Make: Halloween – The Black Widow

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I am a total Halloweenie hence my second costume post of the month! I had two days before my first event of my season, which was this past weekend and hadn’t really given it much thought when I found some great inspiration on Pinterest! I found a picture of a model channeling a 19th century veiled woman who I decided was a Black Widow and the decision was made. I was to become Mrs. Black!

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Realizing I did not have a long black skirt that wasn’t completely straight or made out of jersey, I decided to make one! Being a very DIY Kind of Girl I decided to make a couple of key pieces for my costume that I could wear in “real life.”  In my fabric stash I had a beautiful four way stretch woven cotton poly blend. I found the fabric at Michael Levine’s LOFT store in Downtown Los Angeles, which houses their dead-stock, castoffs, & remainder pieces/rolls of fabric that are out of season or considered hard to sale.The fabrics are sold by the lb at a remarkable price, score!. Even better, purchasing out of season castoffs saves the fabric from being shipped in and out of the country to fill landfills around the world. Bigger Score. I scored about 5 yards of this incredible Jet Black material and had already made a shirt with some of it.

photo 2I used the remaining 3 + yards to make a floor length 3/4 circle skirt. I improvised a pattern making the waist about 4 inches larger than necessary and created two pleats at center back creating a small train that could potentially house a bustle. Next, I made a lace crop top/tank. I had been eyeing a few fabulous crop tops in lace and this was the perfect excuse to make one. I intended to wear it over a blousen woven top to mimic an Edwardian look. In the end it was  a bit warm so I opted to just wear the tank alone. And the period is not clearly defined.
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In my wardrobe is an amazing silk hooded capelette that I invested in about 4 years ago. It is made by local designer Stella Dottir, who makes custom clothing for men and women. I love all that she creates: simple, timeless, dramatic, feminine pieces with edge. The capelette is something I plan to wear a lot more of, as for the costume, it  did the work of transforming my simple timeless pieces into a period outfit. The sheer silk along with the lace also added another layer and texture to all of that black. Finally I made the veil. What’s a Creepy 19th Century Widow without her massive, face obscuring and by default, disturbing veil!? Some tulle and vintage netting I scored by deconstructing a full skirted size 6 vintage dress (that I will reuse later in my own dress design) – did the trick!

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Click on the Widow to see the Short Film!

Ouala! My Black Widow Check out the petite silent film on my Facebook Page!  What will you be doing for Halloween? What’s your inspiration? Who, or WHAT, will you be!?

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Sustainable Style: Halloween!

 TwoFridas 3 jpgFrida Kahlo was an artist, a socialist, a wife, a lover, a survivor, and remarkable woman. I love her art, her individuality, her strength, her non-conformity and yes her amazing aesthetic. So for my Halloween Post I Shopped My Closet to pay homage to the image of this extraordinary woman. Frida!

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Frida Kahlo

When it comes to Frida Kahlo there are three recognizable elements to her image. 1) Although her closet included European style pieces she was known for wearing the traditional Tehuana style of dress. Her family’s roots are in the Tehuantepec region of Oaxaca, Mexico – which is also reported to have been a matriarchal society! Yaaaaaaaaaaas people! 2) Her hair is often braided and decorated with fresh flowers or decorative headpieces. 3) Lastly she is known for her adornment, often wearing large beautiful pieces from her Pre-Colombian period jewelry collection.  Little did she know that her social, political and personal dress choices or timeless personal style would become iconic and forever associated with her.

Two Fridas...1) I am a textile queen and all about amazing fabrics and fit and I am quick to adjust a garment if it isn’t quite working. My idea of a shopping spree generally involves a thrift shop and my first Outfit post is no exception. It so happens I scored this amazing Irene Pulos dress that needed no adjustments, just some light mending. Made in Teqlaquaque, Mexico I found this number at Iguana Vintage. An epic find! Hand embroidered with lime green ribbon trailing from an appliqued and embroidered watermelon at the waist. Underneath I am wearing a beautiful Long Lace skirt over a crinoline. Both were also thrifted from another favorite spot!

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2) My hair is parted down the middle and I made two large braids on each side beginning from my temple and working my way up. Think of two braids facing upwards from my temples instead of hanging down. I then secured them together at the top of my head with an elastic hair band and tucked the ends of the braid under. I secured any loose locs with bobby pins. I removed two artificial flowers from their stems, glued a small rectangular piece of scrap fabric on the back of each flower, securing both ends to create a small loop. I used bobby pins to secure the flowers by the loop to the front of my hair. So simple really. Its my new favorite quick hair do (minus the flowers), and makes me feel quite fancy!
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3) Luckily I have a fun collection of jewelry I’ve collected over the years or found in thrift shops. I picked up the yellow leopard bangles about seven or eight years ago and hope to never be parted from them. About 10 years ago, I started to take my jewelry more seriously and started investing in pieces I loved vs. buying jewelry in bulk. Although I still pick up costume pieces, and thrift shop for jewelry occasionally, I have to LOVE it to take it home. I do keep a running list of incredible pieces that I wouldn’t mind having someday (check out my Fantasy Jewelry Pinterest board). I think Frida would have approved!

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Dress: Vintage, Thrifted
Lace Skirt: Thrifted
Crinolin: Thrifted
Necklace: Thrifted
Bangles: Similar & Similar
Rings: It’s been Far Too Long To Remember

Lastly, I just want to offer a quick reminder, Frida Kahlo is a person, whose signature style I am emulating here. A person, not a culture.  Please don’t forget to be respectful and remember that someone’s culture isn’t a costume. Here is a nice piece on how to avoid cultural appropriation year round. Besides, who would chose to infer a limited racist, cultural or nationalist stereotype when you could be a Sleestak. Have fun, be safe and of course be fabulous this Halloween!

For More Fabulous Halloween Inspo, check out My darling Untamed Style Sister’s take on Halloween! over at Zaftig Times!

Michelle Link!

Hi, I’m a Fat Yogi.

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Last month I shared with you that I had found a yogi community on Instagram and that I was participating in my first Asana yoga challenge: #SizeDoesntMatter hosted by @mynameisjessamyn and @yoga_davana. It was such an amazing and fabulous experience … Continue reading

Inspired: Yoga for EVERYBODY!

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So in the last couple of months I have been engaging in some serious Instagram time. In the last couple of weeks I have been engaging in some seriousl Instagram community building. You see, I’ve discovered yoga, not just yoga, … Continue reading

CinePhile: Review of Only Lovers Left Alive

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Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive is the tale of Adam (Tom Hiddleston) and Eve (Tilda Swinton). Two vampires, centuries old, on a mini break in their relationship of about 5 years. The film opens with the most delicious music, … Continue reading