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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Outfit: The Dog Days of Summer

I finally made an adult decision.

I admitted that wearing all black in the middle of summer is excessive. 

It's been the hottest summer we've had in Scotland for a fair few years; after mostly cool, rainy summers, I'm delighted, but not really designed to cope with this heat. Those closer to the equator will probably laugh at how poorly I cope with the rather meagre increase in Fahrenheit, but in a cloudy country which receives 4577mm of rain per year, this is sunbathing weather for most people - and exhaustive for me. The quality of light in summer is incredible - not to mention the length of it, which lends itself perfectly to sitting outside till late - but considering I nearly suffered from heat stroke when I visited St. Andrews several weeks back, I am forced to agree that to properly enjoy it one really shouldn't wear leather boots and black velvet.

Dressing for the heat is a delicate balance of colour, skin exposure and fabric type. Drinking lots of fluids is also important, and something I'm terrible at remembering even at the best of times. Though black can be okay to wear if you pick something breathable, I like how much cooler white makes me feel, and this dress is great for when I feel like wearing something more vintage inspired - in this case twenties. I love how popular sandals have been recently, and picked myself up a pair of elastic ones from M&S. Why don't more sandals use elastic? It's so much more comfortable than straps and doesn't rub.

Add a cardigan to stop my shoulders from getting any more burnt than they are (stay in the shade and wear sun cream regardless of what the sky looks like, kids) and a parasol (which you can see here), and I'm set for the last throes of sunshine. For the real dogs out there, I recommend a good hair cut and a cool bowl of water.

This post was part of The Curious Professor Z's Monthly Homework Assignment; photos by Ben, who I think really outdid himself on these ones (one day I'll become a model worthy of him). I may not have a wardrobe feature on the 1st, but I'm pleased at managing to take part in this challenge. Any other suggestions for summer?


Monday, 28 July 2014

July Round Up

Home from home.

I've been a little busy for blogging this month, sadly - I'm only just back from my holiday and I'm not feeling up to scratch, so keeping up with my feed has had to take a backseat. However, there was a lot going on this month both on the net and off, and I've summarised it below -

My life, my blog

  • I rewrote my article, The Occult Trend: Symbols for the Secular, as it wasn't quite meeting the standards I hold for my blog. Feel free to go read the edited article now!
  • I'm keeping up with my One Hundred Crafts Challenge on my Instagram, though I've got a lot of catching up to do - send any DIY ideas my way if you have suggestions!
  • Though I'm not currently able to photograph any of my own fashion, I have plenty of outfits I'm keen to share, so keep an eye out for those in future.
  • I've decided that, beginning August, I'll move back to a five day publishing schedule. Four days was fun and was good for the blog, but ultimately difficult when life got in the way (as it does). This will be continued during the coming academic year.
  • Speaking of which, I start back at university at the end of August, which I'm slightly terrified for; though there's some really interesting topics being covered, I'm worried that third year will be more difficult than ever.


  • Though white isn't a colour that makes many appearances in the wardrobe, summer breeds necessity and Love Aesthetics came out with tips on how to keep your whites white, many of which apply to other colours. She also posted her DIY kimono, which I'm tempted to try.
  • Any attempt at fitness has gone down the drain with summer approaching, but the recent health goth movement might force me into gear when autumn comes around.
  • Just in case you missed it, I wrote an article for The Pop Culture Cynic on grown up geek chic - there's a batman motorbike helmet, which is all you need to know.

Apologies for such a brief update, again; I'm hoping to take part in The Professor's homework assignment, but I'm worried that the weather won't be good enough. Until then!


Thursday, 24 July 2014

Beacon Collection by Warby Parker

A fact I don't actually think I've shared on this blog: I wear glasses. Not particularly often, as my prescription isn't very strong, and I live in constant fear of losing them. Spectacles are grossly over-expensive. I tend to dislike eyewear brands for this reason, but I'll make an exception for Warby Parker; combined with their generous home try-on option and actually reasonable pricing, their 'Buy a Pair, Give a Pair' campaign has seen them train over 18,000 men and women to provide prescription eyeglasses, and have helped provide over one million glasses in developing countries. Also, their eyewear is quite attractive.

Garret glasses.

Warby Parker contacted me to asking if I could help spread news about the release of their new Beacon Collection, which they state is inspired by 'impromptu, can't-duplicate-them all-nighters'; this, combined with the more vintage shapes, is probably aimed at the glasses wearing Portland set, but the frames are distinctly wearable and will appeal to a far wider audience.

Ingram sunglasses.

If I sound flippant, please forgive me; I am incredibly honored that Warby Parker wanted my blog as one of a select few to get the news out, and the eyeglasses are gorgeous. The very clear and well thought out concepts of the collection is replicated in the individual design of the frame styles; I like the creativity in colour choice, and would love to try styling these into my own aesthetic; measurements, a virtual try on option and suggestions on what face shapes they would suit are also included as well as the home try on to overcome the limitations of online shopping. It was hard picking my favourites.

Alas, I really don't need new glasses. But I can still look wistfully.

McKee glasses (also available in a clear colourless finish, which I adore).

The full Beacon Collection can be found here on the Warby Parker site; all opinions are my own, images provided by Warby Parker. Is anyone else a fan of Warby Parker? Any style you would you consider getting?


Monday, 21 July 2014

The Occult Trend: Non-Religious Symbols for the Secular

EDIT: I wrote this article running late for a deadline, and the end result I was unhappy with as it failed to convey the points I was trying to discuss properly; I've since overhauled it completely, though I've left the two first comments below (made below I updated the article) for posterity.

I find the current trend in alternative cultures for occult symbolism interesting; though it originates from loftier concepts of alchemy and witchcraft, it has brought fashion brands and symbols such as the St. Peter's Cross and the Sigil of Baphomet which were once derided as too 'mall goth' and intentionally provocative to wear back into popularity. From Blood Milk's dark romanticism to Killstar's pop culture blend, companies are joining in on this enthusiasm and drawing on paganism, ancient Egypt, western esotericism and witchcraft in their inspirations.

This most recent trend is just the newest in a long history of Goth borrowing from religious and spiritual movements; ankhs and crosses have become something of a cliché within the subculture. As far as I've seen the general consensus seems to be that practitioners are happy with this when done respectfully, but I know several bloggers who have stated that they don't personally feel comfortable doing so when they don't believe in the spiritual beliefs the symbol represents - indeed, many of my non-goth friends feel similar, either because they follow a religion of their own or just don't want to. There's a lot valid reasons for not wanting to adopt symbols representative of beliefs; I wear a lot of religious iconography quite happily (primarily the cross, the ankh and pentagrams, amongst others), but inaccurate usage of symbols (such as all the clothing with pentagrams and 'hail satan' slapped next to them) peeves me, as the designer has clearly not done their research, and considering this is another lens through which we view these cultures I think it's important to get them right.

So for those who have made the decision to avoid religious and spiritual iconography but still like aspects of the occult trend, I've compiled a list of alternative suggestions below -

Source one, two, three, four and five (which I've lost).

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Make Up: Lesser Spotted Goth

Psst - As a favour to an old friend, you can find me moonlighting on The Pop Culture Cynic this week discussing grown up geek and my pick of classy merchandise. Got to let the geek out somehow.

Second disclaimer: this was photographed after a full day of indulging in food, swimming, and a lazily done reapplication, but perfect make up wouldn't be an accurate portrayal of my existence.

Disclaimer: this is a short post, given that I'm on holiday and have more serious, important things to be doing (having saunas, sketching, working out how much vodka is in a White Russian) than writing blog posts. Regardless, I intend on keeping up with my update schedule, and I've been doing interesting things with make up recently.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Consumerist Wants: Pay Day Dreams

We always want what we can't have, and right now that means clothes. I'm currently working full time doing manual labour, so wearing anything other than old t shirts and shorts is a far off dream. The plus side to this, however, is that I now have cash to buy all the impractical PVC pencil skirts and hats that I could possibly want, and considering everyone seems to be posting their summer wish lists I thought that I might share mine.

Large brimmed sun hat

This one is from Topshop, but quite honestly it's not big enough. I need a brim that looks more like an umbrella. It feels like I can't find a plain black sun hat in this style anywhere, which coupled with my rather sizeable head circumference means this seems far more difficult than it needs to be. Suggestions are definitely welcome!


Restyle leather harness

I'm currently on the fence about whether or not I should just make this, but as I don't have the tools or skills necessary to work with leather I'm a little unsure. It's a really nice style, however, and I could clip/pin chiffon panels to it to make a DIY version of this Gypsy Warrior skirt. Also on the buckled front, I desperately need a few new black belts (I'd particularly like one with O rings on it), but I haven't seen anything like what I'm looking for.


Missguided Mircia PVC Pencil Skirt in Black

That's a lie. I also want it in silver, so I can do space goth. And maybe baby pink. Basically I will take all of the colours they make.


Man, this is an original one. I'm not really regarding this as top of my list right now, but I'm after a few more drapey kimonos now that they're being stocked. Sadly, most of the kimonos I've seen don't have sleeves to my taste; I'm awfully picky about this, and would prefer a larger sleeve more like a traditional kimono (though my knowledge of Japanese traditional clothing is very basic, so correct me if wrong).

The list is actually smaller than I thought it was going to be, as with my summer 100 DIY challenge (which sadly hasn't been seeing much action recently) I've been really evaluating about what I should be buying and what I really don't need to (plus, I should really be using my wages to foot the bill for so many projects). Some of the DIY projects I'm keen to do are a clear PVC skater skirt, a decorated backpack and finishing my hand muff, as well as several sigil type artworks based on scots faerytales. So whilst I may not get to wear all of my fancy clothes yet, my sewing machine will be whirring away and my pencils worn to stubs by September.

All images from sites linked to above. Are you saving up for anything currently? Are there any craft projects you'd really like to see? Let me know below!


Wednesday, 9 July 2014

How to remove pilling

I was somewhat unsure of the necessity of this post; I assume most others have their lives far more under control than I, but after seeing a much reblogged tumblr post bemoaning this issue I realised that I should never really overestimate the human race, particularly when someone like me can not only write a blog and actually get followers, but can also get into medical school.

I suffer from the unfortunate curse of loving wool, cottons and jersey fabrics, which have the bad luck of looking like this after a couple of wears –

This is known as pilling, or bobbling. It’s my personal hell. The day I finally learned how to get rid of them was a jump in my quality of life the size of which hasn't been seen in Glasgow since the city introduced a proper plumbing system in the 19th century. It’s for this reason that I’m posting my solution here, lest anyone still be suffering.

A bic razor, drawn lightly across the fabric, is your knight in shining armour. Be careful you don’t press too hard and damage your fabric, and if you want to be fancy you can get one of these things, but it’s relatively idiot proof. There’s various other pieces of advice floating about on the internet regarding how to remove them, such as Velcro rollers, duct tape and scissors (eek!), but this is my favourite.

A word about pilling –

Pilling happens when loose fibres work their way out of fabric as a result of wearing and form balls on the surface. Some fabrics are more likely to do so than others, and certain sites (such as cuffs, under the arms or where it rubs other items of clothing) are more susceptible than others.

As ever, prevention is better than having to deal with it, and there are effective measures that you can take; turning fabrics inside out when washing is the best known one, but the process of washing itself can produce pills, so treat fabrics delicately, wash by hand where you can and avoid dryers.

Hoping this helps!


Saturday, 5 July 2014

Brand: House of Widow

So Lip Service makes some pretty sweet clothing under its spin off label, House of Widow. Who knew?

I tend to associate the brand - perhaps unfairly, as they've improved a lot - with the worst of nineties goth, predisposed to an overabundance of corset lacing, chains, zips and straps (usually poorly placed), and I've slagged them off - not directed at their account, I should stress - a few times on twitter. Nonetheless, this line has me intrigued. The inspirations and styles are very current, with lots of draped black and occult symbols, and not unattractively priced for those who can't afford the designer versions.

I realize that I'm about a year behind on this, but I've not seen any of this stuff in my local Glasgow goth shops - why, I don't know, as it would be devoured (by me, mainly). Maybe because it doesn't look obviously goth enough? I'd like the Glaswegian alternative shops to stock more current goth fashions, as love it though I may Cyber has had the same horrendous pin-striped trenches for as long as I can remember.

Though I do understand them moving away from the goth aesthetic and towards fashion more attractive to metal and hipster lovers (got to go where the money goes), and that they have an onus to provide fashion that you can't get on the high street - which, to be fair, House of Widow wouldn't be out of place in - but personally I'm getting a little fatigued with sifting through the same old Hellbunny dresses. Maybe moving with the times would be a good thing.

All images sourced from the House of Widow website. Do you own anything from House of Widow? Do you find it frustrating not seeing more up to date trends in your alternative shops? 


Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Wardrobe Feature: DIY Spiderweb Leggings

I haven't even had a chance to edit my photos, as my internet is at rural speeds. Updated versions forthcoming.

First things first - apologies for not having this post up quite on time. I spent the weekend helping a friend move into their new flat, and had neither the Wi-Fi nor time nor energy to get it up sharp. On the plus side, I had a very pleasant few days, and discovered that Dundee charity shops produce far better finds when not being picked clean by students (haul post potentially forthcoming).

Several of you mentioned wanting to see more of my finished DIYs for my craft challenge, which I'm quite happy to acquiesce to - hopefully it will keep me motivated to continue finishing them! If you want real time updates on my progress, I regularly post projects on instagram and facebook as I complete them.

There is always one craft which outstays its welcome, and these leggings were it. I started these in first year of university, only finishing them at the start of this summer. This was mainly due to the pointillist style (though I'll admit there was an element of laziness there too); finish a line, let it dry. Repeat. There were still a lot of accidental smudges.

Included - everyday outfit for myself. 

I originally saw leggings like these in topshop, but couldn't afford the £30 price tag at the time. They're a good example of why you shouldn't always DIY everything - though they were theoretically easy, the time put into them probably negated that. Similarly, I've been bankrupting myself buying fabric for other future wardrobe additions, so whilst it's easy to say, 'I could make that', you may be forced to eat those words. On the other hand, I decided that the design stood out more when it only covered one leg, so DIY does have its advantages.

Is anyone else undertaking craft projects this summer? When do you DIY over buying?


P.S. Welcome to Night Vale is doing a European Tour! More info on their website.