Monday, November 30, 2015

Matched set to bralette

This bright chartreuse lace bra was a gift. I wore it for a while, but it had an annoying habit of peeking out of my shirts and rearing its very neon head.

This bra was born for the spotlight, and it just wasn't thriving in its behind the scenes (or under the clothes) role. I decided to convert it into something that could truly live up to its potential for stealing the show.

My inspiration was the Victoria's Secret Pink Lace Bralette. Bralettes are all the rage right now.

As you can see from the picture here, I happened to have a pair of lace panties that were almost the exact same color as the bra.

So I cut the panties into a long strip with the original front seam lined up with the front of the bra, the original waistband forming the bottom edge, and the back open.

I little light hand-stitching attached the two pieces together along the bottom edge of the bra.

I experimented with using some of the original bra hooks to close the back, but that ended up leaving weird gaping patches, so instead, I sewed a new seam down the back, making it a pull-on garment.

The original bra still has its hooks, although it is so stretchy it's almost easier to just pull the whole thing over my head than to mess around with trying to clasp it from behind.

After a nip here, a tuck there, and the obligatory tying up of loose ends, I had created the finished product! Tada!

Even though this new bralette is slightly more modest than the original bra, I can't really imagine any occasion in which I'd actually feel comfortable prancing around in a glorified undergarment —explaining why my mannequin is modeling the finished look instead of me.

But still, I'll keep it around for a while. It might look good under something sheer and black, or maybe to an EDM concert if I get really daring.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Red on Red

I am thoroughly enjoying this Mary Poppins blazer. It is a perfect fit and falls at just the right length. That's why I was so excited when, after trying all my black toppers to wear over my red and black floral dress (actually worn numerous times but never featured in this blog!), I realized that the blazer was the perfect shade of red!

In the decision between black tights and black thigh-high socks, I chose the socks because I wanted something a little less boring. Then I donned my trusty black ballet flats. I injured my foot last Sunday, which has kept me out of high heels for over a week (and, embarrassingly, wearing nothing but a pair of dingy old sneakers every day with a slice cut out of them to relieve pressure on my toes), but today I was ready for nice shoes! I even considered patent leather pumps, but ultimately I decided they made my legs look weirdly elongated, and I was sure my crushed toes wouldn't mind another day in flat shoes.

The finishing touch was a pair of black dogwood flower earrings. I thought they were a great addition, because before they occurred to me, I'd been considering red earrings, but that would have been red overkill. The black ones were bold enough to make a statement, but black enough not to appear, there happened to be five-petaled flowers in the print of the dress, so I thought they were a nice tie-in.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Criss Cross

This black dress was purchased in a lot on eBay last spring. It was clearly a relic of the early 90's (hello, shoulder pads!) but it had this cutout/laced neckline that is right in line with current trends!

Fortunately, the most dated things about this dress (the shoulder pads and the clusters of ornamental brass buttons running down the front) were easy to remove!

It has a weird faux-layered front (which made more sense when there were buttons on it), and I thought about using the extra fabric to give it a more modern silhouette (perhaps something like this: 
...But ultimately I decided that the material wouldn't lend itself to creating a structured skirt, even if I had enough of it, which I don't. 

So I just wore it as-is—and got a compliment, so I guess it doesn't look too old fashioned!

Normally I look upon a black dress as the perfect backdrop for colorful shoes and accessories, but today I stuck with all black—the better to let the neckline speak for itself, and also a great chance to wear my new black lace-up boots (the laces of course reflecting the lacing on the neckline!)

Friday, November 13, 2015


The time to wear my new boots is now. I went with the burgundy ones, getting a bit of a fright when I took them out of the box and (months past the returnable date) found the zipper on one completely stuck! Note to self: Always try on both shoes when you first get them, even if you are tempted to keep them neatly packaged until the first day to wear them! Fortunately, a little lip balm to lubricate it helped me get the zipper open and the boot on.

I wore them with this paisley orange and brown shift dress. I consider this pairing a victory over myself, since usually I try to wear shoes that match a color in my outfit—so bourgeois! This time I really took a risk and wore ... an analogous color! Wow, what a daredevil.

Anyway, it's getting chilly out and this dress is a little short, so I also wore brown opaque tights, and finished the look off with some unobtrusive jewelry in natural colors.

You're also getting a first look at my new (somewhat scruffy for lack of a blow-dry) asymmetrical haircut!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Are you ready, boots?

I might have mentioned this before, but in my mind, the only good thing about cold weather is that it means I get to wear boots! I love boots. I deliberately pack away all my boots over the summer so that I have something to look forward to when fall comes and I can take them out again.

This year, I had to wait extra-long to bring out my fall footwear because I needed to keep them boxed until I moved to my new domicile at the end of September. Then the weather warmed up, causing me to neglect my boots a little longer. So today, to really make the most of the moment and deliver the delayed-but-no-more-welcomed winter a powerful kick in the face, I'm going to take a moment to personally celebrate my boot collection!

This fall, I have 4 new pairs of boots that have never stepped outside—the fuzzy, slightly sparkly, thigh-high black platform boots which I'm sure will brighten up many a winter day for me a little later this year, this white pair, which I got last spring after deciding that sometimes winter white just isn't white enough, a burgundy pair of knee-high boots that fulfills my long-held need for a pair of reddish boots, and one more pair of black lace-ups.

Even though I went above and beyond with the new acquisitions this summer, I have plenty of older boots still worthy of affection.

Oh, boots, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways!
1. I love you when you have low heels! Your sensible, sturdy construction makes you the perfect thing to slip under a pair of flared pants and run out for a quick errand! No pressure on my toes when I'm rocking you! Combat boots, you deserve a special place in my heart, for being the only boot that also keeps me dry and warm and stylish on chilly rainy summer days as well.
2. I love you when you are knee-high! What a glorious tool for keeping me warm in winter while still enabling me to wear short skirts! You also do wonders for making my ankles look less scrawny!

3. I love you when you are thigh-high! You really know how to turn a boring outfit into an edgy one! Under skirts or over pants, you always look cool and keep me warm!

4. I love you when you are colorful! For a long time, I thought shoes should be sensible neutral colors so they could go with everything...but then you showed me how bright, impractical colors can bring me true joy!

5. I love you when you lace up! Up the front, up the back, up the side...your laces hold me in your thrall!

6. I love you when you are fuzzy! Your (faux) fur trim gives me one more reason to hold you in reserve until winter, when you can warm the cockles of my heart and the tops of my calves just when I need you the most (in the midst of seasonal depression)!

7. I love you when you glitter! Boots alone are fabulous, but boots with sparkle are glamorous!

8. I love you when you are oversized! Unlike tops, there can be no boot that is too bulky. And when you are enormous in size and outlandish in color and festooned with laces all in one, there is no doubt that you win the day!

Now that I have professed my love for winter footwear, I feel like I'm mentally prepared to take on the season in style!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

DIY Scary Fairy Costume

Remember the spiderweb dress that I wore for Halloween last year? So do I, and while wearing a costume twice is just not my M.O., it had too much potential to just throw or give it away.

I decided I would use it to make a pair of fairy wings, since I always see them at Renaissance fairs and secretly wish I had a pair of my own. The last pair of wings I made was rather puny, so I wanted these to be imposingly large.

I started by sketching out a few wing ideas, before finally settling on the bat-wing silhouette, which I then traced onto a large piece of paper. I made a few adjustments, so by the time I was done, it looked like a bunch of unrecognizable lines, but I knew which ones I wanted to follow.

I then deconstructed 4 coat hangers. I used two pairs of pliers to untwist and straighten the wires as well as I could (still couldn't get it perfect). For a while, I wrapped the pliers in tape so they wouldn't damage the finish on the hangers, but the tape was demolished so quickly, I gave up on that idea.

Once the hangers were straight, I bent them, using my hands and the pliers, into the shape of the wings.

One wire wasn't big enough for a whole wing, so I had to twist two wires together at one of the wing's joints.

The really hard part was figuring out a way to attach them to my body. They were surprisingly heavy, so I needed an industrial-strength solution! Eventually, I twisted the long tails of each around each other so they would meet at the center of my back and secured them with smaller wire and some epoxy. I then bent the remaining ends into a wavy shape and blunted the tips with a wrap of duct tape. I then threaded a belt over and under the waves so it couldn't slip out, and wrapped it around my chest. It was a reasonably sturdy solution, but still the wings collapsed too far to the side, so I later had my boyfriend wrap a twist tie around them near the base so they couldn't separate as much.
 Once the shaping was complete, I wrapped the frames in black sports tape to mask the wire's rather distracting glossiness.

Then, I laid out each wing on a piece of the former spiderweb dress and cut out an approximate wing shape from the fabric. Some stretching of the fabric was required (and desired, so that the fabric would stay taut) to make the whole wing fit.

Then, using craft glue, and all the binder clips at my disposal, I wrapped the fabric around the edges of the frame in segments and held it in place with the clips. When the glue on one segment was dry, I would remove the binder clips and do another segment. So this process actually took me a couple of days. I took a few pictures of this step, but they seem to have disappeared!

Now that the wings were done, the rest of the costume was the easy part!

I had a pair of spiderweb-pattern patterned mesh tights that were the perfect complement to the wings. I wore a black uneven-hem halter dress (this one) and then, the pièce de résistance, a forest green corset that I got at Rugged Wearhouse for 3 dollars and have been holding onto for the perfect occasion. 

This time, much to his relief, I didn't make the dog wear a costume.

I made a pair of arm warmers out of the original sleeves of the dress. That was easy—I just cut a small hole in the side seam where my thumb should go.

I couldn't do much with my hair that really screamed "dark fairy" to me, sadly, but the rest of the costume pleased me pretty well. I added a pet spider, the very same spider that graced my head in the spiderweb costume of last year.

 For the finishing touch, my go-to scary eye makeup: A dramatic cat-eye and green shadow to go with the corset!