anotheranon: (busy)
I've not posted in almost a month, so here's the quick and dirty version of what's been up:

  • Health: The "bunion" turned out to be just bursitis, and now I have custom orthotics to keep it from getting worse.

    Fun tip: stick-on velcro in the sole works well for holding orthotics in place.

  • Media: have been sucked into Sleepy Hollow (makes free and loose with the history, but the characters have good chemistry) and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (a couple of strong episodes but still finding it's feet).

    Saw Thor 2; thought the world/main characters were better than in the first one plus more Loki and Darcy = yay. Saw Ender's Game; I enjoyed it but never read the book so I didn't have nostalgia/expectations going in (yes, I know. I rationalize because D. loved the book as a kid before we all knew what a 'phobe Orson Scott Card is).

    Watched "Goonies" and "Beetlejuice" for the first times since…high school? [ profile] jlsjlsjls: Beetlejuice may have showcased the first documented pair of swants (scroll down), and Delia's other costumes definitely pioneered Japanese designers.

  • Sewing: bwahaha! Writing has eaten my sewing time.

  • Writing: still consumes me though I did not do NaNoWriMo; had good writing days both alone and with [ profile] dustdaughter.

    Teaching myself Scrivener because I'm rapidly losing track of multiple Word files.

  • Reading: mostly crunchy academic tomes for the book sprinkled with occasional fiction so my brain doesn't explode. See: Hollow City, Ooomph: A Little Super Goes a Long Way, Halo Effect.

  • Thanksgiving: we spent with [ profile] kiya and [ profile] lady_masque and friends with tons of food.

    Played Arkham Horror for the first time and am staggered at the complexity of the game play.

    Turned everyone on to Alton Brown's cocoa brownies (which I've linked to before but are so good it's worth doing again).

  • Cats: routine vaccination updates turned into clearing up an aggressive ear infection for Spice; she is deaf now, though we don't know whether this is because of infection or treatment :( Due to the stress of repeated vet visits she didn't eat for a week and we're now plying her with tuna and canned food to bulk her back up.

  • Fencing: competed a couple of weeks ago and am proud I was only defeated 10-6 by a scary B rated vet in my final direct elimination.

    Arrogantly(?) think I stand a chance of getting my D this season if I can keep my head on straight.

  • Holiday: only thing planned so far is D.'s office party which is 1) 1920s themed and 2) in CA. So costume and slightly warmer weather = win.

  • Whisky: hoo boy yeah!

I'm very slowly catching up with y'all. I probably won't comment much but know I AM reading.
anotheranon: (exercisegonebad)
This week 2 things started going bad: my car and my feet.

Car: Part of this has likely been my fault; I went twice over the recommended mileage between oil changes so when I went in they had to do a lot in addition to the oil change: rotate tires, change air filter, replace rear light bulb, etc. all of which went well.

Things started going south when they unwittingly rolled down my "trick" driver's side window - beyond a certain point it always sticks and the only way to roll it back up is to take the inside door panels off and do it manually. Which they dutifully did, but it required a lot of time on both mine and the mechanic's parts.

This morning I wake up to find that something has shorted out the trunk latch as well. It won't stay closed, which means that even if the battery stays charged (increasingly unlikely) I'll likely get pulled over if I drive it.

I'm going to try and take it into the mechanic this week and get it fixed but I'm not too concerned about a long term fix because all of this is a strong indicator that it's time to get a new(er) car. Not how I wanted to spend the next couple of weeks, but this is a long time coming and can't wait anymore.

I'm looking at a hybrid because I like the ethics of extreme fuel efficiency, but much as I like D.'s Prius I don't like the lack of rear visibility when switching lanes so I'm not sure what I'm going to end up with.

On the up side: NEW CAR!

My feet: I do believe I'm developing a bunion on my right foot! I'm no expert but I'm definitely getting a tender bump and my big toe is developing an obvious inward angle. Neither side of my family has a history of bunions and I don't wear heels often so I can only suspect that this is another artifact of fencing. It doesn't hurt too much or look bad...yet. I've booked an appointment with a podiatrist to fix this before either happens: not only do I not want another painful circus like I had a few years ago with plantaar fasciitis, I am too young and too vain to have bony "old lady" feet yet :P (And I love my occasional heel, gorramit!).
anotheranon: (cool)
In my latest round of doing instead of just wishing, I made a day trip to NYC yesterday for the Chaos to Couture exhibit.

Logistics: it is possible to do a day trip from here to NYC if one is willing to get up early enough. D. and I rose at 4:30, had an early breakfast at 6, caught our bus at 7:30. The 5:45 bus back landed us home at 10 pm without feeling rushed, and any lost sleep can be made up in transit.

The exhibit itself: I liked it, despite my earlier venting that couture "punk" is at drastic odds with what real punks wore, I recognize that the Met is an art, not a history, museum, and therefore their focus is going to be on fine art (designer) pieces.

And they did not disappoint. There was a LOT of 70s-early 80s Westwood (of course. And isn't it funny that what has come down to us as the quintessential punk look/band was largely contrived?) displayed alongside garments from more recent collections that were clearly paying homage - sometimes so exactly it was hard to tell a difference.

It's very telling how pervasive the 70s Westwood aesthetic is now that it doesn't read as shocking to modern eyes - skinny jeans, Doc Martens and ripped t shirts are standard teen/rocker wear now. It's as though punk was as extreme as subcultural style could get, and what came after has been variants.

But man, I liked some of those variants VERY much. As ever, the Japanese designers do the wildest things, largely with deconstruction: skirts with sleeves hanging off, a suit jacket wrapped around like a stole/draped off the back like a train. The latter was my favorite, it was one of the pieces from Undercover's fall 2006 collection, a Japanese label by way of Paris, and the (de)construction of menswear intrigues me endlessly.

After a nice messy lunch of New York style pizza D. pulled his ankle but we still had time to kill, so he sat in the shade and took in the sights while I went to one of the last days of Stephen Burrows: When Fashion Danced for another side of 70s fashion. Again, his flowing jersey/polyester silhouettes don't seem all that challenging now but clothing that was comfortable and moved with the body was cherished in the club/disco scene. A much smaller exhibit, but put a lot of slinky club gear into context: in a hot sweaty club with strobe lights you want something that moves with the body and reflects the light, and what reads as cheesy in the light of day often isn't at night (like I shouldn't know better).
anotheranon: (quizzical)
Some noteworthy things crossed my screen this morning:

Best dressed of the 2013 Met Costume Institute Gala: which COULD have been interesting as the exhibit is Punk: Chaos to Couture but looking through the images, it seems like only Madonna got the memo. Michael Musto nails it.

For the record, I do plan to go up for the exhibit and I have no illusions about high fashion stealing ideas from the street - it always has and always will. I do find it disappointing that while it appears the exhibit will delve into the roots and philosophy of original punk (anti)fashion, no actual punks were in attendance (lurve you Vivienne Westwood, but you've not been a punk for a long time). Not like punks would actually show up to a fashion gala, but one would think they would have invited some, at least in a cynical attempt to shock.

It's also aesthetically disappointing because it's another parade of pretty people wearing predictably sleek designer gear. Don't get me wrong - I like looking at sleek designer gear and pretty people - but it's not challenging or interesting and one would have hoped the theme would encourage SOMEONE to take some fashion risks, but no.

As an aside, this is also why I don't go out of my way to view the Oscar red carpet - there are no surprises. Gimme another Bjork swan dress (a dress so odd it has it's own Wikipedia page!) and maybe I'll go to the trouble.

The other is this photo essay Rave kids in the '90s vs. rave kids today, and I know I'm going to sound like an old crusty, but here goes: I find it sad that the current styles for women are so sexualized. Nothing wrong with sex or being sexy, but Back In The Day(TM), raving was about dancing - hard, sweatily, all night. You didn't run around in a sports bra to look hot, but because it was so hot it was raining indoors - in short, you dressed so you could dance comfortably.

I love the costumey aspect, but I imagine it's hard to seriously pound the parquet if you're afraid your clothes are going to fall off :P

Also one of the things I loved about raving was that I was coming out of a club scene that emphasized tight minidresses and "dress to impress" and it was a relief to go out and not have to be sexy sexy sexy just to get in the door. I could just dance and let the music take me.

If raving is just another fashion show, I think that's sad. But I'm also heartened that if this is the case there will inevitably be a pendulum swing away from that, if there isn't already.

brain work

May. 2nd, 2013 06:17 pm
anotheranon: (books)
Surprise travel this past weekend gave me the chance to do some reading.

I was able to read all of When the Girls Came Out to Play during my round trip flight, not just because I had time because it was good. I'd told a Costume Society acquaintance about my embryonic fencing gear research and she recommended it as a "dry academic" background read, so I was expecting a slog. But no, it's quality non-fiction and turned out to be exactly the book I needed that I didn't know existed.

geeking )

So I realize rather stunningly that this research may lead to something other than noodling on my desktop and in my LJ :P

It is cutting into sewing time though. I doubt I'll have anything new for Dress U, and guess who is taking forever and a day to put the sleeves on D.'s scholar's robe?

Time management, I can not haz.
anotheranon: (Una)
Despite recent sartorial adventures, I still don't really have a grip on special occasion dress.

This comes up in my mind because we went to a cocktail-ish Christmas party on Tuesday which I kind of second-guessed. I ended up wearing the Pleats Please (long skirt and top) with a velvet blazer and pointy (ow!) toed high heels and it was ok, but it seems in order to be cocktail-y skirts must invariably be worn with stilletoish heels to keep from looking casual or frumpy.

Most dresses marketed for after 5 aren't very "me" either. They're either so classic as to be boring, or so girly that I just feel (and look) strange.

I'm sorely tempted to try for French Vogue editor Emmanuelle Alt's "uniform" of tuxedo jacket and silk trousers (go through the slideshow), but then I remind myself that I'm not a magazine editor and local cocktail parties aren't Paris fashion week.

Fortunately I may not have to think about this again until next year - most of my social outings are, gratefully, fairly casual.
anotheranon: (creativity)
I'm not blind to the fact that the styles in my small (but growing) collection of designer duds closely mirrors the sorts of things I like to sew: asymmetry more often than not, with unusual shapes, details, and/or textures. In short, the things worth investing time or money in because there simply aren't anything like them available through usual channels, and they're more interesting to wear and make.

Even simple things can be special through their quality or not-immediately-apparent construction. Take this deceptively simple top for example. It looks plain but it's cut on the bias which changes the drape and fit significantly.

But no matter how it manifests itself, unusual = more work. In addition to the draping aspect I'm giving myself more roadblocks: in addition to the full bust adjustment and other tweaks to make it fit absolutely perfectly, this my first project using silk charmeuse, aka "silk slime" for it's slippery, fluid qualities that make even cutting the pieces a challenge.

It keeps things interesting from an assembly viewpoint and gives me experience with another aspect of dressmaking, but I'm trying to resign myself to the fact that even after 20+ years of sewing, I may not have anything wearable by the end of this adventure.
anotheranon: (neat)

  • The most insidious earworm EVER [YouTube]; I share in an effort to exorcise. Lyrics NSFW unless sweary sing-alongs are in your job description. The video is deceptively clean. Courtesy D., who I thank (?) for demonstrating that there's something sticker than old Bon Jovi tunes.

  • Joan of Arc on Stil P1, Swedish radio - probably only [ profile] tommdroid and [ profile] sealwhiskers can appreciate it, but I must include the link because the English site where I found it says the show is about juicy, seemingly disparate subjects like "'short hair and men’s clothes' on women throughout fashion history, the power and danger of dressing against the norm, historical re-creations of clothing from the Middle Ages in Sweden, jewelry as armor, and super hero costumes." Someone let me know if it's as good as advertised.

  • Anarchists of Style: Ann Nzinga, Queen of N’Dongo (1582-1663) - she kicked the Portuguese out of her country with women warriors, and looked GOOD doing it, in men's baroque clothing. Historical kickass woman, but I can't find much else about her on the web!

  • Eartha Kitt: A Catwoman....or THE Catwoman? FWIW I thought Anne Hathaway was a good choice for Nolan's more realistic, understated Bat-verse, but Kitt made the role her own in the campy 1960s version. This article is actually less about Kitt's acting and more about her anti-war, anti-apartheid sentiments. Another kickass woman, in another way.

  • Secrets of Geek Mating Rituals - sweet memories of how D. and I got together :)
anotheranon: (jeeves)
What started with a lucky Miyake find and deeply discounted Westwood boots is turning into some tentative designer collecting. I have searches set up for some of my favorite designers on Ebay, and so far I've found a Westwood top and Comme de Garcons blazer. I'm adhering to some limitations so I don't go crazy:

  • It has to be something I'll actually wear, and in my size - no chasing something the wrong size or potentially unflattering just to see how it's made.
  • Never full price because... just no. I can't afford such extravagance and besides, finding a bargain makes the pursuit more interesting.
  • I have limited closet space so for each item I get, one has to go. It doesn't have to be an identical item (get a skirt and, say, a pair of shoes goes) but it's certainly ideal if I'm replacing "ok" with "better" (the CDG long blazer replaces a pinstripe one that never fit properly).
  • It has to be representative of the designer's work. I refuse to shell out $$ for a t shirt with a logo.

So far this strategy is finding me ~3 pieces a year. Which is plenty.
anotheranon: (busy)
I took advantage of the energy conferred by Saturday's unseasonably, unreasonably warm weather (70F?! In January? And today it's snowing) to do some much needed clutter reduction: put away and organized the Christmas decorations, took out a ton of recycling and cleared some junk out of the basement. My house may never be ready for its' Better Homes and Gardens closeup, but I can walk all the way around the dining room table, and that's something.

D. spent much of the weekend Sith-stomping, so I had the teevee to myself and started last year's "Pillars of the Earth" miniseries. I've not read the book, but I'm impressed with the screen adaptation, if only the way the characters' stories rapidly twist together. It's about a time period I'm not overly familiar with (The Anarchy of the 12th century) so there's the element of discovery as well.

Progress on the vest crawls along. Despite all my careful fitting, I still got the back waist too short, so I'm going to attempt to attach the peplum with a 1/4" seam allowance. For maximum control of the seam (and the rounded edges of the peplum) I've again been using the Elizabethan seam. Eats time but satisfies my control freakiness.

Over the holidays my step-father-in-law tipped me off that many carcinogens/endocrine disruptors/other bad stuff in cosmetics aren't regulated by the FDA; not news but I didn't know quite how bad it could get until I poked around the Cosmetics Database. Happily only a couple of things I use were in the dangerous red zone, but hey - any excuse to play with new lotions and creams :P I'm giving this a whirl to see if it keeps me moisturized without making me break out.

Fencing lesson this week included V.'s grand experiment to take video for all of us. I took some before the holidays, but haven't analyzed the results as carefully as I could. It's fair to say I now have plenty of footage to make me flinch review.

Badger and I are doing a week of quickie "fashion blogging" over on Facebook. Of course my alarm failed to go off this morning so my first entry is rather lackluster, but I'm plotting blockbusters for the rest of the week!

Last bits: I've not caught up on the latest season of PBS' Sherlock, but [ profile] faunblade posted this compelling shot; I don't think Cumberbatch is all that, but it got my attention. Found this [YouTube] via [ profile] yuki_onna which she (accurately?) describes as "what I think that mask scene in Eyes Wide Shut might have been if that movie weren’t mainly about white people not feeling things".

It's too cold down here. I'm going to put on my alpaca socks.
anotheranon: (eggman)
This whole Palmer/Pletsch fitting thing has reminded me yet again that bodies aren't perfect and off the rack doesn't (and probably can't) accommodate every deviation from the (fictional) "norm". I've not done a body map yet, but it's kind of a relief to know that someone has come up with a plan that acknowledges and addresses uneven shoulders, long torsos, short legs, and the like. As Already Pretty so succinctly puts it, it's not you, it's the clothes.

I don't know what the solution is. Not everyone can make their own clothes and I certainly don't make all of mine. I'm trying to resign myself to the fact that nothing I purchase is going to fit perfectly and so not get bent out of shape about it. Tailoring is an option, if you can do it yourself or have a good dry cleaner - evidently this is the trick celebs use to look effortlessly fabulous - yes, they even have t shirts fitted(!) So they're not perfect either - they just have better resources than us ordinary mortals :P

At the end of the day, I guess aim for best fit and keep it clean and in good repair. After all there's more to life than clothes.
anotheranon: (neat)
Gay men on one side, straight on the other, all eager to hash out the rules of gender, what it really means to be “masculine” or “feminine,” and the roles that these words play in our lives and style in 2011. Ranges far beyond a discussion of gender in fashion, the video is about 12 minutes (why I don't link to it directly) and illuminating for me. From Stylelikeu, source of all kinds of fashion inspiration.

Fashion-able: Hacktivism and engaged fashion design - I'm late to the party because von Busch published his thesis (PDF) back in 2009, and while I've not had time to read all of it yet I love the ideas he's playing with - designer as facilitator of DIY, fashion as a collaborative process instead of dictated from on high, and how DIY relates to hacking, fan fiction, etc. Courtesy Outsapop Trashion, fine purveyor of all manner of DIY tutorials and ideas.

Ending with a silly - does anyone else remember the Brady Bunch parody movies that came out ~10 years ago? If not, they are delightfully wrong entertainment if you're familiar with the TV show:
anotheranon: (neat)
3 Tumblrs and one honest-to-doG blog:

Femme Dandy - THIS is my style!

More of the same:


La Garçonne

And completely different but oh so WONDERFUL:

Westwood Ho!
anotheranon: (neat)
Part of Shem's visit a few weeks back was spent perusing the local drool-worthy fabric store and the conversation turned around to the recent proliferation of beige and the relative boring-ness of it. I've never really considered beige boring, but I couldn't quite articulate why.

While perusing Tomboy Style and Quite Continental I remembered why. See, I've never associated beige with the correct, pearls and twinset conservatism. I always associated it with adventures abroad.

Yes, I know what I'm thinking of is technically "khaki" rather than the champagne/cement tinged beiges currently fashionable, but bear with me:

My childhood hero Jane Goodall wore it and other drab colors to enable her to get close to the chimpanzees she was studying.

Katharine Hepburn wore it while shooting "The African Queen" on location in spartan conditions in the Congo (yes, it's a black and white photo, but my imagination sees beige).

Meryl Streep as Karen Blixen wore it when she "had a farm in Africa" (inspiration for turn-of-the-century summer steampunkwear?)

So, in my mind people in beige go do exciting things :)

Tangentially, both blogs are worth a look if you like your fashion un-fussy and non-girly-girl. Quite Continental is a bit too fresh-scrubbed/preppy for my tastes, but still shows some pretty tailoring.
anotheranon: (neat)
The Renaissance Society of America is holding their annual shindig close to home in 2012. I've never been, but a quick look through the past meeting agendas suggests that it's like Kalamazoo, only covering ~1300-1650.

FuckYeahGarethPugh - self explanatory. If you've not witnessed the deconstructed gothic wonders of Gareth Pugh you've not lived (or undied?)

Ditto Undercover. The current season isn't lighting my fire but Fall 2006 is ample evidence that beige need not be boring.

Badass of the Week - oh yes.
anotheranon: (Default)
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My boring, decidedly preppy khakis in beige and gray.

I got them mostly because I needed some basic summer-weight pants for work, and fencing + weight gain meant that my previous stylin' pairs from Anthropologie no longer fit. Not willing to see my hard earned $ go to Rick Santorum and his ilk I couldn't replace them there so I had to settle for JCrewish basics.

You were my favorite, Anthropologie. I loved you! Why did you go all Sith on me?
anotheranon: (neat)
So you'll have something to look at while I work myself up to original content:

A L'allure Garconniere tumblr - some posts NSFW but all are awesome. Favorite: Romaine Brooks self-portrait; link to "Queer Enough": "My woman- self is a lusty warrior. Grace Jones in a James Bond film, power-lifting a full-grown man over her head in haute couture and heels. French novelist, burlesque dancer and body builder Colette, dressed in a 19th century men’s suit."

Apochronaut (FYI, music upon opening), "travel & fashion for the pre/post-apocalyptic nomad". Favorites: Anything by Gareth Pugh.

G. D. Falksen's tumblr fashion posts, hat tip [ profile] danabren, almost as good as OMGThatDress.

In honor of the Kalamazoo Medieval Congress just past, Terry Jones' Medieval Lives in their entirety [YouTube]. Actually, just all of BBC Worldwide's channel.
anotheranon: (neat)
The first photos from Costume Con are trickling in. H T [ profile] kass_rants.

Deconstruct, Alter, and Create and Communing With Fabric, two Miyake fans who faithfully blog their adventures with Vogue and other odd/speciality patterns. Found via MiyakeGroup.

Chic CA chick who will not be wearing pants this year. "I want to make clothes again. I want to do what was the impetus of becoming a fashion designer all those years ago: have fun with clothing." - yes, yes!

50 Photos of Basset Hounds Running, because there nothing as majestic inspiring quite like a basset hound at full tilt. HT H. H., who knows who she is.

SKisM's "Rave Review" [YouTube]. Contains oldskool, dubstep, and sweary language.

Video on the Royal School of Needlework [YouTube], creators of the hand embroidery on Kate Middleton's dress, veil, and shoes [PDF]. If you're near Hampton Court Palace, they do day classes, and if you're not, they're known to come stateside occasionally, like San Francisco in a couple of weeks.

Speaking of embroidery, here's what the results of "1287.5 hours, 1410.5 yards of thread, [and] a new callus on [her] middle finger that will stop bullets" look like.

OMGThatDress seems to be branching into jewelry, but a few weeks back they had a stretch of Vionnet gowns. Want. HT [ profile] dustdaughter.
anotheranon: (books)
I'm accustomed to reading more than one book at a time. In an effort to make a dent in my backlog and have something on hand to suit every mood, I'm trying to keep one each of fiction, costume, and non-fiction by my bed. Today the combination is:

Fiction: Kushiel's Justice - haven't started yet as I just finished Mortal Companion (does this have a sequel? or will it?)

Costume: Women's Costume of the Near and Middle East: makes me want to make loose silk tunics and baggy trousers. I need to add to my "want to make" list the same way I need a fat hole in my head :P

Non-Fiction: Just finished Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (not the newest scholarship but a fairly solid, infuriating intro to the "Indian Wars" from the Native American perspective) and next up I'll either finish Understanding Fencing or start Infinite Variety: The Life and Legend of the Marchesa Casati. Or both - development of good fencing habits vs. extravagant eccentrics (hey! Tilda Swinton as Casati) makes them different enough to feed different moods.

What are you currently reading?


Mar. 28th, 2011 09:49 pm
anotheranon: (neat)
FIT's Vivienne Westwood, 1980-89 online exhibit for those who can't make it in person. Charts her start dressing punks and new wavers through her establishment as fully-fledged designer. Don't miss the extras section that includes interviews and music videos of her early work.

TechieStyle, the owner of which cosplays Senator Leia while throwing down feminist critique of Slave Leia when she's not putting together smart outfits for everyday.

Paul Gorman is... mostly rock/pop fashion/history, including Blokes of Britain men's style and the story behind a famous photo shoot of Westwood/McLaren's "Sex" shop.

"Contemporary Wardrobe is a specialist hire company which supplies vintage street fashion, couture items and accessories to the Film, TV and Fashion industries." You've probably seen bands and movies wearing some of their collection. They had a 30-year anniversary exhibit back in 2008.

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