the witching hour

witchy I

I’m on the upswing from a month of serious misfiring in my inspiration lobe. I know I said my hiatus was over, but I spoke a little too soon. For almost one whole month, the longest I have ever gone without blogging, I barely imbibed any fashion media at all. Suddenly everything I loved was just a little too glitzy. Too performative. I harbor great admiration for anyone who can effuse and effuse and effuse without any blows to their sense of personal peace, because I’m sure as hell not one of them. I was swimming in circles in a fishbowl of my own making. The metaphorical paparazzi were banging down my door – and, worse, I was inviting them.

So I went cold turkey, whatever the hell that means. I wore less jewelry. I fattened myself on books I’d meant to read for months – House of Leaves, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. I cooked elaborate meals and decorated my new apartment and filled several notebooks with word vomit. I spent afternoons supine on friends’ floors with mugs of earl grey. I read webcomics in bed with my boyfriend until the laptop screen singed our eyeballs. I strolled the beach in a vintage bikini. For one month (well, six weeks, if you count my original proto-hiatus), I focused more on living my life than on performing it.

My blogging feels more informed now, more like a personal niche I’m cultivating and less like the mad momentum of someone who’s in way too deep. It’s a choice. I was worried that I would strip away my performance and attendant bravado to find nothing underneath. That absence of blogging would inevitably become absence of identity. Now that I’m sure I haven’t pigeonholed myself at the callow age of nineteen, I am much more confident in the future of My Kingdom for a Hat. It is one of my many artistic media. It is not all I’m about. My little vacation illustrated that more viscerally than platitudes ever could.

That’s the trouble with a career in creation, I suppose. Parsing what is you and what is just the veneer of you.

witchy II

I am a witch. I have always been a witch. I was scared off for a good year and a half by some unpleasant experiences, but my witchy affinity runs too deep to ever really quit me. Autumn is always the dawn of my inspiration. The Mabon/Samhain season gives me such profound peace that it’s hard for me not to believe in some truth to spirituality. And few things make me feel witchier than dressing up like a harvest goddess.

witchy IV

witchy III

I am, in the strictest sense of the term, an atheist. I believe in no gods. I do not pray to any deity or anthropomorphic representation thereof. That was one of my biggest problems with Wicca: I just couldn’t suspend my disbelief thoroughly enough to incant to Diana and believe I was actually accomplishing anything.

witchy VII

What I do believe in is collusion. I believe not in physical manifestations of spirits, each governing a different arena (Sea God, Sky God, Sun God), but rather in one singular, ineffable divinity that pervades every damn thing. In Chinese philosophical terms, the Tao. When I work a spell, I’m not supplicating before a deity, I am taking charge of the Tao residing in me and realizing its connection to the rest of creation. I am Sea is Sky is Sun. Fuck if I know whether my work actually effects change. On a quantum level, maybe. (That’s another area I’m very interested in, which I could wax positively lyrical about: the confluence of science and spirituality.) I do know that universal cohesion is one of my most fundamental urges. I can’t touch a person without, on some level, being cowed by the fact that we’re all carbon and so are the stars and we’re really just little pockets of the same overarching essence. I can’t smell a flower without pondering the energy manipulation that brought it from seed to stem to scent. This is the way I naturally see the world. Whether or not it means shit in the wider scheme of things, satisfying that structure gives me a deep, clean kind of peace.

witchy VI

witchy VIII

witchy IX

Dress: The Classy Closet Jacket & Belt: Downtown Threads Boots: Battery Street Jeans Pin: Savers Tights, Scarf, & Pentacle: Gifted

witchy V

If you appreciate my thoughts on spirituality, check out Sacred Syncretism, my religion blog. I’ve been trying to put more effort into it lately.

prairie luxe

prairie III

I love the versatility of this dress. The loose silhouette and the hardy fabric ground it, while the lace detailing inches it closer to formality. I couldn’t decide whether to dress it up or down, so I went with a whopping “both”. I put together a more relaxed formality than usual, though, hoping for a look equally fitting for the symphony or an impromptu bluegrass show.

prairie I

Taking pictures in this spot, about 100 yards behind my parents’ house, is always delightfully surreal. It warps perspective somehow; the backdrop seems to drag on unbroken. The trees seem far too bright for midsummer.

prairie V

Absolutely in love with these panels. Josh, you’ve got a rival.

prairie IV

My pink hair never lets me slip fully into the dreamy forest aesthetic. It always seems to add an Alice in Wonderland pop, and I love it.

About this dress. I realize it’s what a lot of people would consider “unflattering”. I freely admit that this particular cut adds about fifteen pounds. I was even a little jarred when I saw the shots: “where’s my waist?!” I would not have worn this dress a year ago, and I consider wearing it now emblematic of how my stylistic outlook has evolved and matured. I’ve come to turn my eye more toward evocation, toward color and texture and cohesion, than to fit and flattery. Sure, it’s awesome when a piece fits like it was made for me and makes me feel like a bombshell. But if I have to choose between a mediocre well-fitting piece and an awkwardly hanging one that tells a story, you know which one will win. I’m doing my damnedest to quash the little “but it makes me look faaaaat” voice – because really, is looking thin more important than telling a story? Than making a statement? Than being a standout artist?

I don’t think fashion, or any art, should constantly affirm who we think we are. Let it surprise you. As a costume designer, I’m already accustomed to looking in the mirror and seeing someone radically different every day. Applying that principle to the very flesh I live in is costumery’s ultimate extension.

prairie II

prairie IX

I love the contrast of highly stylized Loli face above + a more serendipitous statement below.

prairie VI

prairie VII

prairie VIII

prairie XII

Dress, Belt, & Brooch: Savers Boots, Bow, & Shawl: Battery Street Jeans

Friendly reminder to cast your best-dressed vote here! Voting closes tomorrow at 5.

prairie X

sixty years too soon

stripes and dots XIII

Despite the scads of bloggers I admire, my style almost certainly has more in common with the Advanced Style ladies’ than with anyone else’s. I wouldn’t go as far as to say I was “born in the wrong era”, because that statement always grates on me (please, tell me more about how you’d prefer typhoid and oppression to indoor plumbing), but I am frequently drawn to ensembles several generations too old for me. This often means that I trot about in styles and patterns identical to those of the grandmothers I pass on the street. Sometimes – yesterday in Goodwill, for example – we’re browsing the exact same racks, and often eyeing the same damn dresses.

When old ladies smile at me and my shoulder pads and garish prints, moved by recognition, and girls my age gawk and giggle, I’m always reminded of this:

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.

Especially the end:

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

When I am old, my dresses will be older. I will be wispy and creaky but still sharp underneath, and maybe my hair will still glow pink. I will be the garish harridan from the turreted house in the part of town that makes everyone skittish. I will sic my pet spiders on neighborhood children like a hag from Roald Dahl’s annals. I will show off my saggy tattoos.

Why not practice now?

stripes and dots X

stripes and dots VI

stripes and dots III

stripes and dots I

stripes and dots V

stripes and dots IV

stripes and dots XI

stripes and dots XII

stripes and dots IX

Dress & Scarf: Handed down from Mom Sweater: The Classy Closet Ring: Battery Street Jeans Glasses: Birthday gift from Josh

stripes and dots VIII

Why should I wait until I’m crotchety and incontinent to stop giving a single flying fuck?

i never claimed not to be a narcissist

I’m aware that this is probably the least beachy setting possible, save for, y’know, a hole in the ground. But as I won’t be going to the beach anytime soon (a miserable confluence of fresh tattoo and 60-degree weather) and I wanted to take advantage of this design while it was fresh in my mind, you’ll just have to ignore the sadly lacking backdrop.

To make up for it, I’m bringing you a little pedagogy with your morning coffee.

I don’t care if you don’t want to see my body, or if my attitude toward it offends you somehow. My body doesn’t exist for you, and I’m actually side-eyeing you pretty hard for even considering that it might. I’m not going to present these photos with some subservient caveat like “it takes a lot for me to post these – hope you enjoy them!” Many women do struggle with body image to the point where exposure becomes taxing. I don’t mean to belittle them and their perspectives, but I abhor the extent to which such long-suffering narratives have become expected. Like you’re not allowed to think you’re hot without couching it in a billion layers of timidity: “it’s okay, I didn’t always think I was hot! and I’m not even sure I think I’m so hot now (please tell me I’m hot)!”

Girls who post bikini photos have to prove they’re “real women”. They have to be Just Like Us. They have to lay bare all their private insecurities and squishy moments of self-doubt lest they be mistaken for arrogant, a “bad role model”, or, Cernunnos forbid, a Slut. Revel in your own flesh a little too much, and suddenly you’re a brazen whore who needs to be taken down a peg. You’d better prove that you don’t really think you’re all that. I’ve always hated the cult of the Real Woman (you know how to be a real woman? Identify as female. There, you’re done.), and I hate it particularly for the way it invites hostility toward anyone who isn’t sufficiently humble, who doesn’t bashfully divert attention from her flaws, as though confidence were finite and one woman’s self-esteem another’s crippling depression.

I understand the root of this, I really do. But I think the process of nudging shy girls out of their shells has created a narrative of its own. The “before and after”. The Everywoman. “Stars: They’re Just Like Us!” I begrudgingly admit that I page through the tabloids in line at Price Chopper. I want to punch something every time I see an interview question like “what’s your biggest body insecurity?” We can’t leave beauty well enough alone: we have to dissect it until we’ve been satisfied that it’s all smoke and mirrors, that any given woman has earned her confidence with enough worship at the altar of self-hate. Would we, as a society, know what to do with a woman who answered “I have none. I’m fucking hot.” It would be goddamn open season: “who does she think she is? She thinks she’s better than the rest of us? How does she expect us to relate to her?”

In the societal quest for “relatability”, we’ve forgotten that women have a right to be related to on their own terms, or maybe not to be related to at all. I don’t want to prove that I am One Of You for my appreciation of my body to be validated. As narratives of women’s bodies go, “gawky caterpillar earns her wings” is not a bad one. But mandating it, imposing any strict vision of how women are supposed to feel about themselves, or about anything, helps exactly no one. All it does is reinforce the notion of female bodies as public property, which I refuse to stand for. “Unapproachable”, “unrelatable”, and “bad role model” are all too often code for “woman who runs her own goddamn life”. Fuck approachability. Did I authorize you to approach me?

Maybe you think you’re a feminist. But if you think a woman, by virtue of her sex, owes the world any public obligation than to be exactly who she chooses to be, then you sure as hell aren’t one in my book.

So I woke up feeling political. Sue me. Except please don’t, because our tort system is frivolous enough already.

*or man. I acknowledge that men are also shamed, often for different and equally complex reasons, and I don’t consider this issue “men vs. women”. It’s more “individuals vs. societal expectations”.

bikini X

Okay. I’m done complaining. Time to bask in my glitz and glamour.

bikini I

 bikini V
bikini VI
bikini IX
bikini XI
bikini XII
bikini XIII
bikini XIV
bikini XVI
It’s Latin for “nothing to fear”.
bikini XVII
I maaaay have bought this suit for the explicit purpose of showing off my ink. I am gothabilly to the absinthe-dripping core.
Bikini ($10!) & Pink Scarf: JCPenney Gold Bangles: Urban Outfitters Brooch (on head scarf) & Green Necklace: Old Gold Polka-Dot Blouse & Green Scarf: Battery Street Jeans

even vainer than usual (plus a little deathy goodness)

The last of the photos from Thursday’s shoot with Brent. He has the coolest dressing-table setup in his studio, and I’ve taken some great “backstage at the burlesque house” shots there. I bought this green dress and shawl to restore and sell, but I couldn’t resist prancing about in them a little first.

cemetery XXV

cemetery XXIII

cemetery XXII

cemetery XX

And here, saved for last for theatrics’ sake, are my favorites of the cemetery photos.

cemetery XXXI

cemetery XXXII

More outfit pictures to come soon, I promise. I’m still finagling a decent lighting setup in my parents’ house.

coveting, thy name is skye

I think I need a day to recover from Spectacle of Sin before I can get around to editing/posting any pics. Never have I known a better kind of exhaustion.

There’s a folder on my computer full of fashion images I find interesting or inspirational or just plain gawgeous. In the moment, I like to believe they’re truly random, that my taste is as arbitrary and eclectic as can be, but looking at them all together brings out surprising patterns. I wasn’t aware, for instance, that I liked feather print as much as it appears I do.

Here’s a roundup of what I’m interested in lately. My current primary aesthetic is stylized, controlled hyperfeminin(inininin)ity. Prim and starched up the wazoo. I try to maintain a sense of variety for the blog, but on the days I don’t post, I’m usually wearing outfits like this.

In this post: blazers, florals, and the moddest tights you’ve ever seen.

awesome bun mess in my closet

I had hair down to my waist until shortly before I graduated from high school. No regrets, but I do miss the elaborate buns I used to construct. Source

blue dress shades of monet

I’m a huge fan of print/texture mixing as long as it’s tightly controlled and works within a general theme, which Marisa does very well. Source

blue skirt thrill of the heel

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bosch leggings ravishingly

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closet vixen vintage

Yes, this is homegirl’s actual closet. Unf. Source

color chart

Colors-by-skin-tone chart from 1941. Source

fascinator ruby armoire

Source

eye dress scathingly brilliant

I prefer this one, but this ain’t a bad take. Source

feather dress vixen vintage

What’d I tell you about feather print? Source

floral blazer modstylists

Source

floral dress delightfully tacky

For some reason, this reminds me of Amelia Bedelia. Source

Yellow tights are great. I’m seeing them everywhere lately. I think my skin’s a little too sallow for me to pull them off properly, though, so I’m content to leave them to others.

floral hair ruby armoire

Some mornings I can barely manage to brush my hair. Source

floral vixen vintage

This looks quite a bit like my prom dress. Source

I don’t even like flowers all that much! I can take or leave their actual carbon forms. For some ungodly reason, though, their textile equivalents make me swoon.

galaxy skirt shades of monet

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giraffe bracelet zero style

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I’d like a two-headed giraffe.

gold skull karla's closet

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hold me tights diva na urlopie

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jumper calivintage

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peacock shirt vixen vintage

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peacock tights shades of monet

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blue petticoat vixen vintage

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just gaudy enough calivintage

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polka-dot dress joyful fox

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religion sweater mess in my closet

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rip headband zero style

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This girl used to work in a funeral home. I never thought I’d see another intersection of fashion and funerary science!

that skirt scathingly brilliant

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those shoes delightfully tacky

dem shoes Source

turban vixen vintage

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meadow revisited

This dress was the subject of my second-ever outfit post. I miss my pink hair (it’d still be pink if not for the fact that I’ve decided to stop killing it with bleach), but I much prefer my current style to that of a year ago. Back then I was wearing plenty of interesting pieces, but I didn’t have much sense of combination. I assumed the whole would inevitably be the sum of the parts, which is not necessarily true: the coolest stuff can be diminished if it’s not accentuated and accessorized properly.

Here’s my second attempt at blogging this dress, almost a year after the first. I think I’ve done better this time.

fairy XVII

fairy II

fairy III

fairy IV

fairy V

fairy VII

I love the fringe poking out.

fairy VIII

fairy IX

fairy X

fairy XIII

fairy XVI

fairy XVIII

fairy XV

Inspired by my shoot with Owlhurst, I tried the long jacket with the dress. Though I really like the hem peeking out, I wasn’t crazy about the way the jacket’s collar looked with the scarf. The spiderweb one ultimately won out.

Dress, Tights, Spider Necklace, & Blue Bracelet: Gifted Jacket, Silver Necklace, & Silver Bracelet: Battery Street Jeans Hat: Handed down from cousin Shoes: Stella Mae 

i probably won’t actually rip your neck open

I don’t do the goth thing all that often, really. Not as often as I’d like. When it comes down to it, I like color and variety way too much.

There’s a fantastic compilation of goth stereotypes on deviantArt. It’s pretty damn accurate. I lean toward the sleeker, sexier ones. I’m really not much for camo or plaid or ripped t-shirts. There’s almost nothing I’d rather be called less than “baby bat“. I’m into a more elegant, atmospheric expression. The spooky and sinister rather than the aggressively steampunk. Loreena McKennitt over Marilyn Manson.

snake vintage I

snake vintage II

snake vintage III

snake vintage IV

This little friend crawled up my dress mid-shot.

snake vintage V

These goth goblets are one of my favorite possessions. Since I got them, I can’t drink red wine out of anything else.

snake vintage VI

snake vintage VII

I have no idea why, but these pictures are making me think of the time I made a haunted house in the Sims Nightlife expansion pack, the one that lets you have ghosts and vampires. I’m pretty sure one of my Sims wore a similar dress. The brain’s funny like that. Things we considered fleeting at the time – the style of the dress my avatar wore in a video game seven years ago – end up getting committed to memory. Sometimes I bite into a slice of pizza and remember biting into another slice of pizza at exactly the same angle sometime prior to now.

snake vintage VIII

This outfit could benefit from some actual shots by a real photographer. The black on black looks incredible in person, but my webcam doesn’t quite capture it.

snake vintage IX

snake vintage X

snake vintage XI

This dress is straight-up made-in-America vintage. I got it for $10. Odds are there isn’t another one like it in the state, maybe even the country. That delights me, because I’m more of a hipster than I’d like to admit.

snake vintage XII

snake vintage XIII

Cell-phone selfie in the bathroom at work.

Dress, Jacket, & Scarf: Classy Closet Necklace & Belt: Battery Street Jeans Tights: Gifted Boots: Handed down from Mom

In honor of today’s gothy motif!

someone stole my colors. send help.

I got this jacket at Old Gold’s $10-per-bag sale. I’m pretty damn sure it was originally part of an Air Force costume. I admit it doesn’t photograph too well, but I like how strict it looks, how clean the lines are. I feel like a dominatrix. I accentuated its spare, futuristic look with black and white. My work here is done if you feel like you’re seeing me through a rather trippy dream.

white jacket VIII

white jacket I

white jacket II

white jacket IV

white jacket V

white jacket VI

I need to stop wearing these grey tights every single day.

white jacket VII

white jacket IX

white jacket X

Jacket: Old Gold Scarf, Tights, & Hat: Gifted Skirt: Richmond Food Shelf Thrift Store Boots: Handed down from Mom

~

Once again, I need a haircut. It grows hella fast: it’s already back to the length I chopped it from roughly seven weeks ago. I do love the pigtails this particular cut enables, but I can’t wear pigtails every day. What do y’all think of this cut?

i want hair like this

shamelessly appropriating nerd culture

Okay, I spoke too soon. I got dressed anyway. I felt up to meeting a friend for dinner, and I decided to look presentable. So you get some pictures.

I’m really not what you would consider a geek or a nerd. Sure, I qualify in the broader sense of showing considerable commitment to certain interests (hello, I love fashion so much I can’t go two days without blogging about it), but I don’t care for science fiction, STEM fields, or much of “nerd culture” as it’s commonly constructed. I don’t like tumblr, anime, or Doctor Who. This is a lot of blather and rigmarole to explain why I don’t really fit into the “skinny jeans and graphic tee” demographic. But one of my New Year’s resolutions (lame as this is about to sound) was to wear pants occasionally. And I think I’ve made this look sufficiently my own, though it’s probably only a matter of time before I’m playing Pokemon and snidely remarking* that I’m “sooo different from other girls”.

squid I

squid II

I’ve realized I basically have Lena Dunham hair. I’m not sure how I feel about that. On the one hand, she’s not exactly the epitome of fashionable. On the other, I watch Girls religiously. I can work with this knowledge, I think.

squid III

The scarf’s pattern reminds me of squid eyes. (Seriously, have you seen squid eyes? You could petrify one and use it as a bowling ball. I really love eyeballs. When I was six, I got a squishy plastic eyeball at Disney world and carried it everywhere until I lost it. And this dress is on my birthday list.)

squid IV

The chunky beads parallel the shirt’s pixelated print.

squid V

squid VI

squid VII

squid VIII

squid IX

I really like the shape of my lips.

squid X

squid XI

squid XII

squid XIII

Jacket: Handed down from neighbor Boots: Handed down from Mom Pants, Necklaces, & Bracelet: Gifted Cardigan & Scarf: Battery Street Jeans T-Shirt: New Duds (a local designer)

~

*I hardly think any woman is obligated to be like any other woman. Pursuit of individual ends is awesome. It informs my kind of feminism more than anything else. That said, the “I’m not like other girls!” shtick is my least favorite part of nerd culture. It reduces these mythical “other girls” to a 1950s strawman(woman?). It’s not like you’re the only girl in the world not wearing makeup and pining for boys all day. Real people are more complex than that. Enjoying video games doesn’t make you the specialest snowflake ever to walk the planet.

~

This is one of my favorite videos from one of my favorite YouTube channels. It always reminds me of my friend Hailey, who is vintage through and through. I’ve been wheedling her to do a guest post.