Friday, August 29, 2014

The Professor's Homework Assignment: Musical Inspiration

For this month's homework assignment, The Professor asked how songs or music inspire your dress, mood, art, writing, etc. This was a little hard for me, in that I'm not all that into music. Yeah, bad goth! For me, goth is more about the aesthetic and history and literature than the music. And my musical interests pretty much stopped around 1995 anyway -- I only listen to '80s new wave and goth, with a smattering of Lady Gaga and RuPaul.

So you're getting a little flashback here, musically at least. And in time... The video below was filmed and edited by my husband, and it features me and my dearest friends at a chateau in France, a little over a year ago, doing what we do best. Being silly and historical! We were inspired, that's for sure :)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Blogger Meetup: CorpGoth & Victorian Kitty

It's not often I have the chance to meet fellow bloggers, but last month, I was traveling to Costume College, which I guessed was vaguely within reach of Victorian Kitty of the wonderful blog, Sophistique Noir. So I contacted her to ask if she was indeed in the area and had a little time (& inclination!) to meet. Luckily, she did!

We had cocktails at the hotel bar for an hour or so and chatted about blogging, fashion, and cats -- so much talk of fantastic felines (I swear, it's natural, you get two female goths together, and we're going to talk about our cats; same for costumers, actually). It was really nice, and I'm glad for the opportunity.

As you can see from the photo, Ms. Kitty was quite elegantly attired, having come from the office. On the other hand, I'd just spent six hours riding in a van with four other costumers, driving across the state, so I wasn't looking as fancy, heh.

If any fellow bloggers or readers happen to be passing through Silicon Valley, do let me know in advance, and maybe we can meet up too!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Off With the Wig

About one month before the one-year anniversary of starting chemo (so maybe 6 weeks before the 1st anniversary of my hair actually falling out), I finally stopped wearing a wig to work. I'm not really happy with this short hair, but Silicon Valley was experiencing a heat wave, plus my office's air-conditioning broke. And I just wasn't willing to swelter anymore!

I've always been a long-haired girl. I had some terribly unattractive short haircuts as a kid, and that scared me off. Sure, I shaved half my head in my college punk/hardcore goth days, but I left the other side of my head with long locks for an asymmetrical 'do. I've never wanted a pixie cut, never been tempted by any Vidal Sassoon short styles. Yet here I am, forced into that by cancer. Thanks a lot :-/

Short hair is much harder to style than long hair. Especially my fine hair with quite a bit of curl. It tends to look cow-licky or like crazy chicken feathers, unless I really work at it. I need to experiment more with waxes and pomades. I also need to go to a stylist and get a proper cut and color. It's on my to-do list!

What I'm wearing: Black T-shirt with lace top, H&M | Black & white stripe skirt, Black House White Market | Black slingbacks, Payless Shoe Source | Silver book locket necklace, random accessory store | Silver skull earrings, random accessory store

Monday, August 18, 2014

CorpGoth Mid-Month Status Report: Stripes & Plaid (but no Dots)

This month's theme is all about patterns. Some people don't like wearing patterns, and some people aren't comfortable incorporating them into their wardrobes. This is why I think each of these graphical patterns -- stripes, plaids, and dots -- are good ones to start with (ok, not all at once!). A striped skirt or top mixes easily with solid garments in the same colors or even in a contrasting color. A simple plaid (like black & white) goes well with neutrals. And the same with dots, little micro-dots are practically a texture, while going gradually up in scale adds more interest.

Of course, I took a trip to Crazy Town and mixed a stripe with a plaid in this outfit. One way to make this work is to stick with the same colors, in this case, black & white. I also kept to a similar pattern scale, so they look more pulled together. Or maybe they don't -- pattern-mixing is an acquired taste. I don't do it often, because, yeah, it can look pretty nutters.

So which is your favorite, stripes, plaids, or dots? Which are you wearing? Share in the comments below.

What I'm wearing: Black & white stripe silk blouse, made by Donna | Black & white plaid skirt, H&M | Black elastic belt, NY & Company | Black tights, Calvin Klein | Red ankle boots, Aerosoles | Silver medallion earrings, random accessory store

Friday, August 15, 2014

Friday Five: I Wanna Rock & Roll All Night

1. What band has made the biggest impact in your life, and why?
Yes -- I can't explain it now, but growing up, the whole prog-rock artsy thing of their early music really gelled with me. It's the closest I've come to having a spiritual side, as otherwise I'm entirely atheist & find zero connection to gods, goddesses, yada yada yada in the sky. I even read Paramahansa Yogananda's "Autobiography of a Yogi" because a footnote in it inspired Yes' gatefold double-album "Tales From Topographic Oceans," & that totally inspired my desire to visit India (which I did, decades later). I hardly ever listen to Yes now, in fact, I almost can't listen to it because it kind of hurts. I have to be in the right mindset to open my brain to that. It's weird, & like I said, hard to explain.

2. What album is the first you can remember purchasing yourself?
"Yellow Submarine" by the Beatles. Because it was my first "favorite" movie & I wanted the LP.

3. What concert stands out in your mind as the best you've ever seen?
Best full concert? Hmmm ... the "Sound & Vision" tour by David Bowie at Shoreline, 1990-91-ish, was pretty damn spectacular in every way. Full package. Also, Green Day performing the full "American Idiot" album at the Warfield, being filmed for something, a show that was announced 2 days before, was really kick-ass.

4. What concert stands out in your mind as the worst you've ever seen?
James. We went based on their one hit "Laid" & that was the only good song. Spent most of the show loitering at the bar until they played said song & then went home. Snoozy.

5. If you could create your dream band, what musicians would you choose? (they can be live or dead, it's a dream band)
Duh, I'd reunite the Beatles. A private concert for me, my Mom (who introduced to them, natch), & select friends. "Sgt. Pepper" era all the way.

Questions culled from The Friday Five on LiveJournal.

What I'm wearing: Black pinstripe dress, made by Donna | Burgundy peplum sweater, Anthropologie | Black tights, Calvin Klein | Black lace & burgundy satin pumps, Rampage | Burgundy & bronze shield necklace, made by a local artist | Burgundy pearl earrings, Designs by Victoria

Monday, August 11, 2014

Gothic Martha Stewart decoupages a table

A fun way to liven up your home decor is to decoupage wood furniture. Second-hand and thrift-store items can be great candidates for redecorating as long as they have some flat surfaces, which are easier to add designs too (if you're ambitious & have more time, go wild with more elaborately curved furniture).

In my Gothic Martha Stewart tutorial, I take a small table, paint it burgundy & black, then decoupage tarot cards on the top & shelf of the table. This makes for a quirky little end table in my living room. Read the step-by-step instructions, & get inspired to take on your own project. What will you transform? Share your ideas in the comments.

What I'm wearing: Grey sheath dress, Target | Purple & black striped cardigan, Old Navy | Grey tights, Calvin Klein | Purple suede pumps, Aerosoles | Purple crystal necklace, random accessory store | Purple crystal earrings, random accessory store

Friday, August 8, 2014

Friday Five: Internettin'

1. What was the first Internet site you remember bookmarking?
The T.W.I.N.K.I.E.S. Project. (Hey, it's still around!)

2. What was the last Internet site you bookmarked?
Clickhole. (Clearly my tastes haven't changed much.)

3. Are you Mac, Windows, or something else?
Macintosh forever!

4. What is the one thing you wish you could easily do with your computer?
Type & mouse without wrist pain. *sigh*

5. Are you happier with the all the advances that have been made in the last 10 years or do you wish for an earlier, less technology-based time?
Totally happier. My career is based on the Internet, and all my friends are inside this network of tubes!

Questions culled from The Friday Five on LiveJournal.

What I'm wearing: Black & grey knit dress, Macy's | White & black scarf printed with tree branches & ravens, bought on a business trip | Black tights, Calvin Klein | Silver-grey wedges, Anne Klein | Silver skull earrings, random accessory store

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

This Year's Crop of Halloween Goodies

It's that most wonderful time of the year -- yes, Halloween stuff is hitting the stores! Some people like all the creepy, gory goods, but I prefer the more subtle, elegant items that have a touch of Old World charm and look like they'd be found in a Victorian mansion or a romantically crumbling castle. And I'm not disappointed by this year's selection. If only I could afford to buy everything!

Here are a couple of my favorites...

Pottery Barn brought back these amazing skeleton martini glasses. They always sell out quickly. This year, they also have bat wine glasses and spider shot glasses.

Williams-Sonoma is another reliable source for posh yet spooky goods. This year, they have a giant crystal skull punch bowl, & wow, I desperately wish I had room to store *and* display such a thing! How cool and at a reasonable price, all things considered.

To see more delights, check out my Pinterest board Halloween on Sale 2014. I'm adding more there as I discover things. Have you found any awesome Halloween home decor items this year? Share in the comments!

CorpGoth Status Report: Stripes! Plaid! Dots!

Subject: Time for a wacky office outfit report. Show off a work-appropriate ensemble that features stripes, plaid, or dots. Or any combo. Or all three. Your call!

Due Date: Monday, August 18 to Wednesday, August 22

How to File Your Report:

1. Post to your blog on or around the due dates.

2. Include the following code in your post so the This Is CorpGoth Mid-Month Status Report graphic will display (if you're using Blogger or WordPress, switch to the 'HTML post' setting & then paste this code in):

<a href=""><img border="0" src="" /></a>

3. Comment on my Monday the 18th post including your blog link.

4. Read everyone else's reports via their links in the comments!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Camden Street Markets or What I Don't Like About Goth Clothes Anymore

On my very first trip to London back in, oh, 1992ish, I made a pilgrimage to the Camden Street Markets. This was the part of town known as a vast well of ready-made gothic clothing goods. There were stalls filled with flowing velvet & lace dresses, PVC coats, & pointy boots. Remember, this was in the nascent days of Hot Topic in the U.S., so the idea of buying goth-off-the-rack was pretty freakin' amazing. I was still maintaining the, which listed a mere handful of stores, for which we had to mail-order paper catalogs (go ahead, shake your cane at the kiddos, ElderGoths).

Anyway, Camden set my eyes agog, but alas, I was a struggling tech writer & had spent my savings just to take the trip (& was already saving up to head to grad school). I recall splurging on one or two velvet dresses & a little bit of jewelry. On one of our next trips to the U.K., I bought a few pairs of boots in the Camden shops, including the black suede granny boots that I wore at my wedding & have since worn with every Victorian costume I have.

During my most recent trip to London, last summer, my husband went to see a friend, & I decided to visit ye olde Camden Town for some shopping. Well. I don't know if it's that times have changed or I have changed. Perhaps both.

At first, I was charmed & amused by seeing the brocade coats & military-esque jackets & faux-bustled skirts & steampunk pocket watches. Except they were EVERYWHERE. The exact same things. In every single stall. The only variation was how much one hustler could be bargained to sell it for.

And some of them (OK, a lot of them) were really crap quality -- acrylic fleece masquerading as wool, terribly shiny brocades, thin flocked "velvets," plastic faux-metal buttons, flimsy poly baroque satin, scratchy laces, no linings in anything, lots of elastic waists & back lacings to simulate fit, & stiff cotton ruffled shirts that would take a million washings to get a decent drape & the stitching probably wouldn't hold up to that.

Yes, sewing my own costumes has totally turned me into a snob, & sure, if you pay 35 pounds sterling, you can't expect a custom fit or silk velvet. It's all mass produced in Asia, so the price & quality reflect that.

A few of the short jackets didn't look so bad in quality (basic black twill, spiffy military styling), & I was tempted. Except, again, I saw the same ones everywhere. While I wouldn't see it at home (especially not when I'd be wearing it at work!), I was still irritated by the goth-in-a-box aspect.

I'd rather invent my own goth style from stuff I buy at Target than buy a premade "gothic" item that 80 zillion people are wearing whilst sitting around Whitby or Wave-Gotik-Treffen or whatever. I just gotta be me! Even if someone judges me as looking less goth. I don't want the cookie-cutter clothing.

Instead, what appealed to me was a 1950s-ish black & red cocktail dress (cheap quality but also inexpensive) because I'm woefully low in stock on cocktail dresses, a peasanty long burgundy cotton skirt, & a plum-colored open-weave waterfall/wrap sweater. All rather colorful, appealing to my inner peacock. And all things that didn't seem too samey. The later two were specifically from an artist who hand-dyes her stuff (the colors were rich & amazing). The first one was some prefab knockoff, but I didn't see others exactly like it. Quirky items that fit into my aesthetic, whether officially "gothic" or not.

And since bringing them all home, I've gotten good use out of each one. They've held up fairly well; not the best quality, but reasonable for the modest prices I paid. Best of all, I feel good about wearing them. I don't feel like a pre-fab goth nor a cliche marketed to or being ripped off. I still have my edge & my own style.

There are a few traditional gothic businesses I'll still support -- like the lovely Kambriel, of course -- & I even pop into Hot Topic if I'm at the mall & looking for new fishnets. But if I'm craving a ruffly shirt, I'll just as soon scour eBay, a thrift store, or Old Navy for something suitable, then combine into an ensemble that suits me.

What I'm wearing: Black & white stripe knit sleeveless dress, Nordstrom | Black & white stripe knit double-breasted jacket, Marshalls | Black tights, Calvin Klein | Silver-grey wedge pumps, Anne Klein | Black & white stripe bead earrings, Kohls

Friday, August 1, 2014

Friday Five: My House, in the Middle of My Street

1. Tell us about where you live:
A 2 bedroom, 1 bath, 1940s bungalow deep in the 'burbs of Silicon Valley.

2. If you could change one thing about your home, what would it be?
The bathroom! It's small & poorly laid out. I hate the dinky shower stall with separate tub. I hate the crappy 1980s fixtures & tacky floor. If we can ever afford it, we're having the thing gutted & starting over.

3. Do you do laundry on a regular schedule?
Kinda sorta but not really. Maybe every two weeks or whenever my laundry hamper fills up.

4. Describe the place that you sleep:
Black iron canopy bed draped with a purple & gold Indian canopy cover, accented by silver pierced-metal star lights along the rails. On top of the bed is a purple matelasse coverlet & purple bedding with a black satin dust ruffle.

5. This morning: Was it easy or difficult to start the day?
Always difficult. Waking up is hard to do. That's why the gods give us coffee!

Questions culled from The Friday Five on LiveJournal.

What I'm wearing: Black sheath dress, Target | Maleficent scarf, DisneyLand | Black tights, Calvin Klein | Silver-grey wedges, Anne Klein | Silver & purple crystal dangly earrings, gift from Lisa