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Why I used to think dressing like a grandma was a bad thing ~ How I couldn’t relate to pinup/vintage growing up

I used to find vintage to be….interesting in my youth. A lot of people use to term it ‘dressing like your grandmother’ but to me that never meant sense because my grandmother wasn’t a pinup.
Now I know that last comment may confuse some of you as most pinups, especially true vintage wearing ladies who aim to pull that aesthetic, but in reality I’ve never really seen many photos of my grandmother in her youth at all let alone looking like the ‘traditional pinup woman of the 1950’s like you see. I’ve popped an example below.
Real portrait of a 1950’s woman. Credit click here
You see, while I am very white (courtesy of German and Dutch heritage on my fathers side. My mother calls me her milk chocolate as I’m very fair compared to others in my family), my grandmother is half Aboriginal and half Irish, which means in the 1950’s she was labelled as a half cast. I interviewed my grandmother during high school for my Society and Culture project (which I must add, revolved around ice cream!) and discovered that she had a very hard life as a result. She worked most of her life in house keeping as that’s primarily all her position would allow her to do and that also meant no pretty clothes, no make up, no nice hair and almost no photos. Primarily her life consisted of family and a lot of hard work. 
I’ve never seen a photograph of my grandmother in her youth, like the one above. In fact, the youngest photo I’ve ever seen of my grandmother is from her wedding day with my grandfather, in her early 40’s. 
I’ve always been a bit envious of gals who can look at portraits of their grandmothers and see a resemblance (my physical resemblance to my family is minimal) as thats something I’ve never had. While its been amazing to grow into pinup and really embrace who I am it also highlighted to me how much the world has changed, not only in regards to fashion but how we treat people in our society. We do have a long way to go in a lot of aspects, but we have still come a long way from where we were.
Just a little post I wanted to share with you all incase there were other ladies out there who couldn’t relate to ‘vintage’ growing up due to their family experiences too. To the grandma’s who weren’t pinup perfect, like mine.
Til tomorrow!

6 thoughts on “Why I used to think dressing like a grandma was a bad thing ~ How I couldn’t relate to pinup/vintage growing up

  1. I'm exactly in the same boat as you, as both my Grandma's grew up in poor/hard working backgrounds and never really dressed up in expensive pinup style outfits, only handmade simple frocks and I've only seen the odd photos when they were young, no where near the 1940's/50's pinup style! Maybe it was more a USA/England thing!?

  2. I've seen quite a few aussie ladies recently posting side by sides of themselves with old portraits of their grandmothers, which is what prompted my post. I think well to do families had the polished look but my grandmother was the daughter of an aboriginal woman and a fisherman, the middle child of (from memory) 7-8 kids. There wasn't money for fancy things.

  3. I have been thinking about this too! I live in Finland, and here was a lot of wars in the “pinup time”, and after those we were a poor country for some time and we lost a lot of land to Russia. My both grandmothers were poor, no cameras, and their parents except for one mom, died in the war. But this is normal here in Finland, no one's grandma has been anywhere near pinup glamour or anything else rich. And actually people here in Finland don't know that puffy skirts and victory rolls and red lips etc. are anything 50's or pin up. Old people remember the 50's as a poor decade and really don't know anything about those things. Hardly anyone listened to Elvis or watched James Dean's movies. Those were popular in the 70's or something. I love the whole American 50's pinup thing, but no one really understands that 😀

  4. So interesting! My maternal grandma grew up on a farm, and I have a single glamorous photo of her… all the rest are snapshots of her by her house or climbing on tractors. My other grandma loved to dance and dress fancy, although she was limited by her situation in life, so her pictures have a little more of the traditional pin-up look. I think one of the reasons a lot of US gals have a single lovely picture of their grandmothers as young women is that they were senior portraits taken for their high school yearbooks, which have always been a big deal around here. I have a very similar black and white photo of each of my grandmothers, and I suspect that may be why…

  5. I think Australia like Finland was quite poor during the war, but also I think our sheer distance from a lot of things meant there just wasn't the same abundance of culture, unless you had wealth. interesting to read your comment! Thank you for sharing!

  6. Ah that may explain a lot of it. To my knowledge, my grandmother didn't get a full education due to her social status, so therefore no senior year book photos. I'm finding a lot of the comments I've received on this to be very interesting. Thank you for sharing.

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