New Zealand

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
Making History | Vintage Candy Butcher Costumes For A Halloween Ball

Making History | Vintage Candy Butcher Costumes For A Halloween Ball

When Matt from Glory Days first mentioned Candy Butchers I had no idea what he was talking about.

It turns out these slightly sinister sounding fellows were actually siblings of the iconic vintage cigarette girl. Working during the intermission at theaters and circuses, candy butchers sold candy and snacks, along with the occasional con. ( There’s no harm in using an audience plant to give people the impression there might actually be a gold watch in the next box of candy they buy, right?)

Armed with this new found knowledge my job was to make history, or more accurately remake history. Costuming promo staff as candy butchers for a vintage Halloween Ball.

 

Custom designed vintage candy butcher or cigarette girl costumes made for the Blood Moon Ball by NZ costumer Velvet DeCollete

 

THE BRIEF

A pair of candy butcher costumes, one male and one female. Our candy butchers would be handing out Vintage Town Guides and Sailor Jerry promotional material at the family friendly Very Vintage Day Out. But they’d also be delivering specially made Rum & Raisin ice cream to our very adult guests at the Blood Moon Ball. The costumes needed to switch from innocent daywear to naughtier evening attire, while remaining recognizable and vintage inspired.

Being in contact with ice cream, sticky fingered children and guests with drinks meant they had to be washable. Hot environments meant they had to be breathable fabrics so our performers didn’t overheat. The costumes also needed to be durable, eye catching and fit several fashion eras.

MY INSPIRATION

I wanted to design costumes that were almost timeless – useable for events themed around the 1920’s to the 1950’s – with a fun, vibrant feel and strong graphic appeal. Inspiration came from cigarette girls, circus performers and chorus lines from the likes of the Follies and Cotton Club. Here’s a tiny sample of my mood and style inspiration.

 

Custom designed vintage candy butcher or cigarette girl costumes made for the Blood Moon Ball by NZ costumer Velvet DeCollete
Custom designed vintage candy butcher or cigarette girl costumes made for the Blood Moon Ball by NZ costumer Velvet DeCollete

 

THE RESULT

Two absolutely adorable costumes!

 

Custom designed vintage candy butcher or cigarette girl costumes made for the Blood Moon Ball by NZ costumer Velvet DeCollete

 

To evoke a vintage carnival atmosphere, I chose a classic red and white colour scheme with a wide stripe. Both candy butcher costumes have pillbox style hats, striped bow ties, and rosettes featuring the limited edition Blood Moon Ball enamel pins. Made in sturdy cotton drill and cotton polyester blends the costumes are durable, machine washable ( hats and rosettes excluded ) and can breath.

Madam Rou looked stunning in her red halter playsuit with a low v neckline ( inspired by a 1920’s chorus line costume ). Her full circle skirt features panels pattern matched to create a chevron design. An oversized wired bow with a brooch back adorned the back waistband of the skirt, and then the derriere of the playsuit come evening time. Rou had the perfect B.A.I.T Footwear shoes to match the outfit!

 

Custom designed vintage candy butcher or cigarette girl costumes made for the Blood Moon Ball by NZ costumer Velvet DeCollete

 

Nathan was dapper in a tailored red waistcoat and white soda jerk inspired shorts, shirt and shoes. The buttons on his waistcoat and both the hats feature a rope and anchor motif to reflect the branding of our sponsor Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum.

 

Custom designed vintage candy butcher or cigarette girl costumes made for the Blood Moon Ball by NZ costumer Velvet DeCollete

PHOTOS

David Watson
Reality Dysfunction
Dolly Up Photography

COSTUMES

Velvet DeCollete ( that’s me!)

With Style and Sass,

      Velvet DeCollete

 

 

 

 

Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, 3 comments
Living The Pin Up Mermaid Dream

Living The Pin Up Mermaid Dream

What did you want to be when you grew up? A princess, a fireman, a racecar driver? A mermaid?

I wanted to be a florist (until extreme hayfever came along. Universe says No.), but I still felt like a kid when my mermaid tail arrived.

That’s right, I bought a mermaid tail.
I wore it to the beach.
In winter.
It was freeeeeeeeezing.
But so, so worth it.

Pinup Mermaid Velvet DeCollete sunbathes on a boulder at a beach In New Zealand

Pinup Mermaid Velvet DeCollete sunbathes on a boulder at a beach In New Zealand

Actually I bought two tails and a monofin. After trying and failing to buy locally due to horrific customer service, I ordered the Liquid Sun Gold and Catalina Green tails from the2tails.com. Shipping and currency conversion from the United States were a bit of a killer, but I was stubbornly set on having them by this point.

I contacted 2Tails about sizing as the adult tail measurements looked too large for me. They strongly recommended I go with the adult size. Unfortunately it is a bit loose around the hips and very loose around my 26″ waist. I fold the excess fabric down inside but I could have sized down to the teenage tail.

My styling for this shoot was inspired by mermaids from vintage advertising and pinup illustrations. I left most of my hair to it’s wild natural curl with a Mermaid Lagoon inspired roll in the front. I custom made the the clamshell bra and mermaid shell hairpiece. Don’t the pearly tones and neutral coloured shells work beautifully with the golds and bluey greys of the tail, sand, sky and sea?

Pinup Mermaid Velvet DeCollete sunbathes on a boulder at a beach In New Zealand

Pinup Mermaid Velvet DeCollete sunbathes on a boulder at a beach In New Zealand

If you’d like your own mermaid bra ( available with or without straps ), hairpiece or colour coordinated set be sure to get in touch!
I was silly enough to run out of spirit gum, so I spray glued mine on for these photos. 10/10 do not recommend. The removal pain was real.

I haven’t worn the green mermaid tail for a photoshoot yet, just in the pool, but I’m lending it to the fabulous Mrs Greatnews for her photos soon! I can’t wait to see her owning her pinup mermaid glory.

Before I go, can we get a high five for my awesome husband? He took these photos when the photographer ( who requested the shoot ) didn’t show up!

Photos | James Beck
Model | Velvet Decollete
Clamshell Bra and Hairpiece | Velvet DeCollete
Mermaid Tail | The2Tails

With Style & Sass,

      Velvet DeCollete

Posted by velvetdecollete in PINUP, 2 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
Secret Garden | A 1950’s Inspired Cocktail Suit

Secret Garden | A 1950’s Inspired Cocktail Suit

pin up model, bespoke skirt suit, bespoke designer new zealand, vintage inspired fashion, pinup fashion, lilli ann style suit, 1950's style suit, hand made vintage inspired clothing, bespoke dressmaker waikato, custom made clothing, new zealand, waikato, auckland, waihi, custom made pinup clothing, custom made 1950s clothes, gold and black suit, peplum suit, sexy womans suit, evening suit, vintage inspired evenwear, cocktail suit, vintage cocktail outfit, custom seamstress, custom designed clothing, vintage designer clothing, bespoke clothing, vintage enthusiast, pinup style, pinup girl, velvet decollete, nz pin up, vintage gloves, miss pin up new zealand , vintage hat, 1950s hat

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.

pin up model, bespoke skirt suit, bespoke designer new zealand, vintage inspired fashion, pinup fashion, lilli ann style suit, 1950's style suit, hand made vintage inspired clothing, bespoke dressmaker waikato, custom made clothing, new zealand, waikato, auckland, waihi, custom made pinup clothing, custom made 1950s clothes, gold and black suit, peplum suit, sexy womans suit, evening suit, vintage inspired evenwear, cocktail suit, vintage cocktail outfit, custom seamstress, custom designed clothing, vintage designer clothing, bespoke clothing, vintage enthusiast, pinup style, pinup girl, velvet decollete, nz pin up, vintage gloves, miss pin up new zealand , vintage hat, 1950s hat

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!

pin up model, bespoke skirt suit, bespoke designer new zealand, vintage inspired fashion, pinup fashion, lilli ann style suit, 1950's style suit, hand made vintage inspired clothing, bespoke dressmaker waikato, custom made clothing, new zealand, waikato, auckland, waihi, custom made pinup clothing, custom made 1950s clothes, gold and black suit, peplum suit, sexy womans suit, evening suit, vintage inspired evenwear, cocktail suit, vintage cocktail outfit, custom seamstress, custom designed clothing, vintage designer clothing, bespoke clothing, vintage enthusiast, pinup style, pinup girl, velvet decollete, nz pin up, vintage gloves, miss pin up new zealand , vintage hat, 1950s hat

pin up model, bespoke skirt suit, bespoke designer new zealand, vintage inspired fashion, pinup fashion, lilli ann style suit, 1950's style suit, hand made vintage inspired clothing, bespoke dressmaker waikato, custom made clothing, new zealand, waikato, auckland, waihi, custom made pinup clothing, custom made 1950s clothes, gold and black suit, peplum suit, sexy womans suit, evening suit, vintage inspired evenwear, cocktail suit, vintage cocktail outfit, custom seamstress, custom designed clothing, vintage designer clothing, bespoke clothing, vintage enthusiast, pinup style, pinup girl, velvet decollete, nz pin up, vintage gloves, miss pin up new zealand , vintage hat, 1950s hat

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.

pin up model, bespoke skirt suit, bespoke designer new zealand, vintage inspired fashion, pinup fashion, lilli ann style suit, 1950's style suit, hand made vintage inspired clothing, bespoke dressmaker waikato, custom made clothing, new zealand, waikato, auckland, waihi, custom made pinup clothing, custom made 1950s clothes, gold and black suit, peplum suit, sexy womans suit, evening suit, vintage inspired evenwear, cocktail suit, vintage cocktail outfit, custom seamstress, custom designed clothing, vintage designer clothing, bespoke clothing, vintage enthusiast, pinup style, pinup girl, velvet decollete, nz pin up, vintage gloves, miss pin up new zealand , vintage hat, 1950s hat

pin up model, bespoke skirt suit, bespoke designer new zealand, vintage inspired fashion, pinup fashion, lilli ann style suit, 1950's style suit, hand made vintage inspired clothing, bespoke dressmaker waikato, custom made clothing, new zealand, waikato, auckland, waihi, custom made pinup clothing, custom made 1950s clothes, gold and black suit, peplum suit, sexy womans suit, evening suit, vintage inspired evenwear, cocktail suit, vintage cocktail outfit, custom seamstress, custom designed clothing, vintage designer clothing, bespoke clothing, vintage enthusiast, pinup style, pinup girl, velvet decollete, nz pin up, vintage gloves, miss pin up new zealand , vintage hat, 1950s hat

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

Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, PINUP, 1 comment
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
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
Novelty Gumboot Review (Plus my top picks for Spring)

Novelty Gumboot Review (Plus my top picks for Spring)

novelty gumboots for spring | Velvet DeCollete

Rainy weather really gets me down. The roiling grey sky, the mud, the darkness; it’s just not my thing. Choosing cute gumboots over a purely utilitarian style helps brighten the days and get me through til summer. Since the demise of my beloved leopard print wellies I’ve been looking and I’ve finally found a replacement! Echo and I headed over to Victoria Battery to try them out.

Before we go any further I just want to say That I’m not paid, endorsed or sponsored in this review. I just get super excited about shoes and want to share my joy!

I found these gumboots at The Warehouse. They’re a size 5 wide. ( Which is perfect because while small, my feet have spread from going barefoot every summer!)  The navy blue creates a nice background for the fabulously bright shabby chic-ish floral print and the construction seems nice and solid. Echo had a nibble on the top of one but didn’t manage to do any damage. For $29 I honestly don’t think you could do better.

novelty gumboots for spring | Velvet DeColletenovelty gumboots for spring | Velvet DeColletenovelty gumboots for spring | Velvet DeColleteThe battery is the old ruin of a historic ore processing plant. It’s currently flooded after fourteen straight days of rain and Echo is LOVING it. Having her own private lake kinda makes up for us moving away from the beach – at least for now.

novelty gumboots for spring | Velvet DeCollete

There’s no good reason for boring footwear, so here’s a few of my favourite printed gumboots to inspire you! Priced between $30 and $90 (and with mine now on sale at The Warehouse online for $12.98!) there’s a wellie for every budget.

watermelon-print-gumboots | Velvet Decolleteleopard-print-gumboots | Velvet DeCollete

pug-printed-gumboots | Velvet DeColletetropical-print-gumboots | Velvet Decollete

 

 

Muddily yours,

                           Velvet

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, 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
Lemon Souffle Sleepwear

Lemon Souffle Sleepwear

Soft, sweet and a little bit tart.  This 1960s sleepwear set is lemon souffle incarnate. Frothy layers of pale yellow nylon garnished with white lace are a pastel lovers dream, and enough to put any man ( or woman ) into a sugar coma!

I actually have three pieces of identically lemony goodness, a thigh grazing nightie, a floaty babydoll and a completely sheer robe. Made in Bri Nylon by Canterbury NZ they sport all the usual 1960’s toppings – glossy embroidered rosebuds, lace and ruffles.

Lemon Souffle Vintage Sleepwear | Velvet DecolleteThe robe
 Sheer, short and everything a 60’s robe should be. Lace and ruffles match the jacket to both negligees without overpowering the simplicity of design that gives this robe its fresh youthful appeal.

The babydoll
Your classic 1960’s boudoir piece, this lined babydoll falls in tiny soft gathers from a simple neckline. There’s thin white lace along the hem and neckline and a rosebud in the center front. Honestly I don’t wear it much because it makes me feel a bit boxy.

The nightie
 This is what I usually wear with the robe. A wide underbust yoke and tie shoulders make for a very flattering bust line that fits almost any cup size, especially with the elasticated smocked back panel.
While the babydoll falls in gathers from the neckline I prefer this yoked style as it defines the narrow area under my bust, making me feel more like a babein hourglass than a pastel coloured jellyfish.

( I’m totally down with being a jellyfish, just not in the bedroom ).

Lemon Souffle Vintage Sleepwear | Velvet DecolleteLemon Souffle Vintage Sleepwear | Velvet Decollete

I wore the nightie and robe for this homage to John Willie’s Sweet Gwendoline. You can just see the pale yellow Rose & Thorne nana knickers I matched to the set for modesty!

Lemon Souffle Vintage Sleepwear | Velvet Decollete

Lemon Souffle Vintage Sleepwear | Velvet Decollete

 

 Sweet Gwendoline Photos |Froger ft. Ruby Von Rifle
Model, Hair, MUA and garment photos | Velvet DeCollete

Posted by velvetdecollete in PINUP, 0 comments