Guest Post: Body Confidence in the Pin Up Scene by Carrie-Ann

Hello! I’m Carrie-Ann from Something Definitely Happened, and I’ve recently started a new project on my blog, the A-Z of vintage girl in a modern world. As part of this, a few weeks ago I wrote about body confidence and body positivity, and a big thank you to the lovely Jessica for inviting me to talk to you about it!

As I get a bit older (I’ve reached the grand old age of 30. I feel wise), I realize how important it is to be comfortable with who you are.

30thbirthdayWhen I was younger, I had very low self-esteem. I spent hours considering what I’d change about myself if I could (everything, from the shape of my ears to my sticky-out little toes), and wished I looked like all my friends, whether it was their long legs, swishy hair or piercing eyes. I’d also sycophantic-ally agree with everything they said, terrified that if they found out I liked reading, writing, and history, they’d stop talking to me.

CarrieAnnyoungerOf course, now I realize that was all nonsense (because they’ve told me so. And because I now talk about reading, writing and history all the freaking time while wearing giant petticoats, and they tell me they’re proud of me). I hid my feelings by being outwardly confident, loud and – I’ll be honest – a bit of a pain sometimes. And once I took up drama classes, I spent my lunchtimes onstage, making up scenes and the like (giving me a cast-iron excuse not to eat my lunch).

Too CoolThen, I got a bit older, got spooked after meeting some incredibly talented actors, and decided not to do that anymore, either.

So, with a lot more time to consider my failings, my self-esteem shrank to almost nothing. I felt like people would like me more if I was a bit taller, a bit thinner, a bit quieter/louder/funnier/more sensible…basically, a little bit less me.

They didn’t of course, and I became a lesser person for it. Trying to be someone you’re not is exhausting, like being some sort of sham chameleon, constantly changing yourself depending on who you’re with, and my friends around me at the time were at a loss as to what to do or say to snap me out of it.

I finished university, moved home, and carried on wearing the same clothes as my friends, not quite liking what I saw in the mirror, and wondering why I continued to wear jeans that were so long they covered my shoes, without actually doing anything about it.

jeansandjacketBut, a few years ago (six and a bit, to be precise), a few things happened. First, I met The Boy – now my husband – and he gently encouraged me to embrace the things I love, to love the bits about me that others might find a bit odd, and, most importantly, not to give two figs either way if people do think I’m odd.

I also started burlesque lessons, where I had the most wonderful teacher. She focused on teaching us to be confident, because that’s what comes across on stage. Oddly, that stuck with me outside of the classes too, and I started to hold my head a little higher.

And, finally, I discovered the Twinwood Festival, a 1920s-1960s music festival, held in the U.K. I started volunteering in the museum with my lovely granddad, and, because everyone used to come in dressed up, I started wondering if I should try it too. (The poster of Rita Hayworth featured strongly in those wonderings).

“I’ll do that next year.” I promised myself, and Grandad.

I did. And it felt awesome. So I started doing it a bit more, then a lot more, and now I do it every day.

I’ve been a few different sizes since I started dressing in 1940s and 1950s inspired outfits – none of them as small as when I wished I was thinner – and I’ve never felt more confident or beautiful. I pop on a petticoat and pearls, and feel like I can take on the world. I can’t explain why, and it’s not for me to tell other ladies and gents how to dress, but I’ve found my style, and every time someone tells me that “it looks great, but it would never suit me”, I trip over myself to tell them to give it a try, because you shouldn’t let fear hold you back from anything, certainly not slinging on a dress and smearing on some red lipstick.

missvintageAs I’ve alluded to, I recently got married. Which could quite easily have had my self-esteem slithering back towards the floor (and I have to admit, during an epic search for a wedding dress, it was touch and go for a short while). But, I came through it feeling pretty darn good about myself. I had the best day, surrounded by friends and family, and got a pretty awesome husband at the end of it (well, actually, at the beginning of it). I’m proud of myself for how far I’ve come, from that painfully unhappy girl, who wanted to change everything about herself, to being comfortable in my own skin on what was possibly the most photographed day of my life. This includes leaving in one of the most unflattering photos of my face I’ve ever seen. Because it made me laugh, and reminds me exactly what I was thinking at that moment (“Oh cripes, I’m literally minutes away from getting married. And I think I’ve just broken my dress.”).

weddingkiss weddingpinewood weddingdayWhether dressing in vintage is your thing, you rock a modern minimalist look, or you’re a jeans and a sweatshirt sort of a person (or anything in between), know that you and your style are awesome. The size of your waist defines the clothes size you wear in a particular store; it shouldn’t define who you are. Clichés, perhaps, but that’s only because they’re true.

Do you guys have a happy outfit? This is mine. I wore it on at my hen party (bachelorette party, for you Stateside lovelies) and it makes me smile. Firstly, because it’s a gorgeous dress, but secondly, because it has exploding TARDISes (TARDISi?) all over it, and proudly proclaims that I’m a Doctor Who fan – not something I would have admitted just a few years ago.

tardisdress 017I have six tattoos, piercings all the way up my ears, I’m short, chubby and have a giant scar across my side (from a kidney operation when I was younger, although I used to tell the kids I babysat that I’d had a fight with a shark and won), and it took me almost 30 years to love my body.

I’m so glad I did.

Carrie-Ann

http://www.somethingdefinitelyhappened.com

The Return Of Retro Swimwear by Susan Bodack

Susan Bodack manages the blog and social media for InStyleSwimwear.com, an online boutique specializing in designer swimwear, beachwear, footwear and accessories. For more articles on swim fashion, visit the Beauty and the Beach blog today.

We’ve all heard the adage “an oldie but goodie,” and nowhere is it more evident than in the world of fashion. Trends seem to revolve on a generational turntable as fashions recur over and over again with just slight variations or updates. Some may even argue that there are really never any new fashions, just old ones resurrected and made popular again.

One fashion trend that took the world by storm, and took many breaths away in the process, was the sexy yet glamorous pinup girl look. The retro fashion of the 1950’s saw a unique contradiction in fashion as increased sex appeal shared center stage with an emphasis on feminine features. Perhaps no other era had such a dazzling, classy look as the ladies of this time with their siren red lips, perfectly styled hair, and clothing cut to emphasize curves of all shapes, sizes, and places. Luckily for women today, these same trends are hotter than ever and as flattering as they were 60 years ago.

Although today’s mainstream fashion has certainly seen a retro revival, perhaps the pinup resurgence is most easily seen on the sand. Not only did the sex symbols of the 50’s rock the fashion world, they also changed the swimwear industry forever. Debuting in the late 1940’s, the two-piece swimsuit was really brought into vogue by the classic pinup girls of the 50’s. Featuring bustier tops, high-cut bottoms and ultra-feminine designs, these swimsuits simultaneously helped flatter any woman’s figure while radiating subtle sex appeal.

Today, these classic two-piece fashions, as well as their one-piece counterparts, are loved by women everywhere for their incredible versatility and universally flattering fit. A woman who is challenged in the chest area will love the added oomph a pinup-inspired bustier top can provide, particularly one with extra hoist provided by thick fixed halter straps. On the other end of the spectrum, any lady with fuller, curvier hips will be grateful for the extra coverage provided by a high-waist bottom, as they help to hold you in and slim the tummy. Women of all sizes can be intimidated by the dreaded thigh or backside area, but yet again, pinup fashion comes to the rescue as boy-cut shorts and ruched skirted bottoms provide additional coverage in those troublesome spots.

Not only are the cuts of the classic pinup era universally flattering, but the prints and designs are timelessly fun and flirty. Today’s hottest swimwear designers are sticking to the classics–if it’s not broken, why fix it? Think pinup-inspired one-pieces and two-pieces featuring polka dot prints in an array of color combinations and sizes. But if you’re not into polka dots, look for styles featuring luscious cherry prints, sweet gingham patterns or sailor-chic nautical designs. For solid swimsuit lovers, look for retro styles with sweetheart necklines, ruched bodices, little bow details, and/or subtle ruffle trim. Regardless of the style you choose, you can guarantee a youthful yet ultra-glam look.

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A very warm thank you to Susan for guest posting on Pin Up Persuasion. Would you ladies like to read reviews on retro inspired swimwear in the future???