A visit to Lee Ming’s Instagram profile is like going down a rabbit hole to the era of diner jukeboxes, corsets, and cateye sunglasses. With her retro ensembles and pinup allure, it’s hard to believe this self-styled 50s vintage model lives and breathes in the modern world. In an era of monochrome and androgynous streetwear, Ming’s old school persona is a breath of fresh air. Her flair is in every detail, from her vintage dresses, elaborate hairdos, to couture postures. We find out what it takes for Ming to wing the iconic poster girl look, and her tricks to tease a classic dress into cocktail chic. Cover graphic: Nurul Ain

How did vintage become your persona?

“In college, I was the girl who could pull off anything. I explored punk, gothic, as well as modern girly looks. Then I discovered and fell in love with vintage, and dressed that way till my late 20s. I wanted to dress differently, and I thought of changing my style to elegant chic because I’m all grown up.”

What do you enjoy most about vintage style?

“Dressing up like a an old soul makes me feel complete, elegant and sexy. It gives me that confidence that I had always longed for.”

How does this style represent you?

“Classic, classy and refined with a whimsical flair.”

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What’s the main challenge about vintage modeling in Malaysia?

“Besides finding new and unique locations for shoots, the hardest part of being a pinup model is all the behind-the-scenes work that goes into it. I spend a lot of time keeping up with creating better content and booking my next shoots.”

What are your 3 wardrobe essentials?

“Black pumps, midi classic black dress and red lipstick.”

Tell us about the lilac vintage dress you’re styling.

“Lilac has become the colour of the season. Pastel hues are all enjoying a newfound popularity, but none are more pervasive than lilac. Just looking at it, you can see how it takes one piece of elegance to exemplify simplicity as the ultimate form of sophistication.”

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The Essential: A classic vintage dress

"The V-shaped neckline, structured puffy sleeves and a flattering bodice with a matching belt. a figure-hugging cut emphasises curves in all the right places, too."

The dress: Doublewoot vintage

Get the day look

50s vintage bag in faux tortoise shell 

Get the day look

Bonia pearl necklace


Get the day look

Vintage sparkly floral brooch

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Get the day look

Moscot sunglasses


Get the day look

Bonia white lace pumps

Get the day look

Laura Mercier Extreme Matte Lipstick in burgundy

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The night look

"I can style the lilac dress from a corporate meeting to evening, just by adding a white flared skirt and some sparkly accessories."

Get the night look

Vintage flouncy skirt

Get the night look

Lovisa silver mesh earrings 

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Get the night look

Zara floral embellished necklace

Get the night look

H&M bobby pins

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