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My Advice For Entering MPUNZ 2018

My Advice For Entering MPUNZ 2018

It’s that time of year when Kiwi pinups start talking about the Miss Pinup New Zealand pageant. Who’s going to enter? What do you wear? What the heck do you write in your application, and don’t even get us started on that talent section!?

I remember the anxiety last year, would my video be polished enough, would my answers fit in with everyone elses? I talked it out with my ever patient husband, who wisely (as usual) observed that the idea was to show my point of difference, not my points of similarity to the other applicants. That reminder was a game changer for me, clarifying both my motivation and my approach to entering. ( You can read about my reasons here.)

With that in mind, along with lessons learned during my Miss Pinup 2017 experience, I give you my tips for entering and surviving Miss Pinup New Zealand 2018!

Check Your Motivation

Get ready, because this is the most competition changing advice you’ll ever get… Have a reason for entering other than winning.

While we’d all love to win, the reality is that nine out of the 10 finalists won’t. Having a personal reason for entering will help temper the disappointment if you don’t place.

Want to share your personal style? Awesome!
Challenging yourself to perform in public? Fantastic!
Raising awareness for a cause you’re passionate about? Bloody brilliant!

Having a reason for entering other than winning will help focus your application and pageant performance. You might begin your MPUNZ journey feeling like winning or not doesn’t matter to you, but once you’ve invested the time, effort and emotion into the experience it might affect you more than you expect. Achieving that personal goal means you’ve won before the winner is even announced.

Remember that while winning is wonderful, and validates the effort you put in, at the end of the day having a title and a sash doesn’t actually change anything. What changes things is how you use the platform that title can give you.



Don’t Rush Your Application

Don’t leave your application to the last minute.

Even if you’re not 100% sure you’ll enter, download the application questionnaire and get your answers ready. Pick your photos. Film your entry video. If you don’t use it at least you have something cute for your Youtube channel or social media. Get that application in early, then sit back and relax knowing you’ve thought your answers and video idea through.

Oh and leaving applications, ticket purchases or RSVP’s for ANYTHING to the last minute makes you a bit of a dick. I’m not even sorry for saying that. If everyone waits until the last minute to apply, organisers feel like they have to push the deadline out to give you more time. This might delay the announcement of the finalists and eat into YOUR prep time. Don’t be a dick, get your application in early.


You Do You Boo

Before you fill out that application form, grab a pen and brainstorm what pin up and vintage culture means to you. What do you love about it? How does it fit into your life? Has changed you?

Can your career, hobby, education or location inspire your video, talent or outfits? Is there a message you want to share?

I’m passionate about creating confidence through style, so I chose to make a styling video for my Miss Pinup New Zealand 2017 application. My video referenced my background as a designer, displayed my personal style, and shared tips for wearing vintage gloves ( One of my style signatures) . My super supportive husband filmed it for me. Was it uber slick and professional? No. Did it represent who I am as a pinup and vintage lover? Hell yes!

Don’t feel pressured to pick a traditional pageant talent. I chose to sketch a famous Edith Head gown design, reflecting my love of fashion design and how vintage style has shaped my life. It wasn’t a high energy act, it didn’t have pretty props, but it was me and it was memorably different.

The things that make you different are the things that make you stand out. You want to stand out. You don’t have to have a professionally filmed video or a wardrobe of new outfits, you just have to do you, Boo.



Showcase Your Style

Just like You Do You Boo, but fashion related. Don’t wear anything in the pageant you wouldn’t normally wear.

If you’re not a full length gown gal, don’t feel pressured to wear one just because everyone else is. If you aren’t comfortable wearing togs on stage, strut down the catwalk in beach pajamas, a playsuit or resort wear a la Elizabeth Taylor. The most important thing is to look like you, rather than a ‘stereotypical’ pinup.

Mrs Greatnews and I are perfect examples of this. I wear mostly vintage colours with classic 1950’s inspired makeup, while Mrs Greatnews rocks bright modern reproduction clothes and bold makeup. We’re stylistically opposite but we took out 1st and 2nd place in MPUNZ 2017!

If you have no idea what ‘you’ looks like, read my interview with Fran Henricksen for her advice on defining your personal style.



Photo | Stuart Attwood

Get Your Pageant Prep On

Avoid last minute panic by prepping all your Miss Pinup New Zealand outfits and talent as early as possible.

Plan out your daywear, beachwear, eveningwear and talent outfits using garments you already own (two of my outfits and almost all my accessories were straight out of my wardrobe.), things you can make yourself or clothes and accessories you can borrow from friends. The New Zealand pin up and vintage community has been amazingly generous with lending items for MPUNZ in the past. Just remember to treat borrowed items with respect, clean them and return them within a reasonable time frame.

Get organised early and feel calm and collected in the days prior to the competition, rather than freaking out because your gloves haven’t arrived.

Have A Post Pageant Plan

After the pressure and excitement of Miss Pinup New Zealand and Very Vintage Day Out, there’s a good chance you’ll get the post con blues. Post con blues kick in after a massive project or event ( the ‘con’ stands for convention ) leaving you feeling down, drained and directionless. As someone who experiences depression it hits me hard. Planning some self care to restore my energy levels is vital. Please, please, read my post on how to survive the post con blues – or glitter crash as burlesquers call it – and take care of yourself post pageant.


Buddy Up

A lot of ladies enter the pageant with a friend for moral support.

I found the first few weeks of pageant prep pretty lonely, but then Mrs Greatnews PM’d me asking if I wanted to be pageant buddies as several of the other finalists had entered with friends. We didn’t know each other well, but I said heck yeah, and now she’s one of my closest friends. Bouncing ideas around, telling each other our talents didn’t suck, getting ready together backstage, I honestly believe it helped both of us feel more confident and sassy on that stage.



Photo | Reality Dysfunction

Just Do It

Challenge yourself. Ask your friends to hold you accountable. Put on your big girl panties, put yourself out there and find out what you’re capable of.


Good Luck!

With Style & Sass,

Velvet DeCollete


Posted by velvetdecollete in LIFESTYLE, PINUP, 4 comments
Beach Hop Miss Retro Beauty + OOTD 2018!

Beach Hop Miss Retro Beauty + OOTD 2018!

Beach Hop Retro Pinup Show

One of my Repco Beach Hop highlights is always watching the Retro Pinup contest. Every year dozens of stunning ladies parade their vintage inspired outfits, competing for the title of Miss Retro Beauty.

In previous years it’s been hard for contestants to track down photos ( even with the dozens of cameras snapping away ) so this year I made it my mission to take photos and actually share them! I did my best to get photos of everyone, but some ladies didn’t pause at the end of the runway, so if you entered and I didn’t manage to catch you I’m so sorry! While it does sadden me that none of the judges this year had a vintage or pinup background it was wonderful to see so many smiles and sassy moves on the stage.

My favourite outfit of the day had to be Miss Estelle Belle’s. Her tropical inspired outfit was a perfectly accessorized riot of colour. I just love it when people can colour coordinate their outfits with their hair so well!

Miss Retro Beauty Beach Hop best dressed contest 2018

My Beach Hop Outfit

My own outfit for Beach Hop Saturday was a mix of vintage and reproduction pieces.

After altering the beaded and sequined knit top the night before I desperately wanted to wear it! Pairing it with baby blue pedal pushers, blue flowers, black shoes and a wide belt gave me the right balance of sweet and sassy. I chose a wide belt to accentuate my waist under the newly cropped top.

I couldn’t resist the spiderweb Sourpuss bag when I saw it at the Rita Sue stall. Not only have I been eyeing up those glittery webbed bags for ages, but it was on sale AND matched my outfit!

Velvet DeCollete stands next to a turquoise car at Beach Hop 2018

Velvet DeCollete Pin Up Girl Beach Hop OOtd

Please forgive my blurry AF phone photo haha!

See you all at Beach Hop 2019 x

With Style & Sass,

Velvet DeCollete

Posted by velvetdecollete in ADVENTURES, LIFESTYLE, 0 comments

My Strawberry Hat + Easter Bonnet-Along Roundup!

Hey there!

I hope you all had a lovely Easter weekend, whatever your beliefs. Personally I connect to the pagan origins of Easter as a celebration of life and the arrival of spring. Sadly here in the southern hemisphere it’s Autumn, but that won’t stop me creating my own spring with a bright Easter bonnet!

The Inaugural Easter Bonnet-Along has come to a close and I’d like to thank everyone who took part. Your inspirations, creativity and vibrant Easter hats are bringing me so much joy! I hope you enjoyed experimenting with millinery techniques, sharing your ideas and making yourselves something fun and beautiful.  I can’t wait for next year to roll around so we can do it all again ( but with prizes, and maybe a parade!).


I made a vintage inspired straw hat for my inaugural Easter Bonnet craft and sew along. Inspired by novelty hats of the 1940's and 1950's it's trimmed with handmade felt strawberries, white flowers and a birdcage veil.

My Easter Bonnet

 My Easter Bonnet is a strawberry patch!

Inspired by novelty hats of the 40’s and 50’s and my Nana’s gardens, my hat is cute and whimsical. I wanted to balance natural fibers and bright trims, with a summery feel as New Zealand goes into the colder months. You’ll find my strawberry novelty hat inspirations on the Easter Bonnet-along Pinterest Board.

Strawberries are often grown on straw or sawdust to protect the fruit from ground moisture. I wanted the same pale gold straw for my hat base, so I picked up this natural straw hat from an op shop. Child sized and round wasn’t an ideal shape, but I knew I could reshape it into a 1940’s tilt hat style.


Round second hand straw hat, used as a base for my Easter Bonnet


First I stripped off the hideous synthetic ribbon, carefully scraping off the hot glue with a scalpel.  Then I steamed the crown, molding it with my hands to make it flatter and shallower. I also steamed the brim into a jaunty swoop. There are tons of tutorials for steaming hats on Youtube – I used the technique from this one.
* Disclaimer: I use that tutorial because the man is hilarious. A quick search will reveal videos that stay more on task .*

Once my sassy new hat shape had dried it was time to trim! I always get carried away and forget to take photos during this stage, sorry about that!

Half wreath of creamy white imitation flowers became my strawberry flowers. These were stitched on to fill the upturned portion of the brim and I added a thick brown raffia covered wire around the base of the crown to define it’s shape.

My strawberries needed to be bright and fun, with homemade charm. Using a vintage technique, I made fat red felt strawberries. The strawberries and their stems are hand stitched, stuffed with wadding and have individually stitched white beads for their seeds. Their rounded, graphic shapes balance out the fluffiness of the flowers. I arranged them with a couple of felt leaves, growing out from under the wreath.


I made a vintage inspired straw hat for my inaugural Easter Bonnet craft and sew along. Inspired by novelty hats of the 1940's and 1950's it's trimmed with handmade felt strawberries, white flowers and a birdcage veil.I made a vintage inspired straw hat for my inaugural Easter Bonnet craft and sew along. Inspired by novelty hats of the 1940's and 1950's it's trimmed with handmade felt strawberries, white flowers and a birdcage veil.


Originally I wanted to have a full brim of strawberries, but it looked too heavy so I took the extras off. Sometimes less actually is more! The remaining three berries trail down the brim in descending size, just like on a plant. I crafted my surplus strawberries into a sweet matching corsage.

The finishing touch is a nod to the huge white bird nets my Nana stretches over her strawberry patch. Held up by bamboo scaffolds I was forever getting my hair tangled in them! Using wide white net I draped a birdcage veil around the hat. Gathered into the upturned back brim, the veil can be worn folded up over the hat or down over the face, where its edge accentuates your jawline.


I made a vintage inspired straw hat for my inaugural Easter Bonnet craft and sew along. Inspired by novelty hats of the 1940's and 1950's it's trimmed with handmade felt strawberries, white flowers and a birdcage veil.

I made a vintage inspired straw hat for my inaugural Easter Bonnet craft and sew along. Inspired by novelty hats of the 1940's and 1950's it's trimmed with handmade felt strawberries, white flowers and a birdcage veil.


An Easter Bonnet needs an Easter outfit. I felt like a picnic in a strawberry field!
With a vintage dress of green and white gingham, a white belt and my strawberry corsage I was ready to be Miss Strawberry Patch 1952. Vintage lovers can find more photos of this dress and its tiered skirt in my pictures from the Ngatea Water Gardens.

Outfit Details

Novelty Strawberry Hat | Made by me
Strawberry Corsage | Made by me
Vintage Dress | Tock Tick Vintage
Petticoat ( unseen) | Facebook buy/sell group
Shoes | Preloved

Photos | My ever patient husband James

Easter Bonnet Roundup

This wouldn’t be an Easter Bonnet-Along if I was all by myself! Feast your eyes on some of the incredible Easter Hats made by Bonnet-Alongers all over the world. A huge thank you to everyone who shared their photos, they made me so happy! Not everyone finished their hat on time and that’s okay, it’s all about getting those creative juices flowing!

Rose set herself a 10 minute, no sewing required challenge and made this stunning feather trimmed bonnet!

Rose Jackson trimmedher Easter Bonnet with feather pads, vibrant fake flowers and ribbons for the Easter hat sew along.
Jasmine and Katie drew their inspirations from vintage bandeau and tilt hats with a floral focus.

Miss Foxy Locks and Katie Lee created floral Easter bonnets for our Easter millinery craft along.
Lacey covered her wide brimmed straw with pink fabric and an exuberant wildflower garden.

Lacey Maddison created a riot of colour with artificial wildflowers on a wide brimmed pink covered straw hat.

Fanciforia likes big brims and she cannot lie. With her wide satin bow and face framing trim she looks straight out of a 1950’s musical.

NZ burlesque peformer Fanciforia Foxglove trimmed a large straw hat with pink flowers and ribbons for a dramatic feminine Easter Bonnet

Tracey’s Easter hat is like a meadow in spring, bursting with daisies and a cute fluffy chick!

Tracey created a joyful Easter Bonnet piled high with daisies and a fluffy spring chick!

I’m excited to start planning next year’s Bonnet-Along. This years crafters  were so impressive that I’ve decided to organise some prizes for next year, and maybe even a parade for those in New Zealand! Feel free to join the Easter Bonnet-Along Facebook group to get all the updates for next Easters craft along.

With Style & Sass,

Velvet DeCollete


Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, LIFESTYLE, 3 comments
Waihi Warmup Best Dressed Comp 2018

Waihi Warmup Best Dressed Comp 2018

This year I had the tough task of judging the Waihi Warmup best dressed competition.

Starting the Repco Beach Hop festivities, the Waihi Warmup has been running for about ten years. The main road gets closed while the hot rods and classics roll in. Music, food and market stalls and hundreds of people packs the streets. The Drag Race ( a relay race down the main strip run by men in drag ) and the best dressed competition are crowd favourites. I spent the day signing up our well dressed contestants, snapping photos and making the hard decisions!

With over eighty contestants this year I can’t share them all, but I will share my winning outfits and honorable mentions! You can see all the contestants – and maybe some familiar faces – in the Gold FM photo gallery.

Best Dressed Group

Every year these couples cook up the coolest matching ensembles.

Last year was baby pink suits, this year was blue, black and striped rock n roll outfits. Check out those blue suede brothel creepers! I love how they embrace the fun side of vintage culture and had the biggest smiles on their faces!

Best Dressed Woman

Waihi-Warmup-Best-Dressed-Competition-Female-WinnerSandra Strickland won Best Dressed Woman at the Waihi Warmup.

Repco Beach Hop 2018 had a Tiki theme. I felt this fab tropical set with matching hair flowers and ladylike 1950’s pearls reflected the theme and a  vintage vibe without crossing over into culturally appropriative territory. I also appreciated how her white parasol brought out the white jewelry and the white accents in the print, preventing her outfit from becoming too dark.

Best Dressed Boy

Waihi-Warmup-Best-Dressed-Competition-toddler-elvisHey baby Elvis!

Do I even need to explain why Lewis Lehman took out the Waihi Warmup’s Best Dressed Boy? This is a pretty involved costume for a little kid to wear and Lewis rocked it like a champ! His jumpsuit even had ‘Elvis’ on the back in glittery letters. He was serving cute smiles and thumbs up’s to everyone!

Best Dressed Man


Mike Jacobs took home the Warmup’s Best Dressed Man prize with this suede trimmed suit.

The men’s category but the hardest to judge with the gents putting in a massive amount of effort. The bold orange and blue colour combo and graphic appeal of this outfit made it stand out, and I appreciate that Mike’s blue leather shoes matched his suit!

Best Dressed Girl

Waihi-Warmup-Best-dressed-girlOlivia Keightly was all smiles in her flamingo print dress.

This was a cute, age appropriate girls outfit that reflected Beach Hop’s Tiki theme. Olivia’s yellow gumball necklace and earrings suited the summery fun atmosphere of the Waihi Warmup, and her little victory rolls were so pretty.

Honourable Mentions

Waihi-Warmup-Best-Dressed-Competition-man-in-leopard-print-trim-rock-n-roll-suitThis rocker is my new idol and very nearly won. Look at awesome leopard fur collar and welt pockets on that jacket! I’m a sucker for leopard print and partial to those snazzy AF python shoes as well.


Waihi-Warmup-Best-Dressed-CompetitionPoodle skirt alert! Classic 1950’s diner style from this jitter buggin’ couple.


Another take on The King. While this was popular with the crowd Best Dressed comps for me are about having the best outfit rather than the best costume so Elvis took out an Honourable Mention prize.

Waihi-Warmup-Best-Dressed-Competition-cute-rock-n-roll-coupleHow sweet are these guys? I love the dapper gent’s bold colour choices and pattern mixing while the lady had a strong red theme uniting her dress and accessories. I want her adorable sweet heart handbag!

Waihi-Warmup-Best-Dressed-Competition-red-hat-ladiesThe Tauranga Red Hat ladies were a flurry of colour in the busy Waihi streets.


Waihi-Warmup-rock-n-roll-dancersThis couple didn’t enter best dressed, but I love her outfit and they had the best dance moves!


I’ll be back helping Gold FM with the best dressed competition at the Waihi Warmup in 2019, I hope I see you there!


With Style & Sass,

  Velvet DeCollete


Posted by velvetdecollete in ADVENTURES, LIFESTYLE, 0 comments
Finding Your Personal Style – Insider Secrets From Pinup Stylist Fran Robertson

Finding Your Personal Style – Insider Secrets From Pinup Stylist Fran Robertson

Some people have an impeccable sense of personal style. They know exactly 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 style knowledge than the queen of colour – makeup artist, designer and Viva Las Vegas 21 contestant Fran Roberston?

No one. That’s who.

Keep scrolling for her expert tips, plus a bonus section on building your own capsule wardrobe for easy outfit creation!


Meet Fran

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!

How To Find Your Personal Style

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 Info!
What’s a capsule wardrobe?

A capsule wardrobe is a collection of clothes that all go together. It 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.


Thanks for sharing your style tips with us Fran!
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 exuberantly colourful things or do your hair and makeup.

Photos | Elizabeth J Photography, Zandy J and Glory Days Magazine

After more style inspo? Check out these posts!

Learn my three step technique for wearing 100% colour with zero percent effort in my Blue Hawaii post.

Drink up some pinup and vintage fashion goodness with my Inspirational Instagrammers roundup!


With Style & Sass,

Velvet DeCollete


Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, LIFESTYLE, PINUP, 1 comment
Inspirational Instagrammers | Pinup & Vintage Edition

Inspirational Instagrammers | Pinup & Vintage Edition

Hi, I’m Velvet and I’m addicted to Instagram.

No lie.

As a visually focused person Instagram is like crack. I can lose hours ( easily ) scrolling through those glossy pinup photos and dreamy vintage styled sets. But ya know what? Ain’t nobody got time for that! With so many amazing Instagram users out there and a frustrating algorithm, accounts that speak to you can be like needles in the photographic haystack.

But before you get out that pitchfork, take a look at these inspirational IG handles. Nine Vintage and Pinup Instagram accounts you should be following.  The women and men I adore for outfit inspiration, joy, education, or simply for beauty.

Vintage VandalInspirational Instagram pinup and vintage model Vintage Vandalizm aka Jazmin

If you’re a pinup or vintage enthusiast, chances are you already follow and adore Jazmin of Vintage Vandalizm. If not, get over to her IG feed asap!

Jazmin’s fierce yet feminine style throws vintage, pinup and eighties inspirations in a blender and somehow comes out looking like a stone cold urban tigress. She’s all curves, all sass and her images absolutely make my day. If we could magically change our appearance, I’d choose to look like Jazmin.
As a model, blogger and style expert Jazmin is showing us how it’s done and I’m continually inspired by her work ethic and achievements.


Vintage EgyptologistThe Vintage Egyptologist - Inspirational 1920's Instagram User

Egyptologist Colleen Darnell lives, works and plays in the roaring twenties.

She explores Egypt, teaches Egyption History at the University of Hartford and looks like a sleek 1920’s panther when the lights go down. Every look Colleen creates just kills me, and if you love 1920’s fashion, Miss Fisher and the allure of archaeology you’ll be an instant fan.


Dandy WellingtonBig Band leader, singer and fashion forward (or is that backward?) vintage instagrammer Dandy Wellington

Band leader and vintage lover Dandy Wellington is a hot cuppa coffee on a winters day; High energy, smooth AF and a guaranteed pick-me-up.

His IG feed is vintage lifestyle diary, serving live action shots from his shows alongside fashion focused images, and a side of candids with various pinups and vintage lovers.  Dandy’s style is an exuberant celebration of masculine fashion with bold three piece suits, dashing hats and rich textures. He is, after all, a dandy.


Rachel Ann JensenVintage and Pinup Instagrammers you need to know about. Rachel Ann Jensen's glamorous vintage wardrobe

If there could be only one glamour advocate in the world, it would be Rachel Ann Jensen. The woman is IMPECCABLE.

From her corseted waist to her coiffed hair and unmistakable wiggle walk, Jensen epitomizes the golden age of glamour. Her Instagram feed is a dreamy indulgence of 1940’s and 50’s style set against a chic city backdrop.


Daniel James BrownMale vintage style Instagramer Daniel James Brown

Daniel James Brown looks like a man who’s making the most of prohibition. His style is gritty, layered, reminiscent of Peaky Blinders gangsters and moonshine runners. His girlfriend Rosie features occasionally, sometimes pulling out earthy androgynous looks that are worth scrolling through for.

If you like your vintage gents looking real and a little dangerous, this account is a must-follow.


Jessica Out Of The ClosetInspirational Instagrammer Jessica Out of the Closet, shares her pinup style, spoonie life and her lesbian love story
With her megawatt smile, beautiful wife and adorable dog, Jessica Kellgren-Fozard’s Instagram is just too sweet for words.

Jessica is one of my favourite Insta pinups because not only is she an accomplished, stylish, gorgeous woman, but she does it while living with disability. Check out her Youtube channel for awesome (and cute) videos about living with disability, deafness, lesbian pride and travel!
( I especially like 13 Things My Hearing Friends Should Know )



Miss Alba BananaMiss Alaba Banana is a Parisian Pinup with a gorgeous Instagram gallery.

She’s beautiful, stylish and Parisian. Need I say more?

While there are a number of incredible French pinups, Miss Alba is hands down my favourite. Her romantic Instagram gallery looks like a dream issue of Vogue sprinkled with lush vintage artwork. The fact Alba is a total sweetheart and you’ll want everything in her wardrobe makes seeing her posts in your IG feed even more delicious.

Miss Tammi SavoySinger and pinup Tammi Savoy is a pinup and vintage style instagram account you need to be following!

Personally I’m inspired by pinups who can rock different styles from different eras, and Tammi Savoy does so with ease.

Her 50’s glam is perfect, her 1960’s hairstyles are to die for and she’s an absolute queen in 1970’s threads. She’s stunning, STUNNING I tell you. I’m constantly floored by how calm and confident she looks – whether she’s singing with the Lovettes or hanging out with her daughter Tammi is an absolute vintage dream girl.

Vanessa Frankenstein1970's inspired red head pinup Vanessa Frankenstein is one of the best vintage and retro instagram accounts to follow

Innocently sexy and effortlessly cool, Vanessa Frankenstein has seventies vibes for days.

The fiery haired model and makeup artist delivers 1970’s inspired looks, film stills, art and psychedelia in a way that keeps you scrolling. Her feed feels warm, intimate and oh so retro – just how I like it. If you’re a fan of New Romantic art and wish you’d been at Woodstock, you’ll love Vanessa’s images.


Of course this isn’t an exhaustive list of the best vintage or pinup Instagram users. But they’re my personal favourites.
Some of them you’ll know and maybe some you won’t. I’m always on the lookout for more gorgeous Instagram galleries to feed my IG style addiction, so please share the handles you love! Leave them in the comments below or DM them to me at my Insta account x

With Style & Sass,

Velvet DeCollete


Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, LIFESTYLE, PINUP, 0 comments
8 Ways to Get the Most from Your Custom Design Experience

8 Ways to Get the Most from Your Custom Design Experience

As a couture designer, seamstress and costumier my goal is to create the absolute best garment for you that I can. I offer a free consultation, ask lots of questions (not just about what you want the garment to look like, but also where, how and why you’ll wear it) and do lots of sketches before starting to draft the pattern.

But what if you’re not coming to me? What if you don’t know what to expect? What if you just want to make sure you’re getting the best result possible?

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

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

1. Research

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

2. Be Prepared

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


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


3. Ask Questions

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


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

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

4. Be Open to Advice

I can’t stress this enough.
If you go to a professional, experienced designer or dressmaker they should be able to assess your body shape and advise you if the design you want will be flattering. Please listen to them. We want you to look and feel amazing so if we suggest a change of style or fabric please consider it.  You’re paying for an expert service so make the most of their expert knowledge.

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

5. Measure Up

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

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


corset pattern pieces | Velvet Decollete


6. Be Honest

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

7. Be On Time

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


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

8. Be Realistic

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

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


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

With Style & Sass,

Velvet DeCollete

Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, LIFESTYLE, 2 comments
The Inaugural Easter Bonnet – Along 2018!

The Inaugural Easter Bonnet – Along 2018!

Welcome to the inaugural annual Easter Bonnet-Along!

What’s better than hats?
Really fancy hats.
Really fancy hats paired with friends and Easter treats!

What’s This Easter Bonnet – Along Then?

An Easter Bonnet-Along ( according to me ) is where we all decorate fancy Easter hats so we can feel like Judy Garland in Easter Parade. Sounds great, right!?

Here’s How It Works

  1. Enjoy some fabulous vintage Easter inspiration on the special Pinterest Board I created just for you.
  2. Join the Inaugural Easter Bonnet-Along Facebook group so you can share your inspiration and hat decorating progress.
  3. Sew, build or decorate your themed Easter bonnet however you like!
  4. Post a photo of you looking fancy AF in your bonnet by Easter Sunday ( April 1st 2018)

Optional step 5: Arrange an Easter weekend meet-up with your fellow Bonnet-Alongers so you can admire each other’s handiwork!


Welcome to Velvet DeCollete's inaugural Easter Bonnet Along 2018!


Why Make An Easter Bonnet?

The tradition of wearing new clothes at Easter goes back at least as far as the 16th century, possibly as a result of Christianity adopting Pagan celebrations where the new life and bounty of spring represented the renewal of the year. Wearing new clothes for Easter was thought to bring good luck. By the end of the Great Depression new clothes weren’t affordable for many, so existing hats and clothes were retrimmed. Irving Berlin cemented the modern Easter bonnet in popular culture by celebrating the New York Easter parade in his 1948 film.

Religious beliefs aside, Easter Bonnets can be creations of pure joy. Just check out the incredible creations of the NYC Easter parade; see any sad faces? Nope. Personally I just love anything themed, and who doesn’t want a bouquet on their head as the Autumn months start to loom?

I hope this Bonnet-Along will give people some crafting inspiration and an incentive to catch up with friends and maybe meet some new ones!


I’m so excited to get creative and decorate my own hat while you make yours! While you get a-thinkin about your glorious future headwear, I’ll leave you with the dulcet tones of Bing Crosby. *sigh*
Just look at all those fancy hats.

With Style & Sass,

Velvet DeCollete

Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, LIFESTYLE, 1 comment
My Breast Augmentation Journey

My Breast Augmentation Journey

Can we talk about boob jobs?


On June 2nd 2015 I had a breast augmentation . This was a very personal decision and one I’m open and honest about. Talking about our bodies and choices is vital to fostering a healthy mindset toward ourselves, our bodies and our sexuality.

So here we are, two years later and talking about boobs. This post will be long because I’m attempting to answer all the questions I’ve been asked about my breast augmentation and my implants!

*Warning: If boobs or talking about surgical procedures makes you squeamish, maybe don’t read this on your lunchbreak*

Why did You Get a Boob Job?

This is the most common question I get asked and it’s a multi-part answer. There was no one thing that motivated my decision.

When I was a kid chronic asthma made me very sick. Years of chest infections, pneumonia and breathing difficulties resulted in my ribcage being sucked in at the top, causing my lower ribs to stick out much further than the top ones. I also have pectus excavatum, where your breastbone is sunken into your chest.  Basically bottom of my ribcage protruded further than my bust.

Then I lost weight. Going on the pill at sixteen provided me with a happy D cup bust. Losing my ‘puppy fat’ took that down to a C cup, before exercise to improve my fitness left me wearing an A-cup. While I hoped gaining weight would bring back my boobs, it didn’t. Before my surgery I was carrying more weight than I ever had, but none of it went back on my bust.

With my boobs AWOL and my ribcage issues more apparent than ever I became extremely self conscious about my silhouette. In profile my deformed ribcage and small bust formed a flattish ‘W’ shape with my ribs sticking out past my boobs. I hated it. I felt unbalanced, like my top half didn’t match my hips. I couldn’t wear low cut tops, and could only wear half my work uniform blouses. Without boobs to fill them up the shirts were so loose that you could see straight down the front to my bellybutton if I lent forward!

I'm answering all your questions about my breast augmentation experience. Pre surgery a cup boobsSorry for the crappy photo quality, I didn’t think I’d be sharing them.

I wore push up bras almost every day. My proportions bugged me aesthetically. I felt like I’d lost my femininity.

After a years of worrying about my shrinking bust and slowly losing my confidence I desperately wanted a breast augmentation. But how could I justify the cost on something I saw as vanity. My husband said the words that changed my mindset;

“You’re not spending money on boobs. You’re investing in your own self esteem”

And that’s exactly why I did it. I wanted my confidence back. I wanted to feel womanly, feminine and sexy. I wanted to get dressed without padding my bra and obsessing over my silhouette. And ya know what? I’m happy I did.


Where Did You Get It Done? 

Finding the right surgeon was my top priority. More important than price. More important than convenience.

After extensive web searching and calling around different surgeons, I decided to go with Dr Charles Davis here in New Zealand. Charles is a specialist craniofacial surgeon who works with young adults and children, as well as performing breast, body and face surgeries. I found his calm, quiet manner reassuring and he was incredibly honest. After seeing his work I knew I was in the right hands – anyone who can reconstruct a child’s face must find breast augmentations a walk in the park!

Dr Charles works out of his private clinic in Boulcott, Lower Hutt and performed my surgery at Boulcott Private Hospital and Specialist Centre. Living in Auckland at the time, my husband and I flew to Wellington and stayed at a motel in Boulcott for a week.
Just in case you’re interested, the food at Boulcott Specialist Centre is tasty as. They gave me cheesecake. Oh, and the staff are absolutely lovely.

How Much Did it Cost?

My breast augmentation in 2015 cost $9860 plus my travel and accommodation costs. I flew down for a preliminary consultation about four months beforehand as well.


What Steps Lead To Your Surgery?

  1. Started researching surgery options and reading tons of blogs and breast augmentation forums
  2. Contacted surgeons and clinics for information packs
  3. Chose Dr Charles Davis and flew to Wellington for a consultation
  4. Dwelled on my options before booking my surgery date for four months later
  5. Flew back to Wellington for a final consultation the day before my surgery. Trialed my chosen implants in a sports bra for the night.
  6. Checked in to Boulcott private clinic bright and early for my surgery!

The surgeons markings on my skin pre-op. I'm sharing my breast augmentation journey and answering all your boob job questions.


What Kind of Surgery Did You Have?

My breast augmentation decisions were dictated by the small amount of breast tissue we had to work with. Basically I didn’t have enough boob fat to cover an implant!

I had a submuscular breast augmentation. My breast implants are placed underneath my pectoral ( chest ) muscles. My chest muscle helps disguise the implant edge and create a more natural looking slope from my chest to the implant. Dr Davis cut my pectoral muscles down the center, separating them from my chest, placing my implants under the chest muscle wall. The surgery was performed through incisions under my breasts.

On Dr Davis’s recommendation I chose silicon gel implants. These breast implants feel kind of like those gel wrist supports you find on mousepads. They can’t leak and if small bits break off ( in an extreme car crash for example ) my body would absorb them.

To give you an idea of how tough the implants are, my husband jumped on one of the sample implants and it just bounced back!


How Big Are Your Implants?

I have high profile, round 390cc silicon gel implants. I chose high profile implants to counteract the slant of my ribcage. ( High Profile means they stick out further rather than having a wider diameter. ) You’ll notice these implants have a textured surface to help prevent capsular contraction.

I answer all your questions about my breast augmentation surgery, why I had it, and what the boob job experience was like. This is what My gel breast implants look like.


Did it Hurt?


Surgery hurts. ( No surprises there right? )

Everyone has a different tolerance for pain. My is tolerance is pretty high so my surgery pain was different to that of people I’ve spoken to. My breast augmentation hurt less than my elbow or knee surgeries, but it still fucking hurt.

Let me break it down for you…

Day One | Wake up after surgery: Oh this is fine, this doesn’t hurt at all. It just feels really tight. I’ma do some colouring in…
Cue crying and thinking I might die.
Enter a lovely nurse with some painkillers.

Day Two | Okay this isn’t so bad. My skin is stinging like I have extreme sunburn and it feels very stretched ( because it is).
There’s a continuous dull throbbing ache like I went too hard on bench press and flies yesterday. Random sharp stabby pains.
Two Panadol and I’m under control, but sleeping is really hard.

Day Three | Dull ache and sunburn prickles are sticking around. My tummy hurts because I’m so bloated I look pregnant. No painkillers required.
Turns out those quick stabby pains are commonly called ‘ zingers’. The swelling on my sternum is very tender.

Day Four | Caught the bus to Wellington for shopping. Still feel like I went waaay to hard on chest day.
Can lift my arms again. Actually did a bit of dancing after dinner.

Skip to Day Seven| Had my checkup today and the bandages removed. The incision scars are very tender, but there’s almost no bruising!                  Sunburny feeling is fading. Dull ache comes and goes. I’m a side sleeper so my lower back is killing me from trying to get comfy on my back.

Ongoing | Aching for a couple of weeks. Random sharp pains common for a few months. Two years later I’m still getting occasional zingers as nerves                       continue to heal.


Lying in bed at Boulcott Clinic the morning after my boob job.

One day post breast augmentation surgery. 390CC high profile.


What Was Your Recovery Like?

I’m extremely lucky to have recovered from my medical and cosmetic surgeries easily. Some of my friends had high pain and vomiting after their breast augmentations but I didn’t have any of that!

I was mobile and had full range of motion in my arms and shoulders a day or two after surgery. My scars were tender and raised for a few months but have settled down well. I wore a mix of K-Mart, Cotton On and one expensive Triumph wire free sports bras for the first three months. The hardest thing is getting them over your head and torpedo boobies!

My scars are little white lines now. Dr Davis gave me medical silicon strips to help them heal flat and smooth. The silicon gel strips stick over the scars and it helps the tissue to stay soft and flexible. They hide under the crease of my boob most of the time, so I’ve lifted them up to show you what they look like here.

I'm answering all your questions about my breast augmentation experience. Breast augmentation under breast scars two years after surgery


Were There Any Downsides?

Yeah there were.

Lifting weights feels super weird and kinda creepy now. The implants kind of shift and slide out to the sides when my chest muscles contract. But I’m adjusting to it.

I also lost nipple sensitivity. This seems to be a pretty common side effect, and I knew it might happen. After the surgery my nipples were painfully sensitive, due to being stretched and the obvious nerve damage that comes with surgery. For a few months they switched between over-sensitive and under sensitive, and they definitely have less feeling now.

For the first few months one of my implants settled or ‘dropped’ way faster than the other so I had wonky boobs! This is expected and they even up while they heal. You can see how uneven they look in this photo.

One week post op. Velvet Decollete shares her breast augmentation experience and answers all your boob job questions.


What Do Your Fake Boobs Feel Like?

Like fake boobs I guess haha?

I had almost no breast tissue to cover my implants, meaning they had to go under my pectoral muscle. So basically my breasts now feel like a small amount of squishy breast tissue over a firm chest muscle. They are jiggly and squeezable when my chest muscles are relaxed, but definitely firmer than natural breasts when I flex my pectoral muscles or the implants are under pressure – like when I’m lying on my stomach or giving someone a bear hug.


Do You Hate Small Boobs?

No! Hell no!

Small boobs are beautiful and sexy and amazing. As long as you love love your boobs, I love your boobs. Actually I probably think they’re perfect even if you don’t. My small boobs just didn’t work for me because of my messed up rib cage.


Are You Happy You Had A Boob Job?

Yes! Having a breast augmentation was the right choice for me.While there have been a couple of tradeoffs, I feel so much more confident, feminine and sexy since having my surgery. It’s made me less self conscious, my clothes fit better and I feel like my figure is more balanced. My boob job was truly an investment in my self esteem and I’m so glad I did it.

I'm answering all your questions about my breast augmentation experience. Breast implants two days later

This is what my breasts look like now, two years after surgery.

Would You Encourage Other Women To Have Breast Augmentations?

No. I would NEVER encourage anyone to have any kind of cosmetic surgery.

Cosmetic surgery is an intensely personal procedure. Having it for the wrong reasons can have extremely negative consequences. Hell, having it all all can have extremely negative consequences – like people you barely know feeling it’s appropriate to touch you, or offload their self righteous opinion on what you should or shouldn’t do with your body.

While having a breast augmentation was the right choice for me, it’s certainly not the right choice for everyone. I would encourage anyone considering cosmetic surgery to talk over your reasons with trusted friends, family, partners, and professionals to figure out whether it’s the right solution for you.

Anything Else?

  • Having a breast augmentation won’t automatically make your breasts “perfect”. In fact, it will make the natural asymmetry of your boobs more obvious. If one looks a bit to the side, it will look more to the side when it’s bigger!
  • Your boobs will looks like torpedoes for a few months, no bullet bra required.
  • Your scars might be tender for a long time. When I started wearing underwires again after 13 weeks, I had to pad the wires with tissues to stop them rubbing.
  • Bras are just decoration now. These puppies stay up by themselves so I basically only wear a bra to prevent frosties, support when I workout,  and because I like pretty things. True story.


Phew! I think we made it through all your questions! If there’s something your curious about that I didn’t cover, feel free to leave me a comment!
I hope sharing my experience has given you some insight into some of the reasons people might choose to get breast implants, and what the journey is like.

With Style & Sass,

        Velvet DeCollete

If you would like to see what my augmented breasts look like in different lingerie and clothing, I recommend taking a look at these posts:


Miss DeCollete Learns Deportment
Halloween LookBook
Play Your Cards Right Lingerie Review











Posted by velvetdecollete in BEAUTY, LIFESTYLE, 6 comments
Is Photoshop Harming Pinup Communities?

Is Photoshop Harming Pinup Communities?

Pin up and photoshopping. They walk hand in hand, but do we acknowledge their relationship enough?

You know I’m all about honesty, so I feel it’s time we honestly discussed the relationship between photoshopping and pinup art. How much is edited? Are we okay with it? Do you know when you’re not looking at reality?

I’ll be showing you my own before and after photos as well as some historical examples. ( Because I’m not interested in calling anyone else out, ya know?). I hope you’ll find it interesting and that it opens a conversation about how we feel about photo editing and it’s effects within our pinup communities.

What is Photo Editing?

Photo editing, often achieved using tools like photoshop , lightbox or photo filters ( we’ll refer to ‘photoshopping’ to keep it simple) is digitally or manually manipulating a photograph. This can be anything from adjusting some colours or brightening a dark photo, to slimming a body, airbrushing skin, adding length or volume to hair or changing background locations.

Let’s Start With Some Pros and Cons

Like every tool photo editing has it’s upsides and downsides. Let’s run through a few to get an idea of what we’re dealing with.


  • Photo editing is an incredibly powerful artistic tool allowing users to create images that don’t exist in real life, just like a painter or a sculptor.
  • Editing images can improve our confidence, removing temporary or permanent blemishes like scars or acne.
  • Photo editing can correct or improve lighting and colour discrepancies, and details that can’t be captured by a camera the way the human eye sees them.
  • It can be super fun and inspiring to change the way you look, the colour of your hair, or create a highly artistic version of yourself without having to make those dramatic changes in real life.


  • Photoshopped images create and enforce unrealistic and unachievable beauty standards – especially when used in advertising and by celebrities.
  • Photo editing can make us unfairly compare our real life selves to edited images, leading to negative body image and mental health issues.
  • Photo editing can give a false example of a product or it’s results ( hello Instagram makeup artists ;p )
  • In some circumstances photo editing can just be downright sneaky.

To decide if a photoshopped pinup image is positive or negative I ask myself these questions:
Is it fit for purpose?
Is it creating a false ideal?
Do we know it’s been photoshopped?

Is It Fit For Purpose?

Definition:  well equipped or well suited for its designated role or purpose.

Fit for purpose is the main factor in how I feel about photoshopped images. Does the photo become more suited to it’s purpose by being edited?

I’m going to quote an anonymous source here, because they summed it up really well but I don’t want anyone getting crucified by trolls.


“Are you making a cheesecake image which is effectively highly photoshopped by definition? OR are you making your Instagram images so edited you make people wonder what happened between when you placed the photo on Instagram in the morning, to when they saw you? The initial is a style, the latter is a self image issue. “


We can safely assume that cheescake pin up photos are edited.

This isn’t news to fans of the cheesecake or glamour style, it’s been happening for as long as the genre has existed. Early photographers edited their subjects by burning and dodging, or by altering lines when they colored the images with paints. Gil Elvgren essentially photoshopped his models, slimming and lengthening their proportions in his paintings like the ones below. You can see more examples of 1950’s pinup photographs vs paintings here.

I feel like this is okay, because these images are created as art

On the other hand, I feel that heavily edited ‘candid’ shots * side eye at the Kardashians* create a harmful and unrealistic expectation of what a human body looks like. A filter and hiding a few zits are one thing, being unrecognizable is another.

To quote another anonymous babe from my local pinup community…


“I love artistic editing, and those style choices can really take images to a whole other place, but passing that level of editing off as natural would just seem ingenuine. “

In My Opinion…

Pinups making cheesecake style photos, or consistently editing ‘candid’ images but being open about it – cool, whatever makes you happy, we know you’re being an arty motherfucker with those photos.

Pinups editing candid or event photos and pretending they’re natural – you’re probably contributing to the body image and self confidence issues so many people struggle with, because they’re comparing their natural selves to your secretly super edited self.

How do you feel about editing cheesecake pin up images compared to candids or Instagram selfies? Do you think there’s a difference? Are they both okay or is one or both contributing to our unrealistic cultural beauty standards?

How Photoshopped Am I?

I want to show you exactly how Photoshopped my photos are. It’s important that you can see the difference between professional, edited glamour photos and review or event images.

When I’m shooting a cheesecake or glamour pin up I let the photographer edit whatever they need to fulfill their artistic vision. Photographers clear up my skin and cellulite, adjust the colours and contrast, or give the image a film grain or other texture. This stuff is great for a creating an idealised pin up style like you’d see in traditional pin up art. Personally I feel it’s an appearance altering tool like contouring makeup and shapewear.

Mike Froger photographs and edits most of my images. We share the opinion that women’s bodies are rad and don’t need to be changed in the shape department. He does kindly edit out my psoriasis, pimples and sometimes freckles and cellulite on my chest, arms or legs. The freckles on my face are usually covered by makeup. Not because I don’t like them, but because I use a heavier foundation to cover my psoriasis and I’m not skilled enough to cover that and leave the rest sheer!

Here’s an example of the difference on our photos. The left hand image is unedited apart from being made black and white. The right hand image is edited.



Logan Davies was kind enough to give us some examples of the more heavily edited photos I’ve shared. These are edited and unedited images from our lingerie photoshoot and you can see the huge difference in colour, contrast, skin texture. I’ve been stretched in one shot to make my 5’4 frame longer.



You don’t see this level of editing on my review or candid photos. I’ll clear up any major skin problems and sometimes throw on a filter to create a mood, but secretly editing my body shape or height would be unfair to you guys. And what’s the point of creating a warped idea of what the reviewed garments actually look like?

Here’s some before and after examples of clothing review photos I used a few months ago.



As you can see, not a huge difference there. I wear makeup and practice poses that enhance my natural body shape, so what you see in these photos is basically what you see when I pose in real life.

My Instagram selfies use filters to enhance colours or lighting,  or my phone’s beauty face filter on low strength to even out my bad skin. I don’t know how to remove zits or scars or make my eyes bigger or my waist smaller or any of that stuff haha.

I do basic editing because my Insta account is for my modelling and brand, not myself personally, and I want it to look a little polished. I’m okay with my freckles, wrinkles and white hairs though so you’ll see those! I’m happy to tell you exactly what I’ve changed on a photo if you’re ever curious.

My personal photos on Facebook haven’t been edited at all for the last few years because who has time for that?

Can You Spot Photoshop?

Photo editing seems most dangerous when you can’t spot it. When it’s not alien smooth skin or mismatched backgrounds whispering that the thigh gap isn’t 100% legit.  When you think that it’s real. When a social media feed of perfect selfies makes you feel like you’re the only person to ever have love handles, tummy rolls or bad skin.

Just for the record, every person I’ve ever met has tummy folds and back folds and armpit bums or whatever the hell they call them. The skin that stretches flat when you stand straight has to go somewhere when you curl up, so it makes folds. IT’S PERFECTLY NORMAL AND YOU’D BE FUCKED WITHOUT IT.
*Edit: Apparently they’re armpit vaginas and Miss Victory Violet has a hilarious video about them that you should all watch*


Anyway back to sneaky photoshopping. The whole premise of really good photo editing is that you can’t see it. I look at photos of my pin up inspirations like Jazmin ( Vintage Vandalizm ), Rachel Jensen and Dita Von Teese and I often have no idea if anything’s been changed. I just assume they look that amazing in real life.

And that’s the danger. Like millions of other women, I aspire to be as beautiful as a photograph of a person I’ve never actually seen.  This is the aspect of photo editing that might be harming our pinup communities. The part that makes our gorgeous friends and those that look to us as role models feel like they’re not good enough. The part that we need to openly talk about and remember that what we see on social media is usually someone’s highlight reel, not their full time life.

So Is Photoshopping Good or Bad For Pin Ups?

It’s both and neither.

Photo editing is a tool. We can use it to create art, to rose tint our daily lives, to exaggerate, show the truth or to lie. How we use it is up to the individual, but it’s also up to the individual to consider the message they’re sending to others.

It’s common knowledge that heavy handed photoshopping is de rigueur in mainstream marketing. We know it’s having a negative effect on our society, particularly on women and young girls. I don’t know if highly edited cheesecake photos and selfies have the same effect within our pinup communities, and I think it’s something we need to discuss honestly and often to make sure we’re supporting and educating ourselves and those who follow in our footsteps.

I’ll be opening a discussion around photoshopping in pin up on my Instagram, my Facebook Page and my pinup support group The Pinup Posse. Please stop by and share your experiences and opinions, I’d really appreciate hearing your views on the Photoshop debate!

In the meantime can you do me a favour? Put down your phone or step away from your PC.  Stand in front of the mirror and appreciate your body. It may be skinny, thick, tall, short, scarred, damaged, spotty or dimply, but it’s your body. Cellulite is just another texture and mummy tum’s or visible hip bones are another shape to explore. I know it can be hard ( trust me, I know ) but be kind to yourself, and please don’t compare yourself to photos that might not even be real!

With Style and Sass,

   Velvet DeCollete

Posted by velvetdecollete in LIFESTYLE, PINUP, 0 comments