vintage clothing

Tui | A Bespoke 1950’s Cocktail Dress

Tui | A Bespoke 1950’s Cocktail Dress

This outfit didn’t make the cut.
The cut for my Miss Pinup entry video that is. I wear the heck out of it every where else!

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The Outfit

We shot the Tui dress as part of my glove styling video, but technical issues meant it didn’t make the cut! I absolutely love this formal pinup look though and I think you will too.

Like Tui feathers gleaming in the sun, this iridescent fabric makes for a next level little black dress. It was left over from my bridesmaids dresses seven years ago, so in true make-do style I designed a dress to fit the yardage I had left!  Based on a 1950’s wedding dress, the boned bodice features horizontal pleats reminiscent of lorica sementata ( who else loves the concept of an armoured evening dress?). Floral lace froths over the sweetheart shelf bust, hand stitched on for perfect placement. For the most economical use of fabric the skirt is a gathered rectangle – I’d prefer a gathered circle skirt but there just wasn’t enough fabric!

To complement the fabric’s pink highlights I accessorised with vintage white and magenta costume jewellery. The glamorous necklace and earrings set are especially sentimental to me, an anniversary gift from my ever patient husband. Matching magenta orchids and my favourite vintage satin gloves finish the outfit with a pretty elegance.

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Photos | James Beck
Tui vintage style dress | Velvet DeCollete
Hair flowers | Made With Love NZ
Vintage Gloves | I’ve had them so long I can’t remember!
Vintage Costume Jewellery | Tock Tick Vintage
Leather shoes | Alonso Andretti – thrifted

PS: I wore this dress at a Pinup Honey’s event before adding the lace, check it out!

With style & sass,

                   Velvet DeCollete

 

 

Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, PINUP, 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

Golden Age Glamour

Golden Age Glamour: An evocative phrase, bringing to mind diamantes and satin gloves, fluffy boudoir mules and furs. Nothing makes you feel more glamorous.

Golden Age Glamour | Velvet DeColleteGolden Age Glamour | Velvet DeColleteGolden Age Glamour | Velvet DeCollete

Golden Age Glamour | Velvet DeCollete

Outfit Breakdown

Bra + Suspender Belt | Pip & Pantalaimon
Knickers | The Warehouse – unsure of brand as I always cut the tags out!
Gloves + Fur | Vintage
Earrings | Diva
Stockings | Undercover back-seam stockings by Voodoo
Boudoir Mules | Thrifted

A side note on bras | This bra was too big in the band for me, but I also found the cups just weren’t the right shape for augmented breasts! Any recommendations for vintage style bras that work for ladies that have had some help?

Photos | Froger
Model + Styling | Velvet DeCollete

With style and sass,

               Velvet

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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

Monday Style Tip No.33

enhance curves with ruffles

Fashion is like magic, you can create an illusion of something that’s not really there! Wear ruffles or frills around your bust, hips or bum to create a curvier silhouette or balance out your heavier areas.

Stylishly yours,

          Velvet  x

Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, OTHER, 0 comments

Monday Style Tip No.32

nude-heels lengthen legs

Nude heels really can give the illusion of longer legs. Personally I feel drab in nude, so I go for a fun texture like these glitter heels or a two tone style to make my nude shoes feel a bit more glam.

Stylishly yours,

          Velvet  x

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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

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Wearing & Caring for Vintage Clothing | Insider Secrets from Tock Tick Vintage

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 the internet is full of information I’m wary of unproven cleaning methods.
Instead I turn to La Vonne from Tock Tick Vintage for her tried and true tips on selecting and maintaining a gorgeous vintage wardrobe. With a lifetime of experience and impeccable taste she’s a goldmine of knowledge!

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 DeColleteBrooches 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!!!!Caring for vintage furs | Velvet DeCollete
  • 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!

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.

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.

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Very Vintage Day Out 2016 | Photo Safari & Outfit of the Day

Very Vintage Day Out 2016 | Photo Safari & Outfit of the Day

Apologies on the delayed VVDO post, I’ve been focused so completely on producing the Blue Moon Ball everything else just slipped away. So here, delayed but not forgotten, is a brief outfit review and photo safari images…

In true VVDO tradition the photo safari was organised chaos! Photographers and models vied for unobstructed backgrounds and cars that matched their outfits. There were giggles and goofs as huge petticoats invaded photos and photographers backed into each other – but in the end there were wonderful photographs and killer vintage fashion.

Velvet Decollete vintage style VVDO 16 | David Watson

Velvet Decollete vintage style VVDO 16 | David Watson

The Outfit

When choosing this years ensemble I wanted a contrast to last year’s dark dress and makeup. A glorious blue lurex dress hanging in Tock Tick Vintage answered the call. Ensnared by its sparkle and texture I tried it on and immediately fell in love with how the modest cut balanced the showiness of the fabric. La Vonne found a pillbox hat close enough in colour to match so both came home with me!

Inspired by the clean, coordinated style of Jackie Onassis I chose white accessories to keep the blue dress in the limelight, and pantihose over stockings as a nod to their huge popularity upon commercial release in the early 1960’s.

Outfit Breakdown

Dress, hat + brooch | All Vintage from Tock Tick Vintage 
Petticoat + Glomesh bag | Vintage op shop finds
Shoes + vintage gloves  | Borrowed from my mother
Belt | Forever New
Sunglasses + vintage earrings | Gifted
Columbine Pantihose | Farmers

Velvet Decollete vintage style VVDO 16 | Shifting Light Photography

The Authentic Vintage category finals of the Best Dressed competition ( photos by Norrie Montgomery) were so much fun. Every year NZ pin ups pull out some simply amazing outfits from the 1940’s to the 1960’s. I’m in awe of Natalie Louise’s sorbet coloured ensemble you can see in the background!

I had such an awful morning with contact lens and eyeliner horrors my makeup could have been better, I’m just glad I managed to get myself together in time! Do any other pinups struggle with the glasses vs contact lenses debate? My daily glasses aren’t retro styled and my milk bottle lenses are far too expensive to buy an extra pair for pinup . As a result I feel obliged to wear contact lenses that irritate my eyes something awful.

The highlight of my day was (as always) the food. Miss Charlotte Cake had the most scrumptious little cakes that looked every bit as delightful as they tasted, while The Tea Ladies put on a much needed cuppa in the afternoon. While there was quite a delay in the high tea service, these things happen and cannot be predicted no matter how hard you work! Overall a lovely way to spend a day!

vintage style VVDO 16 | Velvet Decollete

If you’d like to see more of the Very Vintage Day Out, you find my posts on the 2015 event here and here!

With style & sass,

             Velvet DeCollete

 

 

Posted by velvetdecollete in ADVENTURES, FASHION STORIES, PINUP, 3 comments
Green Gingham and Gardens

Green Gingham and Gardens

There’s something wholesome about gingham. Maybe it reminds us of our grandmothers red gingham tablecloths, or those little fabric covers on preserve jars. For me gingham says summer, sweetness and fresh lemonade.

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This dress has not one but three sizes of gingham, decreasing in size down the gorgeous flounced skirt. The contrasting sizes are also used to great effect in the collar and underbust piping. It’s this inventiveness and attention to detail that makes my heart sing. A true vintage gem in one of my favourite colours!

The light cotton fabric makes this dress ideal for our humid New Zealand climate, especially when paired with cute flats and a light petticoat. We shot this set at the picturesque Ngatea Water Gardens outside of Paeroa. I wish we’d taken a picnic as the grounds are so pretty!

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Outfit breakdown

Dress | Vintage, from Tock Tick Vintage
Belt | Forever New
Petticoat | Gift
Shoes | Number One Shoe Warehouse
Flower | On sale at an outlet store

Photos | James Beck

IMG_4426

Bonus picture of me being a dork alongside a majestic peacock!

 

Posted by velvetdecollete in OTHER, PINUP, 2 comments