31 January 2012

if the clothes fit

Someone asked me if I consider myself a fashion blogger or makeup blogger or what. At first I was offended (I get defensive easily LET IT BE KNOWN) but then I thought about it. It's a perfectly reasonable question to ask, considering the state of this blog. I'm not as interested in "fashion" as I once was, let's start there. As in, I don't spend hours trolling thru style.com archives anymore, taking notes on each and every collection in a Google Doc when I'm supposed to be paying attention in class. It's not as though I'm ignoring fashion, but rather, my focus in the industry is very finely tuned -- now more than ever. I know what I want out of fashion and I'm focusing all my personal style and creativity on attaining what I want out of the industry -- nothing more, nothing less. I think that is what makes fashion empowering to me, as a feminist. I use fashion as a tool of power/personal identity as much as I am used by fashion as an influencer thru my voice in social media. When people ask me about how I can possibly be feminist and be into fashion I feel like the answer should be obvious: it lets me do what I want. The end.  Minh-Ha T. Pham says it pretty wonderfully in this Ms. article:

If feminists ignore fashion, we are ceding our power to influence it.
 I mean, I get why people don't 'get' the fashion industry, I get that the representations of it can make it seem like a totally shallow, soul sucking industry. It can be. The parodies and satire are funny because they are sadly, woefully, true, in a lot of cases. Fashion isn't deep unless you give it depth. Once you put power and thought behind it, put meaning, it becomes something else: agency. Now, this agency can sometimes be at odds with privilege. It can be hard to like fashion when the only versions of fashion we see in popular culture are the ones modeled by skinny young white girls whose bodies don't resemble ours, who're wearing $500 tshirts and $798 skirts and $1000 worth of jewelry on each wrist. Make no mistake: I'm not hating on the people who can afford these things. Because rich people who see themselves in the popular representations, they might be using fashion as a means of identity, too -- it might just be easier for them to do it. There is nothing wrong with being rich, it's what you do with the money that counts. People read designer clothes and see what they want to see, you know? People see expensive clothes and think, "That person has it easy. That person is probably not like me." And it's easy to hate someone for it. I've done it before and I'll probably do it again in the future, I'm not perfect.  But you also have to take into consideration that fashion can't be equivocated to designer clothes -- it's bigger than that and it's smaller than that. Essentializing it into a scene for rich white girls is selling it short. You're dismissing the power it can give you, and that power is one of the most pervasive and widely used forms of communication you can have as a person. I mean, yeah. I think it's really stupid and fucked up that fashion designers don't make space for larger sizes -- I think it's unforgivable, really. And I think there needs to be a change. There is a lot wrong with the industry, but I think at heart fashion can be good, too.

 I think it's weird that people hate on fashion and in the same breath encourage people to "be themselves" and be unqiue. Girls are told we should "maintain ourselves" and in the same breath it's apparently uncool to be girly because being girly means we're dramatic and troublemakers and guys have 'so much less drama' and blah blah blah. All the mixed messages can really fuck with a girl. And I think a lot of the resentment towards fashion can be grounded in self-hate & the special snowflake complex.There's another blogger that said it pretty succinctly:

Jenny Holzer, Source
“Fashion is one of the very few forms of expression in which women have more freedom than men. And I don’t think it’s an accident that it’s typically seen as shallow, trivial, and vain. It is the height of irony that women are valued for our looks, encouraged to make ourselves beautiful and ornamental… and are then derided as shallow and vain for doing so. 

I love fashion. I hate fashion. I can't really live without fashion, because I can't escape clothes. I can claim defeat and pull on sweatpants and keds or jeans and a hoodie, but it's like slipping into someone else's skin, it doesn't feel like me. Fashion gets me into my own space, it's like I can breathe properly. I know that fashion can make people feel really bad about themselves but I think if you subvert it and use it and make it work for you and not the other way around it can be more than you'd ever expect......use the power it has and you get stronger because of it. I wrote a post about agency and fashion a little while ago, if you remember. The words are as relevant as ever:

I always return to the sentiment that my favorite clothes are my armor and my friends. They will never fail me. . . Clothes give me agency where talking often fails. . . I can be a feminist and also love fashion because I believe that your style and how you approach the industry and dissect and create the media can give you agency, give you a voice, give you strength. Passion in any form, like getting dressed (even if that is a simple form), just says that I am here and that I exist and I am not ashamed.

27 January 2012

my birthday blouse

If you follow me on instagram (my username is fashionpirate, natch) and twitter you'll know that when I went to Opening Ceremony with Meagan I got myself a Rodarte (for OC) blouse. Well this is it! It was heavily on sale, just like many other pieces from the collection. I've got one of the dresses on my wishlist and it's within reach so I might buy one....or two. I really liked the collection, at least the pieces that are available in black. WESTERN GOTH DREAMZ. 

 This is admittedly a more risque piece for me to wear (boobies!) but I don't really care. I have some fashion tape and pasties so when I wear this out my ickle buds (ugly laughter) aren't saying hi to anybody. 

Skirt: Thrifted (and seen before in this post, along with several others)
Saggy as all hell tights: I don't know. Probably Satan planted them in my drawer bc I hate them. 
Clear Creepers: Some Halloween store online? $20. Also seen before on the blog. 

P.S You can click on the images to make them bigger now, they won't link to Flickr. Progress!

20 January 2012

parrots and zebras and curtains as dresses


Ughhhh I forget how to pose for outfit photos. I'm just like "OK HOW DO I SMILE" and then I look at the photos and I have the same soulless smile in all of them oh well. At least I'm pretty. (And modest, too!)  Oh yeah, I was boring and instead of going green like I'd planned in December I just redyed my hair purple. I'm so used to it now, it's like my natural hair color to me. Anyway, I wanted to take photos of this dress Meagan got for me at Opening Ceremony over the weekend when we went shopping. She is so so generous and lovely and one of my favorite people period, we have lots in common re: how we view fashion and the blogosphere, feminism and personal politics. I hope she moves to New York so we can hang out more, I miss her already. 


Cardigan: Rodarte x Target, gift from Tavi 
Dress: Opening Ceremony, gift from Meagan 
Brown Jacket: Gift from my mom
Vintage Jacket: Gift from one of my HS teachers


When were were in OC we tried on a bunch of stuff, but we have very similar taste so the people helping us accidentally put everything we both wanted onto one rack/dressing room. It was funny. Anyway, I got myself a Rodarte top (you'll see in another post) and might go back for a dress but I'll wait until I have more saved up. Even if the sale discounts are really good I don't have $$$$ to spend every week. I've been really bad with temptation this month. But I haven't purchased any new clothes in....man, I honestly can't even remember how long. Maybe since....November. I have enough clothes, and I've been focusing my style to a very specific point, and I have everything I need and can afford to achieve the style I want at the moment, so I haven't felt the need to buy new stuff.


Anyway, I hope I did the dress justice in these photos, for Meagan stipulated that I had to take LOTS of photos in it if she were to buy it for me. So I did and these are the best ones I think. You'll see me in it a lot though -- I have a bagillion ideas as to how to wear it. So happy. Thank you thank you thank you! I have the sweetest and most generous friends. 

16 January 2012

you need to know the rules before you can break them.

I am uncomfortable with the big elephant of privilege in the blogosphere. So I am trying to think of ways to acknowledge and subvert it in my own blog without being a hater to the girls that I support and love who also blog but who also perpetuate the bubble of privilege that makes reading fashion blogs not very enjoyable anymore. I mean I acknowledge I have that privilege, too -- I am white-appearing, cisgendered, don't read particularly "QUEER" if people are stupid enough to judge by appearance, 'straight sized', I am in an area where I am afforded every opportunity to shop where I choose because there are plenty of places I like to shop near me that I can afford and that have things I want and I can fit into most everything I try, and I get sent things that otherwise I may not be able to afford, by very generous friends, followers, and stores. And I work as a writer and 'blogger' and get paid for it occasionally by sponsors and editors so I can afford things if I save up. I know I have privilege myself when it comes to being a blogger.

But then again, I am not a rich person, I don't get as many opportunities as some other bloggers because I'm not quite as marketable (also I'm terrible with answering emails at a reasonable time) and I've turned down things many times, for many reasons, and I'm okay with all that. I think and hope you all trust me and my opinion and why I blog. I am just contemplating what it means to have integrity but also individual freedom to market myself. You can't make bank on pride, you know? I don't know if what I am writing is making sense. I hope so. I've been in this hard place for awhile. I just don't like the feeling that I have this power to affect change and help people and make people less lonely while also making them feel like they're only going to have a good blog, only get where they want in the world if they do x things, look x way, buy x things, take pictures x ways, x times a week, write x way. I think I am doing a disservice to you now by saying you can only be a successful fashion blogger by being 'yourself'. I think we all know that is kind of bullshit, now. Successful fashion bloggers, they/we have this unwritten glossy standard now, and it's tiring. I am tired. I have realized I am not tired of blogging, but by the rules of fashion blogging that have silently creeped up on us, the rules we have kind of invented for ourselves. I wonder how and when it happened, really, and how can we actively change it without making everyone change if they don't have to. I wonder if enough people care.

What I'm saying is that I am, as I've said before, tired of playing by the rules. I have played by them, I have gotten this far by them and by making them accommodate me and my personality and my style, but meh. Enough is enough. I don't think fashion blogging is enjoyable enough a pursuit for me to keep blogging if I'm gonna keep trying to accommodate a certain style of blogging I'm not into, anyway. I dunno what my resistance will be, in what form it will take on this blog, other than this long winded declaration. I guess I'm gonna do whatever I want and I hope you're gonna go along for the ride. I'd like to know if you feel the same about where the blogosphere is going. Do you like where fashion blogging is at the moment? Does it alienate you too? I wanna know your thoughts.

Talk to you soon.

14 January 2012

happy birthday

Continuation of the shoot I posted the other day. Everything is vintage and/or thrifted with the exception of these shoes, which were gifts from Filthy Magic, and you can get a 15% discount off your order using the code FASHIONPIRATE I think. 

Styling and modeling: Me.
Makeup and Hair: Candice Crawford 
Photography: Meagan Cignoli 

It's the blogs 4th birthday today! And my 19th. It's been a journey, hasn't it? Thank you for taking it with me, old visitors and new. I've got a deeper post planned that will be setting the tone for the next year in blogging for me -- call it a manifesto -- and that'll come on Monday. For now I'm just happy to be where I am, which is away from the computer, with friends, surrounded by clothes and music and lots of wine. Hope you're having a blast. Ehugz and lots of love. 


11 January 2012

rainbow blood and sequin horns

A few months ago -- okay more than a few, time flies -- I got together with an amazingly talented photographer and makeup artist and we did two different shoots in one day. Here are photos from one of them. Details will be running on the makeup and hair over at powderdoom later on in the week (to be determined, our queue is always changing). I'm so happy how they came out, and so in awe of Meagan and Candice's work.

I don't want to SPOIL YOU ALL and show you all of the photos at once, so here are the few of several. It was super fun to do this shoot, I used all of my own wardrobe and just wore stuff I do usually. This is one of my favorite outfits to wear, actually. All of it is vintage and/or thrifted, with the exception of the shoes, which are from some sex store ($40 steez) and the clips, which are from ban.do that they kindly let me borrow for the shoot and was sad to send back. 

The purpose of this particular shoot was just to have fun, start with a blank canvas and bring it -- and my outfit choices -- into life and color. We started off with a essentially a very white outfit, plainer hair, then built up the color palette of my clothes and the makeup and the hair and I went to town with paint. It was really, really fun, and I still have the canvass somewhere in my house. That blazer still has some orange paint on one of the cuffs as a fond reminder. 

Styling and modeling: Me.
Makeup and Hair: Candice Crawford 
Photography: Meagan Cignoli 

Anyway, the blogs 4 year anniversary is around the corner -- Saturday! -- and also my 19th birthday -- also Saturday, lolz. I'll put up some more photos from the shoot then, and also a surprise for you. :) Thanks for sticking around. 

02 January 2012

rest and you rest

I don't consider myself a particularly romantic person. I don't like to obsess over my past and how it was better than what I'm stuck in now. I think nostalgia can be a weakness sometimes. If you dwell on the past you aren't fully living in the present, you know? I've talked about this before I think, it's a recurring theme here whenever I get 'serious'. I've often been accused of being stuck in my own head too much, thinking about the future. The future is romantic to me, not the past. I've been restless lately, mostly because since I'm not at school I don't have a set schedule so I mostly sit around, play with makeup, read, watch movies (I'm doing a 365 film challenge right now), shop. Shopping and makeup has kind of consumed the part of my life normally reserved for fashion blogging, maybe 'cause it's so simple in comparison. I'm almost tired of it though. It can get exhausting wanting things so consistently, so frequently, all of the time, something new, something else. You shouldn't invest too much in material things but I do it. I don't know. It's an obsessive habit. I'm an obsessive person. I didn't get to (almost) 4 years of internet narcissism by being anything less than obsessive.

2011 was a good year for me. 2010 I had a shit college experience and bad luck in general, 2011 I found people I love and relate to, I now live in a safe space, surrounded by people I love and care for, and I had the opportunity to be part of some really cool things. 2012 looks to be a little scarier, because I'm finally growing up, dealing with real people problems, planning some big trips where I'll be by myself most of the time -- Taipei, LA, maybe London -- and it's scary but exciting. I can't stay a kid forever. I sometimes miss the naivete of being a child and not getting into arguments about racism or politics or whatever, but really, I don't regret growing up at all. The world is changing and so am I. I don't know into what, and I won't ever be done changing, but it's happening. I'm a little softer than I once was to people, because I realize they will not put up with my shit (nor should they). I cry more during movies. I cry less over people. I get things done faster, because I know two hours of hard work beats 3 days of 10 minute half assed work. I write more and do more and am understanding it's okay to be by myself all the time but I have friends that care about me and I need to treat them with as much love as they deserve and stop being a lazy fucker. There's this saying, "rest and you rust."

 I've rested long enough.