Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Hidden Bat Week - Work From Home T-Shirt

I rarely (never?) post what I'm wearing when I work from home, & this outfit isn't exactly representative. I'd usually wear PJ bottoms or yoga pants instead of jeans, but I had a doctor's appointment this afternoon so I swapped the comfy gear out. Plus, I brushed off all the cat hair!

What I'm wearing:
Grey bat T-shirt, Target | Black long-sleeve top, Old Navy | Black jeans, Levis | Black hoodie, Old Navy | Black buckled boots, Aldo | Silver Indian hoops, bought at a con | Music note choker, gift from a choir member on Spain trip | Black & white fingerless gloves, Hot Topic

It's been rather chilly recently, thus the gloves. I wear them in the studio where my computer is so I can keep my hands warm while typing. They're pretty ratty tho, so no closeups ;-)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Hidden Bat Week - Leggings & Earrings

I overslept my alarm this morning, so I was scrambling for batty ideas of what to wear. Usually, I plan out the next day's outfit in my head before I go to sleep, but I only had a vague idea that I'd wear these bat-print leggings somehow, maybe with a skirt.

Having less time in the morning made me improvise, & I was really lucky to discover that, omg, yes, I can fit my tall boots over leggings! These ones are so thin, they're practically like tights. My calves are wide, & I'll never be able to tuck jeans into boots, but leggings-into-boots feels like a fashion triumph.

What I'm wearing:
Black handkerchief-hem tunic, made by Donna
Black ruffled sweater, Kohl's
Black bat-print leggings, Target
Black tall boots, Clarks
Black & white necklace with art bead medallion, made by me
Silver Gorey bat earrings, bought at the Edward Gorey House in Yarmouthport, MA

Monday, November 28, 2011

Hidden Bat Week - Stripes, Dots, & a Bat Pin

Inspired by Kasmira of What I Wore2Day's Hidden Owl Week -- where she wore some piece of owl jewelry or owl accessory somewhere in her outfits each day -- I decided to try Hidden Bat Week. Like Kasmira & her owls, I have a lot of little accessories with bat motifs. Many goths do, of course, but I don't tend to wear my bats in obviously gothy ways. They're hidden.

What I'm wearing:
Grey pinstripe jacket, Target, gift from Lisa | Black long-sleeve T-shirt, Old Navy | Black knit skirt, Target | Black tights, Calvin Klein | Black lace-up, spool-heel boots, Target | Black & white polka dot scarf, Old Navy | Black art-deco bat pin, gift from a friend | Black rhinestone hoop earrings, random accessory store | Black & gunmetal cocktail ring, Icing | Chanel Vamp lipstick


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Handmade May Cost More, But It's Worth It

La Costurera, Diego Velazquez, 1640
Here's a nice little reminder, in time for the holidays...

If you're perusing a craft faire or Etsy & you think the prices are high, consider how much labor goes into a handmade item. Somer Sherwood explains how she arrives at the price for her hand-crocheted hats on her blog post, "the true cost of handmade." Most artisans wouldn't make U.S. minimum wage at the "high" prices they charge.

Same with doing it yourself at home. I priced out how much it cost me to make a fabulous black & white necklace, which I admittedly made from pricey, high-quality materials. I owned some things like the wire, clasps, & tools already, but the raw cost was still around $32. No bargain when you make it yourself.

But paying an individual artist or DIYing does avoid the faceless, mass-produced, sweatshop labor that is reinforced by so many of our other purchases. Small victories.

Being that the hype-driven Black Friday is coming up here in the U.S., this is a good time for a plea to support buying handmade if you're shopping for holiday gifts. Or at least buy local, instead of just patronizing the big-box stores. Individual artisans & locally owned shops are part of your own community & deserve support.

My immediate family has eschewed buying Christmas gifts for many years now, & instead we give hand-crafted or charity gifts. This year, I'm making hot/cold packs from fabric in my stash (a friend made one for me & I use it tons). Plus my husband & I make updated calendars from our travel photos to give to our extended family. Time to get crackin'!


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

My Boots Make My Outfit

By complete coincidence, I assembled this outfit around these boots, & then Sal of Already Pretty wrote about shoes making an outfit today. How much do I love her? Tons & even more ;-)

As I commented on her post, I intended for these fuchsia boots to compliment the grey cardigan, which, imo, kicks the otherwise basic black ensemble up a notch.

I love grey with fuschia/pink/burgundy tones & have worn them before (here, here, & here, for example), including using shoes to specifically tie the look together as I have a couple pairs of boots/shoes in this color range.

It's a fun trick to add a little color into an outfit via footwear. Have you done it?

What I'm wearing:
Grey cardigan with sequins, ModCloth
Black knit dress, Target
Black camisole, Old Navy
Black elastic belt, NY & Company
Black tights, Calvin Klein
Burgundy/fuchsia crushed-velvet ankle boots, bought from a friend
Pink rhinestone bib necklace, Forever 21
Silver Celtic cross earrings, somewhere in Berkeley

Monday, November 21, 2011

Movie Monday, November 21

I haven't done one of Sal Kay's Movie Monday themes before, but why not start? I'm not a huge movie fan -- I probably see just one movie in the theaters per year and maybe watch two more recorded at home in a year. Either there's nothing new out that I want to see, or I can't make the time commitment because I'm always busy with other events (or my husband is working on weekends, so that limits movie-going).
Arwen's mourning gown

However, I do try to keep up with costume movies and fantasy movies, because those genres give me extra bang for the buck and for the time spent. Thus, my first Movie Monday post is about The Lord of the Rings trilogy, which were released from 2001 to 2003.

These were truly amazing films to me, as I have been a HUGE Tolkien fan almost since birth. My mom told me the stories of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings as bedtime tales when I was very little, and I started reading the books when I was in third grade. This was my first and dearest fandom, and I feel that the movies came very close to recreating the world of the books and telling the story accurately.

Arwen's Rivendell farewell gown
And being a costumer, I naturally wanted to recreate some of the film's costumes, especially the elf gowns! I'd wanted to be Arwen since I was a little girl, and I used to make up stories where she was actually part of the Fellowship -- it was like Peter Jackson was reading my mind when he wrote the movies!

I sewed two faithful movie recreation costumes and one riff on an Arwen gown (the third I haven't added back to my new costume website yet). I made Arwen's Rivendell farewell gown that she wears in a brief scene in The Fellowship of the Ring and in a flashback scene in The Two Towers. I also made her super-goth mourning gown that she wears in The Two Towers.

Finally, today I'm wearing a little bit of Arwen jewelry. My dear husband gave me both the Arwen ring and brooch (from The Noble Collection) around the time the movies came out, knowing what a huge Lord of the Rings fan I am.

What I'm wearing:
Black lace jacket, Macy's | Black T-shirt, NY & Company | Plum satin skirt, Newport News, gift from Lisa | Black tights, Calvin Klein | Black ribbon-tie pumps, Clarks | Arwen butterfly brooch, gift from my husband | Arwen butterfly ring, gift from my husband | Silver filigree earrings, Target

Need to get the stone replaced in this ring!

 Movie Monday

Friday, November 18, 2011

This CorpGoth's Skin & Hair Care Routines

I missed out on Le Professeur Gothique's Naked November Homework Assignment & didn't show you my bare face. However, I don't wear a ton of makeup on a daily basis, so my naked face isn't that different from the face I regularly post here!

For work, I only wear lipstick, black eyeliner, & sometimes a touch of eyeshadow. I rarely wear foundation/concealer/powder unless I want to really impress someone (say, I'm doing a training session) or I'm feeling awfully fancy that day. I try to limit the face makeup to costume events because, no matter what I use & how diligent I am about removing all the makeup as soon as the day is done, I get nasty pimples.

"All Is Vanity" by
C. Allan Gilbert, 1892
In my 20s, I wore foundation a lot more often, & my skin was horrible. So I'd wear more makeup to cover up the blemishes! I became a vicious cycle. I tried all kinds of products to clean my skin & supposedly fix the acne. I asked my doctor for help. Nothing worked until I just stopped wearing so much makeup. Limiting how often I wear foundation to just special events means I mostly just get breakouts in the week after that event (like right now, after last weekend's vampire ball!) and occasionally due to hormonal issues, but not the constant bad skin I had for so long.

Also, my skin care is dramatically stripped down, making my life easier & skin happier. I remove my eye & lip makeup with baby wipes -- plain ol' generic, supermarket-brand baby wipes. I've tried organic, natural ones, but the cloth was rougher & the cleanser stung my eyes. Yuck. And all the makeup remover products I've tried don't work as simply & cleanly. After that, I usually rinse my face with tap water. Done!

When I wake up in the morning, I rinse my face with tap water again & put on a light Olay moisturizer.  About once a week, I lightly scrub my face in the shower with a puff to exfoliate. Otherwise, I try not to mess with my skin or it will go crazy.

My hair needs a bit more work. I use a modified 'no-poo routine,' shampooing about once a week & using just conditioner & water the rest of the week. I learned about this from the Curly Girl book & related websites, as a way to help de-frizz naturally curly & wavy hair. Most shampoos are too harsh & full of detergents that cause frizz, plus, in stripping away natural oils, they encourage your scalp to overproduce oil. A lot of environmental/natural-living types are eschewing shampoo because of all the unnecessary chemicals in it -- you can whip up natural, cheap alternatives that work better (but that smacks of effort to me).

I'm OK with a simple rinse-&-condition, leaving the shampoo for when I get a buildup of hairspray & other products (I'm just not that natural ;-). I also add this fantastic leave-in conditioner from Beauty Without Cruelty. Really makes my hair silky soft, plus enhances the waves.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Layering Under, Wonder Where, Always There

I don't think my hair looked
this weird in real life today!
Have I mentioned how much I love this dress? Because I do. I've only had it since around March, but I wore it often during spring & summer (more often than I blogged it because, hey, blogging repeat outfits is boring!).

Now I get to change up the look for the cool season. A big shout-out & thank you to Donna of Original Sin Designs for making this dress for me!

What I'm wearing: Black, grey, & white print dress, made by Donna | Black long-sleeve T-shirt, Old Navy | Black tights, Calvin Klein | Black pointy boots w/kitten heels, Bakers | Black & silver twisted necklace, random accessory store (honestly, I found this in a jewelry box today & went "huh, I don't remember buying this. how long have I had it? where did it come from? have I worn it before?" weird) | Silver hoop earrings, random accessory store | Black roses cocktail ring, Icing | Grey flower hair pin, Clares | Revlon "Raisin Rage" lipstick (I've been wearing this color -- buying new tubes, duh! -- since high school. that's at least 25 years they've been making it :-)

Do you ever look in your closet or accessories bins & wonder how something got there? Is there something you're still wearing that you've had (or kept buying) for 25 years?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wacky Wednesday Links

A Yahoo! Shine blogger reveals these gorgeous, exotic paper false eyelashes that are being sold at Sephora. They're bigger than ordinary falsies & come in gorgeous designs. How amazing would these be for a nightclub outfit or a fantasy costume?

NPR has an article about the fascinating wardrobe of heiress Daphne Guinness, which is currently on display at the Fashion Institute of Technology Museum in New York. She has outrageous pieces from Alexander McQueen, Christian Lacroix and others.

Courtesan Macabre has a gorgeous collage of photos of costumes from the upcoming Snow White movie, designed by the ever-skilled Colleen Atwood. It looks decadently dreamy & gothic. Yay!

Check out the trailer:

Monday, November 14, 2011

Pixie Points & Pointy Toes

This outfit is a little extra-goth & casual for a Monday, but I knew that our usual Monday staff meeting was canceled because the department manager was out of town this week. Thus, I'd be spending the day sitting in my cubicle with nobody seeing me. So it didn't really matter what I wore.

Also, I had an exhaustingly fun weekend and needed something comfy & casual, this fit the bill. (Speaking of my weekend, take a peek at these pix from the annual Vampire Ball and my Prom Queen From Hell costume :-)

What I'm wearing:
Black ruffled sweater, Kohl's | Black pixie-point-hem tunic, made by Donna | Purple leggings, unknown brand | Black pointy-toe, lace-up boots, bought in London ages ago | Purple & black necklace with scissors medallion, made by Lisa | Purple heart with painted bat dangly earrings, made by a local artist | Purple lipstick, Make Up Forever #14

How was your weekend? Was it hard to go back to work on Monday?

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Few Nifty Links From the Week

Just some stuff I've read recently that I liked so much, I thought I'd share!

Ruffles Not Diets has a fantastic how-to post about hair updos for work. Don't miss the video at the end of the post -- I'm pretty inept at doing braids & buns, but that vid makes it look awfully easy!
Norma Talmadge, 1920s

My BFF Sarah of Mode Historique analyzes former Ukranian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko's awesome crown braid and recreates the look in a fabulous fashion.

Salon wonders if short-haired women are less attractive. Answer: No, duh, but isn't it interesting how women's hair length is such a culturally loaded topic...

The New York Times reports on the trend of expensive designer lipsticks, ranging from $30 to $60 per tube. Estee Lauder has long claimed that lipstick sales go up during a recession (tho' there's no proof of this). I fully admit I love fancy lipstick, but I've yet to crack $30. What's the most you'll pay for lippie?

Green Apples has a multi-part sewing plan for her fall/winter wardrobe featuring tops, jackets/coats/pants, and dresses. You don't have to sew to get some great inspiration from these lists because the patterns she chose are a lovely mix of modern & retro styling, many are things you may find in ready-to-wear or thrift stores, & all would be quite gothable.

Being High Maintenance, not Bitchy (awesome blog name, btw) has useful tips for how to care for your leather garments. Appropriate to the season & especially to goths.

The Vivienne Files has 10 Trivial Travel Thoughts that I didn't find trivial at all. I travel a lot, but I'd never thought to use safety pins to create pants-hangers (so useful!). Also, we should all know my feelings on "leggings are not pants" -- I saw a bit too much of that on my last trip.

Gertie's New Blog for Better Sewing takes on the touchy subject of what we talk about when we talk about weight in a thoughtful & positive fashion. Well worth reading.

The Daily Show's Samantha Bee has a conversation with her Spanx. Very silly.

My amazing friend Laina at Keeping Off 200 Pounds has a useful post about indoor exercise that doesn't involve the gym. I'm not a big fan of exercise, but I'm even less a fan of the gym, & these suggestions are pretty simple & good ways to keep active when the weather blows.

I never learned to ride a bike, but I'm fascinated by You Look Fab's post on stylish urban cycling. This seems so doable -- looking good while biking around town. Exercise, saving money, appearing posh... I want to try...

And finally, Advanced Style has some fantastic life & style tips from a 100-year-old lady. She knows what's what!

What have you been reading around the interwebs lately?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Coat Time

I have three winter coats: this long wool princess-seam coat, a black suede finger-tip-length trapeze coat, & a black trenchcoat of the classic 'London Fog' type (tho' not that brand) that is water-resistant. I rotate through them all fall & winter.

The coat I'm wearing today is more for fall as it's mid-weight, warm but not bulky, & it has the limitation of being a unique color & print.

The black suede coat is cozy & warm, plus it's loose enough that I can layer it over bulky sweaters. However, that one can't come out in the rain.

The trenchcoat is for rain & the coldest of weather because it buttons securely up the front (it's double-breasted), & I've worn in the worst of storms at home & when traveling.

What I'm wearing:
Brown paisley coat, made by Wendy
Black ruffle-front blouse, Express (thrifted)
Black crocheted trumpet skirt, Coldwater Creek
Black patent belt with silver buckle, Target
Black tights, Calvin Klein
Burgundy boots, DSW
Burgundy & gold earrings, Ruche
Burgundy flower hair pin, random accessory store
Make Up For Ever burgundy lipstick #48

What kind of winter coat do you wear?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

CorpGoth Travel Wardrobe

My husband & I love to travel -- we've set foot on all seven continents, including Antarctica. We try to make one international trip every year or every other year. In addition, I travel occasionally for business & I often go to costume conventions & conferences throughout the year. So I'm pretty experienced at packing my gear to go.

Last week, my husband & I returned from 10 days in Spain, & I made a point of photographing my outfits so I could share my travel wardrobe tips here. Here's some of my packing philosophy...

1. Check your luggage and avoid the carry-on bag hassle
I know, I know, airlines charge to check a bag, but budget that into the cost of travel. Whatever you "save" on airfare, you pay on stress & time spent in the security line & fighting for overhead bin space.

More importantly, when you only have carry-on bags, you can't pack cutlery or a corkscrew. This means you won't be able to shop at markets for fresh, delicious, & less expensive local food at your destination. Wherever I travel, I plan for picnics (even in our hotel room) made from local breads, cheeses, meats, sweets, & a bottle of wine. You'll need a pocketknife with a corkscrew, which can only be packed in checked luggage.

My suitcase measures about 21" x 15" x 8" -- it's not huge by any means, & I can easily lift it up three flights of narrow B&B stairs. It has wheels & can expand as needed. This photo shows it packed for Spain with all my clothes, toiletries, & even my TempurPedic neck pillow (because I get horrible neck aches from standard hotel pillows).

2. Keep a toiletries bag packed and always ready to go
I love my Eagle Creek Wallaby toiletries bag. It's roomy & secure, with pockets for all my bottles of hair care & skin care products, brush, comb, toothbrush, toothpaste, you name it. I keep this packed year-round, so whenever I travel, I can just grab it. All I have to do is occasionally check to see that all the bottles are topped up (& it takes a surprisingly long time to use up a 3-ounce bottle of shampoo).

3. Plan an interchangeable wardrobe around two or three colors
While every trip will have different priorities, when I travel, I want to focus on the trip more than my wardrobe -- which is definitely different than how I think when I'm at home! On the road, I do not want to fuss with clothes; I want outfits that are simple, comfortable, & minimally stylish.

If I'm traveling for business, of course, I'll want to project a more CorpGoth image, & if I'm going to a costume event, then I'll pack tons of crazy costume gear. Travel to the tropics requires swimsuits, & travel in winter requires sweaters, coats, & boots. But in general, my travel wardrobe is a very stripped-down & basic version of my home wardrobe.

Every item I pack must be able to be mixed & matched with at least two other items I pack. This is absolutely mandatory! Ideally, every single item will go with each other. My main color is, duh, black, but then I pick one or two other colors & try to add in at least one pattern for variety. I always pack two or three pairs of shoes for a week-long trip or more -- it's more comfortable on your feet that way

4. Do laundry on the road
I pack a small bottle of liquid laundry detergent & a small bottle of Febreeze. At the end of each day, I spritz any stinky garments with the Febreeze (also good for shoes). And about every 5 days, I wash socks, tights,  & undies in the hotel sink with the detergent. They usually take 24 hours to dry, so plan ahead!

What I wore in Spain and my packing list:

What I packed:
Black knit military-style jacket, Macy's
Black knit dress, Target
Black leggings, American Apparel
Grey corduroy skirt, Newport News
Black & white plaid skirt, H&M
Black jeans, Levis
Black 3/4-sleeve knit top, NY & Company
Grey pinstripe long-sleeve knit top, Old Navy
Purple short-sleeve knit top, Target
Burgundy cardigan, Chadwicks
Tall black boots, Clarks
Low black buckle boots, Aldo
Black T-strap flats, Aldo
Black & white stripey scarf, H&M
Black & white polka-dot scarf, Old Navy
A couple necklaces, earrings, & a couple flower hair pins
Sephora travel eye makeup kit & brushes & 3 lipsticks

Another good example is this packing list for a one-week business trip from Kasmira of What I Wore 2Day.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Gothic BoHo for Fall

Autumn weather officially came to my part of the world whilst I was away, which means I can wear sweaters & jackets & such with abandon. Yay!

What I'm wearing:
Black crocheted duster, Coldwater Creek | Red turtleneck sweater, unknown brand | Black velvet & satin skirt, unknown brand | Black lace tights, Target | Red ankle boots, Aerosoles | Silver book-locket necklace, Forever 21 | Silver medallion earrings, random accessory store | Silver & garnet poison ring, eBay | Painted Love red lipstick, Kat Von D.

For those in the northern hemisphere, are you wearing fall clothes now?

To Diet or Not to Diet

Back in August, I mentioned that I might go on a "clothing diet," stating both financial and moral reasons. Since then, I've informally stopped myself from buying new clothes other than a few pairs of tights & underwear (both replacements) & a little bit of jewelry while in Spain (souvenirs). Basically, no garments & certainly nothing expensive.

Fashion Store by August Macke, 1914
In the past, I toyed with the idea of signing up for Wardrobe Refashion (now closed), where you pledge to not buy any new clothes for a period of time. Refashion-ers were allowed and even encouraged to makeover old clothes or sew new items. Similarly, some fashion bloggers have participated in the Great American Apparel Diet, where you swear off buying clothes for a whole year.

A related concept is Kendi Everyday's 30x30 Remix Challenge, where each fashion blogger picks only 30 items from her wardrobe (including shoes and accessories) and wears only those things for 30 days. The idea is to see how much you can make from just a few things, to remind yourself (and others, since you're blogging it) that you don't need a ton of clothes to make stylish outfits.

And on Yahoo! Green, we've profiled the Uniform Project, where a woman took one little black dress and wore it every day for a whole year, just accessorizing it differently (there have been similar blog projects; this one was for charity). This also shows how you can make many looks out of one thing.

I could list a ton of reasons to take a break from buying more clothes ... It'd be a great way to save money. My closet and dresser drawers are already full. Most of the clothes available for me to buy are made by people (especially women) paid pitiful or no wages, working in inhumane conditions (find out the Slavery Footprint of your purchases, if you want to be horrified by what you buy). The environmental footprint of materials like cotton (growing cotton uses about 25% of the total pesticides used on the planet!), rayon (including bamboo, which requires serious chemical processing to become fabric), polyester (made of oil, duh), leather (not just made of cows, but the tanning process is chemically intensive), bleach, and most any dye is disgusting (fact: at least 8,000 synthetic chemicals are used around the world to turn raw materials into textiles).

That said, I love fashion. I enjoy looking good. Pretty clothes give my day a positive boost. New combinations of clothes and more flattering clothes and styles always make me happy. I'm ever on the lookout to upgrade my wardrobe because, unless an item was custom-made for me, most clothing is something of compromise. The fit might be off, the fabric might be not as high quality as I'd like, or the style could be lacking. And things do wear out or wear not-so-well (especially if they weren't made of the best quality to begin with).

Point being, no matter my knowledge of the pitfalls of capitalism, I choose to participate in it for my benefit. I acknowledge my hypocrisy! Perhaps a diet can assuage some of that, but I won't swear off shopping for good. That's a step too far.

I make no absolute promises as to how long this clothing diet will last. It's only been two months or so, & that's not exactly world-shattering. I sometimes go on binges where I buy a bunch of clothes one month then buy nothing for three, and other times, I buy a little bit of clothing every month for six months. Right now, I'm going to try to consciously limit myself at least as long as I can until something unrepairable needs replacing. And then I'll blog about that!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Blogoversary Reflections

Last week was the one-year anniversary of starting this blog, specifically when I started posting outfit photos (as there were a couple test posts). Alas, I was traveling in Spain at the time, so I had auto-scheduled posts & didn't have any outfits for sharing. I do plan to write up something about my travel wardrobe later on tho'.

Today's outfit is something I probably wouldn't have worn before I started blogging. Sure, I'd have bought & worn the individual pieces (& I had some of them a year ago), but this exact combination is definitely inspired by what I've seen in the fashion blogosphere.

Pattern-mixing is still a novelty to me -- I'll only do subtle mixes like this pinstripe with a bold abstract because anything more looks like the wearer got dressed in the dark to my eye. And I think that extreme pattern-mixing in an outfit makes one less likely to be taken seriously in the workplace, even in super-casual Silicon Valley. Playing it safe with classic goth all-black is a better bet for sealing a deal, running a class, or acing an interview, I believe.

Little things like wearing a belt over a sweater is something I learned from fashion blogs too (especially the now-shuttered Academic Chic). I just wouldn't have thought of doing that before. Belting in general is something I was a bit mystified by for ages -- I'd buy belts & they'd hang forlornly in my closet. Now I have about 5 of them that I wear pretty regularly, if not all that creatively. I do love how a belt accentuates my waist, giving definition to the smallest part of me, showing off my curves elegantly, & generally providing more & better shape. Wide elastic belts are my favorite, but this skinny studded belt is a winner too.

"Statement" necklaces like this one are another thing picked up from fashion blogs. I used to wear a lot of little charms on long, skinny chains. Those are pretty & sentimental, but they get lost in an outfit. Fashion blogs taught me to see an outfit as a whole -- literally, take a picture & see myself from head to toe. Tiny little charm necklaces don't show up. Bold, chunky necklaces can give balance & symmetry (which I'm a huge fan of -- it's right up there with matchy-matchy!), and statement necklaces define the neck & help frame the face along with my hair. Particularly when you have solid black hair, a heavy necklace creates a visual frame around a pale(ish) face, which I find pleasing & also emphasizes the goth look in a new way.

What I'm wearing:
Pink print cardigan, Chadwicks
Dark grey pinstripe dress, made by Donna
Black tights, unknown brand
Black pumps with silver buckle, Kenneth Cole Reaction
Black studded belt, Macy's
Black beaded waterfall bib necklace, Torrid
Black rhinestone hoop earrings, random accessory store
Black cocktail ring, Icing
Burgundy lipstick, Sephora

I'm glad I started reading fashion blogs, & I'm very glad I started my own blog. It's been an educational & entertaining venture! I've virtually met some lovely people too, & I thank all of you for your wonderful comments, even if I don't always have time to respond. I do read them all & am very grateful.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Life Is Too Short for Comfort Shoes

What is it about shoes? They are either the cause of great frustration or great delight among women. Perhaps because we, even more so than men (hi, let me generalize & stereotype a bit here) are on our feet more, running around & doing more, taking care of other people more, trying to live up to expectations, & having to work twice as hard for half the pay (was that my outside voice?).

Our feet take a lot of abuse. They either hurt & we want to swaddle them in comfort shoes, or decorate them in the most fantastical, gorgeous, & outrageous footwear as if to sartorially say "take a hike!" to all those expectations & duties & suchlike that seek to weigh us down.

Wow, that was a lot of ridiculous pontificating about what goes on our feet. Sorry, that's what you get from a writer who spent way too much time in higher education analyzing the queer-feminist implications of Victorian literature ;-)

I used to wear rather practical shoes, a lot of flats & low-heeled boots. I reasoned that this was required because I walked a lot & took public transit, as I don't drive a car. Then, in 2002, I went to Paris, France, & was amazed to see women of various ages walking all over the city, & it seemed that every one of them wore gorgeous high-heeled shoes. Mostly elegant pumps, kitten heels to spindly stilettos, even on the cobblestone streets in the Marais & Left Bank. These ladies walked purposefully, swiftly, sometimes walking tiny little dogs or arm-in-arm with a gentleman or taking a child somewhere. They were doing the business of life & doing it with style.

I realized, then & there, that I was wasting time with clunky, boring flats. I needed to get on a heel & get going.  Life is too short for comfort shoes (or for cheap liquor either). There is a place for practicality, but it need not be every single day. And practicality doesn't have to mean dull either. I'm with Sal of Already Pretty when she rhapsodized in her Ode to a Pump -- there's just something special about a bit of heel that makes a gal walk straighter.

I'm sure this post (if it's read!) will get complaints about "but I have Serious Foot Condition X that requires Special Comfort Shoe X." Ok, fine, but do you really need to wear that every day of your life? Can't you switch it around for part of the week? Are you *that* disabled? If I really was that disabled, I would invest some money in having fabulous custom shoes made (or orthopedic inserts that could fit into any shoes or whatever). Because you have to live with Serious Foot Condition, but you don't have to let it rule your life. Don't use it as an excuse to be boring.

It's like saving the "good china" just for once a year at the holidays. That means you miss out on it all year long. If you say you can only wear cute shoes when you go out to a fancy dinner or to the opera, but you hardly ever go to those places, well, wtf? That's a waste. Wear the cute shoes to get groceries, if that's the only time you leave the house. Live it up while you can, right now. You could get hit by a bus tomorrow!

(Shoe images from