Tropic Riot

Midsummer celebrations in Europe focus on the summer solstice and are particularly important in Estonian and Latvian cultures where it is observed as a holiday on the same level as Christmas.  John’s Day was honored prior to the appearance of Christianity in Estonia, yet the day was named by the crusaders.  To the natives, it marked a change in the farming year and was done so by drinking, dancing, singing and following pagan rituals. some of which have very strong roots in folklore.  The most prominent of these is lighting a bonfire and jumping over it in order to avoid bad luck and guarantee prosperity.  The fire also warded off irksome spirits to safeguard a good harvest, and today the traditions are the largest and most important of the year.  In neighboring Latvia, the festival is observed on a large scale, consisting of pagan elements such as eating cheese, drinking beer, singing folk songs dedicated to John.  They too light a bonfire to keep burning throughout the evening and jump over it wearing wreaths of flowers or oak leaves.  This national holiday has been a strong aspect of Latvia’s culture, having originated as a fertility cult and evolving into numerous traditions, one of which involves revellers running naked through down at three in the morning.  Over in Poland, people don traditional dress and girls throw flower wreaths into the Baltic Sea, lakes or rivers.  Larger cities observe Saint John’s Night with organized events, the most popular of which is held in Kraków.  The old Russian name for John the Baptist was Ivan Kupala – Ivan’s Day is noted as the most expressive folk holiday and a pagan fertility rite that is acknowledged by the Orthodox Christian calendar.  Many customs are associated with water, such as autopurification or floating flower garlands in rivers and using the movement to tell their fortunes.

The customs that accompany celebrations in the United States are derived from cultures of the European immigrants who brought them to this country since the 19th century.  One of the largest is in New York City’s Battery Park and attracts thousands of people annually, while an event in Illinois that dates back to 1911 features the raising of a maypole, dancing and presentation of an authentic Viking ship.  Crimson Dawn park in the Casper Mountains of  Wyoming hosts a community bonfire where people are invited to throw in a handful of red soil to grant a wish.  The annual Summer Solstice in Santa Barbara, California consists of a festival and parade, while a large number of Finnish and European descendants observe Juhannus with a beachfront bonfire the Saturday following the first day of Summer.  No matter how one chooses to memorialize this season, hedonism reigns and the choice of individually expressing such exhilarations through pigments placed on the body are highly encouraged.  If in doubt of how to tune in fertility rites, this guide is packed with products that will give you an intergalactic glow that will immediately exalt you to instant diva status.

The Naked Strangers Collection from Illamasqua is advertised as “a place where alter egos are laid bare and naked flesh is a source of unashamed inspiration.  In this delicate tipping point between intimacy and and pleasurable detachment, we revel in the unknown; exploring between pure monogamous, gilded faithful and uninhibited swinger.  Exposed nude tones, adorned with rich licks of gold, leave you gasping for more.  Don’t restrain yourself, unless, of course, you enjoy it.”  There are nine products based on neutral tones and set off with metallic finishes that would certainly gleam glamour when kissed by the glow of a bonfire.  A quad of antiquitated colors have been coordinated into the Neutral Palette, and the shadows can be used on other parts of the face and body to create contours and sculpt stark highlights.  Indulge your inner snarling pinup with Vintage, Stealth, Wolf and Obsidian to manifest a representation of your individual balance of light and darkness.  For a hypnotic illumination, utilize Zygomatic Cream Blusher, a naked pink brown that can be applied under or over foundation depending on how daring you want to be.  For brilliant radiance, Naked Rose Powder Blusher – neutral beige pink – can enhance and define every face shape that commands attention.  Generating a full, glossy appearance to lips is easy as applying the platinum gold Stranger, an Intense Lipgloss rich in color and high in shine without that sticky feeling.  Adding sexiness to your smile can be achieved with Intimacy, a nude pink brown Sheer Lipgloss that is designed to amplify every pout, which can be used solo or paired with lipstick for that extra boost.  A trio of nail varnishes named Faithful [coppered metal, metallic finish], Swinger [glistening platinum gold, metallic finish] and Monogamous [creamy flesh pink, matte finish] bring a modern edge to any retro styled manicure.  The most intriguing product of this collection is Electrum, an antique gold Liquid Metal that is described as a highly pigmented cream which can be smoothed onto various areas using fingers, eye shadow brush or blending brush depending on the desired finish.

NARS also has nine products that compose their Summer 2012 collection, though the colors are much more bold and meant to enliven an adventurous spirit.  It begins with Ramatuelle, an eyeshadow trio that contains Silver, Icy Peach and Apricot shades made with highly pigmented, micro-fine powders that can be worn at lengthy intervals and remain crease resistant.  The contemporary, uncommon, occasionally astonishing eyeshadow duo Marie-Galante pairs iridescent Violet with Regal Blue for looks that can be subtle or smoldering depending on how it is applied.  Iconic shades do not have to be intimidating, because even a light coat of Liberté blush takes this high-intensity Burnished Apricot hue and delivers a natural-looking flush.  Soft Touch Shadow Pencils provide a portable and functional product that is a versatile formula which glides on creamy, blends easily and formulated to be long lasting – Calabria is a Shimmering Plum that is ideal as a base for layering with powder shadows for increased eye intensity.  Velvet Matte Lip Pencils are enriched with Vitamin E and come in rich shades such as Never Say Never, a vivid Lilac Rose that gives lips smooth, seamless color that will last for hours.  Velvet Gloss lip pencils contain ingredients meant to moisturize and increase hydration – the Nude Beige Pink known as Buenos Aires is gorgeously glossy with a spectacular shine that is ensured to stay put.  My personal favorite of the collection is Moscow, a Strawberry Red matte lipstick enriched with mango butter to repair dryness and açai oil for antioxidant benefits.  Some may prefer a more sheer lipstick, which is where the Grape toned Vendanges comes into play, as it provides sophistication through a patented blend of conditioners to hydrate, nourish and protect lips.  Capture the essence of Summer with Trouville, a brilliant Seashell Pink opaque nail polish that is chip-resistant and boasts prolonged gloss retention that prevents discoloration.

What one uses to cleanse the body is just as important as the products that adorn the body, and I make it no secret that I greatly enjoy Lush products, mostly because they are created by hand so I feel good supporting the company.  There are several new items that have popped up on their website, the first of which is Hot Milk –  a comforting blend of patchouli oil and coconut milk [which is vegan friendly] to soften skin right before slipping into bed.  If a decadent massage is right up your alley, Nutts features highly moisturizing ingredients such as organic coconut butter and tahini paste for super soft skin, while the intoxicating scent of chocolate comes from cocoa butter will make it difficult to resist indulging in happiness.  The idea of bathing in the brilliant pink and orange of a Summer sunset is certainly appealing, and the Uluru bath bomb contains plenty of desert rosewood oil, lemon myrtle and sandalwood sourced from Australia for a soothing soak at the end of a long day.  Shopping online means having access to the Retro section, which is where one can find Canadian Maple Soap, crafted from the finest maple syrup Canada has to offer and topped with a healthy dose of coffee sugar crystals for that early pick-me-up.  All-natural skin care might be hard to come by, but Lush comes through like a champion with their versatile Ultrabalm, which contains candelillia wax, jojoba oil and rose wax to create a protective barrier or relieve discomfort caused by scrapes – it can even be used to tame stray hairs or as a lip balm.  Soft hands can be achieved with Handy Gurugu, an herbal lotion made with blends of organic Shea, cashew, almond and pumpkin seed butters along with soothing essential oils ideal for hardworking appendages. The ultimate remedy for sore palms is said to be Tiny Hands, a fantastic hand cream in an appropriately shaped bar that might seem small in size but is big in impact by improving elasticity with creamy coca and Shea butter, argan oil and aloe vera by applying before bed.  Nourish nails with Lemony Flutter, a zesty cuticle cream that is thick enough to use on other body parts, and each pot is packed with a lemon-infused butter base blended with beeswax and cold-pressed avocado oil to brighten skin and lighten nails.  Enrich yourself with Ocean Salt, an exfoliating cream infused with fresh avocado and coconut that hydrate, a splash of lime and vodka for antibacterial effects, and mineral rich sea salt that softens as it scrubs away dirt while invigorating skin.   Follow up with a Breath of Fresh Air, a soothing spray that features a blend of ingredients straight from the sea that are full of nutrients such and provide the skin with essential vitamins.

With your skin pampered and makeup skillfully applied, there is just one more thing to take care of before revealing your ravishing Summer look to the world – the hair.  Of course when temperatures soar and you find yourself in the middle of a heatwave for several days, there are plenty of effortless styles that are easy and breezy that will make you look pretty and polished without taking up too much time.  The top chic hair styles for this season include but are not limited to: a top knot, high ponytail that is not too perfect, fishtail braid flipped over one shoulder, a low bun with loose and wavy front, side-swept low ponytail with face-framing wisps, crown braids – especially when accented with flowers, an undone updo with hair tucked under, boho skinny braids, wildly natural curls that use humidity to their advantage, a half-up half-down combo with volume at the crown, becahy waves scrunched with surf spray, side-part twists that meet in the back, high bun pushed to the side, side-part with sides pinned back for a windswept feel, teased and tousled tresses, slicked back crown with dry ends, bangs swept off the face and lightly misted with hair spray, a low ponytail half pulled through the holder that creates a tucked bun.  To create that born-from-the-sea look which tends to happen naturally if one spends a significant amount of time in the surf, begin with damp hair and apply a quality beach spray to achieve the right texture.  Mist the roots and midway down the hair, then use your fingers to work it through to the ends – for hair that is dry or coarse, rub in curl cream to moisturize.  Scrunch the ends and encourage curl by blow-drying with a diffuser, or allow strands to air dry before wrapping them around the barrel of a clip-less curling iron.  Focus on the area from the root to the mid-shaft, leaving ends free for a more natural, windswept look, and then you are finished.  Tack on your favorite accessories and let your personality shine as bright as the Summer sun!

Photo credit: 1 – “Lady Picking Flowers” by J.W. Waterhouse

6 – highlightsmobile.blogspot.com

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Marketing Fleas

[Originally written on this date in 2004]

Five days ago Jon and I pried ourselves from the comfort of his bed, piled stuff into the Chevy and embarked on an adventure in selling things at a local flea market here in South Jersey.  Have to admit that I was still somewhat bleary-eyed when we rolled into the dirt lot, waking up to Jon poking me in the ribs and encouraging me to drink some insanely strong Irish coffee.  People had already set up tables, and we had arrived at eight in the morning – there were also buyers who looked as though they had been browsing for a good couple of hours.  After rumbling past one spot after another that was already occupied, we finally set up in back by a fence – figured it wasn’t too bad and started to unload the car.  There sure are some interesting characters around the market grounds, and I was particularly amused by the elderly gentleman who set up right next to us along with his friend.  They both came over and talked to us for a while.  The one guy bought a gauntlet and spiked bracelet off me.

Once things started to pick up, there were plenty of people who stopped by the table.  Not all of them bought something, but those who did had no arguments about the price.  Sold shoes, jackets, shirts, CDs, a gasmask, military hat and coat along with other various items.  Was hoping the knives would be a big seller, but I believe there are other vendors down there who are selling them as well.  Or maybe we just weren’t in the right spot.  Did not have time to go around and look at anything else, but it kept me from spending the money I had just made.  Most of the time we just sat and talked about the people while taking turns having a break in the back seat of the Chevy, which kept us amused that they would slow down to look at us more than the stuff we had for sale.  Guess they are not used to seeing two people with lots of body modifications in the same place at the same time.  Eventually the people sort of filtered out, so we decided to pack up.  Just as we were about to put the table away, some guy comes along and buys nine CDs.  That was the last sale of the day, and then we headed back to Jon’s house.

The schedule of our Sunday Nite Ritual has changed, due to certain shows being over and the general season finales that usually happen around this time.  The line-up was the Simpsons followed by half an hour of trying to find something to fill in time since HBO had something lame on before the newest Six Feet Under – that episode was brilliant by the way – and then came the season finale of Deadwood.  Hoping they start repeating the first season of Carnivale – while I know the second season starts in the fall, I would like to seas the first season again.

We are going to the flea market thing again this Sunday, because we got a box of records for free that we can put on the table and likely make some money off.  Jon also discovered a bag of children’s clothing at the thrift store someone threw into the dumpster that contained brand new items.  He also found this blue and yellow three point tent with  mesh sides and a front opening.  We joked that we could take it to the flea market with us, so then we could have our very own circus.  After having a great side-splitting laugh, we thought about the opportunity more and might actually consider doing some sideshow acts.  In the meantime there will be more dumpster diving adventures so that we have plenty more things to sell to the rubes…er, I mean, customers.

Much later that evening, while sitting on the beach and taking in the beautiful scent of the ocean, Jon shared one of his many life stories with me.  Apparently I had the sense to write it down because I was tired of forgetting them and might want to read them at some point in the future, so I am including it in this entry.

Riot On Texas Road

In the good old days of the music scene in New Jersey, bands often played what were known as DIY shows.  These were often set in backyards, basements or any other venue that sereved booze to the masses of teenagers and twenty-somethings.  One such venue was known as the roadhouse, which was usually some off the wall place in the middle of bumblefuck that you took the time to drive to because it was a place to play.

A couple of years ago, Jon was in a band called Juvenile Delinquents, and they were booked to perform at one of these roadhouses located on Texas Road, which is off Route 9 South.  They were asked to do three sets and requested payment in advanced, just in case things got too rough and they wanted to leave.  Feelings were mixed when they took the stage, but Jon was in one of those moods and was going to do his thing no matter what people wanted.  The first and second set went off without a hitch – in fact, a lot of the more sour-looking individuals had even gotten up to dance and the general mood was fairly decent.

During the third set, a crew from the next town over who had not been invited to the gig thought they might just come in and crash the party, literally.  Juvenile Delinquents were on stage when several dudes with bats were busting through the windows.  A riot between the attending fans and the rival crew ensued, with drunken locals caught in the middle.  The band threw their equipment onto the back of a truck, instruments still plugged into the amps, and hauled ass out of there as fast as they could

The roadhouse became infamous for its legendary gigs that resulted in buckets of blood being spilt on the floor.  No idea if this place still exist, but keep this story in mind if you ever find yourself on Texas Road.

Kung-Fu Shoes: Mellow Yellow

Possibly the most difficult to wear of all the shoe colors because of the tendency to look like one is wearing bananas on the feet as opposed to fashionable footwear.  How does one even go about coordinating yellow with an outfit?  Believe it or not, certain hues of purple match quite well, throw in a couple of neutrals with a few statement jewelry pieces and call it fierce.  This golden color represents sunshine because it is a warm color, denotes happiness and joy, creates excitement and can suggest freshness.  Pair it with red for a hot mix, orange to generate a Summery theme or contrast it with an eye-popping blue.  Utilize a paler shade to compliment darker, richer tone or mix with grey and a dash of black for a high-tech look.  The point is to feel confident about yourself, and if you feel like expressing that can be done in a pair of bright yellow patent stiletto heels, go on and make the statement without a single question.

There is no pretending that the yellow and black stripes of this platform Mary Jane by Pleaser is not directly inspired by the Bumble Bee, but that just gives you an excuse to act like the Queen when you buzz around the dance floor.  Perhaps they might be most appropriate for Halloween, but they could also be a great addition to a halterneck dress as well.

These yellow and black platform wedges by Prada have an intriguing design that seems to be on trend for Summer shoes.  Wear them with a flowing sundress or a flattering skirt and peasant blouse.

When consuming drinks that taste like tropical fruit yet have a distinguished hint of alcohol, rock out to your favorite tunes in a pair of Iron Fist’s Polka Party Flats to maximize dancing ability.  Let’s face it, the more that weird guy in the corner stares at you, the more your drink tastes like rum and you are talking like a pirate, which is fitting for someone wearing shoes decorated in skulls and anchors.

There are quite a number of styles that are new in fashion, and Suebee by Jeffrey Campbell is certainly at the forefront of the ‘flatform’.  This shoe combines pieces of a maryjane with a flat platform which comes off as sophisticated and can be worn with shorts, denim or day dresses.

Whether one loves them or hates them, there is no denying the popularity of Jeffrey Cambell’s Lita – the design may seem clunky to some but I prefer a thick, sturdy heel over those that appear as though they might snap at any second.  This particular model towns down the yellow to a nice dusky mustard shade, then pairs it with a bright navy blue and light forest green that open up a lot of options when adding it to an outfit.

There are memories I have of going to Saint Mark’s Place in New York City with my best friend, because we liked to window shop and laugh at the people who were too far up themselves to return a friendly smile.  There were, however, some really awesome individuals at a few of the stores who made the visits worthwhile.  One of those frequented boutiques is the infamous Trash and Vaudeville, which has an entire room dedicated to shoes, and I can totally see these Demonia creepers sitting among their other fantastic footwear.

Trimming soft yellow stiletto pumps with bows and precision black work gives them a retro feel while still creating a vibe of elegance.  They are the type of shoe you could wear while antique shopping and suddenly you find yourself having dinner with a charming stranger.

Vivienne Westwood is an icon of alternative fashion most well known for helping create the punk aesthetic of the 70s and 80s, and these Melissa Dragon shoes are an intensely hued jelly sling back heel with peep toe.  The designer’s signature and brand can be found scripted on the interior, while a jet black heart detail really sets off the color and would look darling with a baby doll dress.

What’s black, white and yellow all over?  No, it’s not a canary in a prisoner uniform, but rather Kate Spade’s Karolina.  This luxe patent leather pump is sleek and sophisticated, so it can be worn at the office with tailored trousers, blouse and blazer, or to your friend’s cocktail party.  If the price is too far out of your range, break out the art skills and DIY a pair.

Yellow does not always have to completely dominate a shoe – it can also act as background to a coordinating pattern that might make you forget you are even wearing the color, as seen by these round toe yellow floral patent pumps.

Channel your inner retrofuturistic cyberpunk pinup with these gleaming Sasha Platform Wedge Boots.  The body is made from a creamy leatherette stacked on top of five and a half inches of platform wedges that have been studded with silver thumbtacks.  If there is still too much yellow for your taste, they would also make a great canvas for some custom hand painted artwork.

When the concept of clothing featuring real tattoo designs was first introduced, it seemed like a good idea to integrate the culture into mainstream fashion.  Unfortunately it got to a level of ridiculous that irritated those of us who have dedicated decent amounts of skin space to permanent art.  However, that does not mean it has to be forever ruined, and the Joyaus platform wedge is an indication not everything from this line is a clusterfuck of ugly.  The yellow canvas is decorated with pink flowers, red and silver rhinestones, Ed Hardy’s signature, and the image of a woman is printed on the heel.

Fashion does not always have to be serious, and as this guide demonstrates, it is totally cool to wear a color that might not be seen often.  Personal style is one that is created by ideas of what you find appealing without worrying if it is trendy or not.  Allowing such silly notions to dictate what you wear comes across as extremely fake and gives the impression of a forced appearance.  Labels are often thrown around for the sake of assisting the reader in finding what works best for them – in the end the choice is yours and no matter what you select to wear, do it with the confidence that you are fabulous.

Lucky Stiff All-Star Show

[Originally written on this date in 2004]

Before I get to the good part, I just wanted to mention that the ear stretching is coming along splendidly.  Measured them today, and they are offically at 3/4″ so of course I am quite pleased.  After letting my lobes rest for a while I will be moving on to the next size, which I believe is 7/8″ and brings me closer to one inch.  There is very little soreness and I keep them treated with oil,so I have not experienced any problems thus far.  However, I am bit concerned about the secondary holes, so I might go get them checked out before I continue any further.

Moving along – last nite I hopped the PATH into the City, which I have not done since I worked there.  For a moment I kind of got a little nostlagic and missed going in on a daily basis.  It was bit too warm for my tastes; while I enjoy going out in the evening and not having to wear a coat, it felt excessively hot.  Thankfully the walk to the Pussycat Lounge was not that far from the subway stop.  It was nice to see the old bosses again and I did not have to pay the admission fee which made me feel pretty special.

Moments after entering the bar area, I am being tackled by a hug and not even questioning it.  Jon was smiling from ear-to-ear and looked incredibly handsome.  It had been a while since we last saw each other, because random things always manage to keep us apart, but none of that mattered when he placed a kiss on my forehead and expressed how delighted he was to be in my company.  He ordered a  couple of cocktails and swept me into a corner to chat while waiting for the show to begin.

If one has never been out to see the Lucky Stiff show, then you really missed a piece of the great burlesque tradition which has existed in this country for many decades.  Sure, there is all this Hollywood-inspired crap that people suddenly got into due to certain performers popularizing it, but I feel as though burlesque never actually died out to the point where it needed a revival.  New York City is where the art was born and so being a part of that history, no matter how insignificant, carries a lot of meaning for me.  Besides, having an incredible gentleman at my disposal for an evening of variety entertainment helps me live out long-standing fantasies without feeling silly and I will revel in that as much as I like.

There was a fantastic line-up of incredible performers, including the newly crowned Miss Exotic World 2004, the ever lovely and talented Miss Dirty Martini.  With free porn, hot naked girls, pussy magic tricks and sideshow acts, what more can one ask for?  This time even the men stripped down to their underwear and I saw a little more of one certain performer than I needed to.  Jon got a pretty good eyeful as well, so he was on the receiving end of many jokes for the duration of the evening, and he was a pretty good sport about it.

So glad that I had the opportunity to experience such a rare and wonderful show, not to mention that I shared the moment with my best friend.

The heat remained as we wandered around the City – 85 after midnite is not exactly what either of us would consider to be a comfortable climate.  We stopped for a refreshing drink at some random bodega and then sat in a park to smoke a joint.  Jon remarked how lovely I looked and that he really appreciated having my company.  Several people walked by but did not really pay attention to us, even though he was giving a narration of their actions while in our sights.  His hand slipped into mine and remained there while we walked back to the PATH.  We rode the train together and somehow he managed to coerce me to get off at Hoboken.

That turned into adventure time and possibly borrowing someone’s  boat for a couple of hours.  Floating on that dark water, there was finally some relief from the heat of busy city streets, and I found comfort in the strange silence.

The fun always has to come to an end, so we returned the boat and found a park to settle in while watching the sun rise.  There was not much talking, but that never bothers me when I am fully enjoying Jon’s company.  By the time I got back on the PATH and returned to Newark, I felt as though a large part of my evening had been some wonderful dream.  A strange key chain in my pocket suggested I knew better and I savored a smile when I climbed into bed.

Hot Dots!

This particular pattern may have a funny name but it is certainly strong enough to dominate whole garments, which in many instances can transform yet another black dress into the perfect party popper that will have all the girls talking while the boys argue over who dances with you next.  When applied to accessories such as gloves, stockings or even the millinery veil of a vintage pillbox hat they appear to be quite delicate, yet when they are splashed across a solid background a bold statement is made that will likely garner attention.  However, much like the infamous stripe, polka dots are not to be abused nor should they automatically be related to circus inspired fashion.  Obviously this notion comes from the portrayal of the clown who is often wearing an atrocious suit accented with ruffles and painted in clashing colors.

From the beginning, part of the mission behind these articles is to dispel these silly stereotypes and create a factual basis behind what drives not only my personal style, but also what I feel can be looked upon as source for others.  Whether people come for the pictures or actually appreciate the bits of history intertwined with suggestions to assist in putting together a killer outfit, there is no doubt that they are in fact checking things out.  Generating this type of interest is something I seem to do well, but I have had quite a lot of experience and it sort of just happens naturally.  This particular guide is similar to the polka dot, in that it may be deceiving at first and appear quite simple, but it is up to the reader in utilizing the pieces along with a healthy dose of imagination to create something which is flattering, contemporary and still encompasses who you are.

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Summer is just eleven days away and if you are looking forward to spending some significant time seaside, shimmy into a white and black polka dot swimsuit – the black panels on the sides will give a slimming illusion while the lace and bow details allow you to pair it with a flirty ruffled wrap for a romantic evening on the docks.

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The brown polka dots and contrast detailing along with over-sized white buttons on this blue bikini are ideal for the pinup who wants to pose poolside.  When ready to hit the clubs, break out a pair of Iron Fist’s Booze Cruise Platforms and rock them with this stunning Sheer Slashed Dress by Anarchy Street.

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There is certainly no shortage of vintage and retro inspired swimwear, which I have always felt were dresses that could get wet, and that is why I love this black and white polka dot one piece.  It is modeled after famous femme fatales of the film noire era and very reminscent of something Esther Williams would wear.

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The beauty and classic aesthetic of a 1950s halterneck dress interpreted by Vivien of Halloway has been featured before, but here it is a rich red pierced by white polka dots and accented by a white three inch belt.  It would be tempting to go with a coordinating satin bolero, but that is what would be expected – I always prefer to take the alternate route and would rather slip into a hand made black lace bolero.

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The round neck and accentuated waist of this blue and white polka dot cotton sleeveless dress might be a little more toned down than its halterneck counterpart.  However, a white petticoat, leather pumps and a silver belt can easily transform it into an outfit suitable for your 1950s housewife fetish.

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There is no shortage of retro inspiration in this selection of dresses, and while this yellow and black number is a bit more sleek in design than the others, the asymmetrical frill and option of wearing a belt high on the waist gives it a commanding presence, so keep the look fun with Iron Fist’s Polka Party Peep Toe Flats.

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If wearing this many polka dots feels overwhelming, try this red and white blouse paired with a black pencil skirt and heels with some silver jewelry instead.

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California-based Heartbreaker Fashion presents modern day pinup queen Bernie Dexter in their Dolly Blouse, a black on pink polka dot with contrasting collar, trim and buttons.  It would go well with Mode Merr’s Perfect Skirt and a set of killer vinyl pink pumps.

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The polka dots on this caramel colored silk tank top might be more reminiscent of animal print than anything, so be bold and rock it with leopard spotted skirt and some soft suede wedge boots.

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Since ‘vintage’ and ‘retro’ have become all-encompassing terms, it can be difficult to find something that stands out from the plethora of items that deserve neither of those labels.  The classic cut of a pencil skirt paired with huge white dots on a black cotton background is the beginning of an elegant ensemble.  Tie it together with a white halterneck top, red leather Four Buckle Wide Belt and Iron Fist’s Bowed Over stiletto platform heels.

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Far from ordinary, the Pink Pixie Skirt by Sourpuss takes the familiar and makes it peculiar by adding black tulle and mixing skulls in with the dots. Pull together that badass pinup look by adding Switchblade Stiletto’s Dame Tie Top, pink crinkle patent leather suspender corset belt and Iron Fist’s Number of the Beast platform heels.

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Speaking of shoes, there is certainly no limit on the amount of styles that are decorated with polka dots, though much like clothing, an appealing design that is well-executed is better than one that exists for the sake of it.  Bordello’s Derby City is a black satin based peep toe pump with dark red dots and matching bow, which make for a  great accessory to any pinup outfit.

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It has been established that mixing polka dots with stripes is perfectly acceptable, so long as both patterns are not fighting for domination – this red and white polka dot pair of Not Rated’s Mimosa heels are ideal for that Sunday morning meal at some Victorian bed and breakfast that looks out at the ocean.

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Another design that plays up dots with stripes is the Bow Down Wedge, and the solid black helps break up both of them so they do not overwhelm the design of the shoe.  The different sized spots remind me more of pothole tights, while the diagnol direction of the stripes creates visual interest.

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Birds of a Feather may flock together, but in these stunning Iron Fist heels, you are guaranteed to stand out.  The chaotic rhythm of the white dots are trailed alongside swans and cherry blossoms, which gives the eye something intriguing to inspect.

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Complimenting an outfit with polka dot accessories is recommended for those who may not want to take a head first plunge into wearing this pattern, and as always, there is a plethora of endless choices which can be a bit dizzying.  An adorable black and pink cosmetic bag fits easily into a purse, back pack or desk and has enough space to store most of your makeup needs.

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When embarking on adventures that require you to travel, do it in style with this awesome Quilted Polka Dot Duffle Bag, which has functional features such as a zipper closure, metal feet, front pocket, detachable ribbons, zippered inside pockets and a gingham lining.  It can also be monogrammed, just in case you really want people to know who is visiting their quaint little town.

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The polka dot scarf is definitely a staple in any burlesque or pinup wardrobe – having one that is also a headband saves time as you do not have to struggle to get that perfect fold and it is ready to go at a moment’s notice.

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Bows can come off as too cute, so avoid that by rocking something with a bit more spunk to it, such as a purple bow with black and white polka dot flower, accented by an adorable skull.  Mounted on an alligator clip, this accessory can be attached to any hair style or as a funky accent to an outfit.

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Opulence is personified with this gorgeous Lady Amherset Feather Fascinator – the black and white striped feathers are accented by red polka dot guinea feathers, red dyed golden pheasant tippets and a small red flower.

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Polka dot hair flowers can be another one of those things there seems to be an abundance of, but the layers of this Skeleton Hand Flower Clip also have black tulle incorporated between them and are nicely set off by a black skeleton hand.

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There is another application of dots in the art world that appears in a specific type of tattooing known as dotwork.  As the name suggests, tiny dots are etched into the skin to form larger patterns, many of which are geometric in design.  This is difficult enough to execute on paper, so it certainly can be recognized that it would take an enormous amount of skill to apply it to to the pliable surface of skin.  Often it is seen alongside blackwork, where the two merge or intertwine on a living canvas and create something which one dares to call truly unique.  Whether we are influenced by fashion or it is the other way around, there is no denying that everyone enjoys adorning their bodies in ways that make them happy, and more than anything that is what these guides celebrate.  The gallery below represents a selection of beautiful modifications that are not only aesthetically appealing, but also monuments of immortal art.

Photo & Artist credit: 1 – Jonny Breeze, 2 – Cory Ferguson, 3 – Dotwork Damian,

4 – Thomas Cooper, 5 – Dotwork Damian, 6 – Unkown

Kung-Fu Shoes: Scavenge Orange

There are quite a few colors that do not usually spring to mind when selecting items to add to a wardrobe, and while it can look great as an accent, orange comes across as a strong hue which will certainly grab attention in any situation.  The tasty citrus tone does not necessarily need to be neon, as there are plenty of softer shades that can really make an outfit pop.  When wearing orange, it is best to pair it with blue items – particularly those  that fall within the royal rich range – such as dark denim or statement jewelry that offsets a darling dress.  Applying this pleasing pigment to footwear is certainly not easy, though the whole point of this guide is that I have scoured the offerings of various websites in order to present a palatable collection of orange shoes suitable for every style.

Platforms, peep toes and suede – these shoes might be a bit confused as to whether they want to be pumped up dress shoes or an alternative take on  sandals.  Either way, the Fish Mouth has a cross strap design make them casual, yet one might want to come up with a plan when seeking to incorporate them into an outfit so as to avoid looking too cartoonish.

While relaxing by the pool, ocean or even some random makeshift invention that will provide temporary aquatic refreshment from Summer’s brutal heat, a fruit flavored alcohol-based beverage served in a novelty tiki mug and decorated with a tiny paper umbrella would do wonders for escaping the urban jungle and conjure up a fantasy of being on a deserted island.  When that fails, treat your feet to Iron Fist’s Zombietini platform heels, because shriveled zombie faces, fragile flowers and humble humming birds are a party waiting to happen.

A shoe post is not complete without singing the praises of Pleaser, and their aptly named Seduce is a knee-high, five-inch heel that would work well with a Halloween costume, particularly those of the superhero variety.  Other applications include wearing with a neutral colored sundress, especially floral prints and babydolls, or setting off that perfect little black dress.

Pink and orange stripes might seem like it would be an incredibly eyesore, but somehow Poetic License manages to make it work with The Right Stripes.  The dainty buckle and strap combination along with the thick heel create a characteristic befitting of a vampy vaudeville number.

She is the girl who captures your eye at the local coffee shop because she has a presence about her from the moment she walks in and you hear the bell attached to that door jingle.  She has confidence but she is not conceited.  She haunts your memories and you see her face in your dreams, though doubt that you can work up the courage to speak to her without sounding like a jerk.  She is the Girl Around Town, and you so desperately want to know her name.

Jeffrey Campbell’s Perfect Spike is a great platform heel and will give you that instant badass pinup feeling when they are secured on your feet.  It might not be fair to the other girls in the room who are sulking at the bar because they have tiny heels that might snap should they even think about touching the dance floor.  Not only do you have ample support, but also a weapon against those who do not understand what personal space is, so get out there and twist your little tootsies off.

When attending some late night phantasmagorical fun, these orange suede heels topped with a complimentary colored bow are befitting of a whimsical Dr. Suessian vision.  As soon as you arrive perched atop a pair of Jeffrey Campell Garret‘s, all eyes will be on your feet.

Great style takes time, and when preparing for an evening on the town, there are some who view getting dressed up as a ritual and rightly so.  There is a vast difference between wearing clothes and having them wear you, and one obviously wants to avoid the latter.  No one will notice if you are  Tardy to the party, but they will be wondering where you got those amazing orange and black shoes.

Remember those awesome jelly shoes you had as a child?  Being born and raised in a state that is surrounded on three sides by water, one tends to spend many hours on the beach and in the midst of salty waves, and for some reason gleaming plastic footwear seemed like a great idea.  Unfortunately, they also fell apart because they were not exactly made to last, but that is where Tod’s Jelly Thong Sandal comes in handy.  Their simple design is quite fitting for a fashionable adult and are minimalistic so they do not take over an outfit.

Combat boots never really go out of style because they are multifunctional and can be used in a wide variety of combinations.  They also come in colors that used to never exist, and Jill Sander‘s sleek snake print is definitely one of  the more unique patterns that I have seen.  Personally, I also feel they would be appropriate for a sideshow performance and far more interesting than what most people are currently wearing.

Chuck Taylor sneaks have become synonymous with Summer and continue to be a classic icon of carefree days spent doing whatever the mind can conceive.  It certainly has evolved since it was first created nearly one hundred years ago, yet there are certain aspects of the style that everyone is familiar with that makes it a legend reborn.

There are many things that directly inspire my personal style, and I greatly enjoy sharing the stories behind them because I feel they help people understand my lifestyle.  Not really sure where my love of cowboy boots comes from, other than they are aesthetically pleasing and have been seen dancing to many different types of music.  Liberty Boot Co. has a great collection of hand made boots, and Diablito is definitely a fine example of beautiful craftmanship.  Hand made, the soft orange is accented with electric blue stitching and the stacked heel is treated with a natural finish for that old country style.  They have officially been added to the Must Have List.

One does not have to feel intimidated by such a bold color, but rather just be conscious of the overall style that is desired to be presented.  Adorning yourself in orange does not have to make you feel like a giant walking traffic cone or like some bad 80s flashback.  Instead, it can be an adventure in exploring a festive and feisty side of yourself that you may have been unaware even existed.  Most of all, color is something that should be embraced, no matter what part of your body it is being displayed on, and the right amount of confidence always goes a long way.

Funny Face

There is no doubt that Coney Island has remained a significant part of my life despite not having properly visited the area since performing there in 2007, though I tend to immerse myself in the history of the amusement area and its incredible menagerie of aesthetic architecture, innovative rides and bizarre penchant for displaying live human oddities on a constant basis.  The Island will never be what it once was, nor has it been as great in many decades, which is more than tragic to know but incredibly heartbreaking to actually be witness to, and thus I have stayed away because I hate to see what has changed.  George C. Tilyou brought the first attraction to the Island in the late 1800s – he had seen the Ferris wheel at an exposition in Chicago and decided to build one of his own – and then added rides including a mechanical race horse course which led to the park being named Steeplechase.  It opened in 1897 and to this day is considered one of the most influential amusement park of all time, having survived a fire that destroyed most of it in 1907.  Admission to the ruins was ten cents, and it would be a couple of year until the park was fully open again, though the new feature was a beautiful five acre indoor enclosure covered by glass and steel called the Pavilion of Fun.  The face of Tilyou in character form, hair perfectly parted down the middle, had been an emblem of Steeplechase and remains a mascot of Coney Island.  Though somewhat frightful and grotesque, the Funny Face exemplified the mood of the park – the attractions were slightly more low-class and vulgar compared to the competition – and visitors hoped to experience irresponsible hilarity for a quarter.  The Funny Face has appeared in many forms such as a neon sign, tattoos, merchandise and even painted on the side of a bar in Asbury Park, New Jersey.  It has been reinterpreted through art which may change the original design, but there is no doubt that those in the know can certainly see the grin and instantly connect to what it represents.

As someone who is still relatively new to writing about fashion, I often find myself visiting a variety of sites to check in on what has recently been added, and then pass on the information in a way that still falls into the  category of Carny Style.  In doing so, today I discovered the Thrill-A-Rama dress by Sourpuss, a delightful stretch cotton halter design that comes in three colors and features an inspired version of the legendary Coney Island icon printed along stars and dots.  For me it certainly embodies the whimsical nature of Steeplechase, being flirty, fun and all around fabulous.  Though the dress certainly speaks for itself, this guide will assist in creating comprehensive looks that can easily be worn to any carnival, boardwalk or other vacation appropriate destination this Summer.

CORAL

The soft shade of coral that defines the base of this first look can be likened to the piles of cotton candy that send our brains into desire overload as soon as that confectionary scent hits our nostrils.  Certainly this style of dress is ideal for the warmer temperatures that is slowly creeping up the East Coast, but from time to time there is still a bit of chill when evening comes, and a 1970s black sequined shawl is an easy way to keep exposed skin cozy while perhaps taking a midnight stroll along the beach.  During the day, black and white satin pinstripe Teeze shoes with crossover strap and patent toe cap strike a dynamic chord and gives the outfit an instant pinup flavor.  While some will be eager to get their tan on, I am not a fan of my legs and prefer to preserve the paleness of my skin; if you are the same I would suggest using Black Milk Leg Bones leggings for a bit of mischievous misdirection.  Though they are no longer being sold on the site, there are similar designs floating around and could also be a fun DIY project.  Speaking of bones, a set of Kreepsville Gem Bone clips is a fun way to add some sparkle to your tresses while keeping them out of your face.  A coordinating satin handbag that has a rigid body will ensure that valuables are stored safely while hurtling down the hill of your favorite roller coaster.  For a touch of faith, love, hope, passion, wisdom and beauty, accessorize with gleaming stars such as a white gold ring, jeweled silver pendant and shimmering bangles.  Finish this look with a pair of coral framed sunglasses to protect eyes from the glaring sun, a fresh face with black eye liner, mascara, dewy cheeks and the right shade of coral lip stick or gloss from your favorite makeup brand.

GRASS

A sure sign of Summer are well manicured lawns that have an interesting aroma when freshly cut, a sort of freshness that would give you same feeling wearing the Grass version of the Thrill-A-Rama dress.  The satin and lace rendition of the classic Teeze pump brings a slightly feminine touch to this look, while a pair of black and white swirled footless tights will give your legs a silky, luxurious feel without the hassle of shaving.  Layering this Dex Striped cardigan on top, which features metallic thread and embroidered hole details, comes in handy when the need for shade arises.  Walking the streets late at night does not have to be intimidating, and the fashionable Peace Keeper lets everyone know that you are the one in charge.  The quickest hair styles for Summer is a ponytail or vintage up-do accompanied by a bandanna to keep necks cool when the heat kicks in.  If the generic bandannas have gone boring, try the Felon Viva La Meurte one from Sourpuss, which features a print of pinup girls accompanied by coffins and skulls.  Be your own superhero or villain with Cat Woman Claw rings by Noir for DC Comics, which are made from solid brass and doused in Cubic Zorconia stones.  Lovers of tiki and vintage will have no problem stacking up these carved black Tiki Bracelets, while sideshow aficionados such as myself can swoon over the hunky image of famed Half Man Johnny Eck on a stainless steel necklace.  Viewing a world of imagination is best done with eyes treated with a healthy coating of Sugarpill’s Absinthe loose shadow, lined with Illamasqua’s Precision Ink in Scribe from their Human Fundamentalism collection and accented with a pair of Grandeur False Eye Lashes.

SKY BLUE

This final look centers around Thrill-A-Rama’s Sky Blue colorway, which is accented with contrasting red trim and my favorite of the trio.  Street wear is just as important as stage clothes and certainly an essential part of my personal style, because one never knows when the opportunity to network might arise and making yourself a brand is a necessary evil when it comes to being a performer.  Taking this dress from simple sophistication to carnal hellion is all about the attitude and confidence to work the look.  Hell Bunny’s Candy Leggings use black and red stripes in a quirky way that make them an item that can be worn with a number of other things.  Slip into a pair of Iron Fist’s Devil’s Plaything wedges – the reptilian print is metallic foil – which feature a horned devil face on the upper and precise piping across the peep toe and foot opening.  Upgrade your diva status with a silk red bolero that is tailored yet comfortable and sets off any type of curves.  Lavish deep finger waves and tight pin curls by pinning in this lovely white feather fascinator, and keep yourself cool while outdoors with a red paper parasol decorated in a tattoo print.  The retro styling of this metal flake glitter vinyl purse along with its bold sky blue and white stripes is hand-made with quality, featuring a coordinating handle, black silk lining and four metal feet that give it stability when set down.  Reaffirm your love for all things Coney Island with a Funny Face necklace, Token earrings and a hand-made recreation of a 1950s charm bracelet, while paying tribute to sideshow attractions of the past via this beautiful and eerie Conjoined Twins ring.  Cinch in your waist with a studded suede cutout corset belt and add some layers of volume with a bright red petticoat.  Dramatic makeup can be achieved by layering Sugarpill’s Afterparty with similar hues that are darker and lighter, a healthy dose of micropearl pigment and a few strategically placed dots using Elmer’s 3D Washable Paint Pens in Sparkle Scents.  Saturate your pout with Urban Decay’s Revolution, advertised to be decadent, creamy, long-lasting lipstick that nourishes and protects, prevents dehydration and fills in wrinkles.  Finish off with some thick cat eye liner, rosy cheeks and feather tipped eyelashes.

Pulling together a look is not something that needs to be incredibly difficult, though one must find a balance when utilizing a specific pattern.  Going overboard with accessories or coordinating a color scheme can make an outfit seem straight out of the catalogue and not very indicative of your personality.  Overall, no matter what one wears, the clothes do not and should not speak for you, but rather tell a story that makes people want to approach you and discuss your fantastic outfit.

Photo credit: 1 – First Steeplechase