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Last month Jaimee Beck was crowned win­ner of Miss Pinup New Zealand, the pageant that cel­e­brates vin­tage style and women of all shapes and sizes. Now the 29-year-old pinup model and lover of 1940s glam­our, who goes by the stage name Vel­vet DeCol­lete, is en­cour­ag­ing other women to get out of those black clothes and em­brace glam­our and fem­i­nin­ity.

A typ­i­cal Sun­day can be re­ally hec­tic for me. I’m a fashion de­signer by trade, I make be­spoke wed­ding gowns and I also co-pro­duce events. An av­er­age Sun­day for me can be any­thing from see­ing clients and do­ing con­sults to pack­ing down af­ter a mas­sive event. If I’m re­ally lucky my hus­band, James, and I will have the day off to­gether, we’ll watch a cou­ple of movies and I’ll spend four hours cook­ing a roast. My roast of choice is pork be­cause I love the crack­ling. I’ve got it down to a fine art.

Op shops call my name – I can’t drive past one without stop­ping. If we’re out on a Sun­day and we’re go­ing past an op shop there’s always a mas­sive swerve so we can stop. I find a lot of my clothes and ac­ces­sories in op shops. I’m a big fan of up­cy­cling and mend and make do. If I want a par­tic­u­lar item or if I need an out­fit for a spe­cial oc­ca­sion, then I make it my­self. My No. 1 tip for op shop­ping is to try stuff on. You’ve got to take the time to try clothes on, oth­er­wise you can flick straight past some­thing amaz­ing and never know.

I love the glam­our of pinup, but it took me years to find the con­fi­dence. I have always ad­mired women who dress in the vin­tage style. It was my mum who first ex­posed me to it when I was a lit­tle kid; she of­ten dressed in clothes from the 1940s and 50s, but it wasn’t un­til three years ago that I had the con­fi­dence to wear it in my ev­ery­day life. I’m nat­u­rally a very shy per­son, so I started do­ing bur­lesque classes to raise my con­fi­dence – thank­fully, it worked and that was the cat­a­lyst that gave me the con­fi­dence to wear vin­tage. Women in the pinup com­mu­nity are also re­ally sup­port­ive and en­cour­ag­ing when it comes to wear­ing glam­orous, over-the-top out­fits that ex­ag­ger­ate your fem­i­nin­ity.

Just like ev­ery­one else, I wear jeans and a T-shirt, but I do it my way. Rather than your av­er­age jeans I have re­pro­duc­tion 1950s-style jeans and blouses that I wear daily as my run-around clothes, so that even my av­er­age hang­ing-out clothes still look quite retro. I mostly find jeans on­line, but there are a cou­ple of stock­ists in New Zealand I use, such as 19black and Ka­bella Baby.

I can spend up to two hours do­ing my hair and makeup. I don’t do that ev­ery day, but if I’m go­ing out to din­ner or getting dressed up for a photo shoot then I’ll put in the effort. Liq­uid eye­liner is a musthave to achieve that clas­sic 1940s cat eye flick. I love to put my hair up in the vic­tory rolls hair­style, which is two vo­lu­mi­nous curls of hair that sit on top of the head. To get the look you set your hair in hot rollers, then back­comb the heck out of it and set it with a lot of hair­spray.

New Zealand women are very con­ser­va­tive dressers on the whole. We wear a lot of black clothes, jeans and T-shirts and I think we’re a lit­tle afraid to re­ally ex­press our­selves through fashion. Mod­ern fashion takes away some of our fem­i­nin­ity. Chuck­ing on track­pants and a hoodie is so easy and it’s com­fort­able, even I’m tempted some­times, but it doesn’t boost your con­fi­dence the same way as wear­ing some­thing that makes you feel spe­cial.

Laura Baker

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