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You know exactly what she looks like. You might even know what she wears. You definitely know her silhouette and the way she does her hair. She’s been around for years and everyone knows her name. The pin up girl.

As early as 1890 pin up girls have been drawn, photographed and painted showcasing their beauty and sensuality. These girls are symbols of feminism and sex appeal, ironically often sported by men.

Pin up girls were popular as tattoos during the first and second world wars. Men would get these tattoos as motivation before heading to war.

However, pin up girls aren’t a thing of the past, and a pin up girlĀ tattoo isn’t either.

But where did the pin up girl originate and how did it catch on? We’ve done all of the pin up research for you and have compiled a brief history all about America’s favorite girl:

1. 1900 and Something

In the late 19th and earth 20th century, there were the Gibson Girls. They were the invention of Charles Dana Gibson. The drawings weren’t as risque as the later pin up girls would come to be.

However, Gibson certainly celebrated new and modern ideas of sex and beauty through his drawings, but he still left plenty to the imagination. Often done in pencil, his drawings depicted beautiful women tossing their hair about on various beaches around the world.

Women were starting to free themselves little by little through his depictions, first an ankle, then a full leg. Then along came the Ziegfeld Follies.

2. The Follies

You might not associate the Ziegfeld Follies with the pin up girl, however, they were the first girls to loosen their corsets as the Gibson girls passed on their baton. The Follies were the embodiment of the girls that Gibson had drawn.

The Ziegfeld girls were famously photographed by photographers like Alfred Cheney Johnston and often ended up becoming actresses like Lucille Ball.

3. Pin Up Girl Tattoo Origins in the 30s and 40s

After the Follies came the Varga girls. They were extremely well known for their pin up art. Famous paintings from Esquire Magazine and other publications of these women became some of the most iconic pin up images that World War II soldiers came to know and love.

These girls were posed in very risque outfits and often sported a sexual attitude throughout their work. The girls were often depicted in scantily clad naval uniforms or with skirts blowing up over their heads.

The paintings of these girls were shipped out to soldiers during World War II to help boost morale and excite the soldiers. They were also often painted onto the noses of the planes that fought in the war. Another great contribution in helping our soliders began with the one and only Grable.

4. Grable For the Win

Betty Grable is the O.G. when it comes to pin up girls. Her bathing suit poster that was eventually included in the “100 Photos That Changed The World” was an iconic sight for men and women everywhere. Once America’s favorite movie star had now become the original inspiration for the pin up girl.

The photo was of Betty in a famous pose in her swimsuit, with her hands on her hips, looking back over her shoulder with love in her eyes. We owe a lot to Betty for starting the pin up girl fire, but who really came through to blow flame on the embers was another Bettie.

5. Along Came Bettie

Most famous between the 1950s and the 1980s, Bettie Page soon took over as queen of all pin up girls. Page was considered to be as good in person as she was in the artwork. Bettie represented what was an idealized version of what was considered attractive and beautiful in a woman.

When it comes to the pin up girl tattoo, the shapely form of miss Page informed a lot. Perhaps she created an image for women across the nation that they couldn’t quite live up to, but she certainly titillated both men and women alike during her star turn.

6. Now-A-Days

These days, people who want a pin up girl tattoo relish in the long, beautiful, war-ridden history of the pin up girl. Hence, people who get a pin up girl tattoo stay true to the original characteristics of the pin up girl.

Even as people make new designs of modern pin up girls, they always incorporate the throw back tell-tale signs of a pin up girl. While the theme is evolving, the pin up girls will always be part of the same style line.

When someone gets a pin up girl tattoo today, you might see either a vintage pin up girl in swim suits, hula outfits or navy uniforms. They are usually still depicted in sexy poses.

The modern pin up girl version copies the old school design but transforms it substantially. The modern pin up girl tattoo is much more scandalous and wears next to nothing, or nothing at all. Some of the new tattoos even venture into weird obscure fantasies like zombie land.

The new school pin up girl tattoo is usually done in a much more realistic looking style. The girls have become less like a caricature and more like real women.

You Can’t Take the Pin Up Out of The Girl

Regardless of what kind of pin up girl you are going for, there are characteristics that you can’t miss. Big eyelashes, red lipstick, smokey eyes and well-coiffed hairstyles are all aspects of the pin up girl.

Whether you’re going for the original Betty with the classic sailor look or the new modern zombie woman, the pin up girl tattoo is having quite a comeback.

The pin up girl tattoo never will and never has gone out of style because beautiful women never will. The popularity of the pin up girl is just as strong as it was in the 50s. So tattoo it in and pin it up.

For more info, blog posts and pin up dress styles click here!

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