Hello lovelies, I’m Miss Amy May, blogger, clothes-addict and lover of cake! For those of you who know me from Instagram (on which I spend way too much of my time) or from my own blog, you’ll know I like to share any tips or tricks I have for ladies who are new to the style. For the rest of you, you should know I own way too many lipsticks, far more headscarves than I use, and approximately a gatrillion dresses. That being said I thought it would be nice for me to do a post on the pinup basics you will need as a lady who is newly looking to embrace her pinup style, with the added bonus that everything found on this list comes in at prices friendly to those lovelies on a budget.
Long lasting lipsticks: A saucy red lip is an essential part of a polished pinup look. Personally I can’t risk a ruby pout that’s going to slip and slide all over my face, so I like my lip colour to be long-lasting. Thankfully there’s plenty of great red lipsticks that not only stay put but don’t hurt your bank balance. Here are some of my favourite budget long-lasting lip products.
False lashes & Glue: For those who like a super heavy winged liner, false lashes can really round out the look. False lashes are one of those things that can be bought for $5 a pair in-store…or $3 for 10 pairs online. I tend to prefer the latter. Searching eBay for ‘false lashes’ and narrowing the price results to your budget will provide you with hundreds of results. Clear band lashes are less intimidating for beginners as they’re more flexible and the band is, you guessed it, less noticeable. A great thing about buying pairs in bulk is that you can cut the bands in half to create your own pair of corner lashes without feeling like you’ve ruined a $5 pair of lashes. Getting decent lash glue is something that helps to ensure your lashes aren’t going to ping off halfway through the day, so Revlon (under $10) and Duo (under $5) lash adhesives are both great glues which won’t bust your wallet open.
Eyeliners: Key to a pinup look is a killer cat’s eye winged liner. The kind of eye liner product you like is a very personal thing, but newbies to a winged flick shouldn’t feel intimidated into dropping heavy bucks on hyped up liner to get a decent cat’s eye. With winged liner the result is much more reliant upon practice and developed skill than it is a magic product, so it’s more important that you swap your kohl pencil for a liquid liner or a gel liner and get practicing. The Liquid Liner from E.L.F $2, Maybelline Eye Studio Gel Liner $9.99, Revlon Colorstay Liquid Liner $5.49, Maybelline Stiletto Liquid Liner $7.25 and L’Oreál Paris Infallible Gel Liner $9.95 are all well-reviewed liners under 10bucks. Ladies who struggle getting their flicks on point can find a plethora of video tutorials and pictorials online to help them develop their knack.
Beauty Spots: A mole is certainly not a requirement of a full pinup face, but some ladies like to add one to their look anyway and there are ladies, like me, who have a beauty spot already that they like to fill in once foundation has left it awkwardly half covered. For a beauty spot that won’t smudge off with an errant swipe as may happen with kohl pencil, use a felt brow pen to colour your mark for long-lasting wear. Barry M Brow Pen in Dark Brown $4.99 and Makeup Revolution Brow Dual Ultra Arch & Shape in Dark £3.50 both give a smudge-resistant result that looks more natural than a dab of black liquid eyeliner.
If you want to pincurl your hair or step up your fabulousness with retro hair styles you’ll need several things.
Clips & Grips: A ton of bobby pins almost goes without saying, but you’ll also want sectioning clips for sectioning and setting your hair as well as pincurling clips, both of which you can get very cheaply online, most notably on eBay. Otherwise these things can be found at your local hair & beauty supply store.
Combs and brushes: You’ll need a teasing brush for backcombing, bonus points if it has a rat’s tail end as this is super useful for sectioning and parting your hair. If you want to get the best out of the effort you put into setting your hair, you’ll also need a smoothing brush. My favourite is the Denman smoothing brush. Both of these can be find, you guessed it, cheaply online on eBay and Amazon, or else at your local hair supply store.
Setting Lotion: Finding the right setting lotion for your hair can add up if you try a bunch of different brands, but I personally have had great success with the Motions At Home Foaming Wrap Lotion, which not only gives my hair great hold and keeps it soft, but also goes gently on your wallet at under $10 online or under $4 from Sally’s.
Headscarves: These are as much a god send for covering up your still-damp pincurls and a bad hair day as they are for finishing up a perfect style with a pretty bow. You can buy classic paisley style bandannas online super cheaply on eBay, but if you want that vintage nylon coloured scarf look without dropping the big bucks for modern repro scarves, you’ll be thrilled to learn that large kids’ juggling scarves work as a thrifty replacement. I bought a pack of 10 colours on eBay for £10 delivered and no one has ever known these weren’t retro headscarves until I excitedly told them the real truth in a braggy-bargain reveal. Search for ‘juggling scarves’ and choose a scarf or a pack of such which measure 70cmx70cm so they’re large enough.
Hair spray: UK readers will be thrilled to learn that Tesco Maximum Hold hairspray not only does an amazing job but only costs an incredible 80p! For international readers, Samy’s Fat Hair 0 Calories Amplifying Hair Spray will keep your quiff in place in a serious way for $12.99.
Hair Flowers: Hair flowers are a key part of many pinups’ look, but getting pieces in multiple colours can really add up for someone who’s on a strict budget. If you don’t have the money to spare for several different pieces, buy yourself a cheap glue gun from a local craft store, some crocodile hair clips and some felt, then pick out your favourite artificial flowers from the craft store or on eBay to make your own handmade pieces. Apart from saving money, it means you can make the pieces in the exact colour combinations you want.
Overhauling your closet to go full-on pinup can be an expensive endeavor, so remember to keep an eye out for separates from the mall/high street that can be made to look retro with the right styling. Crop tops, cropped pants, pencil skirts, cropped cardigans, A-line skirts and twinsets can all be styled easily to form a vintage inspired outfit. The next time you’re in Forever 21 or shopping online remember to picture all the clothing you’re seeing paired with a red lip and a killer pincurl set to see if it gives you that vintage feel.
There are also reasonably priced retro brands out there such as Hell Bunny and Lindybop which are kinder to your wallet. If you’re in love with some of the more expensive brands, such as Pinup Girl Clothing, Unique Vintage and Queen of Hearts, signing up for their email newsletters through their websites and following them on Instagram will often mean you’re the first to know when there’s a discount code available or a sale beginning. Setting up alerts on eBay for new listings under your favourite search terms of the brands you love most means you can also get lucky getting a gently used or brand new repro piece for less cash. Just search for the term you want to be notified of, such as ‘Bernie Dexter dress,’ narrow the search criteria down to whatever you want by size, type or colour if you want to get specific, and click ‘Follow This Search’ button listed shortly below the search bar. You can choose for new listings to be emailed to you daily or for the search to merely be listed in your saved searches so that you can check it manually when you log in online or on the app.
In a £3 top from high street chain Primark, an eBay belt and eBay bangles
Finding bling for that perfect 50s screen siren look needn’t be an old hollywood headache. Even searching ‘Crystal fashion necklace’ on eBay will give you a wealth (ba dum cha!) of options for some gorgeous neck candy that won’t break the bank. Likewise if you want to get an arm full of bangles without paying the mall price of $8 a bracelet, heading to your nearest thrift store, vintage shop or charity shop will often give you lots of bangles to choose from at a snippet of a price.
There are many different facets of a pinup look that you can pick and choose from to suit you, but it’s important to remember that this style isn’t exclusive to anyone, and not least only to those with more generous budgets. If you love any aspect of the styles from eras gone by then there are ways to incorporate them into your modern life and ways to do so without overspending. I hope that whether you’re strapped for cash or happy to spend you’ve found some great tips here that you want to try.
Thank you Jessica for having me on your wonderful blog ❤