My First Outfit Post!

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Well, in spite of my awesome studio lighting I still have some learning to do when photographing so much black.  Turns out my camera’s auto focus doesn’t really work too well on black.  This could be a problem for a Goth girl!
Anyway, welcome to my first Work Friendly outfit post!  Okay, this outfit is not particularly exciting, except that the sweater is new and super cute and it came from Target, of all places.  Normally I don’t buy clothes there, but this caught my eye… and actually fit me perfectly.
I didn’t add any accessories to this outfit, because I thought the buttons and the ruffle were enough.  I paired it with a pencil skirt I’ve had for ages, with a matching ruffle along the bottom.  I think fishnets would look great with this, but maybe a bit too sexy for work along with the slit in the skirt.  I usually only wear fishnets to work with longer skirts that hit mid-calf.
I actually rarely wear all black to work, as it seems to disturb some of the most conservative people in my building.  I get weary of being asked “Why do you wear all black?”  It’s a question that has no answer, yet they seem to expect some deep “reason” that just doesn’t exist.  I just do: that’s why!  😉

I just had to include this photo, uncropped, so you could see Naughty Kitty in action.  Totally distracting me from my photo shoot!  This is Perseus, one of our gorgeous Maine Coons.  I’m sure you’ll see his twin brother Prometheus crashing a photo shoot soon, too!

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.

A Few Things I Will Love, Soon!

Since I’m not ready to start photographing at home yet, I thought I would spend a few days posting about things I’ve found that would significantly enhance my Wardrobe Satisfaction Quotient.

My Next Stop Staring Purchase

I always vowed that I would never reveal the name of Stop Staring, for fear that every girl in the Goth scene would start wearing them and I would lose my edge.  But I love them too dearly to not sing their praises.  In addition to unmatched quality and super-sexy vintage styling, their sizes are TINY (hooray!).  I have seven from their collection so far…  This amazing 1940’s style dress in eggplant absolutely MUST be my next purchase.

I dream of wearing Stop Staring to work, but their dresses are so inherently sexy that I blush at the thought.  They are not so revealing, and not overly tight, but just overall amazing.  No one looks this amazing at my office.  I would surely call far too much attention to myself.  Maybe with a sweater over it…  But it would be a shame to hide any of the details.  What do you think?  Could it work, or would I get called into the boss’s office?

Another Pair of Shoes…
I currently own about 35 pairs of shoes.  Yes, I wear fewer than 10 of those pairs on even a semi-regular basis.  Before you gasp in astonishment over this blatant excess, let me explain that I went through a phase a few years ago where I just wasn’t sure what kind of footwear I felt comfortable in for work.  Threats were made to restrict the dress code to 3″ heels or shorter, and everyone loved to speculate that this was my fault.  So in shame, I rushed out and bought several relatively conservative pairs that I thought would take the heat off of me.  I eventually confessed this to my boss, and she laughed and told me to wear whatever shoes I wanted.  Consequently, I have quite a few pairs that I would wear to work if I had to, but would rather not.

That being said, I need these shoes.  I might even eBay a few of my under-loved pairs to make room on the shelf for them.  As mentioned on my Where I Shop page, I love Pleaser shoes because they are exotic, high, comfortable and inexpensive.  And most of them come in my size, which can’t be said for department store shoes.  They certainly don’t last a lifetime, but for the price I sure do get a more than fair amount of use out of them.

I would NOT wear these to work.  Sure, everyone would coo in the hallways and love them to death, but I don’t really like getting that much attention at work even if it’s positive.  I’d rather get that attention on the weekends.  So I stick with no more than 1/2″ platforms and around 4″ heels for work.

So these are the two items I am currently trying to resist buying.  Don’t worry, I won’t be able to hold out for long.  🙂

Well, I did it…

… I made a blog.  If anyone can think of a better name for it, please let me know.  I like this one, but I am afraid it might sound snootier than I intend.  And I don’t really speak French.  🙂
What’s the Point?
I hope to make this blog stand out a bit from both the average Fashion Blog and the average Goth Blog.  While I do associate closely with the Goth style, I pride myself on doing so in a sophisticated and approachable way (this is not ego speaking; this is a skill I have worked hard to develop over the past 20 years).
I try to always be mindful of dressing appropriate to the occasion: while I always have a “dark” aesthetic, I know when to tone it down and when I can go as edgy as I wish.  I have excelled in a corporate environment without giving up my own sense of style, but it took years of practice to find a look that I felt suited me while leaving co-workers no reason to ask questions about my personal lifestyle (occasionally that still happens, but only with the super-conservative or the super-nosy!).
“You Must LOVE Halloween!”

I don’t buy my clothing at the Halloween Superstore (I don’t even celebrate the holiday).  I don’t wear costumes.  I buy high-quality items from major fashion retailers and combine them and accessorize them in my own way.  Honestly, I feel like I have let myself down when people mistake what I think is total class for what they see as a Halloween costume.  I always try to look polished and elegant.  I sometimes fail, but I always try.  I hope this blog can help me better myself while also maybe bettering the “Goth” stereotypes in the minds of the mainstream.  That’s why this blog isn’t necessarily aimed at Goths.  It’s for everyone!

My Blogging Future
I plan to post once or twice each week, depending on how much I like my outfit selections for the week.  I’ll usually post one “work” outfit and maybe also a weekend outfit or something more special if we go out.

This will also be a fun way for me to archive outfits that I feel good wearing.  If I am in a rush in the morning (as I usually am) or we suddenly decide, “Tonight is a night for dancing!” I can quickly put together something awesome based on my past ideas.

Dreaming…
I hope to start using some kind of wardrobe inventory app on my iPad to help me keep things organized.  Wouldn’t it be cool to use technology to color coordinate everything, help remember what pieces “go together” and even plan outfits for trips and special events?  Maybe it could even alert me to pieces I’ve neglected for too long so I can show them the love they deserve.  Or remind me that I already wore a certain corset to a certain club.  I haven’t found an app that does exactly what I’m looking for yet, but I’m keeping my eyes open.

Time to Get Back to Work!
I’ve been talking too much.  This blog is supposed to be about pictures.  🙂  But that can’t happen until my new studio lighting arrives, or I will lose my mind trying to photograph all of this black.  Stay tuned!!