Tuesday, 26 May 2015

An open letter to the men who insulted me at Comic Con... Is Snow White supposed to be hot?


Hello everyone I have something a bit different for you readers today, a change in tone from my usual posts, but something that I thought was important to say non-the-less.

Last weekend I went to London Comic Con dressed as Snow White.

Looking neat before Comic Con
Some thoughtful ‘gentlemen’ insulted me from a distance so I thought I would write a letter so that could fully articulate my response.
Here it is:

Dear Men who shouted at me at Comic Con,

Yes you boys that insulted me as I walked past in my Snow White costume. You also sniggered when I turned around to see who had been making fun of me. I hope you are proud.

I just have a few things I need to say to you. I was sad that I couldn’t respond at the time, but by the time I had processed exactly what you had said I had been swept away in the quickly moving crowd. I was also afraid that I may shout at you, or cry, and I didn’t really feel like giving you the satisfaction of showing you how much your words hurt me. But congratulations they did.

I spent hours making that costume, I sewed it from scratch, I researched new techniques to help me put it together and I did hair and makeup trials to make sure everything was just the way I wanted it. I was so proud of my hard work and I was feeling so good about what I had achieved. I didn’t realise that all that good feeling would be so easily spoiled by your throw-away comment: ‘Isn’t Snow White supposed to be hot?’

Is Snow White meant to be hot? Serious question...
Now I don’t know if I am shallow or silly but I was really taken aback by this random verbal assault. I straight away thought ‘Am I ugly?’ Despite the fact I had previously been told how beautiful I looked by a very sweet lady who served us food. My thoughts very quickly moved from a general ugliness to my biggest insecurity - it’s because I’m fat - and you can't have a hot bod if your fat right?

That had to be it, I was too plus size to be a hot Snow White because Snow White is petite with a tiny waist not a 5’7’’ size 14 woman. Right? I’m sure it was meant to be a silly comment, something for a giggle, not to be taken seriously. But it made me feel terrible about myself, it even made me wish I hadn’t eaten the delicious takoyaki for my lunch.

I am aware that I am projecting a certain amount of my own insecurities onto this situation, but isn't that exactly what a comment like this does? It reaches deep inside of you and gnaws at your perceived imperfections. That is why it can be so damaging.

Maybe as UK size 14 I do not fit the typical ideal of the ‘hot’ woman, or heck, even if you think I am completely fugly why should I have to fit in with your ideals of what is hot or not. I can wear what I want. I don’t define myself by what you think is hot. Why should I have to strive to meet your beauty standards? (see #effyourbeautystandards for more on that).

What really infuriates me is that I feel so bad about being upset over a hurtful thing you said? Why do I feel so responsible for my non-hotness. Why do I feel so guilty for feeling insulted? Its only a small thing, I'm not hot, so what, yet it still hurts.

Having said all this, it has also occurred to me that perhaps you don’t actually know what the traditional Disney Snow White looks like? If you google Snow White costume, the majority of costumes available tobuy have tiny skirts (like so many of the costumes available to women these days). Perhaps you don’t realise that Snow White actually has a fairly high neckline and a long skirt? My costume was designed for accuracy, it was meant to be a replica of the design from the film. It was not made to be sexy, but more elegant and regal. Surely you can appreciate the craftsmanship in that?  
Disney's Snow White
 Or perhaps you just think it is a woman’s job to look sexy for you?

I left comic con feeling rather down and in a fluctuating mental state. It was only once I was far away that I could appreciate the more disturbing implications of your thoughts on hotness.

Snow White is a folk tale from the 18th century about a girl, not a woman, a girl who is OFICIALLY 14 years old. She it meant to be fair and beautiful yes, but she is also sweet, shy and na├»ve, and certainly too young to be hot in the way you are suggesting. So sorry if my Snow White costume wasn’t hot enough for you. But with the information above I think it is very clear who actually has the problem defining what should or should not be hot.

Finally, I just wanted to add that I find you revolting. Firstly for your limited view on the female form, secondly for your disrespect for the craft of cosplay and lastly for your inability to keep your mouth shut when a nasty thought pops into your mind. If something similar happens to you in future can I politely request that you take some advice from another 1930s Disney film?


Yours sincerely,

The Not Hot Snow White

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Vintage inspired skirts in retro prints

When I began thinking about this post I very much had Dita Von Teese in mind.

Image from Betty Le Bonbon

I just love her style of big flouncy skirts in vibrant colours or tweeds and sometimes with exciting prints. It is a look I have always liked and the feature skirt and classic T-shirt was a staple of mine in my undergrad days.

I have really struggled lately to find good skirts. Especially when it comes to vintage. I'm not sure if skirts were just worn more so they haven't lasted as long as the more available 'special occasion dresses' of if skirts just weren't as popular (I lean towards the former).

So I decided that the best way to get hold of a 50s style skirt was to make one myself. I wanted to go for a gathered skirt rather than full circle as circle skirts can sometimes look a bit cliche. I used Simplicity 1369 in the longest length with a few minor tweaks.


I found an amazing fabric shop in Scarborough that was selling beautiful print cottons for less than half RRP! So I gave myself a treat and bought some cute fabrics so that I could make some skirts.



The first skirt I made was in the black apple print fabric. I made the size according to my measurements however I found that the waist was too big, so I had to take it in :S whoops... Sorry I don't have a better picture of this one.


The second one I made was in the leaf print. I also interfaced this one with more stiff interfacing around the waist which I found I really liked. I did make the really stupid mistake of having the leaves face up on the front and down on the back however... whoops. Thank goodness the pattern hides it quite well!


The skirt even has a pocket!!






I also decided to make the dress in a really amazing 60s/70s red and blue print. I made this skirt extra full.




I took quite a lot of care with this skirt to pattern match which is not something I've done before. It was quite a bit of a faff, but I think it was worth it when I considered the finished look of the whole skirt.

In these last pictures I wore the most amazing shoes. A pair of Rocket Originals in red leather. The style is called Judy and they are so comfortable and amazingly retro looking, but that is because they are designed based on vintage shoe patterns. I never thought I could wear a pair of sling backs, but these are perfect!


Outfit details:
Skirts: Home made
Shoes: Rocket Originals and Clarks
Top: Laura Ashley t shirt/Primark tshirt
Cardigan: GAP thrifted

Have you ever got an item of clothing in several different colours?


Tuesday, 12 May 2015

A trip to Northumberland

It was spring break recently and I took a bit of time off to visit home and a little bit further north too. My family rented a holiday cottage on the Northumberland coast at Bamburgh and my husband and I went to spend the Easter break there too.

Northumberland is such a beautiful part of the country and I am really pleased to say that I recently secured a new job up there and will be moving to the North coast in the Summer. I'm so happy to be returning home, not that I haven't had a lot of fun in the South, but this last year in particular I have missed home so much that I knew I needed to go back (and I thank my lucky stars that my husband feels the same way).

Who wouldn't want to live in the same county as this after all:


The weather leading up to the trip was not exactly spring like so I packed sensible warm clothes. I never expected the weather to come out as well as it did.

The first day was a bit drizzly so my Collectif rain mac (the 3rd of the coats I bought in the sale) came in very handy for a walk on the beach.


That's Bamburgh castle in the background.


I this picture sums up my husband and I so perfectly. Walking along the beach on a dingy evening, wearing totally inappropriate shoes ;)

I also couldn't resist having a go on the big swing!



But then the weather changed, and it was very different. Bright and sunny and... warm even! I feel like I have been in this uber long mild winter so to get some warm sunshine was completely unexpected.

Here is me next to Dunstanburgh castle after a long walk along the nearby bay. It was such a beautiful day I felt like I was in another country.


And back on the beach at sunset.


We also went on a boat trip to the Farne Islands and we saw Grace Darling's lighthouse and a lot of seals.

This is my favourite photo I took on the trip:

This seal was so angry at my Dad for coming to close to it.


We also went to Holy Island on Easter Sunday and again, the weather was beautiful:


And there were birds, lots of birds... including a cute mallard couple. I had no idea that mallards could live by salt water, but I guess this proves it!


I also took one of my favourite vintage dresses with me a nice green floral number that I got in Pickering a few years ago and I found that is is super versatile. It even went with walking boots ;) 




I had a lovely week I really didn't want it to end. 

Did you do anything nice for spring break?


Thursday, 7 May 2015

Going for the chop: Lets talk about hair...

Just a quick post today. I've been trying hard with my hair lately, trying to learn more styles practising and improving the styles I know. Which has lead to a few good hair days.

For example this one (excuse the coat hanger). Where I backcombed and teased my victory rolls for the first time. Would you also believe I slept in this style and woke up in the morning looking like this?


Or there was the time I learnt to brush out my hair properly by using a proper large paddle brush (thanks to this tutorial).

 Glasses from SpecsPost by the way.

The only problem is that on lazy days when I didn't style my hair, it looked more like this:


SCARY!!!!!!

This is what I can best describe as a frizz bomb. It was really unfortunate that the leftover perm from over a year ago had taken its toll. The thing with perms is that you need to do regular intensive conditioning and to have it re-permed, which I did not.

So I decided to chop all of that damage off. I had a pretty drastic cut, adding layering, shortening and new colour that is much closer to my natural colour.

Now styling has been fun with this new do, at one point I ended up looking quite a bit like Moss from the IT Crowd...
But I am pretty confident that I have got the hang of styling it now :) I am really enjoying how easy it is to set too as there is so much less of it! I'm starting to feel a little more like Betty Draper than a frizzy lion.



So I will have to give the complex up-dos a miss for a little while but at the moment I am totally not missing them. Several people at work have even told me that I look like Snow White :)


Tuesday, 5 May 2015

A #MeMade Snow White cosplay costume for World Book Day

So kicking off Me Made May, which I am not officially part of but would like to dabble in, I have a cosplay costume to share with you.

I really love Disney, like love Disney, but lets face it Disney is a bit of a Marmite, the people who love it, love it and the people that hate it, hate it. I have found that Disney is popular in cosplay circles and I can completely understand why. The dresses! Who wouldn't want to try and make those beautiful and sometimes rather offbeat ballgowns.


When I was a little girl I was lucky enough to go to Disney world in Florida and I can very vividly remember the moment a lady ran up to my Mum saying 'Oh wow, you look just like Snow White! That pale skin, that dark hair!'. My Mum was flattered and a little embarrassed and as the years went on we both got older and I started to look more and more like she did on that day (although a little rounder...).

So when it came to choosing a costume for World Book Day back in March I decided that I wanted to dress as Snow White. Because she was one of the original fairy tales committed to writing by the Brothers Grimm, but also because I wanted to make a costume my Mum might one day be able to wear so she can be Snow White again.

This was the first Disney costume I have made completely and 100% from scratch but I did have a little help in the form of Simplicity pattern 2813 Snow White and Cinderella.


Firstly I would like to say that this is the greatest pattern I have worked with so far. I WISH I had known of its existence when I made my Princess Daisy dress (although that still somehow turned out pretty well).  It had really comprehensive instructions and was really straightforward to follow despite containing some really complex elements. Well done Simplicity!!

This costume took a lot of fabric and as I decided to make it in a better quality cotton it was not cheap to make, but I am feeling like it will be a great costume to wear again and again.

I started off making the bodice that was not only fully lined but also had interfacing around the collar, these were two new skills I learnt just for this costume but interfacing makes SUCH a difference I could not believe it (that's the white stuff poking out at the seams)!


I also learnt how to applique the design on the sleeves using wonder webbing and a new zig zag stitch on my sewing machine, which was fairly simple, however what was not simple was the white collar.

I SPENT 3 HOURS ON THE COLLAR!! It has two layers of stiff interfacing, an attempt at machine overlocking and strategic velcro attachment so that the collar would also stand up AND be detachable. It was very hard work, but I was so pleased with the finished effect.

Also how much do I love my swirly fancy fringe in this picture!!

And here is the final outfit, including the hair bow, that I also made myself :)

And here is a quick selfie I took with my wig on before heading off to work.


Annnnnnnd here is the final thing, complete with apple! I really wasn't pleased with the make up as I had to keep it fairly toned down for work, I am looking forward to wearing it again, and since I have had my hair done, I wont need to wear a wig - YES!


Sad news is that I didn't win the staff competition this year, but I don't think it would have been very fair to win two years in a row.

But I did get some very weird looks on the train!

The best part of the who day was when I walked past the nursery near my work and one of the staff came running out to ask me to say hello to the children. It was adorable!

What do you think of my costume? Do I make a good Snow White?






Monday, 27 April 2015

Can you believe I'm wearing brown? No me neither, but it is a beautiful late 1950s St Michael dress...

Around 12 years ago there was a phase in fashion where brown was really, really in. I remember it vividly because I had this brown and blue skirt from Next that was the only concession I would make to the brown trend. About 10 years ago I decided I hated said skirt not only because of the colour, but also the stupid asymmetric hem. Ew.

So imagine my surprise when I came across a vintage dress that was most certainly brown, and I really, really liked it. WHAT?! I think the saviour of this dress was that it was not a chocolate brown, but also that it had a print design to it. I can best liken it to a cross between animal print and tree bark. Miaow.


The dress is 1950s St. Michael or Marks and Spencer as it's known now and still has the satin label that was used at the time. I love the fact that M&S changed their labels so frequently allowing their clothes to be dated so easily.


With the dress I wore a modern M&S cardigan, vintage beads and a vintage belt (that is dropping to bits and desperately needs replacing!).




My freshly trimmed hair was tucked into a nylon scarf bow that I tied around my head. I am so much happier with my hair now that I have had all the perm damage cut off. It is in so much better condition and I think I suit the darker colour so much more than the red.




And the back of my hair showing how I tucked it all in the nylon scarf.


The back drop for these photos was a super glamourous back alley in Alnwick, Northumberland. I felt the colours made a lovely combination to go with the dress.

Last think to mention is something else pretty cool. In Alnwick there is a huge second hand book store where the famous/infamous Keep Calm and Carry On poster was originally found. Since the keep calm thing is a huge now it was pretty nifty to see the original.


Outfit details:
Dress: Vintage St. Michaels
Cardigan: Modern M&S
Necklace and Belt: Vintage
Hair Scarf: From Natalie Vintageous
Shoes: Clarks

 How do you find brown clothes? Yey or Ney? 


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