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Pinup Girl Tattoo Design Ideas, Meanings, and Photos

Pinup girl tattoos have been popular for decades.

Pinup girl tattoos have been popular for decades.

Pinup Girl Tattoos

The pinup girl tattoo's popularity has lasted for centuries. This old-school design—which was a popular choice for sailors at the turn of the last century—continues to catch the eyes of many. When it comes to sexy and erotic tattoo designs, the pinup girl ranks among the top.

In this article, we will review photos and discuss the history and meanings of the design. You will have a chance to view a variety of examples. In the end, we hope that you are able to find ideas and inspiration for your next tattoo project.

A sailor-inspired pinup girl tattoo with other imagery.

A sailor-inspired pinup girl tattoo with other imagery.

Pinup Girl Tattoo History

The pinup girl design is considered an old-school tattoo. It saw a surge in popularity before and during the World War II era, mainly due to its popularity among sailors in the navy who got lonesome on long voyages and wanted a sexy lady to look at. The design hit another peak of popularity in the 1940s and 1950s when pinup girl posters were the craze and nearly every man and teenage boy had one on their wall or under the bed. Attractive, seductive, and appealing actresses from the era were often portrayed in these posters and they became a hot item in mainstream America.

The word "pinup" became a popular term during this era and became widely used. A "pinup" describes a woman that is so beautiful and sexy that you feel compelled to pin her up on your wall so you can look at her all the time. Pinup girl posters became very popular and eventually, they became advertisements.

These women are usually very seductive, glamorous, and portrayed in a variety of different positions, mostly sexual or inviting. They often show cleavage, long legs, the butt, and lots of skin.

This is another navy- or maritime-themed pinup girl tattoo.

This is another navy- or maritime-themed pinup girl tattoo.

Pinup Girl Tattoo Design Ideas

  • Pinup girl tattoos can be portrayed in a variety of different ways and designs, realistic or cartoon-like.
  • Betty Boop is one example of a popular pinup girl tattoo that is done as a cartoon. Cartoon pinups offer a softer side to the mystique of the pinup girl design.
  • Zombie and vampire pinup girls are also popular choices. Such designs give the design a darker, less playful side. One example of this style is a devil pinup girl.
  • Traditional pinup girl tattoos display many different costumes and pieces of clothing. For example, some have the girl dressed in a mechanic outfit. She may be portrayed with a classic muscle car or working on the engine of a car. One popular design for sailors was a pinup girl dressed in a sailor outfit. You'll also see the girl in a hula or Hawaiian dress. In such designs, the pinup girl may be portrayed with flowers, volcanoes, or on a beach.
  • Pinup girls role-play in traditionally male outfits. For example, she may wear a firefighter costume (or maybe just the hat and boots), hold a hose, or drape herself around a fire hydrant. You might see her dressed as a cowgirl, police officer, or nurse.
  • If you want to break with tradition, consider dressing your pinup girl in something less sexy, like a mumu, or a bear suit, or a paper bag. On the other hand, you may want a pinup boy instead. The design options are endless!

Pinup Girl Design Options

Pinup girls are portrayed working on cars, pumping gas, playing golf, bowling, and doing a variety of other activities and occupations. Modern tattoo artists have applied their own creative twist and nothing is out of the question when it comes to this old-school ink.

One popular pinup girl is known as Lady Luck. She's a good luck symbol and represents everything lucky. Lady Luck might be inked with horseshoes, playing cards, dice, lucky charms, the number seven, or any other lucky symbol. She might also be portrayed with diamonds, pearls, jewelry, and money to represent the gains of good fortune.

Another key thing to remember is body location. Pinup designs are typically inked on the arms, legs, shoulders, and back. Traditionally, these ladies were tattooed in a place where the wearer could look at them easily and often. However, if you are considering a naked pinup girl, you might want to consider getting it tattooed somewhere that can be covered up.


Richard Ricky Hale (author) from West Virginia on April 02, 2012:

You can't go wrong with Stoya. Trixie can work also. I see a lot of people going with Betty, Betty Boop or Betty Rubble that is. Honestly, they make a great pinup for a guy.

PlasmaBeam from Carlsbad, CA on March 30, 2012:

I think I'm getting Trixie from Speed Racer on my leg. Or, Stoya... Which makes better sense for a guy.

I love bitches. The slutty kind :D

Richard Ricky Hale (author) from West Virginia on March 01, 2012:

Anath, thank you very much for taking the time to view this article and comment. Take care.

Anath on February 29, 2012:

Very pretty, not that I would ever be tempted to have one but they are really pretty to look at.

Richard Ricky Hale (author) from West Virginia on February 23, 2012:

*AE, always great to have you come by and thanks so much Ruby. Betty Boop is actually a very popular pinup gal!

*FOLS, thanks a lot for taking the time to come by and comment.

*Gypsy, great to see you dear. Those famous calendars! I actually remember my papa having one in the basement.

*Alocsin, appreciate the visit my friend. Good point. Many of them were only done in black and white. Thank goodness for color hey?

*Frank, I thought you might like them:) Your right of course, no prison!

*Acaetnna, you are such a sweetheart. Thank you so much for taking the time to come by. I love your poetry about "love", so we are even:)

acaetnna from Guildford on February 23, 2012:

Unbelievable - I love your hubs!

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on February 23, 2012:

yea these are hot.... just don't go to prison right? LOL

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on February 23, 2012:

These are fairly common, though I typically see them in black and white, and not in these full-color versions. Voting this Up and Beautiful.

Gypsy Rose Lee from Daytona Beach, Florida on February 23, 2012:

Wow super tattoos and so colorful. I was still a kid but I do remember during the '60s all gas stations usually had pin up girl calendars.

FullOfLoveSites from United States on February 22, 2012:

Great tattoos...

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on February 22, 2012:

Wow, These are gorgeos. I like Betty Boop..Great tattoos.. Thank you..