Fashion Challenge Days 1 through 4

I got this fashion challenge list from Septicemia, who got it from the Mad Magpie, and I’m pretty much failing at the “post every day” part. But I love the idea so I’m just adapting it to my normal level of laziness. Here goes:

Day 1: My Closet

I share the closet with my husband, Mr. Robot, so I figured I’d show his side as well as mine. The chest of drawers is for pajamas, underwear, workout gear and socks. I’m not exactly a wardrobe minimalist, but I do try to limit myself to just my side of the closet. I’m a natural pack rat and the limited space keeps me focused on clothes that I actually like and wear.

Day 2: My Favorite T-Shirt

I don’t really wear t-shirts with pictures on them anymore, so the two here are really the only two in my closet. I wear them around the house. The blue one is a favorite with the kids because it reminds them of one of the characters on Aquabats Super Show.

Day 3: A Gift

People who know me know I buy way too much clothing and jewelry on my own, so they usually give me books and cookware instead. But my parents gave me a set of pink pearls I still have, and some friends of the family gave me a matching necklace and earring set as a wedding gift. They’re a very Indian style and color and actually very cool. I was happy to rediscover them.

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Day 4: A Shirt I Haven’t Worn Yet

I didn’t have a shirt but I had a new dress I just bought this week, so I give you that instead. It could be a tad shorter so I might hem it up one of these days, but overall I like it. I’ve been on an Art Deco kick lately so the gold details (hard to see here, sorry) against the black are really working for me.

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Fashion is a Vampire

Goth isn’t fully goth without the fashion. Fashion is what separates goths from vampire lovers and Victoriana nerds with great taste in music. Clothing and makeup are often seen as shallow or silly things to care about, and alternative styles are often ridiculed as being all about “shocking people” or “just wanting attention,” but clothing and makeup are also great ways to express your creativity and find people who might share your deeper interests. Gothing up your personal style is a great way of finding out who around you might share your interests and keeping away the kind of boring, closed-minded people you’d rather not deal with.

A lot of people dial their personal style up and down according to what they’re doing (work? play? meeting new people? seeing old friends?) and who they’re with, and a lot of people are looking for their own balance between standing out and blending in. Goths are no exception, but I think goth style goes farther than that. Not to get all pretentious here, but goth fashion is also commenting on society. In my mind, at least, dressing goth says three basic things.

First, modern consumer society likes to pretend that weird and sad and painful things can and should be somehow done away with. I think (and this seems like a fairly standard goth attitude) that those things should be understood and embraced instead of swept under the rug. Dressing “like you’re going to a funeral” is a subtle but insistent reminder to the world that darkness will always be with us, no matter how much you want to pretend otherwise.

Second, goth is often a very feminine style full of rich textures and lovely jewelry and elaborate hair and makeup. But it’s very different from the soft and pliant “traditional” femininity I grew up with. It’s a very dominant and powerful sort of feminine energy. Goth fashion for men is laced with “feminine” sensual elements as well. Goth is almost the only subculture I can think of that plays up this kind of energy for all genders and I would love to see elements of it catch on with a wider range of people.

The last statement goth makes in my mind is also the most basic and general. To my mind, style should be about what an individual likes and feels good in. I feel good in black. I like skulls and blood. It shouldn’t matter whether some magazine thinks I look good in black or what some celebrity  wears or doesn’t wear. I don’t care about getting attention and I’m not interested in shock value, but I’m stubborn about my right to like what I like and wear what I want to wear.

And that brings us to what frustrates me about fashion, goth fashion included. Fashion can be such a great tool for expressing yourself, saying something to the world, finding your people, having fun and feeling good. Fashion is an art, and it takes talent and time and skill to be really good at it. And yet, sometimes it’s exactly as shallow and silly and conformist as critics say it is. Goth fashion is no exception to this. Buying status brands, whether it’s Chanel or Hellbunny or whatever is hot in your circle, is a poor substitute for creativity. Glorifying a certain (tall, thin) body type doesn’t exactly celebrate individuality and self-expression. Judging people’s gothiness based on looks alone is just . . . ironic. A subculture that gets so much judgment from mainstream folks ought not be replicating that awful system. If we bring that kind of bullshit into alternative fashion, well, that ain’t much of an alternative. And that would be a shame.

 

OOTD: Tent Dress Transformed

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tent-dressI bought this dress ages ago and have hardly worn it since. I bought it because I love the striped arms but it’s basically a tent dress (tent tunic? It’s pretty short.) and I don’t know why I ever thought that shape would work on me. It drifted to the back of my closet and stayed there until this morning. I stood there in my favorite leggings, totally uninspired by everything I had to go with them, when I realized my new obi belt might be just the thing to make my tent dress work. I bet I’ll be reaching for it a lot more often now because I love this combination.

What’s your favorite way to save a piece that’s not working?

New Obi Belt

I have dreams of a sleek, focused goth mom wardrobe. I’m not sure what that would look like, but I know it looks different from what’s in my closet. I’ve been working on it, though, getting rid of old stuff and trying to only replace it when I find nicer stuff that would work in my dream wardrobe. img_3495

The obi belt is what happens when new dreams meet older clothes. I got this shirt from ModCloth a while back. I love the keyhole and the high collar, but it just never draped right. After some thought and a lot of browsing I fell in like with Red Curry Designs on Etsy. I was tempted by several of the corsets but they’re a bit pricey so I settled on the obi belt as a way to try them out. The belt came right away and is nicely made (plus it’s fully reversible–red and black, my two favorite colors!). Now I’m even more tempted to add a couple Red Curry corsets to my wardrobe when budget allows.

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  • Shirt: ModCloth
  • Belt: Red Curry Designs on Etsy
  • Skirt: Violet Star Creations on Etsy. I love her passport skirts–nice, deep pockets. 
  • Boots: Torrid

Love and Jewelry

I love jewelry. I love the cold, shiny weight of metal, the soft warmth of leather, the jingle of beads, the fine details the makers put into their work. I like carrying little bits of art with me as I go about my day. When I can, I buy handmade because it adds to the personal touch I feel when I wear it.

Lately I’ve been wearing my lovely branching skeletons. They feel right for early winter and they go so well with everything. img_3340

I’ve also been wearing a fractal flower I’ve had for ages and falling in love with it all over again. My hands are not the steadiest (and my camera not the best), so the pictures don’t do them justice.

Etsy has a much better picture of the fractal. I bought the skeletons at a local craft fair from Tangents and Tentacles. They have an Etsy shop, but this beauty isn’t in it right now.

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OOTD: Geek Goth Wears Clothing

Goths are known for our elaborate and unique personal style. Geeks, on the other hand, are not. Neither are middle-aged mothers of three. Like all goths, I wish to seek out the dark forces and join their hellish crusade, but I seldom have time or energy to truly look the part. Because of that, this blog will not be awash in darkly sensual photos of me. It will instead be lightly sprinkled with casual goth mom photos like the ones you see before you.

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Once, while wearing this very outfit, an old lady said I looked “kind of hip” and asked me for fashion advice so . . . I’m clearly a vampire goddess in this.

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But seriously, if I wanted to worry about looking perfect and being a certain size I’d just follow mainstream magazines. That’s what they’re for. For alternative fashion to be a real alternative, it has to embrace everyone from willowy vampires to corporate ghouls to thick gargoyles with problematic hair. You know, like me. So here I am. I love a tall, pale, gothic model as much as anyone but I don’t feel a need to look like one.

Don’t get me started on the hair, though. Naturally black, naturally curly, it’s a blessing and a curse. And a post for another day.

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Love the peacock feather pattern

Boots from Torrid / Leggings from Lineagewear, well-made and they stay put around the waist. / Dress from Dress Barn. Embarrassing store name, nice dress for the price. / Necklace old. Local craft fair but I can’t remember who made it. / Cthulhu Crest ring from Amazon