Monday, August 27, 2012

Repeat, but a New Ring

I needed majorly easy clothes & comfort today, for health reasons. So this knit dress & leggings fit the bill. I almost didn't bother blogging, but I did want to share a new purchase -- the tiny pinkie ring I bought this weekend from a friend & fantastic jeweler in the SCA. The ring is a reproduction medieval piece, one of her classic & most popular styles, which I've wanted to get for a long time. It's a happy reminder of my friends & my hobby, plus it looks really pretty next to my amethyst engagement ring.

What I'm wearing:
Purple knit dress with attached dark purple sash, Target | Black leggings, Newport News | Black ruffled bolero sweater, Kohl's | Black embellished flats, unknown brand | Black & purple necklace with scissors medallion, made by Lisa | Gunmetal hoop earrings, random accessory store | Silver & amethyst medieval ring, Acanthusleaf Designs

Unrelated to CorpGoth fashion, but perhaps of slight interest, I just started a virtual garage sale & fundraiser for a renaissance event I'm running later this year. I'm selling several Elizabethan gowns, some 16th-century purses & accessories, historical sewing tools, & costume reference books. Take a look here at the goods!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Velvet in Summer

Kind of breaking my own rules here, but isn't that what rules are for sometimes? This skirt is swingy in a colorful velvet that matches so well with the floral top (yay for matchy-matchy!), so I couldn't resist wearing it even when the temperatures outside are in the '70s to low '80s Fahrenheit. Also, I knew I'd be meeting girlfriends for drinks after work, so I wanted to wear something pretty & fun, yet comfy, & this combo meets those criteria. Sometimes an out-of-season fabric can work.

What I'm wearing:
Dark floral knit top, H&M  Burgundy knit velvet skirt, NY & Company  Black elastic belt, NY & Company  Black tights, Calvin Klein  Black leather T-strap flats, Aldo  Black sparkly necklace, random accessory store  Silver medallion earrings, random accessory store  Burgundy flower hair pin, random accessory store

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Dreaming of a Day Without Glasses

I've had to wear prescription eyeglasses since I was about seven or eight years old -- third grade, for Americans. I was first diagnosed as having problems with far-sighted vision, but it soon settled into full-on astigmatism. Basically, my whole world is blurry. It doesn't seem horrifically bad when I don't wear my glasses -- I'm not bumping into walls or talking to lamp posts like they're people -- but the prescription is an especially tricky one. So much so that I cannot wear contact lenses.

Always with the glasses, hmph.
And this truly grieves me. I've tried ever since high school, every few years, just in case the technology catches up with my eyeballs, but the lenses, either hard or soft, don't fit right & do not correct my vision enough so that the difference between wearing contact lenses & not wearing glasses is significant. It's not a comfort issue -- I find contacts perfectly comfortable. It's quite literally an issue of my vision prescription not working in any modern contact lens to the point where the lens will adequately correct my vision.

But I'm trying again right now. I have a sympathetic optometrist, who is going through the three brands of lenses on the market that can be made with my prescription, & she is trying to see if they will fit & actually work. So far, we've got a semi-decent result on the left eye, but the right eye is terrible. One last option is on order.

Throughout my life, I've been pretty resistant to popular norms of beauty. I'm quite satisfied with my short, chubby body, & I've only once attempted to change it, with results that backfired in the long run. I'm happy being pleasantly curvy. I know how to dress myself to my best advantage. I feel like my good appearance is one of my assets in life, maybe not my top one, but it's never a detriment. I've always been able to attract plenty of romantic partners & have been married to a devoted person for 12 years now. Intrinsically, I know I'm a beautiful, sexy, attractive woman when it comes to my looks. I don't feel any need to compete with the fashion-magazine cliches of what's "supposed" to be beautiful.

Except when it comes to my glasses. That always feels like the one thing holding me back. Nobody wears glasses anymore! Take a look around any public place, browse through fashion mags & blogs, even the alternative or gothic ones -- the best-dressed people, the trendy gals, the cool kids, really just anyone under 50, the majority of people Do.Not.Wear.Glasses most of the time.

Sure, there's the occasional hipster wearing fake black plastic frames (although trend-spotters say that fad is so over -- & let me tell you, having worn those exact glasses back in grade school, there's nothing hip about them).  Sometimes celebs sport "geek chick" fake glasses to give themselves cred. But the fact that these trendy glasses are always framed (hah) in terms such as "Poindexter look" & "uber-nerd" simply reinforces the ugly factor associated with glasses.  Hey, for decades, the standard-issue glasses in the U.S. Army were jokingly called "birth control" because they were so ugly. But it's not just that old plastic frame; it's that nobody really likes wearing glasses. They're unsexy & uncool.

The few folks wearing glasses without irony in public tend to be senior citizens or a random person "dressing down" while quickly running an errand. While almost half of the U.S. population uses corrective eyewear at some point in their lives, they sure don't appear to wear them on a regular basis. People with vision problems wear contact lenses when they want to look genuinely good. Because they can. I don't blame them.

I'm old enough to have grown up when "nerd" & "geek" were 100% negatives. Nobody wore an "I love dorks" T-shirt when I was in high school in the mid 1980s. Kids who wore glasses then were looked down on, called names like "four-eyed freak" (in addition to "nerd," "geek," & "dork") & generally shunned.

Dressed for a party, but still, glasses.
Even now, when geeks are supposedly cool, the stereotypes live on hard & fast. Pretty girls don't wear glasses. Nerdy girls wear glasses, "sexy librarian" types wear glasses, smart girls wear glasses. For example, there are countless rumors that Sarah Palin wears fake glasses to make herself look smarter.

When was the last time you saw a sexy Hollywood starlet wearing glasses on the red carpet? Name five recent non-nerdy female characters on TV shows who wear glasses & get laid regularly. Show me five magazine ad campaigns featuring women under age 50 wearing glasses -- & the products must be for things that are cool, sexy, or fun, not baby food, cleaning products, or mutual funds. Yeah, guys don't make passes at girls who wear glasses in mass media.

My current quest for contact lenses is far reduced from my lifelong frustration with the stereotypes. I understand that the available lenses won't give me enough visual acuity that I could go to the office or even go shopping. 20/20 vision with contacts is beyond my dreams, unfortunately.

What I'm hoping for right now is contact lenses that allow me to see well enough to recognize faces & read large signs -- & then I could at least wear contacts with historical costumes. Because few things annoy me more than non-period glasses (& women, before the 19th century, would avoid wearing glasses in public; firstly because only very wealthy women could afford them, & secondly because they'd only use them for reading or sewing, which were done at home).

Of course, I'd love to be able to go out for cocktails wearing a fancy dress & not need glasses. To finally be able to drop the sexy-librarian pose & just be sexy for a change. Just be pretty. *sigh*

Related links:
  • Girls Who Wear Glasses: A Tribute -- Jezebel looks at a few modern icons such as the ever-nerdy Daria, Lisa Leob, and Rachel Maddow.
  • Fetish Friday: Our Favorite Women Who Wear Glasses -- ComplexGirls manages to find (what I think are one-time) pix of starlets & even a pornstar wearing glasses, along with the obligatory Tina Fey & someone who played Velma in a Scooby-Doo movie.
  • Celebrity Spectacles: The Hottest Lenses in Hollywood -- Zimbio has some repeats & some men (who always get away with things women can't, hello patriarchy), plus relies on 'celeb wore glasses once!' type photos.
  • Celebs Who Wear Glasses -- Celebuzz has even more repeats & men, but the fresh pix are notable because the women are all clearly running errands, traveling, or carrying their children. An exception that's not an exception to the stereotype is Katy Perry going for a retro sexy librarian look.
  • Celebrities in Glasses -- Tres Sugar's descriptions reinforce every stereotype by nailing most of the women with terms like "geek chic," "nerd," "librarian,"  & even "schoolgirl."

Monday, August 20, 2012

Maxi for Work

I've had this maxi skirt for months & have been wearing the heck out of it on weekends. It's insanely comfortable & rather stylish. The length is just barely right for me -- it's a high-low hem so the the front is just right on 5'2" me but the back brushes the ground when I wear flats. That doesn't bother me for casual wear, but I knew I'd need to wear a bit of a heel to make it feel less casual, random, & more office-appropriate.  And, as always, a structured jacket makes the outfit OK for work.

What I'm wearing:
Black jacket with piping, Speigel | Black T-shirt, Old Navy | Black & grey pinstripe knit maxi skirt, Nordstrom | Black velvet ankle-strap wedges, Payless Shoe Source |  Pewter cross necklace, bought at Mont St. Michele, France | Pewter key earrings, made by me

Side note: I am *SO* jealous of all the bloggers who have someone else (a sig.other, a friend, whoever) to take their outfit photos! And likewise, all the bloggers who have a well-lit studio & backdrop to take outfit photos in!

I have about 5 minutes in the morning before work to get these pictures done. While I have a decent camera (a Canon G9), I have to use a tripod, &, as you can tell, I'm taking photos in my backyard to get some light (because the interior of my house is batcave dark).

But I'm dependent on whatever sun & shadow mix is available, & it's very tricky. If I had more time, I could probably adjust the camera settings more, but the light changes every day & with the seasons, & as I said, I only have about 5 minutes each morning. I have a few more minutes in the evening to tweak the pix in Photoshop, so I try to do what I can there.

It's just frustrating because I'll have what I think is a great outfit, but then I can't get decent photos of it. Ah well.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Stripey Madness

I was thinking about some of my favorite wardrobe pieces, & this skirt & this cardigan came to mind. Both stripey, both beloved. So why not try them together? Particularly for summer, they're a breezy blend of light colors & dynamic movement. The buckles on these shoes even add to the stripey effect.

This is easily the most wild I've gone with pattern mixing. Am I making your eyes bleed? Or do you think this is good, wacky fun? Let me know what you think, good or bad!

What I'm wearing:
Black & white stripe skirt, Black House White Market | Black cardigan, Target | Black & pink cardigan, Macy's | Black buckled wedges, Kohl's | Black, silver, & crystal choker, random accessory store | Black & white striped bead earrings, Kohl's

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

I see a ship in the harbor

Yeah, "Blue Tuesday" doesn't quite work, does it? Well I had yet another migraine yesterday thus didn't go into the office (luckily I'd queued up the Prof's homework post!). But I'm getting good mileage out of this blue dress, despite having misgivings about it upon first purchasing it. The knit & style is incredibly comfortable & versatile, & blue works wonderfully against black. There won't be many (or probably any) blue additions to my wardrobe, but this one is a winner. Tell me now how does it feel?

What I'm wearing:
Blue knit dress, Ruche | Black knit camisole, Old Navy | Black & white floral print cardigan, Black House White Market | Black tights, Calvin Klein | Purple cross-strap pumps, Aldo | Silver bead choker, Target | Silver medallion earrings, random accessory store

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Professor's Monthly Homework: Purses & Bags

The Prof asked about our purses & bags, so first, my everyday purse: a big, black leather slouchy hobo bag by Jessica Simpson, decorated with some nice, punky metal accents. It has a bunch of pockets inside (vital for me!) & is holding up pretty well after a year of use.

I pretty much use one bag every day & am not a fan of switching out purses. I carry too much junk essential stuff to move it from one bag to another very often. For the last Fashion Beauty Friend Friday meme I participated in, I showed what I carry inside my purse & that doesn't change much -- check it out here.

But ... every now & then, I do change my purse to go with an outfit. Particularly if I'm going out for the evening. I will use this little leather baguette-style bag which is precisely big enough to hold my wallet, iPhone, & a little makeup. A friend gave me this purse in a clothing swap, & I love all the buckles.

For specifically gothy occasions, I might break out this big vinyl bat purse. It's not very practical in size, but it does look cool. This was a gift from a very sweet coworker.

Then there's this funky, punky little bag that's an army surplus bag I decorated. I don't use it much because I'm not a big fan of crossbody styles. But every now & then I'll drag it out since it's a good all-weather casual purse.

The pins are, from left to right, a "sleep" tab from Doctor Who, the Greater Bay Area Costumer's Guild membership pin, a toreador rose from Vampire: the Masquerade, "Runs With Scissors" (a joke because I sew), & the Pacific Division Championship banner for the San Jose Sharks hockey team, all surrounding a peace symbol patch, because I'm a damn hippie :-)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Burgundy & Grey & Black, Always a Fave

Grey is perhaps my absolute favorite color to be a "third" with black & another color, especially something in the red family like burgundy or pink. Grey feels so sophisticated to me, & it adds such dimension to an otherwise stark outfit. Grey is lovely on it's own or paired with black, but as part of a trio, grey is simply gorgeous.

What I'm wearing:Black silk shift dress, Target | Grey cardigan with sequins, ModCloth | Burgundy fishnets, unknown brand | Burgundy suede cutout pumps, Soffit | Silver cameo earrings, vintage | Burgundy flower hair pin, random accessory store

Oh look, after last week's nail mishap, I have pretty painted nails again! This was thanks to my friend Sarah, who painted them while we were at Costume College. She happened to bring her big box of nail polishes & such, so before we got dressed for the Gala, she did my nails in a great black from Opi. And I haven't messed them up yet.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Trying to Stay Calm

While life goes crazy all around. This is a very easy outfit -- soft knits, comfy sweater, laid-back accessories, simple hairdo, almost-flat shoes. Doesn't require much effort but still looks decent for the office.

Which is good because my work schedule has been insane due to the Olympics (I'm editing anything Olympics-related for the duration), plus I'm trying to squeeze in a trip to my beloved annual costume conference, where I'll be teaching a hands-on class, meanwhile our house is being painted & a window's being repaired & these relatively minor disturbances have set off our older cat into a fury of messy protestations.

Oh, & while you'd think this stuff would end after August 12, nope, I'm sewing some (simple) garments for the incoming Queen of the West in the SCA, which she needs mid-August, & helping plan a huge theme party for the end of August. And then it's on to September & October's mayhem of several renfaires for the Venetian courtesan group I've started performing with, so that requires mucho practice & some refinement of my costume (especially the hair). Finally, in early November, I'm running a huge educational conference for the SCA which includes a historical feast with performances. And new costumes for myself & my husband. Whew.

Yeah, no rest for the wicked, that's my motto ;-)

What I'm wearing:
Black knit dress, Target
Black & white striped sweater, Chadwicks
Black with grey skulls scarf, gift from my husband
Black tights, Calvin Klein
Black kitten-heel shoes with tiny buckles, Aldo
Black & white striped dangle earrings, Kohl's