Thursday, March 31, 2011

Red Repeat

Only it's a repeat you haven't seen (so does it count? hah, trick question). I wore most of this outfit last night for a couple hours to have dinner with some friends. I threw it on after work because it was suddenly 80 degrees out, & jeans weren't cutting it. I wanted a lightweight dress. Of course, this morning, I re-winterized the outfit because it was a touch overcast, plus the office has air conditioning. But I eventually took off the sweater.

What I'm wearing:
Red knit dress, Target
Black lace-edged camisole, Old Navy
Black leggings, American Apparel
Black ruffled bolero sweater, Kohl's
Black elastic belt with ruffle detail, NY&Co.
Black spool-heel lace-up boots, Target
Black shell necklace, bought in Florida
Black beaded earrings, Target
Red flower hair pin, made by me
Red lipstick, Sephora

I feel like I should apologize for not commenting on blogs much recently.  I *am* reading, honest! And loving what people are writing & sharing. But I've been wrapped up in a bunch of things, plus having some health flare-ups, so it feels like a lot just to get a few of my own posts online. It's hard to do everything. But I really appreciate your comments & your blogs :-)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Gothy Jeans in the Office

Ok, I caved. From a case of the Mondays to a tired humpday, this week is just killing me, & my fashion choices are suffering. So today, I wore jeans & a T-shirt to work. Don't kill me! I even broke all the very savvy rules that the New Professional laid down about wearing jeans at the office, well, except I did wear dark jeans. But no heels, no dressy top, not much in the way of accessories. Also, lazy hair & minimal makeup. Blame it on flare-ups of residual health problems.

I will say tho' that wearing this simple of an outfit takes a lot less time in the morning. No wrangling with tights or fussing with hair clips or layering on eyemakup. I even had time to check email before my carpool arrived! Nice.

What I'm wearing:
Black cardigan, Chadwicks
Black & grey striped knit tunic, Macy's
Dark grey jeans, Calvin Klein
Black flat buckle boots, Aldo
Silver book-shaped locket necklace, Forever 21
Large pink filigree earrings, Blackbird Jewels on Etsy, won in a giveaway from Miss Vinyl Ahoy
Pink crystal pyramid cocktail ring, Icing

Basically, this is something I'd wear on the weekends to hang out with friends. But then again, so many people at work wear stuff this casual, I blended into the crowd today. Odd.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Case of the Mondays, or How to Look Good While Feeling Like You're Still in Bed

I did not want to get up out of bed today. It was *very* Monday. Just didn't wanna get up & go to work. But, sometimes you have to suck it up and be a Responsible Adult.

Last night, I'd planned a fancy outfit, perhaps something to polish off my abruptly ended Stripes Week. But all I felt like wearing was PJs this morning. Except I arbor overly casual clothes in public.

I'm one of those people who think that casual clothing culture will bring about the end of Western civilization (as alluded to in Sal's recent post on over-dressed vs. under-dressed). I see people wearing jeans to the symphony, & I want to beat them upside the head. A friend of my husband wore jeans & polo shirt to our very formal daytime wedding 11 years ago, & the memory still makes me cringe. While I don't bother going to the grocery store in full gothic regalia & my daytime style is subdued compared to many of my goth friends, I'm still far more dressed up at the office than most people here in Silicon Valley. Yet I refuse to wear anything that actually smacks of PJs!

Here's my solution -- A soft, cozy outfit made of knits in flowing lines & a little bit of ruffle & only the most simple of accessories.

What I'm wearing:
Black knit long-sleeve dress, Newport News
Purple peplum sweater, Chadwicks
Black tights, Calvin Klein
White silk scarf printed with crows, skulls, books, clocks, etc, Libertine for Target
Purple dangly earrings painted with bats, local artist
Purple lipstick, Sephora

This is probably the most comfortable dresses I own -- it's stretchy, it's long, it has long sleeves & a wrap front. The neckline is a little low for the office, so I filled that in with a soft-as-kittens silk scarf (could have worn a cami underneath, but couldn't find a clean one; hey, it's a Monday!).

The sweater is equally soft & has a sweet peplum ruffle at the waist, nothing constricting, just a little bit of flair. I could have gone even more PJ-like & worn leggings underneath the dress, but, again, it's a Monday, so I couldn't hunt down clean ones. Still, these are very comfy, properly fitting tights.

Might have worn flats, but the rest of the outfit was so laid-back, I didn't want to look like a complete slob ;-)

What do you wear when you want to be comfortable yet look good?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Fashion Beauty Friend Friday - 03.25.11

FBFF Questions for 03.25.11 - This week, the topic is feminism, courtesy of ModlyChic.

1. Do you think there is an incapability between feminism and a love for fashion?
Hell no. Feminism is the simple belief & understanding that women & men are equal as human beings & should be treated equally. Fashion draws distinctions in form, but not in treatment. Or at least, it shouldn't. If I'm wearing high heels & a dress, that doesn't mean I am worth less as a person than a man wearing pants. Or worth less than a man wearing high heels & a dress, for that matter.

It's a huge & unfair stereotype that women who love fashion are somehow less smart, less serious, & generally less capable than men. For fuck's sake, the modern fashion industry is RUN by men, so why does such a stereotype persist??? Christian Dior (& everyone who headed the House of Dior since Dior died), Givenchy, Jean Paul Gaultier, Christian La Coix, Armani, Salvador Ferrangamo, Emile Pucci, Vercacci, Fortuny, Etre, Charles Frederick Worth, Karl Lagerfield, Kenneth Cole, Perry Elis, Halston, Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren, Bob Mackie, jeez, do I really need to list the hundreds of hugely influential men in the fashion industry? And no, not all of them are gay either, so there shouldn't be an automatic feminization of these guys for *their* interest in clothing, accessories, & the design thereof. Most of them started creating clothing for women & later branched out into men's clothing (if they did).

Point being, I find it rather ridiculous that fashion continues to be belittled as a solely female & therefore frivolous & unworthy pursuit, not to be bothered with by serious people & those seeking respect as equal human beings (such as feminists).

2. There is more to each of us than a love for fashion, how do you incorporate every aspect of yourself into your blog?
Well, I do try to keep this blog separate from my other interests because I have plenty of places online where I do other things. I really wanted one single place to show my CorpGoth outfits on a semi-daily basis. If anyone is curious, they can follow the sidebar links to my personal website, my work website, & even my husband's work website.

Otherwise, I let my outfits speak for me. My clothes incorporate my goth side & my professional side, along with whatever mood I'm in that day.

3. With the fashion industry still being a male-dominated profession, how do you think it would differ if women played a larger role?
I think the one thing that women might conceivably change would be the range of sizes available, particularly in high-end designs. Unfortunately, this may be more affected by marketing & merchandising than strictly by designers -- I'm not sure. After all, women seem to dominate fashion publishing a la Anna Wintour at Vogue. Magazines attempt to set the trends & tell us what to buy, via both editorial content & their ads.

I don't think we can easily blame any problems with fashion on men or women. It's a collective, societal issue that has far deeper roots than one industry.You could say that fashion, merchandising, & advertising are tools of the patriarchy, & both genders can get wrapped up in sending sometimes sexist or misogynistic messages through these tools (particularly when it comes to body image & sexuality).

4. How is your self-image and the way you carry yourself informed by your beliefs?
"To thine own self be true" has long been my motto in all things. Whether in my work, personal life, or dress, I strive to be true to my inner self. I couldn't wear a uniform, I couldn't be a stay-at-home wife/mom type, those are all lies to my independent spirit.

5. Do you think clothing/makeup/hair helps communicate the truth about yourself or are those things superfluous add-ons?
I don't think fashion is, by definition, superfluous. What you wear, the image you create, has strong meaning. Whether you like it or not, you will be judged by your appearances, & you have the power to influence that judgement by what you wear & how you present yourself.

I feel that my clothing/makeup/hair creates the image of a creative woman with an edge. That could be seen as being hard or it could be seen as being innovate; I'm ok with both interpretations. But foremost, I am creative, I don't want to blend into a crowd, my work is unique, my interests are varied, my opinions are strong. I think this is all hinted at in my clothing. At the same time, I don't dress to scare people off or freak them out -- I am still approachable & appropriate for whatever setting I'm in. That speaks to my professional capabilities & my willingness to work with different people.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Stripes Week: Secret Stripes

Rain has been pouring down on NorCal, plus I had a couple hours of training sessions at work today, so I opted for a super-comfy outfit. But still, stripes down to my toes.

What I'm wearing:
Black & white stripey cardigan, Speigel
Black long-sleeve knit top, Old Navy
Black trousers, Target
Black & white stripey socks, Target
Black wedge pumps, Dockers
Black & white stripey ball earrings, Kohl's
Black waterfall bead bib necklace, Torrid
Reddish-brown lipstick, Lorac

Alas, my carpool driver for Thursday canceled this evening, so I'm working from home tomorrow & will miss my last workday of  Stripes Week! But thanks to Megan Mae for organizing it, this was a fun challenge. I'll follow up with my last outfit (already planned) next Monday. And, of course, I always wear some stripes, so there's more down the road.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Stripes Week: Gotta Have Some Purple

I love purple & conveniently enough, it's my company's color too. And, as the 19th, I've been at this company for 10 years, so it's seems appropriate to get some purple in with the stripes this week.

What I'm wearing:
Black long-sleeve knit top, Target
Grey pinstripe denim vest, Newport News
Black cotton tiered skirt, unknown brand, thrifted
Rubine & black stripey tights, We Love Colors
Black round-toe, spool-heel pumps, Target
Purple & black stripey knit scarf w/polka dots on reverse side, local artsy meditation store
Purple dangly earrings painted with bats, local artist
Purple lipstick, Sephora

Two days of multi-stripes, wow. Will the madness end? Probably not until this week does!

More about Stripes Week here.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Stripes Week: A Subdued Start

Grey, drizzly Monday called for grey stripes. That's how I roll! (Oh & I realized far, far too late that this outfit is almost an exact repeat of one I wore early on in the blog. Clearly, I liked it :-)

What I'm wearing:
Black & grey striped sweater, Target
Grey corduroy skirt, Newport News
Black tights, Calvin Klein
Red ankle boots, Aerosoles
Black & white stripey scarf, Forever 21
Black & white stripey ball earrings, Kohl's
Red flower hair pin, Icing
Raisin Rage lipstick, Revlon

Looking through my wardrobe & cataloging my stripey garments, I realized most of them are sweaters, especially cardigans. This could be because I have something of a sweater addiction (clearly, part of me was meant to live in foggy London, not [usually] sunny California, or I'm just addicted to NorCal's too-short fall & spring).

I've recently bought quite a few stripey scarves. I have a couple almost-identical striped silk blouses. I have only two striped jackets -- one very fancy, one super casual. I have loads of stripey Ts, both short & long sleeved. But I have absolutely no striped bottom wear nor dresses! I used to have a pinstriped trousers, but they don't fit anymore, & I know I have owned pinstriped skirts in the past (prob. several sizes ago or perhaps some unfortunate poor cut or shape). I do, of course, have a fair number of stripey tights, as every good goth gal does.

Bits of these will make appearances this week. Not sure which yet!

More about Stripes Week here.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Drive-By Update

Got back from Williamsburg late last night & am working from home today -- so much email to catch up with!!! Thank you all for the lovely comments on the posts I scheduled for while I was away. I'll try to respond today or this weekend. Plus I hope to catch up more on my blog reading (I had my iPad with me, but once the conference started, I didn't have any time to read).

I did catch a few things going around in the fashion blogosphere. It looks like next week is Super Stripes Week, coordinated by Megan Mae Daily & Casual Chic Kiki. Now there's a challenge us goths can get in on! Let's see how many fabulous stripey outfits we can pull together.

And in more serious news, today is supposed to be a "bloggers go dark for Japan" day, organized by For Japan With Love. I'm not exactly going dark, but I am skipping Fashion Beauty Friends Friday in solidarity.

Yahoo! News has an excellent page full of links for how you can help the Japan earthquake & tsunami survivors & recovery efforts. Please go here & click thru to one of these reputable charities & donate whatever you can.

Also, if you work for a large company, see if they'll match your donation -- my employer has increased it's standard 1:1 match to 2:1 for the Japanese tragedy. If you are part of a church or community organization that does fund-raising, consider asking if they'll focus immediate efforts on Japan. Rescuers who were at Hurricane Katrina & the Haiti earthquake are saying that the destruction in Japan is even worse, & it will take incredible, worldwide action to help the country recover.

Have a good weekend, & I'll be back on Monday with CorpGoth posts.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Size Is Just a Number (Swimsuit Edition)

My name is Trystan, I'm 42 years old, I'm 5' 2" tall, & I currently weigh about 180 pounds. By some (rather questionably scientifically sound) measures, that means I'm obese. But by other measures, I'm pretty darn average. Yet you wouldn't know it if you looked in American mass media.

So I'm posting these swimsuit photos from my recent Kauai trip to show what a curvy -- perhaps even fat! -- woman like me really looks like (maybe I should submit one of these to the BMI Project on Flickr, which is a lovely dose of reality).

An L.A. Times article from 2009 claims that an average American woman is "162.9 pounds and wears a size 14." This seems to be a riff on the U.S. Center for Disease Control stats that states the average American woman's weight is 164.7 pounds and waist measurement is 37". At an average height of 63.8", this U.S. lady is firmly in the "overweight" category on the BMI scale (of course, that measurement is highly suspect).

My point being, I'm about 20 pounds over average & an inch short, but I typically wear that standard size 14 (and 12s and 16s, along with "mediums" & "larges" as long as they aren't in the juniors section).

And I don't care about any of these numbers, & neither should you.

Really, size is just a number, a totally arbitrary number. The numbers on the scale are just numbers, & the BMI is just a number dreamed up by a Belgian insurance adjuster 200 years ago.  Clothing sizes are rather arbitrary & vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Each designer has their own "fit model" with different physical proportions that are based in some fantasy land of who that designer wishes would buy their products. None of these (or other) numbers should not dictate how you feel about yourself.

I can enjoy the beach & the sun (hush, goths are allowed to enjoy the sun -- that's what 100+ sunblock is for!), regardless of my size. The sand feels just as ticklish beneath my feet, the waves are as delicious against my skin, the sea breezes are as delightful on my face & hair.

Women shouldn't shun swimsuits if they don't look like fashion models or celebrities. There's a whole industry designed to make women freak out about "swimsuit season" & force us to go on crazy "bikini body" diets to lose some unrealistic number of pounds in an equally unrealistic number of days before hitting the beach. Fie on that nonsense, I say, fie!

I've been to beaches in Florida (where I was born), two Hawaiian islands, Jamaica, the Bahamas, Rio de Janeiro, & random parts of the U.S. that I can't exactly remember right now. None of these beaches had posted size limits or signs saying "you must be this thin to show your body here."

In fact, when I went to Rio, I was amazed & felt liberated to see large, voluptuous women, easily twice my size wearing thong bikinis & high heels, strutting down the Copacabana. These sassy women of substance had, I kid you not, scads of young, bronzed men following them like puppy dogs.

It's all about attitude, ladies. If you feel comfortable in your own body, you will exude confidence & sex appeal, & everyone else will feel it too.

Swimsuits will be hitting the stores any minute now in the U.S. (even if temperatures are too chilly to contemplate swimming -- but that's how retail works ;-). You'll have the best selection of styles & sizes between now & Memorial Day. So get out there & try some on. Don't let the fashion magazines scare you into thinking you have to wait until you lose X number of pounds or some other BS.

Live life in the now, love the body you have, enjoy the sun & soak up a little healthy vitamin D this year.

Check out these awesome swimsuits online:
Pinupgirl Clothing swimsuits (where mine is from!)
RetroDress Esther Williams swimsuits
Shabby Apple retro-styled suits & tankinis
Spiegel swimwear, many styles
Newport News swim shop (great for mix & match two-pieces)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

TropiGoth Fashion Show, Part 2

And here's the second of my TropiGoth outfit posts -- this one's all about the dresses.

I have a mad passion for sundresses. There's something so easy & breezy about little dresses you wear with nothing but undies & cute shoes. I collect them, but I don't seem to have enough reasons to wear sundresses -- except for tropical vacations! This may be why I invented TropiGoth in the first place...

What I'm wearing, outfit #1:
Black, white, & purple print sundress, Target
Black leather sandals with flowers, Target
Black shell choker, bought on a Florida trip
White dangly shell earrings, Icing
Black Baby Phat purse, swapped with a friend

My husband took this photo when we were strolling through our favourite little town of Koloa, not far from our condo in Kauai.

This trip was to celebrate my 42nd birthday (maybe now I'll figure out the answer to Life, the Universe, & Everything! I'm still waiting for clues, but I do know where my towel is ;-)

We went to the best restaurant on the island, Roy's Poipu Grill, for dinner that night. It's always great, but they treated us extra-special for my birthday. Highly recommended.

What I'm wearing, outfit #2:
Pink print sheath dress, Liberty of London for Target
Black thick velvet (or low-pile fur?) ankle-strap wedge sandals with sparkly bead trim, Payless Shoe Source
Black shell choker, bought on a Florida trip
White dangly shell earrings, Icing
Two pink flower hair pins, Icing
Pink lipstick
Black Baby Phat purse, swapped with a friend

Ok, I know this is practically the same as my first daytime dress outfit, but my hair is down, there's a macaw in the background, & check out the awesome amethyst necklace I'm wearing! That's a birthday gift from my sweetie. He knows what I like.

What I'm wearing, outfit #3:
Black, white, & purple print sundress, Target
Black leather sandals with flowers, Target
Amethyst necklace, gift from husband
White dangly shell earrings, Icing
Black Baby Phat purse, swapped with a friend

The location here is the Kauai Grand Hyatt Resort's lobby, which is enormous & has a tropical garden complete with three giant macaws. We had brunch at the Hyatt that day, also highly recommended because the buffet is excellent & the ocean & garden views are spectacular.

For our final night on the island, we went to another fancy restaurant, the Beach House. As the name suggests, it's right on the ocean. Alas, we didn't get a table with a view, but we did walk outside the restaurant, along the shore, after our meal. We could see a million, billion stars, plus we saw some night divers in the water.

What I'm wearing, outfit #4:
Red & white Hawaiian-print sheath dress, Hilo Hattie
Black thick velvet (or low-pile fur?) ankle-strap wedge sandals with sparkly bead trim, Payless Shoe Source
Black wood bead necklace, bought on a Jamaica tripWhite dangly shell earrings, Icing
Red flower hair pin, Icing
Red lipstick
Black Baby Phat purse, swapped with a friend

If you go to Hawaii, you have to wear at least one piece of traditional aloha garb. C'mon, get in the spirit! If this goth gal can, you can too. I bought this dress a few trips ago, & while I always look for updates, the classic print & shape is hard to beat. Plus, red is just so easy to goth up :-)

Want to see photos of the trip itself (including a detailed tour of the condo, just in case you're looking for a place to stay in Kauai)? Check out my photoset on Flickr!

Monday, March 14, 2011

TropiGoth Fashion Show, Part I

Welcome to the first of two posts that prove goths can too be seen in summer or hot-weather clothes! It's what I've been calling TropiGoth for over a decade now.

This is also an example of how I'm trying to up my game in casual wear. I made more of an effort on this trip to accessorize & wear interesting casual outfits than I usually do.

My typical travel wardrobe can be awfully dull -- I pack basic black & maybe one solid color, hardly anything else. I'm a chronic under-packer & get incredibly bored with my travel clothes. So this is all a bit new.

These pix are all from my recent birthday trip to Kauai, Hawaii, with my husband, who took all the photos. The setting for first two outfits is around the condo we rented.

What I'm wearing, outfit #1:
Black & white T-shirt, Express
Black cargo capris, Kohl's
Black leather sandals with flowers, Target
Black wood bead necklace, bought on a Jamaica trip
Black beaded earrings, Target
Red tropical flower hair pin, bought on a previous Hawaii trip
Red lipstick

The weather was a tiny bit overcast in February, but still in the 70s to low 80s & humid with occasional rains. So dressing for the climate was crucial. Lightweight, nothing fussy or clingy.

Most of our activities on this trip were rather mellow (especially compared to previous trips where we'd done a lot of hiking & more snorkeling). This was time to relax!

That meant I over-packed a little bit because we ended up loitering around the condo wearing PJs or on the beach in a swimsuit more than I planned. But when over-packing means "two more T-shirts," it's not a big deal.

On our first full day of the trip, we went to a cute little day spa for massages. I also got a pedicure, so my dull winter tootsies could be beautiful for a week of sandals! This hot pink polish perfectly matched my swimsuit.

Here's a tip if you're playing snowbird: Shop for tropical-type clothes as early as possible when you start planning the trip! If you need a new swimsuit / shorts / sandals, but you're traveling in January / February / March, you can't run down to the mall and find those things in the weeks right before you leave. You'll either need to buy stuff a year before your trip or hunt around online.

Looking through my wardrobe last fall, I realized the black shorts I wore all summer 2010 were falling apart. But summer clothes were already out of the stores! So I searched online & found these shorts from Land's End. They feel a little bit like "mom pants" (mom jeans but not in denim), but they were literally the only thing I could find in black!

What I'm wearing, outfit #2:
Grey T-shirt with bats, Target
Black twill shorts, Land's End
Black leather sandals with flowers, Target
Black wood bead tribal choker, can't remember!
Black & white shell dangly earrings, Kohl's
Red flower hair pin, Icing
Red lipstick
Black Baby Phat purse, swapped with a friend

I don't use my "normal" everyday purse when I travel -- it's too big. I pack this (or another) small purse in my carryon bag.

I also wore my hair up a lot in Kauai, due to the humidity. That makes my wavy hair go frizz-tastic, & I don't like to travel with a bag full of hair products. Easier just to bring one hair clip & some flowers.

It did rain heavily one day during the trip. So we sought out indoor diversions along the west side of the island. And I wore basic black that would dry out easily.

What I'm wearing, outfit #3:
Black jeweled T-shirt, NY & Co.
Black twill shorts, Land's End
Large silver filigree earrings, Target
Black & white beaded bracelet, bought during this trip
Black lace headband, random accessory store
Black flip-flops with rhinestones, Old Navy
Red lipstick
Black Baby Phat purse, swapped with a friend

Flip-flops were definitely better in the rain -- you're always stepping in huge puddles, so there's no way to avoid getting your feet wet & why bother getting nice shoes wet too?

I love finding pretty accessories, like this bracelet, while traveling. Then I have, not only a new addition, but something with a positive memory.

Want to see photos of the trip itself (including a detailed tour of the condo, just in case you're looking for a place to stay in Kauai)? Check out my photoset on Flickr!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Fashion Beauty Friend Friday - 03.11.11

FBFF Questions for 03.11.11 - This week, the topic is "Finding the balance – How do you do it all and still live, work, and play as you want to?" Courtesy of ModlyChic.

1. When it comes to prioritizing your life, in what place does blogging fall?
It's not that high, but it's not last either. However, planning a good & blog-worthy outfit is right up there -- more for me than just to blog it, but y'know, if I wear it, I might as well photograph it & then blog it. I try to post at least 3x a week, otherwise it's not a real blog, imo.

2. We all wish we had more free time to dedicate to blogging and all it entails. What are your tricks for taking advantage of the time you do have to be as productive as possible?
I streamline as much as possible, & really I only blog in the time I have alloted. In the morning, I have about 15 minutes, maximum, to take photos. On my lunch break at work, I take maybe 20 minutes (while eating at my desk) to write up a post & the outfit. When I get home, I edit the photos right after I walk in the door (well, after feeding the cats!). Done!

3. Have you discovered any short-cuts that makes blogging easier or more time efficient?
Not short-cuts, other than keeping the whole thing short & sweet. Don't deviate from your focus or you'll discover that blogging will eat up all your time. My blog is strictly an "outfit a day" blog. I don't do a lot of essays or tutorials & the like. The only time such things sneak into my blog is when I have spare time & felt like writing those things & stored them up to use when I didn't have something else to blog (like when I was traveling). I guess my point is this: Don't let yourself aimlessly blog. That will become a huge time suck!

4. Do you have an editorial calendar or something similar that helps you plan ahead?
Gawd no. I do enough of that at my real job ;-)

5. If time wasn’t an issue what you would be doing on your blog/for your blog that you aren’t doing now?
I might do some DIY tutorials because I love making crafty things, but I end up making them & wearing them without any explanation of what I did. But, as I said, that's not my focus here. I do some of that already in my costume dress diaries, but it's more to just document what I went through, not even to instruct how to do it. I'm pretty satisfied with what I do on this blog right now.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Saves & Splurges

Most people have a mix of things they prefer to save money on & things they'll spend a lot of money on. I think only a few people are complete scrimpers or total spend-thrifts. Some people have heavy leanings, sure, but even the super-budget-shopper may regularly indulge, while big spenders still can't stand to pay a lot for certain stuff.

So I thought I'd share my own fashion saves & splurges -- please share some yours in the comments!

My top cheap-outs:
Things I can't stand paying full-price for or buying fancy brands...
  • Sandals (they're just going to get beat up, besides, there's hardly any there there)
  • Underwear (plain cheap cotton bikinis in a 3-pack, thanks)
  • Most accessories (hair pins, scarves, belts, flashy jewelry; I might make jewelry out of expensive materials, but I'll rarely buy it)
  • Skin care products (plain drugstore stuff only)
  • T-shirts & similar "layering" pieces (solid color, boring-but-necessary basics that will be worn underneath sweaters & jackets -- why spend more? I buy a bunch of cheap ones in black & a few other dark colors, replace as needed)
My top indulgences:
Things I have a hard time passing up, even tho' they're pricey...
  • Lipstick (so creamy, such deep pigments, so many colors! hard to find all that in the cheaper ones)
  • Tights (I'm a convert -- expensive brands tend to last longer & also have a wider range of sizes, unlike the "one size fits some" cheapos)
  • Perfume & scents (I don't wear them often anymore, but what I do like is always high quality, such as Black Phoenix Alchemy Labs or a couple designer scents like Anna Sui; my husband has this same addiction, & oh boy, does he smell great!)
  • Hangers (Joan Crawford was right: No more wire coat hangers! they wreak havoc on your clothes -- but that said, I sometimes find my fave. padded, reinforced steel hangers on sale at Ross or TJ Maxx...)
  • Jeans that fit (my petite plus-size holy grail, especially if they're black! I will pay any amount of money if/when I find jeans that feel & look good on me; they're so dang rare)
My shopping may seem pretty arbitrary at times. But these are the things I'm most consistent about when spending my wardrobe dollars.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Note to Self

I dropped my silver Celtic knot ring down behind or underneath a dresser in the bedroom this morning & have to fish it out at some point when I have more time. Couldn't reach it before work & won't have time tonight because I have to pack, as I'm leaving for Colonial Williamsburg early tomorrow!

Yep, I'm off again. This time, it's for a conference on 18th-century clothing accessories, preceded by a few days of costumed madness with my pals Kendra & Sarah & others.We've done this kind of thing before, only without the excuse of an academic gathering.

Now I have to pack both huge, elaborate costumes *and* modern clothes suitable for attending lectures & workshops. Oi! I'll let ya know how that goes in a week or so. And that's about when I'll be able to hunt for the missing ring.

What I'm wearing:
Burgundy flutter-hem sweater, Anthropologie, gift from Sarah
Black & white damask-print knit top, Speigel
Black velvet & satin swirled skirt, unknown brand
Black tights, unknown brand
Burgundy faux suede boots, DSW
Black bead bib necklace, Torrid
Black w/inset cross earrings, vintage
Chanel Vamp lipstick

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Lipstick Lesson

I tried to wear black lipstick to work today & failed. I suppose I should have know it was just too goth for the office. Heck, it's too goth (or cliché goth) for me usually. But sometimes, the old-school in my bitter dark heart calls out... well, & I found a bunch of deliciously dark lipsticks at Sephora this weekend!

As noted in last week's FBFF, I'm a sucker for high-end lipstick. And the first thing I saw when I walked into Sephora (where I had half a gift card to use up) was a black lipstick by Illamasqua (the shade is called Pristine). I was compelled to buy it. And next to that was the Makeup Forever display, which had another black lipstick, plus a couple rich, super-dark burgundies & purples, perfect for my quest to own all the dark lipsticks ever made.

About a year or two ago, Mac came out with a black lipstick that was the talk of all the goth communities online (see the Gothic Charm School review for tons more detail). I had to hunt around 3 stores to find & buy it. But that lippie was a bit of a disappointment to me-- the color was kind of sheer & only looked good if you layered it over another dark color. Good for a black-cherry effect, for example, but hard to get a solid black. Of course, full black lipstick is a difficult look to pull of anyway...

I was hoping that I could make it look "edgy" but not "goth cliche" with slightly colorful CorpGoth oufit, as shown. I wanted color & pattern & texture, nothing too hardcore. Just that little extra something special, y'know? Alas, it was Just Not Right. So back to a more traditional (for me) dark burgundy, Sephora house brand.

 What I'm wearing:
Fuschia cardigan with ruched shoulders, H&M
Black jeweled T-shirt, NY & Co.
Black & white plaid dirndl skirt, H&M
Black studded belt, Macy's
Black tights, unknown brand
Purple velvet ankle-strap pumps with roses, RocketDog
18th-century woman's shadow pendant on black silk ribbon as choker, gift from Kendra
Pewter square earrings
Large black metal roses ring, Icing

Perhaps the black lipstick will work better with a casual outfit. I'd feel too obvious wearing it with an uber-gothy ensemble. I've only worn the Mac black lipstick with historical costumes gone goth (specifically, an 18th-century Halloween party :-). What can I say, I like to do goth non-traditionally & traditional gothically.

Have any goths out there tried seriously goth looks at the office & really made it work or did it flop like my attempt? Have any of you non-goths tried an edgy trend outside your comfort zone & worn that to the office?

Friday, March 4, 2011

Fashion Beauty Friend Friday - 03.04.11

FBFF Questions for 03.4.11 - This week, the topic is beauty products, courtesy of ModlyChic.

1. What's your favorite drugstore makeup product and your favorite higher-end product?
Drugstore - Probably the Loreal HiP eyeshadows. The second I discovered those, I snapped them up & have been addicted to them! Fantastic colors, great pigment, compact (thus great for travel), & ideal for all my eyeshadow needs.

High-end - This is one of my little indulgences. I really adore high-end makeup & haunt Sephora to randomly buy fancy makeup whenever I have a bit of cash to spare. But to pick just one, I'd have to say Chanel Vamp lipstick. It's the ultimate goth lippie, tho' sadly being discontinued (rumor has it). I have a few tubes stockpiled & will cry when they are gone.

2. Is there one type of product that is your go-to, can't live without?
If I'm honest, I'll say Burt's Bees lip balm. There's a tube in every purse, next to my bed, at my work & home desks, & in the bathroom. But I'd like to say lipstick in general.

3. What's the best hair product you've ever used?
Too hard to pick just one! Beauty Without Cruelty leave-in conditioner is fantastic for soothing my tangled mess of wanna-be curls right out of the shower, & Garnier Fructis curl creme is perfect for styling the dry waves into soft curls for the day. Oh & I'd be remiss in not mentioned Aqua Net Extra Super Hold Unscented, which continues to play a large part in my hairstyling life (from teenage Robert Smith 'dos to historical hairstyles to retro pinup everyday fashions).

4. Fess up, what's the worst beauty look you've tried to rock and look back at now with a little shame or apprehension that you actually did that?
I will never, ever again cut my hair into a bob. *shudder* Awful look on me. Most really short hairstyles make me look like Paul McCartney in the end.

5. When it comes to beauty products, we all use the same basic products. What do you use that helps show off your personal flare and personality?
Well, I don't think "we all use the same basic products." I suppose that was intended to mean the same basic products are available to everyone.

My makeup trademark is probably dark lipstick. I always wear it. Dark lips, light eyemakeup (just black liner & a touch of shadow -- can't see too much of it behind my glasses). I wear dark lipstick every single day if I'm going outside the house, tho' I have stopped bothering for mundane trips to the grocery store or doctor's office. I almost reflexively buy any dark burgundy or purple-ish shade of lipstick I see at Sephora or the drugstore to add to my collection.  I match the lipstick to my outfits. I reapply thruout the day. I ask friends if I have "hooker lips" (y'know, when there's only a trace outline of lipstick around the edges of your lips). I'm kind of obsessed.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Stripey Silk

I've been sewing clothing & stuff since I was a little kid -- taught by my mom & grandmom. But I don't like sewing modern clothes to wear everyday. Too much trouble. What I do like is to buy fabric & trims & shiny bits to use for historical / fantasy / gothic costumes or to refashion everyday clothes.

That's how I came across this fabric. Just  a couple yards, last little bit on a bolt, of black silk with pinstripes of silver. Not enough for a full gown, but omg, such awesome fabric, I had to have it. Could use it as contrast or trim on something, someday.

Then, my dear friend Donna suggested a jacket. A modern jacket, that she would make. Fantastic! She's such a dear. She had this pattern & whipped it together as a Christmas gift for me.

What I'm wearing:
Black with grey pinstripe silk jacket, custom-made by Donna of Original Sin Designs
Black T-shirt, Old Navy
Black trousers, Target
Black wedge heels, Kenneth Cole (thrifted)
Burgundy flower pin (also works as a hair pin), Forever 21
Black sparkley necklace, random accessory store
Silver cameo earrings, vintage
Large sparkley gunmetal ring, Icing
Chanel Vamp lipstick

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Sundress Between Raindrops

Drizzly morning, so just the one photo. But I wore this sundress a lot in Kauai the other week & couldn't resist giving it a wintery remix.

What I'm wearing:
Black, white, & purple print dress, Target
Black T-shirt, Gap
Black elastic belt, NY & Co.
Black leggings, Newport News
Black boyfriend cardigan, Chadwicks
Red heeled ankle boots, Aerosoles
Silver chunky bead necklace, Target

Ran out the door without earrings on! Nearly forgot my rings & studded bracelet.

When you're having a rushed morning, what do you tend to forget?