Party Like a Pin Up

I’m going to tell you a secret.

In a few days, I’m going to put on something sexy and hit up a party I’ve heard whispers about. There are other things I should be doing — but I’m not going to do them. Here’s why.

When I was a kid, I looked forward to being a grown-up. I envisioned reading lots of books in college, having my own office, wearing fancy dresses to parties and having all the time I wanted to hang out with my friends. I wanted to be sexy, brilliant, fearless — a badass with Barbie’s wardrobe, the Huxtable girls’ brains and She-Ra’s attitude.

I was gonna be fierce!

PinUp Playing Card
Photo from Mark Anderson

Then I actually grew up. I realized that adulthood meant working ridiculously hard to buy boring stuff like toilet paper. And that the accomplishment and advancement I craved were not exactly the glamorous movie montage I’d seen in my head. I learned it’s surprisingly easy to put ourselves — and pleasure and spontaneity and relaxation — dead last.

It’s easy to choose overtime over adventures, to settle for a gallon of coffee and pile of paperwork instead of a leisurely lunch. Our society rewards it. And now that I’m a work-at-home mom, it’s even worse. I just read an article that told me it was okay to wear pajamas out in public if it’s too much trouble to get dressed.

Ladies, when did it come to this? When did we set the bar so low? I don’t care what your definition of beauty entails, it is not okay to think so little of ourselves that we can’t even get dressed properly in the morning.

Our preteen selves would be hurling their Lisa Frank Trapper Keepers at our over-scheduled heads right now.

Pin-Up Needlework
Photo from Hey Paul Studios

I was chatting with a new friend of mine, Yvonne Denault, about how important — and how freaking difficult — it is to inject a little glamour and mystery into crazy, busy real life. She gets it. And she thinks it’s so important, she built her business on it.

Yvonne runs Yvonne Denault Photography and she specializes in pinup and boudoir photography. So she excels at getting women to slow down and celebrate their own fabulousness.

And they love her for it. A few years ago, a customer appreciation party for her boudoir clients snowballed into Pinup on the Plains, the sexiest, craziest, most-empowering all-female party in town.

Pinup on the Plains takes a diverse group of women — artists and students, professionals and philanthropists, mothers and grandmothers — and mixes them up with a cash bar, music from The Lovely Larks, an acoustic folk trio from Minneapolis, pole dancer David C. Owen (it’s not what you think — he’s trained the perfomers in Cirque du Soleil — see him in action here) luscious desserts from Mezzaluna, a chance to win door prizes (including a pinup or boudoir session) and the best people watching in town.

Strawberries at Pin Up on the Plains
Photo by Holly D. Photography

Yvonne says the event took off faster than she ever could have imagined because women were looking for “those opportunities to dress to the nines, go out with your girlfriends and just party and not have to worry about judgement about what you’re wearing and how you’re acting.”

“I told my husband that I always dreamed that we would go to these galas and I’d wear these big dresses and he’d wear a tuxedo. And he just looked at me like — ‘huh?'” (Yvonne does an excellent baffled dude impression.)

“It’s just not his thing. I don’t think most men really care. But I think women need that in their lives. And I don’t even think women really care if the men are along – they just want an opportunity to get dressed up and go out.”

Pin Up on The Plains
Photo by Holly D. Photography

And dress up, they do. “People express themselves with their clothing and their hair and they really don’t hold back,” said Yvonne. “You can wear things you can’t wear anywhere else. It’s kind of become a chance to outdo what you did last year. You’re always trying to step it up a notch.”

These theme this year is The Great Gatsby, so expect lots of fringe, feathers and Art Deco jewels. But according to Yvonne, nobody gets too obsessed with the theme — at Pinup on the Plains, anything goes.

“Some people come pinup inspired and then you have the people in floor length ballroom gowns and dresses like the ones you see in Hollywood that are split all the way down the center that you could never wear in Fargo until now.”

From the Photo Booth at Pin Up on the Plains
Photo by Holly D. Photography

Since only women are allowed at the party, it’s a safe place to play grown-up dress-up or to indulge your sexy side.

“One year we had three women come in and they had these 1920’s-inspired dresses and the hats that matched and they’d done their hair up in the vintage style,” Yvonne told me, reminiscing about some of her favorite outfits.

“And the first year, two girls came in corsets — just the corset, the little panty and garters. I was like ‘Kudos to you’. I couldn’t personally do that, but that was awesome.”

This year, all tickets include a free drink ticket and VIP tables are available. I’ll be there taking photos of the most fabulous outfits, so strike a pose. But don’t worry — I only photograph the willing. Unless you tell me otherwise, what happens at Pinup, stays at Pinup.

Pin Up on the Plains
Photo from Yvonne Denault Photography

If you’re going to the event, I can’t wait to see you. And if  you’re busy (or live halfway around the world from me) I hope you’ll make plans for your own ultra-extravagant girls night.

You know that outfit you’ve been meaning to wear, but there’s just no occasion fabulous enough for it? Make one. Life should be about more than just surviving.

Let’s throw ourselves a party that our twelve-year-old selves would be proud of.

Pinup on the Plains
Friday, October 4
Plains Art Museum
704 1st Avenue North
Fargo, ND

Tickets available online
and at the Meet & Greet/Ticket Selling Event
Thursday, September 26th
5 p.m. – 7 p.m. at the Yvonne Denault Photography Studio
417 Main Avenue Suite 200
Moorhead, MN

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