Retro Essentials: Winter Wardrobe (current)

So, I’m currently in the process of packing for a trip and can’t really take photos of my clothes. I’ve also got an allergic reaction on my face that is only partially healed. Hence, I’ve decided to not include any personal photos in this post but rather link to things that can be bought in stores or online.

Please note that I haven’t been asked to promote anything for anyone, work or have worked for any of these stores, or hope to get discounts or shit like that. It’s just a guide to winter pieces, some of them I own, some I just think would be cool to own. I’ve tried taking different budgets and sizes/body shapes into account when writing this but I can’t promise it’s perfect.

Before you read any further, I’d encourage you to look at this collection of 1940’s fashion photos from Marie Claire UK. Why? To remind yourself that there’s no One True Way of dressing vintage/pinup/rockabilly/whatever but that there’s several ways. Though a marked waist and a red lipstick never hurts.


Pants are a bit tricky for pinup and rockabilly, but they’re far from impossible. A classic option would be these capris from Trash Monkey, but they are on the pricier side. I can also reveal that I once tried these on and if you are an hourglass or pear shape, you’ll need to grab at least two sizes larger than you would usually get. And for 79 dollars they are on the more expensive side. They do have a cheaper option in both red and black for 45 dollars. I can’t vouch for the quality, but their physical store has been around for years and makes for a nice visit the next time you’re in Brisbane. If you’re on a tight budget, there’s always Target (it’s honestly one of my favourite stores for workwear and smart casual). They have a pretty cute pair of cropped jeans that apparently retail for 10 bucks. I recommend these jeggings for casual wear. If you want an edgier look, they have some black ripped jeans and biker jeans as well. For a plus size option, H&M+ has these black skinny jeans that look pretty cute and if you feel like ordering online, Modcloth has a good plus size section that includes these awesome jeans.
For colours, aim for classic black or dark blue with jeans. With a tight fit around the ankle, you can easily tuck them into a pair of cool winter boots. If you’re lucky, you even come across skinny trousers with a high waist or for an edgier look, these jeggings/leggings with “biker” details. If you’re looking for something with a bit more colour, Cotton On has several jeans and trousers in colours that aren’t black or blue.
You can of course also go crazy with leggings, but I trust you guys can find them on your own.
I usually just throw on a pair of black jeans or treggings/jeggings if it’s cold and wear them with a cute blouse or a t-shirt & cardigan. For work, you can often get away with dark denim as long as it’s not too crude and if you wear it with other very ‘proper’ items.

I’m more of a skirt person myself, so this is a section of this post that I truly enjoy window shopping for.
Firstly, there’s Target (I seriously promise I don’t work for them). If you’re petite, they have a cute black and animal print skirt. From their regular section, there’s this elegant but edgy casual skirt with a lace hem that comes in black and grey.
H&M has several jersey skirts that come in various patterns, they mould themselves onto your body, so if you’ve got an hourglass shape they look like wiggle skirts. Here’s one with stripes.
Want to ignore the very obvious winter weather? If you have a bit more money available, try this floral skirt from Modcloth. Want something more form fitting? Try this truly pinup inspired red skirt that comes in regular and plus sizes.
A lovely sombre skirt that ranges from regular to plus sizes and is very work appropriate is this lovely piece from Modcloth. They also have several cute skirts that go just past the knee in various patterns and colours, including this polkadot one.
Want something a bit longer? Here’s an option from Big W, only available online, apparently.
For warmth, you can always wear stockings or leggings with your skirt. Unless you’re like me and allergic to all those things.

Blouses & Shirts
This is a part of retro/vintage/pinup/whatever that is often severely overlooked. You need things that can go with those jeans and skirts you’ve just obtained. Let’s start with Big W since it’s commonly available. Here’s a wrap top with polkadots on it, the 3/4 sleeve makes it look even more like a pinup top than most regular t-shirts or well… shirts. For a sleeveless option in several colours that is also budget friendly, have a look at this cowl neck top that would look great with a pencil skrit and a blazer or cardigan. Currently only available in larger sizes is this v-neck long sleeved shirt in white and yellow. Here’s a bit of an unorthodox choice: a Henley 3/4 sleeve in white from Target. Tuck it into a pair of high waisted jeans, put a red bandana in your hair and some red lipstick on your lips, and you look like a car workshop pinup. It may not be for pinup puritans, but it’s a look that I personally love. For something more cute, here’s a pink number with a print from H&M that is perfect for channeling Grease on a casual day. The link is to the plus size shirt but I think they come in regular sizes too. H&M also offers this off-the-shoulder shirt that I may or may not have linked in my budget post. It comes in sizes 4-16, so it should be an option for many of you. There’s also some budget friendly jersey shirts that would look great with a pencil skirt. Again, channeling your countryside girl or factory worker pinup, try a plaid button up shirt from Cotton On. I own one of those in a different colour and it’s something I wear really often in winter. Modcloth again covers most sizes with this vanilla blouse that is both work appropriate but can also be super sexy if styled the pinup way. For you ladies with a smaller bust, button ups like that one are a great option, as are blouses with ruffles on the front (like this one). If you on the other hand have a larger bust and know the struggles of boob gap, try for a v-neck since they actually make your boobs look smaller and avoids that horrible matronly look.
For a gorgeous top that works for casual wear and for when you want to dress up, try this mint one for 25 dollars from Your One Stop Pinup Shop that is available in XS-4X. Currently on sale is this nautical top from Modcloth, there’s only a very limited number left when I’m typing this but nautical things seldom sell for <30 USD

The pinup & rockabilly subculture has a love affair with cardigans that just doesn’t seem to end, and why should it? Cardigans are practical, warm, fits almost any body type, and can look proper, cute, and sexy. If you’re completely new to the retro styles, start with a pencil skirt, a blouse, and a cardigan and you’re good to go.

Here are some actual suggestions. If you have 50 dollars to spend, Trash Monkey have an adorable cardigan in blue and black with cute terrier dogs on it. Here’s the thing, it’s not difficult to find cardigans in store in winter. I’m just going to link to a few ones I think are cute and trust that if I release you into the wild after that, you’ll make it out ok. I bought an H&M cardigan today and if it hadn’t already been packed there would have been a photo of it, but I think it’s this mint green one. A 20 dollar purple one from Target. Here’s a blue floral one from Your One Stop Pinup Shop. City Chic has this polkadot black cardigan on sale as I’m typing this and it looks really nice. They also have this red cardigan with birds and a bow.  Apparently, Big W now does cashmere
When we spoke about budget options, someone suggested adding patches or marks that you iron on. If you’re on a very limited budget, you can always do that to a cheap and/or second hand cardigan.

Again, something that is often overlooked in the various retro subcultures. Don’t think people were cold in the past? Google things like ‘1930’s winter wear’ and you’ll see that cold is not a recent phenomenon.
Here’s a few recommendations. Fitting in with the nautical theme from H&M. Big W brings this cute knitted garment that can be styled to suit most pinup styles. Even Supree has a fluffy knitted jumper with stripes that can work if worn well. Pair this item from Target with a belt on your waist and it works on a cold day.


Maxi dresses are not just for summer, here’s a patterned pink one available in small sizes on sale from Modcloth. For casual dresses, try this polkadot number from Target. City Chic has a gorgeous but pricy floral option. Add a belt and some red lips and Modcloth brings you a cute casual green dress. This is another knee length option from Big W and they have a hot item with black lace sleeves right here. You can find dresses all year around, look for marked waists and pinup patterns and you’re halfway there. If people want, I could do a separate piece on dresses.

So it might be cold, but it’s not -20 degrees. You don’t need to wear anything truly specific, but with a good coat you can keep wearing your summed dresses beneath it without feeling too cold. Here’s a few recommendations.
Light blue winter coat from H&M that is also available in pink. And for my plus size readers, this gorgeous lace trenchcoat from City Chic might be worth a look.  If you want an edge to your look, I suggest looking for a biker jacket or a biker coat. Despite it being summer in America, Modcloth has this green fab coat with the name Hear Me Roar…. Another gorgeous Modcloth item. And finally, Target hosts this wonderful striped jacket.


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