Laura Byrnes: Plaid Taffeta

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Printed in an exclusive green and black tartan, this 1950’s classic High Waisted Skirt features a wide waistband, and full, gathered skirt made from beautiful taffeta.  Here it has been coordinated with the Doris  Top in White by Pinup Couture, a retro style top with have sleeves and crafted from stretch poplin to be formfitting yet body conscious.  Though I prefer the Deadly Dames Dolly Top, a blended knit of cotton and spandex that has been cut to accentuate all of your curves.  The fitted bodice, short princess puff sleeves and sloping neckline are accented by a ruffle detail and glossy black buttons.

vintage_back_evening_pursePinup Couture is mostly known for their fabulous vintage clothing, but now they also have a line of footwear to act as the perfect accessory.  They have partnered up with the company that produces the fabulous Bordello line of shoes, and Bella is a perfect example of how that same quality has been translated into a classic black faux suede t high heel with a platform, peep toe and small bow detail.  Contemporary structure has been combined with vintage styling to create an elegant Vintage Evening Purse that is an intriguing trapezoid shape covered with grosgrain fabric to give it a fun futuristic sheen.  Details such as the tiny protective feet, strong magnetic closure, large interior mirror, interior pocket and handle long enough to sit nicely in the crook of your elbow really make it stand out from every other ordinary black bag.  Deck out your updo with white Retro Grosgrain Hair Bows, mounted on barrettes and clips to making doing so a snap.

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With a high Empire waist that has a subtle curve and flatters every figure, these brilliant Cropped Trousers have elastic ruched panels in the back to allow for comfort and flexibility.  They share the 1950’s style taffeta seen on the skirt above but offer a more casual look with Ritz Flats, black patent basic flats at an affordable price that have a pleasing shape and are easy to wear.

kreepsville_666_reanimated_love_necklaceFrom the Laura Byrnes Black Label, the Daryl Top in white is smart and classy with a V-neck, wide collar, button front and cuffs at the end of long sleeves.  Triangular front panels can be tucked in or tied up at the waist, and overall the garment is meant to reflect the art deco feel of the line, designed as a staple for work to play.  Go for the decadent two-tone brilliance of Lux de Ville’s Femme Fatale, a black and lime green patent purse with a kiss lock and sturdy feet.  The glossy quilted texture gets a punch of sparkle, while the thick strap ensures it can be used to ward off potential thieves.  When it comes to spooky psychobilly accessories, Kreepsville 666 never fails to deliver the gruesome goods and their Reanimated Love Necklace shows us why.  Dangling from custom spark plugs on a chain is a transparent green resin detail on a human heart, with silver lightning bolts and banner which bears the name of this piece that surround it.

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Ever since I first saw a Lip Service tartan ballgown at Trash & Vaudeville on Saint Marks in New York City, I established a vision in my head which combined my penchant for punk with the feminine finery of vintage styles.  It comes to me again as I gaze upon the beauty of the Madeline Dress, where cute box pleats trim the top of the constructed bust, which has been lined for added comfort.  The fitted waist flares into a lovely full skirt to complete the retro silhouette and the straps adjust for an ideal fit.  Another modern take on a classic shape is the Laura Byrnes Bolero that makes an excellent companion piece to the dress, though it is designed to fit any that you might have in the closet.  The chic cut is trimmed with the same exclusive plaid print in a sweet Peter Pan collar.

Considered one of Bordello’s best selling designs is their Teeze pump, which comes in a wide range of colors and can be worn for a multitude of occasions.  For this look I selected the Tuxedo Mary Jane, a white pump with concealed platform and accented with black scallop details that curve along the shoe.  The tuxedo top matches the black heel and is finished with a darling contrasting satin bow.  Said to be “reminiscent of Frankenstein”, this Sparkle Vinyl Clutch from Hold Fast Handbags is sure to rocket you to Queen status.  Black metal flake vinyl is contrasted by lime green flecked with gold, while silver rivets and a retro iron kiss lock frame make it sturdy to carry during an evening on the town.  Adorn your neck with a Skull Collection Necklacke by Kreepsville666, a kooky and kitschy mix of white beads and glowering skulls, stack up some Eyeball Bracelets on your wrists and  decorate digits with Green Zombie Brain Rings to give off a horror movie chic vibe.

Deadly Dames: Vintage Red Rose

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The aesthetics of a stereotypical 1950’s home maker have been warped by notable alternative fashion brand Deadly Dames in this Haunted Housewife Dress, as ghoulish glamour is depicted by a faux wrap style top that creates a stunning plunging neckline that ends in a belted waist.  From there the garment opens up into a full pleated retro style skirt, while details such as angled French cuffs held together with custom skull cuff links and contrast piping really set off the sateen pattern.

pinup_couture_vintage_black_velvet_evening_bagComplete the outfit using the sidebar suggestions with sparkling red Bombshell Heels by Pinup Couture that have a curved heel, pointed toe and metallic finish that will make your feet feel like a race car, along with a red wool Vintage Style Beret designed to give a classic, European flair.  The real stunner are the Gaspar Gloves for Laura Bynes, touted as “simply the most elegant gloves you’ll ever slip your hands into”.  They are soft yet durable due to being constructed from rich kidskin leather that have a natural stretch for the best fit to serve you in all sorts of weather.  Finally, capture the essence of that vintage purse you fell in love with and may have accidentally destroyed from using it so much with a Velvet Evening Bag.  The body is firm without being too rigid  though overall it is the ideal shape and size, a clam shell on the top for structure and a soft strap handle to make it a delight to carry.

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Said to be  a “miracle construction” and part of creator Micheline Pitt’s Fetish Folly Collection, the Kinky Ruffles Pencil Skirt is made from cotton sateen and fully lined in stretch charmeuse for comfort and structure.  The wiggle skirt is accented by a mermaid tail of gussests in the back that show off every dramatic movement on the dance floor and the silhouette is complimented by the print.

Wear it with the Deadly Lace Top that will hug your curves in all of the right places by way of a banded waist, fitted bodice and elastic lace around the cuffs and neckline.  It is long enough to tuck in or leave out depending on what you prefer and is made from a comfortable cotton knit.  Get in touch with your ‘bad girl’ side with these rock’n’roll attitude infused Arena knee high boots that are part of the Funtasma collection by Pleaser.  Both playful and powerful, the rounded body of the boot features six buckled straps that are sure to charm the masses.  Add some color with red Retro Gloves, soft and stretchy for a great fit and detailed with black frog closures that gives the outfit a vintage touch.  Carry luck with you wherever you go in the form of a Mini Gambler Tote Purse by Lux de Ville, a pristine patent black bag with tuck and rolls to mimic the interior of a classic car.  Adorned with a detachable dice bauble that can also be used as a key chain, the purse features a custom company logo, red lining and matching dust bag, a wide flap closure with magnetic clasp and adjustable strap.  End with a flourish of red and black feathers on this smart little Vintage Style Pill Box Hat, made from wool and accented with a dotted veil, easy to wear by way of an elastic band.

Whether you dig the versatility of the skirt or the traditional silhouette of the dress, there is no denying the hypnotic powers of the print and how it can be played up with different types of styling.  Try out several to see what suits you best, and remember that a little confidence goes a long way!

Adventures in Babylon

[Originally written on this date in 2005]

Since I had dropped off a roll of film for development earlier that afternoon, I requested that Jon take the drive up to my neck of the woods and meet with me to see the finished results.  This series included shots of the castle we had discovered in South Jersey, Asbury Park covered in snow, the interior of the old casino there, and a few of this overgrown sign that we passed somewhere along the highway.  The weirdness in this state seems to be dwindling these days, so I like to make a point of visiting and documenting as much of it as I possibly can.

Anyway, getting back on track here, I figured that since we were out anyway, it would be fun to head over to the local porn store.  This is one of those things we used to do frequently when we first became friends, as New Jersey seems to have a rather wide selection of assorted gentlemen’s clubs and adult novelty retailers.  There may be some old stories about going to the strip joints after much drinking and consumption of illicit drugs, then making spectacles out of ourselves by throwing change at the strippers.  Not really something I am proud of, but I was a young adult who had been shielded from such evil temptations for many years, so at the time it was hilarious.  We also had a reputation of posing as customers when inside the porn stores, pretending we were throwing a bachelor party or buying gifts for relatives and getting into ‘arguments’ over which fake vagina Uncle Billy Joe would like more.

Again, all of that was years ago and this time I made the suggestion because the store was in close proximity to where my film was being developed, so it seemed like the most convenient place to hang out for a while.  Of course leave it to yours truly to incite inappropriate behavior while surrounded by videos and DVDs covered with naked people having sex.  For some reason I just find it difficult to keep a straight face around pleasure toys that are in the shape of a banana and I made some sort of remark about fruit salad.  Jon was definitely encouraging me by putting on the Dumb Southern Boy Act, pointing to various things and inquiring with wide eyes what it was for.  An employee actually walked over to us and  explained in detail how to use it, and I could see him struggling not to laugh.  She was so nice though that he smiled and said thanks, then took my hand and led me back outside where we both exploded with laughter.

The whole experience was all in good fun though, particularly the expressions on the people’s faces that were trying to quietly shop while we were waving rubber dildos around and acting shocked at the prices.  We also learned the important lesson to be open-minded, because the last thing you want is to be on your deathbed and say to yourself, “Fuck…I wish I had tried that butt plug”. [Very inside joke.]

Whenever the opportunity arises for us to go out and make a scene, it is obvious that we take it.  To be honest it requires no effort at all considering there are not a lot of heavily modified people in South Jersey.  Even when they are not fully on display and we are trying to hide behind sunglasses or clothing that has no real discernible style, it is our attitude that exudes forth and causes the rest of society to take notice.  Despite what others think or say, this is not intentional nor is the attention always welcomed.  However, we are constantly amused by the vast array of reactions that we get from the locals and tend to get more that are positive than negative.

It should go without saying that Jon having tattoos, piercings and scars is not the main or only reason I love him.  Though they are prominent and permanent, there are many moments I forget either of us have them, as they are not the sole defining factors of who we are.  When people stare or whisper to one another or whatever it is these ignorant wastes of flesh like to do, we often wonder what their damage is.  Catching them in the act is pretty funny because they always look embarrassed and then suddenly turn away.

We moved on to visit a few stores as I needed a stool for future sideshow performances, but we could not find one that I liked.  Having my fill of driving for the day, Jon followed me back to the house where I dropped off my car and then happily climbed into the Chevy with him.  Then it was off to another store for more pricing, though it was now late enough for us to avoid contact with the locals.  While it is fun to fuck with people on occasion, there are moments we just want to be another pair of consumers making our way through aisles of merchandise.  As frustrating as stupid questions from passing shoppers may be, you never really get tired of having fodder to snicker at when then go on their way.

The expressions on their faces when we tell them just how many tattoos or piercings we have are always priceless.  My favorite stupid question at the moment is when asked if my large ear lobes hurt.  Yea, I just walk around in excruciating pain all the time but it’s totally worth it, yo.  Is that what people think?  Seriously, stretching lobes should never hurt, and if it does then you are likely doing it wrong.  The pain that comes along with other modifications is temporary and secondary to having an amazing body adornment for the rest of your life, but that’s just the way I feel.

Since our stomachs were craving nutrition we left the land of Babylon and retreated in the neon-lit chrome safety of a quaint little diner.   There were maybe half a dozen people spread out between the gleaming stainless steel counter and blue vinyl booths, not one of which looked up when we entered.  A friendly waitress greeted us as she grabbed menus and sat us next to a window while rattling off specials of the day.  Jon asked for a few glasses of pop and five minutes to browse; he didn’t have to flash the Showman Smile to get her to respond quickly.  Compared to all of the gawking we had endured earlier despite being moderately dressed, we were unprepared for the comforting silence around us.  The jukebox hummed a somewhat familiar tune and there was plenty of noise from the kitchen as dinners were prepared; there was no annoying commentary pointing out parts of our appearance or having to deal with five people in the span of five minutes asking the same question.

For once we were well-behaved, chatted with the waitress without Jon stealing her money and had an excellent meal of roast beef and potatoes with plenty of fixings.  It was like having a home-cooked meal and we really appreciated being treated so nicely that we left a huge tip.  We were thanked for stopping by and discussed the encounter on our ride back to his house where comfortable clothes and a warm couch awaited us.

Curled up for the evening and just watched television like an old married couple until we fell asleep.

Pinup Couture: Red Rose Print

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Ravishing reds are definitely on trend for this season and as someone who favors this color over others, I am quite chuffed to see it being used for more than an accent in fashion.  Pinup Couture offers their iconic Birdie Dress in a festive red on red floral print which is advertised to be a real head-turner.  This vintage style party dress has a full skirt; wide, notched collar that creates a classic and polished silhouette; and is finished off with a coordinating belt.

Bring a touch of glamour to your look with Iron Fist’s Jens Heart Heel, stunning black peep toe pumps that are decked out in sequins, accented by a red satin bow in the front and a red heart on the heel.  They would also be a great companion to a pair of Cuban Heel Stockings, and the Thelma Retro Bag which continues the red and black theme of the outfit.  The 1950’s inspired design is reflected in high quality patent vinyl, a faux buckle that conceals a magnetic lock, and a marbled handle sturdy enough to last through the toughest rumble.  Carefully coiffed curls are lovely and all but  unfortunately they are prone to drooping, losing their shape if not shellacked in place with product.  Sleek finger waves or a retro updo would be more appropriate, especially when accessorized with the fabulous Lady Kate Fascinator, a vibrant array of red and black tuelle accented by feathers, mounted on a clip which allows for easy sliding into any style.

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Here the same print has been transformed into a sexy wiggle dress that features a flattering gathered bust and slimming peasant style fitted waist which goes on to hug your curves all the way down.  The Erika Dress also comes with a reversible shrug with the exclusive print on one side, and lush black velvet on the other to match the adorable bow on the bust line.

Skip the stockings this time, especially if you have tattooed legs and would rather show off the artwork than hide it behind hosiery, and slip on the striped beauty of Break In by Iron Fist.  These platform peep toe pumps also have a 4 1/2 inch black heel and solid platform, while a patent polka dot bow in contrasting colors holds a black skull charm that happens to match the interior print.  Create lean looking arms with Long Black Faux Leather Gloves from Restyle, while keeping valuables and perhaps a change of clothing for a spontaneous weekend getaway in their Romantic Briefcase.  Fabricated from solid eco-leather that always keeps its shape, the bag has a high quality velvet front flap embroidered with red roses, padlock and pearls; an adjustable strap allows it to be worn comfortably over the shoulder.  Top it all off with a Black Rose Cocktail hat, a round handmade fascinator decorated with roses, lace, ostrich feathers and a veil that gently falls over the face.

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Either one of these fabulous floral frocks would be ideal if one wants to flaunt a flirtatious side, as it has often been said that red is the color of passion and it would not be challenging to invoke that with one of the looks presented here.  Whether you are having a romantic dinner with a significant other at your favorite restaurant, hitting the town with a group of friends or just treating yourself to something new, it is always important to remember that confidence goes a long way.  Labels, be they clothing tags or scenes that people tend to want to stereotype and pigeonhole themselves into, do not define a person – their character does and you should always let that shine above the names that may or may not be on your clothing.  Both dresses can be styled in a number of ways depending on what aesthetic one is aiming to achieve, not to mention the wide variety of accessories available to add a personal touch to the outfit.

Other suggestions of finishing touches can be found in these previously posted style guides: Regal Red, Garnet Incarnate

Ghosts in Winter

[Originally written on this date in 2005]

In the past, Jon and I have conquered drunken bowling on a number of occasions.  For some reason, the activity is just more fun when you are completely sloshed and don’t quite give a shit how many times your ball rolls down the gutter.  It’s not about how many strikes you can get or how good your score is, and the main thing to keep in mind is that you are there to have fun.  Laugh at yourself  because you are so damn drunk you can’t roll the ball straight and your best friend is talking shit.  Then he gets up and does worse than you, so there is more laughing while wondering how the  two of you are even functioning at the moment.

We have only begun to experience drunken mini-golf, but so far it is just as much of a riot.  It does not matter how many swings it takes to get that silly ball in its hole, or how many times you hit it off the green and have to go chasing after it.  Once the weather gets warmer, we shall be hitting up the outdoor courses and see how that goes.  We have played pool in the past, but seeing how we enjoyed these other activities whilst our livers swam in alcohol, we figured we would put it to the test.

First we decided to stop at a diner for some grub.  It seems we have not yet learned that going out to eat on a Friday night is not a good idea. Why?  People apparently have nothing better to do than go out to eat on a Friday night!  We had to wait for an hour just to sit at a table, and so I took my time in making a choice of what I wanted to dine on.  Figured that if I had to wait for my meal, I was certainly going to make sure I enjoyed it.  The food was pretty good, but nothing to write home about.

After that we rolled out to the pool hall, though drank whiskey for a while in the parking lot before stumbling inside.  Despite the fact that I do not play much, nor do I have the best of aim, I managed to win three games, though one was by default.  Jon says he let me win and that he was just having fun, because we both knew he could have hustled everyone in there.  He isn’t laughing like I am and I don’t even realize it, yet he still smiles as he escorts me back to the Chevy.

Not quite ready to go home, we made a stop at another diner for coffee.  Hilarity is also promised to ensue in such a place when one’s mind is steeped in liquor, as conversations are as varied as they come.  Only there can you go from talking about cars to sex to things you can buy on eBay without batting an eyelash.

It was snowing by the time we departed and headed home, hoping that there would not be too much when we woke the next day.

Unfortunately there was enough snow that the governor declared a state of emergency, which meant that the show we wanted to attend at Asbury Lanes that night was cancelled.  Undeterred, we bundled up and walked through bitter coldness to the grocery store, procuring enough items to make super fluffy French toast, thick cuts of bacon, alco-cocoa and plenty of popcorn to snack on while watching horror movies.  Though it was not the evening we had planned, I always enjoy Jon’s company and did not mind spending it indoors for a change.

The day after we were attacked by the white doom, what else was there to do than go to the beach?

Waking up to see that snow had fallen overnight, blanketing everything around us in white, Jon wrapped his arm around my shoulder and with a smile on his face proclaimed that we were going for a drive.  In the past we have been to Coney Island after it has snowed, and I captured some of the most beautiful images in my collection of the frozen amusement area.  Once I went while it was snowing for the explicit purpose of taking photos, which resulted in white globs scattered among the Cyclone.  This time we would be going to our other favorite playground, the one that has been long neglected though we always seem to enjoy ourselves.  My mom took us to Asbury Park once and what I remember most is thinking “What happened to this place?” as we passed by one abandoned building after the next.

Of course I make it no secret that I am entirely addicted to the beach, though being able to come visit Jon whenever I want helps quench that constant urge to be smelling the ocean.  As much as I enjoy having a sandy backyard, there are miles and miles of coastline we have yet to explore.  The places I have been are eternally etched in memory and there is always a sense of comfort each and every time I go back.  Hitting the beaches during off-season prevents us from being annoyed to death by jarheads, guidos and bennys.  It is so much better when you can just stand there and watch the ocean in peace, fingers intertwined with the one you love.

After filling up on coffee and bundling in layers, we piled into the Chevy and prepared to face terrible conditions.  Instead we discovered that the roads had been somewhat plowed but not all that deadly, so Jon had no problem navigating along narrow pathways to the highway.  The scenery we passed was quite breathtaking, as all trees were perfectly dappled with snow, as was the ground.  It was then I realized this was the first time we were heading to Asbury in the daylight hours, as we usually traveled at night and there is not much to look at then.  Seeing the Garden State blanketed in shimmering white flakes before the sides of roads get murky and the snow turns black is something that I really enjoyed.

People were still digging themselves out when we arrived in town, carefully traversing the slippery road as the sidewalk was nowhere to be found.  It seemed they had gotten significantly more coverage than we did but Jon skillfully steered the Chevy through the snow and ice, passing by all the scraping shovels and safely guiding us into parking spot.  We sit there smoking a blunt and contemplating whether or not we want to eat these brownies that are supposedly full of potent mushrooms.  Since it has been a while since we did that sort of thing I wondered why he felt now would even be appropriate to suggest.  Then we are chewing and drinking whiskey to get them down without gagging because the taste comes through the deceptive chocolate facade.

Exiting the Chevy, Jon takes my arm and keeps a firm hold on me as we wander around.  The meanacing Metropolis hotel had deadly icicles dangling from its roof, as though they were meant to be impending weapons of death ready to impale any trespassers.  For some strange reason someone was slowly shoveling the sidewalk around it and we both wondered aloud what the point was when no one would be going in or out of it.  Then he jokes that perhaps it was so the ghosts would have access for when they party there at night.

The sight of the snow-covered beach can hardly be described in words, and there is something about the expanse of glaring white that dares to touch the pounding surf that I found incredibly beautiful.  The sun was starting to set, dazzling pink and orange leaking into the almost clear blue sky.  The sun was angled just right so that it danced among the decaying casino, lighting up the nature preserve that lay inside.  We took notice of some new wood that boarded up any possible means of entrance. However,  there was also a door that seemed loose, and when I glanced down in the snow, there was a mark that indicated it could be open.

My heart was suddenly racing, as I had wanted to get a glimpse of the interior of that derelict casino ever since I had my first peek.  Jon pried the door back and I stuck my head in as much as I could.  Again at I am at a loss of words, and how I wish I had remembered my camera so I could have taken some pictures.  The floor was a sheet of white with footprints, though whose they were I can’t say for sure.  The left wall was covered in graffiti, though I don’t recall what any of it said.  In all honesty, I was too taken back by the decayed hanging lamps and the detailed ceiling.  For a brief moment, I could picture the days of old when the casino was swinging, ladies and gentlemen dressed in their finest, smoking, drinking and gambling to their heart’s content.

We decided to casually wander away before anyone saw us; not that there were other people there, of course.  Drinking warm whiskey from his retro thermos, we sat on the snow covered sand to watch the sunset.  The colors became more intense as the sun sank lower and lower, the roar of the ocean providing the perfect ambiance to fill in the silence between our awkward breathing.  We have witnessed this grand display of Nature numerous times, and while no two have ever been the same, they all leave me speechless.  Huddled together and fighting off the numbness that was threatening various parts of our body, I felt as though we could have sat there slowly freezing to death in complete happiness.

Several hours later night has come and Jon is lifting me up while trying to keep himself steady as well.  He is laughing and I think I am too; our limbs have fallen asleep and feel like lead as we amble back to the Chevy.  Warm air rushes into my face lights from the highway flicker past, and I am so glad that I have such a damn good friend in my life.

Fun With Buns

This is not a how-to  guide with lurid instructions on how to properly appreciate the posterior of yourself or someone else, but it is an illustrated gallery that features one of this season’s hottest hair trends.  Cast aside memories of your grade school ballet recital where you were forced to wear frilly tutu’s and top knots tight enough to make your scalp scream, because it’s time to treat this modest design with a bit more effort than slopping one on just to get your hair out of your face.  When executing a bun, it is best balance the pretty pouf with the size of your head in order to create an appealing silhouette.  In the past it was all about letting your locks flow, enhancing with extensions and generating effortlessly messy looks.  Longer lengths have also been heated to be pin-straight, though let’s be honest because the moment you move even a fraction of an inch all that work will be lost.  These ideals are boring and outdated, while taking the time to gather your hair into a sophisticated bun that is still playful and where imperfections are part of style’s charm is now preferred.  Placement is another key factor, as high buns accentuate the neck while drawing attention to the cheekbones, while a bun set lower on the head can be read as stern or rigid.  The minimalism compliments the most physically appealing parts of the body, that being the neck and clavicle area, while also giving off the illusion there is more volume to the hair which grants the wearer an instant height addition.  Of course the essential styling tool everyone must have to pull the look off is confidence, though the lack of decorum might get one expelled from the library.

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With the location of this bun being at the crown of the head, it is easy to see why the bun gives an ‘instant face lift’ effect by immediately drawing attention to the eyes and cheeks while making the neck long and lean.  Since the sides are not severely pulled back yet unruly bangs are tucked away, there is a definitive laid-back yet ladylike style.

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If you enjoy the aesthetics of vintage designs but cannot seem to quite get the hang of rolls, waves or curls, opt for a set of bun bangs instead.  Gather hair in the back for the usual elegant top knot, leaving a section in the front for a large, loose twist, securing with a few hair pins and perhaps just a touch of spray.

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Setting the bun on the nape of your neck guides eyes to the lovely curves it has and would be nice paired with open shoulder dresses or tops.  Bring in some texture by way of looped curls, which would look lovely decorated with rhinestones or pearls.

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Here a hair weaving technique has been integrated with a few curls and soft, low bun.  Though it can be on the more formal side, one can also wear the style with casual street wear and set a new trend for being comfortable yet fashionable.

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Combining a sleek ponytail with a braided section that opens into a full but not over sized bun, ideal for prom but obviously also appropriate for red carpet events as demonstrated here by Jessica Simpson.  You can always set the bun higher on your head or even braid it for a different interpretation this style.

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A bun can also be an easy way to finish off other braided designs, such as having a thick French braid down one side that ends with a loose bun.  Have fun experimenting with different braiding techniques as well as placement to find what suits you best and glam it up with your favorite accessories!

 

Kung-Fu Shoes: Back 2 Black

Having covered just about every other hue in the color spectrum, it seems appropriate to write about something a bit more basic, that being the complete absence of color.  Black is more commonly associated with various subcultures, the most prominent of which are ‘goths’ and the ‘beatniks’ before them.  Since I am not very fond of labels except when it comes to identifying myself, I will focus on the reasons why I find black appealing.  Being a strong neutral, it coordinates well with other earth tones and lends contrast to bright primary or secondary colors.  Some feel it should be a wardrobe staple in order to indicate their alliance to a specific genre and there may have been a time where I was guilty of that myself.  However I have now come to use black as a base to build a fabulous outfit upon, particularly when pairing it with red [my favorite color] and accessories that add texture but not bulk.

In Johnny Cash’s aptly titled song Man In Black, the lyrics explain that “I wear the black for the poor and beaten down; the sick and lonely old; in mournin’ for the lives that could have been; the thousands that who have died” among many other reasons.  Though there is a somber tone to the words and the meaning behind wearing black, this song is a reminder that it has often been used in mourning of losing a loved one, particularly in Victorian times.  Having said that though, I do find that it often gets tiring when people assume the purpose behind a black ensemble is to invoke images of death, as the color can be slimming when applied in the right areas and even offers warmth when soaking up rays of sun.  Black footwear apparently now carries connotations of fetish gear and makes the wearer a dominatrix, which is just about as ridiculous as assuming everyone who wears black is ‘goth’.  Though your clothes can certainly say a lot about you, always make sure that your personality comes through so that everyone knows you are not another stereotype, but rather a fierce fashionista creating a statement they will pay attention to.

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From the front, Rock & Republic’s Loretta may seem like just another black pump.  However, when turned around, there is a corset style lacing that goes down the back of the heel.  Combined with the leather of the pump itself, a pointed toe and 4 3/4 inches of height, there will undoubtedly be many questions of where you got those shoes when you enter a room where everyone else is in the same old heels.

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Nothing about Singapore indicates that it is an Ed Hardy design, except for maybe the letter insignia on either side of the vamp and the snarling tiger illustration on the lining.  The black patent peep toe pump is also accented with silver and black zippers that enhance the curves of the shoe, making it sleek and sexy without a tons of bells and whistles.

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Set the fashion bar high and let your status be known with Ramma by Betsey Johnson, a black leather peep toe pump decorated with a heavy dose of glitter, two rows of spikes and a hint of animal print on the inside of the stiletto.

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If that last style leaves you wanting more, Letona delivers with a wedge that tops out at six inches, the black leather accented by a strip of chunky glitter and spikes on the back, with a surprise leopard print lining.

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Usually Iron Fist is known for stunning artwork in bold colors that wrap a shoe in graphic imagery that might make one think twice about actually wearing it outside, but the Ruff Rider seen here is a simple synthetic leather peep toe platform where the details are what stand out.  Sequins clustered together form skulls, while there is a zipper on the out step which actually functions, and more zipper trim along a faux tongue that sticks out over the peep toe, accented with silver studs.

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Tucked between the multiple black straps of Lounge Leopard are spots and tattoo style flowers which add a nice bit of surprise when these black booties are being taken off.  The gold hooks in front bring a shiny element that one can match jewelry and other accessories too.

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Don’t adjust your computer screen folks, Lace Up by Jeffrey Campbell is a heelless platform that not only has interesting cutouts on the sides, but is also decorated with dozens of silver grommets that give the 6 1/4 inch shoe it’s name.

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Smile like a crocodile in Rocksrping, gorgeous shiny and scaled platforms with two thick crossed buckle straps that should keep you securely in these shoes as you dance the night away.

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If you are hopelessly addicted to Jeffrey Campell’s stunning designs, you might have to check yourself into the Clinic where futuristic footwear is a must.  Forged from black calf, these babies have a definite industrial vibe, what with the closed toe, silver buckled straps and steel plates secured to the 5″ platforms that will assist you in stomping to techno beats.

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Rock major attitude with Tick Chain, which takes the legendary Tick shape and adds a layer of heavy metal chain at the top that swishes back and forth ensuring that those who pass by will know you are not to be trifled with.

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Of course if you love JC’s Tick then you will go mad for its lovely and luscious cousin Jesmeen, reported as being the “younger and hotter” version of a design that has become synonymous with the label.  That heavily studded heel is easily recognizable, though up top is pleated leather with a baby strap, making these both flirty and fun especially when paired with brightly colored opaque tights.

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Taking you to higher and better places than ever before, Slash Low has similar elements to another style [Slash TK] though this version grazes the ankle and has blend of straps that stretch across the solid black pebbled leather back heel.