Monday, August 18, 2014

CorpGoth Mid-Month Status Report: Stripes & Plaid (but no Dots)

This month's theme is all about patterns. Some people don't like wearing patterns, and some people aren't comfortable incorporating them into their wardrobes. This is why I think each of these graphical patterns -- stripes, plaids, and dots -- are good ones to start with (ok, not all at once!). A striped skirt or top mixes easily with solid garments in the same colors or even in a contrasting color. A simple plaid (like black & white) goes well with neutrals. And the same with dots, little micro-dots are practically a texture, while going gradually up in scale adds more interest.

Of course, I took a trip to Crazy Town and mixed a stripe with a plaid in this outfit. One way to make this work is to stick with the same colors, in this case, black & white. I also kept to a similar pattern scale, so they look more pulled together. Or maybe they don't -- pattern-mixing is an acquired taste. I don't do it often, because, yeah, it can look pretty nutters.

So which is your favorite, stripes, plaids, or dots? Which are you wearing? Share in the comments below.

What I'm wearing: Black & white stripe silk blouse, made by Donna | Black & white plaid skirt, H&M | Black elastic belt, NY & Company | Black tights, Calvin Klein | Red ankle boots, Aerosoles | Silver medallion earrings, random accessory store

Friday, August 15, 2014

Friday Five: I Wanna Rock & Roll All Night

1. What band has made the biggest impact in your life, and why?
Yes -- I can't explain it now, but growing up, the whole prog-rock artsy thing of their early music really gelled with me. It's the closest I've come to having a spiritual side, as otherwise I'm entirely atheist & find zero connection to gods, goddesses, yada yada yada in the sky. I even read Paramahansa Yogananda's "Autobiography of a Yogi" because a footnote in it inspired Yes' gatefold double-album "Tales From Topographic Oceans," & that totally inspired my desire to visit India (which I did, decades later). I hardly ever listen to Yes now, in fact, I almost can't listen to it because it kind of hurts. I have to be in the right mindset to open my brain to that. It's weird, & like I said, hard to explain.

2. What album is the first you can remember purchasing yourself?
"Yellow Submarine" by the Beatles. Because it was my first "favorite" movie & I wanted the LP.

3. What concert stands out in your mind as the best you've ever seen?
Best full concert? Hmmm ... the "Sound & Vision" tour by David Bowie at Shoreline, 1990-91-ish, was pretty damn spectacular in every way. Full package. Also, Green Day performing the full "American Idiot" album at the Warfield, being filmed for something, a show that was announced 2 days before, was really kick-ass.

4. What concert stands out in your mind as the worst you've ever seen?
James. We went based on their one hit "Laid" & that was the only good song. Spent most of the show loitering at the bar until they played said song & then went home. Snoozy.

5. If you could create your dream band, what musicians would you choose? (they can be live or dead, it's a dream band)
Duh, I'd reunite the Beatles. A private concert for me, my Mom (who introduced to them, natch), & select friends. "Sgt. Pepper" era all the way.

Questions culled from The Friday Five on LiveJournal.

What I'm wearing: Black pinstripe dress, made by Donna | Burgundy peplum sweater, Anthropologie | Black tights, Calvin Klein | Black lace & burgundy satin pumps, Rampage | Burgundy & bronze shield necklace, made by a local artist | Burgundy pearl earrings, Designs by Victoria

Monday, August 11, 2014

Gothic Martha Stewart decoupages a table

A fun way to liven up your home decor is to decoupage wood furniture. Second-hand and thrift-store items can be great candidates for redecorating as long as they have some flat surfaces, which are easier to add designs too (if you're ambitious & have more time, go wild with more elaborately curved furniture).

In my Gothic Martha Stewart tutorial, I take a small table, paint it burgundy & black, then decoupage tarot cards on the top & shelf of the table. This makes for a quirky little end table in my living room. Read the step-by-step instructions, & get inspired to take on your own project. What will you transform? Share your ideas in the comments.

What I'm wearing: Grey sheath dress, Target | Purple & black striped cardigan, Old Navy | Grey tights, Calvin Klein | Purple suede pumps, Aerosoles | Purple crystal necklace, random accessory store | Purple crystal earrings, random accessory store

Friday, August 8, 2014

Friday Five: Internettin'

1. What was the first Internet site you remember bookmarking?
The T.W.I.N.K.I.E.S. Project. (Hey, it's still around!)

2. What was the last Internet site you bookmarked?
Clickhole. (Clearly my tastes haven't changed much.)

3. Are you Mac, Windows, or something else?
Macintosh forever!

4. What is the one thing you wish you could easily do with your computer?
Type & mouse without wrist pain. *sigh*

5. Are you happier with the all the advances that have been made in the last 10 years or do you wish for an earlier, less technology-based time?
Totally happier. My career is based on the Internet, and all my friends are inside this network of tubes!

Questions culled from The Friday Five on LiveJournal.

What I'm wearing: Black & grey knit dress, Macy's | White & black scarf printed with tree branches & ravens, bought on a business trip | Black tights, Calvin Klein | Silver-grey wedges, Anne Klein | Silver skull earrings, random accessory store

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

This Year's Crop of Halloween Goodies

It's that most wonderful time of the year -- yes, Halloween stuff is hitting the stores! Some people like all the creepy, gory goods, but I prefer the more subtle, elegant items that have a touch of Old World charm and look like they'd be found in a Victorian mansion or a romantically crumbling castle. And I'm not disappointed by this year's selection. If only I could afford to buy everything!

Here are a couple of my favorites...

Pottery Barn brought back these amazing skeleton martini glasses. They always sell out quickly. This year, they also have bat wine glasses and spider shot glasses.

Williams-Sonoma is another reliable source for posh yet spooky goods. This year, they have a giant crystal skull punch bowl, & wow, I desperately wish I had room to store *and* display such a thing! How cool and at a reasonable price, all things considered.

To see more delights, check out my Pinterest board Halloween on Sale 2014. I'm adding more there as I discover things. Have you found any awesome Halloween home decor items this year? Share in the comments!

CorpGoth Status Report: Stripes! Plaid! Dots!

Subject: Time for a wacky office outfit report. Show off a work-appropriate ensemble that features stripes, plaid, or dots. Or any combo. Or all three. Your call!

Due Date: Monday, August 18 to Wednesday, August 22

How to File Your Report:

1. Post to your blog on or around the due dates.

2. Include the following code in your post so the This Is CorpGoth Mid-Month Status Report graphic will display (if you're using Blogger or WordPress, switch to the 'HTML post' setting & then paste this code in):

<a href=""><img border="0" src="" /></a>

3. Comment on my Monday the 18th post including your blog link.

4. Read everyone else's reports via their links in the comments!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Camden Street Markets or What I Don't Like About Goth Clothes Anymore

On my very first trip to London back in, oh, 1992ish, I made a pilgrimage to the Camden Street Markets. This was the part of town known as a vast well of ready-made gothic clothing goods. There were stalls filled with flowing velvet & lace dresses, PVC coats, & pointy boots. Remember, this was in the nascent days of Hot Topic in the U.S., so the idea of buying goth-off-the-rack was pretty freakin' amazing. I was still maintaining the, which listed a mere handful of stores, for which we had to mail-order paper catalogs (go ahead, shake your cane at the kiddos, ElderGoths).

Anyway, Camden set my eyes agog, but alas, I was a struggling tech writer & had spent my savings just to take the trip (& was already saving up to head to grad school). I recall splurging on one or two velvet dresses & a little bit of jewelry. On one of our next trips to the U.K., I bought a few pairs of boots in the Camden shops, including the black suede granny boots that I wore at my wedding & have since worn with every Victorian costume I have.

During my most recent trip to London, last summer, my husband went to see a friend, & I decided to visit ye olde Camden Town for some shopping. Well. I don't know if it's that times have changed or I have changed. Perhaps both.

At first, I was charmed & amused by seeing the brocade coats & military-esque jackets & faux-bustled skirts & steampunk pocket watches. Except they were EVERYWHERE. The exact same things. In every single stall. The only variation was how much one hustler could be bargained to sell it for.

And some of them (OK, a lot of them) were really crap quality -- acrylic fleece masquerading as wool, terribly shiny brocades, thin flocked "velvets," plastic faux-metal buttons, flimsy poly baroque satin, scratchy laces, no linings in anything, lots of elastic waists & back lacings to simulate fit, & stiff cotton ruffled shirts that would take a million washings to get a decent drape & the stitching probably wouldn't hold up to that.

Yes, sewing my own costumes has totally turned me into a snob, & sure, if you pay 35 pounds sterling, you can't expect a custom fit or silk velvet. It's all mass produced in Asia, so the price & quality reflect that.

A few of the short jackets didn't look so bad in quality (basic black twill, spiffy military styling), & I was tempted. Except, again, I saw the same ones everywhere. While I wouldn't see it at home (especially not when I'd be wearing it at work!), I was still irritated by the goth-in-a-box aspect.

I'd rather invent my own goth style from stuff I buy at Target than buy a premade "gothic" item that 80 zillion people are wearing whilst sitting around Whitby or Wave-Gotik-Treffen or whatever. I just gotta be me! Even if someone judges me as looking less goth. I don't want the cookie-cutter clothing.

Instead, what appealed to me was a 1950s-ish black & red cocktail dress (cheap quality but also inexpensive) because I'm woefully low in stock on cocktail dresses, a peasanty long burgundy cotton skirt, & a plum-colored open-weave waterfall/wrap sweater. All rather colorful, appealing to my inner peacock. And all things that didn't seem too samey. The later two were specifically from an artist who hand-dyes her stuff (the colors were rich & amazing). The first one was some prefab knockoff, but I didn't see others exactly like it. Quirky items that fit into my aesthetic, whether officially "gothic" or not.

And since bringing them all home, I've gotten good use out of each one. They've held up fairly well; not the best quality, but reasonable for the modest prices I paid. Best of all, I feel good about wearing them. I don't feel like a pre-fab goth nor a cliche marketed to or being ripped off. I still have my edge & my own style.

There are a few traditional gothic businesses I'll still support -- like the lovely Kambriel, of course -- & I even pop into Hot Topic if I'm at the mall & looking for new fishnets. But if I'm craving a ruffly shirt, I'll just as soon scour eBay, a thrift store, or Old Navy for something suitable, then combine into an ensemble that suits me.

What I'm wearing: Black & white stripe knit sleeveless dress, Nordstrom | Black & white stripe knit double-breasted jacket, Marshalls | Black tights, Calvin Klein | Silver-grey wedge pumps, Anne Klein | Black & white stripe bead earrings, Kohls