Secrets to be a Modern Day Pinup Beauty!

There is so much more to being a pinup than victory rolls, winged eyeliner and a pretty day dress - as our craft expert Penelope Quinn learnt when she signed up to compete in Miss Pinup Australia!

80 years after pinup girls first appeared on WWII fighter jets, they have served as the standard for classic, feminine and glamorous beauty.  It’s fashion and style that served to accentuate a woman’s shape and curves, and make up that enhanced natural beauty.  Pinup is all about subtle sexuality and glamour – and has no age, height or size restrictions, It’s all about accentuating what you have and adding a fun, unique flair to any outfit that will definitely get you noticed!

Under the guidance of Miss Pixie Roberts from Boogie Bop Dames , who has been photographing pinups for over 30 years and runs Miss Pinup Australia , Penelope has learned some of the tricks of the trade that can transform any modern gal into a pinup beauty.

Ahead of the National Grand Finals this weekend, Penelope shares her tips to achieving the true vintage style that will turn heads where-ever you go.

Flawless make up

Winged eyeliner, luscious lashes, blushed cheeks, flawless skin and a bright red lip are all essential for a true pin up look - use references such as Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield.  Winged eyeliner can take a bit of practice, but a good tip is to aim to extend your eyeliner up towards the end of your eyebrow. Remember to always use a lip liner when applying red lipstick, and apply blush to the apple of your cheeks. Use a few coats of mascara or fake eyelashes for extra pop. And don’t forget fabulous, strong eyebrows! Fill in with powder and an eyebrow pencil to complete your look.


Think you could never pull off those glamorous, high maintenance hairstyles your grandma used to wear? Think again! Victory rolls look complicated, but are actually easy once you know how. Scour Youtube or sign up to a course with pinup beauty experts such as Boogie Bop Dames to show you.
The key is a lot of backcombing, hairspraying, and using the right sections of hair.   If you can, don't wash your hair for up to two days before. Freshly washed hair is slippery and smooth, while slightly dirty hair is so much better to curl and style.


Lift your rib cage, throw your shoulders back and suck in your bully. Keep your chin up, Thick tall, straight and elongated – you should be able to walk with a book balancing on your head! Good posture isn’t just for pinups – try making a effort to always stand straight and carry yourself with poise - you’ll look slimmer, have a shapely silhouette, and your clothes will fit better too.

Be resourceful

Our grandmothers didn’t have a wardrobe full of ‘fast fashion’ finds; she had three or four everyday dresses and one or two ‘good’ dresses.  Unless she was very wealthy, chances are she even made her own dresses, or could at least modify it to give it a new look.

She looked after and treasured her well-made, quality clothes, which explains why so many of them still survive today. Take a leaf out of grannies book and invest in classic, quality clothes that you can tailor to fit you perfectly. And it’s just not your wardrobe that can benefit from this philosophy – it goes for furniture, home wares accessories… Buy quality over quantity and make it last.

Find you retro style

The retro pin-up look is so feminine and flattering. It’s a feminine silhouette that will suit almost every shape from a size 6 to 16 and beyond.  Think sweat heart neckline, petticoats, and aim for just below the knee. 50s and 40s style doesn’t have to be flouncy day dresses; you can also do high wasted pants or wiggle dresses or skirts. . The key is to accentuate your style by cinching in your waist and making the most of your bust and hips. It’s all about accentuating your curves and finding the most flattering fit for your body shape.

Treat yourself to an authentic vintage piece

Vintage never really goes out of style, and while it may take a bit more hunting to find that perfect 50s dress, trench or handbag, when you do, you’ll be wearing something unique and special with a history all of it’s own that you’ll treasure for years to come.  Try vintage stores, markets, online or out-of-the-way charity stores.  A authentic 50s dress or outfit can be expensive, so always check the quality of the garment including the lining, any major stains or tears, buttons missing, and always check the zipper works. If there are any sequins or beading, shake the garment and check if anything falls to the floor. These don’t have to be deal breakers, but can give you some leverage for bargaining!

Don’t forget the accessories

As well as the fabulous dresses, fresh-faced make up and dazzling hair, 50s bling is also as coveted today as it was back then.

An authentic piece of vintage jewelry really polishes off your entire look – and can easily be styled with modern pieces to give you a unique style.

Think broaches, pearl necklaces, old watches, rings and large clip on earrings. Ask your mother or grandmother if they have any old pieces hidden away in a jewelry box, or scour opshops, antique shops and markets for that really special piece that will make your outfit pop.

Put your best foot forward

Invest in a good pair of solid, comfortable pumps – the pinup look is all about having a long, elongated posture and heels will help you achieve this. It can be hard to find authentic vintage shoes, so instead find some vintage-inspired designs that can help you complete your look. If you’re uncomfortable in heels, try ballet flats that can look just as authentic with peddle pushers or a day dress. 
Find your pinup personality

Are you smoldering and sexy? Cute and playful? If you are doing a pin up shoot, spend time in front of the mirror and find what works best for you.  Being a modern day pinup is all about emulating the confidence, style and sass of silver screen goddesses. Walk tall with your head held high - you will receive plenty of attention (and compliments!) so carry yourself with unapologetic poise and confidence!

For more information on Miss Pinup Australia visit or to buy tickets to the National Grand Final in Hornsby, this Saturday 2 August, click HERE

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