fashion

8 Ways to Get the Most from Your Custom Design Experience

8 Ways to Get the Most from Your Custom Design 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?

Grab your notepad, because I’ve collated my top 8 tips for ensuring you get the most from your bespoke clothing experience.

Fashion designer and pin up model Velvet DeCollete shares the 8 things you need to know to get the most from your custom made clothing 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 that 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.

 

Choosing a designer and ordering a custom designed piece of clothing can be intimidating, but here's 8 tips for getting the most from your bespoke experience!

 

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.

 

When I create custom wedding gowns and costumes, I always include care and wearing instructions for my clients

When I create custom made clothing, I always include care and wearing instructions for my clients. These photo instructions made it into the wedding photos!

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.  You’re paying for an expert service so make the most of their expert knowledge.

I personally refuse to make garments I believe will be unflattering. If you want something that doesn’t suit you it’s easy enough to buy off the rack!

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!

As an example, all sixteen pieces in the photo below create ONE fabric layer out of FOUR layers that made up this corset. Every one of these pieces would need adjusting on every layer should the client gain or lose weight. That’s 64 individual pieces to alter!

 

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. A good designer or seamstress will make it work, or at least explain why it won’t work!

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 by not being organised can cause delays, or a lower quality of work as we often end up working through the night in these cases!

 

Fashion designer and pin up model Velvet DeCollete shares the 8 things you need to know to get the most from your custom made clothing experience.

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 the designer is working on at any given time.

It’s also important to remember that inspiration pictures are just that – inspiration. Your designer should make the most flattering garment possible, but we aren’t magicians! Most fashion pictorials are heavily edited and while a skin tight non-stretch gown may look amazing pinned on a model, in reality you won’t be able to sit down. Sitting down is important, as it being able to breathe, lift your arms, and eat!

 

 If you have any questions about commissioning a customised or bespoke garment flick me a message on my facebook page or my contact page– I’m happy to help! Examples of my custom designs can be seen on my fashion design portfolio, where you can read feedback from my clients themselves x

With Style & Sass,

Velvet DeCollete

Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, LIFESTYLE, 0 comments
Black & White Glamour | Pin Up Photoshoot

Black & White Glamour | Pin Up Photoshoot

What’s black and white and glam all over?
Me, with my fancy pants and giant fluffy stole.

From Coco to Audrey to Cruella De Vil, black and white fashion has always been simultaneously bold and chic.

Often employed for understated elegance or graphic mod style, black and white can be effortlessly cool. However exaggerated glamour is more my jam! Extremes of femininity and texture have inspired my upcoming collectionof uber fluffy faux fur mega stoles! This boa/stole hybrid that looks like a sexy skunk is one of the pieces I’ve been working on, and trust me, it’s so decadently soft and enveloping.

Marlene Dietrich, Cabaret and our Queen Dita Von Teese sparked the concept for this shoot. I wanted to reference the black and white publicity shots of Hollywood’s golden era, but with an intimate, personal edge.

Cruella De Vil meets Pinup Glamour in this black and white photo set featuring Miss Pinup New Zealand Velvet DeCollete and alt pinup fetish photographer Froger

Cruella De Vil meets Pinup Glamour in this black and white photo set featuring Miss Pinup New Zealand Velvet DeCollete and alt pinup fetish photographer Froger

Cruella De Vil meets Pinup Glamour in this black and white photo set featuring Miss Pinup New Zealand Velvet DeCollete and alt pinup fetish photographer Froger

Outfit Details

Mega Fur Stole | Velvet DeCollete
Jacket | Preloved via Trademe
Trousers | Thrifted
Corset | Corset Story
Knickers | Trademe
Gloves | Vintage
Hat | Borrow from my Mother
Fully Fashioned Stockings | Photographers own
Shoes | Thrifted

Love monochrome but hate boring outfits? I layer textures and shapes to create a black based outfit that looks luxe, not lazy. Styled specifically to be shot in black and white, the textural blacks are offset with two bold pops of white; long gloves and my faux fur.
Pairing soft, wide leg trousers with a constricting corset and thick wool jacket creates a silhouette that’s feminine while referencing masculine style elements.

Can you believe the satin trousers and jacket are both from the oppy? ( That’s a thrift shop to my American friends ). So is the hat, an equestrian dressage topper found by my mother in a small town St. Paul’s.

Cruella De Vil meets Pinup Glamour in this black and white photo set featuring Miss Pinup New Zealand Velvet DeCollete and alt pinup fetish photographer Froger

Cruella De Vil meets Pinup Glamour in this black and white photo set featuring Miss Pinup New Zealand Velvet DeCollete and alt pinup fetish photographer Froger

Cruella De Vil meets Pinup Glamour in this black and white photo set featuring Miss Pinup New Zealand Velvet DeCollete and alt pinup fetish photographer Froger

Photography | Froger

That photo above is one of my favourites right now. Froger catches me between full poses sometimes and those relaxed photos stand out from my other facial expressions ( to me at least!).  Pinup and glamour lovers can find the rest of this set over at Froger’s photography website. I highly recommend subscribing to his member’s area because holy hairspray does he photograph some stone cold foxes!

With Style & Sass,

     Velvet DeCollete

Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, PINUP, 3 comments
Cadillac Dreams | Hollywood Inspired Pinup Photoshoot

Cadillac Dreams | Hollywood Inspired Pinup Photoshoot

Bad girls may have more fun, but Paramount girls get away with it.

Inspired by the elegance of classic Hollywood and it’s movie starlets this is the sister set to Start Your Engines | A bad Girl Photo Shoot. Shot in the same location with the same magnificent Cadillac this set takes style inspiration from the publicity shots of 1930’s – 1950’s cinema stars. (With a few ‘paparazzi’ style shots thrown in for fun and accuracy).

 

Cadillac Hollywood Starlet | Pinup Photoshoot | Velvet DeCollete

Cadillac Hollywood Starlet | Pinup Photoshoot | Velvet DeCollete

The Inspiration

Back in the golden age of Hollywood film companies like Paramount and MGM would arrange photographers to snap their new stars at home ( usually not even their real home!) and at social events. These not so candid images were vintage equivalent of an intentionally unintentional looking celebrity Instagram photo.

My outfit inspiration was a chic movie star. Is she attending a cocktail party as some luxe resort? Heading to a rendezvous with her lover? Or is she on her way home, in the clothes she wore the night before? Either way, her studio will cover up any indiscretions.

Inspired by these totally posed but supposedly unexpected publicity photos, we shot a mix of classic glamour and paparazzi style images. This is one of the first photoshoots I worked with Froger on and it’s still one of my favourites today.

 

 

Outfit Breakdown 

Wiggle Dress | Velvet DeCollete – sewn from a Vintage Vogue pattern
Gloves, Sunglasses, Bag & Fur | Tock Tick Vintage
Shoes | Pulp Noir
Vintage Imitation Pearl Necklace | Gifted
Earrings | Diva
Hosiery | Pretty Polly

 

Cadillac Hollywood Starlet | Pinup Photoshoot | Velvet DeCollete

Cadillac Hollywood Starlet | Pinup Photoshoot | Velvet DeCollete

How beautiful is the vintage fawn skin bag in the photo above? I nicknamed it ‘The Bambi Bag’. Unsurprisingly it’s part of La Vonne’s personal collection, alongside the fur stole.

Oh and did I mention Elvis stopped by? He’s such a hoot!

Cadillac Dreams | Velvet DeCollete

Photographer | Froger
Shoot Assistant | LaVonne from Tock Tick Vintage
Model | Velvet DeCollete (moi)

With Style & Sass,

               Velvet DeCollete

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by velvetdecollete in PINUP, 1 comment
Choosing & Caring for Vintage Clothing | Secrets of a Vintage Store Owner

Choosing & Caring for Vintage Clothing | Secrets of a Vintage Store Owner

Wearing and caring for vintage clothing is immensely rewarding but also nerve wracking. Which pieces should you buy? How do you clean that delicate fabric? Where do you even start? While Google is great I’m wary of unproven cleaning methods.

Instead I turn to La Vonne ( Doyenne of the recently retired Tock Tick Vintage store ) for her tried and true tips on selecting and maintaining a gorgeous vintage wardrobe. With a lifetime of experience and impeccable taste to match, Lavonne’s a goldmine of knowledge! If you’re always buying clothes but have nothing to wear, you’ll want to check out my 5 ways to buy the right vintage, not any vintage.

VIntage dresses at Tock Tick Vintage | Velvet Decollete

LaVonne what do you look for or avoid when buying vintage items?

Early on I used to collect almost every vintage item from last century (pre 1980) that crossed my path, as I just love finding and collecting vintage lovelies.  Over time I have developed a more selective approach as some items are more commercial, collectible, rare and so on.  These days I try to procure pieces that translate easily into more modern day styling or quality timeless pieces that have withstood the test of time; either in functionality, style or both.  I am very particular about quality and I really do try to offer the best quality vintage I can, bearing in mind that some items were created decades ago, so some flaws are inevitable and to be expected.  Great care is taken in laundering and making tiny repairs if necessary to offer the items as close to the original as possible.

When I’m out searching for vintage treasure, the condition of the item is very important to me.  Whilst some items are simply great to have because they are like museum pieces and marking a moment in time, generally most are going to be worn regularly and need to reflect that in their condition.  I avoid items where the fabric is decaying or brittle. Vintage silks are beautiful, but when you hold them up to the light you can see the fibers are breaking, sheer or rotting.  Be mindful that certain fabrics, particularly natural fibers, do have a lifespan.  

Therefore my main tip for buying vintage clothing is to buy good quality.  Avoid items that have major faults.  Better to pay a little more for quality key pieces than having a wardrobe brimming with ‘average’ items.

If you could recommend one starter piece to someone new to vintage style, what would it be and why?

Vintage jewellery, hands down.  Add a brooch and earring set to a little black dress you already own and boom!, the stunning attention to vintage detail has us wondering if your entire ensemble is vintage too. The other wonderful thing about vintage accessories: they generally aren’t size dependent. I can wear a modern simple black dress and  accompany it with my beautiful handbag, gloves, brooch and hat.  The size of the dress is irrelevant yet the vintage detailing makes the outfit.

vintage accessories from Tock Tick vintage | Velvet DeCollete

Lavonne Says

Brooches added to a hat, a scarf, on a jacket.  Fabulous.  

A string of simple pearls, always in style!  

Similarly a black jet necklace!

Clip on earrings!  

Take a look at Mad Men folks … every woman is wearing jewellery to polish off her look.  These items are affordable too.  Compared to buying a dress or an entire outfit, you can add your $30 earring, brooch and necklace set to many outfits.  To your twinset, with your capris on the weekend, or on the bodice of your evening gown. 

Just a tip, if you are not used to wearing clip on or screw on earrings they can take a little getting used to! However, like wearing in a new pair of shoes, it’s the same for your vintage earrings.  Wear them for an hour at a time around the house often and over time your ears will get accustomed to them.  Got a great pair of classic shoes?  Your clip on earrings can double as pretty shoes clips to give your outfit instant vintage glam !

Tock Tick Vintage is known for your stock of wonderful furs. How do you clean and maintain them?

  • Firstly, I recommend you do the following with any of your valuable clothing items:
    P
    lace the garment outside on a hanger two or three times a year on a gentle breezy day (not too hot and sunny, furs don’t really like too much bright sun for too long and extended heat dries out the leather pelt).  Ventilating your clothing is a simple and easy way to keeping them fresh.
  • I purchased a natural soft bristle pet brush from the pet store (was not expensive) … and every now and then I brush the fur, this is actually quite a tactile lovely process I find.  It aerates the fur, removing any dust particles  and keeping it silky. Of course, dealing with many furs it’s handy for me to have a brush.  You can do this with clean hands for the same effect.
  • Getting rid of that musty smell. You can hang the fur in a garment bag and place an open envelope full of coffee granules at the bottom, zip it up and leave it for about three days.  Take the fur out of the bag,  brush it, replace the coffee and repeat for another  three days.  Then air the fur outside for an hour or so over a weekend.  The fur will smell of coffee for a short time but this will completely go, as will ‘that smell’.  This is surprisingly effective!I also personally use a solution of one parts vodka to 3 parts water in a spray bottle to remove smells. Hanging the fur outside on the line, I stand back from the fur and spray a fine mist over the fur (and articles of vintage clothing too) making sure to not wet the items, but mist them.  Allow to dry then brush.  I have never caused any damage to my items through this process but of course care is required.
  • Never store your furs in plastic .. they need to breathe .. in fact never cover with anything when in storage. If possible, store in a dark cool place (closet is fine) .. but maybe place a hook from the ceiling or on the wall in there so it can hang slightly separate (ie) you don’t want it to be squished between all your other clothes, will flatten the fur and will not allow air to circulate around it.
  • I highly recommend buying a product like ‘DampRid’ and keeping these in your wardrobes. Not to protect just your fur, but your other wardrobe treasures.  I find I replace these quarterly at a cost of around $7 per time.  These little buckets of moisture absorbing crystals are incredibly effective at keeping moisture and mould out of your wardrobe. Not a bad investment for keeping your clothes in great shape at $30 per year.
    I know it seems straight forward, but run your hands though the garments in your wardrobe each week and quickly vacuum the floor and ceiling as part of your housework routine. This keeps dust and wee bugs away from your treasures and is another simple 30 second solution to help keep your clothes fresh.
  • Your fur needs to be placed on a decent wide, padded or shaped coat hanger  to retain good shape and be well supported. I have had customers purchase furs that they are going to keep displayed on a mannequin in their home.  This is fine so long as it is never in direct sunlight, is in a relatively cool position  and is regularly brushed and shaken to keep it aired and dust free.  I agree, they look beautiful, why not display them!!!!
  • Gentle surface washing will do no harm to fur, but wetting the pelt might make the fur fall out.  Using a very mild baby or pet shampoo diluted with water then using a cloth or a brush the solution to clean the fur without penetrating the pelt works well.
  • When you see a label on vintage fur items ‘clean using the furrier method only’ this refers to a process where furs were tumbled in machines filled with gritty sawdust .. the dry friction cleaned the leather and left the fur silken and clean.
    I have effectively cleaned fur stoles/collars/hats  with unprocessed bran (gently heated in the oven first).  You then place the fur in large bag (pillowcase even) with bran.  Shake it around vigorously for a few minutes, then discard and brush out the bran.  This is pretty labour intensive, the bran takes ages to brush out, but it really absorbs smells and dirt and leaves the piece lovely.  Crazy I know!Caring for vintage furs | Velvet DeCollete

As furs were more common in the past, there were expert furriers that would care for fur treasures.  These are now difficult to find and possibly quite expensive. I personally use common sense with my fur care.  If you pay $100 for a vintage fur stole you may not necessarily wish to go to the expense of paying a professional to care for it.  The silver fox fur I owned is still as immaculate as the day I purchased it some 20 plus years ago just by using some common sense. That said, if you own a top quality blue fox coat that cost thousands of dollars, I do recommend getting it the professional care it requires.  

I don’t know of any furriers in Auckland but I am sure if you check with your trusted dry cleaner they could point you in the right direction.  I would imagine in cities with colder climates where fur coats might be worn more commonly due to temperature, more places would be available to purchase and care for fur.

This all sounds very in depth.  It is actually relatively simple.  I make small mends when seams come apart and I spot clean if I have to.  When buying a vintage item there will often be imperfections, these items have been lovingly worn over time and that is to be expected.  You will lovingly wear it and care for it too.

Top tips for keeping your vintage clothing in good condition from vintage store owner LaVonne

What do you feel are the most important accessories for vintage style?

It’s no surprise I’m obsessed with vintage accessories.  I would toddle off to Secretarial College in the mid 1980’s wearing my Nana’s 1950’s houndstooth coat with black fur collar, my Mother’s 1960’s patent handbag and a pair of slingback black suede winklepicker shoes.  Ironically I never questioned my ‘look’, whether is was current or relevant, whether it was appropriate even, I just loved those items and I felt fabulous.  Those vintage treasures brought me real joy.  They in some way transported a piece of me back in time, gave homage to those I loved and were different to anything I could find in high street stores.  I guess that was the beginning of the obsession.

Whether fully immersed in vintage styling or you have alternative or eclectic tastes, or just love the beauty of pieces crafted in a time of quality and attention to detail … vintage can be a great way to individualise your wardrobe with things you’ll love.

Vintage accessories are so great for this.  My collection of vintage handbags is vast however I always recommend to my customers that owning a black and a neutral vintage handbag is a great start as then you can always add that vintage flair to your outfit .  You can add a brightly coloured hair flower to your classic handbag to tie in your look.  

My vintage go-to accessories

Jewellery

Handbags

Gloves

Scarves

Classic coat

Fur (or faux fur) collars

It really is fun hunting out those vintage pretties to tie an outfit together.  Don’t be afraid to experiment and enjoy.  Remember; if you love something .. isn’t the joy you get from that piece what’s special? ♡

Vintage shopping tips from Tock Tick Vintage

A few of La Vonne’s happy customers.

And there you have it, expert do’s and dont’s for protecting and laundering your vintage treasures! I recommend you bookmark or pin this post, I come back and refer to it whenever I have a new-to-me vintage garment that needs some TLC.

With Style & Sass,

   Velvet DeCollete

 

Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, LIFESTYLE, 3 comments
Florals for a Florist | Sam’s Custom Swing Dress

Florals for a Florist | Sam’s Custom Swing Dress

Some people put a smile on your dial in an instant. Samantha is one of those people!

She’s also a total babe.

Florist and Heritage New Zealand worker Samantha wearing her custom made floral 1950's swing dress designed and made by Velvet Decollete. Velvet is a pinup girl, vintage blogger and clothing designer

We met at The Very Vintage Day Out 2015, in the fruit smoothie queue – as ya do- and struck up a conversation over our outfits. Samantha’s enthusiasm and humour over the glories and pitfalls of pinup style was contagious, and I was thrilled when she contacted me about a custom dress.

Sam needed a dress for a family wedding. She was doing the flowers, so she needed to retain an easy range of movement, but still look amazing ( obviously).  Inspired by her vivacious nature, I designed something bright that showed off her stunning tattoos. I really wanted to make her feel special

The Dress

Bright floral swing dress custom made for florist and Heritage New Zealand worker Samantha by Velvet Decollete. Velvet is a pinup girl, vintage blogger and clothing designer specialising in 1950s and vintage reproduction inspired gowns, made to measure.

Bright floral swing dress custom made for florist and Heritage New Zealand worker Samantha by Velvet Decollete. Velvet is a pinup girl, vintage blogger and clothing designer specialising in 1950s and vintage reproduction inspired gowns, made to measure.
Bright floral swing dress custom made for florist and Heritage New Zealand worker Samantha by Velvet Decollete. Velvet is a pinup girl, vintage blogger and clothing designer specialising in 1950s and vintage reproduction inspired gowns, made to measure.

Bright floral swing dress custom made for florist and Heritage New Zealand worker Samantha by Velvet Decollete. Velvet is a pinup girl, vintage blogger and clothing designer specialising in 1950s and vintage reproduction inspired gowns, made to measure.

The resulting swing dress combined elements from the 50’s style gowns she loved, mixed with the modern comfort of a stretch cotton sateen. As always I tailored the dress to Sam’s shape for a perfect fit ( Well fitting clothes are so important but can be hard to find for our curvy pinups! ).

The bodice is fully boned for support and shaping, and while  bright floral print is colourful it doesn’t clash with her fiery red hair. Stretch mesh allows movement in the folded cowl around the wide neckline. A feminine bow and a line of sassy cobalt blue covered buttons finish the back.

For the Very Vintage Day Out 2016  Sam accessorised her dress with the most gorgeous jewel green hat, green shoes and a wide white belt.

Florist and Heritage New Zealand worker Samantha wearing her custom made floral 1950's swing dress designed and made by Velvet Decollete. Velvet is a pinup girl, vintage blogger and clothing designer
Florist and Heritage New Zealand worker Samantha wearing her custom made floral 1950's swing dress designed and made by Velvet Decollete. Velvet is a pinup girl, vintage blogger and clothing designer

Sam was stoked with her dress and we’re excited be working on another gown later this year!

” Velvet is such a star! We bumped into each other at the very vintage day out in 2015 and early 2016 she finished off a beautiful custom dress for me! She was a dream to work with, a very clever lady and such a sweetheart. ”
– Samantha Keen

 

Photos of Samantha | Fran Robertson – Taken at VVDO 2016

 

If you’re interested in having your own dream garment made, you can contact me here for more information and to discuss your ideas. More happy clients and their stories can be found on my Fashion Design Page for your viewing pleasure!

With Style and Sass,

 

       Velvet DeCollete

Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, 0 comments
Vintage Fashion | Glove Etiquette for Beginners

Vintage Fashion | Glove Etiquette for Beginners

I admit, I have a bit of a thing for gloves.

Specifically vintage gloves that are small enough for my stubby hands. They look smart, come in a trillion styles and colours and make you feel like a lady. They are also the one part of my wardrobe that gets consistently noticed.

But since our mothers were freed from the social expectation of hats and gloves, we’ve forgotten how to wear them! Gloves were an integral part of dressing for many eras, but the majority of questions I receive are from lovers of 1940’s – 1960’s fashion. So here, my darlings, is a beginners playbook for the wearing of gloves – information courtesy of several 1950’s fashion etiquette brochures.

When to wear gloves

Gloves should be worn on the streets of cities and large towns.
They should be worn when driving or travelling on trains, planes or other public conveyances.
Gloves should be worn for church and formal occasions including weddings, luncheons, dinners, garden parties or receptions.
The hostess should also wear gloves while she is receiving guests at these functions.

When not to wear gloves

Please remove your gloves to eat, smoke, apply makeup or play cards.

Glove Etiquette

  •  If you are lunching in a restaurant remove your coat on entering but retain your hat and gloves. Removeyour gloves when you are seated at the table.
  •  When attending a party with food or hors d’oeuvres turn your gloves back at the wrist or remove one while eating. ( This is where those gloves with wrist buttons come into play )
  •  When attending an informal event, remove your gloves on arrival and leave them with your coat.
  •  Always remove your gloves completely when seated for a meal. Try to do so discreetly, a lady does not make a spectacle of removing her gloves.
  • Gloves are left on while shaking hands.
  • Bracelets are the only jewellery that should be worn over your gloves.

Miss Pinup New Zealand 2017 Velvet DeColette walks us through the basic rules for wearing gloves, the perfect vintage fashion accessory.

Which gloves do I wear?

Day Gloves 

  • Short gloves in cotton or nylon come in lovely styles. Consider bright polka dot prints for the races, and embroidered or lace-trimmed gloves for summer parties.
  • Black kid leather is appropriate for city sightseeing and theater in metropolitan settings.
  • Crotchet or string gloves for casual garden parties and fairs in the country, or at the beach.
  • Leather gloves are wonderful in winter, especially for shopping and also driving.

Evening Gloves 

  • The appropriate length of glove can be chosen according to the length of your sleeves – the shorter your sleeves, the longer your gloves.
  • White and off white, including ivory, beige and taupe, are the traditional colors for opera gloves. these pale colours are appropriate for virtually any occasion on which opera gloves are worn.
  • Black Opera Gloves should not be worn with light-colored dresses, but can be worn with black, dark-colored or bright-colored clothing.
  • Black gloves are also considered the most elegant with evening dress.
  • Long coloured gloves should really be worn only with dresses of a coordinating colour scheme.
  • Opera gloves should not be put on in public but should be put on in the privacy of your own home. If they must be removed in public please do so discreetly. ( I can only imagine this was included in 1954’s brochure as the sight of a woman peeling off an opera glove could drive a man crazy.)

Lilli Ann inspired gold and black floral ladies suit. Made and worn with vintage hat and gloves and modern back seam stockings and leather heels.

Of course, these are the fashion rules from the era our beloved gloves are from. Modern women have the freedom to disobey or obey them as they please. Personally I find the subtle nuances of wearing vintage clothing part of the experience, so I  hope these guidelines will help you confidently don your gloves like the retro beauty you are! Have fun and be bold!

With Style & Sass

    Velvet DeCollete

Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, 4 comments
Honest Review | Collectif Clothing Juliette Pencil Dress

Honest Review | Collectif Clothing Juliette Pencil Dress

Today we’re talking wiggles. Not the wiggle in your walk and the giggle in your talk, but the Collectif Clothing Juliette wiggle dress.
Being in the Southern Hemisphere we’re coming out of winter as I write this, so I’ve had ample opportunity to test drive this cozy number for our Northern Hemisphere friends!

An honest review of the Collectif Clothing Juliette pencil dress, in green and navy chaise check and dark green fur trim

An honest review of the Collectif Clothing Juliette pencil dress, in green and navy chaise check and dark green fur trim

Let’s talk aesthetics first.

The Juliette pencil dress is a green and navy woven ‘chaise check’ (essentially a slightly glitchy looking tile pattern).
A sexy scooped back offsets the high boat neck front. It has a wide fur trim at the hem and a removable fur collar.
It also has a back split, but we’ll talk more about that later.

Overall verdict? It’s a demure yet foxy dress Joan Holloway style dress.

Now on to the serious stuff. How well does the Collectif Juliette dress wear?

An honest review of the Collectif Clothing Juliette pencil dress, in green and navy chaise check and dark green fur trim

Fab things about wearing the Juliette pencil dress

  • You feel like a sassy 1960’s martini drinking secretary. That scoop back is all kiiiiiinds of sophisticated sexy.
  • The fur trim is soft and snuggly, and the fur pile is long enough that it feels luxurious.
  • While the dress is unlined, the fabric is soft and non irritating.
  • It’s cooooooooozy. I’m not a fan of winter clothes ( I feel so frumpy all bundled up) but this is flattering and dressy enough that I’ve worn it to formal events and haven’t frozen!
  • It makes your butt look great. seriously. Check it out in the next photo.

Sad things about wearing the Juliette pencil dress

  • It’s a bit big in places. I ordered the size 8, which matched my measurements on the size chart. The Juliette dress is non-stretch fabric, so while some ease is required I find the waist and sleeves a bit looser than they need to be.
  • It’s made for someone taller (I know I’m short, I know ). The sleeves and hem are both too about 4cm too long. Which wouldn’t bother me much except… being a wiggle the Juliette has a slim skirt. When a slim skirt extends too far below the knees it increases the risk of the back split ripping when you walk.
    Which is exactly what happened to me. And then it just kept unravelling until it was dangerously high and I had to put my coat on.
  • The facing DRIVES. ME. NUTS. You can see in the photo below that the neck facing has a naughty habit of riding up above the level of the fur collar. This seems to be because it isn’t tacked down at all, so I can fix it, I just never remember to before I put it on.
  • It’s not easy care. Fur goes a bit gross if you chuck it in the washing machine so this is gentle hand wash or dry clean only.

An honest review of the Collectif Clothing Juliette pencil dress, in green and navy chaise check and dark green fur trim
An honest review of the Collectif Clothing Juliette pencil dress, in green and navy chaise check and dark green fur trim

Outfit Details

Dress | Collectif Clothing Juliette Pencil Dress
Shoes | Remix Vintage Shoes
Glasses | Eyebuy Direct
Earrings | Vintage
Hosiery | Columbine 70 denier pantyhose from Farmers

Photos taken at the Wellington Opera House

An honest review of the Collectif Clothing Juliette pencil dress, in green and navy chaise check and dark green fur trim

So there you have it, and honest review of the Collectif Clothing Juliette dress. As you can see, the pros and cons are fairly even, and while I get a lot of wear out of this dress, the length issues mean I wouldn’t buy another one. I just don’t have the free time to fuss around altering the hem with all that fur in the way!

The Juliette dress is also available in black ( which I bought at the same time as the this one ) and a regal gold and black jacquard. I believe all colourways are on sale right now, so if you want to pick one up now is the time!

With Style & Sass,

      Velvet DeCollete

Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, PINUP, 4 comments
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.

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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…

 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…

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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

With style and sass,

                 Velvet DeCollete

Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, PINUP, 1 comment