One thing I've always wondered about my fellow PUG ladies is how you got into the look/style. I know it's not something that's particularly easy or cheap, or even 100% socially accepted so I'm kind of curious. I've met so many great women here on PUG Style and I know each of you have your own stories and I would love to see them if you're willing to share.
To get things started, I discovered PUG in 2012 I think. I was wearing leopard print pants and a tank top with heels at the mall and this guy just walked up to me and told me to stop throwing myself/having sex with every man I could and repent my sins and the Lord would welcome me into heaven. As I'm actually kind of prudish compared to most of my friends I was kind of offended that he would judge me based on the print on my pants and the fact that I was wearing heels and went out and bought the sexiest thing I could find, which just happened to be a Jessica dress in red and the rest is kind of history. Now i'm more rockabilly than pinup per say but I love the look and clothes, and everything. All things considered, maybe it's a good thing said guy offended me because I've never felt better in any of my other clothes so
I grew up watching Classic Hollywood movies. My mom showed me Casablanca when I was like in 7th grade. I actually did an extra credit movie review for my history class. Haha! I grew up in the midwest and I didn't know that people still could dress vintage. I kind of found out that there was a vintage scene in the mid to late 90's when Swing came back into style. (Remember that Gap Commercial using Bullet Time animation and the song Jump Jive and Wail?!?!?) I didn't really dress vintage and certainly didn't know about vintage repro stuff until about almost 5 years ago. I found PUG and purchased the Black Birdie dress and then the red flower Birdie dress. (My collection has grown a lot since those 2 purchases!) I went to a couple of their warehouse sales when they were small. It was crazy even back then. I live in LA and am really lucky that I live only 10 mins away from the PUG Boutique. I have some health issues and boy does PUG help. I know even if I'm having crappy day, I have some lovely dresses that I can put on and feel like I'm Lauren Bacall or Ingrid Bergman or Lucille Ball.
Well, I have kind of told my story in various places on this site before. But this gives me a chance to put it all in one place. Unlike most of you, I was around during much of the golden era of glamour and pinup. But my first memories are really of the early Sixties. And being a baby boomer I really could relate to the liberating times that were the Sixties and Seventies. The world really needed that freedom. And women were really able to begin to gain much more independence and power. A lot has happened during the intervening years. But I think that one thing that occurred was that many women began to realize that you could be strong, independent and intelligent while being beautiful, sexy and feminine.
Well my story is a little, or maybe a lot, different than many of you. But I will say that when I began to feel the power of my femininity growing I started exploring thrift stores. They were a cheap way to increase my wardrobe. And I started finding vintage clothing. I loved how it looked on me. And I started getting compliments. People would tell me that I looked like various actresses, usually ones from the Fifties. So I started to focus on that look. And I went searching for vintage glamour wear. I found some pieces. But I knew I needed more. And some of the vintage clothing I had was rather delicate. Seams would rip out and clothing would tear in weird places. So I just started searching for vintage style clothing. I knew it was out there. I was not really familiar with the term repro. But I saw enough young women wearing new vintage style clothing that I knew was I just had to start searching. And I just started Googling and Yelping. And I started finding what I was looking for.
I can't remember exactly when I first came across Pinup Girl. But it was within the last couple of years or so. I saw their stuff on the web and I saw that a store had opened. One day when I had a little extra time at lunch I went to the boutique. I was helped by Doris Mayday. And the rest really is history. Oh, at first I kind of resisted PUG. I was used to being very thrifty and buying things only on sale or at thrift stores. Buying new clothing which would cost more than $100 a dress was more than I was used to. But I discovered how great PUG quality was. And most importantly, I discovered how good I looked wearing PUG. I had no choice. PUG became my number one choice in vintage style clothing. And there was one more thing. When I discovered PUG Style, there was just so much positive reinforcement. It just confirmed that I made the right choice.
The way I first discovered PUG was after a bit of a rough patch in my life things were finally starting to look up again back in mid-2011. I'd just started doing burlesque earlier that year, and my husband and I decided that since so many burlesque performers rock the pinup look that I should give it a try too.
At first we bought pinup looking dresses and outfits from local retailers and second hand stores and we had some good luck but we never really hit the jackpot. After we decided to have some new pictures of me taken for budding burlesque career my hubby and I searched all over the interweb for references and ideas for the photoshoot.
One day when I came home from work hubby told me he found a picture on deviantART of a model (Mosh) on a beautiful vintage outdoor trailer set and the wardrobe credit for the pic linked to a website called Pinup Girl Clothing. I didn't know what to think since I was tired and had a long day, but I sat down at the computer and looked at the website.
At first all I could say was "Wow! That's a lot of dresses". Then my husband showed me that they didn't just sell dresses. He showed me the tops, the skirts, the t-shirts, the shoes and the best swimwear I'd ever seen in my LIFE. I can remember sitting back in my chair and saying to my husband that I was going to have to pick up some extra shifts because I had some ordering to do.
Of course the best thing about PUG wasn't the outfits (which are the most beautiful and best quality clothes that I own btw), it was the community that I discovered came from all over the world but came from the same place that I did.
As for your story of how you discovered PUG Shy Anne I am SO sorry that you got accosted like that. What an unbelievable ass, and I'm sorry to say I've had similar experiences over the years. Just when I was at Viva I got to talking to a very nice, very educated and successful career woman (who was totally rocking the Vintage Bikini Top and High Wasited Short in leopard print) who told me that she loved being at Viva because if she wore even red lipstick in her home town people, even her friends would say she looked like a whore.
What's why I love this community so much, our stories are so similar.
As for my own look I'm definitely more pinup than rockabilly but like you I like the other look as well :)
It's funny how so many of us get crap about looking nice when in the generation we are emulating, you would get that for dressing down. Although for some of us our skirts are shorter than would be appropriate then, it's like a whole couple of generations have forgotten that you're allowed to dress up to look your best, or dress for fun rather than wearing what's in fashion in order to blend in. Somehow the more successful with work you are, the more you're expected to look dowdy. Power is not sexy so you should not be. Lol
I love your story,
Miss Aoife, I know exactly what you mean about the vintage clothing , some of it is just too old. I love your story too, I think although your original reasons are a little different, many of us can relate to trying to find and express our femininity which is something that not enough of us do. See above comments about women and power :)
and of course PUG makes you feel sexy/fun/awesome all at once so you have to love it!!!
I've always loved 50's music. I've also always said I was born in the wrong era. I've forever favored costume drama movies and I've always been the one to dress up no matter where I was going. That being said I discovered Mad Men in 2011-ish. Binged on it. Loved the fashions. We had a Mad Men finale party and I bought my first 50's style dress. I'd lost 80 lbs and was feeling more confident in myself. I eventually started adding more and more vintage and vintage/PUG inspired dresses into my wardrobe. I would say that now I dress 50's style 75% of the time which is huge for me - I was always so self conscious and now that I've gotten older and more confident I wear whatever I want. I get weird looks sometimes but I don't care. :) This is the dress at the party that started it all.
oh wow nice dress! You look fabulous and happy so I wouldn't care about a few odd looks every now and then :) Great story!
I don't know why but I've just gotten an email notification that you commented... and I guess you did it's just like 4 months late on the notification. Great story and that's probably my favorite thing about PUG. I have a waist and hips! None of my other clothes give me either. How are your Harrison tops holding up?
You look about the same as I did at about 15! I love your story and I think in a way it's kind of what a lot of us go through except not always to those extremes. I think I dressed exclusively in oversized T-shirts and military khaki's from 13-16 and got out of that when I one day saw a pair of zebra striped tights and bought those. Still not an every day dress girl but certainly more aware of being a lady. I think the biggest difference between your photos is that in the older one you look pissed off and in the newer one you have a really pretty smile :)
Your story is so touching. I am sorry that you had to go through such hardships when you were younger. But one thing is for sure, going through difficult times usually helps us become stronger people. You survived! And you look so happy and so beautiful! More power to you!
Well I've told my little story a few times now on Facebook, my blog and other threads here but I don't mind sharing it again :)
I'd just gotten into the "concept" of pinup because of burlesque early on in 2011, and even though I loved the genre I had NO clue what so ever about how to find reproduction vintage locally or online.
One day when I came home from work in the late spring and my hubby told me that he had been looking for reference pictures online for a pinup themed burlesque act and he'd found a website linked to from a picture of Mosh's on deviantART under the "wardrobe provided by" credit.
Within two minutes of looking at Pinup Girl Clothing I knew that I'd be buying something from there before the month was over, within ten minutes I knew that they'd be provided my new summer wardrobe, and by the end of that summer I knew that PUG was more than just vintage outfits, but a lifestyle, a philosophy and an amazing community that I was always a part of, even if I hadn't found it yet :)
@Shy Anne I've heard your PUG Origin story before but wow that still floors me every time I hear it. Just reading about women being accosted fills me with such disappointment for society, but I'm so glad that in the long run you proved you were the better, smarter and more mature person and that it helped lead you here :)