It’s my honor to introduce Miss Amy May. Hailing from the UK, she describes herself as “owning far too many red lipsticks and a fair number of sparkly shoes.” Miss Amy May’s taste It’s my honor to introduce Miss Amy May. Hailing from the UK, she describes herself as “owning far too many red lipsticks and a fair number of sparkly shoes.” Miss Amy May’s taste in wiggle dresses, full skirts, and her love of Harry Potter illustrates the modern-day pinup gal. I was delighted for you to get a glimpse on her inspirations, favorite trends, thoughts on the pin-up community.
Where has your love for the vintage/pin-up fashion come from?
I think somewhere inside me I have always just thought the era of the 50’s was the most elegant, sophisticated and feminine out of all the eras in fashion. I didn’t really watch a lot of old movies, or was exposed to music and such, when I was younger like most of my pinup friends. I only began to admire such things as I grew older. At the beginning I felt I was too young to pull of the look, as though I would be playing dress up. Over time, my love for the style grew and i came to feel it was something I could indulge in as I became confident enough to try it.
How long have you been involved in the pin-up community?
I began my style transition in early 2013, first experimenting with wetset pincurls as a hairstyle revamp and then branching out to the clothes and makeup. By that autumn I was wearing the style exclusively socially (I work as a Warehouse Supervisor, so I can’t be pin-up at work) The entire time I was on Instagram, where I documented my style change and began to make friends with other pinups all over the world, delving further into the community from there. I began my blog in mid 2014 and since then my love for the style, the other women within it and the ways it has opened up my life have all only grown.
Has becoming a pin-up changed you in any ways?
Loads! Mostly, I’m more confident now, both in my looks and my body, and in myself and my personality. I feel like embracing the small joys of wearing what I like when I like, without worrying what other people might think of me, it has really freed me as a person and lessened a lot of the social anxiety which I used to suffer from. Now, if I get presented an opportunity that scares me a little, I focus on the excitement of it and I say YES. I’m more outspoken and thoughtful than before. Kinder, stronger, and happier in general.
Who are your inspirations?
All of my family, for just being smart, funny, supportive beautiful humans. JK Rowling for being a creative genius and an incredible person who cares about those less fortunate than herself and won’t be told to sit quietly just because she’s a woman. Every one of my friends who has overcome. Micheline Pitt and Laura Byrnes for being both creative and mental powerhouses. Rachel Jensen for being so incredibly stylish. All the pinups I interact with who encourage one another and are generous enough to offer me any single iota of support.
By being a pin-up , do you see yourself influencing other women/girls?
I’ve had other women tell me that seeing me sport this style with confidence gave them the push to embrace it themselves and grow more confident in themselves . But I don’t think that’s really about me. I think all pinups have that power. We dress differently than other people, we dare to look at every stranger in public and declare, with our mere looks, ‘I know what I like and who I am, and I don’t care if society thinks it’s weird or would prefer I wear what everyone else is wearing.’ We dare to stand out. We learn to ooze confidence. I think in our modern world, where equality is not yet a true reality and we women are often told in a thousand small ways in a single day to make ourselves smaller, that is inspiring and empowering and wonderful.
What are your favorite pieces to wear that make you feel confident/sexy?
My swing dresses make me feel most confident and sexy. You might not think so, since they typically cover me to my mid-shin and rarely have anything more on show than a hint of cleavage at most, but I think the pinup style is a lot about being in control of what you want to show off and knowing that you are feminine, sexy and glamorous whether you’re in a body hugging wiggle dress or a long-sleeved swing skirt with two petticoats underneath. It’s the entire aesthetic, not one specific silhouette, that I find sexy and sensual and womanly, and it allows me to feel that way even when I am covered in literal meters and meters of fabric.
What is your daily routine for getting ready?
For my daily routine it depends upon whether I am going out after work or staying in. If I’m going out after work then my routine involves setting my hair in pincurls the night before, waking up an extra half hour before work so I can do my full face of makeup (sans the red lipstick,) then taking out my pincurls when I get home from work, freshening up, touching up my makeup, adding lipstick and perfume, and getting into whatever outfit I probably mentally picked out a couple days before. If I’m in for the night then my routine before work means I don’t make any special effort for the day; I might wear some foundation and mascara, but I always have to be dressed practically for my very physical job, so I wear my work uniform and often tie my hair out of the way.
What are some means in sharing your unique style?
I post pictures of my pinup outfits on my Instagram, I also blog at least twice a week about the different elements of the style, reviews on clothing, my favorite makeup products, any hair tricks I have and craft projects for low budget accessories. I occasionally model for retro clothing brands boutiques and vintage magazines. That is always fun and a change from my day-job. I haven’t participated in any pinup pageants, but along with a group of my pinup friends, known as The British Belles, this summer we created a charity event called Pinup Picnic in the Park. We invited anyone who would like to meet up with friends old and new, who share our vintage love and have a picnic at London’s Hyde park. It was wonderful getting to see so many people who had only spoken online before, mostly Instagram, and finally being able to meet in the flesh. Ladies who are new to the style were able to meet their first ever batch of real-life people who share their love and interest. as part of the event we hosted a charity raffle, with almost 40 prizes donated from vintage and retro style brands from across the world. It went on to raise over £1000 for Macmillan Cancer Support. A charity very near and dear to our hearts. The whole event was amazing and we can’t wait to host another one next year.
Being a pin-up girl in the modern day can be difficult, have you ever experienced backlash or negativity from your community?
I’m really lucky that I haven’t experienced any of that. The community is really supportive, so I’ve never had any negative experience within it, but even outside of it people have only ever been nice and interested to me about my style. I can tell some people find it confusing or just too much effort, as if it’s vapid to enjoy wearing something pretty, but those people don’t concern me because I don’t do it for them. I do it for myself and I know I’m an intelligent person regardless of whether I like bright lipstick or glittery necklaces.
I want to remind every female, whether girl, woman or in between, that she is one of a kind and beautiful. We get a lot of pressure applied to us from all aspects of society, even by family and friends, both knowingly and unknowingly, to look and act a certain way. More often than not the things we are told to be and do are conflicting–don’t have sex, but also don’t be a prude. Don’t care about what you look like, but also don’t be ugly. Don’t be dumb, but don’t be smarter than the men in your life. It’s all institutionalised sexism that we have to unlearn and, more importantly, have to stop forcing upon one another by mimicking the judgements we grow up hearing all around us. We are not each other’s competition. We are a sisterhood, and whether that means complimenting another girl because you like her swing dress or whether that means reminding one another that we have a voice and important things to say, it all plays its part in helping each other feel good and worthy and strong and better than society tells us we are. Don’t be scared to be who you want to be, and try your best to encourage other women to live as their true selves as well. Be kind. Be brave. Be badass.
Thank you Miss Amy May for sharing the love you have for pin-up. Your strong ideals and confidence is sure to reach those who have yet found theirs.
Head over to missamymay.com for more on her beauty!