Thursday, March 29, 2012

Purple Fences & Crappy Shoes

Great idea for layering tights today (which I've done once before), but terrible choice of shoes. These seemingly comfortable, simple wedges just do not fit. They're too big in the heel, so my feet slip right out of the shoe when I walk. Super annoying! No amount of added padding has fixed it in the year I've had them, so these are going in the buh-bye pile.

What I'm wearing:
Purple knit top with leg-o-mutton sleeves, bought in London | Grey corduroy skirt, Newport News | Black studded belt, Macy's | Black tights, Calvin Klein | Purple fence-net hose, Leg Avenue | Black wedges, Dockers | Black & silver chunky beaded necklace, Target | Onyx & silver earrings, bought in India | Gunmetal cocktail ring, Icing

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Pink & Black Stripes From the Vault

A windy day from a couple weeks ago.

What I'm wearing:
Black & pink stripe sweater with lace trim, Macy's
Black T-shirt, Old Navy | Black knit skirt, Target
Black tights, Calvin Klein | Tall black boots, Clarks
Black scarf, H&M, thrifted
Black & pink crystal Victorian-esque earrings, random accessory store

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Simply Red (& Black & Lace)

Nothing fancy today, especially since it was looking like rain. Wanted to keep warm & cozy.

What I'm wearing:
Black knit dress, Target | Black leggings with lace panel, NY & Company | Black cardigan, Macy's | Red wool scarf, thrifted | Black tights, Calvin Klein | Red ankle boots, Aerosoles | Silver & garnet poison ring, eBay |  Gunmetal hoop earrings, random accessory store

Monday, March 26, 2012

Shoes for Dinner

While I firmly believe that life is too short for comfort shoes, these awesomely sexy heels didn't make the cut for wearing today. They pinched a little on the right foot in the front & slipped off the heel in the left foot, no matter how many little pads I put inside them (because, oh yes, I modify the hell out of all my shoes! I put insoles, heel grippers, foot petals, & moleskin in most pairs to get a customized fit).

These shoes are the kind you wear to a fancy dinner or a party where you can sit down & show them off, but even with my entirely behind-the-computer job, I didn't feel confident that I could walk to get coffee twice a day in these shoes. However, I *am* going out to dinner tonight with my sweetie because it's our wedding anniversary! So I'll wear the shoes then :-)

What I'm wearing:
Dark grey-black pinstripe dress, made by Donna | Black puff-sleeve sweater, H&M | Black elastic belt with grey flower, NY & Company | Black tights, Calvin Klein | Black wedges with corset lacing on the back, DSW | Silver medallion earrings, random accessory store | "Rosary" lipstick by Kat Von D

Do you have shoes that are 'just for looks' & not for walking? Or are your shoes purely utilitarian?

Friday, March 23, 2012

TropiGoth Birthday Party

This year was the big 4-0 for my sweetie, & he requested a luau-style birthday party. The nearest Saturday happened to be St. Patrick's Day, so we mashed-up the themes a little bit & held a tiki party dosed with shamrocks. It was great silly fun!

Wearing an authentic Hilo Hattie Hawaiian dress & my hair in victory rolls.

Gothic paradise cooler: Dark rum, pineapple-orange-guava juice, cream of coconut, grenadine, & ice, blended, then poured in a vintage black margarita glass with a pineapple slice & skully paper parasol (bought around Halloween).

Me & the bday boy.

With the tropical buffet.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Basic Black

Keeping it simple today, keeping it real.

What I'm wearing:
Black knit sleeveless top with ruffles down the front, Macy's | Black crochet trumpet skirt, Coldwater Creek | Black knit military-style jacket, Macy's | Black tights, Calvin Klein | Black patent ankle-strap pumps with square toes, unknown brand | Silver round medallion earrings, random accessory store | Grey flower hair pin, random accessory store | Gunmetal cocktail ring, gift from Kendra | "Rosary" lipsick by Kat Von D

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Paralysis in Pink

I'm well & truly stuck in a rut. I've been having a hard time doing anything creative recently, whether it's putting together an interesting outfit (& thus having anything worth blogging about) to writing (here or elsewhere) to sewing to you name it. My career is stuck, my artistic life is stuck, I'm stuck.

What I'm wearing:
Hot pink cardigan, unknown brand, maybe thrifted | Black knit top with 3D roses, Newport News | Black corduroy skirt, H&M | Black tights, Calvin Klein | Black & pink stripe flats, DSW (shout-out to Coffin Kitsch for mentioning these & inspiring me to get 'em) | Pink & gold earrings, Ruche

I don't quite know how to get my groove back other than try & push through. That's really hard, & yet it's all I can do at this exact moment. I'm open to suggestions tho!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A CorpGoth's Passage to India

I knew I'd love this month's homework from Le Professeur Gothique: "India -- Your assignment this month, dear readers, is to come up with an outfit, art work, or anything else inspired by that fabulous country and its gorgeous people. Perhaps you're a great cook and want to feature an Indian meal. Or maybe you've been to India or are Indian -- show us your visit or home. Or, if you're anything like me, you have bits and pieces of Indian clothing and jewelry to feature. Or maybe your inspiration will come from Indian art forms and colors? Think beautifully deep and delicious red and sandalwood yellow. Whatever you feature it must be inspired by India! Good luck!!!"

Me, my husband, & elephant handler in Jaipur
See, I've been fascinated with India since I was a kid, in ways sacred & profane. Maybe it started with George Harrison, & it was definitely enhanced by a variety of '70s progressive art rockers with sitar riffs & proto-New-Agey lyrics. I had a National Geographic map of India on my bedroom wall & loved curries & thought the sound of Hare Krishnas chanting near the campus of my first-choice college, UC Berkeley, was dreamy. And finally, in 2001, my husband & I visited India, which was a huge culture shock & a fantastic life-changing experience.

There's a common joke these days about "first-world problems." But you don't truly understand how first-world-y your problems are until you visit the so-called third world. No matter how much you prepare yourself, the culture shock is intense for American & western European travelers to India. I'd read up on squat toilets & begging rings & lepers & rickshaws & baksheesh & the hard sell & everything-wallas & Delhi belly & all that. But looking it in the face is totally different, stunning, & humbling.

Me looking out over the River Ganges
Ironically, I had lost my job a month before the trip -- it was the first big dot-com bust, & the music start-up I worked for went out of business. But we had paid for much of the trip in advance, & it was non-refundable, so we decided to go ahead. I couldn't be more glad that I did because it gave me an amazing sense of perspective. Even without a job or prospects of one when I got home, I immediately knew, upon arriving in India, that I was wealthier than most of the people I saw. The cost of my plane ticket was more than an average annual wage in India.

Yet, despite poverty, I saw so much beauty everywhere. Women picked dusty fields while wearing brilliantly colored saris. Huge trucks belched smoke but were decked in ropes of saffron-colored flowers & painted with swirls & dots. Monkeys, camels, & elephants roamed the streets, even in the cities. Ancient temples stood, not as relics of times past, but as vibrant parts of the everyday community, continually in use.

Of course, we visited the obvious places -- the "golden triangle" of Delhi (the capital, old & new), Jaipur (the "pink city" where Indian couples go on their honeymoons), & Agra (home of the Taj Mahal) -- but also added Khajuraho for the erotic Krishna temples & Varanasi for the holy river Ganges ghats. We had local guides take us around big places & from city to city, & then wandered around markets & such by ourselves. It was a fascinating, exhausting, rich, challenging, & fulfilling experience.

Air pollution in Delhi
Random story: The inside of the Taj Mahal smells like feet! Everyone has to remove their shoes before stepping up to the huge marble platform where the domed tomb portion of the Taj resides. This is for both reasons of respect (you remove your shoes before entering any temple, mosque, & similar place) & practicality (the white marble wouldn't look so pristine after nearly 400 years if tons of shoes tromped all over it). Imagine going inside that mostly windowless space with a hundred bare- or stocking-foot people -- eww! It reeked.

Of course, the pollution all over India was terrible, not from smells, but from car exhaust & wood-burning fires on sidewalks in the city & fields in the country. I'm not usually sensitive to such things, but I was a sniffly wreak halfway through the trip. Ah well. At least I escaped from worse health problems :-)

Varanasi ghats
My husband & I did bring back some beautiful Indian crafts to decorate our home, as we are both very fond of the designs & meaning behind them. We have a hand-carved wood Ganesh on a shelf near the doorway to our home, because he is the remover of obstacles & good luck at entrances. Next to him is Saraswati, goddess of music, carved from sandstone. This was a personal choice of my husband, as he's a musician, but we both love various forms of Indian music, so this was appropriate to our house.

Indian hand-crafts
Pieced-quilt canopy
Perhaps my favorite piece is the purple & gold quilt that we bought & hung over our bed as a canopy. I even took colors from it to paint our bedroom walls with. The quilt/canopy is incredibly difficult to photograph, but nothing pleases me more than waking up to see it each morning & falling asleep under it each night. The materials are rich & divine, & it blocks light out to make our bed dark & cozy (& perfect for this migraineur).

Today, I didn't feel up to wearing a lot of Indian garb, so my travel & home dec photos will have to suffice. The cotton salwar kameezes I bought back in 2001 don't fit the way I'd like, plus I'm coming down with a cold today, so I just threw on this top & gathered up my favorite jewelry bought in India.

What I'm wearing:
Black embroidered tunic, thrifted but made in India | Black camisole, NY & Company | Black jeans, Levis | Black buckle ankle boots, Aldo | Black bead & silver skull bead necklace, DisneyLand | Onyx & silver earrings, bought in Delhi | Onyx & silver bracelet, bought in Jaipur | Garnet & silver ring, bought in Jaipur

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Finally, Eyeliner

For the past month, I've had a bad infection in my right eye. At first, the doctor thought it was pink eye, so I threw out all my eyeliners & mascara. But the issue persisted, so I went to an ophthalmologist, who discovered that it was a different, more serious problem -- & I probably didn't need to throw out my makeup. However, I did need to put medication in my eye 3 to 5 times every day, thus, I couldn't really wear any eye makeup or it'd smear off constantly (not to mention, my right eye was pretty uncomfortable at first).

But finally, this week, I've recovered & am off the meds! So  I've been wearing eyeliner again after what seems like forever. I don't wear a ton of eye makeup on a regular basis because I feel like it doesn't show up under my glasses. I just put on a touch of black eyeliner & sometimes a swipe of mascara. Occasionally, I'll add some soft, smokey eye shadow if I have time. Still, that bit of liner makes my eyes stand out a little bit, imo, & not look so small & squinty.

What I'm wearing:
Black military-influenced jacket, H&M | Black ribbed turtleneck, Macy's | Plum velvet tiered skirt, NY & Company | Black & white chiffon skull-print scarf, gift from my husband | Black tights, Calvin Klein | Black buckled flat boots, Aldo | Gunmetal hoop earrings, random accessory store | Benefit "Bad Girl" black eyeliner | Maybelline "Great Lash" mascara | Kevyn Aucoin The Expert Lip Tint in Blood Roses

Do you wear eye makeup regularly? If so, what kind?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Daylight Saving, As If

I rather hate "spring forward" aka the start of Daylight Saving Time in the U.S. Waking up to realize it's an hour later than you thought is irritating (it's late, but I didn't actually get to sleep in!), & changing the clocks is annoying. I just feel off for a few days, rather like having jet lag, except there was no exciting trip to have recently enjoyed. Feh.

What I'm wearing:
Red turtleneck sweater, unknown brand | Black & white plaid skirt, H&M | Black studded belt, Macy's | Black tights, Calvin Klein | Red heeled ankle boots, Aerosoles | Black glass bead necklace with red Murano glass pendant, made by me | Square pewter earrings, made by a local artist | Silver & garnet poison ring, eBay | Sephora Doe-Eyed Felt-Tip black eyeliner | Sephora Artist red lipstick

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

When Subcultures Are Co-Opted for Fashion

Me circa 1988
Sal of Already Pretty brought up a very relevant topic this week: What is the line between sartorial personae and poseur dressing? As goths, I'm sure we've all seen this happen ... from younger kids wearing band T-shirts but obviously not knowing anything about those bands to fashionable women wearing black nail polish because some magazine says black is the "in" color this season ... in the past 20 years, we've had goth co-opted by mainstream fashion. And there's nothing like a little cultural appropriation to get me in a ranty mood, so here ya go!*

If you're old enough to remember a time before Hot Topic stores were in every U.S. mall, you know how gothic fashion used to be a signifier of a weird little group of outcasts, kids who were picked on at school because we didn't like the same stuff as the popular kids, we listened to strange music from the U.K., we probably read a lot of odd books (maybe science-fiction & fantasy & horror, maybe Victorian novels too), some of us were queer, some of us were as misunderstood at home as at school. We wore black on the outside because we felt black on the inside (TM). And we had to work pretty hard to get that black -- we scoured thrift stores & clearance racks for velvet & lace, we safety-pinned patches on our jackets, we even sewed our own clothes, & if we saved up the cash, we ordered pointy boots from England, & we could only get black nail polish & lipstick at Halloween.

OK, enough nostalgia! My point is that subcultures start somewhere in the distant past & are slowly brought into the mainstream (that would be cultural assimilation, for the non-academics still reading). Today, you can hop to the mall or jump online & buy everything from dark makeup not intended for goths but that looks incredibly gothic to hardcore PVC & chains oh-my-goth gothic clothes. All you need is a credit card.

And how do we, who claim to be goth in some respect, feel about that?

Symbols matter
Look, I don't tart myself up in anything remotely uber-goth anymore. I have no time, place, nor real inclination to do so. But since I was about 16, I've considered myself goth at heart, & that has not changed no matter my clothes nor anything else about me. As many have said, it's about more than the clothes -- but, crucially, the clothes are the symbol, the outward manifestation of what's on the inside.

The studded cockring on my left wrist is a signifier of where I've been, what I've experienced, the pain, the joy, the people, the memories, it carries a little bit of everything that being goth means to me. I wear it with every single outfit I wear, every day, aside from historical costumes (& only then because I'm a stickler for accuracy; yeah, I take off my glasses too).

PerkyCorpGoth 2012
I'm of two minds when goth fashion is co-opted by the mainstream. I'm annoyed by Them taking away something that has Meaning to Me. But then again, I'll buy the damn makeup & clothes because, well, I'm old & I have a frickin' credit card now. My inner 16-year-old is giggling with glee to be able to dress up so nice for a change!

Of course, someone else could wear this stuff & look entirely not goth, not even try, not even want to. It's when someone puts the black dress & the black boots & the black nail polish together & says "I'm going goth today, hee hee!" that I roll my eyes. As if our history, outlook, & culture are merely a costume that you can play dress-up with. Thanks for the dehumanization.

How do you feel? Do you care one way or the other?

Related links:
*Note: For any snippy non-goths reading, yes, I know this may not be cultural appropriation on the level of Native Americans being used as sports team mascots (offensive & tired) or supposedly ethnic clothing lines at chain stores (offensive & commercialized)  or the vast number of sexy "insert racial stereotype here" Halloween costumes (offensive & stupid). But every time the mainstream gets away with another episode of this scott-free, the more likely it will continue to happen bigger & badder. And if you're still feeling snippy, check out the f-yeah cultural appropriation tumbler :-)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Spring-ish Monday

We haven't had a real winter here in Northern California, just a few spots of rain (not the full weeks of rain we usually get). But it seems like we're already on to spring now. I'm not complaining, but I do worry that this means a dry, drought-prone summer. Ah well, I'll just enjoy the short-sleeves while it's still "optional" & not "omg necessary!"

What I'm wearing:
Black three-quarter-sleeve jacket with piping details, Spiegel | Purple V-neck knit top, The Limited | Black & white paisley-print wrap skirt, custom-made by Donna | Black tights, Calvin Klein | Purple velvet ankle-strap pumps, RocketDog | Purple & black necklace with scissors medallion, custom-made by Lisa | Pewter square dangle earrings, made by a local artist | Gunmetal & black cocktail ring, random accessory store

And I have to share this, because it's the most adorable thing I've seen online in ages -- LIVE PENGUIN WEBCAM!!!!!! Yeah, it deserves all-caps, imnsho. I could watch this for hours.

Live Video app for Facebook by Ustream

My husband & I went to Antarctica in 2004, & we got up close & personal with penguins. They are the most awesome creatures evar. And hey, they're kind of goth -- they wear all black & white, after all :-)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Shades of Grey

This month's theme from Sophistique Noir is Grey (or gray, tho' I tend to spell it the other way). As Victorian Kitty says: "Gray is the perfect way to debunk the "Goths always wear all black" myth without going overly-colorful." Well, I'm not a color-shy goth gal, but I do love how grey looks, both with black & with other colors.

Coincidentally, today was an awfully grey day, rainy & dark this morning, so I was confined to the porch for photos. I prefer grey weather when I can stay inside! Unfortunately, I had to take the bus to work, & of course it rained hardest when I walked to & from the bus.

What I'm wearing:
Grey knit dress with black trim, bought in London | Black tights, Calvin Klein | Tall black leather boots, Clarks | Black, pearl, & crystal choker, random accessory store | Gunmetal hoop earrings, random accessory store

Here's a little round-up of some of my favorite grey CorpGoth outfits ... my grey-test hits, you might say (*groan*).

If that's not enough grey for you, take a little tour of my living room, which we painted grey with glossy black trim. Thanks to Bane of Goth It Yourself for the reminder about how excellent grey is for interiors! I've lived with it so long (a decade) that I take it for granted.

Grey walls are really the perfect elegant background for our Victorian-esque furnishings. Anything darker would drown them out, but grey lets things like the burgundy velvet couch & oriental rug shine.