The Way They Were: 9 Revealing Before and After 1950s Pin-Up Girl Images

Pin-up girl
Who needs Photoshop?

Photoshop didn’t make a splash on computer screens until 1988, but doctoring photos and illustrations is a practice as old as the mediums themselves.

The first pin-up girls appeared as early as the 1890s. Over the years they’ve been featured in drawings, paintings and photos, and in newspapers, magazines and calendars. Betty Grable, Brigitte Bardot, Jayne Mansfield and Marilyn Monroe are among the most famous subjects.

Artists like Gil Elvgren, George Petty and Enoch Bolles specialized in capturing the spirit of the ideal all-American woman (even if some were a bit naughtier than the girl-next-door-types), although the finished product was often entirely different than the original image.

Take a look at these fascinating and fabulous before/after pin-up girl images from the 1950s (courtesy of and see how Photoshop could possibly have found its inspiration:

  • Don’t you want me, baby? 1 of 9
    Don't you want me, baby?
    A thinner leg, a more pronounced bosom, softer, longer hair . . . oh, and lose the plug!
  • You’re the bee’s knees. 2 of 9
    You're the bee's knees.
    Shapelier legs, a tauter tummy, more toned arms . . . oh, and turn that bench into a broken crate!
  • Going my way? 3 of 9
    Going my way?
    An even smaller waist, a more surprised expression, a girlier belt . . . oh, and throw in a cute red convertible!
  • Is heaven missing an angel? 4 of 9
    Is heaven missing an angel?
    Darker shoes, lighter hair, smaller behind . . . oh, and let's switch out her face entirely!
  • Are your legs tired? They’ve been running through my mind all day. 5 of 9
    Are your legs tired? They've been running through my mind all day.
    Smaller waist, bigger boots, longer hair . . . oh, and add a hat box to the background!
  • Me, Tarzan. You Jane? 6 of 9
    Me, Tarzan. You Jane?
    Softer hair, better posture, pointier bosoms . . . oh, and change that curtain into a tree!
  • Coffee, tea, or me? 7 of 9
    Coffee, tea, or me?
    Lighter hair, different skirt, bigger boobs . . . oh, and put a house under that roof!
  • If beauty were time, you’d be eternity. 8 of 9
    If beauty were time, you'd be eternity.
    More colorful boots, a lighter belt, an entirely different face . . . oh, and someone stick a "Wanted" poster on the wall!
  • Do you come here often? 9 of 9
    Do you come here often?
    Bigger, blonder hair, bigger, bolder bustline, tinier, more expressive hands . . . oh, and will someone move those cowboy boots on the right!

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All images courtesy of


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