Monday, February 20, 2012

How to be a Pin-Up Model - ACCESSORIES/PROPS

Photo by Suzie Bell
As promised, I am continuing my blog series on how to be a pin-up model... and tonight, I get to write about one of my FAVORITE things... ACCESSORIES AND PROPS. This, my ladies (and gents if that's what you're into), has the ability to make or break how your photos come out.

In addition to the clothing listed in the last post, accessories and props are things that you might not have lying around your house (but you might) and if not, are easily obtainable at a reasonable price (unless you are jones-ing for a really expensive vintage prop).

Before I list the aforementioned objects, let me tell you WHY accessories and props are not only necessary but would be down right detrimental if you did not have at least a little something something going on in this department:
- What are you going to do with those fabulous hands of yours? Because I guarantee once you are in front of a camera you will all-at-once forget how to do ANYTHING naturally unless you, my dear, are a pro. Holding something will take the pressure off. Ask Suzie, I had some pretty wack hand postures in my first pin-up shoot.
- black dress and a cardigan? NBD, coulda happened in the 90's or better yet, yesterday. black dress and a cardigan, but you are pretend-chatting on a rotary phone? VINTAGE GOLD BABY.
- it really gives you a wider variety of poses you can do. There are only so many countertops/walls/chairs you can lean on/sit on/lay on before you are BO-RING.
- it gives you the ability to be creative. This powerful tool, creativity, is what drives my obsession with pin-up photography. Anyone can grab some garters, squeeze into a waist cincher and make an uh-oh face. Actually, not just anyone because I wouldn't look good enough to do that. And I'm not hating, people, I am not hating! I'm just saying... props and such can really make you look unique!

Without further adieu, Drum Roll, please..... (I'm breaking this into two different sections because they are both different but alike, dammit)

A preface on accessories. This is what will automatically turn your bridesmaids dress into a vintagesque masterpiece. Blue bridesmaids dress, a little eww? Yikes. Blue bridesmaid dress with a fabulous floral cardigan paired with a blue hair flower? oooOOOOO girl go ON!!! With that said, accessories can be the "louder" piece of your clothing selections, because they are doing just that - accessorizing your outfit.

- hair flowers. not going to go into detail because there will be another post on HAIR AND MAKEUP
- hair bow
- scarf. so bridget jones a la grace kelly and fab.
- thigh highs sheers (I would leave the fishnets in your halloween box)
- garters/corsets
- cat eye glasses (sun or reg)
- pearls, be it necklace or earrings
- kerchief (is that how you spell that? i don't think i have EVER typed that word before)
- fur anything (throw, jacket, whatever - could have been listed under clothing but I forgot, ok?)
- floppy hats
- umbrellas (this could be a prop actually)
- a robe
- anything animal print/polka dot/fur/floral

When accessorizing, less is more. You don't want to look like minnie mouse just came through and took over your wardrobe.

A preface on props - try to make it as vintage as possible, the feeling of vintage is kind of lost when you are posing with a swiffer jet. just sayin'.

- rotary phones. Are you kidding me? Yes!!!! I mean, no, no I'm not kidding. I heart them.
- anything that you have a vague remembrance of at your grandma's house. like the face powder in that little cylinder looking thing with orangy flowers on it. Fab. Vintage.
- make up. make up brushes, lip stick, a compact that isn't obviously cover girl.
- perfume bottle with an atomizer.
- maybe a little booze, keep things interesting.
- antique furniture
- vintage luggage
- vintage hair dryer (not the cap kind ladies)
- antique-y hand held mirror
- a vintage style kaboodle (i don't know how else to refer to it)
- cleaning supplies (so chauvinistic, just kidding, whatever girl you make sweeping look GOOD!)
- bras and panties but not on you (maybe hanging from a clothes line or something of the like)
- cooking supplies (repeat comment on cleaning supplies, jay kay)

I could go on and on and onnnnnn, but I'm starting to put my thinking cap on, and that is your job at a pin-up model - to be creative and think of your own jazz.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

how to be a pin-up model - CLOTHING

In this series of posts, I will cover the basics of becoming a pin-up model... You must realize that in these days, the word "model" conjures up images of waif-like Victoria's Secret models or boyish, lanky ladies wearing strange clothing and a scowl on their face. This is why I LOVE pin-up models... it's about the curves, it's about being feminine, it's about confidence and it's about celebrating who you are.

An important piece of this transformation starts with CLOTHING... Now, depending on your style, you may be surprised to find some of these items already in your closet. Open your closet doors, and take inventory. Take special notice to any of the following:
- cardigans (solid colored OR print) - these can totally change a dress or outfit you already have
- polka dot anything
- animal print anything
- stripes (nautical or otherwise)
- halter tops or halter dresses
- high heels
- a-line skirts or dresses
- floral print anything
- anything with a bow
- bridesmaid dresses (yes, ladies, YES! i've already re-used one in a shoot and it was prob one of my favorite outfits)
- aprons (this could be considered an accessory or prop, but since it is technically clothing I am including it here - there will be another post on accessories and props)
- high-waisted anything

So, given what you already have, you can round out your outfits with other purchases. This is where it can and might get expensive, but after trolling the internet, I have found some good resources for you.

But first, a couple of tips:
1. If you play your cards right, you can get pin-up clothing that can also easily turn into a nice little outfit for going out, church, wedding, etc. So, with that said, unless going for a very specific look (i.e. a cherry halter dress to go with a red kitchen idea you love or say you are re-making your favorite Bettie Page photo), take your pin-up blinders OFF and make sure that whatever you get can also be used for other wonderful occasions, or else you might end up with a closet full of dresses that you really can't be seen in public in unless . It can make it easier to justify a purchase if you can truly where it more than once.
2. When buying clothing, go with simple. Simple meaning solid colors. That way, you can more easily mix and match and create new outfits along the way. Case and point: I have some high-waisted red shorts that I can pair with a ton of different tops/cardigans. If aforementioned shorts were hot pink and white polka dots, I would automatically decrease the amount of potential outfit combinations. Not that there is ANYTHING wrong with hot pink polka dots, ever.
3. Shop the sale/clearance sections of the web sites I'm about to tell you about. With pin-ups, the look is vintage. Which means that out-dated is the look you are looking for. I have found some clearance item GEMS for $10. Which means I can buy more clothing. I mean, $10 is the amount I might spend on shipping, unless I get shipping for free. See? It's all about justification. :)
4. Additionally, "like" these companies on facebook. They will tell you about promotional codes and sales before the general public. And when you are justifying the purchase of a cherry halter top, it sounds a little nicer when you get it for 20% off because of a promotional code.

Web sites you need to check out, not in any particular order:
1. Pin-up Girl Clothing -
Pro: Fabulous outfits, really good quality   Con: Pretty pricey
2. Mod Cloth -
Pro: Tons of clothing, good prices    Con: Act fast! Limited sizes available, dresses sell out quick!
3. Forever XXI -
Pro: Cheap. Like, super cheap.    Con: Cheap. Like, super cheap. Also, sometimes a Large might have fit me when I was 12. Also, this would be more of a modern pin-up look.
4. Le Bomb Shop -
Pro: Good prices, tons of selection. This store is ahem.. Le Bomb.    Con: Be aware of the sizing. Some say "junior" sizing and I'm sure that means "ultra small and no room in the boobs"
5. Shabby Apple -
Pro: Super cute vintage style clothing, fair pricing.    Con: the web site, for me at least, runs at a snail's pace. Go to my cousin's blog, and click her link for shabby apple on the left hand side and get 15% off your order. Nice little perk.

Now, run, run like the wind.... and go look up these wonderful web sites! All you really need for an awesome and amazing pin-up shoot is 1 or 2 fabulous outfits, a handful of props, and a great hair/makeup artist. AND an amazing photographer... and for my favorite, check out my homegirl Suzie Bell -

Be on the lookout for more pin-up related posts... in this series, Hair/Makeup, Accessories, Props, Preparing for a Shoot....

XOXOX Bettie Boyd