autumnalia

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We’re having a 90-degree Labor Day, but I’ve already dyed my hair, so that officially makes it autumn. I don’t care that the actual weather stubbornly refuses to bear it out; seasonal change must run on my sartorial schedule. I am officially sick of summer outfits, so it’s autumn when I say it is, dammit.

Plus, the fair had a Haunted House ride, so of course I had to take pictures there. I did not go on it, however, because I am an adult-sized baby and I hate rides. I don’t see the point in feeling physically uncomfortable for fun.

This is the second reproduction dress I’ve bought recently. I’d mentioned a while ago that much of my beloved vintage is simply falling apart, and it’s time to invest in some repro. This dress, like the cherry one before it, is from Maggie Tang, and I’m quite impressed. Both dresses are soundly constructed for their cost, and the customer service is excellent.

Oh, and my friend Kristina had her baby!! I’ll be guest-posting for her on the 9th while she takes maternity leave, so keep an eye out for that.

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floral blouse, blue circle skirt, & ~super!artsy~ photos

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Kristina wrote an excellent post yesterday about actual vintage vs. caricatures that have been historically enshrined as vintage. She writes:

Sure, sometimes they wore red lipstick. Sometimes they did victory rolls. Sometimes they had fluffy skirts held out by petticoats. But watching a movie or searching street style from that era, there was so much more. And very few cat-eye looks, I should point out. I feel as though more often, it was pink or orange or even neutral lipsticks, soft brown shadows (or, hello, blue shadow), liner that was pretty subtle (it was all about the lip shape back then), fantastic brows, and hair that was fluffed and curled to glamorous volume.

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I think sometimes the collective-we forgets that the history we slaver over was inhabited by actual people. Narratives are messy and murky and non-linear. And humans have always been human. The way we categorize them after the fact often has nothing to do with how they really lived. For instance – if I had a dime for every rockabilly type who claimed that vintage bikinis were “so much classier” than today’s stringy counterparts! As though they weren’t considered downright scandalous in their own time. We idolize Marilyn Monroe in the 21st century and forget that in her own, she was basically Kim Kardashian meets Monica Lewinsky.

fbIfbIXDitto when the nostalgia-prone sigh for “real” courtship, for the days when “men were gentlemen and women were ladies”. Maybe that’s how we’ve chosen to remember those days, but it was never that simple. There were still drunken hookups. There was gossip and seduction and guys who didn’t call. Let’s not pretend we don’t know what drive-in movies were really about.

All the things we think are newfangled conventions? They’ve always existed. People were terrified to be open about them.

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Here’s to a fuller remembrance of history. To taking the good parts and leaving the bad to rot, but fundamentally understanding all of it. To knowing that truth is stranger than fiction.

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vintage plaid, red accents, & a silly poem

I submitted this to the Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest. Not gonna lie, 90% of why I did so was just to see “Wergle Flomp” on my resume.

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The sun went down at four-o’clock

on the ev’ning of January first.

In its place, the moon unlocked

the gate, and came to quench its thirst.

 

I took the measure of the sky

a-gleaming in its tar.

I posed a question, asking “Why?”

And lo! Was greeted by a star!

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Along the ridge of Mars and North

my vanguard shone for me.

Holding strong and gleaming forth,

never to cower or flee.

 

A metaphor, my star became,

imbuing me with vim.

How brilliant glowed its well-fanned flame –

how holy boomed its hymn!

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The star became my confidant,

soothing troubles from all corners.

Guarding lovers on a jaunt,

wiping tears from distant mourners.

 

The sun went down at nine-o’clock

when June came ‘round the bend.

Alone beneath the moon, I walked

to find the power to transcend.

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I dropped to my knees, my limbs a-tremble.

The star gazed down, so stern.

I should have guessed it to dissemble:

But I, seeking counsel, just churned.

 

“I’m lost,” I cried, “so soothe me, please.

I’m afraid my bearings have slipped.”

My star hung bright, a comfort, an ease:

A smooth face, white, unpipped.

 

When suddenly my tacit friend –

his face split in a wink!

I watched in bitter discontent

as his wisdom toppled off the brink!

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A clown, a mime, a laughing face

hung blankly in the sky.

Where truth once stood was nare a trace –

my lips parted in a cry.

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June had come, rose high,

and the hour was nigh

for my dear friend to depart.

 

The orbit had switched

and the mission was ditched.

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The star I’d wished on every night

turned out to be a satellite.

 

vintage gingham, pink accents, & pure americana

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There is something unquenchably domestic in me. It’s my regressive not-so-secret, my Feminine Mundane: I love fresh linens and birdsong and every talisman of country summer. I love lemonade* on the front porch and bluegrass echoing from eave to eardrum. I’ve always aspired to city slicking, but I don’t think I could sacrifice my Americana.

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We’re not there yet. The trees are still bound up; the wind still punishes. But I see rivulets collecting beneath snowbanks and in sidewalk cracks. It’s coming. And I might as well dress like it. If I can usher in the spring with gingham and bluegrass and brightness and glee, I will do my damnedest to.

We all wear costumes. At least some of us admit it.

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*I actually do not like lemonade at all. But it’s the principle of the thing.

 

houndstooth swing coat & muted vintage florals

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Cosplaying Madeleine today, though I’m not sure I’d enjoy having twelve of me. I’ve read too much Calvin & Hobbes not to understand the dangers of duplication.

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For the past three weeks, my views have tanked. TANKED. I’m talking, like, ~20 per day. Sometimes up to 70 if I’m lucky.  My stats have climbed steadily upward for the past year, but I think I might – perish the thought – have peaked. January clocked in at 4,095 views. February sank to 2,419. March is young yet, but I’ve had only 254 views, which averages out to ~40 per day. I don’t know what’s happening, and I’m kinda freaked out.

My content hasn’t changed. I mean, it’s evolved over the past almost-three years I’ve blogged here, but there’s been no jumping of the shark. Nothing so radical as to shrink my hits counter by a good third. It’s gotten better, I think. I get better at photography with every shoot. I refine my knowledge of vintage every time I get dressed.

Maybe this kind of thing isn’t up to me. Maybe the internet tells you when your expiration date has arrived, and you roll with the masses or risk total irrelevance.

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I’m not grubbing for views, I swear. I’d sooner gag on a spoon than be so publicly maudlin. But I would like to know if I’m alone in this. Has anyone else ever experienced this kind of drop-off, precipitated by basically nothing? Talk to me. Others’ stories just might alleviate my finger-chewing neuroses.

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magical girl: polka dots, bloody shoes, and a halloween sweater in march

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I’m not even an anime chick, but I totally felt the quirky!magical!girl! thing in this outfit. Which I liked so much I ended up wearing three days last week. Maybe my #magicalpower is perpetually fresh armpits. Either way, I will always love appliqued novelty sweaters. I want one for every holiday, and that includes the summer ones.

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Assorted updates:

  • I’m living for the song “Take Me to Church” by Hozier. I usually do my best not to link videos everyone has seen ad nauseam already, but this one is worth abandoning my principles for.
  • I’ve also been listening to Gaelic Storm’s Chicken Boxer album on consistent repeat for the past eight days.
  • I submitted to two literary contests today. One short story and one poem. This is my dream, the teleology of my entire life, and I don’t want to defer it any longer.
  • I updated my ModelMayhem account. Someone on tumblr made a terrible joke about a girl named Gloria with a cool car (“sick transit, Gloria Mundi”), and now I want to do an old-fashioned rockabilly hot rod shoot just to invoke it.
  • I tried horchata this weekend and now I never want to drink anything else ever again.
  • I made a really bitchin’ fondue.
  • Every time I make one of these lists, a disproportionate number of bullets end up being about food.

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teal polka dots, black button hat, & pink everything else

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I am so very fond of finding the kind of dresses that ModLoaf marks up for dozens of dollars at thrift stores for cheap. (And in better, sturdier fabrics, I might add.) This dress, plucked from the Classy Closet for $14, is almost a parody of the ModCloth aesthetic.

Sometimes it seems like ModCloth and co. are caricaturing the “retro” look. Actual vintage dresses, to that crowd, might not be recognizable as vintage, because they don’t hit all the tropes in one. Most dresses do not have polka dots and Peter Pan collars and froofy skirts (though how wonderful it would be if they did!).

And then I find dresses like this and go “I guess the stereotype had to come from somewhere.”

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the other holy grail

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Sometimes you’re killing time at Old Gold before work and you decide, because you’re an incorrigible masochist, that trying on the fit-and-flare with the Peter Pan collar might be a good idea. It’s just for fun, you keep lecturing yourself, knowing full well that the purse strings are already loosening.

And then you pay up front and walk out wearing the dress, because sometimes good vintage is a matter of imprinting, really. Would you abandon a duckling that decided to make you its mama?

This dress is my Christmas present to myself. (If you follow my Facebook, you’ll notice that I also received a 40-legged stuffed caterpillar as long as I am tall and that it is the light of my life. I am a simple creature, driven by good vintage and weird garish novelties.)

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inner child stirred awake

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For the past few winters, I’ve been grasping at the “effortlessly toasty” aesthetic, rife with peacoats and Christmas choirs and suspiciously absent the slightest hint of a runny nose. You know what I mean. Let’s pretend our hems never drag and our gloves never soak through, even in the tyranny of a Vermont winter. More importantly, let’s not pretend we don’t curate our lives. I’ve been hearing a lot about how presenting only the bits you choose to share is somehow disingenuous, how the needy public is somehow owed the admission of private pains and flaws. A lot of bloggers seem to wonder if they’re “faking” by only displaying their most polished selves, by not sharing unflattering outtakes and two-a.m. pajama-clad selfies. If that’s faking, then I’d rather not be real. Who decided that anyone gets to ask for more than what I’m willing to give you? Keeping part of my life for myself alone preserves my sanity.

You’ll get some pretty pictures today, of course, but that little screed has been on my mind for a good while now. Yes, what I share here is real, but it’s augmented. It has to be – what art is any good 100% raw? I’m honored to have such a platform for my  work, I really am. But at the end of the day, I don’t think any creator can afford not to distinguish between spectators and friends.

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I’m not as unfriendly as I sound, I swear. Really, it just comes down to one more reason why I love clothes so much. I get to display exactly what, and how much of it, I want. I get to speak clearly without opening a vein.

And today I’m speaking “inner child snowed awake”.

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I’m really enjoying feeling like an overly starched storybook schoolgirl. Cliche can be a lot of fun to mine.

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Coat: Josh’s Dress & Sweater: Classy Closet Belt: Downtown Threads Boots: Battery Street Jeans Hat: Old Gold Tights: Gifted

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savage secretary

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I’ve been unbearably prim of late. I can feel my wannabe-Suicide-Girl cred eroding, replaced with pleats and starch. I’ve returned to a phase I first wrote about last April: tightly controlled, highly stylized. More than that, though, I like being utterly badass while I’m doing it. I’ll always be a Suicide Girl on the inside. I can dress like a secretary and still crack a few metaphorical whips.

I envisioned some of these shots in a dementedly chipper kind of way. Like I’m patting my bottle-blonde hair and presenting Bob Barker with the very latest in offensive technology. This might be a fun character to come back to.

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My father teaches Kung Fu. He opened his studio when I was eighteen months old, and I grew up surrounded by deadly weapons. I revisited it last week for these photos. Who says precious isn’t powerful?

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Dress & Sweater: Classy Closet Hat & Necklace: Old Gold Belt: Downtown Threads Tights: Spirit Halloween Shoes: Gifted

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Let me remind everyone that it’s not too late to enter the Eye Bleach Sweepstakes! Send a photo of your creepiest doll to eyebleachsweepstakes@gmail.com for a chance at fame and fortune (i.e. $25 to my Etsy shop).