Black and Black. :)

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Don’t forget, Red & Black Week starts next Sunday, June 1, at 12 AM Pacific time.  I’ve been busily preparing my posts today so I will have them all ready to go and not fall behind next week.  However, in the meantime, I wanted to throw in an all-black outfit before the colorful festivities begin!

Elegant Cowl-Neck Blouse

Mr. Kitty and I spent a lovely Sunday having lunch and antique shopping. I was in the mood for a look that was somewhere in between Goth and Vintage, so I settled on an elegant cowl-neck top wit amazing detailing in the back, plus a simple brocade pencil skirt from Target.

Elegant Cowl-Neck Blouse

We didn’t actually buy anything on this shopping trip, but we had a wonderful, leisurely day just strolling around together with no worries.

Elegant Cowl-Neck Blouse

I haven’t had much opportunity to feel like I am truly connected with myself lately. It’s all been work and then just trying to keep up with everything life has been throwing at us. I think sometimes it’s incredibly important, for those of us who are “different”, to just drop everything and spend a day living by our own rules, wearing whatever empowers us, and just celebrating being individuals. I find the best way to achieve this is to get OUT of the house, away from any place where responsibilities are constantly looming, and break whatever routine we’ve been stuck in.

Elegant Cowl-Neck Blouse

It’s funny how a beautiful item of clothing can feel so good to wear, even if the most amazing touches are in the back where we can’t see them. Here’s detail of the back of the blouse:

Elegant Cowl-Neck Blouse

And a detail of the skirt fabric:

Brocade Pencil Skirt

And here’s a rare guest appearance by Little Miss Persephone, who absolutely hates being held and having her photo taken. 🙂

Persephone

How do you spend your free days when you find you need to get back in touch with yourself?


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.

Winter Comes Late to SoCal

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Gothic Lace Boots

So, now that it’s approaching mid-May, we are finally getting a blast of cold after enduring a sweltering hot winter.  I’m not complaining.  I just hope the cool air continues into a good portion of Car Show Season, which starts later this month.  It would be nice to enjoy some classic rides without melting.

Gothic Lace Boots

I’m also happy to be able to bring out my Demonia lace boots one more time, along with this cute lightweight sweater. I’ve been taking a break from shopping, so it’s very enjoyable to re-appreciate some of my favorite items from my existing wardrobe rather than focusing on finding the next amazing thing to add to my collection.

Gothic Lace Boots

We’ve had a TON of interesting stuff going on. Vacation, where I came down with a BRUTAL cold, immediately followed by a life-threatening condition for my favorite kitty Perseus, followed by a 4-week recovery where he needed constant supervision (he is 100% fine now), followed by 2 nights of VNV Nation amazingness, followed by obtaining another vintage car to restore, all while juggling the busy season at work, some volunteer opportunities, and a drastic dietary change. I’m going to keep the text short today. I’m pretty out of practice with the whole blog routine (and a bit exhausted), so go easy on me. 🙂

Gothic Lace Boots

Also, I still want to do the 4th Annual Red & Black Week this year (it would be June 1-6)… But I haven’t been in the blog scene much lately, so I haven’t been hyping it up and am not sure the level of participation would be worth the time investment. So, it’s time for an informal survey… Who’s interested in participating this year? Let me know if it’s worth doing!!


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.

February Theme: Outerwear

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February’s theme, suggested by blogger Swgarasu, is outerwear. We did this theme once before, back in December 2011, where I featured a lovely lace trenchcoat from Bebe.  Today, I am sharing a beloved Arden B find – my wool pea coat with PVC trim.

Gothic Wool and PVC Jacket

Mr. Kitty calls this my Sexy Spy coat.  lol.  Both this coat and my lace trench are about 3-4 years old.  I miss the days when higher-end mall stores like Bebe and Arden B carried so many edgy, Goth-friendly items.  Someday, I’m sure they will again…  But for now, it’s all about the rebirth of Grunge, and every trendy person in Southern California is spending a ton of money to dress up like they are homeless or something.  It’s pretty gross.  From what I see in the mall, there is absolutely no beauty or sophistication in popular fashion at the moment, and it makes me sad.  But I’m glad I was able to score a coat like this back in better times!

Gothic Wool and PVC Coat

Now it’s your turn!  Break out your coats, jackets, sweaters, shrugs, capes, cloaks, etc and show us how you bundle up for the great outdoors when the air is frigid.

For those of you currently experiencing summer, feel free to showcase lightweight wraps, beachy cover-ups, blazers, etc.  The more variety, the better, so get creative!

Want to participate in this month’s theme?

Now it’s your turn! You know what to do (or if you don’t, check out the full details). 🙂

  1. Add the Monthly Theme icon to your blog post (copy the code below and paste into your post using the Edit HTML feature):
    <a href="http://www.sophistiquenoir.com/category/monthly-themes"><img src="http://www.victoriankitty.com/blogPhotos/monthly-theme-icon.jpg" border="0"></a>
  2. Paste the URL to your post using the Mister Linky box below.
    Please use a direct link to your relevant post, NOT a link to your blogâ??s home page.
  3. Visit all of the other participants who have entered, and show them you appreciate their theme posts!
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Volunteerism. Or, How to Get Kitties to Their Forever Homes and Look Great Doing It.

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40s-Inspired Gothic Fashion

Thanks to the inspiration of a dear friend with a huge heart and an even bigger love of kitty cats, Mr. Kitty and I have gotten involved with a group that coordinates volunteer-driven transports for rescued kitties. This group is designed to remove the logistical barriers when an adopter falls in love with a kitty whose shelter or foster home is far from the forever home. Coordinators plan a route and then approved volunteers sign up to take short legs of the journey, forming a “love train” to bring each kitty home. Each driver only has to go about 60 miles each way. Occasionally, a volunteer who happens to be flying along a particular route will even escort the cat across the country by plane.

40s-Inspired Gothic Fashion

This was my outfit of choice on our most recent transport.  We met another volunteer at LAX who had flown the kitty in from the east coast.  We then took her on to her next stop on the way to Northern California.

Sometimes we wonder, can’t a person in California find a cat to rescue somewhere closer than Virginia? But the bottom line is, our hearts want what they want, and if spending a couple of hours in the car can help bring incredible happiness to someone, it’s WELL worth the time and gas money.

40s-Inspired Gothic Fashion

My mom got involved with volunteerism through her love of dogs (she did Pet Assisted Therapy for several years) and I’m thankful that her experience bestowed in me a love of doing volunteer work. I always wanted to do P.A.T. with our Maine Coons but it’s such a huge time commitment, so when my friend told us about these kitty transports I was delighted to find an animal-related opportunity that fit my schedule. I don’t get to do it as much as I would like to, but each small effort I am able to participate in fills me with a satisfaction that can rarely be beat. Plus, Mr. Kitty does all the driving. 🙂

Do you participate in any kind of volunteer work? In what ways are you passionate about helping others?


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.

Fun Knee Socks!

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Goth Knee Socks

Sleeveless sweaters have forever been a mystery to me. If it’s cold enough outside to wear a sweater, isn’t it likely too cold to have bare arms?? I honestly don’t know how this dilemma is resolved in the mainstream world, where arm warmers are not a socially acceptable option. However, I was quite happy with this combination, as the socks, sweater and arm warmers all have their own ribbed patterns that play well together.

Goth Knee Socks

My black Hue fishnets give this outfit just a touch of Goth sexiness, and my oldest cross necklace is the finishing touch.

Gothic Floral Cross

I thought this was a perfect outfit for running weekend errands in the fall. Just warm enough, and loaded with interesting detail.

SONY DSC

How do you wear sleeveless or short-sleeve sweaters?


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.

November 1 Theme: Sweaters

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Fall is finally here, which means most of us Gothy types are pretty happy. We tend to love layering gorgeous mixes of flowing, drapey fabrics in ways that are far too heavy for stifling summer weather. Not to mention the inherent dislike of sunshine and sweat… Personally, I could not be more happy each year once Fall finally arrives. Unfortunately, here in Southern California we have to be very, very patient. November is here now and we are still having rather hot days with only a few cooler ones mixed in. It’s not unusual for temperatures to be in the 60s on Christmas day around here, but thankfully by then it’s getting much cooler and those warm days are fewer and less frequent.  I’m looking forward to that time, but meanwhile at least the evenings are soothingly cool.

Gothic Sweater Dress

In addition to enjoying cooler temps, I’ve been working hard at the gym to lose a bit of “stress weight” I put on early in 2012 (you may remember my struggles before I left my last job, that led to eating lots of chocolate), and to tone up this 40-year old body. Being more satisfied with my figure now than I was a year ago, I was excited to pull this VERY body-conscious sweater dress out of the back of the closet and take it out for a night on the town.

Fall Gothic Fashion

This dress came from Newport News several years ago. I never wore it much because it’s actually beyond ankle length on me, and being so skin tight I thought it looked strange hobbling around (and tripping a lot) in a sweater that covered my toes! I know it’s nearly impossible to sew knit without it looking terrible, so chopping it off and hemming was out of the question.  I decided to try just folding it under about 8 inches and pinning it on the seams. I thought there was no way it would work and not show, but it actually turned out perfect! I love the proportions of the dress much more now.

Gothic Sweater Dress

Many of you out there have already been enjoying glorious Fall weather much longer than those of us in Southern California, so hopefully you’ve got your sweater collection in heavy rotation now.  So, start linking! 🙂

Want to participate in this month’s theme?

Now it’s your turn! You know what to do (or if you don’t, check out the full details). 🙂

  1. Add the Monthly Theme icon to your blog post (copy the code below and paste into your post using the Edit HTML feature):
    <a href="http://www.sophistiquenoir.com/category/monthly-themes"><img src="http://www.victoriankitty.com/blogPhotos/monthly-theme-icon.jpg" border="0"></a>
  2. Paste the URL to your post using the Mister Linky box below.
    Please use a direct link to your relevant post, NOT a link to your blog’s home page.
  3. Visit all of the other participants who have entered, and show them you appreciate their theme posts!
NO ADULT CONTENT will be allowed.

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.

Don’t Forget: November One-Day Theme Tomorrow!

Just a reminder that the November 1 “Sweaters” theme day is tomorrow, November 1, beginning at midnight Pacific Time.

Mr. Linky will close at 11:59 PM PST on November 3. However, remember that the earlier you link up, the more people will see your post! 🙂 Also the Linky box at the bottom of my post will tell you how many hours you have left until it closes.

Get the complete details and rules.

Return of the Bow Tie Belt

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Gothic Lace Party Dress

Okay, so no one was overly excited about this bow tie belt when I featured it along with my loud sheath dress recently. Fair enough. Something simpler would have gone much better with that busy dress. However, this outfit really goes to show that the same piece can be completely different when used in a very different outfit.  I truly love the way the belt works with this outfit.

Lace Dress and Bow Tie Belt

We’re still experiencing fairly warm weather some days, so I topped this strapless lace dress from Forever 21 with a lightweight knit shrug with short sleeves. Add abundant jewelry, a bit of fake hair and some roses and you have a no-fuss outfit for an evening with friends.

Gothic Lace Party Dress

How’s the weather in your area? Will you be ready for the November 1 Sweater theme?


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.

Mrs. Kitty’s Fabulous Fortieth!

Vintage Gothic Glamor

As I’ve been mentioning lately, September brought the 40th anniversary of my arrival in the world. This may sound crazy, but I’ve been looking forward to this day for a long time. When I turned 30, I was as secure with myself as I am now so I didn’t view it as different from any other birthday… So imagine my shock and horror when those around me started making the “over the hill” jokes. The horror was not because their attitude toward this event caused me to feel old or insecure about my age (it sure didn’t!) but because I felt so sorry for them that THEY felt 30 was old. I decided then to always be proud of my age, and the ever-increasing wisdom, dignity and good taste that come with it. I vowed to take care of myself so I could age in a healthy way, and to live a life I could be proud of without obsessing over a number. I’m pleased to say that 10 years later, I’ve done just that. I always seek to improve myself, but have no complaints about who I am today. My 30s were the happiest decade of my life so far, and I plan to make sure my 40s are even better.

Vintage Gothic Cocktail Dress

To kick this decade off right, I wanted a grand celebration with (more than) a touch of extravagance. Because I’ve worked hard to keep plenty of “mad money” in savings for a special occasion, and because if you are going to grow into an eccentric older woman, you might as well own it! 😉 After much debate and plan-changing, we dialed in on the perfect celebration that would be luxurious but still stress-free to plan: a day of limo-chauffeured wine tasting throughout Temecula with our closest friends. Mr. Kitty and friends did most of the preparation, while I, naturally, focused on the most important question: What to wear!

Vintage Gothic Cocktail Dress

My initial plan was full-on custom-made Gothic Victorian splendor, complete with corset and bustle skirt with train, and loads of lace. Then I thought about sliding in and out of a limo repeatedly on what would likely be a hot, hot day. All while drinking loads of wine, making me even hotter and less coordinated. I decided to go with a more practical, true vintage outfit.

Vintage Gothic Glamor

Hours of scouring the Internet led me to this 70-year old cocktail gown by Dorothy O’Hara. This designer did a lot of wardrobe work for Golden Age of Hollywood movies, as well as designs especially for high-end department stores. She was known for making the most of the female figure. After about a zillion questions back and forth with a very patient Etsy seller, I decided to go for it.

Vintage Gothic Cocktail Dress

Seeking the perfect foundation garment for this beautiful dress, Mr. Kitty and I headed down to Hollywood to shop the What Katie Did boutique. What a fun day that was! I walked out of there feeling like a glamorous siren from times long gone. The clerk kindly allowed me to photograph the shop for this blog, so I’ll be posting more about that next time.

Vintage Gothic Glamor

I already had this vintage hat, so I just needed to determine the perfect accessories. I naturally consulted various 1940s films until I found an idea to rip off inspire me. Hence the wrapped scarf and giant rhinestone brooch (a $12 last-minute score on eBay!). I went for black nails and lips because I wanted to look as much like a black and white movie as possible. 😉

Vintage Dorothy O'Hara Cocktail Dress

Finally the big day arrived, and every detail was perfect. We had a truly joyous day, and brought home ample quantities of wine to help us remember the experience.

Friends, family, beautiful scenery, and wine!!

Friends, family, beautiful scenery, and wine!!

Mr. Kitty and I learning about the upcoming late-harvest Port from a winemaker at one of the wineries we visited.

Mr. Kitty and I learning about the upcoming late-harvest Port from a winemaker at one of the wineries we visited.

 

For those of you still under 40, how do you plan to celebrate your 40th birthday?  If you’ve been there already, how did you celebrate?

Hello, World!

Yes, I’m still floating around…  After about 6 weeks of blog hiatus, I’ve been getting a few “are you still out there” messages from my readers.  So, YES!  🙂

There was a sad incident early this summer that caused me to lose interest in a lot of things for a while. Followed by a very busy summer, which made it even more difficult for me to reach a point where I felt a desire to get back to those things. Lately we’ve had some much-needed downtime that has helped me refocus. Then yesterday I received a very touching email from a fan of this blog that totally reminded me of why blogging meant so much to me to begin with. It was truly the finishing touch I needed to re-inspire me.

Lots of wonderful things have been happening, too, and I always like to focus on the positive in this blog. Mr. Kitty and I shared our 4th wedding anniversary in September, and we celebrated my 40th birthday in style with some amazing people. We made some new friends, and spent more quality time with old friends. I’ve scored some gorgeous true vintage pieces to add to my closet for work. We welcomed an adorable new kitten into the family. We helped two dear friends find love. I finally found the perfect waterproof liquid eyeliner, and an excellent iPad app for managing my wardrobe.  OH, and VNV Nation just released the digital version of Transnational in North America today, and it is amazing.

Anyway, I’ve had my Fabulous 40th Birthday post in the works for weeks (with a short attention span, spending only minutes at a time on it). I’m determined to finally finish it this weekend and be fully back in action for the November 1 Monthly Theme, plus hopefully a few new special offers for my readers and other fun stuff.

Hopefully.  🙂  Bear with me.