It’s well and truly summer. Sigh. I guess that means hemlines rise and colors lighten up. SIGH. You know I have a very difficult time with these concepts.
But sometimes it’s good to go with the flow, right? Experiment a little? Maybe don’t go too crazy (as the title of this post suggests), but perhaps…just one crayon at a time? I think we can do this.
Find a slip of a dress that whispers the soft pink of the dawn before the day’s heat begins to blaze; a sheer tank top that reflects the cool, clear blue of a secret swimming spot, a weirdly patterned frock in the bold shades of children’s pool floaties or another echoing the hues of a deep red rose, a tee shirt screaming the lurid orange of the sun’s dying rays on a late July afternoon, or a dress the vibrant green of grass clippings that stick to your feet when you walk outside barefoot to get the mail, after the lawn man has cut two weeks worth of growth…
Below you will find a few suggestions in this vein; I would typically direct you to click each ensemble to take you to a page with details, but unfortunately, future me had to edit this past post to indicate that these were created using Polyvore and those useless jerks fucked off into the sunset with all of that data a few years ago. Just google “purple shirt” or whatever. I don’t know what to tell you.
I have always found February to be the cruelest month, in terms of winter madness (although it rivals November, I think, in terms of emotional upheaval). While I was living up north there was always a certain point during the month of February where I would be curled up on the couch, shivering and gazing out the window and thinking, resignedly, how it has always been winter and there was never a time before winter and I was born in the snow and I’d die in the snow and that’s all there was to it.
Looking out my window now, there is a wilting hibiscus under a blazing sun and two feral cats making noisy love on a tree stump in my direct line of sight. I am a little grossed out, but my fingertips aren’t numb and my coffee hasn’t frosted over, and you know, life’s not perfect. But I am not cold, and I am not going to slip and fall on a patch of ice just outside my front door when I go to check my mail this afternoon. It is February in Florida and I have escaped that dread, formerly freezing existence.
My lifelong habit of escaping into daydream is no doubt what kept utter delirium at bay during those long, frozen years. Imagining breathless travels to far-off places that boast vibrant sunsets, lush flower gardens, and beautiful architecture, I’d slip into a trance-like state while envisioning sipping espresso in a Parisian cafe, or silently hiking through ancient forests, or just stopping to give a ragged alley cat behind-the-ear skritches while sneaking around Venetian canals, attempting to avoid running into a murdering dwarf in a red raincoat (my daydreams get kind of fucked up sometimes.)
Regardless of whether you’re merely escaping the cold weather, or literally running for your life during your mid-winter holiday, you can’t visit to these imaginary destinations without a valise full of clothes for travel! With shapes inspired by majestic cathedrals and celestial temples, colors reflecting the seasonal flora or the afternoon sun on the ocean, and textures reminiscent of cascading waterfalls and mythical priestesses’ mysterious veils, below you will find a variety of wardrobe selections for fanciful February frolics whilst pretend-journeying abroad. As always, click on the individual images for details on where to find each item.
Travels to the Wind Forest
A Hideaway On Mystery Beach
Cologne Cathedral, Germany
The Oracle of Delphi
England In Midsummer
Paris At Dusk
Abandoned Amusement Park In Berlin
Wanna see some more ridiculous ensembles? Go nuts!
With the new year comes new wardrobe resolutions: throw out/donate what you no longer wear or no longer fits properly, add more color and pizzazz to your outfits, swap your ratty stuff out for more high-quality pieces, invest in classic blazers and cashmere and so on and so forth. Blah, blah, blargh.
Ho-hum! I don’t know about you, but I nearly fell asleep typing that just now. Boo, hiss! Boring!
Now if one were to consult me, my sartorial suggestion for 2017 is to wear every day like it is your favorite horror film! Harnesses, spikes, studs, and torture couture to emulate beloved cenobites and malicious madams, the gilt headdresses and flowing silk worn by eldritch sea priestesses, or perhaps a velvet curtain-inspired antique, ruffled peignoir, to greet that poor, sweet vampire boy knocking on your window in the dead of night. Plumb the infinite depths of your terror to yield dark, fantastical prêt-à-porter revelations this season!
As always, click the image below to find a list of the apparel, accessories, and accoutrements used for each grouping.
Look, I’ll be honest with you. I started doing these How To Wear posts for two reasons: one, because I think the majority How To Wear blog posts and magazine articles are pretty dumb. I mean, most competent people with a little bit of imagination can figure out how to wear a pair of jeans or a bomber jacket, right? So, I thought, hey, why not how to wear something ridiculous or obscure or okay ,for the most part, how to wear something related to one of my weird interests. How to wear tarot decks, how to wear your favorite poem, what to wear upon greeting death, that sort of thing.
But there was also another reason. A way dumber reason: I have spent, like 2/3 of the last 8 years over on polyvore and no way, no how, is all that time going to waste. I created a lot of stuff! Well, “created”. You know what I mean. So these silly How To Wear posts on Unquiet Things are a way to both showcase those creations and make me feel better about my minor obsession with a major internet time suck.
In this How To Wear installment we are looking to your (my) favorite artists and their gorgeous creations, for wardrobe inspiration. One could explore this in a very literal sense: for example, intricate, swirled pen and ink line work echoed in an elaborately embellished art deco frock paired with laser-cut filigree leather shoes. Or perhaps more figuratively… the slinky folds of an artfully constructed little black dress evoking the sensual thrill of an erotic three panel black and white comic.
See below for several ensembles inspired by paintings, photographs, illustrations and woodcuts, artists both contemporary and from bygone eras. Click on each image for a polyvore page with a listing of all of the items and brands used.
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 a few ensembles showcasing riotous blooms and delicate blossoms, and yes–even color, bright explosions of it (hidden against and amongst a lovely sea of black, of course!) 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.
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.
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.
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.
Greet death with your hands in your pockets, slouched back, cool, collected, and confident. Wear a hint of a grin and a dash of cologne. Say What took you so long? Say You’re behind the times, man. Say Dead is the new black. Coffin is the new condo. Pallor is the new tan. La vida muerta.
In Gabriel Gadfly’s How To Greet Death (one of my very favorite poems), it is suggested that in the event that you should meet your maker, wear a hint of a grin and a dash of cologne; another stanza adds in a pair of your father’s cufflinks and your mother’s wedding band.
Not bad, but I think we can do better.
Getting outfitted for the last moments of one’s life is an intensely personal business, but I think that to begin and end with every mother’s insistence of a clean pair of underwear is doing yourself a great disservice and perhaps selling yourself a bit short. If you’re indeed rendezvousing with the Grim Reaper, leave a lasting last impression as make your exodus! Of course, do include the clean underwear, as well.
See below for a handful of ensembles to leave Death gasping and goggle-eyed as you shuffle (or skip, or meander, or leap, or whatever your manner of leave-taking may be) off this mortal coil. [EDIT: individual item information is unfortunately no longer available for any of these sets.]