Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The CorpGoth Suit, Sort Of

This isn't a real suit, in that the pieces aren't sold together or intended to go together. But they comprise a suit to me, because they're in the same general shape & style, colors & fabrics & fit. The jacket is new, the skirt is thrifted & embellished, but it's suit-like enough in a modern, gothy way.

I wore this as psychological armor because I had a meeting today where I had to talk about uncomfortable things. Wearing serious clothes, even better, an outfit that is serious but also expresses my creativity & personal style, helped mentally gird my loins a little bit. The meeting went OK, not perfect, but I presented my case without reservation, & I made headway on some important issues. If I'd looked like a slacker, I might have felt like a slacker.

What I'm wearing:
Black twill jacket with piping detail, Spiegel
Black knit top, Target
Black twill skirt with lace, stripes, & velvet trim added by me, Gap, thrifted (details here)
Black tights, Calvin Klein
Black round-toe, spool-heel pumps, Target
Silver large-bead choker, Target
Gunmetal & rhinestone hoop earrings, NY & Company
Grey chiffon flower pin in hair, Icing
Grey bead & ribbon bracelet, NY & Company
Celtic ring, gift from Lisa

Are there certain clothes or types of outfits that make you feel strong & like you can take on stressful situations?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

CorpGoth Goes to a Con

Most every Memorial Day Weekend since I was about 16, I've gone to BayCon, the local science-fiction/fantasy convention. There have been times I've skipped due to other events or illness, sure, but 95% of the time, I've gone. Sometimes I've been on staff, sometimes I've entered the costume masquerade, & for the past 15 or so years, I've been a panelist. The con experience ranges from super-awesome to old hat. No matter what, it's nearby, & I know a lot of my oldest friends will be there.

This year, I'm on three panels, two of which are about Carnivale (this year's theme). Since my husband & I have been to Venice's Carnevale & created a DVD about it, this makes sense. I didn't wear my Carnevale costume since I would be taking the bus to & from the con's hotel, but I did dress up a little bit.

What I'm wearing:
Burgundy tailcoat trimmed in black lace, made by Donna of Original Sin Designs
Black sleeveless ruffled knit top, Michael Khors
Black velvet skirt, Speigel (gift from Lisa)
Black elastic belt with ruffle trim, NY & Company
Burgundy faux suede boots, DSW
Black tights, Calvin Klein
Long rhinestone earrings, random accessory store
Black velvet mini top hat, The Ruby Raven (trim added by me)
Black patent bat-shaped purse, gift from a friend

Detail of the lace on the sleeves (same lace is on center of the jacket).
As you can see, a lot of my "dress up" clothes are also workday clothes. Just need to add the more exotic pieces like the coat & hat. I used to carry this purse to work, but it just doesn't hold much, so I've relegated it to evening use or for specific event when I won't need to take a bunch of things with me. The bat looks big, but it's all wings!

I also did my nails using Sally Hansen's Salon Effects. Have to say, this wasn't a whole lot easier to use than nail polish -- less messy & no fumes, but just as fussy a process & requires precision & practice.  I messed up one nail & had to do it over again (which is par for the course when I paint my nails). Certainly, this is a nifty effect that couldn't be achieved any other way.  I'll report back on how long they last compared to polish.

So, for those who have a holiday weekend, are you doing anything special?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Fashion Beauty Friend Friday - 05.27.11

A good haircut, circa 2009.
May 27: This week, the topic is hair care, courtesy of ModlyChic.

1. How often do you get your hair cut?
About once a year. I'm a damn hippie, & I've always hated getting haircuts. I wait until I absolutely cannot stand how scraggly the ends are getting, then I have a few inches chopped off.

2. Do you go to the same stylist each time, try someone new, go to the cheap hair cutting chains or live it up in a salon?
I tend to go to the same stylist, & he's at a somewhat posh local salon. He does a good job, & he doesn't care that I want the same cut every year. Plus, he doesn't pressure me to get a trim every 6 weeks like other stylists used to do. I freakin' hate that! You're not my dentist, no, you can't schedule a follow-up appointment right now, kthxbye.

3. Do you color your hair? How often? What’s your natural color?
I haven't had my hair my "natural" color since I was about 14. Of course, my hair is naturally very, very dark brown, almost black, so when roots grow in, they hardly show. The grey hairs show more. I've been dyeing it solid black for the past, oh, 10 years (tho' I had it black at different times before that). I've also had my hair various shades of red, natural & un-, plus black with hot-pink streaks, & I've shaved large portions of my head.

4. The one thing you always do to keep your hair looking great is:
Air dry! Never, ever use a blow dryer unless I want mega-frizz & damaged hair.  Also, leave-in conditioner (fave. is by Beauty Without Cruelty).

5. What hair trend do you love and wish you could rock?
I've occasionally wanted a Louise Brooks type pageboy bob, but the two times I tried that cut, it looked horrid on my face & didn't work w/my hair's texture. Ah well.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Most Expensive Sweater

But isn't it FABULOUS?!?!?! Yeah, I splurged. This black & white cardigan cost twice what I've ever paid for a sweater, which probably means I'm a cheapskate, but whatevs. I simply could not resist (also, I was indulging in a bit of retail therapy as I've been feeling a little down about life recently -- hey, sometimes it works ;-).

Unless it falls apart, I can easily imagine myself wearing this for years tho' & getting a good return on investment. It goes with most anything in my wardrobe, from casual, like today, to dressy.

What I'm wearing:
Black & white cardigan, White House Black Market
Black jeans, Levis
Black pointy kitten-heel boots, Bakers
Giant silver filigree earrings, Forever 21
Black & white beaded cuff bracelet, bought in Kauai
Chanel Vamp lipstick

What's the biggest clothing splurge you've made? Was it worth it?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Turns Herself Round & She Smiles & She Says This Is It That's the End of the Joke

Ah yes, pretty in pink. Well, I try (tho' my hubbi stole the tripod so taking a photo this morning was extra challenging!).

I've always loved pink, especially hot pink. That's the '80s girl in me. Love it better than baby pastel pinks, like, omg, totally.

What I'm wearing:
Black cardigan, Macy's
Hot pink sleeveless knit shirt with deep ruffle, NY & Company
Black twill pencil skirt, MetroStyle
Black tights, unknown brand
Black & pink pumps, Irregular Choice (closeups here)
Black beaded bib necklace, Torrid
Gunmetal hoop earrings, NY & Company
Pink crystal pyramid cocktail ring, Icing
Pink & black flower hair pin, Icing

Any other children of the '80s out there?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Fashion Beauty Friend Friday - 04.15.11 - delayed to 5.20.11

Gratitude – These were the questions from the one-year anniversary of FBFF! So ModlyChic wanted to do something about gratitude. We each have so many people in our lives and in the blogging community who have helped us along the way. It’s time to shine the spotlight on them and give credit where credit is due.

1. When it comes to me personally – I owe a lot of who I am to:
My mom. She is incredibly independent, intelligent, strong, capable, & creative. She took me across the country & raised me by herself, while going to school & working. She worked on an advanced degree, she became an amazingly respected person in her field, & she put me thru college (& one of the finest institutions in the world, too). She instilled in me a love of reading, the Beatles, social justice, & making things with my hands, among other things. She's the most awesome woman on the planet!

Dropped my MacBook cord down one night & this is
how it landed.  Honest, I didn't arrange it!
2. When it comes to me professionally – I owe a lot of who I am to:
The U.C. Berkeley English Department & Live-105 radio personality Alex Bennett. Seriously. At Cal, I honed my critical thinking skills, I learned about research, & I was forced to write under extreme deadlines (aka, essay tests & those damn blue books). But it was when Alex Bennett started talking about this "Internet" thing on his morning show in the early 1990s, how he built something called a "webpage" where he posted funny stuff, well, I knew I had to get one of them modem thigmajigs asap. I did, & soon I'd taught myself to make webpages. And the rest is, as they say, history.

3. When it comes to the art of blogging, I’m grateful to these people for helping me through some rough spots:
Well, not so much 'helping me thru rough spots,' but I'm grateful for the fine example set by fashion bloggers like Sal of Already Pretty, Shelia of Ephemera, Vanessa of Big Girl. Small Budget. Tiny Town, & Angeline of The New Professional. These are some of the blogs I read every single day & always get something out of due to their combination of writing, fashion, photography, & personality. In fact, I'd like to see my blog as someday becoming a perfect combination of all these, through a gothic lens.

4. One blogging challenge I’m grateful happened because it made me stronger was…
My continuing challenge is taking photos, & I haven't quite conquered it yet. I'm able to get up in time (mostly ;-), but getting good lighting + a pose that doesn't look super-dorky continues to stump me. UGH.

5. To my readers, I’d like to say...
Thank you!!! I'm always amazed when I get comments (particularly if it's not someone I already know offline, heh). I wish I had more time in the day to reply to everyone. But I really do appreciate & value your feedback. It's encouraging & makes me feel like there's a tiny point to blogging other than my already-documented narcissism!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Am I Blue?

Not depressed, tho' my carpool woes continue, & I really have no idea how I'm getting to work from now on. Also, it's raining here in Silicon Valley -- I dodged sprinkles while taking these photos. But really, this is about the color blue. It's one of those colors (blue, also green) that I don't wear much. I don't have anything against it. Blue isn't like yellow, which looks weird against my already-yellowy part-Asian skin, or orange, which is just too clown-crazy for my taste. Blue is a nice, calm, respectable color.

But every time I buy a piece of blue clothing (with the exception of blue jeans, because I do rather like those), I end up not wearing it very often, & the blue garment is eventually sent off to be traded or thrifted.

Is this because my mother dressed me in more blues & greens as a child, in a 1970s attempt to be gender neutral, when I desperately wanted to be a pink-ruffles-&-frills girly-girl? She even painted my childhood bedroom a deep, nightsky blue, telling me that glow-in-the-dark stars would show up better on it. As a teenager, in the next house, I painted my room lavender purple, much more feminine, & demanded floral-print Victoran-esque bedding.

What I'm wearing today:
Blue knit dress, Ruche.com
Black knit camisole, NY & Co.
Grey cardigan with sparkles, ModCloth.com
Purple floral scarf, Old Navy
Black tights, Calvin Klein
Black boots, Clarks
Gunmetal & rhinestone hoop earrings, NY & Co.

I thought this dress was more purple when I ordered it online, despite the description saying "blue." This is the second wearing, & other people like it on me. It's comfortable & flattering in the fabric & cut. We shall see if it survives the fate of other blue garments.

Are there certain colors you don't wear, even if they might look good on you?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Ruffles & Roses

The posts have come back from last week's Blogger outage, but not the comments. Foo. Well, thanks for the insight into *your* telecommuting spaces when I posted about mine. I'm in the office today, Monday meetings, making the most of it.

What I'm wearing:
Black knit shirt decorated with organdy roses, Newport News
Black & white paisley skirt with ruffled faux-wrap front, custom-made by Donna
Burgundy boyfriend cardigan, Chadwicks
Black tights, Calvin Klein
Black T-strap pumps, Aldo
Black & white stripe drop bead earrings, Kohl's
Newspaper-print flower hair pin, Target
Chanel Vamp lipstick

Coincidentally, Sal posted about accessory-free outfits on Already Pretty today, & I consider this a good example of such an outfit.  While I am wearing a smidge of jewelry & a barely seen hair doo-dad, there's no scarf, belt, large necklace, big ring, & you can hardly see those earrings either.

Ruffled & similarly trimmed blouses like this make enough of a statement, imo. Likewise, military jackets (of which we goths tend to be fond) have so many buttons & shiny bits, that wearing additional accessories seems like overkill. (Ok, I've done it, but I don't do it a lot!)

Are you an accessorizer or a minimalist? Or does it depend on the outfit?

Friday, May 13, 2011

Fashion Beauty Friend Friday - 05.13.11

May 13: This week, the topic is outside influences, courtesy of ModlyChic.

1. What magazines do you subscribe to?
Martha Stewart Living is the only print mag I still subscribe to. I used to have a ton of subscriptions to all kinds of magazines -- fashion, travel, health, politics, news, etc. But I got tired of the clutter. I got rid of my print newspaper subscription too.  I keep MSL for the recipes & photos (they're still better than online, imo).

2. Do you watch any fashion TV shows?
"Ru-Paul's Drag Race" / "Drag U" & sometimes "What Not to Wear." Drag queens are the last, best gasp of real boundary-pushing in fashion we have left! Everything else is so tame. Runway style is so dreary -- McQueen is gone, Lacroix's best days are behind him, nobody shocks & awes with clothes anymore except for female impersonators. WNtW I occasionally watch to see out of pity. They take such sad sacks & bring them up to the base-level mainstream of fashion, it's kind of sweet.

Yara Sofia from season 3 of RuPaul's Drag Race.

3. Beyond blogs, what websites do you frequent for fashion inspiration?
Interior design imagery, historical costume, fabric stores, thrift stores. Oh wait, websites? Not really any websites. I'm inspired more by colors, patterns, & shapes out in the real world :-)

4. Advertisements play a huge role in forming public opinion about a product or brand ... what ads do you like and why?
NONE. I freakin' hate ads. I skip past ads on TV thanks to TiVo, I often rip ads out of magazines, & I really hate ad-laden websites. Sure, they pay the bills (in fact, ads support the company I work for!), but I don't enjoy their existence one bit.

5. Do you own any fashion books?
Um, mostly historical fashion! Well, I do have the catalogs for the Vivienne Westwood retrospective exhibit & the Stephen Jones hat exhibit (I saw the Westwood exhibit at the DeYoung Museum in San Francisco & Jones at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London). Both of these designers are very inspiring.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sorry I'm Not Home Right Now, I'm Walking Into Spiderwebs

My world has been tangled & torn & not terribly fashionable of late. I've worn a lot of repeats (like this & this & this & this on Mother's Day), & I've worked from home in black yoga pants & T-shirts. The carpool is still chaotic, work itself is beating me down, & the weekends have been jam-packed. I shouldn't complain too much -- I could be out of a job or my house could be flooding, for example. But it's hard to get up the gumption to be fashionable with all the other stuff going on. Tho' I'm trying here & there...

What I'm wearing:
Fuchsia ruched-shoulder sweater, H&M
Black & white spiderweb-print skirt, made by me (first described here)
Black tights, Calvin Klein
Purple velvet ankle-strap pumps, Rocket Dog
Black elastic belt, NY & Co.
Grey flower hair pin worn as brooch (stuck a safety pin in the back), Icing
Gunmetal & rhinestone hoop earrings, NY & Co.

The weather can't decide if it's going to be warm & sunny or crisp & cool. I can't decide what I want to do with my days. Indecision runs rampant...

Thanks to everyone for your lovely compliments on my 16th-century costume! At least I can keep up with that era ;-)

Bedeviled by sundogs, wrapped up in spiderwebs.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Fashion Beauty Friend Friday - 05.06.11

May 6: The topic is shoes, courtesy of ModlyChic.

Clarks boots
1.What is your go-to pair of shoes?
In fall & winter, that has to be these Clarks boots. So comfy & stylish! The rest of the year, it just might be my Aldo T-strap flats (which, apparently, I haven't taken a closeup photo of, probably because they're so ubiquitous).

Surprising that both are flat shoes (because I do love heels), but those two shoes can go with anything in my closet other than a very fancy outfit.

2. What goes into your shoe-buying decisions?
First, style (does it turn me on? am I in love? is this a shoe that fills some hole in my wardrobe?), then price ($30/$40 is my comfort zone, but I'll double it for a shoe that makes my heart go pitter-pat, at least if it's a quality brand), then comfort & fit.

Hitting all three equally is the sweet spot, but if the shoe is really high in two of these areas, it might override the last one. For example, a very cheap shoe that is super-cute, but a little uncomfortable might come home with me, or a comfy, stylish shoe that costs a lot could too.

3. The majority of the shoes in your closet are what color?
BLACK. Color you surprised, right? Hah. I have 48 pairs of shoes (hmm... doesn't seem like much), & 11 are all or mostly a color other than black. It's not really a goth thing, it's more that I play it safe. Although of the dozen shoes in my costume closet, there are more colorful shoes, some that go with specific costumes, for example.

4. When it comes to design shoes what are your favorite brands and why?
I think the only brand I have more than two pairs of is Aldo. They have consistently great styles, the shoes are usually comfortable, I can find good prices on sale, & the shoes are of high quality.

5. If price wasn’t an issue, you’d own which shoe?
Fluevogs. Oh, yeah. I dream of owning some Fluevog boots, but they start over $200 new, & that's so far out of my normal price range, I just can't bring myself to do it. I have one pair of vintage Fluevog pumps that were given to me by a dear friend, & I love them. I wear them with fancy cocktail dresses & feel like a goddess. But new 'Vogs aren't quite in my future...

Thursday, May 5, 2011

CorpGoth Working From Home

I mention it often enough, so why not give a little tour of my home office? My company is generous with telecommuting benefits, for a couple of reasons. For one, many of our jobs can be done anywhere -- we're an Internet company, so if you have a computer & the net, you can work. For another, the company is committed to being eco-friendly & fewer cars on the road in this congested area is always a good thing. So many of us have at least one work-from-home day per week. Recently, I've had two due to a variety of circumstances (and hey, I've been at the company 10 years, might as well get some added value ;-).

The first thing we did when we bought our house was turn the detached garage-with-bonus-room into a complete studio for my husband's music production & video editing work. He does that on one side, & I have the smaller (but still reasonably large) area for my office, which can double as a guest room as needed.

We are a 100% Macintosh household. I recently replaced the monitor, & I got a new Mac laptop from work, which I plug into the monitor (my personal computer is a Mac Mini; under the desk is my retired G5 tower). Working directly on a laptop is horribly un-ergonomic & will ruin your back, shoulders, & wrists -- folks, I highly recommend hooking it up to a proper keyboard & monitor if you work on a computer for more than, oh, an hour a day!

Hydration is important. I keep a big glass of water at my desk; one cup of coffee in the a.m. And the Buddha watches over, along with a chunk of ameythst, old gaming dice, and a kui nut lei from Hawaii.

The shelf above the monitor has reference books like the Yahoo! Styleguide, the AP Styleguide, & the Chicago Manual of Style, plus inspirational books such as Ulysses by James Joyce, The Mayor of Castro Street by Randy Shilts, & an anthology on feminism. There's a photo of me from nearly 20 years ago with a wax Shakespeare at Madame Tussaud's in London. The plastic Godzilla has been on different permutations of my desk since high school. Cthulu rides a ceramic Vespa, because the Elder Gods would have wanted it that way. There's a calligraphied poem by William Blake above it all.

Of course, one of the best things about working from home is the company. Sure, my husband is around, but my boy-cat Toulouse sits in my lap, drooling on my keyboard, trying to keep me from typing anything legible. He loves hanging out in the studio while we work.

Do you telecommute? If so, what's your home office setup like?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

CorpGoth Goes 16th Century

Violet by TrystBat
Violet, a photo by TrystBat on Flickr.
Another week of non-daily-outfit-blogging (so far, anyways), but here's a peek into what I wore over the weekend...

This is a new 16th-c. gown I made last year & finally wore at a Society for Creative Anachronism event, where I'm Lady Violet Ruthvene, a 1580s lowland Scots gentlewoman. And I'm still gothy. My historically accurate heraldry even has a bat on a purple ground. And, as you can see, I wear dark colors. Same person, whatever the era ;-)

I wrote a little background on making the gown for on my costume website too.