Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Hair inspiration

Louise Brooks: total babe. I know I kind of just bobbed my hair, but I think it might have to go shorter...

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Serious post is serious

This is one of the best articles I have ever read. 

"Fashion is one of the very few forms of expression in which women have more freedom than men. And I don’t think it’s an accident that it’s typically seen as shallow, trivial, and vain. It is the height of irony that women are valued for our looks, encouraged to make ourselves beautiful and ornamental… and are then derided as shallow and vain for doing so. And it’s a subtle but definite form of sexism to take one of the few forms of expression where women have more freedom, and treat it as a form of expression that’s inherently superficial and trivial. Like it or not, fashion and style are primarily a women’s art form. And I think it gets treated as trivial because women get treated as trivial."

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Hi, stud (redux)

I know I've used this title before, but in a post about studs and spikes, it's far too fantastic not to repeat. You know what else is far too fantastic? STUDS AND SPIKES. Yeah, we saw that one coming. Studded-and-spiked everything is everywhere right now, ranging from sexily prim to punk-reminiscent edgy. And there is NO WAY that something I could describe as "sexily prim" is passing my wardrobe by. Oh hells no. Just look at those SHOES up above. LIKE SERIOUSLY, take in how glorious they are. Unf. So in the spirit of the thing, here's a rundown of a few awesome different studded options, plus three gloriously differently-styled studs-and-spikes outfits. With fanfiction models, because I have way too much fun making up stories about fictional fashion girls.

Accessories are definitely the easiest way to add a bit of spike to your wardrobe, and debatably the cheapest, although once you reach Meadowlark that may not be the case. Nevertheless, as I declared on Facebook while putting together this post, "There is never a time that I go to the Meadowlark website and come away disappointed." 

In this case, Meadowlark have ever so thoughtfully created three ring options - a wee pyramid stud ring, if you want to ease into it; a black gem knuckleduster, for a bit more swag, and a full-on spiked ring, for those times you feel the need to a) reconnect with your teen Goth roots or b) cause some proper damage punching someone. (I'm not sure that I actually would - I don't want to get blood on my pretty things, after all.) They also have this lovely faceted pendant, which isn't quite what I think of when I hear "spikes" but the pointy jagged shapes totally work.

Spiked or studded detachable collars are also excellent for mixing it up a bit - this one is from Etsy, but they abound all over the internet, and you could even DIY one (with or without the shirt attached). I feel like this, layered over a floaty chiffon blouse, would create a fantastic hard-soft contrast. And at the seriously affordable end of the scale (and I don't mean "fashion magazine affordable", I mean "skip buying a coffee for two days") is this adorable Glassons studded hair clip. The hot pink is an excellent pop of girly colour in what can otherwise be quite a dark aesthetic, and at six bucks, it's the perfect "dip your toe in the water" option.

If you're up for more studs than just accessories, I feel like spiked shoes are an excellent way to get the look into your wardrobe without worrying that you're spending too much money on a studded blouse or dress. And because they're down a bit lower than your boss' line of sight, you could potentially get away with wearing a pair of spiked shoes to work (whereas a giant studded collar might be pushing the bounds of "acceptable work wear"). This is certainly what I plan to do with the black-on-black spiked pumps from Mi Piaci. I am totally aware that they are essentially knock-offs of the Louboutin heels I posted above, but a) they are significantly less than $1500 (especially with the discount voucher they thoughtfully mailed to me) and b) I can try them on in-store. So I am pretty okay with this.

The other heels here are the Kate Sylvester patent studded pumps, which are hot-secretary sex in shoe form, and Jeffrey Campbell Lita Spikes. I have a friend who owns the KS pumps and a friend who owns the Litas, and all I will say is that they are really, really lucky we don't have the same shoe size, because if we did, I cannot guarantee their shoes would be safe. And the Glassons stud slippers are both remarkably budget-friendly AND "schlepping around town on days when heels are too much" friendly, which makes them an awesome and quite frankly necessary shoe for my wardrobe. I get swooned by heels all the time, and flats really need more of a look-in. Oh Glassons, is there anything you can't do? (Answer: yes, make clothes using properly enough fabric, but for a cheapie chain store, they do what they do pretty damn well).

And now for the funnest part (seriously, it's the Most Fun):

Sarah's Super Important Event (a cocktail party/design world schmooze) had been red-lettered into her iPhone for months, but what to wear was a big dilemma. She wanted to look sleek and professional, of course, but also a little bit edgy. Her quandary was only exacerbated when she found a pair of Louboutin spiked stilettos, magically in her size and MARKED DOWN FIFTY PERCENT. Finally she came to the conclusion that a little black dress might be the standard, but it was the standard for a damn good reason, and when she found the Kate Sylvester slub-silk dress dress with a studded waistband, she was totally reconciled (bonus: POCKETS for her iPhone). She straightened her hair into an excellently sleek bob, drew on some perfect cats-eye liquid liner and a slick of red lipstick (to match the soles of her shoes, of course), and added her Meadowlark knuckleduster just for a bit more bling.

Mikki had long grown out of her teenage Goth phase, but show her a swatch of tartan and a few spikes, and it did still get her pulse going just a little bit faster. That said, though, this time around there were never going to be any Hot Topic tartan miniskirts, New Rock boots, or laddered stockings, even if she was going out to a grungy dive bar for Saturday-night drinks with a really hot guy. She'd learned some things in ten years, and one of those things was "high heeled boots and tight black jeans". She threw on a Ricochet black leather-trim jacket over her ruffled tartan blouse, added a detachable collar, and when she couldn't decide between her two spiked rings, gave up and wore them both. Pale foundation and black lipstick were definitely out, but smokey black eyeshadow was very firmly in, and all in all she not only took the hot guy home, but got to give fashion tips to the baby bats in the bathroom, so it was an excellent night all round.

Annabelle adored dressing prim-and-proper-secretary, but she also adored leather. Sadly, she thought, never the twain could meet. Until she found this Ricochet leather pencil skirt, that is, and that made everything better. After that, it was a very short step to give into the power of Kate Sylvester's studded merino sweater and patent high-heeled pumps (which really were totally sedate and professional, if you didn't look at the studs up the back...). The three-quarter sleeves of her sweater highlighted her favourite gold feather bracelet fantastically, and adding soft pink-and-grey eyeshadow and a slick of candy-pink lip gloss brought a bit of colour into her otherwise monochrome black. She was really very pleased with the result, especially because the next time she was at the other branch office for a meeting, she reduced the gorgeous lawyer girl she'd had her eye on for the last six months (and who wore the most beautifully tailored androgynous suits) to uncontrollable blushing. It was a most excellent  outcome all round, she thought.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Daily outfit: why yes, those are leather-panel leggings

In the past two months, I have started studying for a Masters of Law. I am also still maintaining an office job. I offer this fact up as an unabashed excuse for my lack of posting, but I had a snippet of time before dashing out the door last week (read: 10 minutes before I had to go catch a bus to class and work and essay-writing and basically brain-drain hell) so I snapped a picture of this outfit. Because really, I rather like it.

Apologies for the somewhat over-exposed shot - I got one semi-great shot and then the sun was like HIIIIIIIII I AM SHINING THROUGH YOUR WINDOW AREN'T YOU HAPPY TO SEE ME and by the time I'd reorganised myself, I had to run. And running in these shoes is precarious at best. Also, though, check out that hair change! The last this blog saw of my hair, it looked like this, with the long and the blonde and the ombre. Admittedly, that was pretty awesome, but my hair grows quickly like a mofo, and I've had long hair (of varying degrees of "long", from collar-bone to down-past-my-hips) for something like ten years now. So a change was in order. This bob is AMAZING and I love it. Eventually I'll probably do something fun with colour too (I'm thinking blonde, specifically so that I can play with peachy-pink temporary colours) but for now I'm just loving hair that blow-dries in ten minutes.

This time last year I was wearing: A choice of two outfits, both with full lolita skirts and pretty blouses. A pretty big change in style, no? (I sold the last of my lolita clothes a couple of months ago - I think I probably even used some of the money to buy the dress I'm wearing above. CHANGE ALL ROUND.)

Details (click picture for larger version): Black twisted/draped wool dress, MM6 by Maison Martin Margiela. Black leather-panel leggings, Glassons. Hot pink patent leather belt, Karen Walker, via Trademe. Black wood-sole shoes, Skin, via Ultra Shoes. Silver octopus necklace, gifted, via Pixel Ink.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Dream weddings without all the lace (well, okay, maybe a little)

So my best friend recently announced her engagement. YAY! I'm exceedingly pleased for her and her partner, and also becoming increasingly involved in wedding planning. As you do when you're the maid of honour and signed up for making the bridesmaids' dresses, of course. What this means, however, is that I start going off on tangents along the line of "in my wedding I'd totally do it this way..." This is all well and good, except for the fact that my wedding is, at this point, an Extreme Hypothetical. Words have been bandied around for my other best friend and I to have a marriage of convenience (it'd allow us to wear pretty dresses and get pretty house-related gifts, what could go wrong?!) but so far, I'm pretty sure my wedding is somewhere off in the mists of the future.

Instead, what I've turned to are a few dream wedding coordinates, aimed to remove some of the Wedding Industrial Complex frouf while keeping things gorgeous in a multitude of ways. You won't see a long satin pick-up skirt or matching dyed shoes, and there's not a veil in the bunch, but all of them are pretty damn awesome. In my humble opinion, of course. :P

Sophie had always been a bit of a free spirit, but when her darling of a partner proposed with a gigantic yellow diamond and a hopeful look in his love-struck eyes, she realised a rather large wedding was in her near future. Accordingly, loins were girded for a big white dress and all the associated palaver. That is, until she popped into Kate Sylvester one day and found a white lace maxi-skirt and matching camisole. "It's white!" she said to him. "And long! And I can wear it again! And why does your family expect such a huge wedding anyway?" After much discussion, they switched the venue booking from Wellington Cathedral to a gorgeous waterfront restaurant, cut the guest list by half, and cancelled the order for frock coats. Sophie wore her hair loose and curly with a pretty floral headband and a raw citrine pendant she'd always loved, but she kept the mirrored glitter high heels she'd bought for the Big Dress Wedding. Some things are worth compromising on, after all.

Katya was the first to admit she was a bit of a girly girl, so the pink diamond ring her girlfriend picked out was just a little bit perfect. That said, even Katya, inveterate wearer of ridiculous shoes, had to admit that high heels in a Rarotonga beach wedding probably weren't the best option. Instead she went barefoot in a floaty pink chiffon dress from Miss Crabb, threw a Deadly Ponies necklace around her neck and tucked a hibiscus blossom behind one ear. After the vows, she put on a pair of Karen Walker sunglasses and went paddling hand-in-hand with her new wife, who'd opted for a white linen shirt-dress and gold jandals.

When Alexandra evaluated her wedding budget, she realised one thing rather quickly: the Christian Louboutin high heels she'd always dreamed of weren't on the cards. Well, if she wanted a dress, that is. Luckily, Alexandra had never been much of a girl for the big white dress fantasy - she picked out a linen Kate Sylvester frock from her closet, borrowed a vintage string of pearls from her mother, and went straight to Louboutin with her dress budget money.  After much window-shopping with her boyfriend, she finally explained that she didn't actually want an engagement ring with rocks in. They caught on things and were just too flashy. The girls in her office looked a bit askance at the Deadly Ponies ring they settled on, but when Alexandra married her boyfriend in a wing of the city art gallery, carrying a bunch of daisies from her best friend's garden, in gold glitter high heels, she couldn't have cared less.

Penelope decided pretty much immediately upon receipt of her Meadowlark rose quartz ring that she was going to make her dress. It took her two months, two hundred dollars in dupion silk, and more than a couple of evenings swearing at the sewing machine, but once it was finally finished, she was pretty damn pleased (if only that it was finally finished...) She pinned her hair up into the biggest bouffant hairspray could create, added a beaded headband, some pearl earring drops and a pair of her chunkiest wood-sole high heels, and carried a bouquet of peonies almost as fluffy as her crinoline petticoat. After the ceremony, Penelope, her husband and their guests partied the night away, dancing to a live band covering sixties pop hits and Lady Gaga in about equal volume.

Rhiannon definitely didn't dream about a big white wedding, so when she unexpectedly had to marry her charming Nordic coworker in order to keep him in the country, she was more than a little taken aback. And even more so when he insisted upon having a proper wedding 'do (to keep up the image for Immigration, of course - having a grand old knees-up shindig was just an excellent side-effect). Luckily, this Kate Sylvester slub-silk dress with a studded waistband was just the ticket. So what if it's black - men get married in black suits all the time, reasoned Rhiannon, and she had flowers in her hair and on her shoes. Well, yes, the shoes were actually Doc Marten boots, but every princess needs a pair of excellently stompy boots. The Byzantine cocktail ring her yes-Immigration-we're-totally-in-love darling presented her with was lovely, but so was the silver cat-face ring she wore on her right hand. And her outfit just wouldn't have been complete without some red roses to match her tattoos, but she had far better things to do with her hands than heft around a bunch of flowers. A boutonnierre pinned to her dress was just right. Thus attired, she had the best civil-union-in-a-courthouse followed by a raging all-night party ever, especially when her new husband tried to get her to model a wedding veil. Which he had worn all night long. :P

Sunday, 12 February 2012

A little bling for your fingers? Yes please!

Now that's some bling and a half, right? A gorgeous chunk of stone, wound with silver wire on a double-finger band, thanks to the wonderful site that is ASOS. Awwwww yeah. Man do I love knuckleduster rings. And chunks of stone. 

This not-so-little beauty won't be finding its way into my jewellery collection any time soon, though, because it's up to be won! Yes, seriously. You could be rocking this out like the badass I'm sure you are. Let's just see another couple of pictures, shall we?

Oh yes. That's a fantastic ring and a half there. Go on, click those pictures and make them bigger, you know you want to.

How could you fossick this away into your own jewellery box? Well, rings are a fantastic way to draw attention to your hands, and there's no better way to add even more bling than through an amazing manicure. Just look at those stunning nails above (painted in OPI Your Royal Shine-ness), thanks to my best friend modelling this hunk-of-lovely. She's like some kind of fantastic cyborg assassin with blades in her fingernails. I am so jealous of those long nails.

So, to be in the draw, I want to hear your ultimate manicure to go with this ring. Would you go for gleaming silver foil, like my friend here? Perhaps a bit of sparkle and glitter? Or maybe a colour to coordinate or contrast with the beautiful purple stone? Leave a comment describing just what you'd do, and the winner will be announced on Wednesday.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Warm and snuggly... it's time for a winter lookbook

So, like, is it wrong that in February, supposedly the middle of summer here in the southern hemisphere, I'm already planning my winter wardrobe? Cos I am. I think in part it's because summer this year has been truly terrible - it's never really gotten above around 25 degrees (Celsius, clearly), and I can count the number of times on both hands that I've actually been able to go out without a pair of leggings, and there've been multiple occasions where I've worn boots. Boots, in the middle of summer. Eff you, seasons.

In OTHER reasons-for-planning-winter-clothes-obsessively, it's because getting a winter wardrobe sorted means jumping on that shizz as soon as it drops instore, so the last couple of weeks have involved watching my favourite couple of stores' websites for their winter collection lookbooks with a HAWK EYE, and going so far as to ask "So, um, this leather pencil skirt, and this jacket, when will they be in please?" and maybe perhaps pencilling that date in my diary so I know when to go in and layby all of the things. Yes, it might be overkill, but come on. LEATHER PENCIL SKIRT. There is no way I'm missing out on that goodness.

So what does my winter wardrobe look like, thus far? Basically empty, but here are just a few amazing things that I'm counting my pennies and plotting for. Oh, you want a rundown of these pieces? Let's see. Everything's clickable to see larger versions, just bee tee doubleyew. So from the top, we have:

Ricochet: Leather pencil skirt (OHMYGOD YOU GUYS, LIKE, SERIOUSLY I WILL WEAR THE SHIT OUT OF THIS). Woolen merino draped dress with a low back, which I can see being excellent for work and for schlepping around (I do love Ricochet for this kind of stuff, I have to say. Nice clothes that I'm not afraid to lounge around in? That's a win in my books). [Possibly suede or shearling] black leather jacket with waterfall front - the salesgirl wasn't sure what it's made of and it's not instore yet, but assuming it's either leather or a very good imitation thereof, it seems like exactly the thing to sate my Rick Owens cravings without actually having to pony up two and a half grand for a RO piece. My lovely flatmate keeps giving me a Look for this (because Rick is sacred or somesuch and nobody should own knockoffs, I don't even know), but when a girl's going back to uni and thus onto part-time hours, what's she going to do? 

Miscellaneous jewellery: Flat silver knuckleduster ring from Meadowlark, which I basically have no real hope of owning, but it's in there nevertheless because maybe I'll win Lotto or something. Black-finish crow skull pendant, via Etsy, which I do own because my best friend is amazing and gets me fantastic Christmas presents. Black quartz Stone and Honey ring, via MFP, which I swear to God I will own at some point in the next two months. I'M WATCHING YOU, RING.

Kate Sylvester: So KS's winter collection is based on the film Secretary. Um. HOT. The best things I've seen thus far are these black merino studded 3/4 sleeve sweater and long-sleeved cardigan (cardigan shown in white because the photo detail was better). I need some new knitwear, including a plain-ish and warm cardigan, and these are so perfect. Plain but with spike studs around the collar? Um, yes please. In the middle is a sheer ink chiffon dress with a black buckled collar, which I would not wear straight over my undies, but which in person has a fantastic balance between edgy and demure. Below is a sheer chiffon blouse with black detailing, which I've included more for the outfit (leather pencil skirt in KS too, clearly I'm onto a good thing here) than for the blouse itself. I have two different kinds of sheer print fabric waiting to be turned into secretary blouses. One of them is ink-blue with an orange, pink and coral-red abstract planet print. AMAZE.

Miscellaneous pieces: I just received in the mail today this M6 for Maison Margiela knotted black wool dress, which is not my usual thing but is really rather fantastic in its drape/structure. And let's be honest, no lookbook of mine would ever be complete without a Deadly Ponies bag - black nubuck Mr Bone Mailman. I don't know whether I'll ever own it, but I wistfully hope that I do.

Scarves and boots: Because no winter collection would be complete without a variety of boots and layering neck-warmy bits. From the left, we have Ann Demeulemeester black riding boots, which oh golly swoon are beautiful but also like fifteen hundred dollars, so clearly I threw them in here based more on wishing than logic or sense. But they are SO BEAUTIFUL. Next are the black platform ankle boots with wooden heel, from Ultra Shoes. SUPRRISE. Remember the Ultra Shoes coordinate competition I posted about way back when? Yeah, I won. BOOYAH. So now I own these sexy beasts, and oh boy are they fun to wear. Five inches of beautiful black leather bootie lets me stand 5'10" and stalk around my office in the best of ways. Third in the boots-I-must-have lineup are the actual boots I'm planning on acquiring this winter, the Frye Veronica engineer boot in black leather/suede. Frye don't ship to NZ, is the only bastard thing, but nevertheless, I'm sure I'll be able to wangle it somehow with the power of the internet.

Scarf-wise, I love the idea of cowls this winter (because in the wind, long scarves that unwind at the faintest gust are a bastard and a half) and both of these (from KraeO on Etsy) are fantastic. The grey knitted chain cowl looks excellent for properly cold days, while the hand-dyed cotton cowl looks like it'll become the thing I live in through autumn.

*tear* It's SO BEAUTIFUL. God I love winter. Not so much for the cold and the wet, cos honestly I can kind of leave that (I'd be perfectly satisfied with cold, and if Wellington did cold dry snowy winters I would be a lot more pleased, but we can't have everything). No, what I love about winter is its layering options. And its boots. God do I love boots. I kind of maybe love them a little too much, because I have five pairs of boots currently in my stack-o-shoes, and am eyeing up two more for this winter. Heels might be fantastic, but a girl can never have too many pairs of boots.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Look, it's an ombre dress! And a semi-ombre (okay, colour-blocked, but whatevs) sweater! And ... is that some ombre hair?

Yes. Yes it is. As of last Friday, I've got motherfucking blonde, y'all. I <3 it something fierce. You can't tell properly from this angle, but there are deeper coppers all through my fringe and top section, and almost-white blonde streaks coming through underneath in the tips. My hairdresser (Tracey at Shape Hair Design) did a fantastic job, I am super-pleased. And also considering that next summer might be a proper truly blonde time. I know, right. I reckon I could do blonde for a bit.

Details (click picture for larger version): Pink haze ombre dress, Ricochet. Two-tone coral knit, Cotton On. Black leggings, Glassons. Pink patent wedges, Number 1 Shoe Warehouse. Citrine pendant, Etsy.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Double daily outfit - some monochrome for December

I'm back! Actually, I basically never left, but not owning my own camera kind of put a spanner in the works when my flatmate took hers away over Christmas. SO thoughtless of her, right? I know, I know, it's like she owns it or something. I should really buy my own. Especially as she's moving out in a few weeks. Gulp. Anyway, have a couple of last month's outfits. I have a special secret to tell y'all soon, but it's going to have to wait just a couple more days. :D In the meantime, Happy Christmas/New Years/non-denominational holiday of choice. I ate many things, and have greatly enjoyed my time off thus far.

Outfit the first... is a "casual day at work followed by going to a rock gig (and oh hey, btw, it's raining all day so those massive heels you wanted to wear? yeah, no way)" coordination. It's a very technical descriptor. Anyway, despite the rain, I loved the gig, and was ultimately pleased I'd gone for flat boots, because despite them, by the time I got home around midnight my back had utterly seized up on me from standing so long in a crowd. I suspect that heels might actually have crippled me. This dress is one that I bought when I went out shopping one day with the intent of buying jeans. I still don't own any jeans, but I fucking love this dress, so I think everything worked out okay.

Details (click picture for larger version): Cream/black silk chiffon dress with lace panel detail, Salasai, via Service Depot. Black cotton leggings, Glassons. Black suede ankle boots, Ann Demeulemeester.

Outfit the second, and I think this was a work outfit (I connived at getting my boss to let us all wear casual-dress for December, and it was a Good Idea). Monochrome black and grey is still summery if I wear nude espadrilles, right? What I am also wearing is my Christmas presents from my two best friends: a cast crow's-skull pendant in an amazing blackened silver, and a skull-and-bones bracelet. I would like to lay it out there that this fashion direction was slightly unpredictable as of a year ago. Blaaaaaaack. Blaaaaaaaaaaack with a bracelet made of the thumbs of my enemies. It's kind of awesome, I have to admit. Also, check out the slow progress of tattoo ink down my arm. Original plan was for both half-sleeves, I may now be eyeing up my forearms speculatively.

Details (click picture for larger version): black shirt-dress, Company of Strangers, via Service Depot. Black cotton leggings, Glassons. Grey draped merino cardigan, Glassons. Nude faux-patent espadrille wedges, Number 1 Shoe Warehouse. Blackened-silver crow-skull pendant, gifted, via Etsy. Bone bracelet, gifted, via Service Depot.