outrageous fashion

5

One of the fun things about Kevin Spacey is you never know where you might find him. Here he is at the Annapolis Cup croquet match between St.John’s College and the U.S. Naval Academy. The community-wide event attracts several thousand people to the heart of Annapolis for a festive lawn party complete with outrageous costumes, old-fashioned picnics, swing dancing, and, of course, croquet competition. April 22, 2017

Why Embracing Emotional Distress is the Best Medicine Sometimes

Much of our mental suffering is caused by our overwhelming attempt to avoid it. We think experiencing any sort of anxiety is a threat to our existing, but psychology studies have proven that one learns from struggle. One becomes a better human being through heartache. Let us explain with the science behind this theory..

Keep reading

Goth vs Mainstream Over 40 Years

So its always kind of bothered me a bit that some goths like to really dump on modern goth styles and trends when in retrospect, goth has always mirrored the mainstream in terms of fashion in some point or another. Right from the very beginning goth was borrowing from the mainstream and vice versa. So i thought that i would break down 4 decades of goth fashion and their comparisons to popular trends and mainstream fashion to show you that goth has never been as original as you might think and that change and evolution is inevitable in all subcultures that involve fashion.

Of course we all know goth came from punk so obviously from the very moment goth stood on its own two legs, it was already borrowing style inspiration from its punk roots, but it didnt stop there.

80′s style

The 80′s were known as a pretty outrageous time for fashion and with pop music dominating the radio and television it was understandable that pop stars were a huge influence when it came to fashion. Madonna was definitely one of the most influential fashion icons of the 80′s and though she was a pop princess on the radio, some of her style often dappled in the darker side of fashion. she often sported fishnet tops, black leather and religious symbols. much like Siouxsie Sioux. Leather, spandex, lace and pointy shoes were all trendy in the 80′s, but not just in goth, but much of the mainstream as well.  Makeup was often bold in color and almost geometric in shape. And of course who could forget that hair? Goths in the 80′s went all out when it came to their hairstyles  but they weren’t the only ones wasting a whole can of Aqua Net in one day on keeping their hair gravity defying. Almost everyone in the 80′s at some point has backcombed, teased or crimped their locks all in the name of bigger hair.

90′s Style

Of course not every trend that was popular in the 80′s died as soon as the 90′s rolled around, and a lot of goths were still wearing looks that were common in the 80′s but much of goth fashion was becoming less punk and more romantic during the mid to late 90′s. The 90′s brought with it, a strange obsession with the occult. Shows like charmed, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and movies like The Craft, began influencing certain fashion trends. Velvet dresses with combat boots became staples in both goth and mainstream fashion. 90′s hair became less styled and more free and many goth women began adopting the free flowing look that added to the mysterious seductress vibe. Makeup became less geometric. It was popular at the time for women to go linerless or wear darker more natural tones in a smudged fashion around their eyes.  young goths were ditching the pointy shoes to go with the more popular platform style that the 90′s was known for.


2000′s Style

I think most of us can agree that the 2000′s had some really hit or miss trends in both goth and mainstream fashion and I can comfortably say that the 2000′s is seen as a rather embarrassing decade by many goths now. This was the time that a lot of misinformed young people were flocking to Manson concerts and Hot Topic and were eating up everything that they thought was goth whether it was or not. Many of the so called “goths” you saw on TV in the 2000′s were what we today consider mall goths. Mainstream fashion was really all over the place in the 2000′s and i think goth fashion was too. Pop stars were experimenting with strange color and style combinations and goths started experimenting with neon. Rave fashion had evolved and trickled over from the 90′s into 2000′s mainstream fashion and into goth as well in what is call cyber goth. In the 2000′s baggy pants became popular with young people and goths began sporting Tripp pants and other forms of cargo pants. Skater fashion clashed with the mainstream as well as with goth and you would often see goth teens wearing Avrils signature eye look paired with a fishnet top and black baggy pants. Stripped stockings became popular and high fashion was borrowing  from goth more than ever. Thankfully romantic goth survived well enough that not every goth looked like a cross between a spice girl, a raver and a character from Invader Zim, but unfortunately there were a lot of misguided youths experimenting with a subculture that they didnt know enough about and with how many strange trends we blew through in the 2000′s its understandable why goth fashion was so all over the place.


2010′s Style

And suddenly we are stuck in this strange place between the 80′s and 90′s. Mainstream fashion in the past 7 years has really borrowed a lot from the past, especially the 90′s. But this time, its doing it in a simpler, more flattering fashion. The 90′s was cool right? Well if you’re a 90′s kid like me then you probably jumped right on that 90′s revival train like the rest of us and you’re riding it all the way through nostalgia town. Grungy ripped jeans, flannel and band Ts, chunky boots and tattoo chokers are all back in style and many goths are eating it up as well. But im going to give nu goth some credit here. Some of it is really nice. Black leather jackets, velvet, occult symbols and fishnets. Its almost like its paying an homage to 80′s and 90′s goth fashion. Of course a lot of nu goth style in 2010 was really ugly garbage but the style has improved over the years, encompassing other styles such as strega fashion and ninja goth. Witchy symbols are being worn by goths and mainstreamers alike. Long band T shirts over leggings and wide brimmed hats are everywhere. Shows like American Horror Story helped kick start the witchy fashion trend and everyone is buying it. I personally enjoy a lot of aspects of modern goth fashion because they remind me of the 80′s and 90′s. Even pointy shoes are coming back into style. Its possible that with the help of nu goth and mainstream fashion we may actually be able to kickstart a new generation of traditional goths and finally come full circle.

So goth has never really been original and just like every other fashion, its going to keep evolving over time and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Now that leather jackets and pointy buckle boots are coming back into style and more people are asking who Joy Division is after seeing one of their shirts hanging up in Forever 21, we are now closer to our goth roots than we have been in 2 decades. Goth fashion was always about experimenting and expressing yourself but even the best of us have fallen prey to trends, and thats not a bad thing. Fashion is something to have fun with, and if goth really does claim to be a subculture thats “all about the music” then it shouldnt matter how a goth dresses.

When Eyes Meet: Prologue

AN: That sound you hear? Yeah that’s me. I am so freaking happy with how it turned out, it’s amazing. @royslittleharper will be posting the companion piece soon, so be on the look out. Without further ado, I present Katherine, Kit, Blair in her debut .


    Some days never seemed to end, and in Katherine Blair’s personal opinion, they were usually the sucky days. So, it seemed appropriate that the worst day of her life should go on for an eternity.

    She did her best to catch pieces of the condolence her parent’s downstairs neighbor was attempting to offer. But her attention was split between the three most important people in her life; the people who needed it most. And right now, only one of them was in sight.

    As quickly and politely as possible, she excused herself from the older woman’s grasp, and made her way over to the far side of the room. At seven years old, Natsume was her youngest brother, and by far the quietest. With an intelligence that far surpassed the rest of their family, the kid was already in middle school classes.

    Silently she slid down the wall to sit next to him, and a second later his hand was in hers. “Kit.”

    “Hmm?”

    “You’re not going to leave … are you? You’re staying here, right?”

    Kit sighs, they’d had this conversation no fewer than six times in the past four days, and everything she had read online, had told her it was completely normal. Natsume was feeling scared, abandoned, and unsure about the future; he needed the reassurance and it was up to Kit to give it.

    So, she did the only thing she could think of, she pulled the kid into her lap, and wrapped her arms around him. Natsume had never been one for personal contact, he preferred his space, but when it came to Kit he had always wanted to be cuddled.

    Despite the age distance, they were the closest of the four siblings. When she had lived in Central City, her youngest brother had called at least three times a week for hour long conversations.

    “Seth still hasn’t come out.”

    Kit could only grunt a response. No amount of banging on the door, talking, or bribery had convinced the oldest of her younger siblings to come out. Personally she had considered it a victory that she’d convinced him to come to the funeral at all. She hadn’t been surprised when he had locked himself in his room the moment they had returned home.

    She’d deal with that later, she had other things to deal with at the moment. Like Great Aunt Muriel heading straight towards them. Immediately, Natsume turned in her arms and buried his head in her neck. Kit couldn’t blame the kid, she only wished her mother was still alive so that she could do the same.

    But she wasn’t. So, Kit tightened her arms around the munchkin, and prepared for war. Aunt Muriel, was technically Great-Aunt-Muriel. The woman was a bitter old biddy, who had been forced to raise her Kit’s father, when her grandmother had just vanished one day. She was controlling and mean, and despite all of that her father had loved the old woman. He had never been able to say no to her, which made it a good thing that her mother had.

    Aunt Muriel had hated their mother. First for her race, then for “stealing” her father, and finally for how her mother had acted. Kyoko Blair had been a free spirit. Every month her hair had been a new color or style, her nails were always done in some outrageous fashion, and she purposely kept her Japanese accent thick, just to annoy Great-Aunt-Muriel. Her mother had never left out the GREAT, specifically to remind the woman of her age.

    Kit had been a witness to several arguments over the years; from the different piercings, to the tattoos. Her mother had been a rebellious spirit, and the stark opposite of her father.

    Elliot Blair was the definition of a military man. He thrived on the order Aunt Muriel had brought him up in. He liked rules, and being on time. It’s what had made them such an odd couple. The one time he had refused Aunt Muriel had been when she’d demanded that he divorce her mother.

    Elliot had made it clear, Kyoko was there to stay. They were soulmates, their eyes proved it. What had followed were years of passive aggressive snipes and forced, fake politeness in front of her father. The man had gone to his grave thinking the two women actually got along. A true testament to just how much they both loved him.

    For years, Kit’s mother had been the wall standing between Muriel and her children. She had never let the woman get closer than the occasional visit. And Kit knew why. Muriel didn’t like her … or her sister for that matter. She saw them as replicas of their mother. Trouble waiting to brew. The boys however, she wanted the boys.

    Kit had already had one argument with the woman about custody. Thank God for her mother. Her mother had made sure the will had been iron clad; Kit retained custody of her siblings until they turned eighteen years old. They were to stay together, as a family. It was a huge blessing in the middle of an even bigger shit storm.

    “Katherine.”

    With a sigh, Kit forced her eyes up towards the woman, “Aunt Muriel.”

    “Why don’t I take little Nathan, so you can properly thank those who attended.”

    Kit scowled. Having four children had left her parents with a lot of room for names. And with two different heritages they had plenty of names to pick from. Her mother had named her and Seth surprisingly. She had chosen western names. When Kit had asked why, she’d simply shrugged and said, “I liked the names I liked.”

Her father had named the two youngest; Aki and Natsume. Aunt Muriel had thrown a fit right up until her father had declared that he had chosen the names. She’s sweetened right up after that, but had still tried to “westernize”  the names. She had called Natsume, Nathan and Aki, Abi.

The fight that had taken place between her mother and aunt was legendary. In fact Aunt Muriel had been banned from the apartment for six months after each incident. She hadn’t tried it again until now.

And the sheer fact that the woman was attempting to assert dominance right now, made Kit’s blood boil. Her parents hadn’t even been in the ground for an hour, and so far she’d questioned Kit’s ability to parent, host a funeral, and insulted half of her culture.

And to be completely honest she was done playing nice. She carefully nudged Natsume to the side before standing. “First of all, you bitter old biddy, his name is Natsume, and you damn well know it. My father, the man you raised, picked it, so RESPECT IT. Second of all, I’m fairly certain that everyone here understands that I’ve just buried my parents, but you. They also understand that my first priority is my siblings, which means if my brother needs a hug, I’m going to give him one.

I do not need you to hold him. I do not need your help picking out their clothes. I do not need your commentary on my parenting skills, because if you haven’t noticed my world is spinning right now, and all I want to do is cry, but I can’t! I can’t because I’ve got three kids depending on me. And before you start, yes …I realize I’m young. Yes I realize I’m only twenty-three. If I didn’t before, you’ve made it very clear over this past week, but I will figure this out because I am determined to keep this family together. So, butt out!”

    The look on Aunt Muriel’s face was nearly enough to justify the outburst. Then she saw they eyes on her and the embarrassment was quick to follow. Finally, Aunt Muriel’s face turned red and Kit was certain that she was in for an earful, when someone said, “Well you heard her. Time for you to go.”

    Kit’s eyes slid towards the voice, and she couldn’t help but smile. Anna Baily was a small woman, and stronger than an ox. She had a presence that demanded respect, and the woman had been the first one to offer help. She hadn’t said one negative word, had only offered a helping hand.

    “You heard her Ms. Blair. Time to go.” At the sound of Commissioner Gordon’s voice Kit let out a deep breath she hadn’t realized she’d been holding.

    Muriel said nothing as she simply turned on heel and left. A moment later Natusme’s hand was back in hers. Kit could only give a tentative smile as Anna and Commissioner Gordon approached.

    She offered her free hand to both of them before giving her thanks, “You have no idea how grateful I am right now.”

    Anna smiled, “From what your mother told me about that woman and what I just witnessed I have a fairly good idea.”

    “Katherine, on behalf of the entire GCPD I’m very sorry about the loss of your parents. You father was a damn good cop.”

    “Thank you Commissioner.”

    “If there’s anything I can do …”

     “I’ll let you know.”

    Jim Gordon simply nodded before walking away, and Anna Bailey captured her attention. “How’s Aki doing?”

    Kit shrugged, “Hard to tell. Aki’s been dramatic from birth, she’s in mourning but … it’s hard to tell.”

    “I hope you don’t mind but I brought Maia, I figured a friendly face would do her some good.”

    Kit watched the girl on the other side of the room. Maia Bailey was Aki’s best friend, and had been for some time. She put up well with the drama, and had some magic way of getting her sister to calm down during hysterical moments. And almost, if by magic Aki appeared. The eleven year old had followed Seth’s lead and locked herself in her room following the funeral. Unlike Seth, there had been loud sobs, and wailing from the other side of door.

    With a running leap, Kit watched as Aki threw herself onto her best friend, in a heap of tears. Narrowing her eyes, Kit focused in on Aki’s face to find mascara smudged across her cheeks.

    Kit could feel her eye start to twitch. Her parents had a no makeup rule until age thirteen. And Kit had made it clear that rule was still in place, when she’d found her younger sister rifling through her make-up earlier in the day.

    Too exhausted to investigate, Kit simply slumped a bit. “Dear,” Anna Bailey’s voice brought her out of her thoughts, and she focused on the woman again, “Have you had any luck finding a job yet?”

    Kit could only shrug, “Not yet, a few applications but it hasn’t been my main priority yet.”

    “And those applications are for where?” Kit just smiled. Of course Anna saw straight through her, “You’re a trained chef my dear, and I was hoping to hire you myself. And before you say anything this is not pity, this is me wanting the best. More often than not I have several guests over every night, and well, I like good food. I don’t want an answer right now, we’ll talk later. Just think about it, hmm.”

    Kit watched the woman head towards the food on the other side of the room before slumping back down against the wall. Natsume snuggled into her side a moment later. “We’re going to be okay, he says a moment later.”

    “So certain, are ya?”

    “Yep, I had a dream last night.”

    Kit smiled down at him, “About what?”

    “A bat, with eyes the same color as your left one.”

    “Is that so?”

    “I think it means you’ll find your soulmate soon.”

    More than once Kit had thought about the owner of the blue eye. She’d stared at it for hours when she was a child. She and her mother had spent hours dreaming up what her soulmate would be like. How they looked, how they talked and acted.

    Her favorite bedtime story had been her mother telling her about the first time she’d laid eyes on her father. She and her friends had been surrounded by military men at a local festival. They’d been making fun of the straight laced military uniforms when suddenly she locked eyes with a man across the way. Everyone else had disappeared, and she was suddenly staring into green eyes, that she had only seen in a mirror. The rest had been history.

    Kit let out a sigh, “Who needs a soulmate, when I’ve got you?”

    Natsume simply stared up at her, “I never said that you need him … but I think he needs you.”

    Kit wasn’t sure she could handle another person needing her. She had enough on her plate as it was, and working out the dynamic of being a twenty-three single mother of three with being a soulmate was not something she wanted to try at the moment. So, for now, she just pulled her baby brother closer, and wished for the day to be over. 

The Martha Washington, Fashion Queen Post

Okay, so I feel I have to address an issue, I, as a thoroughly ignorant Brit, didn’t know until now.

WHY DID NO-ONE TELL ME MARTHA WASHINGTON WAS A FASHION QUEEN?

Now, granted, I’ve not had much exposure to American history, outside of my gran showing me Gone With The Wind, and the little I gleaned growing up from Alvin and the Chipmunks, The Simpsons, and National Treasure.
Watching Turn and having international friends who are enthusiastic about their history was a massive epiphany for me. Wait, there’s a whole new arena of history I haven’t explored? Sweet!

But on of my pre-conceived notions from all that pop-culture was that Martha Washington was a Founding Grandmother. You know…

Looks like little Red Riding Hood’s granny…

Look, granny! Carries knitting in one hand (possibly patriotic knitting. After all, Betsy Ross doesn’t just get dibs.)

Why Grandmamma, what big 1780s caps you have! (all the better to be First Lady with, my dear…)

From the paintings and iconography of Martha Washington, I’d have been very surprised if she didn’t own a rocking-chair. And I’m sure, in later life, she did. But that wasn’t ALL there was to Martha….

Wait, THIS is Martha, too?!


At first, there seems nothing to connect the staid, sensible-looking old lady in the first few portraits to this reconstructed painting of young Martha Washington, or the “Widow Custis.”

One of the first things I was struck by was that for a long time, Washington wasn’t really “George Washington” pre-Revolutionary War. He was the ‘Widow Custis’ husband’.

Now, according to Wikipedia:

“Martha Washington has traditionally been seen as a small, frumpy woman, who spent her days at the Revolutionary War winter encampments visiting with the common soldiers in their huts.”

I think the Widow Custis’ rather fabulous wardrobe would beg to disagree!

See the colours up there? Blue - especially that deep indigo blue - was tradionally one of the most expensive dyes available. No-one who could afford indigo is EVER going to be accused of being frumpy by 18th century peers.

Also - I could write a whole essay about Martha Washington and the colour yellow.

This particular shade, known as “Imperial yellow” ,was a big thing in both 18th century East and West. Like the fad for Chinoiserie that was prevalent at the time, this was a cultural fashion import from China.

According to an article by the University of Nottingham,

“Yellow, as one of the five colours derived from the Five Elements Theory surpassed the other colours when it became the emblem of emperor. It was thought that the emperor was located in the centre of the five directions and the centre was represented by the element earth and the colour yellow. “

The idea struck a chord with the 18th century west, and yellow became an increasingly popular colour in gowns for the upper class, gradually filtering down to the middle classes towards the end of the 18th century. Back in the 1750s when Martha was the young, attractive, fiery Widow Custis, this would have made one heck of an impact, especially in the colonies. It showed her wealth and status in one go as well as - her ability to source fabrics from the other end of the earth.

I’m also going to add that when marrying Washington, Martha’s wedding gown of choice?

Imperial Yellow. Plain and frumpy this ain’t. Martha’s practically wearing a solid gold dress.

(Reproduction on display at Mount Vernon)

And, keeping up that ‘indigo blue/purple’ is one of the most expensive dyes around theme?

May I present the First Lady’s extremely sassy wedding shoes? In purple silk and gilt thread - and with that ahem, ‘imperial yellow’ silk lining peeping out there?

to quote the excellent @americanrevolutionhotties, these were the ‘Manolo Blahniks’ of their day. And they certainly say “you are one LUCKY man, Georgie boy” in spades (although George was by no means a shabby dresser himself, the gorgeous red-haired dork.) Martha was 27 when she married him, a young, attractive widow  and businesswoman with two children and an incredible inheritance from her previous husband. This must have been the powerhouse wedding of the century!

Being an absolute costume nerd, I did a bit more research into Martha Washington’s wardrobe. What else did this fashion forward woman have in her linen press?

Well…

This gown’s an absolute confection! Pink, embroidered satin, muslin and fine lace sleeves - and don’t froget, touch of yellow in the florals there. Martha still kept her style!

It’s sometimes incorrectly named her ‘inaugural ballgown’, as it’s part of the Smithsonian’s First Ladies Inaugural Gown collection. Martha strongly disapproved of George being President and actually didn’t show up for his inauguration. She was at home, busy ‘packing’. (So you can add strong-willed and independent to the list of amazing things Martha is, too)

There’s also this rather fantastic gold brocaded ballgown. The colours have faded, but you can see traces of the original colour in the bodice -and can you imagine it glittering by candlelight at a dinner table?

In her later years, Martha adopted a simpler transitional 1790s style that’s mostly commonly shown in the portraits of her as an older lady; practical, in keeping with her status, but a little more restrained (as befits a sober older lady, by the standards of the time) Still, amazingly classy in silk…

(Also, plus-size, and still rocking it. You go, girl!)

Loving the button detailing, very chic.

Sadly, these are the only gowns that survive intact from Martha’s wardrobe. Martha was nothing if not practical and a lot of her and George’s clothes were cut up and distributed to admirers and friends. But luckily, Mount Vernon has a great collection of these remnants of finery, so I’m going to post the “scraps of history” here, with a few thoughts on what they might have been…

Gorgeous red brocade with blue and gold trailing flowers! You can still see the folds where it was pleated, probably into a robe francaise. According to Mount Vernon, the little circle you can see cut-out is too small to be an armhole. It was probably used by her granddaughter to make a pin-cushion.

MOAR IMPERIAL YELLOW. YESSS, MARTHA. WEAR ALL THE YELLOW.

And this lovely green damask - hey, there’s something that probably looked like the gown Martha wears in Turn! Full points, costume designers!

AMAZINGLY similar lace, saved from Martha’s wedding gown. The exquisite lace sleeves would be re-used on other gowns as an accessory. Again, 10/10, Turn costume designers!

one of my favourites out of the Mount Vernon collection. The peach and white and brown… oh, would look stunning on a brunette!  I can only imagine this in an open robe, or a robe francaise, or anglaise, or… *grabby hands at fabric* 

well, look who’s rocking 18th century fuchsia and imperial yellow together! DAMN IT MARTHA, GIVE ME YOUR FASHION SENSE.This is my other favourite, in case you couldn’t tell…

and finally, this gorgeous white handpainted silk. You can only imagine what this must have looked like in a gown.

Fashion history lesson over, kids. Spread the word. Martha Washington was an outrageous, daring, fabulous fashion queen.

7

Yes, I think it’s safe to say Malcolm’s strong opinions about fashion are both STRONG and OPINIONATED.

And let’s all take a minute to appreciate how he chooses to convey the message that being WAY too loud  is (all of a sudden) A Very Bad Thing by being VERY VERY SHOUTY at VERY VERY HIGH VOLUME. Like, maybe that’s why your ears are ringing, eh, Malc?

(Poor Nicola.)