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 😉
  • 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 🙂
  • 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 get  a lot more of the fishnet happening and try adding more layers to the dress-skirt-thing I had on.

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Style Quickie – Brian Molko (Placebo)

I watched the videoclip for the song Twenty Years by Placebo and was immediately taken with what Brian Molko’s wearing. Take one black necktie, one black shirt, eyeliner and you look awesome.

Note that the tie and shirt are roughly the same texture and lack any designs. The similarity of black on black draws attention to the structure of the whole outfit rather than individual items. Because it’s all one colour your brain doesn’t see the tie as a separate entity; rather, you see the tie for the additional shape and form it adds to the front of the shirt.

I only have a black tie to experiment with, but in the future I’d like to try to the same monochromatic principle with different colours and different accessories.

Noodle (Gorillaz)

Noodle 1Plastic Beach is the new album just released by everyone’s favourite virtual band, Gorillaz. I’ve been listening to the music on repeat and I absolutely love Jamie Hewlett’s illustrations. (Yes, I realise not all of the illustrations I feature on this page are “official”.)

Noodle is my favourite character of the bunch – although I’ll readily admit that I tend to latch on Asian characters that break out of the stereotype – and her late teen style phase is actually pretty close to what I tend to come up with when I just throw stuff from my wardrobe on. Plus she’s also a cyborg who’s in a videoclip with Bruce Willis. She’s stylish, a mean guitar player, an awesome dancer and kicks butt. Who wouldn’t want to dress like Noodle?

Her look is quite an easy one to achieve because it’s mostly made up of wardrobe basics. Because it’s my first post I’ll try to walk through the steps of how I figure out what to wear.

1. Google some images

I found a whole bunch of different stuff, but these images were closest for the look I wanted to go for. There were definitely some items of clothing that mark of her late Demon Days look and I picked the items that I had in my wardrobe and I knew would suit me.

Here’s a rundown of what I found Noodle wearing most often:

  • Tops: Plain, occasionally striped, t-shirts and singlet tops – short, not long.
  • Bottoms: Short shorts, occasionally short skirts.
  • Footwear: Knee-high socks, Sketchers style keds or knee-high black boots.
  • Accessories: Military cap, neck bandanna, leather gloves, belts.

Additionally Noodle often rocks a sort of military look (sort of reminiscent of Hewlett’s Tank Girl in a way as well).

Now take out the items that you think would fit into a Noodle outfit and try them on together. Think about colour/texture/themes in her clothing.

2. Build a Silhouette

People who are familiar with EGL will understand this concept. Because we’re not cosplaying and we’re emulating a style, we’re more concerned with an overall impression rather than particular details like colour. This step is thinking about the clothing relative to the rest of her body. How much skin is showing? Where do her shorts and skirts end on her thigh? If you were looking at her animated shadow which shapes and corners are the strongest?

The bulk of Noodle’s clothing is concentrated around her torso and her arms and legs seem to stick out of a rectangular shape made by her clothing. Therefore we want a loose fitting, short-torsed t-shirt and similar skirt or shorts. Under-the-knee socks or boots are a definite because this is where there is a strong line break in the shape or colour.

Her hat seems to be one of those military caps however if you don’t own that particular style, any hat with a forward brim and flat-ish top would probably work. She sometimes wears a chunky belt around her waist.

3. Colour and Texture

Noodle usually wears plain, more low-key colours accented with brighter ones. If you wanted to go for a more military-cyborg Noodle you might want to stick to khakis, shades of grey and all the colours of the camouflage rainbow. Her clothing is matte, and in most cases you’d probably be looking for items made out of cotton or drill.

4. Alter the look so you’re comfortable.

It was a cold day when I walked out so I added opaque stockings under my knee-high socks, and a military jacket over the top of my t-shirt. The skirt was also pretty short, and I generally feel more comfortable wearing tights underneath. I opted for the skirt instead of shorts because I really don’t like the way most shorts look on me (especially short-shorts).

5. Wear Your Outfit!

Noodle Attempt

Items rundown:

  • Black Wool General’s hat – Camberwell Market $15 (+buttons and brooches I’ve collected – maybe +~$10)
  • Olive Military Jacket – Westco, bought from eBay for $10
  • Bandanna – Bought somewhere in San Francisco for $2
  • Brown T-shirt – Piping Hot from Target, ~$10
  • Belt – Buffalo Exchange in Berkeley ~$6
  • Grey Check Skirt – Thrift store, $2
  • Knee-High Socks – Target ~$5
  • Black Leather Boots – Tony Bianco $100 (they’ll last for years)

5. Review The Outfit

I don’t actually own sensible knee-high boots or keds either (that probably needs to be remedied). I had a choice between my mid-calf boots and black sneakers, and chose the former. This actually threw out my silhouette a bit because it cuts off the colour at the wrong place. Next time I’d go with my shorter length Doc Marten boots or the sneakers. I’d probably also wear my pair of leather gloves as well.

I totally dig the colour co-ordinating of the blue socks, belt and the t-shirt print though and was complimented by my swing dancing teacher on how much he liked the outfit!

So that’s the first post finished! Let me know what you think of the blog, if there’s something I missed out or included only boring bits or any general feedback you’d like to give me!