Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Old T-Shirt & Jeans Grow Up (Goth Style)

I don't do casual that well. Corporate, sure, as the name of this blog implies, I can do just fine, with my obligatory goth twist. But weekend wear, out-of-the office clothes are getting difficult, especially as I get older. Throwing on a T-shirt & jeans isn't the most stylish of options in your 20s, but it's not unexpected either.

However, in your 30s & particularly your 40s, um, that outfit can look a little sad. If you're not extremely careful, you may look like you're trying too hard to relive your youth, or you look like you're a sloppy loser who hasn't grown up. Sure, every now & then, if you're dashing off to the grocery store, it doesn't matter, but there's so many occasions that not looking like a big teenager or a slob has benefits.

Here's one of my attempts (photographed several months ago) at a subtle upgrade...

What I'm wearing:
Black knit top with ruched corsage detail, NY & Co.
Black jeans, Calvin Klein
Stripey socks, unknown brand
Black flats, Aldo
Black & skull bead necklace, DisneyLand
Gunmetal & rhinestone hoop earrings, NY & Co.
Burgundy flower hair pin, random accessory store

Monday, July 25, 2011

Blue Casual

After waffling so much on whether this dress was really "me," I sure have been wearing it a lot, at least for weekend wear. It's just so darn comfy,  & the cut is incredibly flattering. So what if the color isn't automatically my usual thing? I do get plenty of compliments on it. A salesclerk at the mall said the color was very striking contrasted against my black hair. I'll go with that.

What I'm wearing:
Blue knit dress, Ruche.com | Black camisole, Old Navy | Black gladiator sandals, Aldo | Black & skull bead necklace, DisneyLand | Big silver hoop earrings, random accessory store | Black lace headband, random accessory store

Just a nice day off, running errands & such. I'm enjoying the start of my brief vacation!

Friday, July 22, 2011

FBFF: What's in my bag?

Fashion Beauty Friend Friday has a new twist -- it's a visual post with one question. What's in your bag? (hosted by A Pretty Nest). Which is awesome because I've been thinking about posting this for a long time, just hadn't gotten off my duff, spilled the goods, & taken all the pix! So here goes (warning, it's a big bag).

First, the bag itself. I bought this purse last November. I'm a one-bag kinda gal. I love the idea of a different purse to go with different outfits, but I hate moving my stuff from one bag to another. And when you see how much junk I carry around, you'll understand why. Honestly, I need all this stuff & I do use it frequently. I'm not a packrat.

Black leather satchel by Jessica Simpson

Now the stuff, pocket by pocket (this purse has nice, big pockets, something I adore in purses).

The outside pocket, just under the studded flap, holds things I need to grab easily. Meaning, my iPhone & my house keys. Pretty basic.

The phone is in a purple case. The keys have two fobs -- one is a pewter bat (gift from friends) & the other is the logo of the University of California Alumni Association with a special code on the back that supposedly if my keys are lost, they can be dropped in any U.S. mailbox & will be sent back to me. My main house key is a custom pretty pretty pink princess key. Because I'm that silly.

The first interior pocket also has things I grab frequently, just not the "omg super crucial" stuff.

There are a bunch of pens, of course. My iPhone earbuds tuck into a tiny pocket. There's another little pocket for my thumb drive, which is on a purple glittery shoe-shaped fob with my RSA token for work. My sunglasses case is in this big pocket too -- they magnetically clip over my cat-eye glasses.

Next are two pockets combined. The purse has one center zipped pocket where I keep my wallet (& a bunch of random receipts that naturally end up there). And the purse has a final large open pocket behind that.

From the back of this photo -- a small covered notepad with a picture of Marie-Antoinette (gift from a friend), two ChicoBags (super useful for shopping!), my wallet (random purchase from Target), a bat-fabric coffee cup sleeve made for me by my friend Donna, a tiny tin of Altoids, my Moo cards (I'm running out), & my work business cards in a reproduction 1920s case purchased at Harrods in London.

In the back wall of the purse is a little zippered pocket where I keep makeup & meds. This pocket & the very front pocket might get the most use of all!

From back to front -- lipsticks (I wear different ones most days, so by the end of the week, I have a collection in my purse because I forget to take them out), Burt's Bees lip balm, three pill cases for all my medications (one black with fleur-de-lys, a silver round one, & a vintage gold & black one shaped like a pocket watch), vintage silver 1920s mirror, ladybug shaped nail clippers, polka-dot nail file (these come in packs from Sephora), & random hair bands.

Not pictured: a pack of tissues & another pen that both got tucked under a pocket fold!

So what's in your purse? Do you carry a lot or a little?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Dressed-up jeans day

Jeans at my office aren't a "casual Friday" thing, it's an any-day thing. But for me, it tends to be an "I took the bus today" thing. Which I did today, of course. So I tried to dress these jeans up a little bit with a jacket. Of course, I'll never look as dressed up in jeans as Alternations Needed's Kelly in her jeans & jackets, but then, my style is not that preppy.

What I'm wearing today:
Black jacket with piped seams, Speigel
Black & white stripey T-shirt, Express
Black jeans, Levis
Black & white stripey socks, unknown brand
Black wedge shoes, Dockers
Silver chunky bead choker, Target
Black & white stripey bead earrings, Kohl's
Grey flower hair pin, random accessory story
Bright red lipstick, MAC

Do you wear jeans to work? Do you try to dress them up?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Pinstripes, purple, spiderwebs

I kind of feel sorry mentioning how this was another foggy morning when my friends & fellow bloggers in the Midwest & on the East Coast of the U.S. are suffering with horrible heatwaves. But, um, I'm wearing tights again & grabbed a cardigan after taking these photos.

Let's just pretend I live in New Zealand for a few days so you won't hate me.

What I'm wearing:
Purple T-shirt, The Limited
Black pinstriped skirt, Newport News, gift from Lisa
Black spiderweb tights, unknown brand
Purple cross-strap pumps, Aldo
Black chunky beaded necklace, Target
Black beaded bracelet, gift when I was a bridesmaid in a friend's wedding
Pewter square earrings, from a local artisan
Black cocktail ring, Icing

Aldo is probably the only specific brand of shoes
I own multiple pairs of. Love them!
I wear these earrings sooooo often.
Such a great find & about time I photographed them.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Black & white Monday

With bare legs again, don't know what got into me ;-) Hint o' summer-goth, I guess.

What I'm wearing:
Black silk sheath dress, Target | Black & white print cardigan, Black House White Market | Black & white ankle-strap pumps, Ross | Gunmetal & rhinestone choker, random accessory store | Gunmetal cameo earrings, vintage| Black & white flower pin in hair, random accessory store | Black flower cocktail ring, Icing

I also noticed that recently, I've reached the 100 followers mark here on this lil' ol' blog. Wow, I'm impressed, & I want to thank each & every one of you who reads!

I'm sorry I don't post more often, but my life has gotten rather hectic in the past few months. I'm trying to guarantee at least 2 outfit posts a week, ideally 3, since that's how many days I'm scheduled to go into the office. But I've had some illnesses that either make me call in sick or work from home more frequently (boo), not to mention a bit of extra travel this summer (yay!).

Next week, I'll be at a conference in Southern California -- Costume College, one of my favorite annual excursions to learn more about the art, plus I'm teaching a class again (after a year off), & we may visit museums (I've never been to the Huntington or the Getty, so I can't wait to go!). Maybe I'll try to take some casual-wear pix & blog from the road. We shall see...

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Foggy Morning Requirements

I took the bus (two buses & walking several blocks, to be precise) to work today, so that determined my outfit as much as anything. Northern California summers can flip from horribly hot one week to quite mild the next, & that's exactly what happened. Today was fogged in for the morning. People think that only San Francisco gets foggy summers (insert cliched Mark Twain quote that he probably never said), but that applies to some degree (hah) to most of the Bay Area. The fog layer comes in overnight, & it burns off by noon where live in Silicon Valley.

This means a little schizophrenic dressing, or at least, wearing layers. Especially when taking public transit. So, in addition to wearing flats for the extra walking, I wore tights & a sweater. Definitely needed.

What I'm wearing:
Pink patterned cardigan, Chadwicks
Black T-shirt, Old Navy
Black cotton tiered skirt, gift from Lisa
Black tights, unknown brand
Black T-strap flats, Aldo
Colored pearl & silver bead necklace with cameos, dangly pearls, & silver charms, made by me
Pink filigree earrings, from Blackbird Jewels on Etsy, won in a giveaway from Miss Vinyl Ahoy

Monday, July 11, 2011

Pinstripes & Bare Legs

I'm not a fan of bare legs at the office -- I don't mind them on other people, just not my own bare legs. It's not so much out of prudishness or conservatism (hello, I work in Silicon Valley, men & women regularly wear shorts & flip-flops to work, even CEOs!). The reason is more about my feet than my legs.

See, I have always hated wearing shoes without some kind of stocking or sock between my feet & the shoe. I don't know how other women do it! Do they all have amazingly un-sweaty feet? Have they all discovered fabulous super-breathable shoes? What's their secret? Because whenever I try it, my tootsies get sticky & hot & icky & clammy & absolutely gross. It feels horrible to me to wear shoes without hosiery. The only exception is strappy sandals or flip-flops (& I absolutely live in flip-flops at home).

But, alas, I don't have many pairs of sandals that go with office clothes, & flip-flops stay at home because I'm just not as casual as the rest of my coworkers here. So it's always a bit of a struggle in summer, when I don't really want to wear tights as they're too hot, but I only have so many longer skirts.

Today's outfit is awfully revealing for me. My husband loves it, but I felt a little self-conscious. 'Cept I'd wear a skirt this short with sandals out on vacation or even to the mall -- after all, my legs aren't too bad. It's just showing them at work is branching out of my comfort zone!

What I'm wearing:
Grey-brown pinstripe dress, made by Donna, fabric from Kendra
Black satin strappy heeled sandals, Two Lips
Black beaded bib necklace, Torrid
Silver-grey pearl bracelet with ribbon, NY & Co.
Gunmetal & rhinestone hoop earrings, NY & Co.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

CorpGoth Cross-Dresses in the 18th Century

Leonard by TrystBat
Leonard, a photo by TrystBat on Flickr.
As I mentioned a while back, I've been designing & sewing a new costume to portray Leonard Autie, the hairdresser to Marie Antoinette. This was for an event by the Greater Bay Area Costumer's Guild called "An Evening at the Petit Trianon."

Well, the event was last night, & here's a picture of me in 18th-century drag! I made everything I'm wearing except the shirt & the stock (which is a white pleated band around the neck). Well, and the shoes & stockings, cane, & jewelry -- didn't make those.

But I did style the wig, make the tiny tricorn, sewed the suit, covered all 40+ buttons, and sewed & machine-embroidered the silk waistcoat. Took about two months.

The outfit was great fun to wear, & event was a really good time too. I'll be wearing this costume again at the gala ball at Costume College, an annual conference I attend & teach at in Los Angeles, later this month.

More of my photos from last night are on Flickr, plus here's a fun video another attendee took of us dancing to "I Want Candy," where you can see me in the foreground. And if you're curious, my dress diary of this costume tells all kinds of detail about how I made it, including historical research.

Friday, July 8, 2011

BoHo Hippie Goth

I was raised by hippies, & I'm proud of it. I called myself a New Wave Hippie in high school, combining my peacenik tendencies with the '80s music I had then discovered. I set my sights on U.C. Berkeley for college, & never looked back. In my work these days, I help run one of the biggest environmental websites around.

I still mix my hippie roots with a less than typically tie-dye flair. I love paisley & ethnic prints, flowing tops & dresses, & I sometimes can't help but let my hair run wild & free.

What I'm wearing:
Black, purple, & blue paisley tunic, Chadwicks
Black leggings, Newport News
Black ribbon & silver chain belt, eBay
Black embellished mules, bought from REVA RAGS 2 ROSES
Silver filigree earrings, Target
Silver skull & black bead choker, DisneyLand

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Working in the Heat

90+ degrees Fahrenheit this week. Yeah, no humidity, but I still don't like it, & the weather limits my fashion choices (note this is a repeat outfit, essentially the summer version of this). I have to walk in between buildings at work a few times each day, so I don't want to wear anything too heavy. And when I wait for my evening carpool, it's freakishly hot outside.

A lot of people complain about over-active office air conditioning. That used to be a problem here, but my company has done great work in the past few years to fine-tune the systems so the temperature is comfortable without being Arctic.

A big reason is because of the energy use -- California went through a period where we had rolling blackouts in summer due to high energy demand. So some cities started working with major companies & giving incentives to those that reduced consumption. Thus, our company HQ buildings, where I work, started to get much more efficient in summer & winter.

What I'm wearing today:
Purple & red print cotton duro dress, April Cornell
Black footless tights, unknown brand
Black jeweled flip-flop sandals, Mootsies Tootsies
Black shell necklace, bought in Florida
Black shell dangly earrings, Khol's
Black roses cocktail ring, Icing
Black & brown skull bracelet, gift from Mom
Red flower pin in hair, random accessory store

A month into summer & I still haven't painted my toenails. So no pix of my cute sandals, darnit!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Stripey Long Weekend

My husband & I made the (American) 4th of July holiday an extra-long weekend by taking a road trip through Northern California & Oregon. We left last Wednesday & drove to Mt. Shasta -- the tallest mountain in California -- where we stayed at a delightful bed & breakfast for a night.

Then we drove farther north, stopping briefly in Ashland, home of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (no time to see a show, but hopefully another time!).

Our final destination was Gold Beach, Oregon, along the stunning Pacific Ocean. We stayed in a faux Arts & Crafts style motel, very comfy, & enjoyed a fantastic ocean view.

Ostensibly, the reason we went was for a big Society for Creative Anachronism event in the area, though we only attended for a day & a half. Still, that was fun, & we hung out with friends, ate great food, my husband played music, & we did some shopping.

The long, one-day drive back took us along the coast & also through Redwoods National Park. Superb views! All in all, it was a nice, relaxing little trip.

What I wore last Thursday:
Black knit dress, Target
Black & white stripey cardigan, Chadwicks
Black & white stripey leggings, American Apparel
Black & white polka-dot scarf, Old Navy
Black & white stripey socks, unknown brand
Black T-strap flats, Aldo
Silver disk earrings, random accessory store
Black leather purse, Jessica Simpson

Want to see a few shots of mountains & ocean, plus my husband playing crumhorn? Check out my pix on Flickr.

For those Americans who had a holiday weekend, how did you spend it?

Friday, July 1, 2011

Fashion Beauty Friend Friday - 07.01.11

July 1 Questions: Vahni from Grit and Glamour has a post several weeks ago in which she outlined her personal uniform or outfit formula as she dubbed it. Courtesy of ModlyChic.

1. What’s your go-to outfit formula?
Black top, patterned skirt, black tights, black shoes. Like this or this or this. A slight reverse also works, meaning colored or patterned top, black skirt, black (or colored/print tights), & black (or colored) shoes. Such as this or this.

2. How did you come about this formula?
I'm a goth, so the majority of my wardrobe is black, duh. But I don't like wearing all black because I find that boring. So I throw in a little color, & that ends up being half my outfit, top or bottom.

3. Do you have different formulas for different occasions in your life?
Not really. My work & casual wardrobe is predominately dark colors with a lot of black basics like black jeans, skirts, trousers, dresses, sweaters, T-shirts, so I just add jewel-tones around that.

4. Has it morphed over the years?
Nope, I've loved dark colors for as long as I can remember! Never been a big fan of pastels, although my mom used to try to make me wear them.

5. Which other blogger’s outfit formula would you like to swipe?
None. While I enjoy looking at other people's outfits & I get inspiration from combinations of pieces (like, how to wear belts & scarves, for example), I don't really want to wear other people's actual clothes combos.