Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Style Concept (A First Draft)

I discovered the idea of creating your own style concept some years ago on Gala Darling's blog via this post; it was only recently that I felt I had enough of an idea of my own likes and dislikes to really tackle it myself. This is only a rough first draft - as such, it's still kinda abstract and disjointed. I used this post on Into Mind to help me along. And I haven't yet come up with a name for my concept, but I'm working on it!

Half-girl, half-faerietale, she is a traveller and a nomad. Tassels, patterns in rich autumn colours, fringing, velvet, neutrals and jewel tones, brocade, paisley and tapestry prints. Crochet and lace, silver or warm copper-coloured jewellery. She smells of coffee and incense, moss and rainwater.

She could be a divination student. Big spectacles, a gentle (if not slightly bewildered) demeanor, She has long, soft, flowing hair. She collects Tarot cards. She wears cardigans, crystal jewellery, moon and star symbols. Soft, rosy, golden make-up. She wears gold glitter under her eyes on nights out. Doe eyes, long lashes. Sensual, mysterious. She loves witchery, owls, and walks in the moonlight.

She's a writer and an artist, a pencil in her hair, charcoal on her fingertips. Short nails, messy hair. Her haunts are greenhouses, old, quiet bookstores with that musty smell, and abandoned places. She might live in a fortune-teller's caravan, or in a houseboat with forty brocade cushions and clove-scented candles, or in a tiny apartment with plants growing on the windowsill. She might serve you in the bookstore with her hair in a messy bun. Sometimes her hair is blue, sometimes brown, sometimes red or blonde or faded green.

She studies folklore. Blouses, cable knits, a midnight-blue velvet turban, high-waisted jeans, jumpers patched at the elbow, vintage dresses, lace knickers, embroidery and folk prints. Paisley socks. Her dressing table is covered in perfumes and scented lotions; lavender, oak, frankincense, woodsmoke, amber, Her lip balm tastes like tea. She always has candles burning.

She reads runes. There's a Neil Gaiman book in her handbag. She wears a leather jacket, and takes her coffee black. Lots of soft grey t-shirts, ripped boyfriend jeans, oversized jumpers and scarves. Gilitter on her sheets and on her collarbones. She drinks elderflower cider and never eats meat. She wears slips and tea dresses with combat boots. With her friends she goes vintage shopping, stargazing, storytelling and wildcrafting, seeking out poky shops in strange towns, drinking coffee at two a.m..
My moodboard. None of these images are mine. (My personal version that I have printed has a couple more images on it, but they are people's selfies so I thought it was best not to add them to this version.)
'She's mad but she's magic. There's no lie in her fire,' - Charles Bukowski.

'She always had that about her, that look of otherness, of eyes that see things much too far, and thoughts that wander off the edge of the world,' - Joanne Harris.

'Like a magpie, I am a scavenger of shiny things; fairy tales, dead languages; weird folk beliefs; fascinating religions, and more,' - Laini Taylor.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Things I Love Thursday

Hello again!

I started doing TILT posts back on my old blog Bohemian Bloomers, but since I stopped blogging it's fair to admit I've been a gratitude-list slacker. In fact I have to admit that in recent years I've become a bit of a moaner, so it might even do me some good to try looking on the brighter side of things for a change. ;)
Me and my best girl Bronwyn in Brighton last year. Love this girl! <3

And so, without further ado:

  • Breakfast with friends. A really nice new independent cafe has opened up quite close to me; I loved the quirky, rustic decor and dragged my good chum Rosemarie along for breakfast. And I can't lie - actually getting up on my day off, putting on a nice dress and going out to a cafe for a veggie breakfast (with avocado, and the best hash browns I think I've ever eaten) made me feel like a grown-up. ;) And you can't beat a proper morning coffee!
  • Summer! Usually not my favourite time of year - the British summer; not warm enough for summer clothes, not cool enough for winter clothes, bah! - but it's been nice to see the sunshine. I have been making the effort to get out in the fresh air and make the most of it. Reading outdoors has become my new favourite activity.
  • Going to the optician's. I have two new pairs of new glasses and now I can see properly and not have fuzzy eyes and headaches all the time!
  • New blog layout! It's not a huge change but I tweaked it a little and I'm much happier with it now. 
  • Holiday planning. My boyfriend and I try to go somewhere new at least every year. I haven't got the moulah to escape from the country this year, but we're looking at a weekend away somewhere quirky like Glastonbury for my birthday in September.
  • Writing. OK, that may be fairly obvious, but I very recently got my first proper writing job for a real magazine. I don't want to share too many details until everything goes ahead in case anything changes but I will say that it's an alt fashion magazine (squee!) and I'm currently working on an article which involves interviewing somebody I have admired for a long time (and they are really nice! Double squee!). 

  • New books. Always a delight, but I have maybe overdone it a tad this last few weeks with book-buying. I've had some great secondhand finds (this week I picked up fifteen Laurell K. Hamilton books for £5, and seven faerie and witchcraft-related books for £8. You can't beat a bargain like that) and I also discovered GoodReads, which has cost me a fortune in tracking down and devouring books from overseas publishers that I haven't even heard of before (currently reading: Fairytales for Wilde Girls by Allyse Near). The book piles are taking over my room, but it's so worth it!
  • My friends. I have been spending time with my best girls this month, individually and together, and my goodness but I love them. So. Damn. Much. The friends who know you're a lunatic and love you, not despite of it, but because of it. 
What about you guys? What are you loving right now? What's the best part of your day? <3

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Style Confusion

Since drifting away from the Goth scene, I have been dabbling in a variety of fashions and subcultures, and still I have found myself at a loss. The trouble is, I love so many different styles and have so many inspirations, and I find them so conflicting that I can't even think how to combine them (for example, Scandinavian-inspired sleek minimalism, vs. faerie-esque bohemian).

I would rather be inspired by these things and use that inspiration to create my own style, than attempt to tick all the boxes and fit myself into one category or another, but where I was deeply involved in a specific subculture for a long period of time, I find it very strange still not to 'belong'. In some ways I found it easier to be a cookie-cutter stereotype, whether it really fits you or not, than to try and figure out who you really are.

Post-Goth, my first move was to fling myself onto the interwebs and try to find another subculture that spoke to me in the same way, and essentially I have been doing variations on this same behaviour ever since. In some ways it has taught me a lot. For example, I spent some time as a dreadheaded faux-hippie-wannabe and I did commit myself fairly whole-heartedly (went vegan, stopped shaving, quit make-up), which, whilst long-term turned out not to be for me, did teach me a lot of things about the way I relate to my body, and how ingrained beauty standards can be.

But I digress.

I'm sure I can't be the only person out there who has difficulty finding how best to express themselves visually through fashion. I thought I would continue minimising my social media use (helps avoid further confusion) and attempt to try to glean some sense of what it is from each of these styles that 'speaks' to me; and in the meantime, if anyone in a similar situation has any tips (or woes!) to share, that would be most helpful - welcome aboard!

My awkward journey through style
Gothing it up - where it all began!
I have always loved the Goth look, but I gave up on being a Goth (after seven years immersing myself in all things spooky) because there were more and more elements of the scene that were no longer appealing to me. Plus I was finding that my image and appearance dominated my every waking thought, and I wanted a break from spending each and every moment trying to be the Queen of Darkness.

The wannabe-hippie phase.

I cut my dreads off for two reasons. 1) they were full of fluff. 2 ) I received several messages on Blogger and Tumblr expressing disappointment in my cultural appropriation. This was not something I was aware of so I read up on it, it made me feel pretty shitty, and I came to the conclusion that a hairstyle wasn't worth offending people over. I have never regretted cutting them off. It did also stop people stopping me in the street and asking if I could sell them marijuana, which was a bonus.

The year or so I spent exploring this style/lifestyle did help me in many ways. It gave me a break from fixating on my appearance and I rediscovered meditation, exercise and art; things which I had shoved to the side to focus on maintaining my blog. I had become the worst stereotype - like Jhonen Vasquez's Anne Gwish - 'being herself, as long as it looks good and people are watching.'
A mori/witchy/faerie/strega-inspired interlude. 
I enjoyed this, but felt like I was wearing a costume all the time, which got old fast. It did, however, gel with my interest in fae and folklore (and when I say 'interest' I mean 'obsession'), and satisfied the lingering Gothstalgia.
Attempted normality.
Most recently I've been experimenting with a simple, casual kind of style, inspired by books like How To Be Parisian and fashion bloggers that I'm following on Instagram. It's more natural, and once I got the hang of mainstream fashion proportions ('mom jeans'!), it's much easier and quicker to choose an outfit and get dressed in the mornings. I feel confident. The only problem is that I don't feel a pared-down, mainstream style says much about my interests, or about me as a person. I tell myself it gives people the chance to notice my personality before my clothes, but when I follow perennial inspirations such as my everlasting fave Von Monsta, I feel... well... boring. 

Which brings us to the present day, where I remain confused, overwhelmed, and wishing I didn't make things quite so difficult for myself (overthinking... it's not fun)..................

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Dreams and Schemes: A Quick Update

Yesterday was my self-imposed deadline for the list I made in my previous post Dreams and Schemes. I took myself off to Southampton for a day of shopping, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. I had expected to come home with bags and bags of goodies, a whole new wardrobe in fact, and I didn't. Instead I came home with a few well-chosen pieces that I am really happy with, that I can mix and match with my existing wardrobe. It's probably the first time in several years (in fact, maybe ever!) that I have come home from a big shopping trip with not one single regret.

Needless to say I did not manage to purchase every item on my shopping list. My haul was as follows:

  • one gorgeous fringed cardigan (Primark)
  • two pairs high-waisted jeans (Topshop (not pictured, because I'm wearing them), H&M)
  • two work-suitable tops (Topshop, charity shop)
  • pinny dress (charity shop)
  • black Mom shorts (charity shop, not pictured)
  • two necklaces (Urban Outfitters)
  • nightshirt (Topshop)
  • two bralettes (Urban Outfitters, Topshop (not pictured))
  • straw bag (Primark, which was a pleasant surprise)
  • fancy lacy lingerie (a negligee reduced from £30 to £7, and a lace body, both H&M)
  • umpteen pants (Urban Outfitters, Topshop)
  • closed-toe summer shoes for work (Topshop)
  • a nice brown belt (charity shop, not pictured)
  • The Coldest Girl In Coldtown by Holly Black (books are necessary)
There are still a few things I need but I've covered all the basics and I'm really pleased with what I bought! A breath of fresh air in my wardrobe was much needed. 

I also managed to make some real headway with clearing out some of my old stuff. I was excited to discover that under all the crapola I'd been hoarding I had some great things I'd forgotten that I even owned. The Great Wardrobe Clearout might finally be at an end... it's only taken two or three years, but c'est la vie... 

When I realised I was interested in experimenting outside the realms of Goth fashion I had to pretty much re-learn what I genuinely liked, what looked 'right' on me (still not a huge fan of colour... it's all about grey, black and cream ;) ), and what my style was. Meanwhile I went through several 'yikes' phases and badly-thought-out clothing decisions, resulting in a lot of money wasted and a lot of useless items to prune. I still don't know what my style is, but I know what it isn't, which is a huge step forward! Knowing what not to buy seems to me to be half the battle.

My media diet was very helpful in this. No, I didn't manage to avoid Tumblr, Pinterest or Instagram completely for two months, but I managed to cut my usage back to an hour or two once a week, which served a dual purpose of allowing me to fathom out my own likes and dislikes without a barrage of input (inspiration is all very well, but too much can be a distraction from your own personal tastes. I have in the past bought items because they looked so good on a blogger I liked, only to find out that I would never wear them because they weren't me at all), and freeing up more free time for other activities such as writing. 

I did also manage some vaguely regular exercise. I'm not a huge fan of sweating but I do like jogging at night when the air is fresh and everything is still (I did in fact jog last night, but only because I left my glasses at my boyfriend's house and had to run back and retrieve them). I have been walking a lot, and not just for shopping purposes! And I have been keeping up with my yoga, which I am devoted to, although I am the most inflexible human that I know. Before I started classes I couldn't even touch my toes!

I also squeezed in some time for meditation. Not much, and not often, but a bit, which is a definite improvement. I have found myself turning my attention to my breath during stressful times (work!!!) to calm and ground myself, so I do feel that even the least bit of effort is paying off for me.

I didn't pick up my guitar. It's still languishing in the loft. My defense is that clearing out my stuff left my room in such a state of chaos that I didn't want to bring it down and risk it getting damaged, but I'm good at finding excuses for being lazy! So this goes back on the to-do list for next time.

I know some of you guys set yourselves to-do lists and challenges for this date as well - how did you do? I wasn't perfect but I definitely made progress, and I hope you did too!
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