Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Pin-Up Becomes Her: Tara's Story

It's been suggested that each one of us tell our story about how we got into pin-up...or how pin-up got into us.

Growing up, I was a trend setter. I was the girl who wore purple pants when everyone else was wearing jeans. Bell bottoms when the fad was skinny. Whatever everyone else was wearing, I didn't really care.

Then I became a mechanic and dressing pretty became a thing of the past. For 15 years it was dirty, sealant-covered carharrts and tee shirts. And there was a lot of overtime so even on the weekends, there were no pretty dresses for me. I pined after them. I oohed and awwed. I said, "But I've nowhere to wear such a thing."

My first vintage style dress
It took me a long to realize something, ladies, and I'm here to tell you, "DON'T WAIT FOR YOUR MAN TO TAKE YOU SOMEWHERE WORTHY OF DRESSING PRETTY. MAKE EVERY OCCASION A DRESS-UP OCCASION." Wear a dress to the grocery store! Heck, Lucy Ricardo cleaned house dressed up. Just because everyone else is wearing pajamas to the store doesn't mean you have to.

But if you want to...

But I digress...

I've always been obsessed with the forties. WWII. Women taking control, bonding, coming together, getting things done. Naturally I was very inclined towards the styles of that time too as I immerse myself in darn near every period drama on the telly. Not to mention all the historical novels I devour.

But that was before I learned that bit up there about occasions so despite my fascination, I wasn't acting on it.

Then I discovered Modcloth. And I cannot remember what spurred me but I purchased my first retro-style dress, a soda shop dress. I still wear it, actually.

I wore it for an airplane ride in a B25. At that time I hadn't the money or the know-how and didn't have proper slips. Not having worn a dress like that before, I wasn't prepared and merely wore purple panties underneath...and do you know what happened???

Yea. It was windy and my ex-husband had to hold my dress down or all of Heber Valley was gonna get a view of my purple panties as I exited that B25.

That was years ago. I wear that dress now and laugh every time. (I hand dry my clothes. They last literally forever.)

After that incident, I did continue to wear retro-style dresses, but only on weekends. I wore my hair twenties' style and my clothes were 50s, minus the gloves and whatnot.

I did full pin up for the first time when we went to a special formal Reserves function. No, I'm not wearing boots. I'm wearing tights with black shoes. It was snowing and very cold!

This dress kept flying open if I relaxed my shoulders. LOL

This was...Feb of 2014?

Come May of 2014 I began buying true vintage and exploring with different vintage hairstyles.

My Jackie look (above)

A true vintage dress I still wear (left)

My first Lindy Bop that I somehow shrunk way too much since then (right)

I began to dress up every single weekend--at least Saturdays.

At work, I'd wear dirty Carharrts and a sealant-covered tee shirt but from the neck up you'd think I was going to a ball. I had red lipstick, curly hair or a bandanna.

Something that stands out to me... When I was divorcing my first husband, his mother said something to me, something nice. She said she wished me the best and hoped I found what I was looking for, because it seemed I was always searching for something.

I was. I was looking for me. I was looking for the chain to the lightbulb. And when I found the chain to the lightbulb and pulled it, it said, "Tara, you don't need a man to make you feel beautiful. You can make yourself feel beautiful. Wear what you want. Buy the dress. Get the matching shoes. Wear whatever feels YOU. Don't worry about what everyone else is wearing."

A couple years later, I'm doing the whole she-bang--crinolines, 50s clip-on earrings, brooches, slips (I have lots of little shorts for underneath! That was lesson one!!), vintage-style shoes, and recently I finally learned to roll my own Victory rolls. And yes, I dress that way to the store. I do tone it down for work. Though no longer a mechanic I am still in an industrial environment.

For the babe on a budget, try Savers, Poshmark, or do what I did: buy a little bit at a time and treat your clothing well. Once you have enough dresses, focus on shoes. Look for sales on Ebay. There are so many ways to do pin-up. Make it your way. Your closet isn't going to be amazing overnight. It takes time.

And that's my story. Pin-up was a gradual process for me and I am so much more confident in myself now. I put on a dress and heels and I feel like I am ready to take on the world.

I found myself.


  1. My favorite post so far. Thanks so much for posting this! I love hearing about others pin-up journeys. Probably because I am in the early stages of my pin-up journey. A style I've admired since I was 15. Always shopping vintage, collecting vintage coats was my main thing. Then for years of having babies I felt blah, only until last year when I cut my short bangs did it click to me that I just need to dive in. Why wait? Since then, I have felt more beautiful then ever before. Pin-up lifestyle is all about that. I loved hearing your journey! Thank you! -Jenn-Lee

  2. Tara, you are truly beautiful. As you know you put me in my first vintage dress with Christina's help. You did my hair. I felt like I was not me. I felt odd and out of place. However, anyone who has seen the pictures says I look smashing. I think you have to be in the right frame of mind to do vintage right. I am a work in progress yet. Thanks for the great post. It is true Tara you exude confidence.

  3. I cannot love this post enough. You go girl! I will post about mine when I find the right words to do so. It takes a lot of confidence to decide to not only embrace who you are on the inside but let that show through on the outside, despite what others think. I was raised to not care what others thought of me, but when they bully you for it, it's not always easy. Keep doing what you're doing, you will inspire others to do the same. ❤

  4. Love this! I have a pinup story too I'll have to tell you sometime. I started loving it about 11 years ago when I was working as a probation officer. But I don't dress vintage much anymore even though I own a dress shop that sells these styles! Love your new blog and love seeing what you gals are wearing! You look beautiful!