Thursday, March 29, 2012

Who I Am: An Introduction to Bookish Beauty

 To define myself in a single paragraph is difficult. I am many things, many facets of a single being, and each of these things could define me as well as the others. Part of what makes a blog so interesting, however, is the multifaceted view it can give of a person though it looks at them through a single lens. The lens I have chosen is fashion and beauty. The facets, the bits of who I am, will be many.

I'm a dabbler.

I'm sure that many people in their respective subcultures will dislike this about me, that I cannot call myself decidedly gothic or Lolita or rockabilly or mori girl or dolly kei or steampunk or fairypunk. I flit between fashion ideas, loving every one and finding kith and kin in each community. While I would love to delve deeper into a single subculture, there is too much in this world to limit myself to a single identity. There are too many delightful subcultural fashions to limit myself to a single style. When I say, then, that I am a dabbler, think not that I do not love or pursue a deep understanding of each subculture I dabble in. I merely find myself in all of them. What I can say for certain is that my style is anachronistic; expect historical and multicultural influence aplenty but precious little in terms of modernity.

I'm an academic.

I find inspiration in many things. Historical fashion guides me in terms of shape and style. The literature I read gives me ideas for outfit tone. Art inspires me, giving me ideas for color. Cultures around the world give me a variety of ideas in terms of how to define beauty and how to achieve it. Before I wear any style, I do research in order to make sure I have a well-rounded understanding of my choice.

I'm a nerd.

No, my interests are not limited to capital-L Literature. I love science fiction and fantasy. I play tabletop RPGs when I get the chance. I have uttered squees aplenty in my time. This is a part of me, and fandom will ever be a part of my clothing as a result.

I'm a plus-sized girl.

This, in itself, is problematic for many fashions. I'm a big girl with a curvy, busty frame, large feet, and a head so large that I have never had a hat that fit me which wasn't custom-made. My size can make things difficult. Stores don't carry it. Subcultures don't always accept it. The culture at large is at war with itself in terms of what size is right. But we bigger girls do what we can with the bodies we have and either let our bodies define us or redefine the way others view our bodies and us. We can do nothing else.

I'm a crafter.

I've been sewing since I was six years old, designing my own clothing, plushies, and accessories since I learned this skill. I make all manner of things with fabric, both refashioned and store-bought yardage. I weave on occasion. I've a deft and creative (here read: strange) hand with a hot glue gun. I believe in "Make it, mend it, wear it out, Make it do or do without." Handmade, fitted, or simply hemmed, I will make things throughout this venture.

I'm a thrifter.

I don't believe that good fashion has to be expensive fashion. Thrift store and clearance rack finds are the basis of my wardrobe, and I don't intend to change that now. My fashion is based on budget sensibilities and long-term wearability. You won't find bank-breaking dresses here unless they have been saved for and budgeted into submission.

I'm a bit mad.

I am a girl who once darted forward in the NY Metropolitan Museum of Art, cooing the word "Poleaxes!" at a glass-encased rack of weaponry that I found to be absolutely stunning. I find beauty in the strange and am unwilling to give it up because it is so strange. I find dead trees to be beautiful. I frequently walk through stores and announce "I want to put that on my head!" as a statement of admiration for an item's aesthetic value. I have never quite been able to conform to normal ideas of beauty and acceptable self-expression, and I don't intend to start now.

I'm bookish, I'm off-kilter, and I am, if I do say so myself, pretty.

I'm Emily.

It's nice to meet you.