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How To Choose Your Pinup Pageant Gown

How To Choose Your Pinup Pageant Gown

When it came to prepping for Miss Pinup New Zealand 2017, evening wear was the outfit I was most excited about. Looking forward to 19 Black Miss Pinup NZ 2018 it’s the category I’m most excited to judge. It’s the section that steps furthest away from our daily lives, transporting us a to a world of romance and glamour.

But it is so different from our usual clothes. How do you pick a pinup pageant gown? What if you’re not a dress kinda gal?

Don’t stress doll, just read on for simple ways to choose your pageant gown….or ballgown, prom gown, fancy work-do gown etc etc.

Go With Your Gut

Don’t overthink it. If I learned one thing as a bridal consultant, it’s that overthinking takes the joy out of picking a dress.

If your gut says wear green even though you alwaaaaaaays wear green, do it (I did). If you are leaning towards a mermaid gown over a ballgown, but can’t really explain it, go for the mermaid. YOU DO NOT NEED TO CONSIDER EVERY OPTION. The more options you have the harder it is to make a decision and the more stressed you will be.

I picked out blue for my evening wear, but when I went to buy the fabric it just didn’t feel right. So I went for what called to me. Guess what? It was green. No surprises there! Worried that I’ve worn green evening gowns before I considered other options, but in the end I went with my gut and it was perfect! You can see more of my evening gown here.

Pinup lifestyle blogger and fashion Velvet DeCollete shares her favourite 1950's inspired olive green evening gown

 

Category Is….Colour Darling!

Colour plays a massive role in how we subconsciously perceive people. Use this in your favour by choosing an evening gown colour that reflects the personality traits you want to embody! It’s also worth considering what pinup celebrities have been wearing recently. If you immediately think of wearing that colour or gown style, chances are your competitors will too.

Let’s take a look at what your favourite colours might say, and get some gown inspo from our favourite Hollywood icons…

 Red

You are sexy, confident and bold! Red says you are here to be seen. Pinup bombshells love red and it’s a common colour in reproduction clothing. Reds can range from romantic to raunchy,  so make sure the cut of your gown works complements the shade.

What's the best colour evening gown for you?

 

 Pink

Pink is soft, delicate and feminine. Bright bubblegum pinks appear confident and quirky, while softer petal shades hint at sensitivity and vulnerability. Pink can be a super fun colour, but be careful that the cut of your gown doesn’t look childish! Pinks and peachy colours look beautiful for those with fair skin and light hair, but paler tones can wash out ladies with dark hair.

What the colour of your evening gown says about you

 

 Purple

Purple makes you look regal, extravagant, and adventurous. Associated with creativity, power, wealth and decadence, purple makes a statement that you’re already royalty.

Choosing your pin up ballgown

 

 Blue

Blue projects loyalty, intelligence and level headedness (there’s a reason it’s worn by politicians, policemen, surgeons and nurses). There’s a shade to complement almost every skin tone and hair colour.  Blue is growing in popularity among winning mainstream pageant gowns, and can sometimes look a little ‘safe’, so go bold with your gown design.

How to choose an evening gown

 

  Green

You are earthy, safe and peaceful. Green is known to be calming, revitalising and restful on the eyes. It isn’t a common colour choice for eveningwear and can make you look quirky and creative.

Which colour evening gown should you wear?

How to Choose your pinup pageant eveningwear

 

            Yellow and Orange

You are sassy, happy and exuberant! Yellow and orange have a fun, carefree vibe and make people think of happiness and summer. They’re a bold choice for evening wear, but can convey a sparkling personality like no other! (Just ensure you don’t stand between someone in a red gown and someone in a green gown.)

Hollywood glamour evening gown colours

 

White

Pure, angelic and dazzling, white is a always popular color for pageant evening gowns. It’s also (obviously) a very popular colour for wedding dresses, so make sure your gown has details that set it apart from a wedding gown. I haven’t seen too many white gowns in pinup pageants, but if you’re after Shirley Mclaine ice queen elegance, it’s a stunning choice.

How to choose the right eveningwear for a pinup contest

How to choose your pinup pageant ball gown

 

Grey

There’s a reason is called a ‘ grey area’. Grey isn’t here or there, and it says the same thing about your personality. Combine that with it’s inability to stand out under strong stage lights and maybe it’s a shade best left out of a pageant’s evening wear category.

 

   Black

Black is the most popular colour in mainstream evening wear, making us feel simultaneously edgy, sophisticated, safe and slimmer. We feel formal in black.  In pinup black brings to mind gothic beauties and film noir vixens.
Black isn’t hugely popular in pageants due to it’s association with funerals, and the fact it can easily blend in to a dark stage backdrop. Having said that, if you look incredible in black, the fact few competitors wear it can help you stand out!

Glamorous black pin up and vintage evening gowns

 

What If I’m Not an Evening Gown Kinda Gal?

Evening wear isn’t just for femme women. Look to the gender-bending or male stars of old Hollywood for inspiration. Think silk palazzo pants, tailored jackets, tuxedos or jumpsuits in luxe fabrics.

Cruella De Vil meets Marlene Dietrich and Pinup Glamour in this black and white photo set featuring Miss Pinup New Zealand Velvet DeCollete and alt pinup fetish photographer Froger

We’re all familiar with the dazzling Marlene Dietrich, yes?

Blonde Venus Marlene Dietrich in a white tuxedo

And Remember…

  • Off the rack gowns might need hemming, so try them on with your shoes well before competition day.
  • If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Avoid online sites like RoseGal and Retrostage, if it seems like an amazing deal on a well known design – It’s a knockoff. It will look cheap!
  • Practice walking up stairs and sitting in your gown so there are no surprises on the day.
  • Thinking about a bespoke gown? Get to your seamstress ASAP, as many of us are booked up months in advance of big events.

Most importantly, have fun and live the glamoooooouuuuuuur daaaaaarling!

With Style & Sass,

Velvet DeCollete

How to Choose your pin up pageant evening wear colour and style

 

Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, PINUP, 0 comments
1950’s Inspired Evening Gown Elegance

1950’s Inspired Evening Gown Elegance

I feel most myself in an evening gown. Being encased in yards of fabric makes me feel invincible, like an unquestionably fabulous avalanche of textiles. I know ya’ll are fancy gown fans too, so I’m I’m absolutely thrilled to document and share my favourite vintage inspired dress with you!

 

Vintage Gown Inspiration

Created in collaboration with my talented Mum, this dress was designed for my MPUNZ 2017 evening wear category. Drawing inspiration from the cascading overskirts and elegant sheaths of Dior and Balmain, we paid homage to iconic 1950’s designers.  Like a butterfly with folded wings, the combination of a narrow silhouette with nipped waist and voluminous skirts is utterly feminine and beguiling.

These are some of our reference images from the design process. See how the shape of the gown creates and enhances an hourglass figure?

 

1950s evening gowns by Dior, Balmain, Perlmutt and Co and James Galanos

 

Unlike these 1950’s vintage gowns, my dress doesn’t have an internal corset. My mum is waaaay more practical than me, she was concerned that I’d be unable to move around backstage, or that I’d pass out if I was both nervous and corseted! Her practicality resulted in the huge overskirts being attached to a removable waistband, something I was very thankful of once confined to the backstage area. Plus it means I can mix and match the skirts with other dresses!

The dress is made from stiff taffeta fabric in my signature olive green. (Similar but not identical in colour to my Orchid gown.) The overskirt has layers of gathered tulle sewn inside to support all that volume.

I chose a halterneck bodice for two reasons. Firstly I don’t have anything else with a halter. Secondly, it shows off my back and shoulders, they’re one of my favourite features!

Styling The Finished Evening Gown

 

With a beautifully cut gown you don’t need a lot of accessories.

My Mum created the gorgeous corsages on the bust and waist of the gown, using vintage velvet roses from her personal collection. Their vanilla and champagne petals have hints of green, matching the tulle layers in the overskirt. For the Miss Pinup New Zealand pageant I borrowed her champagne coloured gloves and wore diamante studded champagne satin shoes. ( you can see my MPUNZ look in the photo below, also by Elizabeth J!).

For my photoshoot I chose white vintage gloves and white satin shoes.

 

Velvet DeCollete Miss Pinup New Zealand 2017 photographed by Elizabeth J at the Very Vintage Day Out

 

For both occasions I wore a green 1950’s iridescent earring and necklace set, using the necklace as a bracelet. The green glass beads complement the gown’s olive taffeta, bringing the colour up to my face without being intrusive. I wore my hair the same simple ‘do as well.  I’d say it’s only because I like a sleek updo with a halterneck, but actually I’ve only perfected two hairstyles!

The Photoshoot

One of my Miss Pinup New Zealand prizes was a photoshoot with Elizabeth J Pinup photography. Liz has photographed so many of my pinup friends so it was wonderful to finally have a chance to work with her!

I’d like to express my enormous thanks to Samantha at Highwic House. We were incredibly lucky to secure a photoshoot at the iconic historic homestead, where crimson curtains and dark wood lent us moody olde worlde vibes.

 

 

Vintage Vogue Magazine images have always been the epitome of fashion photography for me. I love the soft, grainy quality of those early photographs. Sometimes slightly unfocused or blurred, the models looked out of the page through a dreamlike haze. A air of elegant aloofness pervaded, largely thanks to Dovima’s impeccably drawn and raised eyebrows. Liz and I wanted to capture that feeling.

 

Outfit Details

Dress | Bespoke gown by myself & my Mama
Gloves | Vintage, thrifted
Earrings & necklace | Vintage, Tock Tick Vintage
Shoes | Number One Shoes

Photography

All photos by Elizabeth J Pinup photography, who is super lovely, chatty and relaxed to work with
(phew! I fear the day I end up working with a very serious photographer haha!)

 

Do you have any questions about wearing or styling evening gowns? I’ll be writing about choosing your pinup pageant eveningwear soon, so drop me a line if there’s anything you’d like to know!

With Style & Sass,

Velvet DeCollete

Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, PINUP, 1 comment

Blue Hawaii | How To Wear All Colour With Zero Effort

It’s summer, and in summer I like to dress like a tropical island. Probably one with an early 1960’s themed resort and 24/7 kitschy soundtrack, because that’s how I roll. ( If these still exist, please tell me and I will 100% go there to live out my retro resort dreams.)

So in honour of pastel stucco’d resorts and mid century vacation-wear, this week’s look is all about COLOUR. Colour is synonymous with holidays for me, I can’t image lying on a beach or drinking cocktails poolside in neutral tones!
I’ll explain how I put together outfits that are bright and bold with almost zero effort. It’s actually so easy.  In fact, it’s how I taught myself to wear colour after my goth phase haha.

Just read on and join me in a tropical fantasy.

Pin up model and Miss Pinup New Zealand 2017 wearing retro tropical vintage reproduction summer tiki fashion

How To Wear All Colour With No Effort

Step One

Okay so step one is actually not even a step, it’s just having a vaguely organised wardrobe.

I’ve starting using a closet organiser app so I can search my clothes by colour, but before that I just hung my clothes in garment and rainbow order. Mostly because it looks pretty, but also because if all your clothes are organised by colour and clothing type it’s waaaaaay easier to find stuff.

Step Two

Start with the one thing you know you want to wear.
For me, it was this tropical print crop top.

Now if the garment or accessory you picked has a pattern this is a piece of cake. Just pick two or three colours out of the pattern that you know you have clothes and accessories in!
For this outfit I picked the blue, purple and bright green from the tropical print.

If the garment you picked is a solid colour you can pick any two colours that you like with it. OR you can pick something with a pattern that uses the colour of the item you picked and use colours from that.

That sounds super confusing so lets break it down; let’s say you picked a solid yellow skirt.
You might pick a yellow, orange and pink colour scheme because you like those colours together.
Or you might choose a floral top to wear with the skirt. The top has yellow and green on a pink background, in which case you’d have a yellow, green and pink colour scheme.
Make sense?

Step Three

Here’s where it all comes together.

Look at your wardrobe and pick out things you have in the colour scheme you’ve chosen.
I had a purple belt, some green and blue bangles, a pair of blue shoes, and a pair of multicoloured shoes.

Basically you can throw on any clothes and accessories in your colour scheme and your outfit should look sweet as tropical punch. Because we limited the amount of colours we’re using it won’t look chaotic.

BUT if you’re worried about your outfit looking too busy – which can be overwhelming if you’re a short, small person like me – you can split your outfit into two halves. I like to keep either the top or bottom half of my outfit a solid colour. Choosing the solid blue shoes and pants keeps my lower half looking streamlined, while the patterned top, bangle stack and belt accentuate my upper body and waist. Patterned clothes and pops of colour can draw attention to the parts of yourself you like the most!

 

Velvet DeCollete in the Remuera Gardens wearing sixties fashion colourful summer pinup outfit

 

Uh Oh?

What if you get to step three and realise you don’t own anything that goes with the garment you chose in step two?

Do you know what that means? You’re buying or keeping clothes that don’t match anything else in your wardrobe.
Do you always wear that top or skirt with neutral tones? Or do you never wear it at all? If you’re staring at your wardrobe and nothing seems to go with anything else, you might need to have a clear out and create a capsule wardrobe!

Kiwi pin up icon Miss Victory Violet has a fantastic capsule wardrobe section on her blog. She shows you examples of capsule wardrobes and all the outfits you can make from just ten well chosen pieces!

 

Miss Pinup New Zealand 2017 Velvet DeCollete wearing modern retro inspired colourful pin up clothes


Outfit Details

Crop Top | Custom by Velvet DeCollete ( me!)
Pedal Pushers | Pin Up Girl Clothing – Preloved
Belt & Bangles | Thrifted
Shoes | Number One Shoe Warehouse
Sunglasses | Boohoo.com

See this top with it’s original skirt and bangles

Style Tip | Mixing smooth and carved bangles of different sizes kept my lil’ bangle stack looking ‘ equal parts curated and haphazard‘, as accessory maven Fran Robertson puts it. Fran is the unchallenged queen of stylish overkill and she wrote all about building the perfect bangle stack! I highly recommend giving her post a read if you need some bangle inspiration.

Would you look at my fluffy hair!!! The humidity was killer when we shot this outfit, and my beautiful Priscilla Presley curls and bouffant just turned into frizz and fluff. What a waste of setting spray. For makeup I went with a neutral eye and a 1960’s inspired nude lip.

 

Velvet DeCollete blue and green retro pinup girl style

Velvet DeCollete at the Remuera Gardens wearing a sixties tropical style inspired outfit

Shoot Details

Photos | Froger
Model, HMUA, Styling | Me

 

Velvet DeCollete soft summer colours retro style pinup photo

With Style & Sass,

Velvet DeCollete

Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, PINUP, 5 comments
Start Your Engines | A Bad Girl Photo shoot

Start Your Engines | A Bad Girl Photo shoot

Bad girls have more fun. Especially with big shiny Cadillacs and skintight powermesh skirts.

This set was shot outside an imposing vintage venue, next to a busy dog walking park. That’s right, wholesome citizens innocently walking their dogs saw a lot more than they expected. But that’s kind of what we do right?

Stylewise this shoot is a mix of classic pin up and fetish inspired fashion. I wanted the silhouette of an 1950’s or early 60’s wiggle dress, but with the brazen sexiness of a retro grindhouse heroine. Layering garments of varying opacity and texture a game of skin hide and seek for the viewer.

My Photoshoot tip | Contrasting garments with different finishes and opacity helps the camera capture detail when photographing an all black outfit. Meaning you won’t turn into a big dark blob!

Scroll down for a full outfit breakdown.

Wardrobe and photography style can create give the same location a whole new mood. Check out my Cadillac Dreams post to see the set we shot just before this one – same location but a totally different vibe!

 

Start your engines! Velvet DeCollete mixes classic pinup with sexy grindhouse style in this bad girl photoshoot featuring a sleek and sexy Cadillac.

Alternative pinup bad girl Velvet DeCollete poses in skintight black mesh against a pastel Cadillac car

Good girl gone bad alt pinup model Velvet DeCollete poses in mesh and leather with her puppy

Outfit Breakdown

Black Satin Bra | Pleasure State
Lace and Mesh Bodysuit | Stella McCartney
Mesh Skirt | Retro Lip Service
Leather Belt | Alannah Hill
Gloves and necklace | Vintage
Sunglasses and Earrings | Tock Tick Vintage
Hosiery | Pretty Polly Vintage Top Nylons
Shoes | Borrowed from my Mother’s collection
Bracelet | Gift

 

A beehive hairstyle and cateye glasses are all you need for retro bad girl style. Black and white sexy pinup photo

Good girl gone bad, or just plan bad? Velvet DeCollete is the perfect mix of vintage pin up and fetish inspired sex appeal in this black and white pinup photo

Good girl gone bad, or just plan bad? Velvet DeCollete is the perfect mix of vintage pin up and fetish inspired sex appeal in this black and white pinup photo

Shoot Details

Photographer | Froger
Shoot Assistant | LaVonne from Tock Tick Vintage
Model | Velvet DeCollete (moi)
Puppy Wrangler | My Ever Patient Husband

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The upside of shooting near a dog park? Our then-puppy Echo got to ride along. Look how liddle she was!

We adopted Echo from an animal rescue shelter after falling in love at first sight ( After I was adamant we’d look at lots of dogs haha). It’s lovely to have photos before she grew up all big and serious looking, I can’t believe she was ever this tiny.

With Style & Sass,

Velvet DeCollete

 

 

Posted by velvetdecollete in PINUP, 3 comments

Spiderweb Style | My Top 5 Picks for Halloween

Ever since Cheryl Blossom rocked that gigantic spider brooch in Riverdale, creepy crawlies have invaded the pinup world. Now with Halloween lurking around the corner, there’s no better time to fall under the spiderweb spell.

I treat everyday like Halloween ( fancy dress and candy anyone?), so I’ve had plenty of time to narrow down my 5 favourite spiderweb inspired clothes and accessories. Whether you’re after an everyday option or some spooky glamour for the Blood Moon Ball, you’ll feel at home as an arachnid in these web embellished treats.

*  Just so you know, I wasn’t hired, paid, sponsored, bribed or blackmailed to talk about these items, they’re legit my favourites *

Oooh and keep your eyes peeled for a special Halloween discount code!

The Black Widow Skirt | Devel Branded

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Up first simply because I’ve been coveting it the longest, the Black Widow Skirt by NZ designer Devel Branded.

The Black Widow skirt ticks all my investment piece boxes:
Hardwearing? Check!
That spiderweb is heavy duty top stitching so it’s not going to flake  off in the wash or wear off over time like printed designs can do.
Versatile? Check!
I’ve seen this skirt rocked with a band tee and chucks, and glammed up with a blouse and heels. It really can go anywhere.

Ethical and made by a small business? Check!
Devel is passionate about creating ethical, quality clothing.  She makes every piece herself, I’ve seen her stuff first hand and it’s impeccable!

You can order yours now, or find more photos and backstory on the Black Widow skirt on the Devel branded blog.
Exclusive Halloween Treat : Devel loves Halloween as much as I do, so she’s treating you to 10% off Black Widow Skirts! Use the code VelvetDevel, valid until September 30th 2017.

Widow Weaver Gowns | Honey L’Amour

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Honey L’Amour just keeps getting better. Delivering gothic glamour in two styles the Widow Weaver dresses are Halloween ball ready.

Are you a pinup mistress of the dark? Or a cocktail sipping black widow? Made to order, these pin up worthy gowns offer a delectable buffet of choices.  Choose from stretch velvet or stretch cotton sateen, white or silver spiderweb embroidery, and of course cocktail or mermaid length.
Personally my favourite is the mermaid gown. I love how the spider web embroidery flares out from knee and sparkles on the bustline. Chic, darkly elegant, and showing off your curves in aaaaaalll the right places.

Even better, Honey is a local New Zeland based designer, when you buy from her you’re supporting a small business and an adorable pinup does a happy dance!

Both styles are available on Honey L’Amour’s website, but get in quick as there is a three week turnaround!

Carved Acrylic Handbag | Bubble Witch

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Are you seeing this? Or am I just imagining the world’s most perfect evening bag?

Ethically made by Bubble Witch, a small business based in Leeds, England, this acrylic clutch is inspired by 1940’s and 1950’s lucite purses.
That gloriously asymmetric spiderweb is carved in, then painted gold. It’s the kind of bag I imagine Vampira or Morticia Addams toting, so obviously I want it. Ideal for the pinup witch accessorising her evening gown, leather look wiggle dress or creepy cocktail ensemble.

While it’s pricier than I could normally justify for a bag, it brings me such ghoulish delight that it had to be in my top 5 Halloween picks. ( And let’s face it, I’d use it at every opportunity. )

You can pick the spiderweb purse up on the Bubble Witch Etsy store.

The Miss Muffet Skirt | Hell Bunny Clothing

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This freakin adorable skirt is the only mass produced item to make my top 5, modeled here by the drop dead gorgeous Teer of Curves to Kill .

We all go crazy for skirts with decent pockets, and the pocket detail is what sold me on this skirt! I love how the spider web design is worked around the pocket opening, and accented with the white hem piping. Super cute and wearable all year round.

Available in New Zealand from Napier supplier Two Lippy Ladies.
( The only reason I don’t already own this is that the smallest Hell Bunny size is too big in the waist for me, *sob* )

Spiderweb Sunglasses

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Within a somewhat more realistic budget are the cute cateye sunglasses with spiderweb pin striping below. Those are from Spitfire Interiors. I’ve seen various versions by different brands, so to be honest, they’re a completely do-able Halloween fashion DIY for those so inclined.

Like most of my top 5 spiderweb style picks, cobweb sunglasses are Halloween ready, but also a wearable wardrobe addition whatever the season!

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What do you think of my top 5 spider web inspired style picks? Have any favourites of your own? Drop me a comment and let me know!

I’m off to work on some Halloween goodness of my own for the Blood Moon Ball. Don’t forget to picks up your tickets, or dinner and ticket combo here and I’ll see you for a night of macabre madness on October 28th!

With Style and Sass,

          Velvet DeCollete

Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, PINUP, 3 comments

A Very Vintage Day Out 2015 | Pt. 1

One day I will die of hairspray inhalation. No joke.

Yesterday was the amazing vintage wonderment that is the Very Vintage Day Out, and it saw my hair soar to new heights of backcombing and hairspray. SO MUCH HAIRSPRAY. Totally worth it though to finish my purple 1960’s inspired ensemble with a suitable bouffant beehive! After finishing my dress some time in the darkness of Friday evening, I was up bright and early Saturday morning to backcomb and makeup before the Photo Safari. Cue an hour of madness with pretty girls and giant cameras swarming around a bevy of brilliant classic cars. Even that early in the day the NZ sun was determined to send us home somewhat pinker than we had arrived.

I spent the rest of the day gushing over vintage wares, listening to rockabilly bands and yelling my heart out in support of the four friends I had competing for the Miss Pinup New Zealand title. What a show!

Making it to the final five of the VVDO Best dressed competition before winning Best Dressed at the Wildcat Shakeout was the cherry on top of a lovely day – how lucky can a girl be?

The Outfit

Dress | 1960’s style wiggle dress with option reversible overskirt made by me (See my work here!)
Stockings | Pretty Polly backseam nylons
Gloves | Vintage satin opera gloves with pearl buttons
Jewellery | Vintage faux pearl 3 strand necklace and earrings – Thrifted
Fabric hair flowers | Borrowed from my fabulously stylish Mama
Shoes | Delicious Shoes  – Mercy in black satin

Photos are starting to roll in, please share yours if you went – I’d love to see them!

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pinup girl, vintage style, pinup gal, nz pinup model, velvet decollete, pinup photo, vintage events new zealand, pinup hair, pinup makeup, pinup style, 1950s, 1960s, retro

Yoohoo! Check out part two of my VVDO coverage here and the 2016 event here!

With style & sass,

          Velvet DeCollete

Posted by velvetdecollete in ADVENTURES, PINUP, 5 comments