Introducing a new feature- Monthly Pin Up Profiles! Each month, I will be asking all the important questions (and some less important ones) to a different inspirational person from within the pin up community. For January's Profile, I have interviewed the lovely Lois J Elise, who is one of my wonderful brand ambassadors. If you would like to take part in a future edition, please get in touch.
How would you define your style? Someone once described my style as “vintage mashup” and I think that fits perfectly! I mix and match different eras (everything from the Edwardian era to the 80s!), vintage and reproduction pieces to create looks that draw on both historical and contemporary trends.
What drew you to that particular style? I’ve always been drawn to vintage styles since I was a teenager and used to watch old Hollywood films with my grandfather. I’m also a great believer that life is too short to feel constricted by what you wear – so rather than being “faithful” to just one era or look, I like to see my wardrobe as a huge dressing up box, with the outfits I wear reflecting how I feel on that particular day.
What are some of your favourite brands? I’m really trying to support small and sustainable businesses wherever I can, as well as those who are size inclusive and diverse in their advertising imagery. In terms of clothes, I love Emmy Design Sweden for their beautifully made knitwear, Lady K Loves for their amazing sustainably made jeans and matching sets and Vixen by Micheline Pitt for amazing size inclusive glamorous designs (they are stocked in the UK by Deadly is the Female, who are a brilliant shop!). I think accessories are vital to a great vintage inspired look – for hats I love the milliner Adrienne Henry, who creates the most beautiful pieces by hand in the UK using traditional techniques, Goldfire London make stunning velvet turbans (also here in the UK!) and of course for hair flowers I love Pinup and Pearl!
Who is your style icon? Overall, my biggest inspiration is definitely Marlene Dietrich – she was never afraid to push boundaries. I also love Joan Collins – she has looked incredible in every era and always makes contemporary styles her own. I love looking for amazing style inspiration from global history – recently I’ve been inspired by Japanese film stars of the 1930s (Suzuki Denmei, Okada Yoshiko, Yamada Isuzu) and Big Mama Thornton, the original singer of “Hound Dog.” I love being inspired by people of all genders from around the world.
Cats or dogs? Absolutely both! I’ve grown up with both and love them equally!
How long have you been into Pin Up/ Vintage style? I’ve been dressing in a vintage style since I was about 16 – I think the defining moment was when I chose to wear a Marlene Dietrich influenced look to the equivalent of my school prom, and I never looked back since then!
What was your most memorable wardrobe mishap? I was once wearing a plaited hairpiece headband at a restaurant on a date… the elastic on the back of it snapped somehow(!) and it landed straight in my pasta…
You now own a magic wardrobe- it’s the only way you can get clothes, they are all vintage and in perfect condition and it contains a never-ending supply of them. However, all the clothes must come from the same decade. What decade do you choose? This is so hard, but I’m going to go with 50s! There are so many different silhouettes and styles from this period, I don’t think I could ever get bored.
What are some of your hobbies/interests outside of fashion? I love boating! In our spare time my partner and I love cruising around on our boat and we even bought a canoe last year for going up all the little backwaters, I love spotting all the wildlife. I also completed my PhD in Japanese cinema and fashion history last year – I love watching films and learning about film and fashion history from all over the world. I also like to wind down with a bit of cross-stitch because I’m a granny on the inside!
Have you got any tips for someone just starting their pin up/vintage style journey? Don’t be discouraged by all the highly curated Instagram pages you see online – nobody is 100% perfect 100% of the time! We all have pyjama days, makeup free days and days where our hair just won’t behave! Follow content that makes you feel good and encourages you to try new styles rather than something that makes you feel that you’re “doing it wrong” - don’t give up and keep on trying new things! There are so many amazing resources online particularly on YouTube and Instagram to learn about hairstyles, makeup and styling and friendly communities where you can ask questions (I founded the Don’t Be A Dick Vintage Fashion Fun Time Group on Facebook especially for this purpose, and Pin-Up Darlings UK is another lovely group!) If you’d like some more hands-on help with your look, you might want to book a session with a professional hair and makeup artist specialising in vintage (I can recommend Paula’s Vintage Parlour or The Vintage Beauty Parlour in Manchester for this, they’re both fantastic) to find out what specifically works best for your chosen era or for your hair and skin type, or even have a personal styling session to help you build a wardrobe (I actually work as a vintage-inspired fashion stylist myself, so if this interests you please feel free to get in touch!) More than anything, just remember that this is something fun that you are doing for yourself, not to satisfy anyone else’s idea of what vintage or pin-up looks like – make the look your own and don’t be afraid to experiment!
What’s your favourite TV show? I recently got into the Mandalorian and am quite sad that it’s over for now, it was great to have something to look forward to on Fridays! Of course I love period dramas for the costumes, but especially something with a bit of a twist to it – I loved Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes.
And finally… tell us your favourite random fact. In Switzerland it is illegal to own just one guinea pig because they get lonely! If one of your guinea pigs passes away, you can find them a new companion via a guinea pig matchmaking agency (this is my retirement plan).
If you'd like to follow Lois on social media and see some more of her fabulous looks (and find out if her dream of being a guinea pig match maker ever comes true), find her at these links below!
Thank you so much to Lois for answering my questions and being my first ever Pin Up Profile guest!