vintage fashion

Buy the Right Vintage, Not Any Vintage.

Buy the Right Vintage, Not Any Vintage.

Do you love vintage clothes?

I love vintage clothes.

I love them with a magpie-ish, kid in a candy store fervor that has lead me to buying things that have never and will never fit, that are falling apart, or that I’ll just straight out never wear but I wanted them anyway.
To curb my dragonish hoarding tendencies I’ve developed a five point checklist to ensure I’m buying the right vintage garment, not every vintage garment. It really does help separate the investments from the impulse buys.

So if you have overflowing wardrobes, empty bank accounts and still nothing to wear, this might help! Shop wisely and dress well…

Velvet’s ‘The Right Vintage’ Shopping Checklisthow to buy the right vintage clothes

1.  Does the garment have any damage?

Vintage garments are generally preloved and made from different fabrics than the hardy synthetics popular today. Holding that dress up to a window or light will show you any holes or patches of thinning fabric. Perspiration is acidic so check under the arms for any discoloration and damage caused by sweat.

2. Are the fastenings intact?

Check the zips, buttons, hooks and eyes, eyelets or pop studs. Are they damaged or missing? Is the fabric tearing or fraying around them? There may be enough spare fabric in a hem to replace a covered button, but don’t buy anything with very damaged fastenings unless you know it can be fixed, or you’re happy to have it replaced with a modern equivalent.
( Check those belt loops and belts for damage while you’re at it. )

3. Does it fit?

Ignore size labels and try it on. Female proportions and sizing have changed a lot through the decades and you’ll find a 1950’s size 14 is around a modern NZ size 8. If you’re buying online make sure you check your measurements carefully.
Circa Vintage Clothing has a handy guide to the alpha sizing system used in some New Zealand and Australian vintage clothing.

4. Can you wear it right away?

Unless you’re a highly motivated seamstress with plenty of free time, damaged items and those needing large alterations will sit in your wardrobe forever. (Trust me, I have a whole drawer of things needing alts or repairs but I never have time!). Some vintage fabrics will be too delicate to withstand alterations and most seamstresses aren’t familiar with the era appropriate sewing techniques.

5. Does it suit you?

This is imperative. Put the garment on and be honest. Does it reflect your personal style? Is it flattering? Does it coordinate with things you already own? If not, it might be best to put it back on the rack.

best vintage shopping tips

With a few alterations this checklist can be applied to vintage shoes, accessories and furniture as well as clothing. While leaving that eye catching but not-quite-right piece in the store can be gut wrenching, it’s better to leave it for someone who’ll use it or restore it and keep your valuable space for things that are perfect for you!

Happy shopping,

                                Velvet x




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Monday Style Tip No.34


The key to owning that plunging neckline? Fashion tape and oodles of confidence.

Stylishly yours,

          Velvet  x

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Monday Style Tip No.29


Shoe clips add versatile glamour | Monday Style Tip

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

Stylishly yours,

          Velvet  x

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Monday Style Tip No.28

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


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

Stylishly yours,

          Velvet  x

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Monday Style Tip No.27

Iris Apfel dress to please you | Monday Style Tip

If it worked for Iris, it’s good enough for me.

Stylishly yours,

          Velvet  x

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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

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Vintage Style at the Winter Garden

Winter Pinup | Velvet DeCollete

Sometimes when life gives you lemons you pull out the tequila.

It was time for my yearly chop. Determined to have Miss Victory Violet work her magic on my tresses before she leaves our humble shores I trotted off to Killer Hair. Miss V snipped and sprayed and a couple of hours later my tangled curls were a few inches shorter and impeccably groomed. I sashayed down the stairs feeling a like a 1940’s dame and … enter the lemons. Lemons of the thundering rainstorms and gale winds variety. The variety that destroys manicured hair in seconds. But I wasn’t going to let some lousy weather waste a perfectly good hair day.

Froger wrapped it up in a noir novel kinda way, I’ll pass it over to him from here…

“So when one of my fave models is getting her hair done and wants to grab a few shots afterwards …well, you jump in the car and hit town don’t you?

Yeah the weather was atrocious. Torrential rain landed just as Velvet left the salon. It blew every notion I had of getting some ultra cool shot down at Silo Park so we thought fast and decided to try the Winter Garden. It’s a horrific cliche I have to admit and I have avoided that kind of place like the plague but I didn’t have any other clever idea that might have worked in the circumstances. I mean I did think a shot in front of the big red bill boards on Symonds Street would have been pretty awesome but it would have ruined the “do” and pissed off one of my go-to models.

It was dark too. Like headlights on at 4 o’clock dark.  I didn’t bring any gear except my camera and zoom lens. Honestly I thought we’d lost any opportunity of getting a shot. And damn, Velvet looked fantastic. Anyway I haven’t tried shooting like this before. It’s a combo of action camera work and a flukey bit of luck. 200mm lens, high speed auto drive, high ISO, slow as fuck lens speed, rock steady aim and having your model face the merest smidgen of light that there was (which was almost none). She did her thing and I just pressed the trigger like a stupid monkey. But I’m really liking some of the shots. And I think I managed to avoid the Winter Garden backdrop sufficiently to maintain a wee bit of photographic street cred.”

Working with the weather instead of fighting it we dashed out in the next clear patch. I was shivering in glacial winds and Froger was lying on his jacket on the wet ground. I can’t speak for him but I think it was worth it. Time pressure, cold light and windy conditions created results so different from my previous shoots; I absolutely adore these more spontaneous images.

Winter Pinup | Velvet DeCollete

Winter Pinup | Velvet DeCollete

Winter Pinup | Velvet DeCollete

Outfit Breakdown

Dress | Thrifted
Belt & Vintage crotchet gloves | Gifts from my Mother
Vintage fur cape and garter girdle | Tock Tick Vintage
Stockings with lace design | Fiori Hosiery

All photographs by Froger 

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Thursdays on O’Connell | Ten Days of Fashion Catwalk

Thursdays on O’Connell | Ten Days of Fashion Catwalk

Auckland City has some pretty cool stuff. Like crazy vintage street parties with fashion shows and cocktails. I know. I was there.

I was there because I was walking the catwalk for Hudson, a stylish boutique on O’Connell street. Nerve wracking doesn’t quite describe walking uphill on cobbles, in heels, while trying to look kinda sexy. Clothing is my armour though, so I donned my favourite vintage hat and pearls and had a blast strutting my short-ass stuff.  Plus it was a great excuse to hang out with these babes on a Thursday night.


I think I did an acceptable job of repping under 5.4″ models haha!

I’d never been to O’Connell street before, but I’ll be back. The warming, rich hot chocolates from Bohemein Chocolaterie guarantee it.

Kate van der Drift  3

Enter a caption

Strangely Normal kept the crown lubricated at their fab mid century Tiki Bar, while Dr Sketchy provided a pinup sketch scene for the artistically inclined. After changing into my favourite purple ensemble I spent the rest of the night dancing, eating spaghetti and meatballs and admiring Rose’s incredible vintage coat!

Rose from Glory Days Magazine was a driving force behind the evening and I’m ever so grateful she got me involved. Hopefully there’ll be a repeat event next year!

Kate van der Drift  2

Photos | Kate Van Der Drift
(plus a couple of selfies and snapshots)




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The Pinup Honeys: Congrats to Miss Victory Violet

The Pinup Honeys: Congrats to Miss Victory Violet

For those of you in the pinup world, you’ll know the glorious Miss Victory Violet took out Miss Pinup at Viva Las Vegas this year. For those of you not in the pinup world – that’s a super big deal and we’re all very proud of her here in little old NZ. Pinup or not you should check out her blog and show her some love! She’s an ocean of knowledge in all things hair, makeup and retro fashion related.

Anywho, The Pinup Honeys Social Club decided to have a wee shindig at the luxurious Langham Hotel Auckland to congratulate her on all her hard work. We dressed nice, we drank fancy cocktails, we posed. Alot. (you would too, don’t deny it).
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I didn’t have a gown quite formal enough so I whipped up a classy black iridescent ballgown from fabric left over from my bridesmaids dresses! I just knew it would come in handy, even if it’s 5 years later haha!

Outfit Breakdown 
Dress | Beckon Couture
Gloves | Vintage – Salvation Army Op Shop
Pearls | Vintage – Op shop
Shoes | Wild Pair
Stockings | Pretty Pins from Farmers
Hair Flower | Borrowed from my mama <3 

retro, vintage, man, duke de bonair, suave, charming, suit, waistcoat, style, fashion, bowtie, classic,My partner in crime and love of my life Duke De Bonair looking suave

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Posing with some of my favourite dames Soda Fontaine, Miss Charlotte Cake and Miss Rouge. I love how we look like a sassy pinup Girl Gang.

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Couldn’t resist sharing this snap I took of the effervescent Soda Fontaine. She’s such a starlet!

pinup girls
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The Pinup Honeys Social CLub – we’re a well dressed bunch dontcha think?

Photos | Velvet DeCollete, Duke De Bonair + David Watson

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