency of this country suddenly seemed just as gritty as its people – industrious and not afraid to get dirty. Using foreign money on a daily basis made me realize just how far away I was from everything that I had grown up with.

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Living abroad also forced me to acknowledge my country’s shortcomings in a very real way, beyond the petty complaints of daily life. America is certainly not a perfect country, but very few places – if any place – is perfect. I also learned not to waste too much time comparing such a huge country with smaller, progressive European countries that are often smaller than a single state in the USA. It’s hard to expect the same rate of progress in a place that has such a phenomenally large amount of people from a vast range of cultures. In my mind, that is one of the reasons why it takes so much time to enact real, worthwhile change in America – nothing beyond brainwashing is going to convince all people in all 50 states to agree on the same opinion all at once – but it’s also one of the reasons that makes America so great. We are completely free to believe anything and everything we wish, even if those beliefs may seem crazy to other people!

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And after realizing the shortcomings of other countries as well as my own while abroad, I’ll frankly take those in America, thank you very much! After such an amazing ruling by the Supreme Court on gay marriage recently, I think this is the proudest I’ve ever been to live in my country. And there ain’t nothin’ wrong with that, in my opinion.

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Plus, patriotism is SO vintage. And I’m all for authenticity 😉

Are you proud of your country? I’d love to see your 4th of July fashion, so link me below!

Until next time,
Lauren | The Homemade Pinup