Archive of ‘not a fashion blog’ category

How to wear: the Spring Equinox

Tilda Swinton Tim Walker 2013

Stranger Than Paradise/ W Magazine 2013 Tilda Swinton shot by Tim Walker

I’ll admit, I never had much of an appreciation for spring until I moved up North to New Jersey.  Until that time, I had spent the last twenty years in the semi-tropics and spring was, at best, laughable. There were no gusty lions or meek lambs and April showers most certainly did not lead to May flowers. It was only the paralyzing heat on the asphalt as soon as February passed and the same line of palm trees as far as the eye could see, stretching to the horizon and beyond. Palm trees and heat death forever. The end.

In New Jersey, however, there was actual winter. With snow and ice and cold and itchy sweaters and people always stealing your parking spot that you spend at least an hour digging for your own damn self, and angst, oh the angst.  I grew to dread the oncoming autumn, because I knew it heralded 3-4+ months of pure, unadulterated, shivering misery.

But spring, oh my–spring!  Spring became a wonderful time of surprising magics. Such little things, I suppose…but things, having grown up in the south, that I didn’t even know to look for or expect. Every afternoon when I arrived home from work there would be something new blooming in the yard, budding and blossoming in the trees.  Bunny rabbits, all over the place on my morning walks!  The coolest, most lovely breeze swishing and swirling through the house on an early April morning (the same morning, where, down south, the AC would probably already be running full blast).

And so, my infatuation with spring began.  And what to wear during this time of birth and renewal and the disappearance of winter’s ghostly remains?  Well, I take my cue from celebrated haiku master Matsuo Basho:

From all these trees –
in salads, soups, everywhere –
cherry blossoms fall

See below for several ensembles showcasing riotous blooms and delicate blossoms, and yes–even color, bright explosions of it!  After all, today spring is here and I will be the gladdest thing under the sun…for approximately two days. Now that I am back in the  southern swampland, summer will no doubt arrive before the week is through, and that’s when we wear all black and lock ourselves into a climate controlled mourning for the next nine months.

As always, click the image for item details.

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Yarnomancy

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Shapeshifter shawl available from Morph Knitwear

Today over at Dirge Magazine I discuss my own personal “yarnomancy”, and the ritual connectedness of crafting by hand with Morph Knitwear’s Angela Thornton.

Bad-Ass Knitting Magic: Angela Thornton of Morph Knitwear

One of my favorite pieces from Morph Knitwear is the huge, open knit Shapeshifter shawl. (And come to think of it, I probably should add that to my winter uniform!) Curious as to how one might style this wooly behemoth?  I’ve a few suggestions for you, below. As always, click on the image to find more details on the items within each ensemble.

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Winter Uniform

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Laugh all you like, but when I get cold, I get cold. My fingernails turn blue and my butt cheeks become ice cubes (even under layers!) right around this time of year, and …wait for it…it’s only about 60 degrees.

It’s true.  I am a total cold weather weenie.  I have no idea how I lasted as long as I did in New Jersey when there were actual winters with snow and ice and never-ending Februaries. Ugh! I don’t even like thinking about it.  It’s bad enough I still dream about it– about once a month or so, even though I have been back in Florida for four years now.

So when the temperatures dip into the arctic mid-50s, I cannot wear my go-to tee shirts and flip-flips, no way, no how.  I’d freeze to death!  I’ve developed a winter uniform that I pretty much wear every day starting this time of year…and the bonus is that it doesn’t even have a chance to get old, since our “winter” only lasts about a week!

1. Giant cotton kettle-dyed scarf from the Scarf Shop // 2. Babooshka Boutique asymmetric shirt dress // 3. floridxfauna skull fragment necklace // 4. HUE black leggings // 5. OVATE Valhalla hoodie (I think this is sold out, but they always seem to bring it back)

The leggings are the high-waisted kind with some sort of shaping, so they’ve got a tiny bit of structure to them and  it doesn’t feel like your flabby belly is flumping hither and yon under your pants. Which wouldn’t matter anyway because the tunic/tee dress is so gloriously voluminous.  In any event, they are very, very comfortable and I would highly recommend this brand to people who do not find leggings abhorrent. There are no shoes pictured because well, let’s be honest. Where am I wearing shoes? I work from home and wear socks and never go anywhere. Shoes would be a lie.

Not pictured is something that should have made my 2015 best of list, but I think I was a little bit too embarrassed to mention it.  I’ve been growing increasingly self-conscious about that bra-strap fat that oozes out and around my ladies’ support garments, so I’ve taken to wearing this wonderful thing.  I’m not even going to type the name out.  It’s too dumb.  Click on the link and you will see what I mean.  Despite the name though, I love it.  I purchased four of them last year and they are by far–seriously– the best thing anyone has ever made, and I wear them under just about everything.

winterperfumeIt is also winter perfume season!  Time to slather myself with all of the woodsy, mysterious resins and incenses!  Which most of these are, save for the Bergamoss, which is loamy and sweetly grassy and strangely enough there’s a weird bit of celery in there, too.  It’s a nice break between the heavy scents I tend to wear this time of year.

1. Aftelier Bergamoss // 2. House of Matriarch Black No. 1 // 3. Terveer Incense // 4. Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab Practical Occultism (Limited Edition but rumored to return).

15+ impossible wardrobes dreamed in 2015

I have a weird habit wherein every time I write something, I feel compelled to design an outfit around it. Obviously in the virtual sense – my wallet could not possibly withstand this peculiar compulsion!

Below are 15 (okay, it’s actually probably more like 20-30) ensembles created in 2015, including links back to the articles, essays, or ramblings that inspired their creation. As always, click through the image to find details on the items included.

15 things I did in 2015

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15 things I wrote in 2015

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15 things I liked in 2015

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Merry Hexmas to you!

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The New Faces of Death

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Kintsugi

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Alchemical Catharsis

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Queen of Hearts

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Travel Journals: Portland

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Feral Mysticism

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Terrible, tragic beauty

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but I brought you flowers!

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les neiges d’antan

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Darkly Dreaming

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Krampusnacht 2015

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Perfume of the Dead

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Hag Couture

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Summer scents for those who shun the sun

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wind & stone, fire & bone

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The Scent of Evil

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Vögguvísa, or: There is much that darkness knows

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How to wear the Winter Solstice

Dryades by Agnieszka Osipa

Dryades by Agnieszka Osipa

Several years ago, when I was in my early-to-mid 20s,  my youngest sister and I spent a crisp winter solstice evening in downtown Deland Florida with a good friend of ours.  It was an enchanting night of hopeful year-end novice spellwork, rooftop cocktails and stargazing, and the loveliest feeling of warmth and camaraderie and peace.  I’ve yet to spend a winter solstice in such splendid company since.

To be truthful, I’ve not dedicated much time or preparation at all since then to sabbats or esbats or any manner of pagan pursuits. Perhaps my beliefs have changed; ceremony and all the trappings of ritual aren’t nearly so meaningful if there is a loss or change in beliefs  -and if you’re just going through the motions, what’s the point at all?

I suppose though, whatever your beliefs, it’s difficult to deny the existence of the passage of the seasons and the seasonal interplay between light and darkness.  These natural phenomena are occurring whether or not you celebrate anything today, whether or not you believe in Sun Gods or Yule Kings or the birth of some divine savior. Even if you’re not lighting candles or making wreaths or raising lanterns or planning the slightest bit of introspection or spiritual reflection, well…regardless, of your beliefs and associated rites and rituals, it is still the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. You still have to crawl out of bed, get dressed, and go about your day.

My long winded and very roundabout point is this: if you’re not doing anything else today,  on the winter solstice (or maybe it is tomorrow? whatever), you should at least get dressed.  Right?  And if you’re bothering to get dressed, why not do it in style? See below for some  solstice outfit inspiration, for either ignoring or celebrating the gods and the earth, the light and the dark. Either way, you’ll look marvelous

As always, click on for details on each ensemble.

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Creepy couture inspiration for Halloween

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Gareth Pugh Spring 2015 Ready To Wear

I’ve come to the conclusion that I like my Halloween costumes like I like my movies: gorgeous and confusing. The sort of visuals that elicit a “that’s beautiful, but I…don’t…get…it” response, are, in this woman’s opinion, the very best kind of imagery. I don’t care if the plot is twisted and convoluted and the story is nonsensical if you’ve given me fantastic eye candy, and I think the same thing can be said about the fantastical garb that one might don to celebrate this most hallowed of holiday traditions.

If it looks good, who cares what it means?

In searching out jaw-droppingly eerie ensembles that not only make you feel like a stunning, one-of-a-kind creation, but which also instill a keen sense of awe and bewilderment and WTF?! in onlookers – what better inspiration can you channel than that of the runways and catwalks commandeered by avant-garde designers of haute couture?

See below for a handful of my freakish and fabulous favorites from seasons past….

 

GARETH PUGH

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Gareth Pugh Fall 2015 Ready To Wear

I could probably fill an entire page with Gareth Pugh inspiration, but I’ll start with some of my favorites. Pugh’s Fall 2015 Ready To Wear collection immediately brought to mind CROSSED, Garth Ennis’s comic of an infectious pandemic in which victims are consumed by a pervasive bloodlust and rapidly devolve into homicidal maniacs (carriers of the virus are known as the “Crossed” due to a cross-like rash that appears on their faces.) It’s violent and terrible and bleak, and seems like pretty great Halloween inspiration on it’s own.

Gareth Pugh Spring 2015

Gareth Pugh Spring 2015 Ready To Wear

It kind of boggles my mind that Pugh’s Spring 2015 line up is a “Ready To Wear” collection. Do I misunderstand the meaning of “Ready To Wear”? On what planet is this ready to wear anywhere?  I will add, however, that if this planet exists, I want a first class ticket there, because a world where a lady can’t walk down the street dressed like a paper mâché minotaur, a sack cloth scarecrow or a piñata from the deepest, darkest folklore, is not one wherein I wish to live. Despite my commentary to the contrary, Pugh has noted that he wanted this collection to be “… of the earth, rather than landed from a spaceship.” Huh!

*Bonus Material

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Gareth Pugh Spring 2012

Speaking of “…landed from a spaceship”, this particular piece looks like it came from planet Pyramid Head.  GAH.  I am really freaking myself out.

 

 SHEGUANG HU

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Sheguang Hu at Mercedes-Benz China Fashion Week S/S 2014

No doubt there are some who find Mongolian born designer Sheguang Hu’s S/S 2014 collection…challenging. With its spiked, metal wire face masks and fearsome demonic headdresses, he certainly has crafted exquisitely troubling sights to show us, sights that hint of emptiness, of pain and despair.

If this sounds familiar, perhaps you’ve reached the same conclusion as I have; this work is clearly a collaboration between Sheguang Hu and the Cenobites, who are the go-to experts on aesthetics both alluring and terrifying.  Hu himself says of his “Sting” collection: “We need strong feelings even if it is piercing pain. The pain wakes us up from the numbness, forces to feel the taste of life again and pursue the lost dreams.”

To all puzzled queries from fearful costumed party-goers and trick-or-treaters – respond with “Save your tears. I’ll reap your sorrow slowly.”

 

 GIVENCHY & MAISON MARGIELA 

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Left: Givenchy Spring 2016 / Right: Maison Margiela Spring 2015

I adore these pale, ghostly ensembles from Givenchy and Maison Margiela. The fluttery dress and ornate lace on the left somehow recalls for me grim tales of elegant, courtly Japanese yūrei, and the bejeweled face-hugging mask on the right conjure up those ghastly nurses from Silent Hill, with their faces obscured behind swaths of tissue.


ALEXANDER MCQUEEN

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Alexander McQueen Ready To Wear Fall 2009

Lastly, if you’re going for batshit insanity, look no further than Alexander McQueen’s Fall 2009 ready to wear collection.  If ever there was a sense of the inmates running the asylum*, it is to be found within the imagery of these painfully theatrical parodies of landmark 20th century fashions. Paired with those incredibly ridiculous blow-up doll lips, I just want to scream with laughter and delight every time I flip through the catwalk photos.  And the more I look at the lips, the more I am reminded of in horror films, how someone on a downward mental slide (or perhaps they are possessed) begins to delicately apply lipstick and then maniacally starts scrawling all over their face?
Yeah, I want to imagine this going on backstage all the time. As a matter of fact, I highly suggest you break out that particular trick in the midst of cocktail party conversation!
Watch everyone’s faces.  Tell me about it afterward.

*Please know that I am not poking fun of or making light of the mentally ill.  I think you all know me much better than that.  If there is mockery here, it is lighthearted and provoked by the craziness of the fashion industry and those nutty folks who are a part of it. All of which I kind of love, anyway.

 

 

How to wear a haunted castle

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Let’s talk Fall 2015 fashion trends, shall we? Do you really care how to wear this season’s car wash skirt or that godawful psychedelic fringed poncho? Is someone, somewhere, still trying to make those drop-crotch harem pants a thing?

Do you really care about what’s trending sartorially, anyhow? Personally, I feel like none of it is the slightest bit relevant to me or my experience.

You know what is relevant to me and my habits and personality? Dripping stone walls and overgrown graveyards. Trap doors, secret dungeons, and locked tower rooms. Footsteps creaking upon staircases and fingers clutching dusty candelabras. Howlings and shriekings, groanings and gibberings, and the clanking of chains. Drafty turrets, swirling mists, and sudden winds.

Do you follow me?

Haunted castles, my friend.  Haunted castles are a vital part of my Fall/Winter 2015 fashion scene.

I have put together three full ensembles (with accessories!) in which you can cloak yourself  as you traverse ghostly passageways alongside insubstantial spectres and white-haired women turned lunatic and raving.

You prefer haunts crawling with vampires and bloodhounds and vanished corpses, you say? Worry not, we’ve got you covered there, as well. From creepy keeps to cursed citadels, your haunted castle wardrobe needs are well-met with frocks from ghoulish  designers and macabre baubles to match.

Inveraray Castle

How to wear a haunted castle (4)Sarmi vintage dress $680 // For Love & Lemons bralette $122 & panties $38 // Bloodmilk mini lorraine cross earrings $210 // Macabre Gadgets Arche ring $600 // Julia Deville death & lilies ring $9800 // Rituel de Fille lipstick, “cipher” $23 // Diptique Oud Palao perfume $75 // Bernard Delettrez spider clutch $1960 // Jeffrey Campbell Psyche booties $189.95

Oravský Zámok (Orava Castle)

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Erdem Finola gown $1931 // La Perla slip $668 // Alexander McQueen clutch $4595 // Gianni Barbato boots // Diamond Tooth Taxidermy hat // Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab scents & nail lacquer $10-$23 // Corvus + Crux Skeleton Key necklace $65 // Antique jet mourning fob $140 // Antique vulcanite hair comb

Neuschwanstein Castle

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Arletta dress $175 // Fleur of England bra $118 & thong $126 // Valentino Cuff Bracelet & Ring Set $745 // Patricia Nicholas spiderbat earrings 97€ // Maison Michel Flower Veil Mask // Kathula blackened ring $100 // Diane Von Furstenberg clutch $368 // Kat Von D Everlasting liquid lipstick, “witches” // Chloe lace up boots $1,175 // Alexander McQueen ring $345 // DSH Perfume Paradise Lost $98

Deep thoughts

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I don’t know that Adele’s really my cup of tea – which isn’t to say I actively dislike her or anything, it’s just sort of a “meh” situation. But that coat she’s wearing in her sepia toned, depressing as hell, windy autumn woodland video, ‘Hello‘? The coat that looks like it is comprised of several dozen fine muppet pelts? I am all about that dead muppet coat.

Also, why are there abandoned, vine-covered phone booths in the middle of the woods? Where’d they come from? What’s their story? Weird, right? If Adele sang more about phantom forest phone booths and less about boring broken-record broken heartedness, I might be more inclined to listen to her music.

 

 

 

Elsewhere: La Castiglione on Haute Macabre

My guest post on La Castiglione is up over at Haute Macabre today!

DRAMA QUEEN & CULTIST OF PERSONAL BEAUTY:
VIRGINIA OLDOINI, COUNTESS OF CASTIGLIONE

And because I am nutty and can’t write about someone without wanting to dress them up myself (or even play dress up AS them) here are two interpretations of some modern day Countess of Castiglione ensembles!

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How to wear: the Autumn Equinox

At The End Of Day (by paddy on flickr)

 I remember you as you were in the last autumn. 
You were the grey beret and the still heart.
In your eyes the flames of the twilight fought on.
And the leaves fell in the water of your soul.
-Pablo Neruda

Ah, autumn! You of the grey beret and still heart. The low, whistling winds through the branches, the blazing cascades of gold and russet leaves, the nights creeping longer and colder…

Every year, around the beginning of September, my heart skips a beat – just one small, lone beat – when I think of autumn. For a brief, flickering moment, I somehow manage to forget that I no longer live in New Jersey and I begin to look forward to the cool shift in the weather, the subtle changes in the afternoon sunlight, and the the scent of embers on the breeze from chimneys or piles of burning leaves. And then, suddenly, I remember I am back in Florida with sticky sweat pooling in my cleavage on a 92 degree mid-September afternoon.

This is the only time of year that anyone will ever hear me talk about missing New Jersey.

So as you can imagine, it is business as usual down here in the swamps.  Further north, when folks are pulling down their wool peacoats from storage and unpacking cabled sweaters and knee high leather boots, I am still bumming around in my flipflops and tee shirts (but let’s be real, I love my flip-flops). I don’t love, however, missing out on those beautiful cardigans and ribbed tights and fair isle scarves and all sorts of wonderful autumnal pieces that make up my very favorite sort of dying-year ensembles.

For now, I’m afraid, all I can do is daydream. And so, for the Autumn Equinox, see below for several  – and there are quite a few – autumn wardrobe inspirations and flights of fancy. I can’t say that any of this is particularly “stylish” (ugh, I hate that word) or on trend, but who cares about that dumb crap, anyway? If you like it, wear it! Anyhow, these are all pieces that I find quite beautiful, with rich harvest colors and luxe textures and deep, lush prints.

As always, click through the image for a polyvore page with complete item details.

 

 

 

 

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