I heart you, readers

Of course I love all of you equally, but there’s a special place in my heart for commenters and PEOPLE WHO SEND ME PHOTOS OMG!! Every time someone tells me they’ve used the blog for inspiration I go all flaily on the inside. Writing on the internet is a bit like shouting in a crowd full of other people shouting (inferior shouting) so when someone hears me – someone who doesn’t know me IRL and is therefore obliged to say nice things – it is a really great feeling.

ANYWAY! Melissa, a reader of NaC, went as Tonks (original post here) to the HP 7.2 opening and has graciously allowed me to post a picture of her lovely self here! (Reminds me that I was going to do a wizarding post *coughcough*) If anyone else wants to send along photos for posting I would totally welcome it! I think it’s important to see people’s different interpretations of outfits and that there’s really no right to dress or even costume!

Kudos Melissa!

Wig = Amazon
Necklace = long black shoelace
Tank and Hoodie = Goodwill
Jacket = black denim dress from Goodwill. I sponged the buttons darker, chopped the hem unevenly and quick stitched the edges.
Pants = exercise pants. I cut the slits
Gloves = black lacey socks with the toe cut out
Shoes = Goodwill
Wand = a stick from the backyard a friend carved for me

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London Alice (Alice: Madness Returns)

Things I have discovered upon trying to kick myself into blogging here again: you can definitely, definitely get out of practice with this sort of “skill”, if you want to call it that.

Second thing I discovered: I give good advice that I should occasionally take myself some time 😉

As soon as I started playing Alice: Madness Returns (about a week and a bit ago) I knew I wanted to try out Alice’s London outfit. Firstly, I didn’t have a blue dress anything close to the one she’s known for wearing, and secondly, I knew I had all the elements of the London dress in my wardrobe. (As an aside, for each level Alice has a different dress to match her surroundings, but they’re pretty special and you’re probably not going to find anything that looks vaguely like em sitting in your wardrobe. I couldn’t even find the elements of her steamdress and my wardrobe is pretty damn steampunk.)

I actually thought this was going to be the easiest outfit ever and actually an easy peasy “get back into the thick of things” post for NaC. Uh no. So while I had the black skirt, striped top and apron, as soon as I put them on in that combination I knew it wasn’t working. It looked, to be honest, kind of shit. It was very much “why the hell is this person wearing an apron outside for no reason” rather than “slightly creepy, plain, Victorian-inspired get-up”. I couldn’t in good faith post a picture of it here and tell you I would genuinely wear it out because I absolutely wouldn’t have.

So today I got a bit of a brainwave. I realised I was doing this wrong because I was dressing too much to the specific items of clothing (ie. it has to be a long-sleeved, striped top, it has to be a knee-length gathered skirt, it has to be an apron, etc) rather than roughly dressing to the shape, silhouette and blocks of colour of the outfit. I was getting too caught up in the details rather than getting the gist and bigger picture across.

So remember, back in the day, when I annotated like this?

What I used to do was follow my instincts and then work backward to to create the annotated image above. This time, I found it useful to draw a little stick figure in my head of what she was wearing and the shapes she created. Alice’s torso is somewhat square – which told me that I need a top that was tight-fitting in order to create the contrast of the more triangular skirt area. This would also be helped by having a belt-like piece of material to really emphasis my waist. As for black skirts – I would need one gathered at the waist and I would need something that was longer than the apron I owned (which is actually stupidly long).

The Outfit

Here’s the breakdown of what I’m wearing – at it’s a lot more than you might imagine:

  • Long-sleeved striped top – $6 random clothes store
  • Dress – $10 from ASOS
  • Underskirt – $2 from Cotton On
  • Bodice/Vest Top – ~$10 from Target
  • Striped tie belt – Actually a scarf I thrifted for another outfit *coughKnivesChaucough* but it was long enough to be used here as a belt. $3.
  • Apron – This had a torso section as well, but I had to fold it down and also tuck the rest of the bottom bit under the white top because it was so damn long! $2 thrifted.
  • Stockings – Leftovers from High School, yep. $10.
  • Boots – ASOS ~$40.
  • (Bottle necklace – Diva $5.)
  • (White Rabbit plush – by Funko ~$10)

As usual, everything is layered to the max. The striped top went on the bottom – that was easy – because it’s all we really need to see is the striped element on the sleeves.

Next I added a black dress (whose black short sleeves you can see) because it had the most triangular shape of everything I had. Unfortunately it was a little short, so I added another black underskirt to increase the length, puff out the skirt and give the bottom a bit of added interest. When you’re doing stuff like this, I would recommend picking an item of clothing that has a wildly different colour or texture to the material above. You’ll unlikely get two items of clothing with exactly the same material, and going for “as close as possible” usually means people notice the variations more and it looks weird. On the other hand when you combine two thing that are wildly different in some way, it looks deliberate and therefore not so noticeable (weird, eh?). You can’t really see here, but the dress is made out of a slightly shiny polyester material, whereas the underskirt is cotton lace.

To create the more square look, I opted to go for the white bodice which fit me quite tightly. As mentioned previously, I was able to fold and tuck the apron under the bodice as well as try for that more trapezoid shape (which isn’t quite conveyed in this photo). In retrospect I would have probably used some safety pins to secure everything in place and ensure that it looked exactly like how I wanted.

Lastly, I think the long, trailing bow at the back of Alice’s apron is kind of a trademark. I couldn’t find any white material that was the right colour/texture/length, but I opted for the scarf because the stripes were a repeating motif. That scarf is pretty long, but it could actually be much longer for the bow at the back. I think in this case instead of having an in-between length bow, you might have to choose between a really large, wide bow OR really long trails. I tried to get the both worlds (not that you can see in this picture anyway) and it ended up looking kind of half-assed. UP TO YOU THOUGH.

edit: Here’s a simpler alternative version. I am really out of practice.

Came up with this when I was taking off the outfit and facepalmed myself so hard it bruised.

This is basically above without the dress and tucking the extra length of the apron into the skirt I’m wearing. Because the skirt puffs out, a little extra padding underneath isn’t really noticeable.

You’ll notice I changed the top from the tight-fitting bodice to actually a quite loose-fitting white tank! I actually think this top works better when the dress is absent – the looseness is just about right to create that square shape, and I think it mimics the relative free-moving apron so you can kind of trick people into thinking it’s part of one thing.

Tank was from Big W for about $5.

Bring Your Own Attitude.

Video games meets high fashion

Author’s note: a post about the status of this blog to come! Yes, I realise it’s been 5 or so months.

I am so beyond excited about the sequel to American McGee’s Alice, Alice: Madness Returns coming out later this week. Most people know I have this intense obsession with all things Wonderland, but what I really love about AM’s Alice – and hopefully the sequel game – is that it was an example of style with substance. I could really rant on about why the game and the concept was so good, but I’m going to stop myself because I have a personal blog for that purpose.

Anyhow, to celebrate a decade of the original game and the release of the new sequel there is a gallery art show dedicated to conceptual and fan art for the games. Amongst some of the lovely, lovely visual art work comes these lovely one-off blazers. There were only three made, and I suspect they’ve already been sold for quite a nice amount of money. I still want one.

Using the Japanese textile “Boro,” a mended and patched material over a 100 years old, Dr. Romanelli was able to encapsulate both the dark and mysterious elements of the traditional Alice In Wonderland folklore and the unique, detailed vision of American McGee. Limited to only 3 pieces in total, the Dr. Romanelli “Alice” Blazer is something you’ll want to see in person.

Dr. Romanelli explains, “Boro textiles are usually sewn from 19th and early 20th century rags and patches of indigo dyed cotton. The diversity of the patches on any given piece is a veritable encyclopedia of hand loomed cotton indigo from old Japan, mostly created by happenstance and not planned by the maker.” (source)


Style Quickie – Sherlock Holmes (BBC Sherlock)

Is it just me or are we getting an influx of extremely well-dressed male characters lately? Or shall I say, GQMFs? Even though I’m probably the only geek in existence who isn’t watching the new Doctor Who I decided to check out Steven Moffat’s new Sherlock series because I’d heard such rave reviews about it.

Sherlock, my friends, is GQMF (I mean he’s actually in GQ). No deerstalkers to be seen (not that there’s anything wrong with deerstalkers), only shirts, suits, scarves and a magnificent winter coat that GQ says only cost oh £1000. He also inexplicably wears designer shirts and suits but I don’t care because the costume designer Sarah Arthur is my hero:

“Holmes would not have any interest in fashion so I went for classic suits with a modern twist: narrow-leg trousers and a two-button, slim-cut jacket,” she told us. “I also went for slim-cut shirts and a sweeping coat for all the action scenes – it looks great against the London skyline.”

It’s getting a little warmer here in the Southern hemisphere while it’s getting cooler in the North but during temperature and weather-appropriate times, do consider wearing a great large winter coat over a suit. Even better – pop up the collar for that sort of film noir look and say that you were just uh, keeping your neck safe from the elements. Specifically you might want to look for a double-breasted black coat with large lapels that goes down to just past your knees. A super-nice version of said coat would be pleated from the lower-back and flare whenever you whisked around the streets of London.

Unfortunately I can’t direct you to where you might be able to buy such a coat but the one I own I grabbed at a thrift store for $30 in the height of summer (it’s double-breasted and tweed-ish and finishes mid-calf and fits me perfectly and have I mentioned that I love it? Yes, I’m just bragging now).

Style Quickie – Alice (Alice Syfy Miniseries)

Humour me for a paragraph while I rant about not-fashion. I absolutely adore the Alice books and the subsequent works of art they’ve inspired including half my Year 12 portfolio.  The books themselves are fairly unintelligible (in a good way), but I believe the strength of Alice comes from the ability of new artists to project onto the existing work. Burton’s recent remake was one of the most disappointing and heartless adaptations I’ve ever seen, and I say that because I’m a fan of Burton, Depp and Alice. It was truly horrible and whenever someone brings it up I always point them to the recent Syfy adaptation that’s at least 20 times better made at a fraction of the price.

The adaptation is not without its weaknesses and I would go on if this were a TV review site, but what is important is the fantastic costume interpretations of the characters. I’ve read they were designed by Angus Strathie who also designed the costumes for Moulin Rouge. At some point in the future I might write a deconstruction post for several characters, but what I like to focus on is either the sheer brilliance or fashion suicide:

Blue dress, red tights.

I’m on the side of sheer brilliance. They’re both primary colours that contrast and really bring out the vibrance of the other colour. Most people, myself included, tend to stick to analogous colour harmonies when “matching” colours. But there are lots of harmonic colour combinations from colours that you wouldn’t think could work together.

Visual artists and graphic designers are probably familiar with colour theory and the colour wheel but I think just knowing a little about how colours work can really improve an outfit! For some people this comes quite naturally, but I personally find it difficult to even entertain the idea of combining brown, blue and green even though it looks great if you pick the right hues and shades.

If you want to expand your colour combination horizons then I would suggest playing around with Adobe’s online kuler tool. The site was meant for graphic and web designers to experiment with colour combinations, but it works equally well for clothing choices. The tool has several preset colour harmonies so you can pick one colour and it will adjust the other colours for you. Be bold!

Aaaand if you’re sick of all this arty-farty stuff then this site has a pretty good rundown of the Alice and Hatter costumes (and strangely homewares too) although the focus is more on shopping than improvising.

Nymphadora Tonks (Harry Potter)

Note from the author: Hey guys, I’ve owed y’all an update for AGES I know, but it’s getting closer to exam season. I actually have several drafts stored up but either A) haven’t worn the outfit yet or B) have no good photos. I am thinking hard about how to write a multi-part steampunk feature but I don’t want to screw it up because it’s a subculture so dear to me heart.

For now updates will be irregular, maybe once in a fortnight, but should this blog should hopefully kick off into once a week territory after June.

And now a proper post:

I’m sure you’ve all come to the conclusion that I’m a massive geek, if the mere existence of the blog didn’t alert you to that fact.

I bought a goddamned time turner. “Awesome” is the correct reaction.

To celebrate I thought I might show you my Nymphadora Tonks outfit. Besides being the character I most identify with in the books, she’s probably got one of the most distinct yet not too wizardy wardrobe in the films. (Also Natalia Tena is just gorgeous and in the midst of writing this post I found that she plays accordian in an awesome band called Molotov Jukebox.)

I will be tackling her earlier casual outfit that she wears to rescue Harry from the Dursley. As much as I love the Deatheater-fighting outfit I think the bustier, striped shirt (drool) and dragonhide jacket are a bit too specific to pull off without major additions to the wardrobe. (Although this outfit is also pretty damn cool and pretty damn doable.)

Unfortunately images on the interwebz are vague about the specifics of what’s under her jacket, but you can kind of get the general idea from this picture (note the enlarged version is huge, but you kind of need it to make out the details):

Here’s the breakdown of what I think she’s wearing:

  • Grey hoodie with red lining
  • Long red and black striped t-shirt
  • Black tight-fitting shorts, below or at the knee
  • Black tights/stockings with some punk rock rips 😉
  • Mid-calf black combat boots
  • Just below the knee black jacket with a giant pocket on the left side. Notice the jacket is a lot bigger at the bottom, so much that the excess material gathers from the waist down. It’s also not a consistent
  • Fingerless leather gloves.
  • Necklace of what looks to be made of large brass bells or studs (?)
  • Possibly a thin studded belt over the t-shirt.

The jacket is also pretty unique and it’s going to be difficult to find something that matches it. From order of preference I would go with length, colour, then style, as usual preferencing the overall silhouette over details.

Because she never really takes the jacket off, the details of what’s going on underneath aren’t so important. The essential item is probably the hoodie which shapes the collar area.

The main impression I get from this outfit is sort of “mainstream punk” if that makes any sense. Stick to bold colours, worn items, matte and simple materials (mostly cotton).

Book Canon

In Order of the Phoenix Tonks is described as wearing a Weird Sisters t-shirt and patched jeans (thanks HP wiki!). I think the punk/outsider style look would be pretty consistent with her character, given her pink hair and metamorphmagi status. A band t-shirt would totally work, as would some ripped jeans, patches, badges, etc. She’s kind of the punk version of perky-goths (perky-punk?), so I think experimenting with a bigger colour palette would look fine as long as it was still rough around the edges and DIY. You could probably also femme up the outfit a bit with a figure-hugging top and skirt and differently-coloured stockings.

The Outfit

When I grow up I want to be an Auror!

The breakdown:

  • Pair of thrifted pants cut into shorts then rolled up – $2
  • Emily the Strange striped t-shirt ~ $20
  • Black opaque tights/stockings ~$10
  • A black sleeveless hoodie – so long ago I can’t remember how much it cost
  • Tripp NYC Elizabeth jacket (with french cuffs and eye and hook closures at the front) – US$75 (it was overpriced and from Hot Topic but I love it anyway)
  • Fingerless knit gloves – $3
  • Leather studded collar from Diva – $5 (God I love their $5 sales – usually I can only find one good thing, but that one thing is pretty good)
  • Combat boots – $100
  • I also stuck a bunch of badges on – one of them says SPEW 🙂
  • And of course my time turner.

You can definitely replace the jacket, as noted above, with a cheaper/different version. I liked this one because it has the silver studs at the front that mimic the omgpunk. I also would’ve preferred to wear my Doc Martens instead for a rougher look but they were being fixed and unavailable. You could also grab a pair of old stockings and rip them but I rather like all the pairs that I currently have.

Images of Tonks gacked off the Natalia Tena fansite.