February 2021 Get Out of a Rut Project day 12

Well, I got out of a rut today: Instead of numb depression and fuzzy executive function, I zoomed straight into unmanageable rage and despair. There are so many things happening right now that are horrible beyond words, and I am under major pressure around work responsibilities, and I couldn’t handle it. When it came time to choose an outfit I decided I wanted one that makes me feel sleek and badass (even though I’m never going to actually look sleek and badass because of how I’m built). Then that nearly fell apart when the boots I wanted didn’t fit, since shoe manufacturers don’t believe women with big calves deserve stylish, quirky leather boots. So I just picked something else and here’s what it came out as.

Purple velvet dress: Lane Bryant via Goodwill
Black knit cami: Soft Surroundings
Black leggings: Roamans
Black wedge boots: Miz Mooz
Amethyst & onyx cabochon jewelry: Angelwear Creations
Makeup—Aromaleigh except lips and mascara
Foundation, concealer, undereye: standard
Contour: Orpheus & Eurydice Deathly Pallor
Eye shadows: inner half of eye, Irregular Impulse; outer half, Lost in Faerie Caelia; crease and under lower lashes, Mythos Erebos (all discontinued)
Liner on top lid: Tesla Alternating Current (LE)
Mascara: standard
Rouge: Get Cheeky! Smolder (discontinued)
Highlighter: Fatalis Solanum dulcamara
Powder: Glamoured Avena
Lips: NYX Cosmetics Suede Matte Lip Liner Amethyst, Black Label Lipstick Seduction (discontinued), Shimmer Down Lip Veil Fortune Teller (discontinued)

At the time I bought this dress, it wasn’t a style I typically wore: too straight, too short, high waistline. But I ended up pleased with how it fit. Flashing back to my rants about waistlines early in this project, it turns out that this type of high waistline that curves up under the bust and then lower in back does work on me. The typical straight empire waist is impossible for my build, but this style (which is more Regency-influenced) provides more definition and lets the skirt flow in a way that doesn’t highlight (what I think is) the worst about me. This discovery was also happy because waistlines like this are common in many 1930s and 1940s styles, and helps me find dresses that can go with my Noir Dame aesthetic.

There’s nothing wrong with these boots in and of themselves; you’ve seen the style already in another color. But this particular outfit, to me, calls for a tall boot with a tallish heel and more pointed toe, and the pair I have that meets those criteria is not fitting these days because of pandemic bloat. When I was already feeling on a razor edge of emotion because of other things, having that happen made me fragile and self-loathing. Since I barely hold those feelings off on good days, there was no way I was going to be able to manage them productively today. And that just increases the feelings of self-loathing, because vicious cycles are durable.

I’m questioning whether I have the fortitude to continue this project. The last few days have felt stressful and unpleasant because of other responsibilities and doing the outfits hasn’t been fun. I’ll see how I feel tomorrow.  But it could end here.

February 2021 Get Out of a Rut Project day 11

As you can see from the numbering, not only was there not a bonus outfit, there wasn’t even an outfit on a scheduled day. A weird combination of things on Monday gave me all the effects of a migraine (though it was not one in practice) and I just couldn’t deal with outfitting. I was able to sketch out the outline of an ensemble for today before bed last night, which was helpful when I woke up more than an hour before my alarm this morning and developed a bunch of additional aggravations over the course of a day. So at least I was capable of doing the project today.

Sentence-diagram knit top: Svaha USA
Long knit skirt: April Cornell
Plum & lilac striped socks: Sock Dreams
Shoes: Fluevog Wicked Thanks
Knit & lace scarf: Target
Iridescent glass flower bead pendant & earrings: Designs by Victoria (no longer operating)
Makeup—Aromaleigh unless otherwise stated
Foundation, concealer, undereye: standard
Contour: Medousa Menagerie Amphisbaena
Eye shadows (all discontinued): lid, rocks! stillinhollywood; browbone & inner corner, Lost in Faerie Rosina; crease & outer corner, Eye Lustre Isabella
Liner: Gothic Lolita Elegant Reverie (discontinued)
Mascara: standard
Rouge: rocks! wildflower (discontinued)
Highlighter: Catherine of Aragon Humble & Loyal
Powder: Gothic Lolita Moonbright (discontinued)
Lips: NYX Cosmetics Powder Puff Lippie Senior Class

In retrospect, this outfit leans a bit “ceramics teacher at the new age women’s center,” which isn’t entirely my style, but I think it’s coherent within itself. I don’t wear long skirts these days as much as I used to, but this is one of my most reliable pieces and it’s comfortable when I’m dealing with tired and achy days.

Svaha USA, where I got the top, specializes in nerdy STEAM designs; most of their ideas are inspired by hard sciences, but there’s a subset of their designs that comes from various facets of publishing. This top features that hardcore and now little-scene grammar process, sentence diagramming, and the sentences diagrammed come from works including Alice in Wonderland, Anne of Green Gables, and Sense & Sensibility. Being a writer and editor, I was tickled by the concept, and the fact that it was purple made it a must for me. Svaha’s clothes are made well and a lot of it is in soft organic cotton knit, and many of their items come with pockets (though not this top, as it happens). And their sizing goes up to 4X, plus they have kids’ clothes and fun accessories. I like them a lot and have several other pieces, including a skirt with proofreading marks and another with typewriter keys.

I love these shoes so much. They’re the most comfortable heels I’ve ever worn. I randomly bought them off eBay when I found them for a fairly low price (for Fluevogs), and when I got them immediately regretted that I hadn’t bought every available color and style when they were in stores. They hit everything I need in shoes: a distinctive, quirky style; wide enough for my cranky feet; arch support; super comfy rubber soles; and a thick, solid heel that doesn’t strain my feet or my back. I continue to hunt for other styles, but more than a decade since they were released, I know it won’t necessarily be easy. Today, they were right for how tired and aggravated I was.

Maybe tomorrow will be a better day.

February 2021 Get Out of a Rut Project day 10

This was a day when I did not even manage to get dressed until I finished work, because it took every resource I had just to keep up with the work day. Not only did I not get dressed, I didn’t even have an outfit planned. When I finished work I stood in my dressing room for 10 minutes, picking at various pieces of purple clothing until I managed to assemble an ensemble, and another 10 minutes fussing through jewelry because it was absurdly difficult to find a necklace that felt right. I like this outfit in concept, but it was so much effort to put together that I feel kind of resentful of it.

Black knit neo-Victorian top: eShakti
Dark purple skirt: eShakti
Cabled sweater leggings: Roamans
Shoes: Fluevog Mini Bunny
Necklace: Fred Meyer
Earrings: 1928 Jewelry
Makeup—Aromaleigh unless otherwise stated
Foundation, concealer (forgot the undereye!): standard
Contour: Orpheus & Eurydice Deathly Pallor
Eye shadow (all discontinued/LE): inner lid, Moulin Rouge Soiree; browbone and down to inner corner, Earth Sea Sky Petalsweet; crease and outer corner and under lower lashline, Starry Night Shaula
Liner: rocks! blackangel (discontinued)
Rouge: Jane Seymour Sweets and Wine (discontinued)
Highlighter: Galactic Stelliferous Era
Powder: Orpheus & Eurydice Beloved
Lips: NYX Cosmetics Soft Matte Lip Cream Transylvania

I’m sure there’s someone out there thinking “Caterpillar sleeves were two years ago.” But I was SO THRILLED to find this neo-Victorian style in comfy jersey knit that I bought it in every color they had, because neo-Victorian is forever and not having to feel constricted is a big bonus.

The Fluevog Mini family is my last hurrah for high heels. I wrecked my feet wearing cheap pointy-toed pumps with high spike heels and cheap no-arch-support flats in the 1980s, and arthritis and knee injuries finished what the bad shoes didn’t. My body called foul on anything over a 3-inch heel years ago, and even much over 2 inches has been difficult the past few years; and any kind of slender heel has been no go for ages. But somehow, the 3-inch Mini heel works, with the wide stable base helping to spread out the heel pressure. It’s not “walk a mile” comfortable, but for a typical single day with ordinary walking around, it works. (It helps that the shoes are wide and have good arch support, so I don’t feel uncomfortable in other ways.) And I love the playful neo-Victorian feel of this style, especially in this warm purple/warm rose/powder pink combo.

Yes, I coordinated my eye shadows with my shoes. I have warned you about my matchy-ness. It’s not uncommon for me to build an entire outfit or color scheme around a single item.

There may be a weekend outfit, depending on whether the pending winter storm wrecks our Valentine’s Day plans and I get too petulant about it to bother. Considering that I was almost too cranky to bother today, I would recommend not getting your hopes up.

Get Out of a Rut project day 9

Snow! We’re having our first snowstorm of the winter. This one isn’t expected to amount to much, which is my favorite kind of snow. It’s also quite cold, so layers and warmth were called for. I was thinking about a version of this outfit for yesterday before the meltdown happened; today was better, so I thought I’d go ahead and do it today.

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Black velveteen jacket: J. Peterman
Purple silk/cotton turtleneck: Chadwicks
Burnout velvet skirt: Value Village
Swirly purple leggings: Woman Within
Black ruffle & button boots: Miz Mooz Bloom
Black metal baroque pendant: Fable & Fury
Black metal baroque earrings: Fred Meyer
Makeup—Aromaleigh unless otherwise stated
Foundation, concealer, undereye: standard
Contour: Orpheus & Eurydice Deathly Pallor
Eye shadows: lid, Hot in the City Girls Night Out (discontinued); crease, Ciao Italio Fruitti di Bosco (discontinued); browbone, En Pointe Dulcina (discontinued)
Liner: Butter London Glazen liner Ultra Violet (LE)
Mascara: standard
Rouge: rocks! wildflower (discontinued)
Highlighter: Fatalis Solanum dulcamara
Powder: Gothic Lolita Moonbright (discontinued)
Lips: NYX Butter Gloss Gelato (shade may be discontinued by they still have this line)

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This outfit features one of my other personal motifs: swirly designs that feel rococo and/or evoke vines and leaves. I really love 18th century style (my wedding dress was based on an 18th century robe anglaise design), and the vine/leaf thing is another side of my goblincore tendencies—vines always feel wild and vaguely ominous to me, the potential for out-of-control growth smothering all else. (As I mentioned earlier in the week, Maleficent was my first goth influence.) I’m also very fond of spirals, and that can be reflected in vine patterns as well.

I don’t have a lot else to say on today’s ensemble. I like it and it’s good for the weather. And I enjoyed taking some violets out into the snowstorm.

February 2021 Get Out of a Rut Project day 8

Today has been hard. We have winter storms on the way, and the falling air pressure and rapidly-dropping temps have my arthritis in overdrive. Combine that with stress about deadlines at work and I slept VERY badly and woke up too early. The day continued with more thwarted deadlines and wrecked plans and an inexplicable internet outage, and it all piled up to induce a quiet sobbing meltdown. I came very close to not doing today’s outfit at all. But sometimes I feel better after I get the whole thing together, and it’s at least one thing I can complete right now.

Purple cotton sweater: Value Village (label is Blue Sky)
Black & white stripe ponte skater skirt: Torrid
Leggings: Carousel Ink
Purple nubuck boots: Hotter Shoes Belle
Black fleece arm warmers: Talismana Designs via Sock Dreams
Silver & black star diopside “Orbits” neckace: Angelwear Creations
Black onyx & silver wire cabochon earrings: Angelwear Creations
Makeup—Aromaleigh unless otherwise noted
Foundation, concealer, undereye: standard
Contour: Medusa Menagerie Amphisbaena
Eye shadow: front of lid, Pure Eyes Frost Hyacinth (discontinued); rest of lid, Crystal Fretting (LE); browbone, Spring Solstice Larkspur (discontinued); crease & corner, Medusa Menagerie Sthenno
Liner: Holly-Days Midnight Mess (LE)
Mascara: standard
Rouge: Goddess of the Month Iris
Highlighter: Galactic Gravitational Lensing
Powder: Ultra Resolution English Rose
Lips: NYX Cosmetics Matte Lipstick Up the Bass

Today’s outfit is basically a color variation on the one from last week: long sweater, short skirt, leggings, boots. As I said then, some days I just need to be able to be comfy and quick when I get dressed. I decided to go with the B&W skirt to break up the palette a bit; I would have done B&W jewelry as well, but I wore it all when I did this last August and I’m trying not to repeat clothes or accessories.

The arm warmers are for my arthritis. I have it bad in my hands, and the pain refers up into my forearms. Nice cozy arm warmers like these help mitigate that, and provide a little stylishness too. I have them in a few colors, because, as noted several times during this project, when I find something that works for me, I get multiples. They’re out of stock at Sock Dreams, which is where I bought them; a few other colors are available from the Talismana Designs Etsy shop, linked above, and there are some other styles as well.

And yes, the hair is the same as yesterday. You’ll probably see this more times before the project is over. As with most things in my outfits, there’s a reason.

There was a meme on Twitter a couple of weeks ago that asked what your two accessories would be if you were an action figure. Mine were a mug of tea, and an octopus clip. I have a lot of hair, very dense and heavy, as well as prone to Medusa-esque qualities, and when it gets more than a couple of inches past my shoulders, it becomes hard to wear loose and down. Thus, when my hair is as long as it is currently, it needs to be corralled.

I am capable of doing a lot of cool things with my hair; I can do numerous kinds of updos, braids, and twists. However, a lot of those cool things require a lot of pins and clips to manage, and there are days when having to stick all that stuff in my hair becomes a source of discomfort. And on days when my arthritis is active, forget it, there’s no way I’m managing the effort of twisting and wrapping and folding and holding to do something cool. Also, a lot of those cool things take time, and some days I don’t have or don’t want to spare the time required.

Doing a basic ponytail with an elastic or large barrette is an option, but my hair is so heavy that it’ll pull these fasteners down unless I can fasten them very tightly, which goes back to the “source of discomfort” issue. And a low ponytail is prone to the Medusa problem, with my hair wrapping into and around neck, collars, and jewelry.

The one tool that address all of this is an octopus clip. The design and the way it holds my hair doesn’t give me quite as many issues with pulling or discomfort as other hair accessories, and it gets my hair up and away from my neck well enough that my hair is less likely to wrap around other things. And on top of everything, it’s quick: gather the hair up, twist a big elastic around it a couple of times, flip it up and clip it. So it’s the best option for days when I hurt too much or my hands won’t cooperate or I don’t want to spend a lot of time on it (or all three). Therefore, an octopus clip is one of my action accessories.

February 2021 Get Out of a Rut Project day 7

Today was my second (and last) day this month to be onsite at work. We’re also entering a cold snap. So today was very much about easy and cozy.

Black cotton corset-waist sweater dress: Torrid
Bright violet leggings: Woman Within
Knee-high silver hardware boots: Miz Mooz
Violet mixed-stitch scarf: New Zealand, gift from MIL
Mixed crystal necklace and earrings: Fred Meyer
Makeup—Aromaleigh unless otherwise stated
Foundation, concealer, undereye: standard
Contour: Medusa Menagerie Amphisbaena
Eye shadows: Les Papillons Butterfly Kisses and Victoria’s Revenge Mourning’s Whimsy (both discontinued)
Liner: Victoria’s Revenge Poison Utopia (discontinued)
Mascara: standard
Rouge: Brilliant Deductions Purple Shirt of Sex (discontinued)
Highlighter: Anne Boleyn Marquess
Finishing powder: Fatalis Convallaria majalis
Lips: Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm Shameless (discontinued)

This dress is another example of a thing I buy multiple times; I have it in three other colors and I’m trying to find the remaining one on eBay. Sweater dresses are pretty much the best thing in the world this time of year.

I mentioned a few entries back that I own A LOT of cotton leggings. I don’t have any particular preference on those; I like a variety of colors and patterns, and I like them even better for a low cost. So I tend to buy a lot of them from the discount plus-size catalogs. That’s the case here. That said, Roamans (which isn’t really discount these days) has the softest cotton leggings I’ve tried, while Torrid has by far the best fit and quality.

Here is my confession about makeup: On days I have to be onsite, I don’t do a full face in the morning. These days it doesn’t make sense to; masks make lipstick, rouge, highlighter irrelevant, and I’m usually there by myself so the only person who might see me is the mail carrier. But even in the Before Times, when I had to be onsite five days a week, I didn’t do the level of makeup I describe in these posts. The need to get up early along with my general lack of Morning Person inclination meant the last thing I wanted to do was add extra time to my routine. Back then the usual routine was foundation, concealer, two eye shadows, liner & mascara, and something on my lips (that more often than not I would fail to reapply after having breakfast). I had the routine down to 10 minutes at one point, because cutting out extraneous steps meant sleeping a little bit longer.

For onsite days, I still have to get up an hour earlier than is normal for pandemic life. So today, I followed the old routine, minus even the lip color, but I’m out of practice at it and can’t get it done quite as fast anymore, which is an additional reason to not do the full complement. The face you see in these photos was done after I got home this afternoon. Maybe it’s cheating. (Though I probably can’t really cheat at something I made up the rules for and that I’m the only participant in.)

Here’s another confession: On days I’m at home, I don’t usually do the makeup until I’m done with work around 3 p.m. (That’s why these posts happen in the evening.) It’s for the same reason: Doing a full face in the morning means getting up earlier, and I value sleep more than having my makeup done early in the day. I envy morning people—I genuinely do. It must be great to be able to get up with plenty of time before you need to be ready to work and have the capacity to be productive for that part of the day. But I am never going to be a person who can do that.

February 2021 Get Out of a Rut Project day 6

(Reminder that the parameter for this project is outfits guaranteed on weekdays only.)

I knew that I wanted to get some color into this week’s outfits, since the first week was all shades of gray and black. And I remembered that I hadn’t worn this dress in a while. So it’s dark cool purples for this outing. FWIW, I would (and have) worn this outfit to my workplace; this is a nice example of the spectrum of how I define corpgoth.

Rayon/spandex knit dress: Disney via Torrid
Cotton knit cami: Newport News Clothing (out of business)
Boots: Fluevog Enneagram Optimist
Jewelry: Treasured Finds Silver Jewelry (out of business)
Foundation, concealer, undereye: standard
Contour: Aromaleigh Orpheus & Eurydice Deathly Pallor
Eye Shadow: Aromaleigh Valentine Digital Romance (LE) and MEOW Winter Coat (LE)
Liner: Aromaleigh Moulin Rouge Garter (LE)
Mascara: standard
Rouge: Aromaleigh Get Cheeky! Smolder (discontinued)
Highlighter: Aromaleigh Goddess of the Month Nyx
Lips: Butter London Plush Rush Gloss Ultra Violet (LE)

Yes, I am matchy-matchy in this. I own it. I don’t tend to do a lot of color mixing and I like doing a coordinated color palette with a range of shades in the same base tone. I tend to do this most often in purple since I am one of Those People about my favorite color and because of my hair, but my idea of purple can range from basically mauve to blueberry to almost burgundy. And sometimes I’ll do it with red or pink, and even with very dramatic lipstick shades like gray or green.

The dress is licensed Disney and if you look closely at the hem you’ll spot some low-key Villains symbols. I am not a Disney Person as such, though I do have affinity for Maleficent since she was my very first goth influence when I was a whole four years old. (My feelings about art that matters to me being in the iron control of ginormous, IP-hoarding corporations are something I wrestle with regularly, and it’s rough, but in-depth discussion on that is better suited to its own blog post.) The main reason I like this dress is the design of branching brambles, which is among my personal motifs; the goblincore in me finds something deeply compelling about images or silhouettes of bare branches and brambles. And the indigo color is a nice bonus.

Remember back at the beginning of the project when I mentioned that I keep stuff for a long time if it fits? Yeah. I don’t remember exactly when I bought this cami, but I’m confident it’s been a couple of decades. And, in a callback to my gripes about the inconsistency of sizing, it’s tagged M. But it still fits.

The necklace and earrings are iolite in sterling. The vendor for these has been gone for quite awhile as well; I believe I bought these pieces in the early Aughts. I fell in love with iolite as a kid, when my mother inherited some gorgeous floral-motif custom pieces that had belonged to my grandmother. I love pear and marquise cuts, and the settings and links on the necklace give it the feel of stones in chainmail, which appeals to my weird aesthetic sense of jumbled influences.

Yes, the boots are only laced partway. This is because Fluevog, despite my love for them, continues to think that people with powerful calves don’t buy their boots. Every time I wear these I tell myself I need to get longer laces. And then I forget. But partially-laced boots are their own kind of statement.

My hair is out of control. I really need a haircut but I’m not willing to go into a salon yet. None of the options for putting it up felt quite right for this outfit, and/or put too much strain on my head and neck for me to tolerate when my pain is being insistent. (Tangent: When I was considering this I started thinking about how the hairstyles for female Disney villains tend to fall into two motifs: Tightly controlled/covered [Maleficent, Evil Queen] or utterly wild [Ursula, Cruella de Ville]. Feels like there’s some subtext to unpack there.) So today I just let it be wild, kind of like the brambles on my dress.

Noir Alley February 6, 2021: The Killer That Stalked New York

This is the first installment of a new project to write a review each week of the films of Noir Alley, the weekly broadcast of a noir or noir-adjacent film on TCM hosted by Eddie Muller. I’m borrowing an idea from film & TV critic Matt Zoller Seitz and limiting each review to roughly 30 minutes of writing, as much because I’m not up for a long writing stretch at 11 p.m. on a Saturday night as for any real discipline.

The Killer That Stalked New York, 1950

This movie folds a noirish plot about a jewel thief and her cheating husband into a documentary-style narrative inspired by the 1947 smallpox outbreak in New York City. The two are tied together by having the jewel thief be the smallpox carrier who infects the city. It’s a…novel way to frame a story, to be sure.

Evelyn Keyes is Sheila Bennet, who returns from Cuba with a packet of smuggled diamonds and a nasty headache. She’s being tailed by a fed who suspects her, so she puts the diamonds in the mail, calls her husband, and then heads to a flophouse hotel to lose the cop. But she starts to feel really sick, so a smarmy bellboy sends her off to a nearby clinic. The clinic staff, with no reason to suspect something as dire as smallpox, gives her some medicine to prop her up. And Sheila heads out into the streets for a nightmare of infectious contacts before going home, where her husband has spent her time away canoodling with her sister. Meanwhile a little girl Sheila interacted with at the clinic comes down with a horrible headache, high fever, and rash, sending the clinic staff on a hunt for the cause.

This is a really odd film. The noir plot is serviceable enough, with the husband (played by Charles Korvin) becoming progressively more despicable and leaving double-crosses, suicide, and possible murder in his wake. And the scenes of Sheila wandering around the city unknowingly infecting people are extremely tense, with excellent framing and pacing. The film was shot on location and the real-life New York settings bring a sense of realness and place that anchor the story.

The other part of the film is about issues that are painfully valid right now: diagnosing the mystery illness, contact tracing, mass vaccination campaigns (complete with anti-vaxxers), vaccine shortages and supply-chain issues. It’s framed in documentary style with montages that include footage from 1947 and public-health campaign signs, exposition via long imperious voiceover, and ponderous speeches from actors playing various public health officials. The noir plot disappears for long stretches of time and feels odd and out of place when it comes back. Nothing about the film ever entirely comes together.

Of course it was rough to watch this after nearly a year of being stranded in the middle of a raging pandemic. Many people on the Saturday #NoirAlley hashtag on Twitter tapped out early, saying it was causing them too much anxiety. I did all right with the scenes of infection spread and contact tracing, but started to falter when the vaccine campaigns began, because it’s so painful to know that we had the capacity for this once upon a time and people in power made decisions to prevent us doing this for COVID-19. It also felt like a precursor to Contagion, with similarity in the ordinariness of how the infection spreads, and how the people in public health wrestle with the realization of what they’re dealing with and how to stop it. I have to wonder whether Steven Soderbergh is familiar with this film.

Evelyn Keyes is great in a hard role that requires her to be both a noir femme fatale and a public health menace, balancing the two aspects well enough to remain sympathetic, though the makeup decisions do her no favors. Other standouts are Whit Bissell as her estranged brother, with an amazing scene that has them spitting bile at each other and yet still maintaining a sibling bond, which feels more real than much of the film; and Dorothy Malone, in a small role as a nurse, somehow managing to be sex on heels even in a nurse’s uniform, though she has very little to do after her first scene in the clinic with Sheila. But all the men playing various public officials and health professionals are largely stiff bores, stuck with long speeches and self-righteous anger. Every moment of believable emotion in this movie comes from the female characters, and that, too, feels very relevant right now.

I appreciated the opportunity to see this unusual hybrid and to get a look at how this country handled a dangerous outbreak of a virus 70-plus years ago. But it was a bit of a slog and I’m not sure I’d watch it again.

Fashion recap

I’ve been running a project this past week to dress up and describe my outfits; and while the project is set only for weekdays, I decided that Noir Alley is a good opportunity to go for a kinda-fancy, vintage-inspired outfit each week, since it’s been my only regular Saturday date for the past 11 months and will continue to be for at least the next several months. (I am in the next to last tier for vaccination and don’t expect I’ll get the jab until summer.) And if I’m going to do that, I might as well include it with the weekly recap.

Dress: Unique Vintage
Camisole: Victorian Trading Company
Stockings: GNW tights for Fred Meyer
Shoes: Fluevog Mini Gorgeous
Jewelry: Fred Meyer
Hair flower: bought at Joann, don’t recall the brand
Makeup: Face and eyes Aromaleigh, CoverGirl mascara, LA Splash Golden Gatsby lipstick in Audrey

I decided on this dress not just because of the roughly 1940s silhouette, but because the houndstooth pattern is in line with a theme of checks, plaids, and menswear patterns I did for the weekly project. The cami is because the dress is cut for someone with a much longer shoulder-to-bust ratio than I have and it’s so low-cut that it doesn’t fit correctly on me. (I’m not ashamed of my cleavage, I just think showing off my underpinnings isn’t period correct.) I didn’t do full period-style hair because, honestly, I can’t be bothered to spend that kind of time. When I got to noir city, I take an entire afternoon to do my hair. Saturday night at home in front of the TV, not quite as compelling.

February 2021 Get Out of a Rut Project day 5

I’ve had an outfit planned for today all week. (In fact, it was originally going to happen earlier in the week.) And then I put it on and I disliked it. I disliked it so much that I considered scrapping today. I took some deep breaths and figured out another outfit. That one went so badly that I was briefly in tears and really considered scrapping today. But I gave myself a little time to calm down and looked around my dressing room and decided screw it, it’s Friday, and casualness (if not whimsy) are encouraged. So we end up with an improvised casual-Friday goth outfit instead.

Gray fleece jacket: Soft Surroundings
Black T-shirt: Woodland Park Zoo ZooStore
Black and gray check pants: Torrid
Boots: Fluevog Earl of Warwick Lancaster
Makeup—Aromaleigh unless otherwise stated
Foundation, concealer, undereye: standard
Contour: Insectarium Alucita
Eye shadows: Moth (gray with pink/green interference) and Risque (cool gray satin) (discontinued), MEOW Cosmetics Winter Spirits Sparkling (LE)
Liner: Drama Queen Silver (discontinued)
Mascara: standard
Rouge: Vernal Roses (LE, but Amalasuntha is a re-creation of it)
Highlighter: Luminary (discontinued)
Finishing powder: Orpheus and Eurydice Beloved
Lips: NYX Matte Lipstick Ultra Dare (may be discontinued, but the line still exists) topped with Shimmer Down Lip Veil Goth Love (discontinued)
Earrings: Fred Meyer
Necklace: purchased a few years ago from a vendor at the Mourning Market artisan fair in Seattle
(You also get freshly-washed, still-damp hair that is fairly uncontrollable; I haven’t had a haircut in more than a year and a half.)

How much do I love fleece jackets from Soft Surroundings? So much that I have four (different colors) in this specific style, and two others in different styles, and I’m continually trawling eBay for others. Remember what I said yesterday about the joint need for comfortable and office appropriate? These hit that intersection perfectly.

I’m not normally given to buying T-shirts from attractions, but this one is special. First, it’s absurdly goth, and that alone might have been enough. Second, Woodland Park Zoo is very special to me. I originally became a volunteer there in 2010 (which is when I bought this shirt), and spent a year serving as a keeper’s aide, where I got to make food for red pandas and tiny deer, help weigh swans and southern screamers, and assist in hand-raising of a flamingo chick. It was one of the most meaningful experiences of my life and ultimately led to me changing professional paths into the nonprofit world, as well as other volunteer work with organizations focused on environmental and wildlife conservation. I returned to WPZ as a volunteer in 2015 and am currently a docent with focus in snow leopard conservation, bats, Komodo dragons, and African Savannah and Pacific Northwest ecosystems. Of course, I haven’t actually volunteered in nearly a year; it’s not yet safe to have volunteer educators on grounds. But I will go back eventually, and in the meantime my absurdly goth shirt helps me remember this place I love.

The pants are notable because for a really long time—somewhere in the realm of 15 years—I did not wear pants at all. I had a really hard time finding pants that fit (see my diatribe about fit on day 2 of the project) and I didn’t like how I looked. When I did start wearing them again it was mostly for my volunteer work. But over the last year or so, I’ve stopped feeling quite as negative about I how I look in them. Since last August I’ve bought five pairs, all skinny. Most are from Torrid, which has a lot to do with it—I can be confident that pants from them will fit in the challenging places. They’re still mostly too long, but that’s easier to deal with than the rest of it.

Technically, by the (self-imposed) rules of the project, I’m done for the week; weekends aren’t required. But since I make the rules, something else might happen. If not, though, I’ll be back for the second week of this on Monday 2/8.

February 2021 Get Out of a Rut Project day 4

Today ended up being a day for comfort. I’ve had really wretched sleep for a couple of weeks now, we had storms move in (after a break yesterday) which ramped up some chronic pain issues, and the cold is really getting to me. But I figured comfort could also accommodate a little bit of postpunk.

Cotton cowlneck sweater: Value Village (don’t remember the brand)
Plaid skater skirt: Torrid
Leggings: Carousel Ink (transitioned to Fox Savant but they no longer offer these cotton leggings, alas)
Boots: Fluevog Hopeful Serene
Makeup is Aromaleigh unless otherwise stated
Foundation, concealer, undereye: standard
Countour: Medusa Menagerie Amphisbaena
Eyes: Shadows and liner all discontinued; mascara is standard CoverGirl
Rouge: Goddess of the Month Psyche
Highlighter: Catherine of Aragon Humble & Loyal
Finishing powder: Fatalis Convallaria majalis
Lips: NYX Macaron Chambord (discontinued) over Slim Lip Pencil Black Berry
Heart earrings: A vendor at Norwescon a few years ago, unfortunately can’t recall the name
Necklace: Fred Meyer

This sweater is one of my favorite pieces because it’s soft, not too heavy but still warm, and I really like how it fits, so it’s one of my first choices when I have days where warmth and comfort are primary factors. Leggings are a no-brainer on these days, and I have a variety of knee-length skirts I can wear over leggings. (I’m old school and believe that Leggings Are Not Pants, and I like doing this kind of layering.) I hadn’t consciously intended to go with the plaids & checks theme this week when I started, but when I realized I was doing it I figured I’d carry it through, and picked this cozy sweater-knit plaid.

It’s not the most exciting outfit, so I figured I could spice it up with some callbacks to my postpunk youth, which was supported by the plaid skirt: sparkly contrast-y eyes and black lips, as well as the kinda stompy boots (which are also comfortable–my need for comfort doesn’t stop at shoes). I didn’t feel like going fully matchy with jewelry colors like yesterday, so instead I picked these pieces in silvertone and clear, which are fun and easy to wear.

Truth is, a lot of my wardrobe over the past several years has prioritized comfort. I have several health conditions that can mean chronic pain or weather-related achiness, and when that happens I really want the option for soft, non-restrictive clothing. But I also needed to achieve a degree of appropriate corpgoth for my job back in the days when being in the office every day was a requirement, and I needed to be able to get dressed quickly and easily at crackofdawn o’clock. (I have learned to function early in the morning for a variety of reasons, but I am absolutely not a Morning Person, which also contributes to my chronic pain issues.)

The solution to both of these challenges ended up being a lot of knits: sweaters, jersey dresses and tops, knit skirts with soft waistbands, and leggings. (I own SO MANY pairs of cotton leggings. SO MANY.) So I have a lot of pieces that would give me the option of being stylishly appropriate for the office without sacrificing my need for comfort. And that ends up being a lot of what I wear day to day, even when I’m working from home.

I do have wardrobe pieces that are more obviously or dramatically gothy, and some of them will likely turn up during the course of this project. Today, though, comfort had to take priority. One of the things you get good at when you’re an Eldergoth is figuring out how to reconcile the goth and the elder in a stylish way.