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Fashionista Ditches Her Modern Wardrobe To Reinvent Herself As 1950s Pin-Up

Katherine Chang / PA Real Life

A fabulous fashionista whose vintage wardrobe was inspired by a model dubbed 'Queen of Pinups' 30 years before she was born, has ditched modern trends for an ultra-feminine 1950s look—vowing never to wear trousers again.

Since her teens speech language pathologist Joselyn Castro, 38, has experimented with alternative looks, ranging from gothic and grunge through to punk, but started collecting vintage pieces aged 15, after a friend compared her to a famous model from the era, Bettie Page.

No longer scared people would think she was “playing dressing up," by her late twenties, Joselyn, of Los Angeles, California, had fully embraced Fifties fashion and now proudly teams one of her 50 vintage dresses with one of her eight handbags from the decade every day.

Joselyn Castro (CREDIT Katherine Chang / PA Real Life)

Joselyn, who met her project manager husband, Robert, 39, 13 years ago, recalled:

“It was like a lightbulb moment where I suddenly realized, 'I'm an adult and I can wear what I want'."
“I'd always loved 1950s fashion, but I hadn't been brave enough to wear it all the time, because I was scared people would think I was just playing dressing up."
“I seriously disliked a lot of modern fashion too, especially pants—or trousers as they're called in the UK. I hated how they fitted and looked on me."

Joselyn Castro (CREDIT Katherine Chang / PA Real Life)

She added:

“But one day I suddenly realized I didn't have to wear them anymore if I didn't want to – so I threw out all my clothes and I filled my wardrobe with 1950s garments."

Since adopting a 1950s' look, Joselyn says her confidence has grown tenfold.

“I'm so much more confident now than when I was forcing myself to conform and wear modern clothing."
“Fashion from the 1950s doesn't really cater for a skinny girl silhouette—it's all about embracing the curves by accentuating the bust and the waist."

She continued:

“It can be flirty and sexy without being too over the top and, as a curvier lady, this type of style just fills me with confidence. It's made me feel like I can be the true version of myself."

A teenager in the 1990s, Joselyn saw fashion as a way to express herself and took particular inspiration from American singer-songwriter Gwen Stefani, who is known for her flamboyant style.

She said:

“I went through every phase as a teen—goth, punk, alternative—you name it I tried it."

Joselyn Castro (Collect / PA Real Life)

She continued:

“I was particularly into Gwen Stefani. I just loved the fact that she was so out there with what she wore but was still feminine—she really resonated with me.
“As much as Gwen loved colors, she could pull off black numbers, too, and she actually inspired me to buy my first ever vintage piece—a long black dress that made me feel like a gothic princess whenever I wore it."

When she turned 13, Joselyn convinced her mum to take her to a local salon to have her hair dyed with streaks of blue and purple.

Joselyn Castro (Collect / PA Real Life)

“I quite liked looking a little bit different and not doing what everyone else was doing."

But being compared to 1950s model Bettie Page, who was known as 'Queen of Pinups,' led to a whole new identity for Joselyn.

“At the time, I had a full fringe haircut and a friend said to me, 'You remind me of Bettie Page'."
“I had no idea who she was, but why would I as a teen in the 1990s? Then someone showed me a picture of her, and I was struck by how beautiful she was."

She added:

“She was strong, sexy and owned her femininity – she was powerful yet had a vulnerability about her."
“I just remember thinking, 'That's who I want to look like when I grow up'."

From that moment, Joselyn began experimenting with 1950s fashion—buying vintage pieces for anything from $50 to $100 from online stores, market stalls and independent retailers.

Joselyn Castro (Collect / PA Real Life)

“I had some amazing one-off vintage pieces."
“I much preferred the 1950s style, but I felt like I couldn't just go about my everyday life wearing those types of clothes."

But finally having enough of conforming to modern fashion, in her late twenties Joselyn bit the bullet and decided to fill her wardrobe with wondrous items from the 1950s.

By that time, vintage fashion had become more popular and there were far more places to buy it—including online.

Joselyn Castro (Collect / PA Real Life)

She said:

“I soon realized, 'I can wear what I want', and I did. The experience was so empowering."
“People should wear what makes them happy, I mean, I work in a hospital and I have pink hair and wear cute flowery clothing, and no one bats an eyelid—as long as my nails are clean."
“Now I have about 50 vintage dresses, a few skirts and blouses, vintage necklaces and two vintage coats, as well as eight 1950s style handbags."

Joselyn and her husband (Collect / PA Real Life)

Even though Joselyn and her husband—who also likes some alternative looks and once sported a mohawk hairstyle and an ear-stretcher—think she looks great in her Fifties fashion, she felt self-conscious when she first started wearing it.

She recalled:

“The first time I went out in a full on 1950s outfit I felt like I was a little girl who had been playing dress up in my mum's wardrobe. I felt like a fraud.
“I was worried that I'd not captured the era right, or that people would think I looked silly, but that soon passed."

Now Joselyn loves having fun with the way she looks.

“Fashion is there to be played with."
“I mean, I'm Hispanic, and there weren't many Hispanic pin-ups in the 1950s. I love Marilyn Monroe and I think she's beautiful, but I can't exactly see myself in her."
“I don't look like any of those women, but the way I look is about my version of that era and how I wanted to portray it."

Joselyn and her husband (CREDIT Jenny Smith and Co. / PA Real Life)

Once Joselyn was comfortable with her interpretation of a 1950s look, she mixed it up a bit more, by dyeing her hair pink.

“I'd loved brightly colored hair since my teens, but I also wanted to land a job."
“I got the job I'm at now in October 2018 and I waited for my probation period to be up, then, once it was, I checked my contract and there was nothing in it about having dyed hair, so I just thought, 'Why not?'."

Joselyn Castro (Collect / PA Real Life)

But her hair color does not stop her from styling her locks to reflect her favorite style decade.

“Every night I go to sleep with pins in my hair, not very sexy, but the next day it's much easier to curl it, as it already has a natural curve."

While she appreciates the look of the time, though, Jocelyn does not want to return to the attitudes of the 1950s.

She said:

“I don't think it would be a good time for me to go back to. I love the fashion but nowadays I love having a career and having the choice—and back then you didn't get as much choice as a woman."

But she feels we have lost some of the culinary skills that were appreciated back then.

“We've forgotten the importance of home cooking."
“I love baking pies and wholesome foods for my husband and I. For me, baking is a way of showing him how much I love him and there's a joy in creating something for someone you love."

Similarly, taking pride in her appearance warms Joselyn's heart.

She said:

“Getting dressed up every day actually makes me feel better in myself."
“If I'm feeling a bit down in the dumps putting a slick of lipstick on and doing my hair, then picking my outfit, makes me feel better about myself. It's surprising how much fashion can change your mood."

She concluded:

“If you're happy and confident in what you wear and feeling good about yourself that can translate to other parts of your life, too."
“It's empowering for women to dress how they want to. I'm so glad I finally made the decision to be true to myself. It's made me happier in myself than I've ever been."

To find out more visit Instagram @foxyjosy