For Michelle Parish and Melanie Freeman, vintage isn’t just the latest buzzword, it’s a way of life.
The two Hamilton “vintage lifestylers” are so inspired by the 1930s, 40s and 50s that they live the era as much as possible.
The “Bombshell Betties”, as they call themselves, dress in feminine 50s frocks, fish-net stockings, with flowers in their hair and far-out sunglasses.
They wear gloves, hats and sometimes wigs if they haven’t had a chance to set their bright-red hair into “victory rolls” or finger waves.
Their homes are complete with retro and vintage furniture and if they could afford the upkeep they’d own classic cars too.
To top it off they run swing dance and burlesque classes, host pin-up photo parties, offer a pop-up hair salon creating “Debonaire Do’s” and listen to rockabilly music.
Mrs Freeman blogs about the lifestyle, attracting followers from all over the world, and runs an annual Atomic Market featuring vintage workshops, stalls, bands, and a night party.
And recently the friends won top spots in the finals of the Miss Vintage New Zealand competition at the Very Vintage Day Out in Auckland.
Ms Parish took the sash for Miss Vintage 2012 and Mrs Freeman was named first runner-up as Miss Vintage Vixen.
They say they are putting the glamour back into “Glamilton”.
“We were thrilled to bring it back to the Waikato,” Ms Parish, 41, said. “It was an acknowledgment of who I am. All the things I’m passionate about were recognised.”
Ms Parish said her interest in the history surrounding World War II, when her grandfather was stationed in France and her grandmother was a nurse, led to her passion for the era.
For Mrs Freeman, growing up with her grandmother’s black and white film collection inspired her enthusiasm. The 30-year-old said she immersed herself in the world of vintage when she moved from Wellington to Hamilton five years ago.
“It was rebuilding a new persona. Before that you went out for a nice night and dressed up for it.”
Ms Parish sports the look every day at her job as a project administrator at the New Zealand Transport Agency.
“You get asked, ‘Are you in a play? Are you in a show? Why are you all dressed up?”‘
Her fiance, Simon Crowfoot, also wears vintage attire. “He’s like my best accessory.”
By Natalie Akoorie
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