A is for Alluring, B is for Beguiling – Pagan Experience 2015

Yes, friends, we’re talking about Glamour today!
I know it’s (very) early in the year yet, but this seems to be something I want to tackle in 2015 – for reasons I can’t entirely fathom, it just seems… like the right time to make it heppen? No idea. – But regardless, let’s get into it.
 
Miss Sugar has a years-old guest-post by ApocalypseGrrl over at Charmed I’m Sure. The post is about “dressing your worst” and how the way we present ourselves has an effect on how people see us (or don’t see us) for good, or for ill. It includes some questions for the readers so, for today’s Pagan Experience post, I’m going to answer those questions and maybe get into the elements of glamour just a little wee bit.
Ready? Here we go.
 
What are your favorite colors? Why? How do they make you feel or what images/memories do they evoke?
My favourite colours have been royal/peacock blue and blue-toned purples for ages. Like close to thirty years. I have an ongoing fondness for both wine/crimson reds, the closets thing to “green” that I’ll go is somewhere on the teal-to-turquiose spectrum, and I’ve started developing a bit of an attraction to really vibrant pinks (think fuschia and magenta) over the past couple of years. I tend to stick with black when it comes to picking a go-to neutral (for things like socks, work skirts, Warm Stuff, and similar). The thing they all share is that they’re intense colours. I’m a big woman with, when I make the effort, a hell of a lot of vavavoom to go around. So – like big jewelry – I can wear bold colours without being overpowered. I like that they set me off rather than fading me out (the way, say, beige, white/ivory, various earth tones, and most pale pinkish colours are all apt to do). They let me show off my own, inborn intensity without having to be all fishnets-and-eyeliner all the time[1].
 
How much of your favorite color(s) are in your wardrobe? If they aren’t, why not?
What is the dominant color in your wardrobe?

The dominant colours are royalish blue, various (somewhat faded, I admit) dark purples, and black. Which is pretty much how I want it, most of the time. I’ve also done a fair bit of weeding and replacing (as time and cash have allowed) so that my wardrobe contains way more “basics” (t-shirts, cardigans, that kind of thing) in solid colours and 100% cotton (or close to it) fibres, while also including way more textural embelishments (like rutching or assymetrical cuts) on those basic items. It’s getting to the point where I need to do another purge (I think) and maybe hit up the second hand shops looking for stuff that I can alter or otherwise fancy up to make my go-to-basics that much more Glam without having to think about it when I’m running late and need to get dressed.
 
What clothes do you wear over and over again? How do they make you feel?
What I said, above, about getting rid of the poliester stuff? This applies here, as well. I’ve made a point of getting rid of work skirts that are too tight at the hips or too loose at the waist, of learning how to taylor blouses so that, on those rare occasions when I need to wear one, I can actually do so without looking like I’m dressed in some kind of a sack. Still, my day-in-day-out wardrobe is basically: Skirt, Tank-Top, Cardigan and… I need to come to terms with the fact that this is how I dress, what can I do with that rather than trying to turn myself into someone who wears skinny jeans (ye gods, NO) or poliester “vintage” shirtwaist dresses (again with teh world of NO). What I’m aiming for (though falling short of) is to have a closet full of, yes, skirts, tank-tops (and cap-sleeve t-shirts), and cardigans (but also cropped jackets), but to have those items be unique and interesting variations on the theme so that when I pull on the same clothes that I’ve been wearing for the last three days, at least what I’m pulling on is (a) a well-structured, multi-fabric tulip-cut cotton maxi skirt paired with a long-line tank-top featuring side-rutching and a plunging v-neck, plus a richly textured cropped cotton cardigan that I’ve upcycled from three diffrerent-yet-coordinating pieces of knit-wear unsing my friend’s surger, and a pair of simple-yet-elegant gladiator sandals; or (b) a cute, short-but-not-too-short black denim miniskirt paired with layered tights & socks, ass-kicking o-ring-detailed leather ankle boots, an asymetrical tissue-cotton top (with long or shot sleaves, either way), and a knee-length black swing cardigan with button detailing & deep pockets… rather than the kind of thing that would look appropriate in an office millieu but that – because of the poliester lining or the conservative cut – isn’t really something that screams “Streetwise yet Mystical Art-Queen”.
 
How do they make you look? Really?
Yeah… I’m getting there.
I haven’t figured out how to do “tights” that are, effectively, just super-light “leg-warmers” that I hold up with a rejigged garter belt; some of my go-to skirts are routinely covered in cooking disasters and/or paint; and most of my cardigans (and some of my tanks/tees) are old enough that they’re more “baggy” and “Stretched out” than “swing cut” or, well, “flattering”. And that’s a problem. That I acknowledge and am (slowly) working to fix. Most of the stuff I described in my “what I’m going for” paragraph, above, are items that I already have and wear on the regular. That’s good. What’s not-so-good are the bits where my warmer sweaters (so the ones I wear all winter long – AKA six months of the eyar) are baggy and saggy and don’t show off my figure very well, or the bits where my long skirts are cut for people who are 4″-12″ shorter than I am and so rarely actually come down to my ankles. Part of why I have a goal to get better at sewing is so that I can make (or taylor, or combine) skirts that are the right cut for my super-long-legs and Marilyn Monroe waist-to-hip-ratio (I know… my life is so hard), and so that I can do the same thing with over-wear by, say, remaking a cotton jacket circa 1998 by cutting and tayloring them into funky/edgy cropped jackets that show off my figure and my creativity and keep me warm (or warmer) without adding heaps of bulk and hiding me under my clothes. It’s an on-going process, and I know it. Onwards!
 
How long have you had your current hair cut? Why is that?
Ages. I cut my hair into a pixie cut – on a whim, and entirely for reasons of wanting to exert some control, any control into my life on what had been a really crappy day – when I was 16 and I don’t evder want to do anything that drastic or poorly-though-out again. Maybe that’s putting my foot down a little too hard in this never-say-never world, but still. I like my super-long hair. I like that it’s not how women my age (or at any age) typically wear theirs. I like that I can braid it and bind it into a small, unobtrusive up-do that looks elegant and professional and takes, like, zero effort on my part, while still allowing me the opportunity to use cool stuff like this to dress it up. I like that I can totally pull off that “sexy librarian” look and go from “Hestia” to “Aphrodite” just by shaking my hair out. I love that. I’m not gonna lie. 🙂
 
How is the condition of your hair?
Better than it was at Winter Solstice. While I have zero intetion of changing my basic hair length or style, I do make a point of cutting the dead ends off once a year and occasionally adding some super-long layers to it, just for the sake of interest. I do tend to let my dye-jobs fade and my roots grow out longer than really looks good. I do. Part of that’s a money thing (even if I do stock up on wine-coloured hair-dye when it’s on mark-down), and part of it’s a scalp-health thing. But it would still look better (more glamourous?) if I touched it up more regularly. I admit that I rely on that easy updo (and my tremendous height) to mask (or distract from) as much of the roots as I can.
 
Would you be willing to throw away all your clothes and radically change your hairstyle?
I actually react to this with a lot of irritation. I have radically changed my hairstyle, and it did me no good what-so-ever. Dream-makeover shows like What Not To Wear, notwithstanding[2] I sure as heck don’t have five grand (or even $50) to spend on revamping my wardrobe all in one go.
Would I be willing to throw away all of my clothes? No. Because I’ve been slowly over the course of years working my wardrobe into something that actually shows me off to good effect. (More on that in a minute, stick with me).
Would I be willing to throw away all of my clothes? Yes? I hate saying “yes” to that because I actually do have an irrational fear of some wierdo (a combination of my mother and Stacy London, if you were wondering) swooping into my life, taking away all of my hard-won, concious fashion choices, and sticking me with the same poor-quality, conservative Office Drone Crap that I wore (and sold) for seven years before getting out of my shitty marriage and my shitty retail job and pushing for the life I actually want. And yet… Part of pushing for the life I actually want has been throwing away all of my clothes (I have maybe four cardigans and two skirts left from that period in my life and have managed to ditch everything else – from the itchy poly-velour skirts to the boxy office-shell tops to the skirts that never properly fit anyway) and replacing them with new (to me) items that better-reflect who I am. So it’s a double-edged answer. There you go.
 
 
So those were the questioned posed by ApocalypseGrrl.
Some others that I might pose – keeping in mind that I’m femme-woman-identified – include:
How do you accessorize, if at all?
Ar you relying on inexpensive costume jewelry to do the duty of new, dressy, and/or better-fitting clothes when you’re broke? Is it working? No, really: Sometimes it does, and sometimes it doesn’t. Check it out).
Do you wear makeup? Do you know how to apply it in flattering ways?
This can be anything from knowing which colours suit your skin + where to find them at a price you can afford (not always as easy as you might think, fellow white people); to having a good idea of whether lipstick – vs lipstain vs tinted lip balm vs untinted lipbalm – is Right For You; to knowing that you’re better off wearing ONE colour of eyeshadow all over your lid[3] because it means not having to futz with multiple pots of makeup while you’re feeling rushed vs whether or not you can successfully manage a multi-colour smokey eye or whatever. Do you know which perfumes smell good on you (for real) vs which ones make you smell like nothing but alcohol carrier/soak/fake florals/burning rubber[4]?
What shapes look good on you? Which textures work?
This means things like skirt cut and length, but it also means things like “how long is your torso compared to your limbs? If you wear a “waist-length” sweater or jakcet, does it look too short on you? Does it look too long? Can you pull of a loose cut – like a bat-wing sweater or any kind of garment that resembles Le Pouf? Or are you better off with something more structured?
I tend to wear skirts that fall below my knees. PArt of this is because I’m extra-long-limbed so anything above my knees tends to look “too short” if I’m not careful. Part of this is because – again with the legs – couches in cafes tend to be low enough that I run the risk of flashing everyone in the room if I wear a knee-brushing skirt when I go out for coffee.
Similarly, because I have big hips and big shoulders, but my “little in the middle” means that there’s not a huge difference between the number at my waist and the number on my bra-band, I tend to look better – neater, more put-together, more like I got dressed on purpose – when I wear fitted shirts and pair them with stuff that accentuates my shoulders without adding bulk to my mid-section. So I’m working with that for now.
Imagine(in a vague, nebulous sort of way – concrete sentences come later) that you are living your Idea Life. Now ask yourself (in specifics) what you are wearing.
Maybe it starts with nail polish or a particular piece of jewelry. Maybe it starts with winter boots that are warm and dry and gender-consonant all at the same time. Maybe it starts with a colour palet. But build from there and find out what Ideal You can wear (insert usual caveats about dressing for the body you have rather than the body you want – if you are six feet tall, you are never going to pull off Gothic Lolita the way someone can do at 5’6″). And then move towards it.
 
 
Look, y’all. I realize that I’ve spent an entire, massive blog post yacking about fashion and personal presentation, but bear with me. The point of all this is that, if you’re going to use magic to draw things to you, it will be easier to make that happen if you’re not stacking the deck against yourself via mundane means. In the same way that you wouldn’t do spell-craft to protect yourself from cardio-pulminary diseases and then stack the deck against yourself by main-lining salt all day, doing magic that is meant to get strategic people (corporial or otherwise) to like you enough to want to gift you with their goods and services and/or hire you for yours… and then present yourself like a schlub who either (a) doesn’t care about either making a good first impression, or (b) thinks that, once the wedding ring is on, you don’t have to make the effort any more.
Neither of these things is true, kids.
 
Listen. When I was wearing a third-hand winter coat with too-short sleeves and a falling-down hem, boots with cracked soles, synthetic office-wear tops that were too sloppy-big for my panic-attack-induced skinny body, and off-the-rack skirts that hit me at the worst possible point on my calves… I literally wanted to cry when I looked in the mirror. I couldn’t fathom, for the life of me, why anyone would give me a job or their phone number (current circumstances at the time were NOT helping with this PoV, by the way) and I couldn’t see a way out, either. “Dressing for the life you want” can sound trite or shallow or materialistic or otherwise like ten thousand shades of That’s Not Me(!), but believe me: It’ll be easier for you to magic the world into giving you what you want if the mirror, at least, is telling you that you deserve it.
 
 
[1] Which is a whole other story. I’m trying to get comfortable wearing Glammed Up makeup and clothing out of the house in a way that works for a casual day of errand-running and which doesn’t make me look like I’m trying (and failing) to make my 35-year-old self come across as hovering around twenty. More on that later but, siffice to say, I feel that fishnets, for a bunch of reasons, are pretty-much right out by now.
 
[2] And I appreciate how the hosts smartened the fuck up on how they treat their guests/victims/people-projects after the first season because, no, making someone cry is not actually the way to make the Whole New Look stick in the long run. Sorry.
 
[3] This is totally what I do, 90% of the time.
 
[4] This is what Dragon’s Bllood does on me. Amber, on the other hand, becomes All Baby Powder All The Time. But I can wear mhyrr like nobobdy’s business.

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