Ramona Flowers (Scott Pilgrim vs The World)

So lied about when this post was coming out. I’m very lazy.

I was probably one of the last geeky people to see Scott Pilgrim vs The World. While I’ll keep my tl;dr thoughts about the film to myself (in short: it was okay, I don’t think I was the target audience) I have to say I found Ramona’s character pretty two-dimensional in the film (caveat: I haven’t read the comics yet though I plan to and sources tell me it’s a lot better; woe is me who hasn’t drunk from the fount of Source Material). Interestingly I think a lot of what we’re meant to infer about her character comes from her wardrobe and how she chooses to present herself (her hair, her goggles, her skates). Her wardrobe is super-interesting for a character that, in my opinion, doesn’t do or say very much in the film.

As usual I’ll be writing this post on how to get a general look instead of a specific outfit (or hair colour), but because I think Ramona has a distinct style rather than one outfit I’ll be showing you two different looks to get a general idea of how she dresses (think of it as an apology for not posting recently.)

Preparation

First dig out all your bright blue, purple, indigo, violet, pink(ish purple) etc items of clothing. These combination of colours make an outfit distinctively Romana-esque, especially since she wears a combination of fairly ordinary clothing. If you can find a hoodie and/or a jumper/sweater in either of those colours then you’ve hit jackpot, but if you can’t then that’s okay too.

Here are some items you might want to look for (in any colour):

  • Tops: T-shirt, tank top, hoodie, fuzzy jumper/sweater, striped long-sleeved top, short-sleeved button-up shirt, leather jacket, jacket with a collar and/or lapels, short-sleeved jackets.
  • Bottoms: Stockings or leggings (and/or fishnets), shorts, pleated skirt.
  • Accessories: Fingerless gloves, goggles, boots, (studded) belts, black necklace or some makeshift ribbon, a round messenger bag with a star on it or some other indie-acceptable messenger bag. Rollerblades if you have them?

So even if you own all these items in blue and purple I wouldn’t recommend actually wearing only blue and purple. Choose maybe 2-3 items that are the brightest and boldest in those colours and go black or grey and other muted colours for everything else. However make sure the purple and blue items can be clearly seen in the final ensemble.

The Roxy Scene

I picked this out because it’s possibly the only one where she’s not wearing a hoodie. In the scene with Roxy she’s actually wearing a dress, very similar to the Army Dress from Berserk Clothing. If you have a dress like this – AWESOME! I do not and don’t particularly want to spend $100 on one so we can reconstruct a similar look in two pieces, especially since the dress looks like two pieces anyway.

What you need to find is a shirt with plain short sleeves above your elbow which is actually harder than it sounds because I lot of womens’ shirts aren’t styled that way. You’ll also need a pleated skirt and preferably the skirt and shirt are of similar earthy colours and made out of a heavy matte material. Everyone should own a black belt with a silver buckle, and the striped top or the fingerless gloves should be too difficult to find.

I actually spent ages on this outfit because I was really unsatisfied with my options. The skirt was too long, although in retrospect this was fine because the pleats started much lower (about halfway down the skirt) so it gave the illusion the skirt was shorter than it was.

I wasn’t happy with the shirt either, because of the pattern, the light material and the fact that it’s very very long (and meant to be worn as a dress-thing). It turns out, like I said above, I had no shirts with plain short sleeves that buttoned up to the top, so I dealt with the situation by tucking it in and belting the skirt high. I could do that with this skirt because, like I said, the pleats started further down and the top half of the skirt was very fitted. Also note that the shirt has two breast pockets that give it a more of that military look.

The breakdown:

  • Long brown shirt – free from a friend.
  • Denim pleated skirt – bought by my mum for me ❤
  • Long-sleeved striped top – $6 at random cheap clothing store
  • Belt – from a jacket
  • Fingerless gloves made from socks.
  • Boots – under $10 from a thrift store

The Delivery Girl

It’s annoyingly difficult to find reference pictures of Ramona’s outfits on the internet for some reason. These two were the best ones I could find online (warning: they are big files, but they kind of need to be).

I guess this is more of her “typical” look. Think of layers and textures – note that her top jacket is some sort of heavy matte fabric, the next is the typical hoody which is fleecy on the inside, and the one after that is quite fuzzy. This is also wear her penchant for blues and purples really come into play.

So while I’m pleased with this outfit (more than the other), I do feel it falls down because I don’t own many fuzzy jumpers… if any, and certainly not in blue and/or purple. What I really did was sort of combine this look with the outfit she wears in the scene with her skateboarding ex. When I take off the outer jacket the focus is more on the layers and colours due the the short-sleeved hoodie and low-cut jumper.

I was also quite lucky to own a jacket very much like the one she wears in the film (a sort of military jacket with breast pockets and shoulder pads). A leather jacket would also be appropriate with this outfit, and depending on the weather you might not even need the jacket

The Breakdown:

  • Long-sleeved purple top – $6 from random cheapo shop
  • Blue jumper – under $10 from thrift store
  • Black short-sleeved hoodie – no idea, I’ve had this for years
  • Red jacket – ~$80 from Dangerfield
  • Denim shorts – Cut up from $2 thrift store pants.
  • Purple tights – ~$10 from Target
  • Boots – $100 from Tony Bianco
  • Goggles – $15 from eBay
  • Same fingerless gloves as above

The more I write this blog the more I realise I’m very much missing a leather jacket from my wardrobe.

Advertisements

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.

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.

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.