For me, discovering pin up dressing was like rediscovering my femininity and my sexuality. Rediscovering a pleasure in dressing I hadn’t felt since I was a little girl. As a teenager and in my early twenties my main aim with dressing was to minimise myself. Make sure I looked as small, as slim as possible. It never occurred to me that I had a shape, and one that I might want to accentuate. I assumed I was blob shaped and that was that. And the clothes sold to me as a plus size women certainly weren’t aimed at celebrating my shape. Plus size shops in the 90s and early 2000s were full of leggings and tunics and smocks and shapeless shifts. The message was, cover up. Be invisible. Don’t, whatever you do, stand out!
Words by Hayley of Curves & Curls.
Pinup style seems to draw a pretty diverse following – from those who follow vintage dressing down the very last detail, to the tattooed, bright haired rockabilly crowd, it seems like a style that adapts to a variety of tastes. One of the reasons I was drawn to it, as a plus size woman, was because it seemed like a style that rejected all the ridiculous “rules” I had been taught about dressing my fat body.
And I think this may well be one of the reasons I was so drawn to pin up style clothes. It’s all the things I was told not to do for so long. Pinups demand attention! Nothing about it is subdued or sedate. The fabrics used in pinup styles tend to be colourful, patterned and fun. It’s a sense of dressing that doesn’t take itself seriously – the perfect antidote to the severity of endless black tunics. Patterns are often cute, girly or kitch. Patterns are bold, hair flowers are bright and the bigger the better, frothy petticoats make skirts extra voluminous.
It’s about standing out. It’s about enjoying dressing up. Turning getting dressed into an art. And when you’ve perhaps been at war with your body for as long as many plus size women have there’s something special about taking time with your appearance. About enjoying dressing yourself and adorning yourself which I think can heal so many confidence wounds. About saying you are worthy of these attentions. That your body deserves to be celebrated and enjoyed
I also rediscovered my sexiness with pinup dressing. Pinups celebrates shapeliness – actively encouraging and accentuating curves. And I started to love the parts of me that I’d spent so much time hiding. Because they filled out a swing dress so beautifully, because I was pleased to have a bit of cheeky cleavage poking out from a cardigan, because why not! Having spent a lot of time hiding in shift dresses, or spending winters in jeans and jumpers it felt wonderful to see and celebrate my shape, and I honestly don’t think I would have found that had it not been for my fave pinup brands.
That’s why it’s so great that brands like Voodoo Vixen have plus size collections, where they create styles especially cut for curves. Some of my very favourite pieces are from Voodoo Vixen, and they’re one of the few brands that don’t just reproduce polka-dot fare, but actually offer unique designs and wonderful patterns in up to a size 26. Every time they release a collection there always several I want to add to cart straight away, and this season was not different. Flirty cut outs, colourful embroidery, matching belts (that actually fit!), unusual colour schemes and perfect patterns keep me coming back to them time and again.
I’m a proud, body confident Vixen, with a wardrobe of fab frocks to prove it!