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Roll back in time and enjoy some vintage appeal by celebrating National Pinup Day. It’s an interesting way to head back in time by several decades and consider what life might have been like during this heyday when your grandma, great-grandma, or even great-great grandma was a young woman!

History of National Pinup Day

National Pinup Day got its start in 2019 by Mission Tattoo in Santa Barbara, California. But, obviously the idea behind the day goes back much further. It was in the 1940s that pinups gained traction in American culture, particularly in relation to World War II.

It was during this time that pinup girls, or pinup models, gained a following due to their accessible artwork that was often placed on calendars or in magazines. These mass produced pictures may have been photographed, although they were also sometimes sketched or painted. During the war, these pics of women were even painted on the sides of bomber planes as a sign of good luck.

But even though the term “pinup” dates back to the early 1940s, the idea of cutting out pictures of beautiful models and “pinning” them up on the wall may have a background that goes further to the late 1800s. This might have been associated with burlesque performers and the theater and it was a simple way for people who lived in rented rooms or dormitories to decorate their spaces.

National Pinup Day was founded to show some love and appreciation for this vintage style of model who is associated with this era from eighty years ago. Show some love and appreciation for all things retro by celebrating in a wide range of ways!

How to Celebrate National Pinup Day

Have fun and engage fully with National Pinup Day by enjoying and observing with some of these ideas:

Participate in a Retro or Vintage Party

Folks who are interested in channeling their inner pinup girl can certainly celebrate this day by hosting an event that embraces all things from the 1940s. A party that celebrates National Pinup Day can give a nod to more than just the models whose photos were pinned up on the wall. It can also pay some respect to other vintage items from this era. Classic cars, rockabilly music, and fashionable outfits from the era can all be included in the celebration of this day!

Research Some Famous Pinup Girls

One way to show some appreciation for National Pinup Day might be to learn a bit more about the background of some of these women who were models. After all, each one of them is more than just a pretty face. Consider doing some online research about pinup girls like some of these:

  • Marilyn Monroe. Born in 1926 as Norma Jeane Mortenson, she was at her prime during the pinup era.
  • Lana Turner. Another famous blonde, Turner’s appearance as an actress in many films gave her easy access as a pinup girl.
  • Bettie Page. She was another famous pinup girl from the 1950s who had jet black hair and trademark bangs.
  • Rita Hayworth. This American actress was called “The Love Goddess” and is most famous for her pose in a black negligee.

Dress Up in Vintage Costumes

The 1940s were a fun era for fashion. As hemlines got higher and necklines got lower, the tolerance for what was acceptable in those days was pushing toward the edges – even though in modern times the outfits may seem a bit dated and modest!

In honor of National Pinup Day, perhaps it would be fun to secure an outfit that pays heed to the era. Women can choose to wear some popular items like tight cigarette pants, a tie-at-the-waist shirt and a bandana or bow in the hair. Other versions might include polka dot dresses, short shorts, or even a sailor-style outfit that shows support for the men in the armed forces.

Men who want to dress up to reflect this era can coordinate by wearing a wool suit that mimics the era, perhaps with pinstripes. A felt hat would make a good way to top off the outfit, along with a skinny tie. Guys could also wear clothes channeling the 1950s (think James Dean) by donning baggy jeans rolled up at the bottom, white t-shirts and a lightweight jacket.

Watch Some Films from the Pinup Era

Get in the groove of National Pinup Day by catching an old flick made in the era of pinups. Check out some of these:

  • Pinup Girl (1944). A musical rom-com with Betty Grable.
  • Some Like It Hot (1959). An iconic gender bender comedy, with Marilyn Monroe.
  • You’ll Never Get Rich (1941). Including Rita Hayworth and Fred Astaire.
  • The Notorious Bettie Page (2005). A documentary outlining the controversial life of a famous pinup model.

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