I love, love, love square-dancing dresses. I’m not sure exactly how this particular style came to be called so, but I love the immediate association with soft twangs and towering hair. Frills and poufs forever, especially on the first day of spring.
A very eager girl approached me as I was shooting and asked to help. She didn’t seem likely to steal my camera, so I handed it over and she took the above shot. Pretty nice! Strangers’ reactions to my photo shoots have always been positive. I hear horror stories about deliberate sabotage and snickering behind backs, but that’s never been the case for me. Lots of staring, sure. But I’m kind of asking for that.
Lest you forgot that I live in Ver-fucking-Mont, it’s been really cold. I’m writing this in bed swaddled in six blankets and a lover, and my feet still can’t get warm. The low tonight is 5, with wind chills of -4. So you’ll forgive my recent dearth of outfit pictures, I’m sure.
I am, however, still participating in Dressember and still fundraising for the International Union of Sex Workers. And I’ve been photographing my daily dresses, with plans for weekly round-ups (rounds-up?). Hoping to share actual outfit shoots as soon as I can. I could also post the million photos I’ve taken of my Christmas decorations, but I feel that sort of thing oversaturates the blogosphere. I really have no interest in matchy-matchy Pinterest culture, and as much as it seems ingrained in fashion blogging, I want to resist its pull for as long as I can.
Feeling like a living doll (with Twiggy eyes) on Tuesday…
Forest nymph on Wednesday…
Belatedly autumnal on Thursday…
Librarian as fuck on Friday…
& playing the ’40s hostess on Saturday.
…wherein I complete my transformation into a living, breathing, creeping doll. That might be the best way to articulate my style, I think: I dress like a doll. Sometimes played straight for maximum cuteness, other times subverted and turned just a little unsettling. Dolls will fuck you up, especially vaguely Ozian ones. I really enjoy presenting garish, almost juvenile femininity only to follow it up with an ass-kicking.
I’ve been reading a bit on the pervasiveness of “twee” fashion – ModCloth, saddle shoes, pigeon-toed posing. It’s often dismissed as “grown women dressing like little girls”, but I think there’s more to it than that. As one of those grown women you might consider “dressed like a little girl”, I can pretty safely say I am not sheltered or repressed. For me, the appeal (other than, y’know, straight-up liking the aesthetic) is in realizing that presentation and identity need not align 100%. Hyperfeminity doesn’t have to signal weakness. I’m a wolf in sheep’s clothing and proud of it. It’s great fun to dress in a way that implies a certain personality and then dash those implications to bits, and I suspect a lot of other “twee” women find it so as well.
I don’t think it’s a regression. I think it’s many people simultaneously realizing that identity is way more mix-and-match than they’d ever thought. Traits don’t follow in a straight line; people are way more nuanced than that. I see a similar process in punk and goth styles seeping into the mainstream. It’s finally sinking in that the way you dress says jack shit about your character, so people feel freer to adopt styles with implications they’d otherwise consider scary.
I spend way too much time thinking about clothes.
…but it’s not all I’m thinking about! I’m working on three concurrent short stories at the moment. Still undecided whether to pitch them individually or save them until I have enough for my own collection. I would, however, like to start publishing more of them on this blog. I’d design thematic outfits and make the story a total-immersion experience. Would anyone be interested in that?
So I’m basically eating, sleeping, and breathing Nightmare Vermont. And I mean literally breathing: our venue this year is an old horse barn, and after a few hours’ mucking I was coughing up black gunk. Last night I finished building a fifteen-pound suit out of mangy old stuffed animals. Yes, I realize how very “tiny violin” it is to complain about a volunteer job that I actually love with all my shriveled heart. That’s not going to stop me.
Fortunately, I’ve backlogged several outfits to tide y’all over during hell week(s). That might be cheating, but you seriously don’t want to see what I’m actually wearing today. Men’s bike leggings with way too much crotch space and an itchy sweater I found while digging through the costumes in our storage unit. Yep. Scaling the heights of fashion right here.
In the name of having something – anything – interesting to say today, I present the story of an autopiloted day far worse than mine.
I’m interested less and less in straight-up no-frills outfit posts, preferring now to shoot (my approximation of) fashion editorials. My first love is and always will be telling stories. I was reading and writing by my fourth birthday, too unbearably itchy not to share myself. According to my mother, surges of imagination would put me in a near-trance. Even now, I just plain want to make stuff. Words, art, love, theatrics, war. And I feel like outfits posts are more…regurgitating than making. Now, I can deface a gorgeous dress with drool just like the rest of you, but the bloggers I really look forward to reading are the ones who make their entire world a canvas. The clothes are but one part. In my head, I’m a proud absinthe-swilling louche, my world a goddess-appointed flapper den. I want everything I produce to fall in line with my highly stylized universe. What’s the fun of clothes, really, if you aren’t constantly making them your own?
“When a woman says, ‘I have nothing to wear!’, what she really means is, ‘There’s nothing here for who I’m supposed to be today.”
We’re going through what I sincerely hope will amount to a January thaw. In other words, the temperatures have climbed timidly to almost-freezing. These photos are a paean to the spring that (now Christmas is over) can’t arrive fast enough.
Dress: Goodwill Bracelet & Shoes: Old Gold Necklaces: Accumulated Tights: Gifted
I’m pulling a leaf from Kaelah’s toothy little book and compling a “best of” post. 2013 wasn’t only my first full year of blogging. It’s the year my outfits and photography actually took on some semblance of a recognizable style. A far cry from 2012’s “throw some fabric at my body and hope it sticks”. I’m still a born-and-bred eccentric, but now I’ve got a bit more nuance.
This was also the year I started actually applying basic design principles to my shoots. The old stand ‘n’ pose can be fun, but I want to make art on lots of levels, not just the fashionable. I look now at my old webcam shots and want to burn every last one. I keep them on the blog because some of the outfits are passable, and also because it’s a nice reminder of improvement.
Here you’ll find my top 12 posts of 2013. Check back tomorrow or the next day for some 2014 inspiration porn. I’m also planning to list a few new Etsy items over the next couple of days.
waterhouse heroine & windy witch
little red & splatter (plus a link to the bloody-shoes tutorial I did for Floral Prints + Common Sense!)
strange doll & noontime ghost
prairie luxe & baroness samedi’s in town
grandma chic: dapper flapper edition & i was never here
more mooring & keep matches away from me (plus links to Brent Gould Photography and Owlhurst Loft Vintage)
What else would you expect from me, really?
My parents’ house is full of Greek pastries and wine. I’ve had the Celtic Woman Christmas album on obnoxious loop for the past several days. Tonight I’m going to church with my mother, which I’ve been looking forward to for weeks. I try to maintain a certain religiosity about the holidays, even though I don’t follow any particular denomination. The men are less enthused. They can stay home and compete for my honor over a game of Jeopardy!.
My inner crackhead society dame emerges today. That’s the style I keep coming back to. It permeates most everything I wear and design. Queered elegance.
I find myself becoming more and more religious. I’m increasingly able to feel comfortable in any service, regardless of whether the specific dogma appeals to me. Because it’s not about rules. It’s not about voting Republican and holding onto your virginity. It’s the search for transcendence, which can come in any damn form you choose to find it.
I’ve been reading Pastrix, by Lutheran minister Nadia Bolz-Weber. I want to marry this woman – and guess what, I can, because her church, House for All Sinners and Saints, not only performs queer marriages, it welcomes drag queens and refers to the pagan Goddess as “God’s aunt”. Her message is clear: you can choose to find God (or his aunt) just as you are, without conforming to any ideals. Because his acceptance is that radical. Because you can truly find transcendence in anything.
In more prosaic news, I really need a haircut.
Dress: Savers Turban, Necklace, & Bracelet: Old Gold Belt: Downtown Threads Pin: Battery Street Jeans Tights & Shoes: Gifted Cat: Pixel
Don’t worry. This is what our relationship is like.