MLX10 Hangar Dance

Someone emailed me through the site the other day and I was all πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ I was always going to post another update but I made this more of a priority after people said nice things about me. Strangely my timetable has not freed up post-exams due to the huge number of things I’m juggling.

One of my current obssessions hobbies is swing dancing and as everyone on Twitter and Tumblr and Facebook already know I went to this amazing event organised by the Melbourne Lindy Exchange that was:

  • diesel-punk costume themed, and
  • located in a real airplane hangar, and
  • had a live big band playing, and
  • obviously, for swing dancing!

Bear with me if I’m repeating myself, but the outfits at the event were really amazing and if anything I was underdressed. That said, I dressed to the theme but knowing that I’d be moving around a lot and getting very warm and sweaty.

(And yes, that is a real plane in the above picture. It is an aircraft hangar after all.)

Dieselpunk

Over on the BrassGoggles forums I once came across this timeline of -punk addages that seemed… excessive, but anyhow dieselpunk is the alternate history version of WWII, the period from about 1920 to 1950 (think Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, the mOBSCENE video, and even um this Christina Aguilera videoclip) but it often gets lumped together with steampunk since there’s a lot of overlap between people interested in retrofuturism (which is also why I’ve stuck this under the steampunk category).

Where steampunk has the frills and ruffles of Victoriana, dieselpunk is a lot more utilitarian to reflect the wartime. Clothing shapes are very fitted against the body in comparison to wide skirts and puffy shoulders, and the lines tend to be very clean and straight rather than curved. You see a bit of brown here and there, but I’d say the staple colours are army green, beige, tan and all the shades of camouflage. Navy blues are also popular (to continue with the military theme) and bright reds are nice onΒ Rosie The Riveter style outfits.

The Outfit

When I first heard about the event I immediately knew what I wanted to wear, and that I wanted to go with a more militaristic look.

  • Backless, sleeveless shirt-halter vest thing – $10 from a random clothing store
  • High-waisted skirt – $35 from a Dizingof sale (!!)
  • White scarf – under $5 from thrift store
  • Olive Military Jacket – Westco, bought from eBay for $10
  • Goggles – $10 from eBay
  • Fingerless leather gloves – $20 from Sportsgirl
  • Boots – My $100 favourites from Tony Bianco

In terms of building the silhouette, everything is quite close-fitting, and I got more of that pinched waist look by the high-waisted skirt (which also has a bit of boning at the front which really helps keep the shape). The skirt is especially military-esque because of its colour, but also because of the position of double rows of buttons on the front. That’s something to look for in both your jackets and tops and bottoms (you’ll notice my olive jacket has two rows of buttons as well), and something you can definitely recreate by stitching button on existing items if you don’t have anything especially military-esque.

For maximum maneuverability I decided to forego a corset or a fitted belt, and similarly for dancing reasons I decided on wearing this halter-shirt-thing instead of an actual long-sleeved shirt and a neck tie, even though the latter would probably look a lot more formal.

If had the time I would have made myself a garrison cap (this pattern was originally from HMA Badger website, but the site is down as of this post which is why I’ve reuploaded it), but the goggles did a good job of keeping my hair back and the cap possibly would have just fallen off.

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Cyndi Lauper

Yes, that missed week was totally deliberate and required in order for you all to properly contemplate and appreciate Joseph Gordon-Levitt in a suit. It was not because of my failure to write up this post at all!

After that automatic moment of derision after being invited to an eighties costume party, I realised the eighties weren’t really all bad. The eighties had Bowie, Joan Jett, MacGyver and all sorts of good music and things and even fashion. Even I who advocates the wear-whatever-the-hell-you-want system have engaged in the popular pasttime of eighties fashion bashing. Yet the eighties is one decade epitomises the wear-whatever-the-hell-you-want doctrine and if I were honest with myself, I’d probably be rockin’ Cyndi Lauper’s look had I been fashion-conscious between my birth in 1987 and the end of the decade (also if I hadn’t been born in a Communist country but anyhow…).

I got my reference pictures from this website, but I set out to get that iconic “Girl Just Wanna Have Fun” sort of look. Lauper usually wears dresses with a fitted bodice that fan out from the waist, and then accessorises the hell out of them.

I have this tendency to fling everything out of my drawers when I’m constructing an outfit. In this case I was looking for 80’s colour, patterns and fabric: shiny, synthetic, neon-bright, clashy patterns. (As an aside, dressing like Cyndi Lauper would be very similar to dressing for Delirium.)

The Dress/Skirt

I couldn’t find a suitable dress or skirt to serve as the base layer so I basically had to style one from a silk wrap skirt I own. Because there are so many layers you want to the topmost layer to be the lightest and to also be the largest in terms of puff. As the layers go down they can be heavier and more fitted, but if you actually want them to be visible they’ll also need to be a bit longer than the one previous.

If you have a tulle tu-tu or something like that you should use it as a bottom layer to puff everything on top of it up a bit more. However keep in mind that not all skirts were made to be puffed; you should look for skirts that are gathered or pleated at the waistband and billow out. This may require a lot of experimentation – a lot of the skirts I tried on really didn’t work when layered on top of others.

Due to the nature of the wrap skirt I couldn’t get the fitted bodice look I wanted on the top so I ended up wearing an old sparkly tube top over everything else.

Accessories, Hair and Makeup

If you look at pictures of Lauper you’ll see that her jewellery is part and parcel of the look. I basically pulled out every single piece of loud, colourful and shiny jewellery I have and tried them on together without too much problem.

Look for long beaded necklaces of varying lengths. If there isn’t enough variation then you can wind some double around your neck.

The bracelets and bangles need to be chunky enough to jut out from the wrist. She also frequently wears fingerless and fishnet gloves as in the first picture of this post.

Before I left the house I backcombed my hair to get it sort of big and messy. I decided to go all out and added make up too – different coloured eyeshadow. I forgot the lipstick though, but if I hadn’t I’d go for an orange-red.

The Outfit

The Breakdown:

  • Two-layered silk wrap skirt – $30 eBay
  • Black tulle skirt – ~$40 Wildilocks (You can’t really see it here but it’s giving the bottom a bit more volume)
  • Singlet top – ~$10, pretty generic
  • Tube top – ~$10, also pretty generic
  • Gold sash – Stolen from Arts Ball a few years ago πŸ˜‰
  • Rainbow scarf – This was my mother’s.
  • Black granny wrap – ~$3 thrifted.
  • Lots of miscellaneous jewellery I had lying around the house. No idea how much it’d cost together.
  • Fingerless opera gloves – ~$5 from a discount store. They didn’t start off fingerless πŸ™‚
  • Tony Bianco boots – $100
  • Purple tights – ~$10
  • Odd socks – ~$5?
  • Top hat – $55 from Wildilocks. A bit more Boy George if you ask me.

I’m not sure to what extent I really got the look right or even if I looked very 80’s. On the night of the party I think someone described me as “carnival”. The problem was that I didn’t have a lot of the right fabrics, colours and patterns to dress the era properly.

If I went back I’d probably getΒ  a lot more of the fishnet happening and try adding more layers to the dress-skirt-thing I had on.

Oh the Eighties

This week is the start of semester 2 at uni, so you’ll have to wait a bit longer for my outfit deconstruction. In the meanwhile here’s some pictures to keep your eyes busy.

Who are these carefree youngthings?

(Ahem, I’ve done the impolite thing and just posted these up – I figure you guys won’t mind too much but if you do let me know and I’ll take your picture down.)