Review of Stylebook Closet Manager App

As promised, here’s my review of an amazing app I recently discovered for managing my wardrobe!

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When I received my iPad for free, I wasn’t really interested in it but I figured I’d find something useful to do with it. The only thing I cared about was whether there was an app that could help me inventory and organize my closet. At the time, no such thing existed (at least not in what I considered a usable form). Fast forward a few years, and I recently tried searching again. I ran across a few appealing contenders, and decided to try Stylebook.

I’m hard-pressed to actually PAY for an app. I can probably count on one hand the number I’ve downloaded that weren’t free. But this one looked like it would be worth the $3.99. And it is. Totally.

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This powerful app allows you to upload photos of individual items of clothing from your device. I have an iPad 1 with no camera, so I originally used my iPhone and added photos to the Stylebook there, then used the built-in sync feature to transfer them to Stylebook on my iPad. Once the photo is added, the app has built-in tools to help you remove the background so you can later create outfit collages and layer different pieces, similar to Polyvore. You can then save your outfits for future reference.

You can add all kinds of info to each clothing item, such as color, fabric, brand, keywords and more, so you can later search by whatever criteria you wish. You also place each item into a category. You can add or delete categories based on your needs, and even create sub-categories for more detailed organization.

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One of my favorite features is the calendar. You can add items to the calendar on the day you wore them (or a future day you plan to wear them). Then you can track how often you wear any given piece and what pieces are being neglected. Since you can also enter how much you paid for the item, the calendar even tells you the Cost Per Wear.

If you travel, there’s a fabulous Packing List so you can pre-plan outfits for your trip. While I’m not a fan of travelling, this will come in handy for me when I go visit family because I am very particular in planning perfect outfits around my current favorite pieces when I am away from home.

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You can enter inspiration from other sources, as well as creating a list of your favorite stores. There is some integrated online shopping for certain stores, but I have not used either the inspiration or store features at all, and probably won’t.

It takes some practice to get the hang of taking ideal photos of each clothing item (especially black, as the items all end up looking the same if you don’t have very ample lighting). And it takes a ton of time if you have an addiction thousands of items in your closet. 😉 I ended up ordering an inexpensive display mannequin because when I first started photographing blazers and tops on their hangers, I felt they looked too sloppy. But I’m pretty picky, so the mannequin is definitely not required. I’m also cheating and using my digital camera to take the photos, which I then have to email or sync to my iPad, because phone cameras are terrible at photographing lots of black. You could always download professional photos of the clothing from the seller’s website, when available, to save you some work on photographing everything.

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My only complaints about the app are that the navigation isn’t the most intuitive (I hit the wrong button a lot, and after you remove the background from an image you have to hit ‘save’ 4 times) and the WiFi sync leaves a lot to be desired. But these issues aren’t deal breakers.  Also, I think it is currently only available for iOS (can’t say for sure because I don’t have any other kind of mobile device, but I think their website only mentioned the Apple Store app).

I think I’ll be thrilled with the outfit-planning capabilities of this app once I get done with the legwork! My favorite part is that I can browse my closet from afar come up with new ideas during my wasted lunch hours at work, rather than trying to find time in the evening or the rushed, groggy morning.

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A behind-the-scenes view of my setup. Overkill, but that’s pretty much how I do everything. 😉 You can definitely use this app with nothing more than bright sunlight and an iPhone camera.

Make-Up Tutorial: Creating the Perfect Eyebrow

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I’ve had quite a few reader requests for a tutorial on how I achieve my brow look.  Tutorials take me forever, so this post has been in the works for ages.  🙂  Sorry for the delay!

Many Goths choose to shave their brows completely, which I love because the possibilities then become endless. However, it’s not something that would be practical for me, so instead I go with a somewhat dramatic plucked shape, adding intense color to suit my look.

There are two phases to how I perfected my brows: Shaping and Coloring (with make-up, not with hair dye!).

SHAPING:

I can’t really show you a current “before” picture for the shaping phase, since mine are already shaped. To get an idea of the “before” check out this photo from my Vampire Valentine’s Day post. 🙂

Create a template:

Cut a rectangle of tracing paper or vellum (I used vellum because I had some handy in my craft room, and because it was heavier in weight). Whatever you use, it needs to be somewhat translucent so you can trace through it.

Hold the rectangle over your eyebrow and trace your existing eyebrow shape. This will show you exactly what you have to work with.

Draw in your desired eyebrow shape within the tracing of your existing brow. You probably won’t want to go outside of the existing shape, because then you’ll have to draw the missing part in every day. I created my new shape fully inside me existing brow so I could just pluck away the unwanted parts.

Take a small pair of scissors or an Xacto knife to cut out a template of the new shape.

You can also buy pre-made templates in brow kits from stores such as Sephora, but I preferred to make my own so I knew exactly the original brow shape I had to work with.

Create Your New Brows:
Hold the vellum up, lined up with your existing brow, and draw in the new shape from your template. Don’t use a Sharpie, even though that is how I did it.  😉

After you’ve drawn in the new shape, pluck away any hairs that don’t fall within that outline.  Work gradually, checking in the mirror periodically to see how you like the evolving new shape.  Don’t be in a rush, because  it’s easier to take more off later than wait for things to grow back if you take off too much at once.

Maintenance:
I never wax my brows, as my hair is dark I can’t stand letting them grow in enough for the wax to do its job. It’s just too obvious, on my pale skin, that my brows are growing in.  Plus, no spa lady will ever be as much of a perfectionist with my brows as I am. Instead, I pluck mine daily as needed. It takes about 10 seconds a day to remove the few new hairs that appear and keep my shape perfect.

COLORING:

Once you have plucked your brows into your perfect new shape, you’ll probably want to bump up the impact for your makeup looks by coloring them in. As you can see, my brows are dark but they look very faint compared to a dramatic makeup look.

before blackening

I color mine using Ben Nye pressed eyeshadow in black and a soft angled brush. A firm angled eyebrow brush is also a good choice. I dampen the brush slightly and press it into the eyeshadow. I tap the brush to remove any excess so it doesn’t destroy my eyeshadow with little flecks of black. Then I carefully draw in on top of my eyebrows.

after blackening

You can do this with whatever color suits you. If you are lucky enough to have blonde eyebrows, you can have a lot of fun with purple, pinks and red! For dark brows, I’ve found I have to stick with dark colors as the hairs give brighter colors a muddy look.

How do you style and maintain your eyebrows?


All images and text © Sophistique Noir Gothic Fashion Blog. Do not use any photos or text from this blog without providing a credit to me and a link back to the original post.

Tutorial: Black Tulle Veil (and a GIVEAWAY)

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As promised in my Lace Theme Post, I present a tutorial on how to make a simple, inexpensive black veil.  Nope, you don’t have to be getting married (or going to a funeral) to wear this.  A veil lends an extreme degree of dark romanticism to a club outfit, or whatever special occasion you desire.  I wear mine whenever I please, and I did so even when I was single.  🙂

I have a little surprise for you: I am GIVING AWAY the veil I made for this tutorial.  Be sure and look at the end of this post for instructions on how to enter!

You will need:

  • Black tulle – approx. 1.5 – 2 yards (available at your local fabric store, sold by the yard, usually for less than $1/ yard).
  • 3” wide blank hair comb or barrette (available from most craft stores)
  • Black thread
  • A needle
  • Scissors
  • Measuring Tape of some kind (a long piece of string works in a pinch)
  • Hot glue (optional)
  • Black roses or other embellishment (optional)

Measure from the top of your head to where you want the end of the longest layer of the veil. Measure again from the same point on your head to where you want the shorter layer to end.  I chose 36″ for the bottom layer and 18″ for the top.

Add those two numbers together (my total was 54″, or 1.5 yards). Cut a length of tulle that is the total length of both layers. Do not cut the width. Keep it the width that it was when you bought it at the fabric store (usually either 45” or 60”; either will work).

Fold the tulle at the point between the two layers so each comes out to the desired length.

Using a needle and long piece of thread (doubled), run a stitch loosely through both layers about 1” in from the fold. Stitches should be about 1/2” apart. Pull this tight to bunch up the tulle to the width of your barrette or hair comb.

Wrap the thread around each edge of the tulle tightly, because just a regular knot will pull through the tulle and the whole thing will unravel.

Prometheus is on-site providing Quality Control.


Use the needle and thread to wrap stitches through the tulle and around the barrette or comb. For added durability, you can add a small line of hot glue* before stitching the tulle to the comb or barrette, but this isn’t crucial if you don’t have a hot glue gun.

Finally, attach some black roses, beads, bows or other decorative element along the top edge of the veil, if desired. This makes it a bit more fancy. You can attach them using hot glue* or the needle and thread.

I used a glob of hot glue plus a couple of stitches in each rose for added strength.

You could also sew narrow trim around all the edges of the tulle if you want. I opted for raw edges to give it a more airy, ethereal look.

If cleaning is ever needed, gently swish the tulle in cold water with a tiny bit of Woolite without submerging the roses or barrette.

* Use caution when using hot glue on tulle. The glue can easily go through the mesh of the fabric and burn you unexpectedly.

Thank you to Mr. Kitty for photographing this project!

Want to win this veil? Here are the rules.

  • You must follow my blog using Google Friend Connect or on Facebook. And please don’t just “unfollow” after the drawing, because that’s not in the spirit of the thing. 🙂
  • You must leave a comment describing what outfit you would pair this veil with if you win it.  There are no right or wrong answers: this is just a fun way to express your interest in entering the contest. 
  • For one extra entry, post a link to this contest on your own blog or Facebook page. Be sure to leave a separate comment here with a link to your blog post so I can be sure to enter you twice.
  • Winner will be chosen ON Tuesday, NOV 29 via a random number generator (random.org). I will then contact the reader to get their e-mail address so we can arrange shipping.
  • IMPORTANT: If you do not have a blog with a clear way for me to contact you, please be sure to let me know how to find you.

This giveaway is open to anyone, anywhere. 🙂

Dressing Goth at Work (and Not Getting Fired)

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I often read or hear younger Goths talking about how they will have to (or recently had to) stop dressing Goth in order to be successful in the workplace. While that may be the case in some jobs (or some smaller towns), don’t assume it’s a hopeless cause until you know for sure.

Goths Can Excel in ANY Career
You don’t necessarily have to totally stop dressing Goth to get or keep a job. With the rise in popularity of tattoos, body piercings and other forms of self-expression, employers are becoming a bit more tolerant. These days you can usually get away with at least some unique flair in your look… maybe not tattoos and piercings, but there are so many other ways to express yourself!

I work in a very corporate environment in a very conservative town, yet despite it being fairly common knowledge that I am Goth, I am highly valued in my workplace and have been extremely successful in my career. This is because I’ve played my cards right: I’ve worked very hard, been patient, and used discretion in what I wear and when I wear it. Over the years, I’ve seen many other Goths I know excel in awesome careers without totally sacrificing their personal style. I’ve even seen them achieve management roles, become doctors and lawyers, and even teachers!

Start Slow

The first thing to keep in mind is that most dress codes still allow for at least a bit of self-expression.  Even a strict suit dress code will likely allow for dark colors, satin or velvet trim, one piece of quirky jewelry and a bit of liquid eyeliner on the top lid. You just have to learn to be Goth to different degrees in different environments. I often go all-out on the weekends (especially for clubs) but my look is subtle for work. For interviews, of course you have to be even more careful…  Sometimes you have to go for impressing people first, and then show them that Goths are just as good than any other employee (or better; but that’s another post altogether).

Once you have secured the job you have to ease into it gradually, so you don’t shock your boss and co-workers by pushing it too far too soon. Whenever I was starting a new job, I always called it “Going incognito so I could infiltrate and cause positive change from within.” Get the job, give them time to see what an exceptional worker you are, then try wearing a velvet choker one day. If that goes over well, try really dark nail polish one day, and so on! Try wearing your Dr. Martens to work on Casual Friday (if your office has one) and if no one says anything negative, work up to your New Rocks. If you ever have to go to a work-related social event on the weekend, try pushing it just a little more and see how people react.

Taking it slow eliminates the option for people to apply negative stereotypes to you based solely on your appearance. No one can say, “That girl is probably irresponsible and immature because she can’t conform” once they already know that you are responsible and mature!

Dress it Up

Another approach that I’ve alluded to before on this blog is to dress it up a bit. Going to a little extra effort to dress just one notch “nicer” than everyone else not only raises people’s estimation of you, it also automatically gives you a unique look. Don’t overdo it, or some will feel that you are putting them to shame. But if you wear a blazer from time to time, wear your hair in classy styles, and generally add just a touch of glamor to your look you will feel like you are still an individual despite the dress code restrictions. And you can get away with a bit more “dark” if it’s an elegant kind of dark. A lovely side-effect is that people around you will start to associate Goth with classiness rather than rebellion. Yay for that!  🙂

Also remember that when you do have to make some compromises, it’s an opportunity for you to challenge your creativity and try new things.  You just might discover some new looks that you really love, and wouldn’t have tried if you weren’t exploring new options. You get to have more variety in your wardrobe, and you will enjoy your weekend look even more because you’ll appreciate those days when you can fully be yourself.

Be Professional and Beyond Reproach

Once you’ve proven yourself the star employee in your workplace, you might be surprised what you can get away with if you ease into it gradually.  However, we all get a little too comfortable sometimes and it is possible to push the boundaries too far.  If your boss ever indicates to you that something you tried at the office wasn’t appropriate, PLEASE do not argue!  Politely apologize and explain that you didn’t mean to offend anyone or break the rules, but that you just didn’t realize it would be frowned upon.  And then don’t do it again.  You can always save that skull necklace for the weekend!  🙂

One of my readers, Bane of “GIY: Goth it Yourself”, recently commented, “I love it when the most professional person in the room is Goth.”  So true!  There is no better way to break down negative stereotypes in the workplace than by being the person with the best judgement and the best work ethic.

Below is a retrospective of some of my favorite work looks from this blog so far:





Simple Hair Styles for Work or School

Ages ago, a reader suggested that I do a tutorial on hair styles that are simple, classy and appropriate for work or school.  Yes, it took me months to get to it, but I did not forget!  🙂

All of these styles require at least long-ish hair. I don’t mean to be biased, but I’ve never had short hair so I’m just not much help in that area. 🙁 However, I highly recommend hairpieces if you want to “fake” it.  I frequently wear chignons and other artificial pieces to create looks I can’t achieve with my own hair.  See the last two styles in this post for a few details and resources for synthetic hairpieces.

Side Bun with Flower
Brush your hair all to one side, then gather it up into a side ponytail close to the head. Use a cloth-covered hair elastic for the base of the ponytail (I prefer the kind with no metal!). Then twist your hair one direction and wrap it around itself as you would for a regular bun. Pin securely. I love to use the spin pins (link), as they hold much better than standard bobby pins in my slippery hair. My bun tends to frizz throughout the day, so I use a black hair net over the bun. Then I like to add a hair flower or two (or more!).

Braided Side Bun
Same style as above, but after you put it in the side ponytail, braid it loosely. Then wrap it around without twisting. This style will require more pins, as a braid doesn’t seem to hold itself in the bun as well as loose hair. You can still use the hair net over this one if needed.

Loose Side Braid
This looks especially nice with very long hair. Even better if your hair is thicker than mine, as it gives you that lovely Rapunzel look. 😉 Brush your hair all to one side, but this time don’t put it into a ponytail holder. Just gather it up and braid it loosely. Finish with a tiny fabric-coated hair elastic or a small decorative clip.

Side Braid Wrapped Over Head
You definitely need long hair for this one – waist length at least. Create a side braid as in the style above, but braid it fairly tight. Then wrap the braid over the top of your head and pin it with double pins near the base of the braid, at the end, and somewhere in the middle (six pins total; maybe more if your hair is very thick). You can tuck the end of the braid under a head wrap or clip a flower or barrette over it.

If your braid tends to frizz while in this style, apply some hair wax before braiding and finish with a touch of hair spray after it’s all pinned in place.

Magic Hair

One of my new favorite tricks is Magic Hair. These hair pieces are made of two wires covered in bits of synthetic hair, attached to a comb.  They can be purchased here for about $13 USD.

An easy way to use these is to put my hair in a bun at the back of my head (secured into a ponytail first, as the Magic Hair pieces are a bit heavy and will slowly pull the bun out otherwise) and then slide in the comb and wrap the wires around my bun to form a circle. Then add some decorative bits, of course!

I have a tutorial for a fun “clubby” look using these hair pieces, also.

Synthetic Chignons

There are also many styles of synthetic chignons available, which make it appear that you spent hours on a fancy style but you really just pin them over a plain bun!

To see more ideas, view my Hair Styles labeled posts. Every hair style I’ve worn on this blog is featured once under that label. There are 25 as of today!

Thank you, Ms Little Black Riding Hood for asking me to do this post.  Hope you enjoy it!

Skin Care, the VictorianKitty Way

The other day, a reader asked me about my skin care routine. Since I have had years of practice caring for sensitive skin, I thought I would share my routine with everyone.

First off: about my skin. I battled bad breakouts until I was around 30. Now that I have fewer (and much less severe) breakouts I only cleanse my face once per day, in the evening. I live in the desert so my skin stays quite dry, eliminating the need to wash my face when I wake up in the morning. Also, since it is such a dry climate, I re-moisturize in the middle of the day most days. If you have blemish-prone skin or live in a humid climate, you’ll want to cleanse more often than I do. All of the products I have listed are excellent for blemish-prone skin, as they are light and fragrance free. They are also great for extremely dry skin and aging skin, which are currently my main concerns.

I’m providing links to each of the products I use, but be aware that I did not look around for the best prices on each of these (I buy most of them locally, not online). You might want to shop around if you consider purchasing any of these items.

Daily Morning Routine

Daily Mid-Day Routine

Daily Evening Routine

Special Treatments

  • When my face is very dry, I steam it for 5-8 minutes using Conair Facial Sauna  once a day for a couple of days.  Be careful any time you use steam in your beauty regimen!
  • Apply a 35% Glycolic Acid Peel monthly, and occasionally weekly for a month (no one under 30 needs this). Please see my comments about chemical peels below! **
  • Sleep with Frownies on 2-3 times per week to help miminize the lines between my eyebrows.
  • Apply Neutrogena SPF 100 Ultra Sheer Dry Touch Sun Block on face, neck, shoulders, arms, and back when I will be out in the sun for any length of time. If temperature is not too insanely high, I will wear a lightweight long-sleeve shrug or just sleeves or long gloves to protect my arms and the back of my hands from age spots.

* Coconut oil not only removes makeup better than any commercial makeup remover I have used, it also is all-natural and moisturizes the skin. I also use coconut oil as a shaving oil for my legs.

** 35% Glycolic Acid is considered an entry-level professional peel. If you purchase it for home use, please exercise caution until you are certain how your skin will react. Do a small spot test, following the instructions on the product carefully, and then wait 24 hours before applying to your entire face. I leave mine on for 10 minutes and experience a mild tingling and have no redness at all after the fact, but your results may vary!!! Peels like this do not result in any visible “peeling” so you will not have any healing time (everything that is peeled off is microscopic) but you should avoid sun for 24 hours after each treatment.

Of course, everyone’s skin is different and there is no guarantee that what works for me will work for you… But I have used all of these products for a long time, and I quite delighted with the current state of my skin.

Do you have any special skin care tips you’d like to share?

Tutorial: Arm Warmers from Old Pants

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First off, let me say that there are a lot of Goth blogging ladies out there with amazing seamstress skills… I am not one of them! This tutorial is for the rest of us. 🙂

I lightened all of the photos up a bit so you can hopefully see what is going on.

Final Product, Short Version

I had this old pair of stretchy pants that were a bit too snug for my current tastes. Plus I had splashed a bit of bleach on them long ago while cleaning the bathroom, and I was tired of trying to color in the bleach spot with Sharpies. However, I totally love the pinstripe-ish textured fabric, so I thought these would make nice, almost corporate arm warmers. NOTE: The pants must be made of stretchy fabric for this to work!

Pants with Legs Cut Off

First, I measured the length of my arm from mid-bicep to just below the wrist. I cut both legs off of the pants at that length. The plan is to use the existing hem as the top part of the glove, so I only have to finish the bottom edge.

Pinned and Ready to Sew

Next, I measured around my bicep and around the wrist, then pinned the pant legs (inside out) at those widths, leaving a little bit of wiggle room. I added a couple of extra pins along the diagonal line between the two end pins. You can use a fabric marking pencil and a ruler to create a perfect line, if you wish.

Edges Trimmed; Ready to Finish

Next, I sewed a straight stitch down the pin line. Then I trimmed the excess, leaving about 1/2”. I like to bevel the edges a bit so the corners don’t show when I’m all done.

With Edges Finished Using Zigzag;
Glove on Right is Turned Right-Side Out

Finally, I ran a zigzag stitch down the raw edge, then another zigzag around the raw wrist edge. If you want to make them extra clean, you can do a folded hem around the wrist, but I find this difficult to achieve with such a tiny opening.

The final product: a free pair of arm warmers that are almost nice enough to wear even to the office. They can be worn long, or fold the wrist part under a couple of inches to make them shorter.

You could even make the rest of the pants into shorts, of so inclined!

Final Product, Long Version

Tutorial – Black Star Sparkle Nails

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To my great delight, I have gone back to acrylic nails. I love long, nicely painted nails and just can’t achieve this naturally. I also like to have a little fun with polish combinations, rhinestones and other nail art.

Recently I played around with these cool plastic stars (as seen in one of my Club outfit posts), which I bought ages ago but decided not to bother with on my natural nails.

Here are the products I used:

  • China Glaze Polish in “Avalanche” (a purple-grey shimmery color)
  • Orly Nail Lacquer in “Tiara” (silver glitter in clear polish)
  • Nail Art black holographic stars (purchased from Sally Beauty Supply)
  • Sally Hansen Insta-Dry Top Coat

First, I applied two coats of the China Glaze “Avalanche.”

Next, I used a thin coat of the Orly “Tiara.” I didn’t want too much glitter, because I was hoping to let some of the purple-grey underneath show through.

The End Result

Now you have to act fast. I applied the stars while the silver glitter polish was still wet. I painted one nail at a time, and then applied the stars to that nail before moving on to paint the next. Star application definitely requires the use of tweezers. I do hope you have more steady hands than I do!!

Finally comes the Top Coat. I applied a thick layer (this stuff dries fast, even if you use a heavy hand). The stars are plastic and quite stiff, so they don’t conform to the curve of the nail very well. I found that the corners of some of the stars were still not totally encased in clear after the first coat, so I applied rather thick globs on top of each batch of stars, rather than re-coating the whole nail. This polish flows nicely, so once it dried the big glob blended it fairly well… Next time, I would do it the other way around (big glob first, then thick coat over whole nail) to get a smoother end result.

Magic Hair Tutorial

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A couple of readers asked me to do a tutorial on my hair style in a recent Club Outfit post.  I actually created this look using a couple of very inexpensive hairpieces called Magic, made by EasiHair.

Magic Hairpiece by EasiHair

Magic hairpieces come on a plastic comb and have two wires covered in bits of hair, as shown in the photo to the right.  They can be purchased here for about $13 USD.   

I think I am required to state that I am not affiliated with EasiHair or Max Wigs in any way, nor am I being paid for this endorsement.  🙂

1. Part your hair and put it up into two high ponytails. You can be pretty messy with this step (as I was), since the Magic hairpieces will cover much of your head when you are done. Just make sure the part is nice and straight (as I did not).

2. Twist the ponytails into buns and secure the buns with a few bobby pins. Again, messy is fine.

3. Twist the wires on each Magic hairpiece into a circular shape.

4. Insert the comb in front of the bun and slide it in until it’s secure underneath the bun.

5. Arrange the wires on the hairpiece until everything is sticking out just how you like it!

This is actually a classic Goth hairdo and can certainly be done with real hair. However, doing so requires a lot of teasing and hairspray. I have delicate hair, plus I strive for as much length as possible, so teasing is most definitely out of the question for me. Here’s a YouTube tutorial on big, Gothy teased hair (not affiliated with me in any way) if you want to give that method a try.

I hope my “Magic” secret will be useful to others who must also be gentle with their hair!

Please let me know any time you wish to see tutorials on any of my hair styles, makeup or DIY accessories/alterations.

Wearing High Heels Comfortably

Some of My Weekend Shoes

Most people notice that I wear tall heels.  At 5′ 3″ I feel like a kid looking up at all of the full-size people in my life (many of whom are younger than me).  I prefer at least a 4″ heel to put me more at eye level.  Some people are quick to comment on how I am “messing up” my feet over time.  Whether they are correct remains to be seen, but this has been my way for the past 15 years and so far I’m not seeing any signs of damage.  I have a few ideas on what I might be doing right.

Not Too Tight!
I think the number one way to make heels comfortable is to make sure they are a good fit.  Tight shoes hurt.  I’ve had a few pairs that put my toes to sleep.  Pointy-toe shoes seem to frequently become trendy (even though aesthetically they are not my preference), but imagine how terribly they squeeze your toes.  Add the elevation to the squeezing and sure, it’s going to hurt!  A slightly rounded toe usually conforms more to the natural shape of your foot. 

Personally, it seems that most pumps that fit me comfortably tend to slip while I walk, so I stick with Mary Janes or ankle straps for the most part.  Problem solved!  I feel super cute and comfortable, and almost tall enough to pass for a grown-up.

Stretch Your Toes, Lots

My Favorite Work Shoes

Yes, wearing heels puts the foot in an unnatural position.  But exercise often does the same thing to our entire bodies.  Does that mean exercise it bad?  Surely not.  It just means we have to condition our bodies for the activity and give them a little extra care.  That means stretching.

I stretch my toes and ankles well each morning before donning my heels.  I usually take my shoes off during my work breaks, which leads to a bit more stretching.  In the evening when the shoes come off for the day, another good stretch, and often again before bed.  While I’m at it, I make sure to give my back, arms and neck a good one as well.  This is in addition to my normal exercise routine, which is usually two 15-minute workouts four days per week.

Stretching just makes me feel better all over, and my feet rarely hurt even though I wear heels 11 or more hours at least 6 days most weeks. 

Invest in Good Insoles
There are inserts available to pad whatever part of the shoe is uncomfortable: the whole sole, the ball of the foot, the heel…  I like the fabric-coated gel insoles.  I replace them as soon as they start to flatten out a bit so they remain effective at cushioning my little feet.

Wear a Wider Heel

My Best Club Shoes

Yes: Stilettos are sexy.  But they are much more difficult to walk in than even a slightly wider heel.  I think the amount of difficulty in walking directly affects the overall comfort of wearing the shoes.  All of that wobbling and trying to stay balanced is stressful on the feet!  Go for a heel that’s at least 3/8″ in diameter.  For the weekends, I prefer a 1″ wide heel since I do more walking than while sitting at a desk during the week.

Platforms = Shock Absorbers!
I can do a full day of walking and shopping as long as I have a platform.  Even 1/2″ makes a difference.  Shoes with no platform at all make the balls of my feel hurt terribly, even with good cushioning.  My theory is that the platform acts as a shock absorber.  Often the taller platforms (1″ or more) are partially hollow.  Even fully-filled platforms just have more material to dissipate the impact with each step.

I hope these tips help those of you who are addicted to HIGH heels as I am.  Now tell me what kind of shoes are your favorite, and how do you keep them comfortable?

PS:  Remember those adorable Pleaser shoes I mentioned in my previous post?  I couldn’t resist.  They shipped today.  🙂

Images in this post are from Pleaser USA.