What is it about the desolation of abandoned spaces that fascinates and captivates us so? The architectural corpses of feral homes, deserted temples, ghost towns, dilapidated castles, drifting shipwrecks–whether it’s run-down, ramshackle structures or their derelict surroundings, humans can’t seem get enough of their own oblivion.
There’s an eerie, inherent beauty in decay and abandonment, in the decrepit, ghostly aesthetics of what was once thriving and pristine, now fallen to ruin, suspended in time and place. So many things vanish, yet these decaying buildings, these vestiges of places that once existed, remain in the landscape, reassuring our minds that death might not be the end.
If that’s all just a little too deep to contemplate on an early morning, perhaps then, consider this: in the grim gloom, bleak debris, and phantom shadows we conjure of those who once populated these spaces, there is much in the way of unusual and thrilling imagery to be found. Why not consider incorporating these spectral stories and eerie, distressed, decayed motifs into your seasonal wardrobe shifts?
Whether you’re a natty urban explorer poking about an abandoned asylum or a lounging quaintrelle with a penchant for tea parties in dusty turrets, no doubt you will find a bit of inspiration in the four ensembles I have compiled for you below.
Please note: This post was originally created in 2016 for Dirge Magazine, a site that no longer exists on the internet (except in some form or another at archive.org, probably.) I have not included the items used for these ensembles because these were created four years ago and everything is most assuredly out of stock! If you have questions about anything though, please leave me a comment, and I will try to find the answers for you.
Roosevelt Smallpox Hospital
Bonus! For your ears: ominous aural accompaniment to these ensembles in the form of a Spotify playlist , inspired by Roland Torpor’s The Tenant.
Well, you knew I was eventually going to do this sooner or later!
Also, this is a small announcement that the publish date for The Art of the Occult has been shifted from September 20, 2020 to October 6, 2020. With the world being in such a state right now, I wouldn’t be totally surprised if that shifted again, but if I find that out, I will update you immediately.
Sadly I did not engage in my annual tradition of watching one horror movie a day, every day during the month of October. I didn’t have the time! I’m so sorry! If you missed them in previous years, here are the links for my 31 Days of Horror in both 2018 and 2017. I’m definitely going to go for it again next year, so stay tuned.
(Although! In the first days of the month, I did watch one beautiful giallo-style horror movie with a cast almost entirely populated by queer characters, and that I highly recommend–Knife + Heart, on Shudder right now.)
So…maybe fill the void with something else, then? I gave it some thought and realized that over the past decade of assembling little fashion collages (see my How To Wear category both on this blog and over at my other home, Haute Macabre) so many of them, at least half, probably more, are horror-inspired! How fun would it be to gather up some of my favorites, dust off the cobwebs, and present them as…How To Wear 31 Days Of Spooky Attire! Apologies in advance for the double-vision; this same post is going up at Haute Macabre tomorrow, but I thought I’d get a head start and share it here, first.
A small disclaimer: many of these sets were made using a site that no longer exists. Whereas I used to have a list for every item I included for each ensemble, sadly that is no longer the case and I cannot link to any of the items used. I know–it’s a travesty! Some of them I might remember though, so feel free to leave any questions you might have in the comments and I am happy to try and guess! If you have any questions about the art used or the films or literature referenced, I am happy to address those as well.
DAY ONE // DAGON
DAY TWO // SALEM’S LOT
DAY THREE // LURID PAPERBACKS
DAY FOUR // SATAN
DAY FIVE // CRIMSON PEAK
DAY SIX // COVEN
DAY SEVEN // MORTICIA ADDAMS
DAY EIGHT // CARMILLA
DAY NINE // VAMPIRE SQUID
DAY TEN // WITCHES
DAY ELEVEN // A MOTLEY MENAGERIE
DAY TWELVE // JUNJI ITO (TOMIE)
DAY THIRTEEN // VIRGIL FINLAY
DAY FOURTEEN // FEMALE CENOBITE
DAY SIXTEEN // SPOOKY CHATEÂU
DAY SEVENTEEN // THE HOUSE ON THE BORDERLAND
DAY EIGHTEEN // PENNY DREADFUL
DAY NINETEEN // WENDIGO
DAY TWENTY // MADAME DE LA ROUGIERRE
DAY TWENTY-ONE // AN OCCULT ENDEAVOR
DAY TWENTY-TWO // TERRIFYING TOTS
DAY TWENTY-THREE// SPIDER BABY
DAY TWENTY-FOUR // GOTHIC ROMANCE NOVELS
DAY TWENTY-FIVE // OBSESSED HORROR FAN
DAY TWENTY-SIX // PEEPHOLE
DAY TWENTY-SEVEN // TWIN PEAKS
DAY TWENTY-EIGHT // A SPOOKY SCENT
DAY TWENTY-NINE // CARNIVAL OF SOULS
DAY THIRTY // ABANDONED AMUSEMENTS
DAY THIRTY-ONE // PET SEMATARY
Featured image: George Ziel for the cover of Shorecliff by Marilyn Ross
I don’t think I really need to explain this one, do I…? There have been feelings lately, and I am muddling through. This is a look that matches my mood. I’ve got a lot on my plate right now, and some of it should actually be exciting, but I am terrified; between this and the thing I wrote about last week, and some other work-related things, I really don’t know whether I am coming or going right now. I’m simultaneously ecstatic and and electrified with possibility. but also frustrated and angry and utterly paralyzed.
Pairing together clothes and jewelry that I’m only pretending to have seems a silly thing to do with my time, but it’s doing something, and having done one thing, it may easier to do the next, and then another. Progress will be made, I know it will, because it always is. I just have to start somewhere.
This is a look for that foggy somewhere place of vague starts and stops; where the ideas are buzzing and whirling around your head like hungry flies; you just need to reach out and snatch one of them out of the air with the tips of your fingers. It doesn’t matter which one you grab. This is where you start.
“How To Wear A Jumpsuit“…is never a phrase I thought I’d seriously be typing out for you, but, well, I can be wrong sometimes, and here we are.
Over at Haute Macabre right now you will find several suggestions for wearing this head-to-toe one piece wonder, and some totally realistic situations for which they may be appropriate!
This ensemble in particular I can vouch for; the jumpsuit is from Aakasha, the kimono is very inexpensive on amazon, and I own a bag very similar to this one from Baba Studio.
A Walpurgisnacht agenda: fly east from the dying sun over spring fields to conduct unholy business under the deepest shroud of darkness. Rule the night skies with an unruly entourage of familiars, demons, and unbaptized children. Gather at Brocken’s peak for nameless rites and deeds, review and/or renew a pact with The Devil, flood surrounding forests with wild magicks, terrorize ignorant villagers. Check, check, check.
…hold up. Drop that sacrificial baby. What’s this? Are we dancing naked around this goddamn bonfire? Are we frolicking frockless? What the actual fuck, Satan? Were we not promised we’d live deliciously? Did you not specifically spell out that we were to have new dresses?
Listen, witches. Walpurgisnacht is an important event on your calendar and it just won’t do to go starkers, no matter what those antiquated copper etchings and Faustian carte-de-visites reveal. Don’t wait for Lucifer to deliver on that dress promise; dude is the prince of lies, you know that. A witch worth their salt has got to make this shit happen for themselves–I mean, what’s witchcraft for, if not extravagant sartorial gain?
Mirror the cloak of night in your evening’s ensemble, festoon yourself in potent symbolism, swath your bod in shadowy silhouettes. Accessorize with winged creatures and woodland-inspired jewels. Leave an infernal fragrance, redolent of spices, herbs, and venom in your wake. Incorporate the sabbat’s myriad magical motifs, as seen below, into your ensemble and next year you’ll be sure to bring the Hexennacht hotness to your wicked Walpurgis revelries.
Kiki de Montparnasse silk slip dress // Jimmy Choo Koko snakeskin lace-up heels // Fleur of England briefs // Maison Michel lace veil hat // MYKITA Eartha sunglasses // Manokhi lace-up leather gloves // Astara & Tone rings from Unearthen // Desire Inner Glow Pigment from Rituel de Fille // Prada Cahier Moon & Stars velvet crossbody bag // Polly Wales Snaggletooth skull ring // Loree Rodkin snake ring // Bloodmilk Weeping Woman mourning strand // Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab Hexennacht perfume oil
Ann Demeulemeester Short Dress $235 // Mise en Cage Ionesco High-Waist Harness Brief $148 // Mise en Cage Aldridge Soft Bra $112 // Sergio Rossi Elastic corset suede thigh high boots $1145 // Zana Bayne SS15 Mini Signature Bag $575 // FabMeJewelry 3D Printed tiara $50 // Burial Ground Pentacle pendant from $45 // Kathula blackened ring by BlueBayerDesignNYC $100 // Burial Ground Seer ring $165 // Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Witches $20 // UNUM Symphonie Passion perfume Extrait de Parfum $220
Elie Saab Lace-paneled silk-blend georgette gown $3450 // Damaris Da Vinci High Waist Knicker $100 // Damaris Da Vinci Triangle Bra $140 // Fluevog Pilgrim $299 // Derercuny chain clutch $890 // Elaine Ho Brutalist pendant $90 // Ann Demeulemeester 5 Signet ring set $730 // Dolce & Gabbana Satin-twill and lace veil $966 // Urban Decay Moondust eyeshadow $21 // Serge Lutens La Religieuse $150 // HVNTER GVATHERER Sybil necklace $250 // HVNTER GVATHERER X Lycanthea cuff (limited) // Rituel de Fille Forbidden Lipstick in Shadow Self $23