Feminist Fashion

1When we talk about feminism, or, more accurately, the antithesis of feminism, we often bring up the ’50s housewife and/or pinup girl fashion. We envision a woman who wore beautiful dresses and heels every day while milling around the house, dusting, sweeping, and baking a picture-perfect Betty Crocker devil’s food cake for the sock hop. She was subservient to her husband, devoted to her children, and never seen in anything less than her best. She didn’t “work,” though her housework never ended, and her opinions were largely dismissed with a pat on the head.

Thankfully, American society has come a rather long way from that time, now that 47 percent of our workforce is made up by women. And we’d venture to say we’re all pretty happy about that. We’ve rejected most of the things that were treasured in that era, including segregation, blatantly sexist and racist laws (sort of), smoking indoors and Wonder Bread. But one thing we haven’t quite given up is the fashion.

2There’s actually been a rather significant trend of rockabilly fashion, more commonly known as pinup fashion, which evokes a sexier, more exaggerated version of the ’50s housewife aesthetic: Including but not limited to candy-colored dresses, high heels, perfectly coiffed hair, and precisely applied makeup.

And let’s be real: It’s gorgeous. But for those of us who are proud feminists, it can be hard to rationalize loving a fashion style that came from a time when women were oppressed even more so than they are today. There’s no way pinup fashion could be feminist, right? Actually, that’s not entirely true. Here are seven reasons why embracing our inner ‘50’s housewife fashionista is actually empowering for women:

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1. It reclaims femininity in an empowering way.

There’s an antiquated notion that power and self-determination are purely masculine traits. This belief is probably singlehandedly responsible for the rise of the pantsuit (sorry Hillz) in the ’70s and ’80s when women started going into the workforce en masse. The idea was that, in order to be respected, women needed to emulate men’s fashion choices to blend in as much as possible.

We know now, of course, that feminine doesn’t mean weak. A woman can dominate the workplace in a tutu if she so desires — and those ’50s housewives were strong and capable as any man, they just weren’t aware there was another way to show it other than being a good homemaker, wife, and mother. Pinup fashion embraces the gorgeous aesthetic of the era while also propelling it into the 21st century. Its main message: Femininity was and will always be powerful.

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2. It embraces a wide range of body types.

Back in the day, when photos of pinup girls were hung up in army barracks and adorned mud flaps, the women were largely white and largely thin. These days, women of all sizes have been not only invited but encouraged to participate. There’s no height or weight requirement to be a pinup girl. Also, tattoos are welcome (if not encouraged), whereas in most modeling communities they are shunned. So inked ladies needn’t shy away!

The coolest part of this, in my opinion, is that a good amount of famous pinup models do tours around the world, inviting women to come meet them, get their hair done, be dressed in pinup-style clothing, and do a photo shoot with them. Up until her recent explosion to fame, Tess Holliday regularly did this with her fans (and hopefully still will).

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3. The pinup fashion community supports itself.

Fashion can be a vicious industry, especially when models and designers are encouraged to compete with one another for who looks the best. Because feminism is (or at least should be) about women lifting each other up, the feminist attributes of any fashion trend or subculture could be considered dubious when one considers the intense emphasis on competition.

While the pinup community is in no way exempt from this (it is on the Internet, after all), women in the pinup community support each other publicly and frequently help each other out by doing clothing swaps, giveaways, offering makeup and hair lessons on YouTube, and writing tutorials.

74. There isn’t an age limit.

Because pinup fashion is inherently an older style, you can be any age and still rock the look. In fact, the older you are, the likelier it is you or your family has some authentic ’50s fashion items laying around.

8 - Copy5. Quirky is good.

Even though it’s a fashion niche, pinup fashion allows women to express their individual style in tons of ways, whether it’s color combinations, hairstyles, tattoos, or themes in their clothing.

9 - Copy6. Strength is encouraged.

Pinup girls aren’t wallflowers. They’re ballsy, strong and the epitome of in-your-face attitude. They might get strange looks in public but they feel absolutely fabulous and couldn’t care less!

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7. It’s becoming increasingly diverse.

The modern day pinup fashion community still has a bit of a racial diversity problem (that’s another article for another time), but every day there are more and more badass women of color joining the fun. Hopefully they feel welcome, so we’ll see even more inclusivity across the board. Plus, how gorgeous is Angelique Noire in this photo!? More please!

Source: The Bustle

Spring Fling

Go ahead, have yourself a Spring shopping fling with some local Etsy shops.  By shifting just a portion of your spending, you can help create more jobs, a stronger economy and build a better community here in Toronto.  So take a short peruse through these charming gifts for you from our favorite Toronto Etsy Shops.TESTFeature

Tea Towels – $40.22 CAD
These hand screen printed tea towels are simply amazing.  The screen print is a sound wave which includes the sweet sounds of sizzling bacon and slurping coffee.  Would totally make a great hostess gift!  Check out KemptonJones Etsy shop for more super cool, screen printed housewares.

Invitation Set – $240.00 CAD
Paper lover Laura Velasquez is the owner and graphic designer of the shop Dreams On Paper.  If you are looking for invites or custom graphic work – she is a local artist you won’t want to miss!  Laura is a passionate graphic designer that is not only focused on design and typography – but designs every detail of your mailing process as well.

Hair Comb – $33.52 CAD
Eeep!  This handmade, flapper inspired hair comb is so wicked!  In all of our years, we have never come across curled goose feathers festooned with bats and eyeballs.  So creative and unique.  For more ghoulish hair accessories and rockabilly jewelry be sure to check out Jen’s amazing shop, Koffin Kitten.  

Beaches Bracelet – $62.00 CAD
With it’s carefree attitude, this beautiful bracelet was inspired by the spirit of the Beaches neighborhood of Toronto.  Shop LianaMarieTO is full of handcrafted, timeless pieces that woman of all ages could wear.  Liana’s whimsical jewelry is inspired by popular locations in our beloved Big Smoke.

King T-Shirt – $25.00 CAD
It’s good to be king – king of the wrinkles and the World’s curliest tail!  This super soft, handsome t-shirt is created by shop H.W.B.P., a clothing label based out of Toronto.  The best part about this shop is that you get yourself a cute tee and 10% of your purchase goes to ElderDog charity, a non-profit organization.

Bear Hug – $22.35 CAD
Not much can beat a big, old bear hug.  Shop ZukZuk is filled with bright and beautiful hand drawn prints.  ZukZuk also takes inexpensive framing options into account as most of ZukZuk’s prints work will with Ikea framing options.  ZukZuk also gives back to one of the most important charities out there – $1 from each item sold goes to Amnesty International.

So there you go Toronto!  Local homegrown goodness just for you.  Be sure to check out Etsy for even more local products that are absolutely unique to your area.  Happy shopping locally!