This particular Sunday, sometime back in 2013, I was aiming for a kind of Adventuress look. . .
Blouse by Apt 9 at Kohl's
Silk cashmere fine-gauge sweater vest from Goodwill*
Earrings by Elaina Louise on Etsy
Corset belt by Cabi
Black knit skirt by Garnet Hill
Tights I don't remember--GAP clearance perhaps?
Boots by La Canadienne
*if the vest looks swirly, it's just your monitor flipping out over the ribbed texture. Click on the photo to enlarge and it should look fine.
. . . and as you can see, pieces that seemed like potential friends just ended up not playing together nicely.
Some individual parts of the look I like, and some I don't; but unlike my previous Real World Steampunk Wardrobe fail, which at least had a certain cohesive retro flair, this is just too. . . incohesive. I'm finding it hard to choose the right words for what exactly is wrong with this ensemble, but it's all just a little. . . off.
And I wore it in public, taking the photos after I was back home.
Ah, well, these are the realizations that keep me humble.
So, let's see if we can't disscect this look and figure out where it went awry. . . . I think the vest over the blouse is the first problem, for two reasons: first, stylistically I thought the sweater vest could be a comfortable, practical way to get a very subtle corset look. While I think this is still true in theory, this particular vest is just ending up looking more 1960's mod than anything else--esp. when taken together with the belt and boot height and skirt length. I do like the belt over the vest--but just not when I'm trying to channel Steampunk. The other problem with the vest over the blouse is that the blouse has a kind of ruffle placket down the front, and it was way too lumpy under this fine-gauge of a sweater.
The hem of the blouse and the hem of the sweater vest were also pulling up as I moved, and not even nicely in unison, so I ended up with even more bunching, and unevenness, and overall awkwardness. I don't think tucking the blouse in would have worked either, as it does not have that long of a tail.
I do like the skirt and tights together. . . and the tights and boots together. . . but the three are not just working. See, I'd really like a fun short bustle skirt, but am afraid a) it would look too costumey and not enough "real world," and b) I am too old to get away with it. So I love this skirt, as a subtle nod to that kind of skirt, and have worn it with other steampunky things with success--just not on this day.
In fact, now that I think about it, a different colored skirt would have made a huge impact on the success of this particular look. If I changed only that and the bunching of the blouse, this would be a fine look--just perhaps not as pseudo-Steampunk as it was in my mind's eye.
Comments? Suggestions? I'd love to hear them.