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PoliticsOctober 4, 2023

Shop the fit: Brooke van Velden


Next in our campaign style series, Act’s deputy opts for quality – and dazzling pink.

Brooke van Velden, the Act deputy leader hoping to flip the “true blue” seat of Tāmaki, has taken Barbie pink – or Act pink if you prefer – as her own this election season. When The Spinoff’s Stewart Sowman-Lund followed her on the campaign trail, he wondered if every item hanging in her wardrobe was a variation of a pink jacket and time has proven him close to correct. The only worthy pairings for van Velden’s prized pink coats are high quality items which she can wear day in and day out. 

Ultra pink maxi coat

Many, maybe too many, people choose black, beige or otherwise boring-coloured coats. Not van Velden. She got her iconic aggressively pink coat from Cue last winter, putting her ahead of the pink wave created by the Barbie movie. It is sadly no longer in stock, but Showpro does have a very similar bright pink long coat for only $95. If you think you’re going to get teased for wearing pink, there is a lovely purple coat at Gorman which will protect you from the haters.

Black leopard print dress

Recently my friend started dating someone and one of the first fun facts she told me about him is that his flat has a leopard print couch. I quickly gave my approval (also because he likes to bake cakes and made me a pie). Not many people are brave enough to wear or sit on leopard print, including me, but I find it very exciting when other people are. 

Van Velden’s fab dress is from Farmers, by the brand Oliver Black – their dresses cost between $50 to $100. She says it travels well in a carry-on suitcase, which makes me think it must be magic or somehow she got it to swallow a sleeping pill. She’s had it for about three years so we really have no chance of finding it in a shop somewhere. I have found one in a similar pattern, but whether it is magic remains a mystery.

Michael Kors handbag

It took me so long to find this exact Michael Kors bag that I started to worry it was a dupe. Van Velden had told me it was a gift from her family for her 30th, and I really didn’t want to break the news that they either got fleeced or fleeced her. It turns out Michael Kors makes a lot of almost identical but slightly different bags. This is one of them, one of the smaller and more practical options. It has become van Velden’s everyday bag, which is great for the family because it makes people very happy when you wear their presents all the time (the inverse is also true).

Small Michael Kors handbags will set you back about $200-300 on Farfetch, which seems very reasonable considering the high regard Michael Kors seemed to hold himself in during the days of Project Runway. 

Blunt umbrella

I like these umbrellas because when I was young my mother instilled a fear in me of other people’s umbrella points stabbing out my eyes. The smallest size, Metro, which van Velden holds here, is $129, so I have not bought one. She bought it “out of necessity” when she forgot her old umbrella in an Uber on the way to a meeting. I like to pretend I have no needs and that getting wet is fine. If you do have needs and you like living lightly but in the fast lane, Blunt thinks this is the umbrella for you. They say the “rigid wing-like surface… withstands all wind conditions” and unpaid spokespeople say that this includes Wellington. Think of my glistening seeing face orbs and buy one.

Benson ankle boot

Van Velden must know the old adage about cheap boots being more expensive than expensive boots (because you keep having to replace them). This pair costs $380 which is 4.75 times as much as a definitely not as nice pair made with “synthetic” from Number One Shoes. Since uni, van Velden has bought her winter boots from Mi Piaci – because they last, she says, and maybe also because Mi Piaci is a fun name to say and some people might think you’ve been to Italy recently.

Verdict: Perhaps having a pink coat you can put over any boring old thing is a one-trick wonder. Perhaps it’s a genius way to attract people to your street corner meetings. Perhaps pink is extra warm and protects you from the elements. In any case I am impressed by van Velden’s ability to stick to it and not wear any other colour of coat, ever. She has worn it so much anyone else who dons one will be assumed to be copying her (Margot who?).

Her fit, assuming she paid full price for the coat, would have cost about $1,660. You could however, put it together for about $775 with the Showpro coat and a decision to ignore your need to keep dry.

Keep going!