flappers don’t smile

flapper I

…except when we do, because we gotta keep y’all guessing somehow.

In yet another amateur-photographer cliche, I’ve tried my hand at the ubiquitous train-track pics. There’s a right way to do those, but I’m not entirely sure this batch of photos falls under that umbrella. They weren’t quite as evocative as I wanted, but I figured I’d post them for the outfit porn and get critique on my photography technique later.

flapper III

Sometimes in photos my hair falls into an A-line bob. I’m debating getting it cut like that once and for all.

flapper V

flapper IV

flapper VI

I can take or leave monochromatic (and I usually leave it), but I’ve got a lasting love affair with sharp, succinct duochrome. I’m always looking for clothes that seem likely to stand out on a stage, to broadcast their symbology loud and clear across a packed house, and concise duochrome, with maybe a pop of a third or fourth color here and there, is one of the best ways I know of doing that.

flapper VIII

My style is perpetually indecisive about whether it wants to pledge loyalty to flappers or to the New Look. I go back and forth every damn day – sometimes in the same outfit, as you can see. Tim Gunn writes in his Fashion Bible (one of my favorite fashion books ever, by the way) that dresses can be divided roughly into “Cleopatra” (fitted) and “Helen” (draped) styles. Most women apparently prefer one or the other. If that’s true, then I’m fucked right and proper. As personal styles go, mine isn’t terribly defined. I don’t consistently favor certain silhouettes or even fabrics. I like interesting clothes, plain and simple. I’m more invested in exploring the fashion world in all its schizophrenic glory than in hewing to one particular style.

flapper X

flapper IX

flapper XII

flapper XIII

flapper XIV

Dress, Belt, & Blazer: Goodwill Bracelet: Old Gold Necklace: Battery Street Jeans Hat, Shoes, & Tights: Gifted

flapper XI

keep matches away from me

owlhurst june III

I’ve got roughly a canister of spray in my hair, which is a helluva lot for hair only six inches long. It’s too much to do every day – holy bovine is it crunchy – but it was perfect for today’s 60s-style shoot with Owlhurst Loft Vintage. I’d really been looking forward to shooting with them again since our work in February, and today I finally got my chance. Everything I’m modeling in the following shots is for sale on Owlhurst’s Etsy page, and more information is available on Facebook.

All rights reserved by the lovely Erin Stancliffe. Many more shots to come over the next few days!

owlhurst june I

I’m not exaggerating when I call this the softest dress I have ever worn. Pure silk. It was fairly hot today, but the material, even with the long sleeves, aerated me nicely.

owlhurst june II

owlhurst june V

So. Over. Everything.

owlhurst june VII

owlhurst june VI

Something about the character of my face, my eyes most specifically, really reminds me of a Dr. Seuss character at certain angles. That quality is very visible in the above shot, I think.

owlhurst june VIII

owlhurst june X

owlhurst june XI

Josh drove me to the shoot, came in to say hello, and ended up not only staying and helping me accessorize but also modeling a few things himself. He was one hell of a natural (though I refused to let him upstage me – what kind of diva would I be?). The shots we did together are worth a post unto themselves, but I thought I’d tantalize y’all with a preview.

owlhurst june XXIII

owlhurst june XXXVI

Best part about that last shot? Those are our own clothes. We’re a fashionable pair.

this is what casual looks like

pink and red V

I really, really don’t need any more black floral dresses. There was really no reason other than sheer materialism for me to snag this one at Goodwill a few days ago. Well, sheer materialism, a $4.99 price tag, and a sexy-as-all-get-out neckline.

Black floral dress + belt + colorful hat = my approximation of a no-frills outfit. It’s a comfortable, reliable formula, ready to be thrown on whenever I oversleep or have cramps or just plain lack another fuck to give. It’s a weird world where my casual equals most people’s formal, though. I’m frequently asked what I’m all dressed up for when I feel at my most basic. I mean, I’m not even wearing any sequins or plastic bangles. I might as well be hiking the Appalachian trail.

Nothing about me will ever be subtle. I’m just fine with that. One of the many, many things I love about fashion, my particular garish brand of fashion in particular, is that it keeps me a little unapproachable. Despite what my whimsical appearance might suggest, I am one hell of an introvert. I don’t like to talk unless I have something to say; idle chatter wears me out. My appearance makes people wary. It keeps them observing me from a distance, exactly the way I like it. Everybody wins.

pink and red IV

This neckline begs for a necklace, but for once in my life I was content to go without one. I loved the few simple pops of color too much to disrupt their effect.

pink and red II

pink and red I

Pre-shoot bathroom selfie. I love how my hair looks.

pink and red III

I wish this dress had a few more buttons. To the art room!

These tights are much paler in person. They actually accent the dress’s pink flowers very well.

pink and red VI

pink and red VII

pink and red IX

pink and red XI

pink and red X

pink and red XII

pink and red XIII

pink and red XV

pink and red XVI

pink and red XIV

Dress & Belt: Goodwill Tights: Handed down from Marissa Hat, Shoes, & Bracelet: Gifted

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?

bucolic born and bred

I have lived in big bad Burlington for two years now, but I doubt I’ll ever really get used to streetlights’ glare and trucks growling by. I grew up on a dead-end dirt road in a town barely deserving to be called such, and I routinely find myself impressed by such mundanities as wireless internet and indoor plumbing. Sometimes I need the country air.

floral boho I

This porch, like most of the rest of the house, was built by my dad. It looks out onto ten acres of woods.

floral boho III

This dress is so luxuriously soft and airy that to pair it with shoes would disgrace the effect. I could sleep in it quite comfortably. That said, I’m on the fence about whether to take it in a little. I feel gorgeously ethereal in it, but I’m not sure I like how much the waistline pleats just below the belt. I don’t want to compromise the drape of the shoulders, though, which I like quite a bit. I’ll tinker with some safety pins later.

I feel romantic in the best way. I want to frolic across a dusky meadow and into Josh’s gauntlet-clad arms.

floral boho II

I love how pink my hair looks in this light!

floral boho IV

floral boho V

floral boho IX

floral boho VIII

floral boho XI

floral boho X

floral boho VI

Dress: Battery Street Jeans Belt: Old Gold Hat: The Classy Closet Necklace: Gifted

Speaking of home, I thought I’d share a few shots of my bedroom. I lived in that room full-time until college, and even though it’s been downgraded to part-time for the last two years, it’s still the place I sleep the very best.

room I

It’s hectic and fluorescent and cheerfully morbid. It’s my haunted walk-in closet.

In the corner of the frame is my friend Lisle, trying to get internet on his iPod.

room II

I don’t have a bed. I have a nest.

room III

room IV

Maleficent is my favorite fictional character of all time.

room V

room VI

room VII

The view from my window. I’m not even joking.

room VIII


Josh got a sword cane this past weekend. He then dressed himself to the tens and begged me to take pictures of him. I happily complied – hello, LOOK at the man. Unf. (Mine.)

Also, he brought the sword cane to bed with us. I don’t know how to feel about that.

sword cane IV-2

meth and moonshine

I nurse a great fondness for psychobilly and gothabilly. Combining spooky Americana with retro silhouettes and histrionic brights is how I feel most myself. (Y’all knew that already, though. Skulls and shirtwaists forever!)

Today I’m taking a cue from o’death, my favorite psychobilly band. Quoth Pitchfork:

It’s like rural Appalachia, were hillbillies to exchange moonshine for meth.

This is what I would wear if I ever (knock on wood) saw them in concert.

fairy punk IV

A couple of months ago I waxed lyrical about how much I love artifice and hyperdeliberation. And I still do – I probably always will – but lately I like my constructs slightly unhinged. There’s a richness in the product of just playing and seeing what happens. Maybe it comes from school being over and me spending more time at my parents’ house in supremely rural Nowhere. I love the idea of my overdressed self against the background of dusty trees and sky too blue for words.

To put it less pretentiously: I enjoy feeling like the wild, witchy mountain girl I sometimes forget I am. Someone who dyes her hair pink and worships trees and apologizes for neither. Rooted simultaneously in the material and the spiritual. Theatrical but grounded. That’s the essence of my kind of gothabilly.

fairy punk III

fairy punk V

fairy punk I

fairy punk II

Too cool for shoes.

fairy punk VI

fairy punk IX

fairy punk VIII

fairy punk XI

fairy punk X

I’ve had this dress since I was fifteen. It’s the shorter, pinker counterpart of my beloved fairy dress. Until today, I’d worn it only once: to Winter Ball my junior year of high school. It was long overdue for a comeback.

Dress, Prayer Beads, & Skull Necklace: Gifted Pink Necklace: Old Gold Floral Vest: Downtown Threads Hat & Tan Vest: Battery Street Jeans

the creeper and her crawlies

It’s ninety-one degrees, and I’m lying in bed eating gummy bears and reading young-adult novels about witches the way good Osiris intended. Way too hot to put on anything but a bikini, so I’m bringing you another inspirations post. I haven’t done one in a while, and it’s always interesting to see how concrete my tastes are when I see all my favorite things at once. For example, I didn’t realize I was so into colorful brogues until I noticed that I’d bookmarked a good nine or ten posts featuring them.

bird of paradise lidia II


black lace lidia II


blue maxi lidia   maxi skirt lidia II


bug blouse dainty squid

About those crawlies… Source

cat shoes dainty squid

Dem brogues. I’m trying to track down a pair. Source

caterpillar pin dainty squid

I’m mad about this coat. Positively luscious color and cut. See more of it here. Also, caterpillars are my favorite animals.

denim shirt advanced style

Can’t wait to become an Advanced Style lady one day. Source

eye dress scathingly brilliant

Y’all know how I feel about eyeballs. This ain’t new. Source

eye ring dainty squid


eyeball collar dainty squid


floral necklace advanced style


floral shoes dainty squid


fuck you shoes tits and sass

These aren’t from a fashion blog; I spotted them on Tits and Sass, a wonderfully edifying blog about sex work and sex workers’ rights. They also remind me of my second-favorite fictional witch, Elphaba Thropp herself. (Maleficent will always come in at #1.)

galaxy skirt midwest muse


great shoes advanced style


egreat shoes dainty squid

Seriously, where does she find so many?! Source

green the sartorialist


handmade shoes dainty squid


orange puff bag advanced style

Inside me lives a garish harridan with lipstick angling past her lipline. My body’s about sixty years too young. Source

pink shoes II dainty squid

Seriously?! Source

silver bangles advanced style


snake ring dainty squid


striped dress dainty squid


striped dress midwest muse


titanic dress vixen vintage


watermelon necklace advanced style


pink dress karla's closet


map dress cherry blossom girl


creepy-doll dress mess in my closet

I’ll just leave this here. (NSFW).


Y’all sat through this, so here’s a little bonus: my new pumpkin friend!

pumpkin friend II

Oh, and as of last night, my hair is pink again. God, I’ve missed magenta so.

scathingly something-or-other

This past March, you may recall, I did a series of posts emulating some of my favorite bloggers’ styles:

I had a lot of fun with that theme. I even got some feedback from the bloggers in question! Creativity, I’ve always found, is enhanced by boundaries and deadlines. Working within strict parameters jogs the mind.

Today I’m resurrecting my emulation streak. This outfit is inspired by Kate of Scathingly Brilliant.

princess II

I am not wearing a bra today. I was advised by my tattooist not to do so until my new jack-o’-lantern tattoo, located under my right arm, is fully healed. So I’ve been doing the ganja-gobbling earth-mama thing for the past few days. I thought I might feel all subversive-sexy, but instead my breasts just really, really hurt. Damn you D-cups.

This dress, though. I first tried it on at Old Gold a few months ago and thought instantly of Scathingly Brilliant. (The pin, I think, intensifies the effect.) I passed it up because living expenses, but then last weekend it was marked down to $5. Yeah, that’s right. $5 at Old Gold. It’s only a matter of time before I start pitching a tent in the doorway the night before sales.

princess III

I’m probably going to modify this bodice. I’d prefer it slightly more fitted, with no sleeves and some nice thick straps.

princess IV

Belt on belt.

princess VII

princess VIII

princess V

princess IX

My right breast is the singularity. Try not to look too hard.

princess VI

princess I

Dress & Belts: Old Gold Tights: Sox Market Necklace & Shoes: Gifted Pin: Old

More Etsy listings to come soon! Follow me on Facebook at Dressed in the Dark Vintage.

i refuse to make an eyeball pun

I’d wanted this dress since I was, oh, seventeen: I’d drooled over it at Old Gold since my freshman year of college. Two days ago, May 24th, was my birthday. When my mom placed the package from Dolls Kill Boutique in my lap, I just about knocked over the cake in my frenzy. I have now been wearing this dress for three straight days, and I seem unlikely ever to remove it. Details at 11.

eyeballs VII

eyeballs II

eyeballs III

eyeballs VIII

It fits me perfectly in every possible dimension. I can’t wait to wear it absolutely everywhere this summer.

eyeballs IV

eyeballs V

What to pair it with but the spiderweb jacket?

eyeballs X

eyeballs I

Dress: Gifted; Hell Bunny via Dolls Kill Jacket & Necklace: Battery Street Jeans Belt: Old Gold Cardigan: Yard sale (for free!) Hat, Shoes, & Tights: Gifted


Obligatory plug for my new Etsy store, Dressed in the Dark Vintage. Like my Facebook page to see updates! As of yesterday, I’ve got oodles of new stuff to list. Vintage collecting and curating has been my main project lately. I’m also:

  • playing in a LARP on Monday evenings. I’m part of the changeling group, and I play a Vodou priestess named Cecile who was captured by Loa.
  • attending a monthly “costumed sushi” event with said LARP group. I don’t like sushi, but I love any opportunity to dress to the tens. Elevens, even.
  • preparing to go teach theater at a middle-schoolers’ summer camp for a week in June!
  • trying to tour all the graveyards in the greater Burlington area. Boyfriend and I visited Ethan Allen’s grave a few weeks ago. It’s less than a mile from his house.
  • racking up tattoos! I – dun dun dunnn – just got my second one a few hours ago. I’m lying here on my boyfriend’s couch trying to pretend my right side isn’t ablaze with irritated pinpricks. It’s a jack-o’-lantern. Pics very soon! For my next two, I want a bloody eyeball and the word “incantatrix” (Latin for “sorceress”).
  • lounging, boozing, rioting, and wishing desperately to be a flapper. I’ve already got the haircut.

the kishi school of psychedelia

Remember her? I think I read almost every Baby-Sitters Club book (quite a feat: there are almost 200) between the ages of 7 and 11. Looking back on them as a pretty-much-grown-up is hilarious: SO MUCH is wrong with the way these books portray, oh, everything, but I appreciate them for the rite of passage they represent to me and basically every female between 15 and 35.

Claudia was my favorite. Despite what the rest of the club said, she was waaaay more individualistic than that bitch Dawn. And her outfits put the q in psychedelic. I see no shame in admitting that she is one of my main fashion inspirations.

(Side note: if you read even a few of these books as a kid, drop everything and go check out the BSC snark community on LiveJournal. That site is my freakin’ HOMEPAGE.)

busy orange VI

For as long as I can remember, my parents have had a finger-shaped hook on the wall adjacent the wood stove. Sometimes you can see it.

busy orange VII

This outfit almost has too many colors. Almost. I think it works because both the the blouse and the dress have a base of white, which grounds the outfit.

busy orange I

busy orange II

I love the way this blouse accents my waist.

busy orange III

Boyfriend and I got fraternal-twin bowler hats at Old Gold’s $10 sale this weekend. His is tan. We are That Couple.

busy orange IV

These shoes remind me of snakes’ faces.

busy orange VIII

busy orange V

busy orange IX

Blazer, Blouse,& Shoes: Goodwill Dress: Plato’s Closet Hat: Old Gold Necklace: Battery Street Jeans Tights: Sox Market

This is probably my favorite song of late.