Friday, November 29, 2013

Casual tees and tanks

  I left my digicam's adapter in the Bay Area. Go me! Here's an draft I was working on during my summer of weeping and despairchemistry at Cal:

  One thing this summer's lab outfit constraints have reminded me of is my collection of graphic tees. I lived the supremely casual fashion lifestyle until a few years ago. I love my shirts, so they're still hanging around underutilized, but filed nicely in a drawer (you can see more shirts waiting to be folded in the background):
  While I don't think a string of Outfit of the Day posts featuring jeans and a graphic tee would be that interesting, I thought a few of the designs would make a nice mid-week post while I'm out and about at school.
Katamari Damacy (a gift)
Labyrinth, my favorite film. Got to see a showing in the Castro w/Brian Henson!
Saw a gal with a different cartoon deity on her shirt the other day. Wish I could have taken a picture of our blasphemous selves together.
AZN from Target. Fake, still pretty.
The city college here does great shirts. And science.
  I think of the tee as the zero point garment of American style: it's the bottom line, the cheap basic item considered "clothing", and going below that may be considered unseemly or exceedingly casual, such as wearing a bra or a pyjama top in public. The way the graphics and cuts of this basic clothing item keep changing has intrigued and attracted me, as a casual comfort oriented person. Do you keep plain or graphic tees around to be comfortable in? Do you wear them outside or are they just worn in the home?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Style or Die! challenge: Rave denim jacket

  Ever put something together you really like, then don't like it looking at photos at all? So it is with this.
Jacket: Rave (thrifted)
Graphic tee: dirty violet (thrifted)
Pinstripe flare capris: BCBG Maxazria (thrifted)
Mary Jane heels: Unlisted a Kenneth Cole production (thrifted)
Button bracelet: The CAMP, Dichroic glass star: Green River Studio etsy shop

  Pretty sure these newly thrifted pinstripe pants were designed as capris, which means they are ankle pants on me. I normally avoid ankle pants like I avoid salmonella poisoning, but the flares on these were really cool and I thought they'd balance out my big wushu legs. The Internet told me to wear them with heels. Photos tell me the damn Internet was wrong! I look like a bad stereotype of ... something. A style blogger? Peggy Bundy? A puffy exclamation point?

  I tried a loose graphic tee on top to balance out the formality of pinstripes and the fitted booty cut. I think something fitted next time will work better with these. Remember folks: if your thigh is close to the circumference of your waist, wear fitted on top.

  I don't mind the look with the jacket, so I tried an exercise. Since the jacket worked, I tried similar things in my closet to the jacket to see if it was redundant. Here it is with a denim dress I wear as a coat:
Dress-as-coat: Forever 21 (thrifted)
Pregnant Scully from X-Files. Not combining long coat and big shirt again.

 And with a similar blue military style jacket:
Blue military jacket: View by Walter (thrifted)
  Here's an auto animated gif Google made when I uploaded these:

  I think the second jacket proves the denim jacket redundant, and ridiculous passants aside, I'm far more likely to wear it. Rave denim jacket is a donate.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Entrenched Meanders

  The other day was pouring rain and I was meeting a friend downtown, so I took a break from my Style or Die! challenge to wear my beloved trench coat:
Trench coat: J. Gallery (thrifted)
Purple knit top: Elie Tahari (thrifted)
Grey wool skirt: Express (eBay)
Necklace: unknown (thrifted)
Heattech leggings: UNIQLO (gift)
Lark boots: Naya (eBay)

  I thrifted this J. Gallery trench coat not long ago. It's made in Korea and has quickly become one of my favorite garments of all time. When it is buttoned up, I feel like a military commander princess (the protect-the-innocent hero kind, not the parasite-off-the-people kind.) I think this all ties back to my fantasy of dressing like an airship captain.

  It may be difficult to tell, but it's light grey lined with a lavender. Lavender and grey is one of my favorite color combinations of all time. I went with the same combo for my outfit, pairing a purple knit Tahari top with grey wool miniskirt and some black leggings and boots.

  It's a bit madness here at Couturgatory HQ (hah!) with two research projects and finals going off, but it's fulfilling and I am notably not stressed the hell out and losing vast amounts of weight. I wanted to thank you all again for reading this blog because it's so much fun to write. :D


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Third Party or Party On?

Quick question for you, my dear readers and commenters: what do you think about Disqus, the third-party commenting system?

I enjoy responding to a lot of the comments left here, and I know that with a large number of blogs, following up and checking each blog for responses is unfeasible. I've been impressed with the Disqus option of a follow-up e-mail with a response if people reply to your comment, and having one place in any comment area where you can check your replies.

So for example, if I leave a comment on my friend Carrie's site Petal by Petal, I can see if Jan from Fort Smith Stylista (who also uses Disqus) has replied to my comment on her site. It's really convenient.
Here I can upload images or check if anyone's responded to all of my Disqus comments on the right

You can comment anonymously, make a Disqus acct., or sign in with other options

So I ask you, because you guys are the ones who would be affected!

Do you prefer the comments the way they are, or would Disqus' option to send you my responses be preferable (you can opt out of that, of course!) Or do you have no preference? Any feedback, positive, neutral, or negative, is valuable. :D

Friday, November 22, 2013

Style or Die! challenge: long twentyone vest

  I look like a cranky Ben Franklin. This vest is a donate.
  Here's what I wore the rest of the day, instead:
Velvet blazer: White House, Black Market (thrifted)
Foofy shirt: persaman new york (thrifted)
Denim skirt: Tribal Jeans (thrifted)
Platform boots: ALDO (thrifted)

  This blazer needs the waist drawn in more than I thought. With my foofy shirt, I look like an especially squishy turkey. Or maybe the problem is the shirt. Damn and blast, I might have more purged items from my closet than I thought.

  I was shooting for fantasy French aristocracy on top, and yeehaw denim on bottom. Whatever, it's still better than Cranky Ben Franklin. And I'm proud of the alterations job I did on the sleeves.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Style or Die! challenge: Jolt blazer & 52 Pick-me-up: Trend Salad

  I could have timed this better, but I really wanted to participate in Spygirl's 52 Pick-me-up challenge this week: Trend Salad. Wear as many trends as you can in one outfit! It's open for several days; feel free to try it or check it out!

  So you all get sort of a twofer: pile on trends outfit, and the Jolt blazer over said outfit.

  I searched through some clickbait sites for trends, which yielded contradictory and confusing results, and came up with three I could do: punk, animal print, and pink coat. Let's toss in lace because that's still in since Chanel revived it, right? Oh, and layers. That's a Thing.
I feel kinda 80s
Pink leather coat: Vera pelle (thrifted)
Long moto vest: twentyone (thrifted)
Blue leopard bustier: Olé Olé (eBay)
Denim miniskirt: h&g (thrifted)
Fingerless lace gloves: River Island (old)
Bandage leggings: none (eBay)
OMG clown shoes: Candie's (thrifted)

  There's a lot going on here, but I wanted a punk outfit that was reasonably warm on its own. Yes, that's a blue leopard fake bustier. It doesn't actually compress or anything, as it's smocked in back. It has built in pads, is made of stretchy material, and is super comfortable. I have an awful lot of shirts that look like corsets for someone who has zero interest in squashing her organs.

  My fake 80s punk band is still named Subtle Blue Leopard.
  It's raining today, so my new-to-me pink leather coat by Vera pelle was perfect. It has a detachable hood! It's pink! I felt it was a bit of a risk when I bought it half-off at the thrift store, but I like it more and more. I also like that the black moto/biker vest zips up to keep the look from getting too busy when I put on the coat.
Yarr. Thar be bling here.
  I also tried the Jolt blazer over the thing for a disgruntled teen in part of school uniform look. Unfortunately my 'disgruntled' look came out more 'incredulous.' Did I mention I was once a theatre major? I was bad at it.
Feeling really 80s, now
  Thing is, I think the blazer wants a bright shirt to layer under it, and I don't own any plain ones in bright colors. It's a hole in my wardrobe I'm trying to rectify. In the meantime, I realize looking at the photos the blazer doesn't hit me at the best spot in the waist. I'm v-shaped, so it's best if I get things that narrow all the way through the natural waist, like my Guess blazer. This will be a donate.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Style or Die! challenge: Triple Five Soul vest

  Outfit 1 is everyday steampunk using the Triple Five Soul pinstripe vest:
Vest: Triple Five Soul (clothing swap)
Skirt: Ann Taylor (Megan Mae)
Aristocrat coat: CAbi (thrifted)
Lightning boots: Naya (gift, old) 8.5W on eBay
Rhinestone locket: Express (very old)
Grey shirt: Gap maternity (thrifted)
  I like this one so much I will link to Patti's next Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet style. :D

  I don't know much about the brand CAbi, save it's probably not Japanese, because kabi in the Japanese language means mold. I found out from Google images that this is called the Aristocrat coat. It's 100% merino wool and a teal color. I love it already.

  The skirt is brand new to me, having just received it in the post from Megan Mae! It's just the color I like, fits me at the waist (fantastic since I outshrank most of my skirts while in school) and has layers of ruffles that can be bustled up. Here I used a safety pin to take up the front. I think it's going to become a wardrobe staple really fast. :D
  If you've followed my blog for any amount of time, you'll notice I have a lot of vests. Most are thin and meant to layer under jackets. This one's is thick and double-layered, as well as longer and wider at the shoulders. It has to be worn as a top layer because jackets over it make me look like a fullback. Thin overcoats seem ok. I think it needs mid-length skirts at or near the natural waist so as not to look like office wear. Time will tell if this is too narrow a set of constraints.

  Tried this outfit with other vests and the proportions don't work as well. And it's *warm*. I ended up sweating while writing in my apartment, which is a good sign. For now, I think this one is a keep.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Style or Die!* challenge: Intro

* Please note challenge does not involve anyone or any thing dying. Or even dyeing.

  This weekend I started yanking things out of my closet I never wear and decided I will try to style them or donate them. In another few weeks, I'll probably have photos of clothes I'm thinning out of my wardrobe, and if you all are interested, I'll put a list here and let my blogging friends have first pick.

  If you have any suggestions, or if you covet anything, please let me know!
 Jolt school/military style blazer. I was charmed by its slanted pockets and fabric-covered buttons. Haven't worn it.
   Miken grey moto cloth jacket. Got it as an underlayer to my leather jackets, haven't worn it for a long time
   Natural Life bamboo dress. Jersey material's too thin to be worn by itself, and its unusual hemline makes it difficult to layer under other dresses
   Old Navy lavender peacoat. I have multiple peacoats. This is likely the one I wear least.
   Rave military denim jacket- despite my love of jackets and of military styled things, I never wear this. I probably have a bias against denim jackets I was trying to overcome, and failed to.
   Triple Five Soul pinstripe vest. Love the details, cannot figure out how to wear it without feeling like office wear.
  Twenty One long vest. I tend to wear skirts higher when I'm doing vests, and the length of this makes it awkward. I also took it with me during my last trip to Taiwan/Japan, and I have a bad habit of getting sick of clothes after I wear them for two weeks or more, and never wanting to see them again.

  One of the cool things about blogging is looking at pictures of my outfits gives me a better perspective. When I look in a mirror, I automatically focus on my face. I can get around this by letting my eyes go out of focus and looking at the proportions of the outfit at a distance, but using the photos of this blog is even better. I also notice startling resemblances to family members. Do you see things in photographs of yourself that you don't notice in the mirror?

  So that's the list, folks! I will try to make outfits around these, time permitting (it takes me a long time to figure out outfits) over the next several posts. Suggestions are, as always, welcomed, and I'm looking forward to the challenge. Research projects permitting. (*digs a breathing hole through large pile of ADHD articles and books*)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Simple DIY skirt bustling

I'd been meaning to try out this idea on Crystaline's Steampunk blog (Japanese language) for a long time, and was prompted anew by Sheila's traveling yellow skirt bustle job. This is a quick and easy DIY for making a long skirt into a bustle skirt.
photo credit: Crystaline
   Long tiered skirts like this are plentiful in thrift shops around here. They aren't my style because I like asymmetry and butt-hugginess, and ideally both in one, but I did have one I fell in love with for its color, ribbons, and lace:
  I used clothespins to pick up where I wanted the skirt to bustle up, so I could step back and check the overall look. I wanted it to be slightly asymmetrical without looking like a sloppy mess.
 I added a little side hitching to keep the skirt out of the way and to make the back a slight train.  Then take needle and thread, and go to town! PROTIP: make sure not to sew your skirt to your mannequin.
  It keeps the skirt out of the way if you're going up stairs, too. Next I think I'm going to either bustle it in back or get a small hoop skirt to go underneath, because it hangs rather limply in back.

  In addition to sewing on top like this, you can also pull a fold of the skirt under itself and sew it to the inside, like so:
  I think you can try this on any long skirt with fabric that crinkles (jersey fabric would have a more folded/drapey look) and wherever you choose to pin your fabric up will make yours unique. Have fun and let me know if you try this!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Underwear as Outerwear

  I'm pretty equivocal about underwear as outerwear, if it isn't leggings-as-pants or that trend of see-through shirts over bras. That one always confused me.

  I'm wearing lingerie as a dress! Is it evident? I didn't think so, but I could be wrong. :D
Lace dress: Lingerie by Hanky Panky (thrifted)
Underdress: Express (thrifted)
Scarf: Ozz Angelo (Japan)
Hoodie: Prairie Underground long cloak hoodie (old)
Basket locket: vintage (etsy shop)
  I thrifted this Hanky Panky lace thing recently, and read on the tag it's made in the U.S. The brand is indeed a comfort lingerie and undergarment company. They claim to make the most comfortable thong, but really, how great can even the most comfortable of butt floss be? Yeah, I didn't think so.

  AT ANY RATE, I felt like a ballerina wearing this. I spent most of the day inside working on a paper, thus the bare feet. Didn't stop me from dressing up and swanning about (a phrase I picked up from Sheila) my apartment, though.
  I tied my three strips of lace scarf into a knot that confused the hell out of me when I tried to take it off. I'm also wearing my blue rose lampworked earring again. Its mate has been lost for years so now I wear it paired with a simple metal rose stud.
  I like this dress so much I want to make a custom underlayer for it now, since none of my plain underdresses match the cut. What do you think of lingerie as a dress? Too obvious or does it pass? Do you have suggestions for the underlayer? I was thinking a shiny cerulean satin, or a deep green, but I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Have a lovely weekend, everyone! 
 -Love, Fake Ballerina in Her Underwear.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Low brightness florals

  Evidently I don't eschew all florals for myself, just bright, busy ones. :D As it turns out, low brightness ones that look kind of Asian make me go "Ooh!"
Shirt shell: handmade (thrifted)
Black underdress: H&M (thrifted)
Mermaid chambray skirt: Bebe (thrifted)
Pendant: handmade (old)
Platform boots: ALDO (thrifted)

  There's a little bit of tiny old Asian lady going on, so I'm going to add some darts to shape the garment better. It appears to be handmade!

  It actually reminds me of this shell I was staring at the other day, only for 1/15th the price.
  This is what I was wearing underneath:
  The buttons have figure-eight loops so they sit side by side down the front! I was very charmed. Almost as charmed by how it doesn't breathe at all so it keeps me warm. Even if I have to wash it immediately after one wearing. >.>
  I am digging this mermaid style skirt, found after I'd been searching for a year. What do you wear for footwear with one? I went with boots, because I always wear boots, but I'd like to know what you all think.