6 harsh truths for vintage/retro/pinup newbies

A.k.a. – harsh truths I would give to my 2016-era self

Hello darling! I hope you’re having a fabulous weekend! Let’s sit down and talk getting into pinup and vintage, because I wish someone had staged an intervention with me when I was first getting started. 😅 So consider this your intervention!

1) Stop. Buying. So. Much. All. At. Once.

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Okay, put the credit card down.

You don’t need another order on the way.

Seriously, stop it.

When you first get into a new style (vintage inspired or otherwise), it’s easy to look at other people’s wardrobes, get serious wardrobe envy and try to compensate by overfilling it with lots of items from more affordable brands, but it’s really not necessary.

If you’re anything like me, you’ll buy too much to start with and you’ll discover your tastes evolve and change, or that you didn’t actually need those five polka dot swing dresses in different colours?

So what you’re left with is a tonne of clothes that might not suit you six months after you buy them. And trying to offload pre-loved clothes is never as easy as you think it’s gonna be.

2) DON’T GET YOUR SKIRT LENGTHS ALTERED (unless you are a genuinely short person)

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Also can people stop randomly lifting up my skirt, this is a thing that still happens to me sometime

Now, I’m not trying to tell you there’s a “right” way to wear vintage inspired clothes, but I ruined an awful lot of now very valuable Pinup Girl Clothing “unicorns” by having the skirt length taken up.

If you’re anything like me (and I assume you are or you wouldn’t be reading this) then when you first get into retro clothes, the skirt lengths feel ridiculously conservative. Most modern clothes have the skirt length hit about knee length or higher, while 50s stuff tends to go below the knee and lower.

I’m used to the skirt lengths now, and I realise that the 50s silhouette is a very particular look that you potentially lose by altering the skirt length (ahem, 2016-era-Libby). And also if you have them altered in such a way where you’re cutting off fabric, you can’t magically lengthen the skirts if you change your mind (AHEM, 2016-ERA LIBBY). 🤦

3) Learn to let go of the wardrobe envy

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Picture of me circa 2016

This one is something I still struggle with occasionally, but you need to stop coveting other people’s wardrobes, especially if you’re new to the scene.

I occasionally get people messaging me asking how to build up a wardrobe (a blog post I’ve literally tried to write for two years now 🤦), but one of the biggest elements to building a wardrobe is time.

I didn’t get all of the items in my wardrobe overnight. It’s been a slow, curated process for a few years now.

4) It’s okay to not be “retro/pinup/vintage” all the time

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Me too Anna Kendrick

Another message I get a lot is people being afraid of getting into the style because they don’t feel like they can “commit” full-time, and honey, you really don’t have to.

I’m extremely privileged in that I can do this as often as I like. My workplace is fine with me wearing whatever I feel (as long as I look tidy), but I know lots of people who have uniformed jobs or dress code jobs that don’t allow this or it’s just not practical to do so and that’s okay.

It doesn’t make you a fraud, a fake or anything like that. If you have days where you can and do dress up, then that is enough. Stop being so hard on yourself!

5) If you are building your wardrobe, start small and with separates

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Your wardrobe doesn’t need to look like this!

Here’s a piece of practical advice for 2016-era-Libby – stop buying so many gosh darn dresses!

I loooove dresses, but the problem is that dresses are usually one whole look in and of themselves. Whereas if you buy a few tops, some pants and a couple of skirts that’s at least a week’s worth of outfits there!

6) There’s no magic fix for knowing how to do hair and make-up

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Imagine if we all were as good at hair and makeup as Dita Von Teese tho

Sorry babes, as much as I wish this wasn’t the case, hair and make-up will be an ongoing battle of trial and error with you, your hair and your face.

Part of it is that no one has your face or your hair. Tutorials and such help, but it’s better to try and take these tips and apply what works for you rather than taking it as gospel and getting upset that it doesn’t necessarily work for you the same way.

For example, I do my winged eyeliner pretty huge, but I have huge eyes and huge facial features. If you took my make-up and applied it directly to someone with smaller features, it wouldn’t have the same effect. Does that make any sense?

Anyway, I hope this intervention was helpful for you and that you understand I say this from a place of love and support! What’s your harsh truth or best tip for pinup/retro/vintage newbies?

Lots of love,
Mrs Greatnews xx

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3 thoughts on “6 harsh truths for vintage/retro/pinup newbies

  1. Christine says:

    Great post and some good advice. What’s my harsh truth or best tip….probably to echo a bit of what you said-be yourself, do you-in general. Take the aspects of the Retro-Vintage world that you like best, apply it to you and make it your own. Don’t try to copy or be someone else. Embrace you!

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  2. quantumbetty says:

    These are actually great tips! As someone who’s just starting it feels daunting at times, especially as it is so easy to compare yourself to other ladies who’ve been building their wardrobes and skills for years. Thanks for these! ☺

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  3. Emily Kitsch says:

    Wonderful post, Libby! These are some really great tips, and the post had me laughing out loud quite a few times! 🙂 And I agree – if only we were all as good at hair and makeup as Dita Von Teese! I’d all but sell my soul to look as amazing as she does! LOL. But I’m sure even Dita had to spend a lot of time practicing and experimenting to get to where she is now in these departments! 🙂

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