the right stuff: winter adventurewear

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It is well and truly winter! The beginning of November is usually the entrance of honest-to-goodness biting cold where I live, but it's the beginning of December that tells us winter wasn't just some dark and chilly dream of last year. Poetic, right? But seriously, it's dark by 4:30 these days, and even ice queens like me know it's time to break out some winter gear. I featured some awesome boots last week, so I thought I'd hunt down some other nice accessories to keep you warm and fierce all season.

hats off

Hats are awesome. I got a cute cloche hat for Christmas last year, and even under all the layers of my winter gear, I always feel like a stylish screen siren when I wear it. It also covers the tips of my ears (the most delicate part of the human body we ever subject to the wind, I contend) without making it impossible to hear anything or giving me a headache like earmuffs tend to. And, because the material is fairly soft, it even fits my giant head. Hats and headbands have always been a struggle for me, because my head is large. As I told my aunt, "It was a problem even when I was a small-headed person. Actually, I was just a small person. My head was never small." So I understand your woes, my fellows, but do not despair. There is a hat for you! And the knit ones are usually stretchy enough that it doesn't matter! Score!

gimme some glove

This set was actually weirdly hard to make. Apparently I'm really picky about gloves--who knew! As cliche as they are, I've always wanted a pair of skeleton gloves; they're just cool! I also have a love/hate relationship with the "mittens/fingerless gloves" that are so popular these days; part of me likes them, but part of me hates the idea of being constrained by a mitten. I don't like mittens; I need my fingers, thanks. I actually end up forgoing gloves and just shoving my hands into my pockets more often than not. Because I am hardcore.

How do you suit up for winter? Or are you a lucky duck who lives somewhere that doesn't require Defcon 4 levels of insulation every time you leave the house?

my style: the art of sassy crossdressing

I mentioned previously that stylish ladies should rock ties more often, and I stand firmly behind that declaration. There are few things sassier than menswear inspired pieces, and I think everyone deserves to rock it out drag king style once in a while. It doesn't have to be a full cross, but stealing portions of menswear for ladywearing can be so much fun and add an interesting flair to your outfit. (Sidenote: the same totally goes for the reverse, but since I don't think there are a lot of gents reading my blog, I'll hold off on my testament to the awesomeness of crossdressing dudes.)

For example, today I was the bartender at the speakeasy my kitchen became for my lovely sister's murder mystery party. As a dapper 1920s gent, I got my cross on:

I wore this with black jeans because that was all I had at home, but a button-up, vest, and tie would look amazing with a pencil skirt for business wear. Or even with plain jeans for casual chic. A fedora is also an excellent addition to many outfits.

If you're dubious, or need a better example than me, I offer up that most sultry of screen sirens, Marlene Dietrich.

Image courtesy of Life magazine

Dietrich rocked a tux in every conceivable way. I don't know if I've ever seen a man who looks as stylish in a suit than she did (maybe Joseph Gordon-Levitt).

The most important thing to remember when you look into menswear styles is your own shape. Some bodies will fit well into actual menswear and more direct inspirations, while others might need a bit more tailoring and shaping to make a blazer, for example, fit like a dream. Personally, I'm mostly hourglass shaped, so a men's blazer that fits my bust will be very baggy around my waist, which I'm not a huge fan of. I need darting and structure for it to look how I want it to. It's one of those things that needs some trial-and-error or, as I like to call it, try-on-and-error!

Have any of you rocked it boy-style? Tips for anyone who wants to get her dapper on?

Don't forget that you can always ask questions and make suggestions in the comments or my askbox! And, if you like what you read, don't be shy about sharing it! E-mail/tweet/facebook/shout it out!

mix it up: thankful


If you're going to be cooking this Thanksgiving, or just want to get into the food-related mood, nothing makes cooking more fun (or keeps your adorable holiday outfit safer) than a cute apron. I'm just going to be eating this year (score!) which brings me to my important Thanksgiving fashion tip: leave some room! I fretted over all of the dresses in my closet, until I realized that they were all (as I like them to be) well-fitted and curve-hugging. On Thanksgiving, you don't always want your clothes to be hugging you--they need to give you some room to, ah, expand your horizons (rimshot!).

In the Thanksgiving spirit, I also offer up a recipe I made this past weekend and was really pleased with. It's not necessarily Thanksgiving food, though it would definitely fit in on the table.

Potatoes au Gratin! So delicious...I combined the Creamy Au Gratin Potatoes and Perfect Potatoes Au Gratin recipes when I made them, due to ingenuity and lack of ingredients. Potatoes au gratin is a great dish because of its versatility and the likelihood that you have everything you really need for it.

I took 3 baking potatoes and washed them thoroughly, chopped into half inch slices, then quartered them. I also diced half of a large onion (it wasn't quite as much onion as I like, so I would probably put the whole thing in next time, but I really like onion, so tread carefully.) As per Pioneer Woman, I put half of the potatoes/onions into my buttered casserole dish and salted and peppered them mercilessly.

I then, taking my cues from AllRecipes, melted three (it may have been more like four--I was finishing off a stick!) tablespoons of butter in a saucepan, then whisked (or forked, as it were) in a half-teaspoon of salt and three tablespoons of flour. Once that was combined, I added two cups of milk and stirred until the sauce thickened. I poured half of my sauce over the potatoes in the dish, then added the rest of the potatoes/onions and covered those in the rest of the sauce.

I salted and peppered some more, then covered the entire top in shredded cheddar cheese (I love me some cheese). Cover the dish in foil and bake for 90 minutes at 400F, removing the foil when there's 20 minutes left. Results: buttery, creamy, cheesy, amazing potatoes that go well with anything! They're amazing alone, awesome with bacon bits, but my personal favorite is to heat them with some ham. I had a pre-cooked and pre-sliced one from the store, so I just had to layer a few slices over the top of my potatoes, and the ham juice would run through them and it would all be so astoundingly good together.

...yikes, I think I'm going to have to make those again before the holiday weekend is over! Have a happy thanksgiving, and be safe on Black Friday!

the right stuff: accesories for writers

It's hard not to be in a writing mood in November! Actually, scratch that. It's hard not to feel the writing atmosphere in November. I think many of us (myself included) have proved how very easy it is to totally fall off the bandwagon as soon as the pressure is on. For anyone failing NaNoWriMo for the first time: don't sweat it. I've been doing this for years. But I can't say that I'm free from writing all together. I'm still critiquing stories for my fiction class, reading ridiculous amounts of submissions for the literary magazine I'm on the board for, and tonight I have a flash fiction reading with the aforementioned class. So today, as I take a break from trying to cobble together something I'm not ashamed to read in front of a crowd, I thought I would bring some fun writing-related accessories from Etsy.

Floating Shift Antique Typewriter Oak Leaf Ring by qacreate

Let me tell you, I almost just threw this post out the window and made an i heart etsy spotlight post for QA Create. Typewriter key jewelry is always fabulous, but I've never fallen quite so deeply and unrepentantly in love with it as I did when I clicked on this shop. In addition to typewriter keys, they also offer pieces made from vintage comics, baseballs, scrabble tiles as well as wedding and steampunk jewelry -- it's a real cornucopia of lovely things, and I'm planning to snoop a bit more thoroughly and pick myself a Christmas present from there.

Sir William Shakespeare Book Locket Necklace by heartworksbylori

Ah, the lovely and talented Sir Will, always a welcome addition to any party/library/shindig/adventure/jewelry box. Seriously, I adore Shakespeare, and I would love to display my allegiance to him in locket form. Always close to my heart, Bill, always.

Underwood Typewriter Narrow by toybreaker

If you weren't already aware, toybreaker makes the absolute coolest ties in the whole wide world (FACT). I love the vibrancy of this blue, as well as the nifty typewriter print. A great accessory for the gentlemen in your life or for the ladies who look positively dashing in a tie (hint: that's all of them. Ties on women don't have to look all Sk8r Boi, I promise! Especially when they're gorgeous funky ones like this.)

Keep Calm and Blog On and Keep Calm and Write On by KeepCalmShop

Posters are accessories for your house, right? I know a lot of people are tired of the "Keep Calm" trend, but I'm not burnt out yet! This is possibly because I don't own one yet, tragedy of tragedies.

Jane Austen Sterling Silhouette Necklace by celula

Another specific-writer-themed accessory, but who wouldn't want a tiny silver Jane Austen silhouette to take everywhere? Maybe on a very special night, she would come alive and tell you all sorts of lovely stories about Mr. Darcy, Mr. Knightley, Colonel Brandon, or another Austenian hunk of your choosing! (I will admit that my hunkish leanings are definitely swayed by the film portrayals by Mark Strong and Alan Rickman respectively, two real life hunks I would absolutely swoon for. No corset necessary!)

the right stuff: boots (omg boots)

I don't know if it's the winter, but I am having ferocious boot love lately. The previous sentence is a complete shameless lie; I love boots all the time! Even in the summer, when there are few occasions to wear boots without making your feet (and sometimes your calves) sweat ridiculously, I adore them.

I love tall boots:

tall glass of leather

Check out all those straps and buckles! Fact: there is no boot that is not improved by at least one strap and buckle.

And I love short boots:

short (not sweet)

Little bows! Hints of fur! More buckles and straps and studs and sassy laces and tiny buttons, oh my!

The thing I love best about boots is how versatile they are. You can wear them with a skirt, tucked into pants, done up over pants (I would only advise this with specific pants though, jean-bulge is no fun!), however you like! They can make an outfit feel wintery, give it a bit of an edge, or make an outfit look more dressed-up without (necessarily) murdering your feet. And, of course, they can keep your feet warm! That's a success story all around!

I love wearing boots best of all because they make me feel fierce. I don't usually have a ton of edge in my clothes, and an awesome pair of boots can make anything feel rockin'. I actually love the look of a flowy dress/skirt with a pair of boots; it weighs the outfit in a totally different way.

stop the madness: why we wear

I have not posted in a very long time! There is a perfectly logical and trifold explanation for this, which is this: School (agh), Nanowrimo (AGH), and my struggle with how "serious" I want to get in this blog. If you haven't noticed, I've tried to keep Fickle Kitsch a pretty fun and frothy part of this grand old internet, but sometimes there are relevant things that aren't quite so fun. And I think that they're more important than keeping a "tone" to the blog. I read an article last week that really struck me as a woman, a feminist, and a fashion blogger. I don't want to link to it, because articles like these don't deserve hits/attention and because it was the same kind of nasty sexist drivel that I (and most of you, probably) have seen a million times before.

So I just want to say: You are not obligated to be attractive. Not in any way, shape, or form, not on alternating Tuesdays, not when another human might glimpse you, not ever. I like pretty clothes, and looking nice, and I write about those things because I like them. For whatever reason (and I don't pretend to be unaffected by social pressures), I like to get dressed up. I like to shop, I like wearing makeup, I like doing my hair. But if I didn't like any of those things, I wouldn't do them. And on days that I just don't feel like it...I don't.

I know this sounds ridiculously simplistic and like a serious "no, duh" moment, but I really feel that it's important to say. There are so many cultural stigmas and pressures that basically add up to "Here is the ideal. You'll never be able to achieve it, but you have to spend your entire life trying to and feeling like a failure when you physically can't." And that's awful. The worst part is that a lot of people who don't mean to, fashion-related people in particular, just feed into it without knowing. It feels kind of silly to continually hedge a post with "for me!" or "when you feel like it!", so I'm going to say it now: do what makes you happy.

Sometimes I hesitate to call myself a fashion blogger, because while pretty clothes definitely are a huge part of my blog, I don't really care about runways or trends (which is another post entirely) or any of the things that people think of as Fashion. What I care about is style, because everyone has their own. I can share mine with you, and share ideas I might have about developing your own, but your style is singularly you. Magazines tell you what looks good and what doesn't, what's in and what's not, but that's all based on advertising, a bottom line, and the need to convince you to keep buying. If you see something in a magazine that you like, that's awesome, but not everything in magazines is awesome, and not everything is awesome for you--your style, your needs, your budget, whatever. That's the part that really matters.

Finally, I want to touch on that lovely (ugh) old piece of advice, "Dress like you're going to meet your husband today!" Actually, I want to dig the heel of my combat boots into it. I do understand the point behind it, but the idea that all girls just want husbands is incredibly irritating on many levels, as well as the basic principle that the person I am meant to fall madly in love with wouldn't love me if I was wearing, say, sweatpants. Any man who doesn't find me just as loveable in sweatpants as in the frothy ensembles of my dreams is definitely not the right one. I don't think any reasonable woman or man would disagree.

Now that I have that off my chest (phew), I hope to have you back to our regularly scheduled programming posthaste. As always, please feel free to comment with any ideas/questions, or drop by my askbox (I do continuously update my tumblr with new images, so it's always there if you need a fickle fix *rimshot*)

my style: writer wear

NaNoWriMo is here! As this most stressful yet amazing month starts, I find myself contemplating what writers wear. You see, writing always feels like it ought to be glamorous. I'm sitting and pouring out my heart, crafting the most tear-jerkingly beautiful prose on an ancient typewriter with an ashtray full of half-smoked cigarettes still filling my tiny Parisian apartment with a haze of blue-gray smoke. As you can see, I generally imagine that I'm Christian in the frame story portions of Moulin Rouge, since in real life, I don't smoke, I hate typewriters, and I've never even been to Paris, TX. But the movies do give us this image of a beautiful tortured writer (as well as Ewan Macgregor in an undershirt and suspenders, hello) that I have the urge to aspire to.

writer wear

I'd like to be stylish, wearing pretty clothes worthy of my words. But Nanowrimo is about speed, sweat, and desperation, and I spend a good portion of it in t-shirts and sweatpants. Comfort is key for me when I want to write; if I'm worrying about my feet or trying to wriggle around getting comfortable, I'm not putting words on the screen. That's what's really important. So I'll have to save the outfits for the movie version of my life, or maybe my fantasy book tour.

Nanowrimo isn't even a day old right now--there's plenty of time to sign up and get started! If you're a writer, I definitely recommend it. There's nothing quite like gathering with your friends, the caffeinated substance of your choice, a big pile of candy, and just writing. The sound of fingers on keys fills the air, and you feel like you're really doing something. It never hurts to try!


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