Friday, September 30, 2011

Goth Challenge #3 - Out as Goth

#3: When did you come out the Goth closet? (If you didn't then simply discuss the topic)

(Continuing the Goth Challenge questions -- follow the tag below to see all.)  I didn't really "come out of the closet as a goth," but certainly my mom began to notice, during high school, that I was gradually dressing less in a mainstream fashion. And she wasn't particularly thrilled with it all the time.

I got the "you could be such a pretty girl without all that makeup" speech, along with "why is your hair always hanging in your face?" But she didn't restrict what I could wear or make any demands on me. That wasn't her way. Especially since I was a straight-A student; involved in various 'good-kid' extra-curricular activities like the school yearbook, newspaper, literary magazine, and drama club; plus headed to one of the country's top universities. She had no real complaints, just mild disapproval. (And she's since grown to love and encourage my unique style.)

The most "in the closet" I've been as a goth was probably my first job out of college, when I worked at a horribly conservative, old-school, electronics company as a technical writer. I hated the job, the company, and myself because I couldn't be myself. That's a big part of why I went back to grad school. And ever since, I've had a requirement that I only work at places where I can be me.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Matchy-Matchy FTW

It's a well-known fact that I love matchy outfits. I will never be one of those people who create outfits where items "go with" each other. OH NO. Items must match & tie in together purposefully, if not painfully obviously. As yesterday's historical photos show, I've always been like this.

I even do this in my costuming. A purple gown needs a purple hat and purple shoes, duh! Friends will make costumes and insist that the hat should be a different color than the gown so it's not "too matchy," and I just don't understand them. Matching is where it's at, no matter the era.

What I'm wearing:
Red knit top with tied neck, Target | Black & white stripey skirt, White House Black Market | Black tights, Calvin Klein | Red ankle boots, Aerosoles | Silver disk earrings, random accessory store| White & black beaded cuff bracelet, bought in Kauai | "Gash" lipstick, Urban Decay

Are you a matchy dresser or a go-with dresser?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Goth Challenge #2 - Flashback Pix!

#2: Share photos and experiences from your BabyBat days.

(Continuing the Goth Challenge questions -- follow the tag below to see all.)  Hard to say when I was a true BabyBat, but considering I'm in my 40s now, I think any time pre-25 is "BabyBat" territory. At least that's how I look on other people (yeah, I'm crotchety that way ;-). Here's a little wacky trip thru the time machine...

I had to really hunt for photos because Back in My Day, kids didn't have tiny cameras in their pocket (aka camera phones). The first pic is from my high school yearbook, and the second is obviously my formal prom pic (don't ask me about the guy!). In later years, if I had a camera and remembered to take photos at a party, I took them of other people (I still tend to do that).

1986, on yearbook staff, apparently filing while wearing sunglasses
(much like wearing sunglasses at night). Pink vintage Chinese coat. Big hair.

1987. Senior prom. I specifically wanted a dress like nobody else would wear.
Which I achieved.
1988. Working at a second-hand clothing store in Berkeley, during college.
Started shaving half my head & would continue thru most of college.

1988-89ish. "I'm not a mod, I'm not a rocker, I'm a mocker."
Bonus points if you can ID that quote.

1990. My college sorority's colors were pink & white, so I dyed pink streaks into my hair.
Gotta show spirit!

Funny, but looking back, some essential stylistic elements have not changed. I cannot resist wearing black + other bright color (like hot pink or a pattern such as stripes). I freakin' adore necklaces & hoop earrings. I'm, ehem, still fond of some height in my hair, & flat hair is the bane of my existence, even if I don't go to the extremes as I once did. I'm still a big fan of matchy-matchy (not shown in my prom picture: matching gold lame vintage purse & you prob. can't tell that all the rhinestone jewelry is *gold* rhinestones, down to the shoe clips & there's gold glitter in my hair). The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Bad Hair Day

Sometimes, my hair won't cooperate. Especially right now, when it's gotten to the "long as it will get" stage and thus is time for a bit of a trim. I hate getting my hair cut (remnants of my hippie upbringing) and only do it when it bugs the crap out of me, like now! I live in mortal fear of short hair because anything less than shoulder-length looks awful on me.

I also despise flat hair on me. Which is what my hair is doing right now. When it gets this long (bra-strap length, & no, it will not grow any longer), all the curl is pulled out of it. My hair starts to look flat and lanky and lifeless. I can brush it smooth, but (a) it won't stay that way very long because it will frizz up in about 3 minutes and, more importantly, (b) I can't stand the way I look with smooth, flat hair. I think I look like a pinhead. Frankly, this bun doesn't look any better -- it's pinhead-goes-to-work! -- but at least it's not pinhead-with-flyaways.

I tried a lot of things this morning. I was really aiming for that lovely, long, smooth look that Victorian Kitty has with her hair, even trying some of her hairstyles. Alas, I'm terrible at braiding, but I tried a side ponytail, thinking that might get the same affect. No dice. I tried various different buns & chignons too, which just resulted in cursing in the bathroom (good thing my husband had to get up early this morning!). With time running short and my hair becoming limper by the minute, I went with this plain ol' ballerina bun and got on with the day.

Hopefully, I can schedule a haircut to trim off 2" to 4" in the next week!

What I'm wearing:
White & black pinstripe twill jacket, Macy's
Black T-shirt, Old Navy
Black jeans, Levis
Black & white stripe scarf, H&M
Black & gold disk earrings, Forever 21
Black & white flowers on bobby pins, random accessory store
Black ankle boots, Aldo

Monday, September 26, 2011

Denim & Satin

The weather tried to be autumnal this weekend, but alas, the forecast is for more hot weather this week. Just sharing with you all my pain at how much this disturbs my wardrobe potential.

What I'm wearing:
Grey denim bell-sleeved jacket, Newport News | Black embellished T-shirt, NY & Company | Plum satin trumpet skirt, Newport News, via Lisa | Black tights, Calvin Klein
Black ribbon-tie pumps, Clarks | Black & pink vintage-style earrings, random accessory store | Rhinestone cocktail ring, Icing | Rhinestone crown brooch, random accessory store

I swear I will die if I can't wear proper fall clothing soon! So very tired of summer.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Taking the Goth Challenge #1

I realized it's about a month until I hit the one-year anniversary of starting this blog. Also, when the date actually happens, I'm going to be traveling, or at least returning from, Spain! This got me thinking and looking around online, and I decided to play with this little Goth Challenge series of questions started by Juliet's Lace. Let's see how far I get!

#1: How did you come across the subculture?

Me in high school, circa 1986.
All about the Aqua Net!
In high school, circa 1985 or '86, I started listening to indie new wave music on local college radio stations, and this encouraged me to push the boundaries with my wardrobe. More funky thrift-store and vintage clothes and more stuff I sewed or modified myself. Colorful tho, in a punky Cyndi Lauper way.  But a friend gave me cassette tapes of The Cure and The Smiths, which I absolutely madly fell in love with. That connected immediately with my dark inner self.

At school, there were two girls who were trying to look goth (which everyone called "alternative" or "mod" then; I didn't hear the word "goth" or "gothic" until college). They dyed their hair black, wore lots of black eyeliner, and wore black clothes. However, they were spoiled rich girls, and their clothes were all designer black clothes and expensive leather boots, plus they both had fancy sportscars. Our school was on the border between a very wealthy suburb and a much more average, middle-to-lower-middle-class suburb. All very "Pretty in Pink."

So my punky friends didn't want to associate with those rich bitches, and while we loved the dark music, we cultivated our brightly colored, rag-tag, vintagey styles as a contrast to their sleek, designer, all-black look.

Soon enough, tho', I went away to college (a mere hour's drive away), where I discovered a fabulous little cafe right off campus where all the town's goths and punks seemed to hang out. Real, everyday goths, not ones who bought it from a boutique. So I could wear vintage black velvet as well as vintage pink chiffon with no problems ;-)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Black & White Monday

This week is supposed to be hot. Ugh. No autumn for me!

What I'm wearing:
Black cotton dress, ModCloth | Black & white cardigan, Black House White Market | Black studded leather belt, Macy's |  Black slingback heels, Payless Shoe Source | Black & white bead necklace, made by me | Black & white stripe bead earrings, Kohls | Black & white flower hair pin, Icing

For all my weekday picture-taking, I totally forgot to bring my camera when I worked at a renfaire this weekend. But I found a couple photos from other folks that I added to the report over on my costume blog.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Feeling Plummy, Plus a Rant

Half a day foggy, half a day sunny. That's Northern California for ya. I kept taking this jacket on and off, which I suspected would happen, and that's why I wore my favourite sleeveless top. Not generally a fan of sleeveless in the office (even tho' this is the most casual office ever), but when it has ruffles and looks this sharp, I'll accept it.

What I'm wearing:
Plum velvet jacket, gift from Lisa | Black sleeveless ruffled top, Michael by Michael Kors | Black gauze peasant skirt, Rampage
Black tights, unknown brand | Burgundy faux suede boots, DSW
Pink & gold earrings, | Burgundy flower hair pin, random accessory store

While it's not quite the weather for a full day of velvet, I was a bit surprised that one of my favourite sewing bloggers, Peter of Male Pattern Boldness, decried velvet entirely in his post today.

He recounted the tale of fabric shopping with one of his blog's fans, where she wanted to sew something out of velvet. First, he was horrified that she'd go against the pattern's recommended fabrics (which is silly, imo, those are just recommendations, not the gospel or something!). Next, he was horrified by the suggestion of velvet, and I quote: "Seriously, though: who wears velvet these days other than Goths and Gothic Lolitas?  (And yet fabric stores are full of the stuff.)   So Phantom of the Opera."

Obviously, us goths do wear velvet, but surely other people are too. The vast majority of my velvet clothing is from mainstream U.S. stores like Macy's, Newport News, Coldwater Creek, and NY & Company (as a rule, I do not shop from gothic brands because I find the quality low or I just don't like the designs). The places I buy velvet are making velvet garments for average American women, and velvet tends to come back in fashion most fall/winter seasons. Amirite? Yeah.

And here's just a tiny bit of proof that goths aren't the only ones who wear velvet -- two of my favorite fashion bloggers, last fall, wearing smart, sassy velvet items in their ensembles:  Sal of Already Pretty in October 2010, and Audi of Fashion for Nerds in December 2010. Not a hint of Phantom of the Opera there.

While goths may love it, we're not the only ones. I'm a little irked at Mr. Pattern Boldness for being a bit stereotyped in his fabric associations.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Fall, Please to Be Coming Soon

September is still Indian summer around here, but how I long for a proper autumn! I'm sneaking in a lot of transitional clothes more as a bit of wishful wardrobing than anything else. This works fine for the air-conditioned office, but I usually strip down to shorts & tees when I get home. Soon, soon...

What I'm wearing:
Black handkerchief-hem tunic, made by Donna | Black leggings, Newport News | Black lace-up spool-heel boots, Target | Black & grey skull-print scarf, gift from my husband | Big silver filigree earrings, random accessory store | Skull bead bracelet, gift from my mom

For those of you in the northern hemisphere, are you experiencing fall weather yet? Or does it still feel like summer?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Case of the Mondays

Blah blah blah. Making the best of it!

What I'm wearing:
Black T-shirt embellished with fabric roses, NY & Company | Cherry red cotton pleated skirt, Newport News | Black & white striped cardigan, Chadwicks | Black tights, Calvin Klein | Black & white ankle-strap pumps, American Eagle | Red flower hair pin, made by me | Black & white dangly bead earrings, Kohl's

I spent the weekend sewing in preparation for a renfaire friends & I are performing at next weekend. So all Monday, my neck and shoulders were sore whilst working at the computer. Sewing & typing don't mix, but such is my life. I foresee a heating pad in my evening plans.

How was your weekend? Have any good ideas for next weekend yet?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

White After Labor Day

Fact: The old "don't wear white after Labor Day" rule only applied to shoes, not clothing. It probably dates to the turn of the last century (meaning the early 1900s), and, like most etiquette rules (and even sumptuary laws, much earlier), it was aimed at the nouveau riche who were trying to ape old-money fashions but, presumably, without the "taste" acquired from long-standing wealth.

I researched and wrote about the "white after Labor Day" rule many years ago for Ask Yahoo!, and while the links inside that article are mostly dead, the content is still accurate.

All that said, I did want to style this dress a little less summery. Even tho' the temps are still in the 80s-90s by the afternoon here...

What I'm wearing:
White cotton dress, gift from Lisa
Grey herringbone tights, Calvin Klein
Purple velvet pumps, Rocket Dog
Black corset-style belt, Torrid
Purple floral scarf, Old Navy
Silver disk earrings, random accessory store

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Short Week, Pink Stripes

Yesterday was Labor Day in the U.S., thus this is a four-day workweek, and I'm only in the office twice. So not much blogging.

What I'm wearing:
Pink & black stripey cardigan, Macy's | Black camisole, Old Navy | Black pinstripe skirt, gift from Lisa | Pink fishnets, unknown brand | Pink & black ankle-strap pumps, Payless Shoe Source | Pink cabochon necklace, vintage | Black & pink crystal Victorian-ish earrings, random accessory store

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Almost Time for Boots

Well, it's not actually cool enough for boots-wearing here in Silicon Valley. But September 1 is time for Sophistique Noir's Monthly Theme, which is Boots!

It took me a while this week to decide what pair of boots to wear. I love them all, but, being still pretty summery outside, I wanted to craft an appropriate outfit that wasn't super autumnal. There's my short red Aerosoles (would have been comfy for walking to/from the bus),  my classic gothy bat-buckle boots (most appropriate to the theme), simple black buckled ankle boots (also good for walking), fuschia crushed velvet boots (hmm... maybe not until later in the year), my beloved Clarks riding boots (a bit too fall, but so super comfy!), & the tall burgundy suede boots (couldn't remember how walkable those were). There's probably a few others in the back of the closet that haven't seen the light of this blog yet too. But I finally I settled on this purple pair (which sadly need a trip to the cobbler -- the soles are about to come off!).

What I'm wearing:
Black silk sheath dress, Target
Black & white print cardigan, Black House White Market
Black tights, Calvin Klein
Purple faux-suede boots, Roman's
Black, silver, & pearl necklace, Aldo Accessories
Purple & pearl dangly earrings painted w/tiny bats, made by a local artist
Gunmetal cocktail ring, gift from Kendra
Purple lipstick, Makeup Forever

Oh how I long for actual autumn so I can properly wear boots & tights! But this is a nice little taste. Thanks for the theme, Victorian Kitty :-)