Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sprucin' Up

No matter your budget or tastes, you can find a way to have your physical appearance reflect who you are on the inside.  And even if you're not interested in improving your physical appearance, an interest in fashion is a healthy attribute for any comic artist or illustrator to have.  Dressing your characters in unique styles that suit their personalities adds dimension, familiarity with the fashion and modes of a certain time period adds believability, and a knowledge of clothing construction means that you can render realistic clothing.  As with any interest, this will initially add time to your drawing (research, correction, ect), but in the long run, it's a worthwhile time-investment to make.  Far too many comic artists take the lazy way out, and their comics suffer for it in my opinion.  There is no reason why a comic-gal should be sporting a whale-tail thong in this day and age, and cropped shirts are (mostly) a thing of the past.



My interest in style and fashion first began when I was selecting Remi's wardrobe. A naive and sweet girl, I wanted her clothing to reflect her personality. I began following fashion blogs, which introduced me to a variety of styles, and helped me find not only a style for Remi, but a style for Julia, and one for me as well. Before this, I lived in jeans, tee shirts, and Chucks, I never styled my hair, and I cared little about accessories. My self esteem was in the gutter, all I saw in the mirror was the 14 year old I was seven years prior, nervous and poorly put together. When shopping, my tastes swung wildly from Hot Topic wannabe goth to whatever my mom thought would look good on me. It took some trial and error, but I finally started to get a feel for how I wanted to dress.

I fall somewhere between retro and indie, I find that short hair and long skirts or dresses are most flattering on me, and I smile a lot more than I used to. My self esteem has increased as has my confidence. Dressing well is the armor I wear against the outside world, my solace when I'm feeling insecure. I've found that my life has improved since I've improved my appearance, for the most part, I recieve the respect that I deserve, and I'm no longer treated like a child.

I check fashion blogs and online stores fairly frequently, and I've built up a fashion morgue for my characters.  Whenever I need an outfit in a hurry, I just go to my "Clothes for RSG" folder on my desktop and begin browsing.  Working from reference means that I can understand the basics of the garment's construction, which helps me render believable clothing.

I'm going to break my code of "No photos of Becca on the internet" to share some of my every day outfits.  This requires me to put my money where my mouth is, and SHOW you guys what I wear, instead of just telling you about it.  I realize this opens me up to criticism, and I accept that.  To mitigate this, I'm including explainations as well. I try to plan what I'm going to wear ahead of time, sometimes as much as three or four days in advance. This is a hobby for me, one of the few I've been able to keep since starting SCAD. I do not consider myself a fashionista, but I know that I am well put together, and I believe that this is within any one's reach. I realize that ladies are not the only people interested in style or self improvement, so I've found a willing male volunteer with a decent sense of style to demonstrate some easy men's looks. I've included links not only to where I shop, but where I find inspiration.  I have no intention for outfit posts to become a regular thing, so if this sort of posts bothers you, you can just jump ahead in the archive and know that you probably won't encounter this again.

DAY 1: Saturday, Roller Derby GOALS: Appealing outfit that works well with the weather WEATHER:  Surface of sun hot
Blue jean jacket- Forever21, Boots- Lucky, Belt- Forever21, Dress- Shop Ruche.
ACCESSORIES:
Bluebird earrings from Branching Out
Pin and Neckace from Forever21
Ring from ShopSCAD
Because this dress is 'sweet' and strapless, I toughened the look up a little with short red cowboy boots and a jean jacket.  My accessories are not tough at all, with my favorite little bird earrings dangling from my ears, and one of my favorite vintage earring rings on my finger.

DAY 02: Sunday, Lounging about and working on ecroche GOALS: Stay cool without getting red Van Aiken clay all over me WEATHER:  Scorching


Romper- Dear Creatures, Scarf- Steinmart, Lace Bodysuit- Marshalls, Sunglasses- Forever21, Lace Earrings, Glasses Necklace- Charlotte Russe
I feel like rompers can be a little hard to style, which is why I wear mine so infrequently.   Not every outfit I wear is going to be successful, this one probably isnt so much.  If you're trying out an outfit you feel uncertain about, try wearing it on a weekend, or at least, putting it on first.

DAY 03: Monday, Messy class in a cold classroom GOAL:  Stay cool outside, stay warm inside, stay clean WEATHER:  Death Valley Hot
Chambray shirt- Gap, Undershirt- Walmart, Skirt- Urban Outfitters, Purse- Fossil, Shoes- Lucky
Scarf- Marshalls, Camping Trailer Necklace- Fossil, Earrings- Betsy Johnson via TJ Maxx
Chambray shirts are great- they're easy to care for and can be worn in a variety of ways.  I'm not really big on the whole denim on denim fad, so I try to avoid wearing chambray with denim at all costs.  With skirts as short as this one, I wear shorts underneith.

Don't be afraid to bargain hunt, stores like Marshalls, TJ Maxx, and Steinmart can be a fantastic place to find great deals.  I've had bad luck with thrift stores, the ones that don't outright stink are poorly stocked and organized, and very rarely are worth my time.

DAY 04: Tuesday, Walk the Cat (On a Leash!) GOALS:  Attend class, find new ways to style this shirt WEATHER:  Blisteringly hot
Headband- Gift (Probably TJ Maxx or Marshalls, knowing my mother), Shirt- Dear Creatures, Skirt- Urban Outfitters, Belt- Forever 21, Shoes- Terra Cotta, Pin- Gift (Probably TJ Maxx, again knowing my mother)    
Where did that cat go?
Shirts like this can get a little frumpy when they become untucked, but when you've been away at class all day, that tends to happen.

DAY 05: Wednesday, Cold Classroom, Hot Weather GOALS:  Stay clay free, stay warm WEATHER:  Ridiculously hot

Jacket- Forever 21, Dress- Anthropologie, Shoes- Fluevog, Sunglasses- Forever21
 ACCESSORIES:
Earrings- Claires, Necklace- Forever 21
This dress runs the risk of being a little prim with it's length and pattern.  This can be amended with heels or with accessories that are not prim.

 DAY 06: Thursday, Last Day of Class GOALS: Style this pleather skirt WEATHER: Fallish/mild

Striped Bodysuit with Peter Pan Collar- Urban Outfitters, Pleather Skirt- Forever 21, Sunglasses- Forever 21- Beaded Belt- Anthropologie, Shoes- Lucky

Onesies are fantstic because you don't have to keep retucking them, but if you're more body conscience, you might want to try wearing one under a romper or a jumper.

I've had my eye on the leather bottoms fad for awhile, but I didnt want to invest that sort of money.  There's a lot of negativity around Forever 21, so I feel a bit guilty promoting it, but they are fantastic for fast fashion.

DAY 07: Friday, Finally a Break GOAL:  Relax WEATHER:  Fallish
Hairbow and shoes- Urban Outfitters, Skirt and Sweater- Forever21

Skirts can be just as casual as shorts, depending on how you wear them.  With summer sweaters, you should wear an undershirt, as they tend to be a little flimsy.

DAY 08:  Saturday, Casual Date GOAL:  Style jeans, transition from day to night WEATHER:  Fallish

Blazer, skinny jeans- Gap, bustier top- Lucca via Swirl by Daily Candy, Belt- Old Navy, Shoes- Lucky
 ACCESSORIES:
Necklace- Forever21
Hinged bangle- Forever21
Bunny Ring- Forever21
 DAY 09: Sunday, Exploring the Town, GOAL: Ability to walk long distances with no blisters WEATHER: Fall
Sunglasses- Forever21, Earrings- Branching Out, Dress- Dear Creatures, Jacket- Forever21
Necklace- World Market
From this series of photos, its pretty apparent that I have favorite items.
DAY 10: Monday, Labor Day GOALS:  Try to make this dress work, try not to fall in these shoes WEATHER:  Fallish

Dress- Dillards
Shoes- 80%20
Rings- Charming Charlie's, Polish- American Apparel
Necklace- World Market, Hairclip- ShopSCAD
 This dress is hard for me to wear well.  It's not very flattering on my body, it tends to make me look pregnant.  I bought it for my father's memorial service, at a time when fashion was in between phases, so there wasn't a lot of choice in the funeral department.  I'm not big on buying a piece for just one event, so it's stayed in my closet and occasionally I'll try to make it work.

Don't keep pieces that don't work for you.   You want room in your closet for clothes you love, not clothes you have to fight with.

DAY 11: Tuesday, Going Thrifting GOALS:  Try out a new dress WEATHER: Fall
Dress- Dear Creatures, Shoes- Poetic Licence (I got mine via Amazon, Stockings- Urban Outfitters, Necklace- World Market, Sunglasses- Forever21
Ring- Forever21


I really love sheer stockings.  I also really love these shoes.  I'm not much for kitten heels and pointed toes, but with the right outfit, it is so cute.  My friend was doing the photography for this one, so I'm a little bit of an awkward turtle.  I usually take awful photographs (so I have to take dozens), and I didn't have the stones to waste her time taking dozens of pictures.

For me, the accessories really sell the outfit.  You can begin a collection of real stone and metal jewelry (I have a few really nice pieces) or you can go the cheaper route and get a bunch.  There's a lot of negativity surrounding Forever21, so I hesitate to endorse it, but its great for fast fashion.  I know other people turn to Etsy and eBay, and while I do get a lot of my jewelry from local shops, local merchants, and Etsy, I've always had awful luck with eBay.

But that's enough about me!  Let's have some linkage!


Need a Little Help Figuring Out Your Style and What Looks Good On You?


Body Shapes Explained

Playing around with your body proportions

Hair and Makeup Tutorials

Fashion Blogs To Follow

Plus Size:
http://frocksandfroufrou.com/

Petite:
http://www.delightfully-tacky.com/

Quirky:
http://www.alreadypretty.com

Indie:
http://www.delightfully-tacky.com/
http://honeybeeinthecity.blogspot.com/

Vintage:
http://www.calivintage.com/
http://dethrosevintage.blogspot.com/

Lolita:
http://lolita-charm.blogspot.com (she doesn't seem to update anymore)
http://www.violetlebeaux.com/ (She also has lots of fun tutorials)

Retro:
http://blog.caseybrowndesigns.com/

Want to look taller?:
http://www.insideoutstyleblog.com/2011/08/how-to-look-taller.html

Accessories!:
http://www.alreadypretty.com/2011/09/why-accessorize.html

Fashions and Styles I Love (That Work Well with Long Hours Hunched Over a Drafting Table, Inking)


The Minnie Mouse Bow (I couldn't find one online, which is surprising, so here, have my quick and dirty tutorial:)

Start with a long scarf.  I find it helps to start with a rectangular scarf, but with some careful folding, a square scarf will do.
This face says that I am very much not impressed that I could not find a tutorial.
Tie it around your head.
Pull it tight.
Oh man, my camera is awful at stabilization.
Silly huge bow shot.
Image via makeupandbeautycare.com

The High, Messy Bun IMAGE- source: http://bohochicbride.files.wordpress.com)
 Body Suits(You don't have to retuck your shirt)
Wide elastic belts (define your waist and even give you a bit of backsupport, though I do have an actual Cincher too)
Shapewear (helps hides the five extra pounds I put on during finals when I survive on nothing but sugar and cola)

Where I Shop:
Modcloth- A mixture of no-name brands and brands I adore (Dear Creatures, Tulle). Modcloth can get a little pricey, so it's good to comparision shop between it and the slightly easier on the wallet...
ShopRuche- I tend to never buy shoes from here, as they seemto sell mostly 'vegan friendly leather', which we all know is really just pleather. No thanks.
Amazon- If I know a specific shoe name or even a general brand I prefer to buy from, I can get some pretty spiffy deals through Amazon. It doesnt hurt that there's two day free shipping if you have Amazon Prime (which I do).
Urban Outfitters- I get a lot of my accessories and plainer tops/skirts here. Not so much for shoes, although they do carry some Jeffery Campbell.
Forever 21/- For every good thing I can say about F21,there's ten negative things that others are quick to point out. I wont defend them. But if you're tired of paying out the nose for accessories that'll go out of style in the blink of an eye, it wouldn't hurt to check out Forever21. I prefer the online shop to the brick and mortor though, I dislike fighting over size Smalls with fifteen year old girls.
Fossil- One of my two school bags, all of my purses and wallets, and some of my shoes/clothes come from Fossil. New Orleans' Lakeside Mall has a brick and mortor Fossil that I always dump serious money on.
I am not snobby when it comes to outlet stores or boutiques, though I am not a huge fan of thrift stores (I can never find anything that fits me, ever), so a lot of my clothing comes from anywhere between Marshalls to Branching Out, a little eco friendly store on Magazine St.

Brands I love:
Dear Creatures
Poetic Licence
Miss L Fire
Irregular Choice
Frye
Anthropologie

Thanks for reading. Check out these products.