Friday, 29 October 2010

Through the Looking Glass

Since the release of Tim Burton’s adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s classic children’s story Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in the spring of 2010 the fashion world has responded to this pop culture phenomenon by working Alice- and Victorian-inspired designs into their collections. Before the film was even released the public was already seeing twinges of the fashion that was to come, but the culmination of Victorian fever has finally reached its peak during the Fall 2010 season.

Since the main character of Carroll’s narrative is Alice, it is no wonder that the focus of inspiration is the female form. Classic pieces that were originally made popular during the Victorian era, but have been appropriated by punk rock and gothic fashionistas are now being reclaimed by the mainstream. I’m talking about the ever-fabulous corset. Back in the day these uncomfortable contraptions were worn to exaggerate a woman’s figure, but they have since become more comfortable to wear (as many popular renditions of them have forgone the stiff boning in lieu of more flexible plastic pieces to maintain structure). The curvacious female figure is still on display in these pieces, as it was during the Victorian era, since the goal is still to cinch the waist, and exaggerate the bust and hips through adjustable lacing down the back. To further emphasize curves below the waist, skirts and dresses have also become poufier. This style less reflects Victorian fashion, as it immitates the Disney version of Alice, as well as Arthur Rackham’s original renditions of Carroll’s Alice. Since long skirts are nowhere near coming back into style, these poufy skirts decline from becoming demure by maintaining short hemlines that contrast volume in the hips and slenderness in the legs. These two styles are dominated by one very Victorian material: lace. They are covered with lace overlays, have lace detailing, they rely upon lace for volume, and in some cases are made from lace entirely.

Women’s fashion has not simply “gone girly” though, as more and more women are wearing masculine-inspired clothing that would have been completely in vogue for Victorian dandys. On top we’re seeing more women wear super fitted blazers that create masculine shoulders, while still emphasizing small feminine waists. Bright colours, and fantasic patterns make these jackets anything but masculine, and give any plain outfit a pop of personality. Skinny jeans and pants have been the style for a few years now, and at this rate will continue to dominate the fashion scene, but it was men’s clothing that originated this style. Slim-fitting stovepipe pants were all the rage during the Victorian era, so it makes sense that we’re picking up the style now for women since the goal is to emphasize slender legs.

For men, the Victorian style may seem a little bit too dull in this day and age, but don’t depair, it’s easier to add touches of the style rather than trying to rock an entire Victorian look. Formal wear, such as suit jackets, dress vests, and ties, are an easy addition to any outfit to dress them up. The key to these pieces in any outfit is colour: wear a neutral palette and then add a brightly coloured accessory that is unexpected. The same can be said of bold patterns in scarves, shirts, and pants, as long as it’s done properly. No one wants to see more than three patterns or bright colours in a single outfit, and simplicity is definitely the key to avoiding headaches for those around you.

Accessories from the Victorian era are the easiest way to add a little bit of flare to an outfit. More and more design houses are creating masterpieces fashioned from a mixture of metals and ever-classic pearls. That’s right kids, pearls are no longer just for grandmothers and society women! Jewelry gets the same rules as I previously mentioned for men’s fashion: large, glamorous statement pieces are key, but don’t overdo it. Headbands are the other key pieces that I would recommend for embodying the spirit of Alice. The fabulous styles that I’m surrently in love with have simple bows in black and white, flowers with jewels, feathers in bright colours (especially peacock feathers) and of course lace overlays.

The most practical accessory to use, since we’re required to wear them outdoors, is of course shoes! What, did you really think I would leave you hanging without a piece of advice about my favourite obsession? No, I just saved the best for last of course. Having bright splashes of colour for shoes is something I always enjoy, but for this style I would recommend sticking to neutral colours that rely on detailing for their personality. Nude shoes that have been taking over since last fall, simple black, and of course charcoal greys are the way to go. Look for styles with crossover laces or buckles, men’s-inspired oxfords, and ruffles to fully embody the Victorian style. These can come in flats of course, but the contrast between these seemingly demure styles and a super pointy stiletto heel is one to die for.


Photo Credits:
Models: Riella, Chelsea, Logan, Kris
Designed by: Riella
Photography by: Holland, Riella, Chelsea
Wardrobe provided by: models. Pocketwatch from Kaegan.
A big thank you goes out to everyone involved in the photoshoot! It turned out better than I ever could have hoped <3

Saturday, 23 October 2010

I am a princess, damnit!

Most of us who grew up during the 1990s were subject to an overabundance of Disney movies. Along with unrealistic expectations in relationships these movies also inspired many of us, including this blog-mistress, to want to be a princess of real life. Yet there aren’t that many real life princes, and those that are available are incredibly hard to get to. So instead we have to settle for dressing like princesses in everyday life.

When most girls turn 19 (or another “special” birthday) the tradition has become to adorn them with tiaras during the festivities. If they do not take charge of this themselves they are often subjected to dollar store crowns meant for children (and which often come adorned with Disney princess pictures), but those of us who are lucky enough to have good friends get to wear rhinestoned tiaras that actually look nice. Being the control freak that I am, when I turned 20 I insisted that I buy my own tiara so that it would be one which I actually wanted to wear. Of all my ridiculous purchases in the name of fashion my tiara has become something that I am rather proud to own J

Two and a half years later I’m still wearing the tiara, but for an entirely different purpose. As one of the Halloween Costume Consultants at work it’s my responsibility to dress up, and inspire other people to be creative with their own costumes. While all of my costumes are creative and adorable, my princess attire garners me more compliments than any other get up. Whether I pair it with one of my own poufy princess dresses, or the “baroness” costume from work there are “oohs” and “ahhs” aplenty. There is no age limit to who can dress up as a princess for Halloween; we see children, teenagers, and even some moms requesting princess dresses!  Unfortunately dressing up as a princess seems to be a complicated idea for most people, as we don’t carry pre-made princess costumes for adults. There are two easy solutions to this connundrum: find a poufy party dress or find an old prom dress. Either of these are easy to find for relatively inexpensive prices, and then all you need to do is add a tiara and some sparkly jewelry! Most novelty jewelrey stores carry a variety of tiaras and crowns, with Claire’s, Icing’s, and Ardene’s having the best styles. Now all you need is a prince to make the costume picture perfect!

What I’ve found when wearing my tiara in public is that I get two very opposite reactions. Most people are extremely complimentary, and treat me like the princess I am, but some people have the nerve to scoff and be derrogatory. My only response to those people is: “Off with their heads!”

Saturday, 16 October 2010

All I want is a little respect!

It has recently come to my attention that I really really REALLY hate my job. Well okay, let’s be honest; I’ve rather disliked my job for quite some time, but the positives outweighed the negative aspects so I was able to deal adequately with the things that I disliked. Unfortunately, the situation has come to the point where I can no longer enjoy the majority of my time at work, and if I had a better option I would leave and never look back. So because I am in a rather pissy mood with work, I am going to name names, and point fingers, and tell you all (dear readers) exactly what it is that I hate about my job.

Case One: Management. It all boils down to two little people, who unfortunately have quite a big say over my time at work. Since I am not going to actually name names, since that could get me in trouble legally, you all get to know them as simply S and T. We’ll start with S, since according to the alphabetic index that categorizes my life he comes first. Also because he is the main problem, due to his amount of authority. To put it simply, he’s a gossip, who likes to engage in malicious rumor-mongering, and uses said rumours to his advantage to turn people against eachother. Thankfully this doesn’t usually work to his favour, since he tends to pick on people whom the Group has befriended, and once in the Group, membership is permanent and loyalty of other members is guaranteed. He knows exactly how our Group functions at work, and since he is not included has made moves to break up the Group. He has fired two people who were accepted Group members (though admittedly new members), and has turned our main ally in management against us. To move on to T, who is also an ally of S, his crimes are many. I am not going to waste words and effort expounding upon his many ill deeds, but will leave you with this list instead: negligence, chauvanistic behavior, disrespect of team-members, know-it-all attitude when in realirty he’s completely green, sexual harrassment, and general jerkitude. I’m sure at some point one of my fellow bloggers will expand upon this list in greater detail, so I charge all of my blog readers to go and read those blogs as well!

Case Two: Customers. They’re all jerks. With no respect for our employees. They are consistently rude, messy, and inconsiderate of our work environment. What I would like to say to each and every one of our customers who makes our lives hell is “Do WE come to YOUR workplace and treat you in this manner?” The answer is NO, we do not. At least on my part. Because I have worked at a variety of retail and food industry jobs I respect the people who work there. Sure I find some of them to be lacking in intelligence and some of them I rather dislike, but I am nevertheless polite to them when I have to interact with them. I am never rude to cashiers (unless they are rude to me of course), I always follow the rules of an establishment (whether it be amount of items per fitting room, or putting my trash in the designated space), and I never ever leave a mess for the employees to deal with. Our customers constantly break these three rules, that I feel are simply part of common courtesy, but aspparently the rest of the population does not care to regard. I constantly see customers berating our staff for things that are not their fault (and have experienced this personally as well), a blatant disregard of the rules (even when the rules are explained to them in the nicest of tones), and am constantly astounded at the amount of stuff that gets dropped on the floor and not picked up by the person who dropped it. The other day I witnessed a girl drop a packaged wig on the floor, and instead of picking it up, she instead chose to kick it under the display. Thank the pagan gods that I have some authority in my temporary department of new merchadise, so I confronted the girl and told her to PICK IT UP IMMEDIATELY. She of course complied, and looked rather embarassed to have been caught. Hopefully she will never do it again. If only we had the authority to chastise every single customer who treated employees badly, or had the chance to treat them exactly the same way they treated us, and then maybe the population would learn to respect eachother more.

Case Three: Wage. I’ve been at my current job for about a year now, and can you guess how many raises I’ve gotten? None. That’s right, none. They may have hired me at a higher wage than normal (a whole $0.60 more…), but they also used this as an excuse not to give me a raise at my 6 month review. Since I am going to be sitting down with my manager rather soon for my yearly evaluation he’s going to be getting quite an earful about the raise that I feel I am entitled to. I am about as close to a perfect employee as any workplace is likely to ever see. I never call in sick unless I am physically incapable of doing my job. I don’t consider hangovers to be a legitimate excuse to not come to work. I get along with my team and most of my managers, and generally don’t try to rock the boat when I don’t like someone. I have never been late. In fact I am usually quite early for my shifts. And when I am at work, I get the job done. I may spend some time socializing, and slacking off, but when it comes to crunch time I get it done and I am meticulous in what I do. I’ve also taken on more responsibilities in the last few months; becoming a designated cashier (which is basically a substitute supervisor when needed), and have headed up the Halloween Team (against my first instincts) and done a damn good job of running the department better than it has ever been run. They had better agree to a decent sized wage or I am SO outta there.

Case Four: Respect. The most important aspect of any job, I feel, is respect. This needs to come from everyone: from management, from teammembers, and from customers. We all know that customers are never going to be respectful, regardless of workplace, but we can all hope that as a team the employees can have a mutual respect for eachother. Without respect in the workplace, how do management expect to keep their team motivated to do their jobs well? A happy workplace is key to keeping employees, and to making work seem less like drudgery. Management cannot expect to immediately get respect from their team; they have to earn it. If they lead by example, and treat their team well then their employees will respect them. As for inter-team respect it is something that is tricky at any workplace, since not everyone is going to get along with eachother, but everyone still has to work together, so unless the issue is a legitimate problem (such as bullying, harassment, physical/mental/sexual abuse, etc) then everyone should try to put aside their differences and work together as a united team. 

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

What do you want from me?

Their gazes meet, and she inwardly cringes with trepedation at this avoided, but inevitable, meeting. She quickly breaks his gaze, half-turning away and busying her hands in an effort to avoid conversation.

Yet he persists with a casual, “Hey.”

She is forced to respond in kind, but unlike him her tone is anything but warm.

Her icy body language is not lost on him, but he continues with a question: “Having a bad day?”

“More like having a bad life,” she counters, her expression tightening with frusteration even as she turns to face him.

He opens his arms with a familiar grin, “Aww, need a hug?” expecting the reaction from her that his affections had illicited in the past.

She stares at him in shock; “Don’t you dare go there. Not with me.”

Before he can respond to her point blank refusal she turns and walks away, not having a destination other than “away from him.”

Do you actually think you can walk back into my life, and pretend like nothing happenned to break our friendship? You’ve lost my trust, and you were informed of this fact, so why would you assume that I would just give it back  if you waited it out. FYI it’s been a week, and even then time doesn’t heal everything. My trust is something I give people who I want to be connected with (friendship or otherwise), but once you’ve lost it, it’s almost impossible to get back. So you better start jumping through some goddamn hoops of fire to prove yourself, or don’t assume that I’ll ever let you be a part of my life again.

I may say I’m dead inside, but when you stab me in the back I still bleed. 

Monday, 4 October 2010

Shoes! Let’s get some shoes!

As most of you know, I’m kind of into shoes. Some have said I like them more than is natural, others have said I am a full-out shoe addict, and my mother says to “Stop immediately.” Like that’s going to happen, mom! As of September 30th my collection reached an all-time high of 110 pairs, with the addition of a fabulous pair of Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars (below left), so today we’re going to talk about my favourite sneaker brand: Converse!

My two pairs of classic Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars :) 
New pair on the left, old "Aquarius" print on the right. 

From their classic black and white Chuck Taylors to the newly popular All-Star Lites (aka girl Converse) the brand has always been a favourite of mine. They’re recognizable, make a style statement, and of course come in a million different colours and styles that coordinate with any outfit. There’s no wrong way to wear Converse: they can be dressed down with jeans, or if you’re feeling like a bit of a rebel with a cute party dress. The key to wearing Converse is to pick a pair that works for you; if you tend to go for the casual look then go for a classic style in a solid colour. But if, like me, you like to live on the wild side and have your shoes make a statement, then choose one of the many pairs of Converse with a funky print. You can even design your very own pair of originals on the Converse website, to guarantee that no one else will ever have quite the same pair.

If creativity isn’t really your thing then there are many varieties of Converse made for a limited time by guest designers and themed around specific creative ideas. My favourite craves right now are the line of Converse Chuck Taylors inspired by the art of the children’s author and illustrator Doctor Seuss. They’re classic Converse styles, but with the whimsical twist that can only be the result of Seuss’ illustrations from The Cat in the Hat, If I Ran the Circus, and If I Ran the Zoo. Check them out on the Baggin’s Shoes website (a Victoria, BC classic shoe haunt), since I’m sure you’ll love bringing a part of your childhood into your adult life as much as I do! 

Friday, 1 October 2010

Welcome to the beginning of the end... Just kidding :)

Anyways, this is the inaugural edition of my blog, entitled “I’m not sorry, because I’m fabulous.” Here’s the breakdown: 50% fashion and fabulousness, 50% cold hard bitch, 100% me. So sit down, shut up, and come along for what should be an interesting journey into my consciousness (or lack thereof on some occasions)!

This first post is dedicated to the always entertaining, and occasionally strange (oh who am I kidding, she’s always strange too) Melissa. It is she who gets all the credit for coming up with the title of this blog in a moment of brilliance, so she gets all the props! Mel’s genius with words is only topped in my eyes by her renditions of Jet’s song “Cold Hard Bitch” when our group deigns to grace the local karaoke bar with our presence. Of course, she always dedicates this song to me, since I am by definition a cold, hard bitch. The first time Mel got up on stage to sing along with Jet some of the guys who came with us were surprised that I wasn’t offended by the dedication, but obviously they had not been introduced to my real personality. Apparently they had not noticed me blatantly ignoring their previous attempts at conversation. Silly boys. But regardless of the boys being confused, Mel continues to sing “Cold Hard Bitch” for me everytime she does karaoke, so for that she will always be my favourite Melissa <3

As a last little present before I sign off for the night, here’s a way for all of you to do Jet karaoke just like Melissa!