fashion

Honest Review | Downtown Dame Faux Leather Wiggle Dress

Honest Review | Downtown Dame Faux Leather Wiggle Dress

A brief but honest review of the hottest dress I’ve ever worn
( aesthetically and physically )

I’m talking about the Downtown Dame dress from Pin Up Girl Clothing, in bubblegum pink faux leather. I’ve had this dress for a year, but it took a few wears to decide how I really felt about it.
I’ll keep it short and sweet – this dress is hot, as in you feel like a total babe made entirely of dangerous curves.
It’s also hot, as in if you’re in a warm environment you’ll sweat like cheese in clingfilm.
Personally I’m happy to make the trade off, but I’m also happy to keep it for the cooler months. Or air conditioned locales.

The only other downside to the Downtown Dame wiggle dress, is that when I wiggle, my thighs touch. In this dress they are permanently squished together and were painfully chafed by the end of a long sweaty night. I’d highly recommend wearing shapewear shorts or those wide soft lace thigh garters designed to stop chafing.
( I actually might get some of those garters just because they’re cute)

BUT… I 100% still love the Downtown Dame dress.

why?
Because it curves in all the right places. It accommodates my not-inconsiderable augmented bust, while still fitting snugly at the waist. The kick pleat extends high enough that by some miracle I haven’t torn it, as I have every other kick pleat in my wardrobe. The belt is nice and wide, and the straps are adjustable. And honestly, I feel like a vinyl wrapped fetish Barbie when I wear it.

So that’s my honest opinion of the Deadly Dames Downtown Dames dress. If you want it in the fake leather finish be aware that it’s a trade off. Will you be comfortable? Unlikely. Will you look and feel like the hottest badass to walk the earth? Undoubtedly.

If it’s any help at all I’m 5.3″ tall and my measurements are 33″ –  25.5″ – 36.25″.  I’m wearing a size XS. If you’d like to read a plus size review of this dress there’s a fabulous one over at Curves to Kill.

PS: Don’t wear this at the beach.

An honest review of the Pinup Girl Clothing Downtown Dame dress from the Deadly Dames line. Find out what it's really like to wear this bubblegum pink faux leather wiggle dress.

An honest review of the Pinup Girl Clothing Downtown Dame dress from the Deadly Dames line. Find out what it's really like to wear this bubblegum pink faux leather wiggle dress.
An honest review of the Pinup Girl Clothing Downtown Dame dress from the Deadly Dames line. Find out what it's really like to wear this bubblegum pink faux leather wiggle dress.

Photos | Froger – otherwise known as the only man who can convince me to wear stilettos on sand

* I wasn’t paid, sponsored, given product or otherwise encouraged to write this review, just so ya know. *

With style and sass,

        Velvet DeCollete

Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, 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
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 in modern fashion.

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.

purple, lavender, lilac, lace, 1960s sleepwear, 1960s nightie, 1960s robe, 1960's nightgown, vintage retro, vintage clothing, purple and white, pinup style, pinup clothing, vintage lingerie, review. velvet decollete, nz pinup, modern pinup, vintage clothing review

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…

 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.

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.

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!

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 baby doll 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…

purple, lavender, lilac, lace, 1960s sleepwear, 1960s nightie, 1960s robe, 1960's nightgown, vintage retro, vintage clothing, purple and white, pinup style, pinup clothing, vintage lingerie, review. velvet decollete, nz pinup, modern pinup, vintage clothing review

purple, lavender, lilac, lace, 1960s sleepwear, 1960s nightie, 1960s robe, 1960's nightgown, vintage retro, vintage clothing, purple and white, pinup style, pinup clothing, vintage lingerie, review. velvet decollete, nz pinup, modern pinup, vintage clothing review

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

With style and sass,

                 Velvet DeCollete

Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, PINUP, 1 comment
Retro Wedding Dress Parade

Retro Wedding Dress Parade

So Clementine has these wedding dresses that fell off the back of a truck.

No, really. Her friend found them in a giant plastic bag in the road, and actually does think they fell off the back of a truck. The obvious solution? Promptly deliver dresses to Clementine because lets face it, she needs nine retro wedding dresses.

Anyway, fancy dress aside she’s not going to get a lot of use out of these leg o’ mutton sleeved beauties so they’re destined to be recut into  more … wearable … designs. (Personally I hope she keeps the plastic beaded fringing, it’s fantastic!). But before the dismantling begins I got to model them for some lovely ‘before’ photos.

Here’s a selection of my personal favourites for your 1980’s fashion enjoyment.

retro 1980's wedding dress | Velvet Decollete

This top one’s part Disney princess, part evil queen. Look at those sleeves. The one below made me feel like a frilly sea cucumber and is my absolute favourite of the lot!

retro 1980's wedding dress | Velvet Decollete

retro 1980's wedding dress | Velvet Decollete

The lace neckline, those sheer sleeves, if this dress had fit I may have tried to steal it. Sadly it’s being held in with about 20 pins in the back! It reminds me of the Swan Princess animated movie.

retro 1980's wedding dress | Velvet Decollete

And lastly who doesn’t want to loll around in a bed full of wedding dresses?

Huge thanks to Lavonne at Tock Tick Vintage for letting us shoot in your adorable B&B (that’s right ladies, you can stay the night there!) and Clementine for asking me to play dress ups. You know I love it.

Clemetine will be sharing the rest of the dresses we photographed as she redesigns them. Make sure you like her facebook page to see them!

Model, HMUA | Velvet DeCollete
Photos | Clementine
Host, assistant, furniture mover and beautiful person | La Vonne

 

Posted by velvetdecollete in PINUP, 0 comments

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

Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, OTHER, 0 comments
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.

wpid-PicsArt_1389520763300.jpg

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!

wpid-PicsArt_1389520847046.jpg

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!

Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, LIFESTYLE, 0 comments

Monday Style Tip No.29

 

Shoe clips add versatile glamour | Monday Style Tip

I’ve also used them as dress clips, brooches and hair accessories, so don’t feel like you can only use them on shoes!

Stylishly yours,

          Velvet  x

Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, OTHER, 0 comments
A Purple Freak with Tan Lines

A Purple Freak with Tan Lines

Okay honesty time: this photoset is oooold, as in November 2015 old. I shared the photos on Facebook but never blogged them because I hated my super obvious tan lines. But ya know what? I’m naturally olive skinned. It’s hard for me to stay this pale, especially in the summer. So here it is – tan-lined legs and all – because I love this purple and black ensemble.

Jaimee B (21)

Jaimee B (29)

Outfit Breakdown

Headress | Velvet DeCollete
Corset | Corset Story
Gloves | Looksharp (embellished by Velvet)
Knickers | Kmart (Embellished by Velvet)
Fishnet Pantyhose | Columbine
Shoes | Pulp Noir

Made for working the merch stall at Burlesquefest 2015 this outfit is all about the purple. The gloves and knickers are embellished with hand stitched fabric hydrangeas and irridescent sequins (hello sewing in front of the TV), while the headdress features large glitter coated roses, leaves and black feather trim with dangling glass beads and tassels. The whole shebang has a ‘gothic showgirl meets fairy’ kind of vibe to it, which I love.

I was working on costume commissions for clients leading up to the event so didn’t have time to make my own corset. I picked this one up on sale from Corset Story. It’s more of a fashion corset and doesn’t pull me in around the waist at all, but that’s fine when you’re working in it for hours!

Public safety warning – sequined knickers will get caught on fishnet tights. Caution is advised when crouching or bending over.

purple showgirl burlesque costumeblack rose headress 1black rose headress 2

I made the headdress in a few hours from supplies I had stashed away, the only thing I had to buy specifically for this was the base ( a plastic visor that I turned upright and covered with fabric ). Hairpieces and headdresses are one of those areas where you can really go crazy with contrasting textures and materials. The bigger the better!

Photos | Zandy J Photography

 

Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, PINUP, 0 comments

Monday Style Tip No.28

one colour plus white is crisp and fresh | Monday Style tip

 

Struggle to pair colours? Try choosing just one colour and white for a quick and easy was to look fresh and chic. (for example a classic white shirt with blue jeans, a blue clutch and a blue statement necklace, or a yellow dress with a white belt, bag and shoes.)

Stylishly yours,

          Velvet  x

Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, OTHER, 0 comments
Finding Your Personal Style | Insider Secrets with Miss Pinup NZ Fran Robertson

Finding Your Personal Style | Insider Secrets with Miss Pinup NZ Fran Robertson

Some people have an impeccable sense of personal style, they know who they are and exactly how to express it.  They’re the ones that make us say “that jacket is just so -insert name here-“. This outward expression of your inner soul doesn’t come naturally to all of us ( I’ve had some horrific style phases over the years) so who better to share her innate knowledge of style than the queen of colour, makeup artist, designer and Miss Pinup New Zealand Fran Roberston?

No one. That’s who.

Read on below for her expert tips, plus bonus info on building your own capsule wardrobe for easy dressing!

vvdo-1-180

Among many other things, I work as a personal shopper and wardrobe stylist!
People often employ the services of personal stylists when they’re going through a period of change in their lives – a new job, a big move, or a fresh start – and want an opportunity to re-invent themselves, but maybe need help figuring out a style that works for them.
It’s such a rewarding job – People don’t always realise how important style can be to the way people perceive themselves. If you know you look good, you’ll feel good and be more confident, which is so so so important!

1. Only wear things you like.
This might seem like a no-brainer, but unless something makes you feel happy, there is absolutely no point in owning it. Obviously work uniforms are exempt from this rule, but there are ways to make them less awful – Get your corporate uniform shirts tailored to fit you properly, for example!

vvdo-1-448

 

2. Take inspiration from your accessories
Most people start with the dress, or the top, but sometimes you need to shake things up a bit, or you end up just wearing the same combinations all the time! Rather than viewing your accessories as an afterthought, basing outfits around them forces you to think about the clothes you own in a different light. Pick out a necklace and choose a shirt with just the right neckline to show it off, or choose a pair of earrings and then do your hair around them.

Miss Pinup nz Fran Robertson | Velvet DeCollete

3. Find a silhouette that works, and own it
My wardrobe is full of swing skirts, and dresses with nipped in waists and full skirts. This would still be the case if I had no interest in vintage, because this is a silhouette that works for me and my body shape. Jackie O almost exclusively wore sheath dresses, because that was her silhouette of choice.

Miss Pinup nz Fran Robertson | Velvet DeCollete

4. Keep track of what you have, and what you need

Take note (on your phone, or in your diary) of your favourite wardrobe staples, and the things that you are missing. This way, if you pop into a shop on your lunch break and they have brightly coloured belts, you know which colours you actually need rather than just buying double ups.
I also have close up photos on my phone of the prints in my wardrobe that are tricky to match things to. I can look at them when I’m out, which reduces the chance of buying things that don’t match anything!

vvdo-2-215-1

5.Break the rules!
There are so many ‘rules’ that just shouldn’t exist – Fat girls shouldn’t wear stripes, no pink over 40, ‘less is more’, short girls can’t wear maxis, etc.
( Side note from Velvet: Amen girl! Where did these rules even come from?!)

The only rule that matters is that you have fun putting your look together.

Miss Pinup nz Fran Robertson | Velvet DeCollete

Bonus Tip! Building a capsule wardrobe.
A capsule wardrobe leaves you open to a whole bunch of different combinations, you can choose shapes you’re comfortable wearing, and you can add to it easily enough as you become more confident choosing pieces.

This is the basic formula I follow when building a ‘capsule wardrobe’ for someone, which can apply to almost any style!

  • 1 x Printed Dress
  • 1 x Plain Coloured Dress
  • 2 x Printed Tops
  • 2 x Plain Coloured Tops
  • 1 x Jeans / Pants
  • 1 x Printed Skirt
  • 1 x Plain Coloured Skirt
  • 1 x Jacket – Blazer / Motorcycle Jacket / Denim Jacket / Lightweight swing coat
  • 3 x Cardigans / Boleros / Casual Cover-ups

Tips for getting the most out of your capsule wardrobe!

  • If you are starting from scratch, pick a colour palette that you like, and buy things that fit within that. A favourite of mine is White or Cream with Navy, Red, and Tan, but I am also partial to Black, Cream, Tan, and Gold.
  • Make sure your plain coloured items match the colours in your printed pieces, so you can mix and match
  • There’s no hard and fast rule about accessories, but they can really transform an outfit. I try to have necklaces, belts, and scarves in all the colours that show up in my printed pieces.

Fran has a treasure trove of outfit inspiration on her website, Facebook and Instagram which I’d really recommend following if you need some style motivation! You can also hire her to make you sassy things or do your hair and makeup.

 

Photos | Elizabeth J Photography, Zandy J and Glory Days Magazine

 

Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, LIFESTYLE, PINUP, 0 comments