Waterfront Style | Vivien of Holloway 1940s Swing Trousers

Waterfront Style | Vivien of Holloway 1940s Swing Trousers

A weekend getaway to windy Wellington requires a practical, yet stylish wardrobe. Something suitable for sunshine with blustery arctic breezes, waterfront strolls and eating waaaaay to much. I’m not one for wearing exercise gear when I’m not, well, exercising, so I opted for the clean lines and practical fabrics of 1940’s swing pants and a button down blouse.

* I wasn’t paid, sponsored or cajoled into writing the following post, just so ya know. However If you would like to sponsor, cajole or otherwise encourage me to review your product or service, please contact me here*

Waterfront Style in Vivien of Holloway green 1940's swing trousers. Velvet DeCollete is dressed in pinup style for the windy wellington waterfront wearing Vivien of Holloway, Collectif Clothing and vintage fashion.

I gotta tell you, these trousers are something special. I’m short in the legs, long in the torso and there’s a large disparity between my waist and hip measurements. But the Vivien of Holloway 1940’s swing trousers don’t care.

Apart from being 4cm too long – like every pair of pants ever – they fit beautifully! I’ll be shortening them and widening the cuff in the process, but for this look I was happy to wear a comfortable heel.
Based on a WWII era pattern these swing trousers are ACTUALLY high waisted. As in they go well above my belly button. The wide waistband is firm and doesn’t fold down or scrunch up ( woooohoo!) and front patch pocket is cute, if not overly useful. But what really sold me is the side button closure. Leaving a smooth panel over the stomach, it’s both classic and far more flattering than a bulky front zip.
( Can you tell I’m not a fan of front zips? Why are 90% of pants determined to make one’s tummy look bigger!?)

Pairing these green trousers with navy, off white and chocolate brown felt so right for a brisk oceanfront walk. I’m loving how the emerald green and deep blues reflect the water.

Oh and did I mention the pants are pretty easy care? I’ve just been chucking mine through the washing machine and line drying them. The fabric is durable enough for everyday wear without worrying about damage from pets or rough surfaces, which is great if you’ve got an energetic dog like mine! Wide leg trousers are such a versatile style. Wear them casual with a knit top, or dress them up with a sophisticated blouse and jewellery.

Outfit Details

Trousers | Vivien of Holloway 1940’s Swing Trousers
Blouse | Collectif Clothing – Mona Shirt
Houndstooth Coat | Vintage
Gloves, Hat & Enamel Brooch | Vintage, Tock Tick Vintage
Two Tone Shoes | Remix Shoes – Sydney Heel 

Waterfront Style in Vivien of Holloway green 1940's swing trousers. Velvet DeCollete is dressed in pinup style for the windy wellington waterfront wearing Vivien of Holloway, Collectif Clothing and vintage fashion.

Waterfront Style in Vivien of Holloway green 1940's swing trousers. Velvet DeCollete is dressed in pinup style for the windy wellington waterfront wearing Vivien of Holloway, Collectif Clothing and vintage fashion.

Things you might want to know about Vivien of Holloway 1940’s swing trousers…

  • In my experience the poly cotton fabric doesn’t stretch much, so choose your sizing carefully.
  • I’m 5.3″ and these are 4cm too long if I’m wearing flat shoes.
  • I’m wearing the VOH size 10 which nicely defines my 26″ waist. For comparison I normally wear an NZ 6-8 in pants, or an XS in Collectif.
  • The fabric was a bit… crispy? Possibly to hold the front creases while packed? I washed them before wearing to remove the extra starch so they’d hang well.
  • Vivien of Holloway makes swing trousers in at least four fabrics and around a dozen colours, most of which I’d love to add to my wardrobe! Especially the Teal and Ocean colourways.

Waterfront Style in Vivien of Holloway green 1940's swing trousers. Velvet DeCollete is dressed in pinup style for the windy wellington waterfront wearing Vivien of Holloway, Collectif Clothing and vintage fashion.

With Style & Sass,

Velvet DeCollete



Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, 3 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.


1. Research

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

2. Be Prepared

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

3. Ask Questions

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

4. Be Open to Advice

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

5. Measure Up

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

corset pattern pieces | Velvet Decollete

6. Be Honest

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

7. Be On Time

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


8. Be Realistic

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

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

Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, LIFESTYLE, 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
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!


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!



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!


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

Monday Style Tip No.26

contrast textures

Stylishly yours,

          Velvet  x

Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, OTHER, 0 comments

Maternity Pin Up Style | Insider Secrets from Betty Rage

Discovering your personal style can be hard enough, so adapting it to weight gain, weight loss or pregnancy can be downright daunting. I’ve been watching in awe as Betty Rage struts through pregnancy looking just as stylish and sexy as she always does. She makes maternity look seriously smokin’!

Now I’m not pregnant myself, but if I was I’d want Betty’s secrets. So here, for all you future baby mamas, is my style saving interview with Miss Pinup 2015, Miss Hot Rod Blowout 2015, SAFE Ambassador and Rebel Pinup the badass Miss Betty Rage!


V | Betty how did you maintain your signature style with the massive changes pregnancy brings to your body?
B | Maintaining my style while pregnant wasn’t too difficult especially with the likes of Moxie Mama on my side. I did change a couple of things like moving away from swing and circle dresses and increased the number of fitted wiggle ones.
I loved gaining a baby bump early and love showing it off, I think it’s a beautiful thing.

V | What are your top wardrobe staples to recommend to a pregnant pinup?
B | Wardrobe staples would definitely include a very stretchy wiggle or maternity wiggle with ruching along the sides. If you are swing dress obsessed go for a bengaline dress with stretch around the waist seam like the sailor dress from Pinup Girl Clothing.

V | Are there any tricks for continuing to wear your regular clothes? 
B | Tricks I’ve learned it’s okay if tee’s get stretched at the bottom, whether from tying or the expanding bump, because afterwards you’re generally going to continue tying or tucking them into high waisted pieces. I’m sure there are quite a few items from PUG in your wardrobe from pre-pregnancy that will work all the way through without having to go up a size. ( For example the Jessica or Monica. In late pregnancy I suggest going up in the Monica as we know that zip can be tedious normally 😂)

V | Have you changed your hair and makeup routine since becoming pregnant? If so, how and why?
B | My makeup routine is very much the same but I have made the huge decision to grow out my black hair and try out my natural dirty/dark blonde for the first time in about 16 years haha. It’s been interesting. I can say that reverse ombre doesn’t look as bad as I thought at this point. Who knows I might start a new trend!
I still only wash my hair once a week and wet or dry set it on a Friday night for the weekend and start of the week. All other times a barrel roll and bandana or scarf are my go to. Which will work brilliantly once our lil man is here because I can sleep with that thing in for a few days and it doesn’t move!!!

V |  Any other advice for pregnant lovelies?
B | My advice for pregnant Pinups would be don’t freak out or think that because you’re pregnant you have to look a certain way. Do what makes you feel good, because you will have moments of feeling crampy and most of the time getting up and doing your hair, makeup and dressing in your pinup style will make things sooooo much better. Even if you’re not going anywhere. You’re body will change and it will be a shock but it will be beautiful. Own it, maintain your sense of self.

And most definitely if you feel like vegging out do that too! Rest as much as you can. Don’t feel like you can’t relax in a hoodie and underwear when you feel like it because you’re a pinup 😉.

I have been dressing exclusively in a pinup style for the last 5 years and would not go back. My pinup style reflects my rebellious and sassy nature with tight fitting wiggles and capris teamed with tight sweaters. I love my body and embrace everything about it and it’s no different now that it is growing a little human being within. I don’t see being pregnant to mean everything in my pinup world will stop I just see it taking a slightly different direction.
Be you, be sassy and own it!

Pregnant Pinup Betty Rage | Velvet DeCollete

Photos | Betty rage & Tony McKay Photography

If you’d like to see more of Betty Rage’s pinup bombshell style you should check out her Facebook  – it’s jam packed full of style inspiration for all!

Bettie Rage 
The Rebel Pinup
Miss Pinup NZ 2015
Miss Hot Rod Blowout 2015
Vegan Pinup
Pregnant pinup
SAFE Ambassado

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

Monday Style Tip No.25

white shirt Beckon Couture Monday Style Tip

Marilyn, Liz and Audrey all knew it – a classic white shirt goes with everything.
Stylishly yours,

          Velvet  x

Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, OTHER, 0 comments

Monday Style Tip No.24

Monday Style Tip petticoat

Wearing a fitted top with a full petticoat and circle skirt can make your waist seem smaller than it is. Top the look off with a wide belt for extra impact!

Stylishly yours,

          Velvet  x

Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, OTHER, 0 comments

Monday Style Tip No.23


Monday Style Tip wear your favourites

Remember that gorgeous dinner set your Nana kept in the cupboard ‘for special occasions’? Seems like a waste doesn’t it?
If you love something, wear it. Enjoy it. Fill it with memories. Don’t let it waste away in your closet waiting for it’s chance to make you shine.

Stylishly yours,

          Velvet  x

Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, OTHER, 0 comments