pinup

A Photographic Tribute to John Willie

A Photographic Tribute to John Willie

Foreword

I first published this fetish inspired photo set back in February 2016.

One of my first forays into alternative pinup, it was a vital step toward developing my own style as a pinup model. Looking back at it now, I feel like it was a decade ago – Ruby and I look so young! With fetish influenced material now making up a high percentage of my modelling catalogue it seems like a notable shoot to revisit…

Alternative Pin up models Velvet DeCollete and Ruby Von Rifle pose in corsets, gloves and thigh high nylons for an homage to fetish godfather John Willie

My original 2016 Post ( With a Little Fleshing Out )

As a vintage loving model and designer I’m ever excited to pay tribute to those who shaped the worlds of fashion, pinup and vintage erotica. Illustrator and publisher of Bizarre magazine John Willie played an enormous role in these areas, so when Froger approached me about a photographic homage I was immediately on board.

 

Whisked off to a secret derelict location with co-model and friend Ruby Von Rifle, we worked in dingy, damp surroundings to create a fitting tribute to Sweet Gwendoline and her more dominant counterparts. It’s a more fetishistic theme than my previous shoots; something that presents its own challenges but which I thoroughly enjoyed and hope you will too x

 

froger, velvet decollete, ruby von rifle, fetish, vintage, corset, lingerie, john willie, bizarre, tribute, photoshoot, sweet gwendoline, damsel in distress, pinups, pinup girls, stockings, riding crop

Pin up models Velvet DeCollete and Ruby Von Rifle pose for a photographic tribute to Sweet Gwendoline creator and Bizarre fetish magazine publisher John Willie

Pin up models Velvet DeCollete and Ruby Von Rifle pose for a photographic homage to fetish magazine creator John Willie

 

Outfit Breakdown
-Damsel in Distress-

Vintage yellow robe & nightgown | Preloved
Sheer nude nylons | Pretty Pins Hosiery

Would you believe that nightgown and robe are from different sets!? Both are vintage nylon garments and are identical shades of lemon sorbet yellow. I found the nightgown in a op shop, it has the loveliest sheer embroidered midsection. The robe came with a fluffy babydoll nightgown I purchased on Trademe. You can find photos and info on that set in my Lemon Souffle Sleepwear post.

 

froger, velvet decollete, ruby von rifle, fetish, vintage, corset, lingerie, john willie, bizarre, tribute, photoshoot, sweet gwendoline, dominatrix, fetish, pinups, pinup girls, stockings, riding cropfroger, velvet decollete, ruby von rifle,dominatrix, fetish, vintage, corset, lingerie, john willie, bizarre, tribute, photoshoot, sweet gwendoline, damsel in distress, pinups, pinup girls, stockings, riding crop froger, velvet decollete, ruby von rifle,dominatrix, fetish, vintage, corset, lingerie, john willie, bizarre, tribute, photoshoot, pinups, pinup girls, stockings, riding crop
Outfit Breakdown
-Madame in Charge-

Corset | Corset Story
Wet Look Garter Belt & Gloves | Khandikane.co.nz
Knickers | Dita Von Teese Lingerie
Shoes | Gifted
Fully fashioned nylon stockings | Photographer’s own

Nothing makes me feel more in control than a black on black outfit. For fear of sounding like a broken record, creating a photo friendly black ensemble is all about layering those textures! Here I’m wearing a mix of smooth black satin, glossy PVC, sheer nylon and suede leather.

Visit Froger’s website to see more of Ruby and I, as well as a bevy of foxy vintage and alternative dames.

With Style & Sass,

Velvet DeCollete

 

 

 

froger, velvet decollete, dominatrix, fetishruby von rifle, fetish, vintage, corset, lingerie, john willie, bizarre, tribute, photoshoot, sweet gwendoline, damsel in distress, pinups, pinup girls, stockings, riding crop

 

Posted by velvetdecollete in PINUP, 2 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!

 

vvdo-1-448

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!

 

vvdo-2-215-1

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
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

11163567_862859797106133_2061875968_o

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, 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

Black & White Glamour | Pin Up Photoshoot

What’s black and white and glam all over?
Me, with my fancy pants and giant fluffy stole.

From Coco to Audrey to Cruella De Vil, black and white fashion has always been simultaneously bold and chic.

Often employed for understated elegance or graphic mod style, black and white can be effortlessly cool. However exaggerated glamour is more my jam! Extremes of femininity and texture have inspired my upcoming collectionof uber fluffy faux fur mega stoles! This boa/stole hybrid that looks like a sexy skunk is one of the pieces I’ve been working on, and trust me, it’s so decadently soft and enveloping.

Marlene Dietrich, Cabaret and our Queen Dita Von Teese sparked the concept for this shoot. I wanted to reference the black and white publicity shots of Hollywood’s golden era, but with an intimate, personal edge.

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

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

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

Outfit Details

Mega Fur Stole | Velvet DeCollete
Jacket | Preloved via Trademe
Trousers | Thrifted
Corset | Corset Story
Knickers | Trademe
Gloves | Vintage
Hat | Borrow from my Mother
Fully Fashioned Stockings | Photographers own
Shoes | Thrifted

Love monochrome but hate boring outfits? I layer textures and shapes to create a black based outfit that looks luxe, not lazy. Styled specifically to be shot in black and white, the textural blacks are offset with two bold pops of white; long gloves and my faux fur.
Pairing soft, wide leg trousers with a constricting corset and thick wool jacket creates a silhouette that’s feminine while referencing masculine style elements.

Can you believe the satin trousers and jacket are both from the oppy? ( That’s a thrift shop to my American friends ). So is the hat, an equestrian dressage topper found by my mother in a small town St. Paul’s.

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

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

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

Photography | Froger

That photo above is one of my favourites right now. Froger catches me between full poses sometimes and those relaxed photos stand out from my other facial expressions ( to me at least!).  Pinup and glamour lovers can find the rest of this set over at Froger’s photography website. I highly recommend subscribing to his member’s area because holy hairspray does he photograph some stone cold foxes!

With Style & Sass,

     Velvet DeCollete

Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, PINUP, 3 comments

Cadillac Dreams | Hollywood Inspired Pinup Photoshoot

Bad girls may have more fun, but Paramount girls get away with it.

Inspired by the elegance of classic Hollywood and it’s movie starlets this is the sister set to Start Your Engines | A bad Girl Photo Shoot. Shot in the same location with the same magnificent Cadillac this set takes style inspiration from the publicity shots of 1930’s – 1950’s cinema stars. (With a few ‘paparazzi’ style shots thrown in for fun and accuracy).

 

Cadillac Hollywood Starlet | Pinup Photoshoot | Velvet DeCollete

Cadillac Hollywood Starlet | Pinup Photoshoot | Velvet DeCollete

The Inspiration

Back in the golden age of Hollywood film companies like Paramount and MGM would arrange photographers to snap their new stars at home ( usually not even their real home!) and at social events. These not so candid images were vintage equivalent of an intentionally unintentional looking celebrity Instagram photo.

My outfit inspiration was a chic movie star. Is she attending a cocktail party as some luxe resort? Heading to a rendezvous with her lover? Or is she on her way home, in the clothes she wore the night before? Either way, her studio will cover up any indiscretions.

Inspired by these totally posed but supposedly unexpected publicity photos, we shot a mix of classic glamour and paparazzi style images. This is one of the first photoshoots I worked with Froger on and it’s still one of my favourites today.

 

 

Outfit Breakdown 

Wiggle Dress | Velvet DeCollete – sewn from a Vintage Vogue pattern
Gloves, Sunglasses, Bag & Fur | Tock Tick Vintage
Shoes | Pulp Noir
Vintage Imitation Pearl Necklace | Gifted
Earrings | Diva
Hosiery | Pretty Polly

 

Cadillac Hollywood Starlet | Pinup Photoshoot | Velvet DeCollete

Cadillac Hollywood Starlet | Pinup Photoshoot | Velvet DeCollete

How beautiful is the vintage fawn skin bag in the photo above? I nicknamed it ‘The Bambi Bag’. Unsurprisingly it’s part of La Vonne’s personal collection, alongside the fur stole.

Oh and did I mention Elvis stopped by? He’s such a hoot!

Cadillac Dreams | Velvet DeCollete

Photographer | Froger
Shoot Assistant | LaVonne from Tock Tick Vintage
Model | Velvet DeCollete (moi)

With Style & Sass,

               Velvet DeCollete

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by velvetdecollete in PINUP, 1 comment

Choosing & Caring for Vintage Clothing | Secrets of a Vintage Store Owner

Wearing and caring for vintage clothing is immensely rewarding but also nerve wracking. Which pieces should you buy? How do you clean that delicate fabric? Where do you even start? While Google is great I’m wary of unproven cleaning methods.

Instead I turn to La Vonne ( Doyenne of the recently retired Tock Tick Vintage store ) for her tried and true tips on selecting and maintaining a gorgeous vintage wardrobe. With a lifetime of experience and impeccable taste to match, Lavonne’s a goldmine of knowledge! If you’re always buying clothes but have nothing to wear, you’ll want to check out my 5 ways to buy the right vintage, not any vintage.

VIntage dresses at Tock Tick Vintage | Velvet Decollete

LaVonne what do you look for or avoid when buying vintage items?

Early on I used to collect almost every vintage item from last century (pre 1980) that crossed my path, as I just love finding and collecting vintage lovelies.  Over time I have developed a more selective approach as some items are more commercial, collectible, rare and so on.  These days I try to procure pieces that translate easily into more modern day styling or quality timeless pieces that have withstood the test of time; either in functionality, style or both.  I am very particular about quality and I really do try to offer the best quality vintage I can, bearing in mind that some items were created decades ago, so some flaws are inevitable and to be expected.  Great care is taken in laundering and making tiny repairs if necessary to offer the items as close to the original as possible.

When I’m out searching for vintage treasure, the condition of the item is very important to me.  Whilst some items are simply great to have because they are like museum pieces and marking a moment in time, generally most are going to be worn regularly and need to reflect that in their condition.  I avoid items where the fabric is decaying or brittle. Vintage silks are beautiful, but when you hold them up to the light you can see the fibers are breaking, sheer or rotting.  Be mindful that certain fabrics, particularly natural fibers, do have a lifespan.  

Therefore my main tip for buying vintage clothing is to buy good quality.  Avoid items that have major faults.  Better to pay a little more for quality key pieces than having a wardrobe brimming with ‘average’ items.

If you could recommend one starter piece to someone new to vintage style, what would it be and why?

Vintage jewellery, hands down.  Add a brooch and earring set to a little black dress you already own and boom!, the stunning attention to vintage detail has us wondering if your entire ensemble is vintage too. The other wonderful thing about vintage accessories: they generally aren’t size dependent. I can wear a modern simple black dress and  accompany it with my beautiful handbag, gloves, brooch and hat.  The size of the dress is irrelevant yet the vintage detailing makes the outfit.

vintage accessories from Tock Tick vintage | Velvet DeCollete

Lavonne Says

Brooches added to a hat, a scarf, on a jacket.  Fabulous.  

A string of simple pearls, always in style!  

Similarly a black jet necklace!

Clip on earrings!  

Take a look at Mad Men folks … every woman is wearing jewellery to polish off her look.  These items are affordable too.  Compared to buying a dress or an entire outfit, you can add your $30 earring, brooch and necklace set to many outfits.  To your twinset, with your capris on the weekend, or on the bodice of your evening gown. 

Just a tip, if you are not used to wearing clip on or screw on earrings they can take a little getting used to! However, like wearing in a new pair of shoes, it’s the same for your vintage earrings.  Wear them for an hour at a time around the house often and over time your ears will get accustomed to them.  Got a great pair of classic shoes?  Your clip on earrings can double as pretty shoes clips to give your outfit instant vintage glam !

Tock Tick Vintage is known for your stock of wonderful furs. How do you clean and maintain them?

  • Firstly, I recommend you do the following with any of your valuable clothing items:
    P
    lace the garment outside on a hanger two or three times a year on a gentle breezy day (not too hot and sunny, furs don’t really like too much bright sun for too long and extended heat dries out the leather pelt).  Ventilating your clothing is a simple and easy way to keeping them fresh.
  • I purchased a natural soft bristle pet brush from the pet store (was not expensive) … and every now and then I brush the fur, this is actually quite a tactile lovely process I find.  It aerates the fur, removing any dust particles  and keeping it silky. Of course, dealing with many furs it’s handy for me to have a brush.  You can do this with clean hands for the same effect.
  • Getting rid of that musty smell. You can hang the fur in a garment bag and place an open envelope full of coffee granules at the bottom, zip it up and leave it for about three days.  Take the fur out of the bag,  brush it, replace the coffee and repeat for another  three days.  Then air the fur outside for an hour or so over a weekend.  The fur will smell of coffee for a short time but this will completely go, as will ‘that smell’.  This is surprisingly effective!I also personally use a solution of one parts vodka to 3 parts water in a spray bottle to remove smells. Hanging the fur outside on the line, I stand back from the fur and spray a fine mist over the fur (and articles of vintage clothing too) making sure to not wet the items, but mist them.  Allow to dry then brush.  I have never caused any damage to my items through this process but of course care is required.
  • Never store your furs in plastic .. they need to breathe .. in fact never cover with anything when in storage. If possible, store in a dark cool place (closet is fine) .. but maybe place a hook from the ceiling or on the wall in there so it can hang slightly separate (ie) you don’t want it to be squished between all your other clothes, will flatten the fur and will not allow air to circulate around it.
  • I highly recommend buying a product like ‘DampRid’ and keeping these in your wardrobes. Not to protect just your fur, but your other wardrobe treasures.  I find I replace these quarterly at a cost of around $7 per time.  These little buckets of moisture absorbing crystals are incredibly effective at keeping moisture and mould out of your wardrobe. Not a bad investment for keeping your clothes in great shape at $30 per year.
    I know it seems straight forward, but run your hands though the garments in your wardrobe each week and quickly vacuum the floor and ceiling as part of your housework routine. This keeps dust and wee bugs away from your treasures and is another simple 30 second solution to help keep your clothes fresh.
  • Your fur needs to be placed on a decent wide, padded or shaped coat hanger  to retain good shape and be well supported. I have had customers purchase furs that they are going to keep displayed on a mannequin in their home.  This is fine so long as it is never in direct sunlight, is in a relatively cool position  and is regularly brushed and shaken to keep it aired and dust free.  I agree, they look beautiful, why not display them!!!!
  • Gentle surface washing will do no harm to fur, but wetting the pelt might make the fur fall out.  Using a very mild baby or pet shampoo diluted with water then using a cloth or a brush the solution to clean the fur without penetrating the pelt works well.
  • When you see a label on vintage fur items ‘clean using the furrier method only’ this refers to a process where furs were tumbled in machines filled with gritty sawdust .. the dry friction cleaned the leather and left the fur silken and clean.
    I have effectively cleaned fur stoles/collars/hats  with unprocessed bran (gently heated in the oven first).  You then place the fur in large bag (pillowcase even) with bran.  Shake it around vigorously for a few minutes, then discard and brush out the bran.  This is pretty labour intensive, the bran takes ages to brush out, but it really absorbs smells and dirt and leaves the piece lovely.  Crazy I know!Caring for vintage furs | Velvet DeCollete

As furs were more common in the past, there were expert furriers that would care for fur treasures.  These are now difficult to find and possibly quite expensive. I personally use common sense with my fur care.  If you pay $100 for a vintage fur stole you may not necessarily wish to go to the expense of paying a professional to care for it.  The silver fox fur I owned is still as immaculate as the day I purchased it some 20 plus years ago just by using some common sense. That said, if you own a top quality blue fox coat that cost thousands of dollars, I do recommend getting it the professional care it requires.  

I don’t know of any furriers in Auckland but I am sure if you check with your trusted dry cleaner they could point you in the right direction.  I would imagine in cities with colder climates where fur coats might be worn more commonly due to temperature, more places would be available to purchase and care for fur.

This all sounds very in depth.  It is actually relatively simple.  I make small mends when seams come apart and I spot clean if I have to.  When buying a vintage item there will often be imperfections, these items have been lovingly worn over time and that is to be expected.  You will lovingly wear it and care for it too.

Top tips for keeping your vintage clothing in good condition from vintage store owner LaVonne

What do you feel are the most important accessories for vintage style?

It’s no surprise I’m obsessed with vintage accessories.  I would toddle off to Secretarial College in the mid 1980’s wearing my Nana’s 1950’s houndstooth coat with black fur collar, my Mother’s 1960’s patent handbag and a pair of slingback black suede winklepicker shoes.  Ironically I never questioned my ‘look’, whether is was current or relevant, whether it was appropriate even, I just loved those items and I felt fabulous.  Those vintage treasures brought me real joy.  They in some way transported a piece of me back in time, gave homage to those I loved and were different to anything I could find in high street stores.  I guess that was the beginning of the obsession.

Whether fully immersed in vintage styling or you have alternative or eclectic tastes, or just love the beauty of pieces crafted in a time of quality and attention to detail … vintage can be a great way to individualise your wardrobe with things you’ll love.

Vintage accessories are so great for this.  My collection of vintage handbags is vast however I always recommend to my customers that owning a black and a neutral vintage handbag is a great start as then you can always add that vintage flair to your outfit .  You can add a brightly coloured hair flower to your classic handbag to tie in your look.  

My vintage go-to accessories

Jewellery

Handbags

Gloves

Scarves

Classic coat

Fur (or faux fur) collars

It really is fun hunting out those vintage pretties to tie an outfit together.  Don’t be afraid to experiment and enjoy.  Remember; if you love something .. isn’t the joy you get from that piece what’s special? ♡

Vintage shopping tips from Tock Tick Vintage

A few of La Vonne’s happy customers.

And there you have it, expert do’s and dont’s for protecting and laundering your vintage treasures! I recommend you bookmark or pin this post, I come back and refer to it whenever I have a new-to-me vintage garment that needs some TLC.

With Style & Sass,

   Velvet DeCollete

 

Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, LIFESTYLE, 3 comments
Living The Pin Up Mermaid Dream

Living The Pin Up Mermaid Dream

What did you want to be when you grew up? A princess, a fireman, a racecar driver? A mermaid?

I wanted to be a florist (until extreme hayfever came along. Universe says No.), but I still felt like a kid when my mermaid tail arrived.

That’s right, I bought a mermaid tail.
I wore it to the beach.
In winter.
It was freeeeeeeeezing.
But so, so worth it.

Pinup Mermaid Velvet DeCollete sunbathes on a boulder at a beach In New Zealand

Pinup Mermaid Velvet DeCollete sunbathes on a boulder at a beach In New Zealand

Actually I bought two tails and a monofin. After trying and failing to buy locally due to horrific customer service, I ordered the Liquid Sun Gold and Catalina Green tails from the2tails.com. Shipping and currency conversion from the United States were a bit of a killer, but I was stubbornly set on having them by this point.

I contacted 2Tails about sizing as the adult tail measurements looked too large for me. They strongly recommended I go with the adult size. Unfortunately it is a bit loose around the hips and very loose around my 26″ waist. I fold the excess fabric down inside but I could have sized down to the teenage tail.

My styling for this shoot was inspired by mermaids from vintage advertising and pinup illustrations. I left most of my hair to it’s wild natural curl with a Mermaid Lagoon inspired roll in the front. I custom made the the clamshell bra and mermaid shell hairpiece. Don’t the pearly tones and neutral coloured shells work beautifully with the golds and bluey greys of the tail, sand, sky and sea?

Pinup Mermaid Velvet DeCollete sunbathes on a boulder at a beach In New Zealand

Pinup Mermaid Velvet DeCollete sunbathes on a boulder at a beach In New Zealand

If you’d like your own mermaid bra ( available with or without straps ), hairpiece or colour coordinated set be sure to get in touch!
I was silly enough to run out of spirit gum, so I spray glued mine on for these photos. 10/10 do not recommend. The removal pain was real.

I haven’t worn the green mermaid tail for a photoshoot yet, just in the pool, but I’m lending it to the fabulous Mrs Greatnews for her photos soon! I can’t wait to see her owning her pinup mermaid glory.

Before I go, can we get a high five for my awesome husband? He took these photos when the photographer ( who requested the shoot ) didn’t show up!

Photos | James Beck
Model | Velvet Decollete
Clamshell Bra and Hairpiece | Velvet DeCollete
Mermaid Tail | The2Tails

With Style & Sass,

      Velvet DeCollete

Posted by velvetdecollete in PINUP, 2 comments
Florals for a Florist | Sam’s Custom Swing Dress

Florals for a Florist | Sam’s Custom Swing Dress

Some people put a smile on your dial in an instant. Samantha is one of those people!

She’s also a total babe.

Florist and Heritage New Zealand worker Samantha wearing her custom made floral 1950's swing dress designed and made by Velvet Decollete. Velvet is a pinup girl, vintage blogger and clothing designer

We met at The Very Vintage Day Out 2015, in the fruit smoothie queue – as ya do- and struck up a conversation over our outfits. Samantha’s enthusiasm and humour over the glories and pitfalls of pinup style was contagious, and I was thrilled when she contacted me about a custom dress.

Sam needed a dress for a family wedding. She was doing the flowers, so she needed to retain an easy range of movement, but still look amazing ( obviously).  Inspired by her vivacious nature, I designed something bright that showed off her stunning tattoos. I really wanted to make her feel special

The Dress

Bright floral swing dress custom made for florist and Heritage New Zealand worker Samantha by Velvet Decollete. Velvet is a pinup girl, vintage blogger and clothing designer specialising in 1950s and vintage reproduction inspired gowns, made to measure.

Bright floral swing dress custom made for florist and Heritage New Zealand worker Samantha by Velvet Decollete. Velvet is a pinup girl, vintage blogger and clothing designer specialising in 1950s and vintage reproduction inspired gowns, made to measure.
Bright floral swing dress custom made for florist and Heritage New Zealand worker Samantha by Velvet Decollete. Velvet is a pinup girl, vintage blogger and clothing designer specialising in 1950s and vintage reproduction inspired gowns, made to measure.

Bright floral swing dress custom made for florist and Heritage New Zealand worker Samantha by Velvet Decollete. Velvet is a pinup girl, vintage blogger and clothing designer specialising in 1950s and vintage reproduction inspired gowns, made to measure.

The resulting swing dress combined elements from the 50’s style gowns she loved, mixed with the modern comfort of a stretch cotton sateen. As always I tailored the dress to Sam’s shape for a perfect fit ( Well fitting clothes are so important but can be hard to find for our curvy pinups! ).

The bodice is fully boned for support and shaping, and while  bright floral print is colourful it doesn’t clash with her fiery red hair. Stretch mesh allows movement in the folded cowl around the wide neckline. A feminine bow and a line of sassy cobalt blue covered buttons finish the back.

For the Very Vintage Day Out 2016  Sam accessorised her dress with the most gorgeous jewel green hat, green shoes and a wide white belt.

Florist and Heritage New Zealand worker Samantha wearing her custom made floral 1950's swing dress designed and made by Velvet Decollete. Velvet is a pinup girl, vintage blogger and clothing designer
Florist and Heritage New Zealand worker Samantha wearing her custom made floral 1950's swing dress designed and made by Velvet Decollete. Velvet is a pinup girl, vintage blogger and clothing designer

Sam was stoked with her dress and we’re excited be working on another gown later this year!

” Velvet is such a star! We bumped into each other at the very vintage day out in 2015 and early 2016 she finished off a beautiful custom dress for me! She was a dream to work with, a very clever lady and such a sweetheart. ”
– Samantha Keen

 

Photos of Samantha | Fran Robertson – Taken at VVDO 2016

 

If you’re interested in having your own dream garment made, you can contact me here for more information and to discuss your ideas. More happy clients and their stories can be found on my Fashion Design Page for your viewing pleasure!

With Style and Sass,

 

       Velvet DeCollete

Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, 0 comments