Velvet’s Style File -how we, them and you wear it! Plus style tutorials, tips and tricks.

Devel Branded Fashion Show | 1960’s Inspired Fashion

Devel Branded Fashion Show | 1960’s Inspired Fashion

Badass boss babe is kinda my style motto right now, so it’s no surprise that Danielle from Devel Branded is one of my favourite local designers.  Not only is she freakin’ adorable, but her clothes embody the sass and vibrancy that a modern pinup needs. I had a ball strutting in her catwalk show last weekend alongside the coolest girl gang a pinup could hope for.

The show featured garments from her Freshly Squeezed, Poolside and Sprinkles & Cream collections, as well as the luxe Tuxedo Dress and the Black Widow skirt that had me swooning! ( Seriously is it not the most killer goth – meets – vintage skirt you’ve ever seen?! )

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Thanks to Glory Days and Auckland Live for putting on Summer in The Square Vintage Weekend, it was a blast!

Sassily yours,



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Viva La Diva Lipstick Review | Chi Chi Cosmetics


With extensive eyeshadow palettes, no animal testing and almost every colour of lipstick you can imagine, Chi Chi makeup is a daily visitor to my face. Having never owned a nude lipstick (hello red and coral my friends!) I wondered if their recent Viva La Diva collection of deep nude shades might convert me to neutral lip-dom. Read on to find out!

Before we foray any further into my lipstick opinions, this post is in no way sponsored or paid for by Chi Chi cosmetics or their suppliers. Just ask my sister who sourced this set for me when my local store didn’t have it!

The turquoise box Viva La Diva set holds three shades – Show Pony, Modern Minimalist and Urban Chic. I tried them all over Rimmel Honey Clover lipliner – which is pretty close to my natural lip colour – because I like to draw my lips on.



left to right | Urban Chic, Modern Minimalist, Show Pony

Here’s a quick arm swatch to show the colours without lip liner underneath.


bottom to top | Urban Chic, Modern Minimalist, Show Pony

Now on to the lips…


Show Pony (above) is the most neutral shade in the set. With hints of terracotta Show Pony leans closer to brown than I’d usually like. It didn’t convert me to nude lips, however it looks gorgeous paired with warm autumnal shades so I’ll definitely wear it more heading into winter.

Modern Minimalist (below) is my personal favourite and closest to my natural lip colour. Slightly deeper than Urban Chic and more berry tinged than Show Pony I can wear this with just about any eye shadow colour and it’s a really nice understated day shade.
(Since trying it Modern Minimalist has made it into my weekly lipstick rotation!)


Urban Chic (below) is the lightest shade in This Viva La Diva collection. More what I’d consider a traditional nude, Urban Chic is a touch lighter than my natural lip colour. It’s an innocent peachy pink and complements a french pink manicure for effortless chic. While it’s pretty with soft makeup it’ll take me a while to adjust to having lipstick lighter than my actual lips.
(I keep thinking I have face powder stuck to my lipstick!)


Wearable shades are all well and good, but a lipstick’s only as good as it performs…

Feel | The Chi Chi Viva La Diva lipsticks have a creamy texture, swiping on matte and opaque. They don’t irritate my sensitive skin, and I haven’t had any issues with drying, flaking or seeping outside of my lip line, even without lip liner.

Wear | Working long shifts and modelling any lipstick that wears off or smudges goes in the bin pronto.  These aren’t in the bin. Thanks to the creamy matte texture I find these stay put through eating, drinking and talking all day. These lighter shades also appear to be fairly kiss proof, but smudging might be more apparent with dark colours.
The photo below is of Urban Chic, over lip liner after a full days work. Taken at 1:00 am it’s not the best lighting, but trust me, the lipstick’s still on.

Random observations | The packaging is pretty but the caps tend to fall off in my bag, so use a lipstick case if you have one. Typical of Chi Chi cosmetics they smell good, and the colour swatch bases make grabbing the right one easy.


The verdict?

While I’m not converted to brown toned nude lipsticks, I am in love with Modern Minimalist! Urban Chic comes out occasionally on super girly days and I want to try it with a dark smokey eye. At $39.99 NZD The Viva La Diva collections are a budget friendly way to expand your collection, as a solo Viva La Diva lipstick retails at $22.99 NZD.

I’m really interested to see what your favourite nude shade is (of any brand) , and how it looks on you so please share and inspire me!

Gorgeously yours,



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Buy the Right Vintage, Not Any Vintage.

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!

Happy shopping,

                                Velvet x




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Monday Style Tip No.34


The key to owning that plunging neckline? Fashion tape and oodles of confidence.

Stylishly yours,

          Velvet  x

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1960’s Lavender Sleepwear | A Lingerie Addict’s Diary

1960’s Lavender Sleepwear | A Lingerie Addict’s Diary

Aside from black (my one true love) green and purple hold my affection above all other colours.
Lilac, lavendar, aubergine, olive, emerald and chartruese, any shade will do! These colours suit my pale olive complexion tone and green eyes, and I love them more for their rarity.

I love them so much that when this lavender sleep set appeared during my obsessive trademe trawling I pounced on it at once. I knew it was too big, I just didn’t care. I wear it anyway.

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Made in New Zealand by ‘Lesley Lingerie’ I’d say this sleep smock and robe date from the mid 1960’s.
Why? let me tell you…

1. The style.
Simple and voluminous this is quintessential 60’s lingerie. The peter pan collar and lace placement are typical of designer sleepwear and home sewing patterns of the era.

2. The label. 
A printed fabric label without fabric content or care instructions places this garment prior to 1972 (when permanently attached care labels became mandatory). It was produced after embroidered labels became less popular but before all tags were made of stiff or plasticy materials.

3. The fabric.
Some careful testing tells me the lining is a polyester cotton blend, while the outer layer and robe are nylon ‘chiffon’. Lingerie designers went crazy for these fabrics in the 60’s!

4. The Construction.
Serging or overlocking is used on these garments. While serging was used in the 1950’s and earlier, it wasn’t overly common until the 1960’s.

Regardless of age, this babydoll nightie is unashamedly feminine and takes me one step closer to owning a rainbow of vintage lingerie. Now to get my hands on something green…

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A humongous snuggly thank you to La Vonne at Tock Tick Vintage for letting me prance around her absolutely adorable pastel kitchen! It’s actually the cutest place ever.

Photos | Clementine
Model, HMUA | Velvet DeCollete

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Monday Style Tip No.34



They’re basically the perfect earring

Stylishly yours,

          Velvet  x

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Monday Style Tip No.33

enhance curves with ruffles

Fashion is like magic, you can create an illusion of something that’s not really there! Wear ruffles or frills around your bust, hips or bum to create a curvier silhouette or balance out your heavier areas.

Stylishly yours,

          Velvet  x

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Monday Style Tip No.32

nude-heels lengthen legs

Nude heels really can give the illusion of longer legs. Personally I feel drab in nude, so I go for a fun texture like these glitter heels or a two tone style to make my nude shoes feel a bit more glam.

Stylishly yours,

          Velvet  x

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Monday Style Tip No.31

cover regrowth or frizz with a cute beret

Cringing over your regrowth or fussing over flyaways? Cover a multitude of sins with an elegant beret a la Lauren Bacall in The Big Sleep. Or forget your hair and go watch The Big Sleep, it’s a classic and Bacall has a killer wardrobe.

Stylishly yours,

          Velvet  x

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8 Ways to Get the Most from Your Custom Clothing Experience

8 Ways to Get the Most from Your Custom Clothing Experience

As a couture designer, seamstress and costumier my goal is to create the absolute best garment for you that I can. I offer a free consultation, ask lots of questions (not just about what you want the garment to look like, but also where, how and why you’ll wear it) and do lots of sketches before starting to draft the pattern.

But what if you’re not coming to me? What if you don’t know what to expect? What if you just want to make sure you’re getting the best result possible?

Get a pen and paper, because I’ve collated my top 8 tips for ensuring you get the most from your custom design experience.


1. Research

Before you pick a designer, tailor or dressmaker do your research.
Look for photos of their previous work, their qualifications, reviews from clients or recommendations from people you trust.  Do their style and skills suit the garment you want? ( for example don’t ask a designer who works in leather to make your bespoke silk wedding dress, and don’t expect a vintage reproduction specialist to be an expert in modern knitwear.)

2. Be Prepared

While I offer free consultations, most designers will charge you. Being prepared means you can make the most of your consult to ensure the designer or dressmaker knows exactly what you want and you’re sure they’re the right person for the job.
Things that I’ll ask you at a consult are: your time frame and budget, colour preferences, what occasion the garment is for, a few examples of styles or design features you like, and if there’s anything you really dislike.

3. Ask Questions

Ask if your designer does payment plans (this is especially helpful if you’re budgeting for a wedding) . Ask for a contract, what date they can have the garment completed and for an estimate of the price. Keep in mind that a custom made garment requires a personalised pattern, toiles, several fittings, quality materials and a high level of skill. These all add to the price so expect it to cost more than off-the-rack clothing.

4. Be Open to Advice

I can’t stress this enough.
If you go to a professional, experienced designer or dressmaker they should be able to assess your body shape and advise you if the design you want will be flattering. Please listen to them. We want you to look and feel amazing so if we suggest a change of style or fabric please consider it. I personally refuse to make garments I don’t believe will look good on.

5. Measure Up

A custom made garment is made to fit you, so your seamstress will take your measurements to work from ( I take between 8 and 15 measurements depending on the design). It’s incredibly important you take any lingerie, shapewear or shoes you plan to wear with your garment to your fittings as these can dramatically alter your body shape and height.
It’s also vital to tell your dressmaker if you plan to lose or gain weight, are trying to fall pregnant or if you become very ill during the construction of your garment as these circumstances will affect the fit!

corset pattern pieces | Velvet Decollete

6. Be Honest

This is your dream clothing or costume we’re talking about, so be honest!
If you’re not sure about a design – tell us.
If something’s itching or uncomfortable at a fitting – tell us.
If we suggest a colour or fabric you hate – tell us!
One week from deadline is too late for most designers to change anything and will make the process far more expensive for you, so be straight up about anything you’d like changed as soon as possible.

7. Be On Time

Be on time for fittings, on schedule for buying your lingerie and shoes, and up to date on your payments.
A missed fitting stops work on your garment, meaning it might not be ready for the agreed deadline. Not wearing your shapewear at your fittings could cause last minute alterations when you finally do bring it and find it changes your curves. Putting time pressure on your dressmaker can cause delays or a lower quality of work as we often end up working through the night in these cases!


8. Be Realistic

Custom designed clothing requires hours of painstaking work. Be realistic about what you expect to pay for your perfect garment and how long it’s going to take. Remember that your order is probably one of several they are working on at any given time.

 If you have any questions about commissioning a customised or couture garment flick me a message on my facebook page – I’m happy to help!

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