Secret Garden | A 1950’s Inspired Cocktail Suit

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Power dressing is nothing new. From the Phoenician purple robes of the Romans to 80’s power suits, we’ve been using clothes to boost our confidence and social standing for thousands of years. Which got me thinking; what does power dressing look like to a vintage loving gal?

For me the answer was a well cut suit. The suit worn by a film noir vixen perched on a detective’s desk, knowing he’ll do whatever she asks. A suit that says you’re 100% business, and 100% woman. A suit you’d wear to the funeral of your fifth wealthy husband mysteriously dies.

Obviously I needed to make this suit.

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The Suit

Drawing inspiration from 1950’s clothing company Lilli Ann, I sketched a figure enhancing peplum silhouette. The wide neckline, fitted waist and flared hip accentuate my hourglass figure, while the slimline pencil skirt puts a wiggle in my walk – I’m known for walking quite fast and this skirt definitely hobbles my stride a bit!  A textured black fabric with a woven pattern of golden roses balances the hyper feminine cut with dark glamour.

This is my first ladies suit ( I’ve made one trouser suit before ). Delayed for months due to costume commissions I finally finished it in time for the Duke and I’s seven year wedding anniversary. ( We stayed at Hotel Debrett and watched Horror at the Civic Theatre. ) There’s a tiny area of fit I’m not quite happy with in the jacket, but considering I had to fit it on myself I’m very happy with the result!

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The Outfit

Two statement collars are better than one and the PUG Lauren top creates a striking inky black layered neckline.

No well dressed dame would be caught without gloves and hat.  The beaded gloves were a serendipitous find at Tock Tick Vintage long before I started the suit. Their glossy floral beading was too pretty to pass up!  The velvet tilt hat is from the Auckland Textile Fair. A band and bow of woven black straw circle the hat, and I added the veiling for extra sass.

My earrings are green and gold vintage clip ons . The frosted glass matches my eyes (a rarity) , and seems to glow from within . Classic back seam stockings, black leather Alonso Andretti shoes and a gold beaded clutch finished my 50’s power dressing dream.

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We shot these photos in the picturesque Hamilton Gardens while filming my entry video for Miss Pin Up New Zealand 2017. Subscribe to my blog to follow my progress in the competition!

See more outfits from my entry video below!
1940’s summer style

With style & sass

         Velvet x

1 comment

Dianne Goggin

Beautiful suit. Beautiful outfit. Definitely feminine power dressing.

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