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Velvet 101 | Frequently Asked Questions About Pinup, Fashion and Shark Attacks

Velvet 101 | Frequently Asked Questions About Pinup, Fashion and Shark Attacks

I love it when people aren’t afraid to ask me questions in person or on social media, curiosity is how we learn! I also know some of you are shy so I thought I’d answer alllllll the questions I get asked in one post.
I’ll update this post when I get new questions so it’s your one stop shop for Velvet 101.


I also made this dorky video for ya’ll answering some of the questions.

How did you get into modelling and what was your journey like? – Miss Katie Darling

I got into modelling through burlesque, which I started doing to boost my confidence. I had some photos from shows, and was told I should get in front of the camera more. The idea of pinup modelling appealed to my love of vintage and creating characters and context through style, so I entered a contest to become the ‘face’ of a local pinup photographer. While that didn’t work out well, it did give me a few photos for my portfolio. After a while my now regular photographer Froger asked if I’d like to work together. His alternative take on pinup appealed to me, plus women he’d photographed said he wasn’t a creep, so we organised a shoot and the rest is history!

My modelling journey has been positive. I attribute that largely to being VERY picky about who I work with. If a photographer contacts me and their photographic style doesn’t suit my personal brand, or I get a weird vibe from them, I say no. This means I’ve said no to quite a few people, some take it well and some don’t, but as a result I’ve never felt in danger or taken advantage of at a shoot.
My journey has also been slow. At 5.3″ tall I’m too short for commercial work so carving out my own niche in the small world of alternative and vintage pinup modelling is taking A LOT of work!

How long does it take to do your makeup?

About an hour for makeup and an hour for hair. I’m by no means a professional at either so I’m probably pretty slow. I have super fine, thin curly hair so taming it is always a struggle for me!

If you were a cake, what would you be and why? – Fanciforia Foxglove

I put a lot of thought into this because cake is important to me.
I’d be a carrot cake. Not because I like carrot cake ( I don’t ), but because it has all these weird ingredients that I don’t think should be in cake, but people like it anyway. That’s kinda how I feel about myself, I have lots of weird ingredients but people seem to like me anyway!
PS: eating carrot cake is essentially eating a waldorf salad and a bread roll. bleurgh.

Are your glasses for seeing or for fashion?

For seeing! I have degenerative myopia and astigmatism in both eyes, and can only see clearly for about a 30cm distance. My contact lenses irritate my eyes and can’t completely correct my sight so I only wear them for photoshoots, events and swimming.

modern pinup girl and Miss Pinup New Zealand wearing her large tortoiseshell glasses


What’s your favourite red lipstick?

Both my favorite red lipsticks are from New Zealand companies
Bright red – True Love from Karen Murrell
Deep red – Casablanca Luxury Matte from Face Me Makeup

Where and how did you learn to sew? How long have you been sewing?

I’ve been sewing for roughly thirteen years. My mother is a very talented dressmaker so I picked up the basics watching her. I then did one term of fashion technology in high school which was a COMPLETE DISASTER and almost put me off sewing forever! The majority of my learning happened during my fashion design degree which was largely practical work, and from vintage sewing and millinery books which I teach myself from.

What draws you to the silhouettes you tend to use in your outfits? – Mrs Greatnews

I’m drawn to exaggerated or dramatic shapes that hyper feminise or accentuate my curves. So If I’m going for a sleek hourglass shape I’ll choose streamlined, form fitting clothes that nip in at the waist and enhance my shoulders and hips. Or If I’m going for a full skirt, I want the BIGGEST skirt I can get, paired with a fitted top to make it look even bigger.

What’s your Hogwarts House? – Miss Scarlett May

According to the Pottermore quiz I’m a Ravenclaw. I haven’t actually read many of the Harry Potter books, but I do like the movies!

What’s that big scar on your arm from?

Contrary to popular belief it’s not from a bar fight or a shark attack.
I was standing on a wobbly chair to reach something , fell and snapped my elbow joint. The ligaments tore off the bone (taking part of the bone with them) and I needed major reconstructive surgery. Followed by a small surgery to remove some metal parts that were threatening to pierce my skin. I now have metal buttons and wires holding my joint together and a scar half the length of my arm. The photo below is what it looked like when it was stapled up and healing.

How do you deal with your body issues?

Like most women, there are things about my body that I don’t like. Don’t get me wrong, I love a lot of things about my body and I feel very comfortable naked ( you can read about my nude modelling experience here) , but being a model opens you up to people critiquing your physical appearance. Mean people choose to do this in an unkind way, which can make any insecurities a hundred times worse.

Here’s how I combat those insecurities and negative inner voices. Notice that I say ‘I try’ because there are days when none of this works. Usually when I don’t look after myself or when I’m in a bad mental health space.

1. I try to be realistic about my body and my expectations of it. I can’t make myself taller, fix my sensitive skin or change my features, so I try not to compare myself directly to other people.
2. I try look after myself with exercise, reasonably healthy eating and not too much alcohol. I feel better about my appearance when I’m mentally and physically healthy.
3. I try to surround myself with body positive people. Hanging out with people who constantly put their own bodies down will only make you question your own.
4. I try to be aware of photoshopping in images I see online, in social media and print media. DO NOT think that everyone looks perfect in real life.
5. I try to remember that I am more than my body. Emotion, poise and style play a huge part in successful modelling.

Would you rather be attacked by a shark or mauled by a bear? – Miss Monique Sweet

Bear. Once you bleed in the water there’s going to be more than one shark, and I’m not a great swimmer. At least with a bear I might be able to play dead until it gets bored?

If you didn’t dress pinup how would you dress? – Xamia Arc

Probably still in the goth / metal / alternative style I wore until I found pinup. ( I used to wear fourteen eye Doc Martins everyday and a lot of fishnet, black bootie shorts and camo pants ).

When did you discover pinup?

Around 2014. I went to my first Very Vintage Day Out in 2015, but didn’t start moving my daily wardrobe into pinup style until mid 2016.

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What inspires you to make new creations? – Miss Honey Bee

I mostly make custom clothing so my creations are inspired by the personalities, figures and lifestyles of my clients.
If I’m making ready to wear or for myself I draw inspiration from vintage fashion, films, books, music and locations. I try to imagine a character and what they would be wearing and doing in a specific setting.

What are the top five tracks on your go to playlist? – Ginger

I have extremely varied and often dubious taste in music so my top 5 changes on the regular.
Right now it’s…
Safari – J Balvin ft Pharrell
Despacito – Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee ( NOT the Justin Beiber version )
Hollywood Nights – Bob Seger
Love on the Brain – Rihanna
American Woman – Lenny Kravitz

Do you wear makeup everyday? 

Hell no! My skin is super sensitive, it goes red and peels off if I wear makeup for more than a day at a time. I constantly have dermatitis and allergies so I only wear makeup for special occasions, events and photoshoots.

What do you love most about vintage fashion? Do you have a most treasured item? – Miss Foxylocks

The quality, attention to detail and inventiveness of vintage fashion appeal to me. Fashion in the 1940’s, 1950’s and 1960’s was far more adventurous than fashion today, with more thought put into accessories and fabric use.
I don’t think I could pick a favorite piece of vintage! I have some special pieces of jewellery and accessories given to my by family members so probably those.

What is your favourite type of accessory?

Gloves! I have tiny hands so vintage gloves fit me beautifully. they also hide the fact that sewing and working in hospitality can leave my nails and skin looking awful! I even wrote a blog post about vintage glove etiquette.

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What made you move away from the steampunk style you used to design? – Fran Henricksen, decorator of people and things

While I still love steampunk style I made a conscious decision not to create steampunk stock anymore for the following reasons:

1. Plagiarism of my designs. People (and a film crew) openly taking photos of my garments at steampunk events and markets while unashamedly telling me they were going to copy them.
2. A decrease in the appreciation and support of quality construction from the steampunk community. There are people in every style circle who would rather buy something cheap than invest in a quality item, but it seemed  to be especially bad in the NZ steampunk community where a “just glue some cogs on it” attitude was becoming prevalent.
3. The ‘anything can be steampunk’ idea. While I encourage creative expression, steampunk style was originally based around an fairly specific imagined literary past, future and set of technological ideas, and as someone who does their research I found the lack of knowledge in members of the community about what steampunk actually is very frustrating.

I still make steampunk designs and automated, realistic props to order, but choose not to create off the rack items anymore.

What is your favorite style of clothing to design?

Evening wear and bridal! I adore the drama and elegance of special event clothing and the sentimental value that becomes attached to it. Helping someone feel incredible for an important occasion gives me a real sense of purpose and happiness.
* I like big dresses and I can not lie* My favourite creation is this black modernised rococo gown for artist Vivien Masters.

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If you read this far, well done, this post was longer than I expected!
If you have any questions about pinup life, vintage fashion, modelling or just about me, feel free to ask me by leaving a comment on Facebook or Instagram x

With Style and Sass,

Velvet DeCollete


Posted by velvetdecollete in LIFESTYLE, PINUP, 0 comments
Glitter Crash | Surviving the Post-Con Blues

Glitter Crash | Surviving the Post-Con Blues

It’s Monday morning. You’ve had less than 10 hours sleep since last Thursday, there’s still glitter in your hair and every part of your body hurts. You feel like the real world hates you and you don’t understand why you have to wear pants.

You’ve got Glitter Crash. The Post Con Blues – Burlesque Edition.

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By definition, post con blues is the downer following a big convention. Glitter crash is the downer following a burlesque show, workshop retreat or festival. The high of performing, partying and looking fucking fabulous wears off and you’re left feeling drained, empty, and fighting the post con crud.

In the wake of the New Zealand Burlesque Festival 2017 many of my rhinestoned friends will be feeling this. But not all is lost. You can fight this. You can. So shake the glitter out of your suit pants, put some plasters on your stiletto blisters and get back to owning life like the creative genius you are.

Acknowledge it

I came home last night, put on my dino onesie, cleared my email inbox and had a cry because life was too hard. Not because it actually was, but because I was emotionally and physically drained and incapable of logical thought. I didn’t even perform last weekend, but four days of screaming at shows, workshops, partying and boundless love for my burlesque family have me crashing hard.
Be aware of Glitter Crash. Know the signs, know it’s okay and that you’re not crazy.

Rest Up

Take a hot shower and get some goddamn sleep. While the temptation is high to spend the next 48 hours online tracking down EVERY. SINGLE. PHOTO this won’t actually change the fact you’re crying because half your biscuit fell off in your tea. Go to bed and get some proper sleep.
If you can’t sleep, at least make yourself into a blanket burrito and read a book. Just get some actual rest mkay?

Eat actual food

You survived the last four days on VIP nibbles, liquor and energy drink. I get it, there was no time for lunch, and no way was I risking a makeup disaster to eat dinner. Unfortunately, cheese and vodka aren’t high in vitamins.
To avoid the post con plague you need to eat some healthy food, take some vitamins and drink plenty of water. Healthy food doesn’t mean lots of work either, a google search turns up tons of fast recipes, or if you can’t face cooking pick up a premade salad, fresh packet soup or salad filled kebab for a vege rich quick fix.

Leave the House

Strangely enough, becoming a hermit won’t make you feel less isolated. Go see your friends, skype your sparkle fam or get out in the sun for some mood boosting rays. Physical contact helps release happy juice in your brain, so if you’ve got a snuggle buddy, snuggle ’em.
Social contact and sunlight are a huge part of surviving Glitter Crash and making sure it doesn’t drag on longer than it should. We’re all feeling it and you are not alone.

Look Forward

You’ve been looking forward to that festival, con or show for months. Every waking moment has been prepping for it. And now it’s done, leaving a gaping hole in your life. What are you supposed to do with your time?
Claw back your sense of purpose by creating things to look forward to. Rehearse one of your acts. Work on a costume. Plan for upcoming shows. Make a fricken mind map of all the amazing inspiration that rained down upon you over the last few days, and start using it!
Self motivation is hard, but creating a schedule or to-do list can get you moving and help kick that aimless feeling.

Practice Self Care

Take time out for yourself. While you can’t avoid going back to work you can make the real world a little more tolerable by making yourself feel nice. Read a book, treat your over-makeuped skin to a DIY facemask, or make a point of getting out in nature. Schedule time for the things that make you feel happy and centered and reclaim your shine.
( Self care is a pretty good habit to get into, so if you need some daily ideas these ones are pretty good.)

While Glitter Crash is awful, it’s not permanent. Acknowledge it, plan for it, implement some coping strategies for your body and mind and you’ll be back on track in no time!

With Style and Sass,

             Velvet DeCollete


Posted by velvetdecollete in LIFESTYLE, 0 comments
Jilted Brides and Moldy Cake | Miss Havisham’s Day Out

Jilted Brides and Moldy Cake | Miss Havisham’s Day Out

What do you call a group of jilted brides? A Flock? A Murder?
Let’s go with a Murder, because hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

Last weekend a murder of brides descended upon Newmarket’s historic Highwic House for Miss Havisham’s Day Out. Part of the Til Death Do Us Part exhibition currently housed at Highwic,  it was a day of cobwebby cakes, vintage games and wedding gowns themed around the eccentric spinster from Great Expectations!

Dressed in wedding gowns from all eras guests competed in ring finger races and White Wedding lipsyncs ( yes that’s me jamming air guitar in the middle, any excuse really! ), created centrepieces and sand saucers before dining on sandwiches, scones and an incredibly moldy, spider infested wedding cake created by Miss Charlotte Cake. ( I can vouch for it being as delicious as it was spooky!)

Miss Havisham's Day Out | Velvet DeCollete

Miss Havisham's Day Out | Velvet DeCollete

Clementine joined me to model the most feminine of lace foundation garments from House of Satin. Strolling around the manicured grounds in lingerie has never been more glamorous! They’re even giving away a glorious set of lingerie, so visit the exhibition before it closes this weekend to be in the draw!

I had quite a conundrum over which wedding dress to wear ( I have four vintage gowns, plus the gown I was actually married in!) but finally settled on this Edwardian inspired lacy number. Made in the late 60’s or early 70’s this confection of swiss dot tulle and satin was just begging to be worn with a dramatically long veil. The rumpled satin flowers in my hair are made from off cuts of bridal gowns I’ve made and altered over the years.

Miss Havisham's Day Out | Velvet DeCollete

An enormous thanks to Rose and Glory Days for putting such a wonderful afternoon of high jinks! All the vintage gowns on display at Til Death Us Do Part are available in a silent auction ending this Sunday, with proceeds going to The Aunties, a group supporting victims of domestic violence. Make sure you hop online here, place a bid and hopefully take home a beautiful piece of history while supporting a more than worthy cause.

Photos by
David Watson
Peter Jennings
Charlotte Cake
 Velvet DeCollete
 Sarah Tallentire

Posted by velvetdecollete in ADVENTURES, LIFESTYLE, 0 comments
5 Ways to Buy the Right Vintage, Not Any Vintage.

5 Ways to Buy the Right Vintage, Not Any Vintage.

Do you love vintage clothes?

I love vintage clothes.

I love them with a magpie-ish, kid in a candy store fervor that has lead me to buying things that have never and will never fit, that are falling apart, or that I’ll just straight out never wear but I wanted them anyway.
To curb my dragonish hoarding tendencies I’ve developed a five point checklist to ensure I’m buying the right vintage garment, not every vintage garment. It really does help separate the investments from the impulse buys.

So if you have overflowing wardrobes, empty bank accounts and still nothing to wear, this might help! Shop wisely and dress well…

Velvet’s ‘The Right Vintage’ Shopping Checklisthow to buy the right vintage clothes

1.  Does the garment have any damage?

Vintage garments are generally preloved and made from different fabrics than the hardy synthetics popular today. Holding that dress up to a window or light will show you any holes or patches of thinning fabric. Perspiration is acidic so check under the arms for any discoloration and damage caused by sweat.

2. Are the fastenings intact?

Check the zips, buttons, hooks and eyes, eyelets or pop studs. Are they damaged or missing? Is the fabric tearing or fraying around them? There may be enough spare fabric in a hem to replace a covered button, but don’t buy anything with very damaged fastenings unless you know it can be fixed, or you’re happy to have it replaced with a modern equivalent.
( Check those belt loops and belts for damage while you’re at it. )

3. Does it fit?

Ignore size labels and try it on. Female proportions and sizing have changed a lot through the decades and you’ll find a 1950’s size 14 is around a modern NZ size 8. If you’re buying online make sure you check your measurements carefully.
Circa Vintage Clothing has a handy guide to the alpha sizing system used in some New Zealand and Australian vintage clothing.

4. Can you wear it right away?

Unless you’re a highly motivated seamstress with plenty of free time, damaged items and those needing large alterations will sit in your wardrobe forever. (Trust me, I have a whole drawer of things needing alts or repairs but I never have time!). Some vintage fabrics will be too delicate to withstand alterations and most seamstresses aren’t familiar with the era appropriate sewing techniques.

5. Does it suit you?

This is imperative. Put the garment on and be honest. Does it reflect your personal style? Is it flattering? Does it coordinate with things you already own? If not, it might be best to put it back on the rack.

best vintage shopping tips

With a few alterations this checklist can be applied to vintage shoes, accessories and furniture as well as clothing. While leaving that eye catching but not-quite-right piece in the store can be gut wrenching, it’s better to leave it for someone who’ll use it or restore it and keep your valuable space for things that are perfect for you!

Now you’re all set to find those perfect pieces, you’ll want to read vintage doyenne LaVonne’s tips for storing and laundering your vintage clothing.

Happy shopping x

With style and sass,

                   Velvet DeCollete




Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, LIFESTYLE, 2 comments

The Great Unkillable Felt Cactus Zen Garden

This is an Unkillable, Mess Free, Child Safe, Felt Cactus Zen Garden.
( Yes, it may be the perfect gift for just about anyone.)

felt cactus zen garden | Velvet DeCollete

Terrible with plants? These can’t die.
Love plants but have kids? These can be chewed, squished or knocked over and there’s no messy sand or soil involved.
Work in a dingy office? These are cheerily bright, and require no sunlight!
Indecisive? Velcro bases mean you can easily and constantly re-position your plants.

With tiny cacti, miniature water features and teensy little stones, The only way to make this felt zen garden cuter would be adding kawaii happy faces to all the cacti. Which I would totally do.

felt cactus zen garden | Velvet DeCollete

felt cactus zen garden | Velvet DeCollete

I designed this adorable box of zen inducing desert flora for my older sister. She is both death to plants and mother of a small child. She thought it was pretty cool.
I can make one for your sister, brother, parent, life partner or rad friend too, just send me a message on Facebook or here on my contact page! Oh, and it doesn’t stop at Cacti, between photoshoots and making couture gowns I also whipped up a felt cake for my niece and a bag of vegetables for my nephew. I’m a one stop cute felt stuff shop!

If you’re feeling inspired you can try stitching your own felt garden. Feel free to use mine for inspiration or hit up felt plants on pinterest for some cute ideas, then surprise someone with their own kill-proof calm-garden. (Or keep it for yourself, you need some zen too).

With style and sass,


Posted by velvetdecollete in LIFESTYLE, 0 comments

What Your Legs Say About You | Beauty Parade 1950

What do your legs say about you?
According to the January 1950 issue of  Beauty Parade they’re sending coded messages to every man around! This vintage guide to body language is such a giggle I just had to share.

Beauty Parade January 1950 ladies legs | Velvet DeCollete
Beauty Parade January 1950 ladies legs | Velvet DeCollete

Thank goodness the helpful men of 1950 are here to enlighten us! Without them, I might have carried on blissfully unaware that my sitting habits were leading on that guy across the bar.

Do you have any priceless lad’s mag advice tucked away? Share it here or on my facebook page and we’ll make a whole post of it!

With style and sass,



Posted by velvetdecollete in LIFESTYLE, OTHER, PINUP, 0 comments
12 Days of Vintage Christmas | Light ‘Em Up

12 Days of Vintage Christmas | Light ‘Em Up


On the twelfth day of Christmas

Today’s weird vintage ad was a toss up between kids with lighters and kids with shotguns.

Now I don’t know what it’s like elsewhere in the world, but in NZ both are considered kinda unsafe. Kids are nuts.  When I was that girl’s age I set all kinds of things on fire. That little boy probably just tried to light the Christmas tree so he could try out his new toy fire truck.


Maybe I should have gone with the “grinning children holding guns” ad.

With style and sass,


Need more festive cheer?
Day 11
Day 10
Day 9
Day 8
Day 7
Day 6
Day 5
Day 4
Day 3
Day 2
Day 1






Posted by velvetdecollete in LIFESTYLE, OTHER, 10 comments
12 Days of Vintage Christmas | Suck it This Christmas

12 Days of Vintage Christmas | Suck it This Christmas

On the eleventh day of Christmas

You got to clean the house! Lucky you!
Okay okay, I know that vacuum cleaners were super fancy luxury items, and that sweeping the house is hard work, but as a Christmas gift?!
I guess at least it wasn’t for Valentines Day.

Seriously though the tiny vacuum cleaner model designed as a subtle hint for your husband is just hilarious. It’s so cute!




Just be grateful we got through this post without me making jokes about things that suck… well apart from that one in the title.

With style and sass,


Hey! If this wasn’t enough festive cheer for you there’s a link to all twelve days on this post!






Posted by velvetdecollete in LIFESTYLE, OTHER, 1 comment
12 Days of Vintage Christmas | Weighing In on the Subject

12 Days of Vintage Christmas | Weighing In on the Subject

On the ninth day of Christmas

Someone thought bathroom scales were an appropriate gift…
At Christmas…
When we all eat too much and lie around like beached whales…

Either it’s a hint to lay off the pavlova or someone just doesn’t have a clue. They’re bound to be receiving a festive slap after this ( or end up cooking their own Christmas dinner! )

However if you are down for weight watching and healthy choices this festive season, don’t worry, Green Giant Peas has your back! Look how cute that pea pod wreath is. Mmmm veges from a tin.

With style and sass,


Hey! If this wasn’t enough festive cheer for you, there’s a link to all 12 days on this post.






Posted by velvetdecollete in LIFESTYLE, OTHER, 0 comments