Thursday, December 27, 2012

Corsets for My Cousin IV: Unlaced

The most important piece of advice I can give is to make sure that the pieces you buy to wear with your corset go with your wardrobe. You need to have a complete wardrobe. You need to have a working wardrobe. You can't just get an item to go with one outfit; it doesn't justify the cost. You have to be able to wear the item multiple ways or many different times.

I have a friend who put down over $450 on a corset, skirt, and blouse at the Renaissance Festival. She didn't wear it for more than four hours the day she bought it and has not worn it since. It's simply not worth the money.

So, in the final installment of this series, here are several day-to-day outfits without the corsets using the same wardrobe.

Unlaced I: Menswear

I do so love a menswear-inspired piece. This is pretty monochrome, but most of the tops would work very well with this, adding a single color to the outfit.

Unlaced II: Plum Fantastic

Another very simple outfit. Mixing a couple of purple tones and a neutral.

Unlaced VI: Bookish

And a mashup of the two! It really is amazing how many outfits you can create when you've got a good base of neutrals to play with.

Unlaced V: Purple Lady

And another one! I didn't mean to go with a purple theme; it just sort of happened.

Unlaced IV: Business Class

This one is definitely office wear. Without the blazer, it's a bit less relegated to the office, but I think it works with or without.

Unlaced III: This Dame Means Business

Another vintage-y number, this one with a pairing of the classic menswear blazer and the very feminine cloche hat. Pin the butterfly to the blazer to soften the edge of that item, and I think they blend nicely.

Unlaced VII: A Little Bit Pink

And lastly, something a bit cutesier and more pink. Just for the sake of doing something a little different. Personally, I'd put the flower at the waist to break up all the white and ivory.

I hope this has been helpful. I'll see you in the new year!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Corsets for My Cousin III: Black

And now it's time for the black corset!

This one, as I mentioned before, is a better approximation of the one my cousin might be getting. Personally, I found the black to be more inspiring because of that; I could glance over at the corset sitting on my bedside table and say "Yes. That outfit would work."

The black, however, also carries with it the risk of being limited to all black gothy outfits and, while I do love the dark Victorian aesthetic, I wanted to make sure I incorporated a variety of different looks.

Black Corset I: Purple and Plaid

This is the outfit that kicked this whole project off, and I am very pleased with how it turned out. It's pretty traditionally girly, with the flower motifs and the rich purples and pinks, but I find it to be a very classy look. You could easily replace the corset with a vest and get a very similar feel, but the corset enforces the hourglass silhouette established by the full skirt and really kicks the femininity up a notch.

Black Corset II: Corporate Goth

Corporate goth. With a corset. I tried to incorporate a few traditionally feminine details to complement the corset's obviously feminine shape, so i added the ruffles around the neckline of the shirt, the floral accent on the shoe, and the more traditionally feminine look to the earrings. To that, I added the pencil skirt (traditionally feminine but with a harder edge than full skirts), the blazer, the trilby (the hat; the brim's narrow, so it's a trilby), and the boxy look to the bracelet. All together, it makes what I consider a nicely cohesive whole.

Black Corset III: Antique Damask

I admit, this one's a little bit boring. Classy, but boring. I love the combination of black and ivory, and the textures of the fabric of the skirt, the blouse, and the detail on the shoe all add visual interest. But it's still much less colorful and much more subdued than the other outfits in this set.

Black Corset IV: Pink and Black

I love the combination of soft, girly pink with the hard edge of black. Personally, for this particular set of clothes, I'd tie a pink ribbon around the waist to break up the hard black of the corset, and probably clip the flower to that ribbon.

Black Corset V: Into The Woods at Night

This one is another simple outfit, but the little punch of color in the green gives it more visual interest to me. I'd probably use the little black flowers or the black bows for earrings, just to pull the floral motif more into the accessories. Fairly simple, altogether.

Black Corset VI: Night Blooming Flowers

This is probably the most traditionally gothy of the bunch. It's also the simplest. Throw on a ruffled top, interesting skirt, tights, corset, and shoes and you're pretty much good to go. This combination could work with almost any of the tops in the set I used, but I felt like having at least one really gothy outfit, so here you go.

Black Corset VII: Halloween Costume

This is, of course, a costume, but I wanted to throw something in here to show how costumes can be made from ordinary wardrobe choices (something that I do yearly) with a few additions. This is, of course, a raven/dark angel/something ooky spooky and feathery. I took some of the same wardrobe elements, added a pair of wings and a mask, and pulled in one feather headband that would still be entirely appropriate in other outfits. Voila! A costume.

So there you have it. Six day-to-day outfits utilizing a black corset and one costume.

Next week, I'm going to have more outfits from this set, but without the corsets (because versatility is important with any wardrobe). For the final installment of this series, we're going to have a few outfits unlaced.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Corsets For My Cousin II: Brown

This week, the outfits I put together with the brown corset!

Now, remember, this corset isn't exactly what my cousin will be getting, but it's similar enough in design that it works well for examples. Remember, these are outfits put together to illustrate what can be done with corsets to make them look classy and mother-appropriate. The latter element is harder to achieve than the former, I admit.

Another point I'll make is that, because both corsets I'm working with are overbust corsets, they could theoretically be worn without the shirt beneath, but that would be both not mother appropriate and a bit less acceptable for daywear.

Brown Corset IV: Pink and Brown

This one's girly. The printed tight, the vintage floral dirndl skirt, and the lightly ruffled turtleneck all point nicely to a sort of 1950s pinup look, and the corset doesn't interrupt that by adding too much complexity with the accessories.

Brown Corset I: Forest Girl

I went super vintage with this one. I wanted something that would be just a little bit foresty and vintage without falling headlong into mori territory, and this definitely fits the bill. The cloche hat isn't for everyone and could easily be swapped out for a green headband or barrette or something. Add plaited hair and it'd be a bit like a grown up Gretel (which is a look I like, I admit!).

Brown Corset II: Simple and Romantic

This one was largely inspired by my readings of poetry. I like the contrast of the sheer, flowy skirt with the structured corset. Again, simple accessories: just a headband and those nicely detailed printed tights again. Simple and elegant and slightly pastoral.

Brown Corset III: Yes, Virginia, You Can Mix Neutrals

And last but not least, one of my favorite color combinations: black, ivory, and brown. I know people from here to Timbuktu say that black and brown don't go together. Well, fie on them.This one, with a top hat, maybe a different skirt, and some theatrical accessories, would make a great steampunk getup. As it is, it's somewhere between casual steampunk and I-don't-know-what-this-is-but-I-like-it Victorian-inspired... something.

I hope these have been at the very least interesting to you. Next week, we dive into the gothier side of things with outfits designed around the black corset.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Corsets For My Cousin I: The Wardrobe I'm Working With

So, I have a beloved cousin who may very well be inheriting my corsets at the end of the month. I have two, a brown and a black, that don't fit me particularly well (and, given the extreme nature of my hourglass figure, never truly did), so I am going to have her try them on. Hopefully, one or both will fit her nicely.

That said, she's never had a corset before. In addition to making sure that she can lace up the garments properly, I want to make sure she knows that there are a variety of ways that one can wear them.

I'm doing a series here to help her with that.

This is the first post I'll be making in the series, to establish a palette. The black corset shown is a pretty good approximation of the black corset she will be trying on. The brown is lovely, but, unfortunately, isn't exactly what she'll be trying out; polyvore didn't have anything that looked right, and this is the closest I could find.

Everything you see here is from stores she would reasonably shop at (Claire's, Maurice's, Wal-Mart, etc.), thrift store stand-by shapes, or easily made skirt shapes like dirndls or circle skirts.

Corset Wardrobe I: Tops

For tops, I went with a lot of ruffles because... well, I like ruffles. Obviously, they range from very casual ruffled sweaters and t-shirts to the much more formal Victorian-esque blouse, but they all have that design element in common.

I also wanted to include two layering pieces, for which I picked a lace bolero and a black blazer. Both are simple enough that they could be adapted to many different looks and could be incorporated into a corset-less outfit with ease.

Corset Wardrobe II: Skirts

For skirts, I went with mostly skirts that hit the knees. That's a "mother appropriate" concession, I admit, but I prefer my skirts knee-length or longer so it also aligns with my personal taste. Most of them are full - again, personal taste - and would flare nicely to accent the nipped-in waist that the corset gives. I also tried to make sure every one of them had something interesting to it, whether that be texture, color, print, or shape.

Corset Wardrobe III: Accessories

And accessories! I went with a lot of very simple things here and tried to keep things fairly neutral. Hats, hair accessories, a few pieces of jewelry, some tights that go with almost anything, shoes, and a set of earrings that offer plenty of choices and vintage charm. Personally, my wardrobe is possessed of accessory overload, but I did try to keep this to a few pieces that will match a lot of things.

Next week: outfits featuring the brown corset.