Disclaimer: As an Australian pinup I can only share my experiences about the cost of pinup from the perspective of an Australian and our very similar New Zealand neighbors. Obviously other countries do face similar issues, however I can only share experiences from my own perspective. As a plus size girl in Australia, I find true vintage to be crazy expensive so haven’t included it in this list.
Pinups down under know that living a pinup lifestyle can be expensive, along with pretty much everything else. With Sydney and Melbourne ranking in the place of fifth and sixth most expensive places to live in the world, its no wonder why. So ontop of our generally high cost of living our poor dollar value against the US/Pound/Euro coupled with our sheer distance from the two primary hubs of the pinup world (being the UK and the US) means entering into the pinup lifestyle can be a costly venture, moreso than I think our Northern Hemisphere counterparts could ever fully comprehend. So I wanted to share my tips and tricks on how I built up my pinup wardrobe on a budget and little hacks I still do now to help add new goodies into my closet without breaking the bank as an Aussie gal!
Get Familiar with Local Stores and Stockists
While we may be far away from most of the big name pinup brands down under, a lot of local stores do carry some of the brands we know and love. I love shopping local when I can and I really encourage people to reach out to their local pinups stores here in Australia, support their business and work with them to better suit you. For example, Afterpay/Zippay is an amazing way to make buying clothes a bit more budget friendly here in Australia. You can always ask about potential layby if they don’t offer either. Many of these stores can also order in for you from certain brands as well, even if they don’t stock things. Some of my favorite local stores to buy from are:
- Natasha Marie Clothing
- That Shop
- Cherri Lane
- Lana Rose
- Tragic Beautiful
- Ms Katts Kustom House
Just to name some of my favorite local stores to buy pinup goodies from!
Buy local Brands!
While we don’t have a MASSIVE amount of local pinup brands here in Australia, we do have SOME and many of these brands I know would love the support of the local community.
Some of my favorite local businesses are:
- Doll Deluxe
- Bonsai Kitten
- Pigtails and Pirates
- Cherry Bomb Vintage Couture
- Lavender and Peaches
- Powderpuff Boutique
- Elise Boutique
- Delicious Dames
- Kitten D’Amour
Sign up to Newsletters & follow social media accounts
When I first got into pinup I viewed newsletters as clutter. Now days they really help dictate my shopping. Newsletters are a great way to hear about sales and discounts on items! Especially from pricier brands. I’ve managed to nab myself many items at a discount through this method and most give you an initial discount code just for signing up, like this Unique Vintage newsletter does. Also sign up to their social media accounts. Newsletters really are a great tool for keeping upto date on sales and specials you might have missed on social media (because algorithms can suck).
See an item you love directly on a brands website but see it’s a bit expensive? Most pinup brands are stocked by multiple stores around the world and you can often find the item at a local store or cheaper rate by google searching the item by name. I’ve managed to nab many items at a cheaper postage rate or at a cheaper price this way and it’s a method I strongly recommend! This is also a great tool if the store is out of stock in the item you want!
There are a few big shopping ‘dates’ in the pinup world that I have marked in my calendar and I try to put away some money in the lead up to these dates to help me get a little bit extra. This ties into signing up to newsletters and following accounts on social media, if you see a release you’re interested in mark it down and plan for it! It definitely helps the wallet out later!
Join Pinup Buy Swap Sell Pages on Facebook
Buy Swap Sell pages are often overlooked but are an absolutely amazing resource for finding unicorns and getting items at good prices. I’ve sold myself on buy swap sell pages as well as bought from them too. You can find everything from accessories to clothing and shoes on buy swap sell pages and for ladies on budgets these are a treasure trove of goodies. My biggest advice to ladies is to always send their payments as a payment for goods, not to friends as this way you’re covered if there’s ever an issue and to only ever send items after payment has been received. I’m part of a number of these groups that are generic ‘pinup’ sell pages as well as brand specific pages.
Learn to Navigate Ebay
Ebay is another great resource for purchasing second hand pinup goodies, if you know how to search correctly! As a rule of thumb I stay away from pinup clothes coming from china as most are crap knock offs of better brands. I have a followed search list that’s done by brand name instead of a generic “pinup” search. So for example it reads: collectif, voodoo vixen, tatyana boutique, Bernie dexter etc. I also have notifications of new listings on my favorite brands turned on so I don’t miss things.
Get to know your local small businesses
Aside from a few brands now days, I pretty much get most of my accessories from Australian businesses. This is not only to support their business, but it also means I’m not fighting a crap exchange rate and having a wait a small lifetime for my items to arrive. Australia has some fabulous small businesses in the accessories department! I’ve listed some of my fav’s below!
Brooches (ones I can think of)
- Martini & Slippers
- Kirbee Lawler
- Story Book rabbit
- Odd and Sparkly
- Deer Arrow
- Winnifred’s Daughter
- Bel Air Baby
- Hungry Designs
- Jubly Umph
- Kaiju Candy
- Fractured Lace
- Elsa Designs
- Daisy Jean
- Blue Raven Designs
- Emma Louise
- tantalising treasures
- Peppy Chapette
- Miss Nikki’s Bakery
- Hug me Harry
I get all my beads from Debstar Designs
Hair flowers I tend to wear my own business Daisy Jean Floral Designs
Fashion headwear from Doily Delightz
Sales and savings!
There are some items, such as shoes, that no matter how you cut it they’re gonna be expensive. This is due to a mix of the exchange rate and the cost of shipping bulkier things. There are certain items I’ll hold off getting til the EOFY sale, Black Friday sales or Christmas/boxing day sales hit as you can generally snag things for a pretty good price! But remember to be quick with these sorts of things, especially during black Friday as pieces do tend to sell out fast during these sales. I do make a habit too to always check the sale section on stores too. You can find gems there too. Another good find is the Zulily page, especially for things like Chelsea Crew and BAIT shoes as final sale styles as well as sometimes pinup clothes which are often listed there for a super cheap price with super cheap postage!
Look at using a forwarding service.
This is something I’m considering using during my black Friday sales to help reduce my postage costs! There are services, especially in the US which allow you to have your parcels send to them, where they then correlate your orders into one parcel and ship at a cheaper rate. After a lot of research I opted to try shipmate for this which is run directly through Australia Post. This can really help cut down the postage costs and make brands with crazy high postage rates an easier purchase.
Pool shipping with friends
Another way to reduce costs of shipping, especially if its a flat rate is to get your girlfriends together if you all want to order from the same place and put in an order together. That way shipping is split multiple ways instead of just one. This is a great way as well to share the rush of shopping with your friends too, which come on we all secretly love!
Read bloggers reviews!
As a blogger this may appear to be shameless self promotion but please hear me out! A lot of bloggers, when they collaborate with brands are given coupon codes and discount codes to pass on to their followers. So not only are you supporting someone who puts a lot of effort into sharing, you can also get yourself a saving too. So don’t just subscribe newsletters, but blogs too!
I would like to add a final note on the differences I’ve found between fast fashion and pinup clothing. I view my pinup clothing as an investment. Over the years I’ve become better at knowing which brands are of a higher quality that I don’t mind paying more for. I’m still wearing certain pieces I purchased a couple of years ago and I find as long as I take care of my clothes properly (delicate wash cycle, worn in rotation) I get a large lifespan out of my pinup clothes. I know the difference in cost between fast fashion and retro fashion can be daunting but unlike fast fashion pinup items don’t go out of style. As long as you love them and enjoy wearing them, that’s all that matters.
I hope you’ve all found this to be helpful! I’ve tried to include the tips and tricks I still use today!
Til next time darlings!