LIFESTYLE

My favorite recipes, crafts, inspiration and everything in between.

Less Bitchy, More Kitschy | Anti-Bullying Charity Pins

Less Bitchy, More Kitschy enamel pins are here!

The proceeds from every pin help the No Bullying Initiative Trust continue their anti-bullying work with children and adults around New Zealand, so please grab yourself a kitschy pin and support making the world a safer place!

Less bitchy more kitschy Anti Bullying Charity Enamel pins by Velvet DeCollete

 

The Less Bitchy, More Kitschy Story

New Zealand has the second worst bullying rates in the world. Look at those statistics from Pink Shirt Day. It’s not good.

I was physically and verbally bullied as a child. I left a corporate job due to workplace bullying as an adult. Almost every pinup who reaches out to me for style advice or support has been bullied at some point, and are turning to fashion as a way to reclaim their identity. The mental, emotional and educational toll bullying can take is all too real.

 

Pink Shirt Day New Zealand bullying statistics

 

What Could I do?

I found my confidence through pinup and vintage style, and was horrified when I witnessed – and had to intervene with – bullying in the seemingly supportive community. But what could I do?

For me, being a modern pinup means taking inspiration from groundbreaking women of the past, to provide strong role models for the future. As a result, I want to make the most of my opportunities as a pinup role model to take a stand against bullying. I believe in living a life less bitchy, more kitschy. One where women raise each other up, celebrating our shared passions and successes.

So I founded the Pinup Posse. Our Facebook group provides a safe space, encouragement and education for pinup and vintage enthusiasts to develop their confidence. We currently have 180 members and 5 pinup mentors. I’m loving the opportunity to support new pinups and vintagettes!

But I wanted to tackle bullying on a larger scale.

Less Bitchy, More Kitschy isn’t just my personal motto, it’s a daily reminder to focus on what makes us happy (and to not be a dick).
These pins aren’t just a cute atomic era accessory, they’re a fundraiser for non profit organisation the No Bullying Initative Trust. The proceeds from every pin will be donated to NBIT,  helping provide preventative education, support and advocacy for victims of bullying in schools and workplaces all over New Zealand.

 

Less bitchy more kitschy, Mid Century Inspired Anti Bullying Charity Enamel Pins

 

How To Get Involved!

Join the less bitchy, more kitschy movement

Step 1. Get yourself a sassy enamel pin!
Step 2. Wear it to remind you of what really matters, and spread the anti-bullying message.
Step 3. Share your style, and your story, using the #lessbitchymorekitschy tag on social media!

 

how to join the less bitchy more kitschy movement

 

The motel sign pin design represents a sanctuary, a neon light in the darkness, somewhere safe to wait out the storm.

You can purchase your pin from my Etsy boutique, or directly from me if you live in New Zealand. This allows more money to go to NBIT by avoiding Etsy fees!

New Zealand buyers (and potential stockists) please contact me via the options below to order your pin or to discuss stocking them in your store!
Facebook 
Instagram
Email | velvetdecollete@gmail.com

Share The Love

I’m so excited to see how you wear your pins and share your stories with the #lessbitchymorekitschytag!

Don’t forget to share this post, or any of the social media posts to help spread awareness of NBIT’s work and raise funds to fight back against bullying! Every post and pin makes a difference.
To find out more about the No Bullying Initiative Trust and their awesome work, please visit their website.

With Style & Sass,

Velvet DeCollete

Posted by velvetdecollete in LIFESTYLE, 2 comments
Things I Wish I’d Known When I Started In Pinup

Things I Wish I’d Known When I Started In Pinup

Things I wish I’d known when I started exploring pin up style, and the vintage community! Hindsight is 20/20, and while I can’t go back and tell myself these tips, I can tell you!

1. People Aren’t  Scary

I’m super shy. True story ( I see you laughing in the back, cut that out!). I find it absolutely, shakin’ in my size five shoes terrifying to walk up to people I don’t know and say hi.

You’re thinking what if they don’t like you? What if they think you’re weird? What if they don’t want you in their retrofabulous clique?
Well… what if they’re the nicest people you’ll ever meet, but you never meet them?

I know it’s intimidating to walk up to a group of women dressed like tropical fruit cocktails, BUT IT WILL BE OKAY. Almost everyone I’ve met in the New Zealand pinup and vintage community has been friendly and welcoming, after all, you already have at least one passion in common! Just walk up and say ” Hi, I’m new to pinup, what’s your name”, it’s that simple.

Pro Tip | Queues are a friend-making experience. I’ve made friends with pinups waiting in the line for smoothies, the toilets and best dressed comps!

New Zealand Pinups At the Very Vintage Day Out afterparty in 2015

This photo was taken at the Very Vintage Day Out afterparty in 2015. I’m wearing the first pinup outfit I made myself, and when I went I only knew Soda Fontaine – we’re the two on the left end. Today I’m friends with all but one of the ladies in this photo! (I just haven’t seen her since then!)

 

2. Not Everyone Will Like You (And That’s Okay)

“If everybody likes you, you’re pretty dull.”
– Bette Davis

You can’t get along with everyone.
I repeat, YOU CAN’T GET ALONG WITH EVERYONE.
Bette Davis knew it and so should you.

Just like every other social group, there will be people in the pinup and vintage community that just don’t like you. There are people who love repro clothes, people who are vintage purists, people who love helping newbies and people who just don’t give a fuck. And that’s fine. If you’re true to yourself you’ll find your crowd, and chances are that someone won’t like what you’re about.

Personally I don’t tolerate bullying in our community, and I call it out when I see it. But if you just don’t click with someone, don’t stress about it, there’s plenty of other people to hang out with!

 

3. You Don’t Have To Look Like Everyone Else

The first thing I noticed about the NZ pinup scene was that everyone seemed to have a PUG Monica dress and BAIT shoes. I worried that I wouldn’t fit in without them, but they just weren’t in my budget.

Four years on and I still don’t have a Monica or BAIT shoes, and no one cares, because there are so many styles of pinup! When I think about well known pinups and vintage lovers, both locally and internationally, they all have their own personal style. Fashion is a form of self expression, use it!

If you don’t believe me, I literally dressed like a clown and people still loved it.

Velvet DeCollete is serving mid century jester realness in these cheesecake pinup photos by Tony McKay and the Beauty School Dropouts. Inspired by vintage playing card pin ups Velvet wears a Collectif clothing harlequin playsuit and custom made jester's ruff and frilly cuffs.

 

4. Not Every Hairstyle Will Work For You

This is a biggie. Please don’t beat yourself up because your victory rolls don’t work, or your curls won’t hold.

Not every hairstyle will work with your hair type. Hair length, thickness and texture play a huge part in the success of a hairstyle! My hair is fine, thin and frizzy, and I only have two go-to hairstyles. No joke, scroll through my gallery and you’ll notice them pretty quickly.

You don’t need to master tons of hairstyles right away. Figure out one or two that work with your hair type and just rock those until you’re confident. Or just add different flowers and scarves to the same one forever, like me haha!

Perfect one or two hairstyles at first, then branch out into others!

 

5. There’s A False Eyelash Applicator

Seriously, why did no one tell me this?

False eyelashes are my nemesis. I poke myself in the eye and get glue everywhere without my applicator! Putting fake lashes on is hell! Okay maybe I’m unco, but I can’t be the only one?

I had never successfully applied falsies until I discovered an applicator tool. It saved my sanity. I have this one, but there’s a multitude of different styles and brands available.

False eyelash applicators make applying full lashes for that pinup look so much easier!

6. YouTube Makeup Tutorials Exist

Youtube makeup tutorials saved my face, or at least my eyeliner. There’s tutorials for hooded eyes, contouring, cut crease eye shadow and every other makeup style on the planet. And they’re free! Whoop whoop!

I wish I’d known about video tutorials when I first forayed into pinup style. They’re my go-to when I need a new photoshoot makeup look, and helped me get to grips with winged liner for hooded eyes. Just type ‘pinup makeup tutorial’ or ‘vintage makeup tutorial’ in the search bar.

I’m still no makeup expert, but Youtube makeup tutorials definitely improved my makeup game. You can check out some of my favourite hair and makeup inspirations and tutorials over on Pinterest.

7. There Are Tons Of Events

Maybe there were fewer NZ pinup and vintage events when I started, but for the longest time I only knew about Beach Hop and Very Vintage Day Out!

In the last year it seems almost every car or hotrod event seems to have a pinup pageant, and there are vintage markets popping up regularly. Find your local pinup and vintage groups on Facebook to keep updated and can head along! Events are fab places to make new friends and get some low pressure stage experience if you’re thinking of entering Miss Pinup New Zealand later on.

Flying solo? Post in your local Facebook group and you’ll often find others going alone who are happy to meet up!

Miss Retro Beauty Beach Hop best dressed contest 2018

 

What did you wish you’d known when you’d started pinup?
Share your tips in the comments below, or on Instagram by tagging me, using my #lessbitchymorekitschy hashtag or commenting on the image for this post!

If you’re new to pinup style head on over to the Pinup Posse group. It’s a safe space for pinups and we’ll be happy to answer your questions about pinup and vintage style (yes, even the ones you think are silly.)

With Style & Sass,

Velvet DeCollete

Posted by velvetdecollete in LIFESTYLE, PINUP, 0 comments
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.

 

Previous-Miss-Pinup-New-Zealand-winners-alongside-MPUNZ-2017-Velvet-DeCollete

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.

 

Velvet-DeCollete-sketching-an-Edith-Head-design-during-the-talent-section-of-Miss-Pinup-New-Zealand-2017

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.

 

Miss-Pinup-New-Zealand-2017-contestants-line-up-in-their-beachwear-category-outfits

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.

 

Velvet-DeCollete-and-Mrs-Greatnews-celebrate-their-victories-at-Miss-Pinup-New-Zealand-2017

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

Waihi-Warmup-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.

Waihi-Warmup-Best-Dressed-Competition-Elvis

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!

vvdo-1-180

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!

 

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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!

 

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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