Monday, February 27, 2012

Monday Mixing

A wee touch of pattern-mixing, because I dread Mondays & sometimes try to liven them up.

What I'm wearing:
Brown-grey pinstripe sheath dress, custom-made for me by Donna of Original Sin Designs | Grey & white stripe hooded sweater, Forever 21 | Black tights, unknown brand | Burgundy faux suede heeled boots, DSW | Burgundy & copper shield pendant necklace, made by a local artist | Pewter square-drop earrings, made by a local artist | "Raisin Rage" lipstick by Revlon

How do you deal with Mondays?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Casual Friday

I usually work from home on Fridays, so I dress *very* casually. We're talking PJs or yoga pants & T-shirts. Also, my office is *very* casual, so I could wear jeans every single day of the week & be right in line with what most people wear. But I don't, because, well, you know, that's not my style.

I did have to go into the office today because a senior VP was coming up from the SoCal office to have lunch with everyone in our office. It wasn't a formal meeting, just a lunch, & again, it's on Friday & this is a casual office. So I didn't dress up.

What I'm wearing:
Black & white striped silk blouse, Spiegel | Black jeans, Levis | Red ankle boots with low heels, Aerosoles | Silver filigree earrings, Target | Red flower hair pin, random accessory store

Do you have "casual Fridays" at work? Or is your office casual every day?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Old Fave

Black & hot pink is one of my very favorite color combos, as frequent readers well know. I'm a certified PerkyGoth (that's kind of like certified organic, except some chemicals may be used in the process, especially refined sugar & glitter).

So, by nature, my dark outfits are often punctuated by brights, & hot pink is my weapon of choice. This cardigan even got compliments today from a VP at work.

What I'm wearing:
Black sheath dress, Target
Pink & purple print cardigan, Chadwicks
Black tights, Calvin Klein
Black T-strap flats, Aldo
Hot pink filigree disk earrings, Etsy
Black & gunmetal cocktail ring, Icing

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Couldn't Resist the Stripes

I don't have much patience for Ross & Marshalls these days. I figure that if I'm going to spend all that time pawing thru racks of randomly jumbled merchandise, I might as well go to the thrift stores where the prices are lower. More worth the effort.

And yet, I usually do a short walkthru of these types of stores when I'm in the neighborhood, & I'm glad I did this time. That's how I saw this cool stripey jacket & in my size, for only $30. It was clearly meant to be.

What I'm wearing:
Black & white stripe knit, double-breasted, belted jacket, Marshalls | Black camisole, Target | Black velvet & satin swirled skirt, unknown brand | Black tights, Calvin Klein | Black & white ankle-strap, peep-toe pumps, Ross | Silhouette pendant on black silk ribbon, gift from Kendra | Black & gunmetal cocktail ring, Icing | Black & white stripe dangle earrings, Kohl's | Chanel "Vamp" lipstick

Monday, February 20, 2012

Birthstone Purple

My birthday was Sunday, so I took full advantage of the fact that my birthstone is amethyst & wore a lot of purples. I wore this outfit to a picnic with friends at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, followed by hands-on geeky fun at the adjacent Exploratorium.

What I'm wearing:
Black knit dress, Target | Purple long-sleeve knit top, Old Navy | Purple lace-print leggings, Target | Tall black leather boots, Clarks | Amethyst necklace, gift from my husband for my bday last year, bought in Kauai | Purple dangly earrings painted with tiny bats, made by a local artist | Black flower hair pins, random accessory store

Cupcakes topped with pink bats, brought by my friend Wendi

Me eating one of many chocolate cupcakes at the Palace of Fine Arts
Kendra, Sarah, & me in the "Alice in Wonderland" perspective room at the Exploratorium
Spooky heat-detecting photo of my hubbi & I at the Exploratorium

Friday, February 17, 2012

Weekend Boho on a Weekday

This is an outfit I wore a few weekends ago. It's a winterized version of this outfit, swapping sandals for tall boots & layering a long-sleeve shirt instead of a camisole. The ideal outfit for poking around the mall on a Saturday. Could wear this to work too, if I was feeling casual.

What I'm wearing:
Black, purple, & blue paisley tunic, Chadwicks | Black long-sleeved knit top, Old Navy | Black leggings, Newport News | Black ribbon & silver chain belt, eBay | Tall black leather boots, Clarks | Silver filigree earrings, Forever 21 | Silver skull choker, random accessory store

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Why It Pays to Shop Everywhere

This cotton velveteen skirt is from The brick-and-mortar J. Jill stores are places I'd never shop -- they're full of shapeless, colorless, deadly dull clothes seemingly meant for upscale grandmothers. But the store's website, especially right after the winter holidays, was full of velvets & rich, dark colors, in attractive shapes. Sure, you have to wade thru the oatmeal & sage sack-dresses, but that's easy on the Web, especially for a bargain. This skirt was under $30 & is quite high quality. Plus, it's a petite woman's size yet it's about 2" above my knees -- pretty sexy, even tho' it's not from the junior's department!

What I'm wearing:
Grey & white stripe waterfall hooded cardigan, Forever 21
Black knit long-sleeve top, Old Navy
Black velveteen skirt, J.Jill
Black tights, Calvin Klein
Tall black leather boots, Clarks
Chunky silver bead choker, Target
Black dangly bead earrings, random accessory store
Big black roses cocktail ring, Icing

What stores do you shop in that you never thought you'd find great stuff at?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Black & Blue

I almost didn't photograph this outfit (again, yeah, I'm kind of in a rut right now -- rushing to work, not thinking much about what I wear). But it turned out OK, & I had a smidge of time. I usually wear this dress on weekends because it's rather lightweight & casual. It cleans up nice tho'.

What I'm wearing:
Black & blue print knit dress, Target | Black camisole, Old Navy | Black boyfriend cardigan, Chadwicks | Black elastic belt, NY & Company | Black round-toe pumps, Target | Black tights, Calvin Klein | Silver medallion necklace, vintage Avon, eBay | Pewter square earrings, made by a local artist | Silver Celtic knot ring, gift from Lisa | Grey flower hair pin, random accessory store

The barista at the work cafe said I looked like Frida Kahlo this morning. I think because of the flower in my hair (no, not because of my eyebrows :-P). Anyway, it was a nice compliment, & I'll take it.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Wearing PJs in Public?

Let it be known that I am firmly in the camp with those who believe that the casualization of clothing in the U.S. in the late-20th & early-21st centuries is the first step to the downfall of our civilization & that wearing pajamas in public is a sure sign of the coming apocalypse.

I feel that people are allowed to wear PJs outside the home exactly three times in their lives: (1) once when you have the flu & need to make a trip to the drugstore for tissues & meds, (2) once when you're miserably depressed & need chocolate &/or booze between the hours of 2am and 6am, & (3) one additional time to be used judiciously, carefully, not in broad daylight or among more than a dozen people, & it can only last for no more than 10 minutes.

However, if you can wear something as comfy as PJs without looking like it, rock on with your bad self.

And the later is precisely what I attempted to do -- successfully, I hope! -- in this outfit. I wore this combo (which is a clear riff on this jeans-based outfit) to go hangout at my girlfriend's house a couple weekends ago. I ran a shopping errand first, so I was seen in public too. While the ensemble is quite casual, I feel that it qualifies as presentable, non-sleepwear clothing. What do you think?

What I'm wearing:
Black crochet duster, Coldwater Creek
Burgundy knit cowl-neck top, Forever 21
Black long-sleeve knit top, Old Navy
Wide black knit pants, Target
Embellished black flats, unknown brand
Black & gold medallion earrings, Forever 21

How casual do you go in public?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Repeat With Skulls & Bats

Yesterday was mostly a repeat outfit -- pixie-point tunic with leggings & ankle boots -- & I almost didn't photograph it at all. But I mixed it up a tiny bit by wearing both skull-print & bat-print.

What I'm wearing:
Black pixie-point tunic, made by Donna | Black bat-print leggings, Target | Black skull-print scarf, gift from my husband | Black buckle ankle boots, Aldo | Gunmetal hoop earrings, random accessory store | Silver Celtic ring, gift from Lisa

Coincidentally, next Monday is Le Professeur Gothique's Monthly Homework Assignment to wear something you haven't worn in a long time.  Given that I repeat items & outfits quite frequently & make a point of trying to wear everything in my wardrobe that fits & is seasonally appropriate (even working some things in across seasons), this is going to be a tough piece of homework!


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

How I Learned to Stop Worrying & Love the Empire Waist

For many, many years, I thought empire-waist dresses made me look pregnant (when I am not, have never been, nor ever will be pregnant; no offense to those who are or wish to be pregnant, but the fact is, most women only want to look pregnant when they are actually carrying a fetus inside their womb).

The empire-waist-dress-makes-you-look-preggers concept was not just my fear, it is shared by many women, & when I started reading fashion blogs, I came across it again. Heck, look at these maternity dresses from Old Navy, you'll find a ton of empire waists! Perhaps there was some truth to the idea.

Especially being a plus-size gal, I was self-conscious of looking any bigger than I am, thus empire-waist dresses seemed like a big no-no. However ... a couple years ago, I found myself trying on some casual knit dresses at Target. Just some simple things to wear with leggings, perhaps ... and what's this? They all had empire-waist styling? And they looked pretty darn good. Bonus, these dresses were great for layering & mixing & matching. Surely this was an aberration, just some perfect magic fit dreamed up by Target's design mavens.

But no. I started trying on more empire-waist dresses from other stores. I realized something important: Every empire waist is not the same. A slight variation in exactly where the waist hits you will make a big difference, the fullness of the skirt matters a lot, & accessories can make or break the overall look.

Let me explain how I learned to stop worrying that I looked pregnant & instead love the empire-waist dress for how lovely & pretty it can be on this plus-size lady. Note that these tips are based on my experience as a 5'2" short, pear-shaped gal. Your mileage may vary, but if you've been hesitant to try empire-waist styles, follow this advice as a way to start...

1. Wear a good, supportive bra. OK, this should be a no-brainer, you need a good bra no matter what you're wearing. But this is crucial for an empire-waist gown. Those girls need to be hiked up into place! Any sagging, & your boobs may appear to meet your belly (especially on us plus-size women), which looks wrongity-wrong.

TMI: I've found that, as I get older, my bras need to be replaced more often. The elastic & nylon & other stuff they're made of just can't take the stress! Remember, it's not you, it's the garment, so buy new, buy better quality.

2. The waistline should not hit exactly under your bustline. This is most important if you have any amount of belly protruding -- if the dress waistline starts right under your boobs, it can utterly remove any waist you might actually have, & all the eye sees is round boob, round belly. Even in slimmer profiles, the very high waistline may shorten the torso unnaturally & can look weird (I'm talking about you, 1810s Jane Austen fashion!).

Dresses with a high waist & a wide band below this are going to be the most flattering & more proportional. Note: You can fake this effect easily with a wide belt!

3. Look for empire-waist dresses with A-line or straight skirts. The less fabric that's gathered around your waist, the less fullness is added, the less of a maternity look. Avoid "babydoll" dress styles completely, like the horrible plaid example pictured at the top of this post (ditto babydoll tops/tunics, yuck), & be wary of pleats at the waist (even what may appear to be just two small pleats -- that's gonna bulk you up in exactly the wrong spot; this placement is notorious on structured dresses & dresses with tulip skirts).
4. Try a V-neck or surplice/wrap-dress style. These can be cleavage-tastic (particularly on us larger gals), so you may want to layer the dress over a camisole or a T-shirt. But that "V" shape at the neck is elongating. Enhance it with an awesome statement necklace or a long scarf.

Don't bother with bandeau bust styles or spaghetti straps, as they won't emphasize anything positive on most shapes unless you're a flat-chested teenager. Scoop necks can be OK, but they border on maternity territory, so tread carefully. High necks such as cowls, turtlenecks, etc. add bulk & can look weird imnsho combined with an empire waist.

Be wary of dresses with a twist-front at the bust or a flowing knot right below the bust because this can add extra gathered fabric falling directly over your belly (causing the same problem outlined in tip #3).

5. Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize!  The more simple & basic the empire-waist dress, the more you need to add to it to make it look like something special. The style can emphasize your cleavage & your waist, particularly if you heed tips #2 and #4, but you still need accessories. A great necklace or earrings will do wonders (either big earrings & a delicate necklace or a big necklace & delicate earrings; don't go big on both).

You can add detail with your belt too -- add a flower rosette, get a belt with an interesting buckle, find a belt with corset detailing, or look for a belt in an attention-grabbing material like shiny patent or metallic. Just having a belt in a contrasting color is a good idea. A colored or print dress with a solid black belt defines the even waist more.

Also consider layering. A pretty camisole with lace edging looks great under empire-waist dresses, & in cooler temperatures, a thin, long-sleeved T-shirt adds interest, especially in a contrasting color or pattern. Throw on a cardigan over the dress, but make sure to leave it open so you don't lose the lovely "V" line (for this reason, I don't recommend jackets unless they're ones that look great hanging open). Leggings & boots can look good with empire-waist dresses, as do tights & pumps, depending on the outfit.

A few examples to buy right now:   

My examples: 

Some examples from other bloggers:

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A Splash of Color

After yesterday's neutrals, I needed some color. Also, a little stormfront came in last night, so today was grey & overcast. This is a combo I've worn before -- making wintery use of a sundress.

What I'm wearing:
Purple, black, & white print dress, Target
Black long-sleeve knit top, Old Navy
Black tights, Calvin Klein
Tall black leather boots, Clarks
Black wool scarf, H&M, thrifted
Silver filigree earrings, Target
Silver & garnet poison ring, eBay
"Gash" lipstick, Urban Decay

Monday, February 6, 2012

All Business

I considered several different ways to style this dress -- the grey version of the Target sheath dress I also bought in black & red. I could have added a pink or stripey sweater (or a pink stripey sweater!) or a military jacket or a velvet jacket.

But I went with a classic black cardi because today was full of meetings, including a rather important one about a big project I've been working on at the office. Easier to go with reliable black & grey than something more edgy.

What I'm wearing:
Grey sheath dress, Target | Black boyfriend cardigan, Chadwicks | Black tights, Calvin Klein | Black kitten-heel pumps with silver buckles, Payless Shoe Source | Black beaded waterfall necklace, Torrid | Black & hematite cocktail ring, Aldo Accessories | Black beaded hoop earrings, random accessory store | "Raisin Rage" lipstick, Revlon

The meeting went well, & my proposals for the project were approved. I don't think my outfit had much to do with it, but there's always the chance that if I'd dressed more casually or more cliche goth, I wouldn't have been taken as seriously. That's the risk you take in the workplace, & I don't mind toning it down to get the job done.

How do you dress when you need to impress at work?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Spiffy Things on Sale Right Now

Bustle top from
I'm an inveterate window-shopper. One of the random things I love to do in between projects at work or while I'm mindlessly watching TV at home or when sitting in bed is browse thru online stores & bookmark things I want to buy. I don't purchase 99.9% of them (especially recently), but looking is awfully fun.

I thot I might share some of my faves so you could enjoy them. I'm not getting anything out of these links, no profit, no glory. Just passing along some things I like!

Dianna Velvet Top in deep ruby from Ruche -- Classy draping velvet top, would look fab with black trousers or a pencil skirt. A steal at $22.50.

Lace Pencil Skirt, black, from Newport News -- Just size-12s left at the bargain price of $29. This could probably work at a creative office & of course be great for nights.

Velveteen Skirt, black, from J.Jill -- Lots of sizes available in misses & petites, only $29.99. Every CorpGoth lady needs a classic piece like this in her wardrobe! Gotta get me one.

Hooded Fleece Circle Cape, black or scarlet, from Spiegel -- What's better than a cozy little cape to keep your shoulders warm when going out for the evening? This one's $59 & looks sharp.

Balloon-Sleeve Silk Blouse in black or black & white stripe, from Spiegel -- I have this in b/w stripe & love it. Not all sizes are still available, but if you can find it, it's worth the $69.

Crochet Duster, black, from Coldwater Creek -- I have this & love it too. Such a great layering piece for summer or winter. I bought it on sale before, & it's on sale again for $39.99.

Mootsies Tootsies First Lady Wedge Boot, black, from Kohl's -- Great-looking bootie with silver buckle detail. I've had good luck with the fit & comfort of this brand, & I can imagine wearing this style with dresses or pants.

Ruffled Tunic Blouse With Back Bustle Detail, black, from Newport News -- So gorgeous! A bit pricey at $159, but fab.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

On Designer Brands, Fakes, & Inspirations

I am not wearing an Alexander McQueen skull scarf. Nor is it a fake McQueen scarf. I consider it a skull scarf that is perhaps inspired by the iconic skull scarf. The print is similar but the shape is much bigger (a long, exaggerated rectangle), and it's not silk. My husband bought it off my Amazon wishlist for me for Xmas this last year.

As with many designer items, there are plenty of "exact" copies of the McQueen scarf for sale, especially on eBay. I have one friend in New York with a legit scarf, & while it's lovely, I just can't see spending that much money on a very small square of fabric. I admire the designer's work -- many of his couture designs were fantastically gothic! -- but ultimately, genuine designer goods are not in my price range & not my priority. And fakes don't interest me because they're trying too hard to be designer as well. Either pony up for the real goods or admit that it's not for you.

I much prefer knock-offs & inspirations. Forever 21, ModCloth, aw heck, most every clothing store around does some type of knock-off of the latest designer collection each spring & fall. As soon as the models leave the catwalk of NY's fashion week later this month, we'll start seeing the couture trends interpreted for various ready-to-wear price points at every store imaginable. This is normal & expected.

Similarly, certain classic, iconic styles are commonly repeatedly knocked-off by others. Think of the Chanel jacket. Here's the latest couture version, a vintage suit, Newport News has one, Spiegel has one, & ModCloth has a cardigan interpretation. All of the ones not made by the House of Chanel still exude that essential "Chanel jacket-ness," without seeming fake. They're an homage, inspired by, in the feeling of. A fake would be if they had logos or almost-logos & tried to emulate the precise effect of the real thing in order to fool viewers (or worse, the wearer).

I don't think there's anything wrong with admiring designer style or brands. But faking it just feels weird. Draw inspiration from everywhere, yes. That's part of life, I believe. But be honest & upfront about how & where you do it.

What I'm wearing:
Black knit top, NY & Company
Burgundy velveteen jacket with vintage jet buttons added by me, Kohl's
Black pinstripe skirt, Newport News, gift from Lisa
Black tights, unknown brand
White & black skull-print scarf, gift from my husband
Burgundy faux-suede boots, DSW
Jet beaded hoop earrings, random accessory store
Silver cocktail ring, gift from Kendra

Do you wear designer brands, fakes, or knock-offs? Do you care?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

One Ringy-Dingy, Two Ringy-Dingy

Does anyone even get that reference anymore? Hi, I'm old. Anyway. This month's theme post from Sophistique Noir is rings, and oh boy, do I have a ton of those. I tried to photograph all of them & nearly gave my camera's "macro" setting a conniption fit. Sorry for a few blurry photos.

First come my costume rings. I mostly just wear these with historical gowns, but other than being gold, they're awfully gothic, aren't they?

Left to right: Three gold & black rings, square ring with purple stones, giant red ring, smaller gold & red ring, hand-crafted silver ring with the Seven Deadly Sins carved around the outside.

Many of my everyday rings live inside this little gold box, which I've had since I was a young girl. It's a bit tarnished & the red velvet lining is dingy, but it holds fond memories in addition to these rings.

Here are a bunch of silver rings with Celtic & Wiccan themes. Note: In the "hand" photos, rings are not always on their proper fingers, I was just trying to get decent pix!
Left to right: Cat ring, onyx & crescent moon ring, Celtic knot ring, Celtic knot & beast ring.

Some rings with gemstones.
Left to right: Amethyst & Celtic knot ring, poison ring with garnet, faux ruby & marcasite ring, garnet ring.

These are a few of my most sentimental rings...
Left to right: U.C. Berkeley class of '91 ring, Westmont High School class of '87 ring, Arwen butterfly ring (missing center stone).

A couple larger black rings.
Left to right: Black glass cocktail ring, black glass & gunmetal cocktail ring.

Faux diamonds are a girls best friend! I also wear these with my 18th-century costumes.

A pretty silver ring, a gift from Kendra, bought in France.

Sparkly black cocktail ring.

Funky mod black roses ring.

An even bigger faux diamond.

And a cool black glass ring.

Finally, but not least, there's my wedding band & engagement rings, which I wear every day. At night, I keep them in a box I covered with a scrap of the contrast fabric from my wedding gown & inside is a little pillow made of the burgundy velvet that was the main fabric of my gown.

My wedding ring is a mix of yellow & white gold with diamond chips. My husband's band is very similar (just without the diamond bits).

My husband & I have matching engagement rings in silver with amethyst cabochon stones. We bought them at The Great Frog on Carnaby Street in London.

And that's pretty much every ring I own! What about you? Do you like rings? If so, I hope to see your posts on the theme.