I met Kat Von D and my Weekend in Philly (OOTD!)

I was lured into the city of brotherly love this past weekend with the chance to meet Kat Von D at her book signing Saturday night. I waited in line after purchasing her new coffee table book Go Big or Go Home (which is a delightful salad of gorgeous artwork, tattoos, and thoughtful essays). My anxiety was reaching critical mass, and by the time I actually saw her I was seriously considering bolting, I was so nervous. All my fears were for naught, thankfully. She was so kind and sweet and made me feel like she actually gave a crap. She told me she also likes Siouxsie & the Banshees too and hugged me twice. It’s Monday and I am still grinning.

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She was wearing the coolest Lita’s I’ve ever seen.

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I look quite haphazard outfit-wise, but we had to head out into town as soon as we arrived so I had no time to put together a coherent look, but I wore the Siouxsie band tee I’ve had since high school, purple acid wash skinnies, a highligher yellow messenger bag from JustFab.com, and my vintage leather pixie boots from the $2-per-bag thrift store. I am also wearing my new Earnest Hemingway collection eyeglasses that I got for FREE at my lovely place of employment.

While in town, we stayed with my most awesome friend Sara. Her neighborhood has a high population of hipsters, which means a high density of badass restaurants. Say what you may about hipsters, but there is nothing wrong with wanting to make delicious progressive food. I forgot my ID, so I had to sneak a bottle of unknown contents into an establishment, and it exploded. That was horrifying and hilarious all at once. We ate at Loco Pez (I had an amazing deep-fried hot dog), Memphis Taproom (where I had my first catfish po’boy), and Cedar Point Bar & Kitchen (where I had an egg and mushroom bake with Cajun sauce and a massive homemade biscuit). So much good eatin’ in a 24-hour time-span.

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At the Memphis Taproom. Zach’s beard is immense.

I fulfilled two dreams in one weekend, with the second being to visit the Mutter Museum. It was awesome. No photography was allowed, but my brain was filled to the brim. A visit to this place will make you realize how precious good health is. Here are the photos I took in the lobby:

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Philly was a blast!

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Outfit of the Day 12/20/2012

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Silk Alexander McQueen-esque scarf, $11 from Rue 21 last year; grey silk button-up blouse from a “fill a bag for $2” thrift store; dalmatian print Vince Camuto belt from Ross (discount store) for $12.99; black skinny jeans.

 

Kat Von D starts a weekly fashion vlog on YouTube

I have tried to focus mainly on blogging with my own original content lately, but I just have to share the news about my personal fashion idol, Kat Von D. Like her, hate her, whatever — but the girl’s got style. Just get a load of her shoe “closet” (which is actually a shoe room). I wish I had space for the shoes I have now, let alone an entire room.

She also has a great informational video on mourning jewelry here, something I adore but can’t afford (at least not authentic antique mourning jewelry). This is a subject I am very interested in. If I may add to the little lesson given in the video, in centuries past, women were expected to wear black for up to  year after their husbands died as a visual display of widowdom and grief. Those who could afford it often willed money to be used after their death to pay for mourning rings, which might have the departed’s initials, portrait, and many times actual hair from the body, to be distributed to their loved ones. I think that is fascinating.

Kat Von D has stepped away from the reality show world, but is still very busy! She is still tattooing at her very own shop, High Voltage Tattoo in LA. She is also working on an album, finishing a new book, and designing a new line for her fashion brand, Kat Von D Los Angeles.

 

Critique of Kat Von D Los Angeles Spring / Summer 2012 Collection “Treasure Coast”

The fashion world was pleasantly surprised when Kat Von D unveiled her first wave of Fall 2011 designs last year. No one seemed to suspect just how chic it would all be. (I, of course, knew it all along. Ahem.) Kat offers her “Red Label” collection as a cheaper alternative to the more elegant (translation: high priced) “White Label” collection. As I began to peruse the lookbook for the Spring/Summer collection “Treasure Coast,” my expectations were high.

As seen with this baroque jacket inspired by Beethoven, Napoleon, and other strong-shouldered icons of days gone by, Kat's first collection expressed a love of the darkly romantic. Gothic but elegant. Edgy but still refined. I loved every bit.

As a die-hard Kat lover, this is painful for me to concede, but… I’m disappointed. Kat has said that she wanted this collection to appeal to a wider audience, and thus the aesthetic has been (drastically) toned down. So much that for me, the clothing has little appeal.

Granted, there are still looks that exude Kat Von D-ness. As the collections name would suggest, it appears that Kat and her design consultants wanted a pirate-slash-maritime theme.  My favorites from the lookbook are as follows:

I love this tunic. She's called it a sweater, but it clearly ain't gonna keep you warm. I like the thin gauziness of the fabric, and the circular cutouts that represent the black spot, the symbol of mutiny from legend and pirate movies alike.

This jacket is a cleaned up version of the tattered shirts and wind worn jackets of pop culture pirates. This could have been tacky, but instead it's glorious. It has a dark, sharp feel to it that I love.

I love both the top and the skirt. While we've seen similar designs in the past skirt-wise, it seems like a workable piece to add to one's closet. I have a maxi skirt in the exact same tie-dye bleached fabric. Perhaps not office appropriate, but it's a rad skirt to wear day or night with a pair of combat boots and sheer black pantyhose. The top is an ode to the pirate wench with an Asian spin. Love it. Looks like a denim type fabric. It would look great layered over a chiffon peasant top or button up.

That said, some (or most) of the looks are drab and kind of tacky:

I can see scraps of piratey inspiration here, with the knotted gilt yarn closure and the high captain's jacket collar, but the tailoring is all off. It looks thrown together. The pants are something most of us already own. The outfit looks too contemporary.

The leggings look cool, but I imagine they buckle up when the knees are bent. Not practical if you like sitting or moving. The top looks tacky. I don't have a problem with fringe. I love fringe, BUT it has to be done in the right way. The fringe paired with the swirly metallic look of the graphics on this top are fighting each other. It doesn't seem like Kat at all.

These garments, especially this in particular, are items that could have been designed by any old clothing company. I’m thinking Kathy Ireland, Jaclyn Smith, and all the other “every” woman labels. Things you arbitrarily buy for work just because you think they’re office appropriate, not because you really like them. I get the feeling that Kat put all her eggs in one basket with the first collection. Perhaps, not wanting have the Spring / Summer collection be too similar, Kat tried to expand her aesthetic. Instead, the aesthetic was almost lost, muddied with pieces that don’t fit in with the them and don’t feel true to the Kat Von D style. If you cut out all the tacky, humdrum looks, then you’d have a more cohesive, more personal collection, but then again, you’d only have a few looks.

Maybe I’ve just watched too much Project Runway, but it seems like there were two polar opposite designers – one designer is an evolved continuation of the debut collection – dark, tough, but still elegant. Kat has conceptual focus with the “good” looks, however, the “second” (imaginary) designer (presumably Kat’s “average” alter-ego) is trying to design for too broad of an audience, causing the output to be unfocused, uninspired, and bland. The “bad” looks just don’t seem like anything Kat herself would wear. I am guessing the schizophrenic differences between the looks may end up being what separates the “White Label” items from the “Red Label” items this time around. The Fall 2011 had cohesive variety; it really didn’t need to toned down.

To channel Reading Rainbow, “But don’t take my word for it!” View the entire lookbook here and see for yourself.

Yesterday’s outfit: Lace trapeze top and knee-high boots.

The weather has been lovely! Here is a recent outfit of my own featuring my handmade glass pendant from last’s year’s Renaissance Faire.

I made the outer-space background myself. I am totally artsy and unique.

I hope you all enjoy my “Myspace” camera angle photography skills. I need a tripod, desperately. And a new camera too.

The top was found at Ross for around $9. The boots are Rocawear, and were featured in a previous post, last year. The pentagram pendant was purchases for $2 at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire from the glass-blowers.

I love Kat Von D so much that I almost hate her.

Just check out these disgustingly good outfits:

See? I have an almost identical lace button-up. We were meant to be.

She has Jeffrey Cambell shoes. Why can't it? (For free? Please?)

Sewing free t-shirt cutting with Kat Von D and a Thrifty Cent life update!

This is probably something a lot of you have already done, but there are a surprising amount of people who have never customized a clothing item themselves. I started getting experimental with my clothes in junior high. My “creations” looked a little shoddy back then but I’ve gotten pretty good and tailoring my clothes (except jeans. Too thick and I am too cheap to buy a denim needle for my sewing machine. Quit judging me.).

Here is a step-by-step video tutorial of how Kat Von D (I have a small obsession) cuts her t-shirts. No needles involved. You just need scissors and a shirt.


My workweek has been pretty hectic and all around dumb this week. I am half-way through an eight-day stretch of work at Dollar Tree, AND I just got a new full-time job, soooo I worked two jobs today! I put in my two-week quitting notice today, as in I told a manager. It is not bittersweet, it is purely sweet.

My new job is at an optometry office (seems better to just say eye doctor place). I just did a two hour get-briefed-on-every-thing-at-once session today. I will be the new receptionist, but I also get to do the pre-exam eye tests, like administering the air-puff machine and all those fun gadgets. That part is appealing to me. I think it will be fun to shoot sharp gusts of air at someone’s eye. There is another machine that magnifies the persons eye and you have to try and center a little circle on their pupil, but it’s a challenge since pupils don’t hold still. However, there is a lot of less fun information to memorize, like the scheduling procedures and all the various insurance company policies. (That’s actually terrifying. I am nervous.)

This new job marks the end of three years of dollar store reign. (I have worked at both Dollar General and Dollar Tree. Sadly, I never got the chance to add Family Dollar to my resume. Shucks.)

Anyways, if you’re reading this, what would you like to see more of?

❤ Thank you for your feedback and comments. They mean more to me than you know. ❤

Kat Von D is launching her own clothing line- sneak peek! – hits stores in Fall 2011

My favorite celebrity, Kat Von D (tattoo artist from the TLC shows Miami Ink and LA Ink and now notoriously engaged to Jesse James) will be launching her own clothing line in the fall. Oh happy day! According to her twitter, the designs “[will] be in stores world wide. Everything from Dept stores to boutiques! :)” (Feb. 27th.) I’m squeeling! I know I’m supposed to be all about the bargains, but I will have to splurge on her stuff. Here are some previews she tweeted:

I am digging the skirt, although I am shy about wearing long skirts, because I am very short.

For the most part, it looks like it cam straight out of her closet, which for me is exciting. I want the leggings with the sheer “windows” and the Captain’s jacket.

[http://clarissavengeance.buzznet.com/user/]

What do you think of it? Comment!!!

Street fashion trend: All black outfits & How to Make Them Work, with Kat Von D, Jordin Sparks and more!

This isn’t news by any means, but I am so into all-black outfits. They’ve been showing up fairly often on runways for awhile. I think Gucci had a fall or winter season a few years ago where they showed off all black looks, and suddenly I was in love. Whereas before I thought all black outfits looked awkward and overdone, I now saw elegance and beauty in them. But… what did these designers know that I didn’t? My black outfits were failing miserably. As a teenager, I was into the whole goth scene: the music, the look… but goth clothing can appear tacky and cliché when not styled properly, like this.

Here’s how Kat Von D wears it:

How does she pull it off? When I was in high school I’d try on all kinds of outfits in my bedroom. I had a few pairs of black jeans, and I’d try pairing them with a black top, but somehow the outfit would feel awkward. Those outfits never made it beyond my bedroom door.

So, what’s the secret? There’s a trick to making a look like this successful. It’s all about LAYERING! Think about different textures, like leather (real or pleather), velvet, suede, cotton, lace, shiny vinyl or PVC, matte fabrics, cable knits, and so on. A cotton shirt with a cotton shirt in all black’s just going to look boring and just doesn’t feel right, kind of like this outfit Jordan Sparks (American Idol) wore:

The fabrics are just too similar. That’s not to say that she looks bad, but the outfit lacks spice.

Here are some more successes like Kat Von D’s…

She mixes a matte knitted (and high shouldered) top with leather shorts and  leather shoes. Her accessories (leather bag and round Chanel-esqe specs) really help to make the outfit interesting. Some times it’s all about accessories. Accessories, like silver and gold toned jewelry, can really set an all black get-up on fire… in a good way.

With black, you have more options than you might have thought. Lace and sheer mesh are in right now, so it’s easy to find them in stores, but you’ll certainly be able to find pieces with a lot of character while thrifting. I just got a sheer black blouse at the Salvation army that will go GREAT with my $2 thrifted leather pencil skirt and black bra. (I know, I desperately need to show off my recent finds. Sorry!)

Another thing you may want to give a second chance is fringe. Fringe may have had it’s heyday in the late 60s and on into the 70s, but by the 80s and 90s it got stale, tacky… People ran around with puffy leather jackets with swede fringe hanging from their arms, while the fashion police cringed. Lately though, daring fashionistas as well as celebrities have been adopting this misfit into their outfits. Fringe is back! Some designers are taking a new approach to fringe, like these from Giuseppe Zanotti:

And with studs and chains being so popular right now,  I guarantee you’ll find a cheaper alternative. I was just in Rue 21 a few days ago and they had spiked black stillettos! Craziness. (I wanted them but decided combat books and a lace top were better investments. I don’t have many fancy occasions to get all gussied up for these days.)

Let these looks inspire you!

Fashion Icon: Kat Von D

I am pretty much in love with this woman. I watch her show religiously. (Speaking of which, the new season of L.A. Ink is premiering later this month!)  She’s a talented tattoo artist and is branching out into other mediums. She does beautiful photography, designed a make-up line with Sephora, and writes books. (They may not be great American novels, but the point is, she’s becoming a mogul.) To top it off, Kat has an amazing style.

Wearing over-the-knee boots before they blew up in popularity.

I’ve been wanting a pair of over the knee boots, and that photo just makes me want them more. One could definitely argue that her style is a hot mess, but to me, it’s just messy enough that it looks great.

Kat wearing lame pants.

Cropped jacket, lame pants.

I’ve been guilty of wearing the lame leggings as pants… Only once, and it was part of a costume. But I do love those leggings. I wear them under torn jeans and under dresses and tunics.

Spandex... oh my.

Leather vest, spandex leggings.

Maybe I like her because she shares a lot of my fashion loves: platform wedges, leather (well, I try to get pleather or vintage leather), studs, etc. When you look at her, you can just tell that she is confident in herself and her style.

Big, bold sunglasses.

Big, bold sunglasses (that suit your face) can really make an otherwise boring outfit look great. I love sunglasses, but unfortunately I’ve been cursed with glasses. I should try contacts again… Until then, I just slip sunglasses over my normal glasses. Probably a major faux pas but I don’t give a crap. In any case, Kat Von D is clearly a girl who enjoys accessorizing. She might not be running around in pink, but she is a girl who seems to enjoy clothes.

Like her? Hate her? Let me know with some comments!