1st April 2021
Style lessons we’ve learned from the notorious Bettie Page
I think it’s safe to say that Bettie Page is one of the biggest pin-up style icons of our time. Who is Bettie Page, you might ask…? Well, if you’ve been living under a rock (kidding!) Bettie Page aka The Queen of PinUps is an American model who became famous in the 50s for her amazing pinup photos.
The Notorious Bettie Page is a 2005 biographical film directed by Mary Harron all about Bettie’s life and career. If you aren’t familiar with Bettie and her work, we recommend you give it a watch.
In this blog post, we’ll be going through all of the style lessons we’ve picked up from Bettie, and how you can get her look. From a vintage high waisted pencil skirt to a long sleeve leopard print top – grab yourself a cuppa, you’re sure to get some pin up fashion inspo from this one.
Bettie Page Style Lesson #1 – have a signature hairstyle
Bettie Page was well known for her iconic hairstyle – shoulder-length black hair with a kitsch short fringe/bangs. Notably known as the Bettie Bangs – truly a revolution! And, having your very own signature hairstyle really does add that little something-something to your look.
You know that one piece of clothing in your wardrobe, or that certain make-up look you naturally gravitate towards? Mainly because you feel so damn good in it? It’s probably because it makes you feel more like yourself. Having your own signature hairstyle that you wear most days will do the same thing.
We’ve found a quote from Bettie all about her hair. “For years I had my hair parted down the middle in a ponytail, tucked down around the sides. Well, I went and cut the bangs, and I’ve been wearing them ever since. They say it’s my trademark.” – Bettie Page
Bettie Page Style Lesson #2 – hair bows
In multiple photos of Bettie Page we often see her wear a classic hairbow or similar accessory. It’s a great accessory to style to add a pop of cuteness to your look. Bettie wore a baby pink one, and styled with her baby-bangs – it looked amazing!
Hair bows are great for adding a touch of pinup style to any look. But Bettie didn’t limit herself to just hair bows – she was also captured wearing flowers in her hair, as well as regular headbands.
Bettie Page Style Lesson #3 – badass lingerie to make you feel good
So, a little fun fact… Bettie actually designed her own lingerie and swimswear for a lot of her shoots. How freaking cool is that?
And I think we can all agree that there really is something about wearing lingerie that makes you feel so sexy and powerful, even if no one else is seeing it but you.
Dressing for yourself should always be a priority. At LKL we’re firm believers that in order to feel good about yourself – you should wear whatever the hell makes you feel good! And if someone doesn’t like it or has an objection, they may not be the type of person you should have in your immediate space… just saying
Bettie Page Style Lesson # 4 – leopard print everything!
I’m sure we’re all familiar with Bettie’s iconic photoshoot with Bunny Yeager. The one where she’s dressed in a full animal print ensemble posing with two Cheetahs? (though, we definitely don’t condone the use of animals in this way, different times I guess…) Yeah, it’s one of our fave Bettie shoots.
Leopard print (or any animal print for that matter) is the perfect way to add a statement to any outfit. Whether you choose a skirt or a top, we think leopard print is a staple in any pin-up-inspired wardrobe.
Are you a midi skirt type gal? Then Gwen (which is our light flowy leopard print skirt) has got you covered.
Bettie Page Style Lesson #5 – patent leather accessories!
Patent leather bags, belts, shoes, everything! Bettie was often seen wearing patent-something… And lets admit it, it’s super sexy!
A great place to look for true vintage patent leather accessories are charity shops / vintage markets.
Alternatively, if you’re after a brand new faux leather accessory, try to opt for a sustainable faux leather. La Bante London have a range of vegan, ethical and eco friendly accessories, with their speciality being bags.
Bettie Page Style Lesson #6 – Pencil Skirts
Bettie Page wearing a high waisted pencil skirt is one of her most iconic pinup looks. The vintage high waisted pencil skirt is great for enhancing your natural body shape and curves, they look super flattering on and are definitely a staple item to have in any wardrobe to make you feel good about yourself.
And did we mention their versatility?
But if you’re taking style inspiration from Bettie, pair your pencil skirt with a leopard print jumper perhaps, to go full Bettie Page x Bunny Yeager inspired. Or for a more classic look, our Priscilla will give you that more down stated classic pin up look.
Check out our V2 skirt which comes in a range of colours, including the classic black colourway.
Bettie Page Style Lesson #7 – a smile (if you feel like it)
You know how that saying goes, “you’re never fully dressed without a smile.” And it’s true to an extent. But personally, we think that starts from within. If you feel good in what you wear, you’ll naturally radiate that happy feel-good energy.
Bettie Page Style Lesson #8 – a pair of long black gloves
The long black glove is a staple in the vintage pinup & burlesque world.
Icons like Dita Von Teese rocks long leather gloves so well. Definitely slightly bondage-apparel-esque and maybe not something you’d wear to a family dinner… But we still love how they look.
Or you can style them for everyday wear (family dinner appropriate) like the gorgeous Lady Eccentrik has done here. Don’t they look bloody fabulous?
We can’t get enough!
Bettie Page Style Lesson #9 – classic black shoes
In almost all photos of Bettie, we see her sporting either a pair of Mary Jane shoes or slingback heels. Mary Janes are classic and never really go out of style, with modern takes on them to suit whatever style you have, meaning they’re super accessible for most people.
Slingback shoes have made a recent comeback in the past few years and we see big brands like Chanel making them with a true vintage design.
And a pair of open-toed heels are always a classic one to go with. We love these heels from 530 Gallery.
Miss L Fire also has a wide range of heels, and they keep their environmental impact as low as possible. Win!
So whether you prefer a chunky or true vintage Mary Jane, a pair of old-school slingback heels, or a pair of open-toed heels, there’s something on the market for everyone if you want to channel your inner pin up queen, Bettie Page!
Bettie Page Style Lesson #10 – a fun loving attitude
Bettie was renowned for her shining personality that really showed through in photos, and photographers loved working with her because of this.
A quote from Bunny Yeager about Bettie Page states: “Bettie Page was number one. I have never known another model who had better knowledge of her body or how to work with it to make it look so good. Her skin was perfect, no blemishes. Perfect nose, beautiful straight teeth, and gleaming, shiny black hair that was always in place, always.”
Some of our favourite quotes from the notorious Bettie Page
Did Bettie Page think she was an icon? “I don’t know what they mean by an icon. I never thought of myself as being that. It seems strange to me. I was just modeling, thinking of as many different poses as possible. I made more money modeling than being a secretary.” Bettie says…” I had a lot of free time. You could go back to work after an absence of a few months. I couldn’t do that as a secretary.”
Bettie Page’s thoughts on fashion: “I never kept up with the fashions. I believed in wearing what I thought looked good on me.”
Bettie on her career: “I want to be remembered as I was when I was young and in my golden times… I want to be remembered as the woman who changed people’s perspectives concerning nudity in its natural form.”
Two of our favourite stand out quotes from Bettie:
“Young women say I helped them come out of their shells.”
“I wasn’t trying to be anything. I was just myself.”
So, to wrap up…
As well as style lessons, there are a lot of other things we can learn from Bettie from the words we are so lucky to have from her. Her quotes about just being herself and helping women come out of their shells are in line with what we personally believe in, living authentically and helping other women live authentically & without judgement. And how important it is to lift up and support and encourage the women around you; whether that be encouraging them to wear the clothes they want without fear of judgement, or for them to go out and get that promotion at work.
But what it all ultimately boils down to is self-love. That’s the key to everything and is what makes everything else possible. Self-love by showing up for yourself every single day, self-love by being unapologetically you, self-love by being as authentic as possible.
That’s what we’re all about.
Love Bettie Page? We’d love to hear from you! Join in the conversation on any of our social pages
What was Bettie Page’s style & how can I dress like her?
1 – Get a signature haircut. Bettie was always seen with her blunt-cut bangs (fringe for us in the UK) and long black hair
2 – Hairbows for that girl next door look!
3 – Killer underwear. For a full-on femme fetale Bettie vibe, fully matched and accessorised underwear sets are a must.
4 – Leopard Print – think swimwear, accessories, dresses
5 – Patent Leather is the perfect finish for accessories like shoes and handbags, (if they’re not leopard print)
6 – Pencil skirts for that wiggle in your walk.
7 – A smile. Bettie’s bright smile shines through in her pictures.
8 – Long black gloves, they’re not just for cocktail attire
9 – Classic black high court shoes.
10 – A fun-loving attitude. Bettie loved modelling and it showed!