Ask Me Anything

I’m off work this week and wanted to get ahead on blogging, after a manic Spring/summer review season that left me unable to get more than a week ahead at a time in my scheduling. I wanted to do something fun and different with some of the blogs I’m writing, so I asked my followers over on Instagram and Facebook to ask me anything they wanted, whether it was about my style, the blog, or perhaps anything about my life they’re curious about. These are the questions I received.

What is your favourite dress?
The Apple Tart dress by Trashy Diva

How old are you?
Reluctantly 31 >_<

Favourite food?
That’s like asking me to choose my favourite child (which I don’t have, but still.) Um…chips/fries?!! Also Lasagna.

How did you get to become such a famous pinup/fashion blogger? I post my outfit photos almost every day and have gone into serious debt buying them. I want to know how you grew your following so well?
I definitely wouldn’t class myself as famous in our community, but I know my following isn’t insignificant. Honestly, there’s not much advice I can give because it happened naturally for me. I joined Instagram before I was a pinup and would post OOTD photos of my non-pinup outfits even then–if you scroll far enough back, you can see my pinup transformation literally happen in the timeline of my pictures. Once I got about 2000 followers (I think?) I started this blog as I was getting regular questions about how items fit or how I did this or that to achieve the look. From there, I upgraded my crappy digital camera to a Nikon D3200 once I could so that I could have better quality pictures–if there’s one piece of advice I could give, it would probably be to make sure your pictures aren’t blurry and that they’re well lit, because personally I can’t stand to follow an account if bad lighting means I can’t even tell exactly what colour that dress is supposed to be and the small details are lost to fuzziness. I don’t follow the rule to post every day, yet my following has always continued to grow anyway. Honestly, Instagram’s algorithm change at the end of last year has stifled the growth of every Instagrammer and blogger I know, BIG TIME, so it’s much harder to grow a following organically now than it was a year ago. So apart from the clear, well lit pictures advice, all I can say is to be genuine and kind, and to keep at it.

What’s the easiest and best looking hairstyle you can recommend (and products to go along side!) and do you have a tutorial you can recommend? I have a fringe (growing out) and nothing I try really seems to work with it
A sleek bun is a classic, simple hairstyle that works great with the vintage style–think Audrey Hepburn! If your fringe is sweeping you can just brush it to one side, but if it’s getting pretty long now you can create a roll at the front or a peaked swoop/wave. Miss Victory Violet often wearing buns with her fringe down while travelling or vacationing, so you should be able to find pictures of her rocking that look on her blog or Instagram.

Who is your style inspiration?
I don’t think I have one particular inspiration. I’m mostly just inspired by the silhouettes of the 1950s themselves and the high level of style and sophistication the era carried, but all of the fabulous pinups I follow online each inspire me constantly with every outfit they post, giving me small ideas for how to step outside of my usual matchy-matchy comfort zone to style my own outfits in different ways. Some of my favourites are my bestie Giselle, Rachel Jensen, Miss Victory Violet, Modern June Cleaver and Amelia Jetson, and Vintagemaedchen_by_victoria.

What is one of the highlights of your whole pinup journey?
There’s so many amazing things that have happened to me just because I decided a few years ago to begin dressing in this style, but of them all my favourite highlight has probably been the friends I’ve made. I have ladies all over the world I get to talk and laugh with because we one day found each other’s profiles online somewhere, and I think that’s lovely. Giselle, though, has become one of my best friends, we text each other back and forth every day and do our best to have regular meet ups. She is one of my very best highlights.

Do you ever want to branch out into other styles or eras?
Not really? I appreciate other eras, but I find that even if I dabble in something a bit 60s or 40s and think it looks good, I never feel as comfortable in the style as I do in my 50s swing dresses. I think my shape is just best suited and most complimented by the styles of that era, and it’s a happy coincidence that it’s the era I’ve personally always thought was the most feminine, stylish and beautiful, so there’s very little reason for me to branch out into other decades.

I’ve read your reviews of various products but pleeeeease tell me what foundation you use. Your skin is perfect.
First of all, I promise you my skin really isn’t perfect. I have large pores and consequently lots of blackhead problems, and my skin can get a little oily in my T-zone, so it’s a long way from flawless. I definitely think getting your skin into a good condition as best as you can is more helpful than finding the perfect full coverage foundation–although saying that, I do tend to try a couple of new foundations every year, at least, hoping they’ll be the Holy Grail product that magically gives me a flawless finish. These days I think the right primer goes a long way to achieving that finish, but the foundation I keep coming back to after trying many others is the Revlon Colorstay 24 hr foundation in the combination/oily version. I buy it in the two shades closest to my skin tone and mix them together to get a better tone match.

Have you ever thought about making YouTube videos?
No, not really. I do enjoy putting the occasional little video up on Instagram, but there’s a massive difference in the workload of taking one 30 seconds candid video to say hi to my followers than to buy and set up the equipment for a YouTube video, not to mention all the editing that needs to take place. My internet is so slow and my computer so old I’d have to buy thousands of pounds worth of equipment just to make something vaguely usable, and even then it would take probably at least 12 hours to upload. Plus, I’m just more comfortable writing, so I think blogging and Instagramming are the best outlets for me.

I would love to know how your feelings in pin up have changed as your weight has changed.
I don’t really think they have. I’ve noticed I get offered less modelling jobs as a size 16 than I did as a size 12/14, but I was never doing many of those in any serious way before anyway, just as something fun I sometimes got to do a few times a year because of my blogging/Instagram. I wear less pencil dresses now than when I was slimmer, but even then I never felt that comfortable in them so that’s more of a mental hang up than a physical one. Honestly, I think this is a great style for women of all sizes and there’s always going to be things you prefer wearing and things you don’t feel that comfortable wearing, no matter what style of clothing you wear. If anything, the thing I’ve noticed is that despite gaining more weight than I’d like in the last year or so, compared to the last time in my life that I was around this size I’m so much more confident and comfortable in my own skin than I was then. I think that’s because this style has empowered me and helped me realise my size doesn’t matter as much as…well, almost anything really. It’s much more important to me that I’m kind to myself, kind to other people, and encourage them to love themselves in every way that they can. The size label on the tag in my fabulous clothes barely even registers in comparison to those things.

Are you going to do another ‘oops’ blog post soon? 
Definitely! I’ve got 2 or 3 posts worth of Bloopers ready to resize and number for more outtake blog posts, so expect the newest edition soon.

”What do you mean I’m bad at this?!’

What advice would you give blokes if they were wanting to start wearing 1940s/1950s clothes on where to find them?
None of the men I know dress in those styles so I’m afraid I’ve had no reason to fully delve into the options available for men’s vintage fashion. I do follow some dapper vintage gents on social media though, so I would suggest you give these guys a gander and see where they tend to buy their outfits: Mat KellerTom Carradine, Guillaume Bo, as well as checking out In Retrospect magazine which covers the style for both men and women.

I love your blog! I’d love to dress more pinup, but always feel like I’d be out of place and where would I wear it? I know you wear the styles for pictures, and not for work. Did you ever feel out of place when you first started wearing pinup?
I wear the style socially, not just ‘for pictures,’ just to clarify in case there was some confusion, lol. So anytime I go out of the house for somewhere other than work, I dress in this style, as well as for the photoshoots for this blog. As for whether I ever felt out of place when I first started wearing pinup; of course! Maybe not out of place, but definitely aware that it was gaining people’s attention and they would look at me in public when they weren’t doing so before. I made slow and small changes in my style transformation, first with the hair, then the makeup, then small facets of the clothing, not becoming a pinup all at once, so I got used to each new change and gained confidence from it before I moved on to the next step. I do remember how conscious I felt of my big skirts gaining attention at the beginning, but the closest I ever got to receiving negative attention was my eldest sister failing to be able to grasp that I didn’t care if I was ‘too dressed up’ for where I was going because wearing what I wanted to made me feel confident. If you’re anxious about adopting the style, I’d recommend doing it in stages too, or slowly adopting the style for big occasions that feel more dressy anyway, or for nights spent with your best girlfriends who will support you and help you feel confident while you adjust to the change, even if it’s just for a night that they come over for dinner or to watch a movie. The more you dress this way, the more comfortable and confident you feel in it.

Do you ever have days off from pinup (like when you’re sick or had a sleepless night?) How do you handle those times?
Definitely! I don’t wear this style to work so on a-day-to-day basis I don’t have to muster the energy to sort myself out from head to toe before I can go to work, which helps massively in maintaining my energy for the style. But even though I only wear it 2-4 times a week for my social life, there’s still times I just don’t feel like pinning myself up. So I do one of two things: I push through it, knowing once I’m ready I’ll feel much more comfortable than if I went out ‘looking normal,’ which I hate and makes me feel uncomfortable. Or, alternatively, I’ll say fuck it, and I’ll throw on jeans and a hoody, tie my hair up and just wear mascara, because who cares? We owe our prettiness to no one. Whichever option I take is the right choice because on that day at that time it’s what I needed to do to feel like I could get through that day, or that social event, or those errands, when I was otherwise feeling shit or stressed or tired or emotionally drained. If forcing yourself through your makeup routine seems too much to bare then just don’t, and don’t let anyone make you feel like you’re less of a pinup for opting out of it.

I know from other posts that you are unable to wear your pinup style to work, what is it that you do? Would you prefer a job where you would be able to wear what you want?
I’m a Warehouse Supervisor, which gets a lot of wide eyed ‘noooo!’s when I tell people as they look me up and down in my full 50s get up, ha! Fairly regularly I get dirt on my face and my nails are almost always broken or stained with dust, so those beautiful pointed gel nails a lot of pinups sport are an impossibility in my life. In a way I’d love to have a job where I can wear my nice clothes to work because it just seems so sad they only get used 2-4 times a week, but at the same time it’s really nice to not have to give a shit how I look in the morning. I don’t deal with the public so I’m not contractually obliged to be presentable on a daily basis. If I only want to wear moisturiser and mascara, I can. My hair can live in a messy bun, choc full of dry shampoo for 5 days straight. There’s something really nice about not having to pay for the opportunity to do my work with the price of my presentable face, and I think being able to reserve that pretty-energy is what makes it so enjoyable for me to get so fully dolled up in my private life.

I would love to know how you’ve got the confidence to wear pinup, especially in a work setting and how to deal with chub rub when wearing stockings? 
I don’t wear this stuff to work because it’s impractical, but having the confidence to wear it, period, was a process of slowly adopting facets of the style so that I got used and gained confidence from each change before I moved on to the next one. Funnily enough, red lipstick was the last part of the aesthetic that I adopted because it just felt so bold and extra no matter the occasion. Now, it’s the thing that makes almost any outfit feel fully pinup to me. You just have to be brave, act confident, and then the confidence really does come. People will look at you or ask you genuinely curious questions more than they will ever react in any other way, in my experience. And as for chub rub, honestly the reason I don’t often wear stockings is because I have such large thighs that it’s hard to find stockings that properly fit them, and even then I don’t wanna be messing with chub rub. So most of the time I just wear nude tights; they may not be sexy but they stop my thighs from rubbing and I don’t get mad when I ruin a pair within minutes of putting them on. I save seamed tights for special occasions because I ladder everything so quickly and I’m not wasting a £8 pair just for a trip to the post office or my weekly dinner with the girls.

And what are your pinup must have style pieces?
Oh man, I’m probably the worst person for this question because I own way too much stuff. Okay, the things I love most in my pinup wardrobe that are really great foundation pieces for mixing and matching: a black swing skirt, black pencil skirt, cropped cardigans, a white well fitting vintage style top (button down shirt or whatever other style you prefer,) a wicker style handbag, floral sundress, chambray sundress, brown wedges, an orchid hair flower, bamboo bangles, and a pair of red shoes.

I would like to know if there are any petticoats similar in quality as the Malco Modes petticoats. My wife owns the Samantha petticoat from Malco Modes and she likes the softness and fullness. Are there any other brands that have a similar quality to the malco modes.
Malco Modes are the best quality petticoats I’ve tried, personally, so they’re definitely the brand to beat, but for similar fullness and softness Banned are the closest runner up I’ve found. They’re a UK brand so if you’re in America then I’m not sure if the import charges will make their petticoats as costly as Malco Modes, but if you live outside of America then Banned are definitely the cheaper choice for around £25-35 per petticoat for a similar product.

Banned petticoat I’ve reviewed

What did you think about the U.S. when you came to visit awhile back? I’ve never been across seas and would just love to know how different or similar our everyday lives are!
I love the states! I wish I could afford to see more (New Orleans is so high on my list right now) but I’m saving for a house so international vacations are a no-go currently. I’ve only been to the USA thrice, one when I was 23 on a disastrous visit to Orlando FL, and twice to Texas, once El Paso and once Dallas. The culture of the US is really similar to the UK in a lot of ways and massively different in others, but even then some parts of the US are wildly different to other parts of the country. I mean, I noticed in the South y’all sure do love to deep fry stuff, including your vegetables?! Ha. I live in a tiny village in the English countryside, only 30 minutes from the seaside, so I live in a pretty, spacious green area where everything is still relatively close by, yet when I’m in America it always feels so weird to me that everything is so spaced out over there, you have to get on these huge roads just to drive in and out of town, roads the size of our motorways (which are how we travel up and down the entire country here.) Basically, everything really is bigger in America, lol. I did do a tongue-in-cheek blog post about my time last in Texas and the things I noticed while there if you want a laugh.

Do you wear vintage style underwear/corsetry shapewear everyday? I would love to but find some a bit ‘hot n stuffy’
I definitely don’t, no. I don’t wear pinup clothes to work, so I just wear whatever modern underwear I find the most comfortable with all the physical work I do. When I am pinned up, though, like you I don’t like to feel hot or restricted, so if a particular outfit doesn’t require that I need to enhance my waist by cinching it in then I’ll just go with whatever modern bra works best with the neckline, then my knickers and probably tights, to stop chub rub (and because England isn’t that warm most the time.) When I do need my underwear to create a more vintage silhouette I have a Rago longline bra, an Orchard Corset waspie, a Rago waspie waist cincher, and two What Katie Did Merry Widows that each cinch or support me to different extremes.

Favourite coffee or tea?
Umm…I’m a terrible Brit and drink neither. Well, except Iced Mocha Frappes because they’re basically just iced coffee chocolate milkshakes made with disgusting amounts of cream and sugar so obviously I’m down for those.

Do you like lots of musicals or is Hamilton the only one?
Hamilton is the only one I’ve loved the soundtrack of so much I’ve wanted to deal with the hassle of going up to London to see it, because obviously it is EVERYTHING. In the past I’ve been known to rock a soundtrack of two of Wicked, Chiacgo, Grease and Grease 2, Hairspray, and…I’m assuming Disney doesn’t count in this question, right? I am 100% down for the Team Starkid enterprise of musicals, because A Very Potter Musical is life and I am definitely nerdy enough that I took my younger sister to Leakycon London in 2013.

Also, you got a dog?
lol! No, soz. I always grew up with dogs on the farm; Pip was born 2 weeks before me and I cried so hard when she died when we were 14. But after our last dog, Henry, died a few years back we never replaced him and just had our cats, of which there were 6 at the time. Now we’re just down to our last one, Tiger Lily, who was a lot younger than the others. She looks a bit like Toothless in How To Train Your Dragon, has a little stump tail because she had to had it amputated from an infection, and regularly photobombs any blogshoots I do in the garden.

Lily is smooth as hell

Do you find the pin-up/vintage community embraces diversity in all forms?
I think on the whole it is a community that wants to embrace diversity, but 100% it suffers the same downfalls of poor representation of minorities as all other parts of society and media do, and I think that’s unacceptable and sad. People of all colours, gender identities, and abilities look amazing in vintage styles, and I think the community as a whole needs to do better in recognising white privilege, the problematic cultural appropriation of many aspects of vintage style, and standing behind the POC in our community when they say they aren’t being listened to or seen. We can always do better, though I recognise that as a white woman it’s very likely there are parts of this community that I’m not aware of that do not embrace or stand behind people of diverse backgrounds.

What are your thoughts on pin-up fashion and budgets (is it a subculture that encourages buying too much stuff?)
I think it’s a weird culture that can both encourage materialism and the desire to have everything and be seen having everything, and also there’s an aspect of it that encourages mending and making do, saving old treasures that some people would consider beyond repair, recycling by buying second hand. There are definitely parts of the community that are better at mending and saving and not buying for the sake of it, and that’s so admirable. But as with any subculture that has its own community of blogs and influencers and recognisable brands or people, when those things exist automatically a culture is formed of the idea of ‘the latest thing,’ even in vintage style spheres, that people will want to get their hands on, whether because they love it or because they’ve developed FOMO (fear of missing out.) It’s something I became really conscious of in myself last year when I realised I was just spending way too much on clothes, more than I could afford to honestly, so I cut right back and now I try to budget what I’m allowed to spend each month after prioritising contributing to my savings first. Even then, I still own too much stuff and I find it hard to make the time to declutter as regularly as I need to.

If you could have a visa to live in another country for one year, where would you live and why?
I’m actually quite an anxious person when it comes to new places and things and people. It’s something I used to suffer from a lot worse in my late teens and early 20s, and I now regularly try to push myself to embrace new experiences to continue to grow, but still, I couldn’t handle living somewhere where I didn’t speak the language, which limits me to English speaking countries. I couldn’t handle the heat or killer deadlies of Australia, and I’ve got lots of friends in America so, as boring as it may sound, it would likely be America.

Who takes your photos? Is it on a timer, do you have a pinup minion? A boyfriend/girlfriend??
Ah, I so wish I could claim to have one of those Instagram husbands or a best friend who is also conveniently a photographer, but it’s a mix of self-timer and kind, willing family and friends. All of my outfit of the day shots I share on Instagram are taken using a remote control and the 2-second shutter release remote delay timer function on my Nikon D3200 camera, placed portrait on the very fancy tripod system of balancing atop a storage box and a half empty makeup remover tube on top of my dresser set, facing the door of my en suite wet room.

For blog photos, I use that same remote and timer system on an actual tripod shooting myself for most of my posts, but I do try to get help from friends or family where possible for collab shoots so that I can travel to more interesting locations than my back garden or the woods in the field next door. I always mentally feel like I take 90% of my blog photos alone but this SS17 season looking back I’ve counted that 21 of the 47 blog posts I produced for spring/summer were taken by loved ones. It ended up being so many because when I have someone to take my blog pics I do 2-4 outfits on average with them in that one session so that I can maximise the opportunity of having a helping hand. Still, SS17 was so busy that my sister Sarah only took my pictures with me twice and we managed to do 11 outfits together, speed shooting for a couple hours at a time. I’ve also been known to wrangle in my best friend Menna, my mum and my younger sister Rachel for the occasional shoot, and I am endlessly thankful for how much quicker, easier and more enjoyable the whole process is made by their generous help.

Hair! How do you do it? And what’s the best cut to get it to look like yours?
Man, this question has a lot of different answers contained within it, because there’s many different methods for creating a 1950s style set. I personally prefer to wetset mine using Motions At Home Foaming Wrap on freshly washed, slightly towel dried damp hair. I create pincurls that are about an inch in diameter on the inside of the curl, and if you struggle to roll them yourself I would find a makeup brush or bottle about that size in diameter and roll your hair around that, then carefully slide the curl off and fasten with a bobby pin or a pincurl clip. I secure with a silk hairscarf overnight and in the morning I use a Denman smoothing brush to brush out the curls gently, using metal sectioning clips to help craft the waves around my face and setting with hairspray, with some Suavacite grooming spray used when needed to tame frizz. I’ve never been very good at using pomade. If I want vintage style hair for multiple days then I will brush my hair through that night and roll it back into pincurls or into foam rollers to set overnight again, without any additional product. My hair is mostly all one length, with a light layer near the ends and some light feathering around my face. There’s various pincurling products or techniques that I’ve blogged about before more in-depth which you can find here if you want to read back through them.

Can you show us a picture of your wardrobe? With the amount of outfits you always put together I’m super curious how big your wardrobe has got and how you organise it!
Oh jeez, okay, here it goes: I am not one of those bloggers that has an aesthetically pleasing dressing room full of perfectly organised shelving units and rails. I own too much stuff even for the pretty large bedroom I have, so it’s kind of…everywhere. I used to have one double wardrobe but then that wasn’t big enough, so I got another. I put hooks over the doors of those wardrobes to hang the outfits I needed to photograph for the blog on one and outfits I wanted to wear soon on the other. As the blog’s grown and I’ve been sent more clothes, I have now taken over the empty wardrobe in the spare room and EVEN THEN there are now 4 hooks on the front of my wardrobes that exist primarily for the blogging/soon outfits, but also because my clothes just don’t all fit in the wardrobes without the rails bowing worringly. I try to pull out stuff to donate or sell on every few months but it takes up so much time and energy to photograph, measure and list them online that I end up putting it off for 3-4 months at a time. One of the jobs I have on the top of my to do list for my week of this week is to begin reorganising my storage system in my room on the whole so that I have more space to properly organise my clothes, but it’s only Monday and i won’t have time to start that until tomorrow, so, this…sigh, this is what my wardrobes look like.

My incredibly organised hanging system Inside closets 1, 2 and 3I know. It is horrific and it makes me cringe a lot.

The Harry Potter Question Section. Muggles need not proceed!

Who would be your favourite Hogwarts professor?
Oh man! That’s hard, because I’m assuming that means if I were studying at Hogwarts and not merely who’s my fave from the books. Hmm…I always preferred teachers I could have some cheeky banter with, while also loving to learn, so it might be McGonagall assuming I got her to like me enough she was happy to share some of those sneaky quips she sometimes throws out. 

What’s your Hogwarts House?
A MYSTERY! I always self-identified as a Ravenclaw, then Pottermore declared me a hat-stall between Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff and Gryffindor. When they re-vamped, though, they sorted me into Hufflepuff, which floored me. I supposed considering all Hufflepuff’s qualities I probably am one now more so than when I was younger and prized my intellect above everything else, but I find it hard to let go of that Ravenclaw loyalty so I think of myself now as a Ravenpuff.

What shop in Diagon Allery or Hogsmeade would you most like to visit and why?
Assuming I already have a wand in this fantasy of being permitted to visit the Wizarding World, and therefore having no need to visit Ollivander’s to get one, then…Florean Fortescue’s ice cream parlour because Butterbeer ice cream yooooo!

What would your patroneous be and is it anything like the one you were given on Pottermore?
Pottermore gave me a ginger cat, and while I have lots of gingers in my family and don’t mind that, I always thought my patroneous would be a bit more…extra, lol. I’d either think it would be a bull because of my childhood growing up on a dairy farm and my love for cows combined with my stubbornness and protectiveness, or a lion, because I do like to ‘roar’ at people out of nowhere for no real reason. (No, for serious, I do.)

And who is your favourite Harry Potter villian and why?
I’m not really a villian lover when it comes to stories, I’ve never been someone who gets attached to the bad guy. But I suppose it would be Voldemort, because his psychology is fascinating and there would be no story without him, whereas people like Lucius and Umbridge are just assholes I can’t get behind. Like, just don’t be shitbag of a person, it’s not that hard.

How would you ‘pin up style’ a Harry Potter themed Cosplay?
Already done one 😉 Word up Pinup Hermione! (Blog post about it here, picture below.) More, generally though, I would choose a vintage hairstyle that encapsulates the general feel of the character’s hair, do the full pinup makeup, then choose an outfit the character has been seen/described as wearing and search for vintage style items in a similar look. Adding key accessories associated with that character, like the time turner for Hermione, will help give character clues is the vintage-ness makes it a little harder to guess at first.

And that’s it, my pretties, those are all the questions that were submitted. If you have any follow up questions or you missed the chance to ask your own before this went up, feel free to leave more in comments or on my Instagram and I’ll answer 🙂 Have a lovely day!

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2 thoughts on “Ask Me Anything

  1. I really enjoyed reading your replies! You are definitely my favorite pinup for being so down-to-earth, honest and being yourself, in such a way I can relate. ❤ I love your unbiased reviews of clothing and the fit, and how you share your favorite ways to dress in this manner on a budget. And there is always the mutual fondness of sweets and other tasty treats 🙂

    Like

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