A while ago I started following a stunning woman on Instagram who went by the name @vivivonwelt. I loved the images from photoshoots she was posting, and I especially loved her confidence that came through in every post. Vivi is now a brand ambassador for The Nylon Swish and it’s about time you all met her!
Tell us about yourself!
My name is Vivi and I am a plus size model. I live in Houston, Texas. I love photography and art. I am passionate about working to create beautiful images. Old Hollywood, Art Deco, and WWII era inspire me creatively and aesthetically. I am also passionate about people. I love people and always am cheering for the underdog and fighting for those that face injustice. I am also inspired in general by the roles friendships and relationships play in our lives. Willingness to be open and vulnerable about struggles and life stories with others in our lives is something I am passionate about.
Photo by Xander Roberts
Tell us an interesting fact about yourself.
I worked at Walt Disney World while I was in college. It was, oh, so magical!
You post a lot of different styles of images and photography. Where do you get inspiration for these photoshoots?
I pull inspiration from many different places and there are so many style opportunities within the each of the eras that inspire me. Part of being a model is working with photographers to help you reach your goals. I have worked with photographers of varying styles but I choose the photographers carefully because all of my work goes towards creating a portfolio of work I can be proud of. I capture varying styles, but they all scream "Vivi".
Photo by Amanda Rose
Can you tell us about your first photoshoot, and how it felt?
My first photoshoots were my bridal portraits before I got married. It was so exciting; I got to practice getting ready for the big day with my hair, my dress, accessories, and flowers. Since it was my first photoshoot I was so nervous, but I felt excitement than anything. 10 years later I found myself in a point in life where I wanted to try modelling after having several years of doing photography. I started with a shoot in a pleated yellow skirt with a cinched belt and felt like a million bucks Seeing how the pictures turned out was such an exciting time.
Photo by Brian Martin
You seem to enjoy wearing retro clothing and underwear, when did you start wearing this style and why?
I came into the retro aesthetic in a weird way. After having my daughter, I got a severe infection and I ended up dealing with medical problems for about 5 years. I was always feeling ugly and frumpy in jeans and a t-shirt going to treatments every day while trying to manage with a little one.
One day I decided I was going to change that. I went to the MAC counter and bought my first powerful leading lady matte red lipstick like the fabulous women from my technicolor dreams. I ditched the jeans and started slowly building a collection of dresses and skirts and blouses that had a vintage feel to them.
Photo by Xander Roberts
I was looking for fun new vintage things I hadn't thought of and came across stockings. I remembered getting my first suspender belt when I got married. I also remembered the stockings not fitting right on my plus size legs. I searched online and came across The Nylon Swish! I showed my husband and then didn't think anything else about it for a couple weeks. The next thing I knew, I had new Nylon Swish stockings sitting on my pillow when I got home from work one day with a suspender belt. These fit me and I felt so damn sexy!
I started dressing more and more retro with proper underpinnings included. I felt like such a fox.The best part was feeling powerful as a woman. People questioned my clothing choices but I just found myself explaining clothing history to them and enjoying explaining my clothing choices to people. The pinnacle of finding my retro style was my husband finding me true vintage dead stock seamed stockings. It was pure heaven.
Photo by Alberto Rodriguz
Can you tell us about some of your favourite pieces of lingerie?
My favourite pieces of lingerie are my treasured true vintage seamed stockings, my suspender belts, my bullet bras, and corsets. One of my favourite pieces of lounge wear is my ever so lovely Catherine D'lish robe and my Nylon Swish Reyna gown. I am still searching for the perfect true vintage or vintage inspired pajamas. For nights where I go out on the town, usually a burlesque show, I throw on my Nylon Swish Jasmine gown.
Photo by Brian Martin
What's your dream piece of underwear?
It's my dream to find a true vintage girdle with suspender clips. I envision a cream or pink colour with ruched suspender clips, topping it all off would be a perfect padded bullet bra of my Old Hollywood film dreams.
Always spend time on yourself. Always wear what makes you feel good and empowered.
You can follow Vivi on her Instagram account here!
A vintage outfit is not complete without a pair of seamed stockings, but what is the point of a seam, and where did it come from?
A mini history of nylon stockings
Stockings have been around for a while but were made of wool, cotton or silk until the invention of nylon. Nylon stockings were first created in the 1940s by a company called Du Pont. It is reported that when nylon stockings were first introduced into the market, 4 million pairs were sold in one day! The demand for these new stockings even caused riots.
During the war, Du Pont switched from making stockings to making war equipment such as parachutes, which meant that there was a shortage of nylon hosiery; stockings were sold on the black market and women resorted to drawing seams up the back of their legs with eyebrow pencils to emulate the look of a fully-fashioned (seamed) stocking.
OK but why do they have a seam up the back?
Although there is no longer a need to ‘seam’ stockings, there are many people who still love the look of seamed hosiery. There are still specialists who make stockings in the traditional way but this is a very time-consuming and expensive technique. Nowadays it is a lot faster and cheaper to simply stitch a decorative seam up the back of a stocking. Many hosiery brands are doing this and in a variety of colours too.
If you’d like to try out seamed stockings for yourself, make sure you check out our Maria stockings and add a bit of history to your legs!
When it comes to suspender belts, the two most common questions that people ask me are; "How do you go to the bathroom in that?" and "Should I wear my knickers under or over my suspender belt?"
The first thing I want to mention is that there are no rules around how to wear your clothes, play around with them and just go with what works for you.
However if you're new to suspender belts or are hesitating about trying them then I can certainly give you some guidance!
Personally speaking, I wear my knickers both under and over my suspender belts. My general rule is, if I'm wearing big knickers I wear them over my suspender belt, but if I'm wearing small knickers then I will wear them under.
Big knickers are generally a little harder to manoeuvre if they are under the belt, which is why I just keep my life simple by wearing them over. This way I can just pull them down and leave my suspender belt in place when going to the bathroom.
I tend to wear smaller knickers underneath the suspender belt mainly because I prefer the aesthetic of having the straps over my knickers. I also know that when it comes to going to the bathroom, it's very easy for me to pull them down without having to fuss around with the suspender belt.
It's important to feel comfortable in your underwear so make sure you do what's best for you!
Click here to view our Everyday Glamour suspender belts (they are super stretchy and actually allow the wearer to pull them down like they would a pair of knickers!).