OOTD November…8?

OOTD November…8?

Yeah, I know.  It’s nowhere near November 8 today.  But this outfit was too good, and I was too proud of it to let it go unposted.

On November 8, I worked an extremely rare clothed art modeling session.  Rare because I got to wear clothes while I was working, not a rare modeling session.  (I did 64 of those this year!)  When I get to wear clothes during the session, I like to try to go all out with my outfit, and give the artists something fun.  Today was no exception.

This might actually be one of my favorite outfits, because I wear variations on it all the time.  The same leisure-suit pants and my hat, with a variety of button-downs. 

The Look:

Hat: Made by me!

Button-down: Vintage (from AST Salvage on Etsy)

Shell: Vintage (given to me by a friend)

Pants: Vintage (from Belmont Army Vintage)

Bonus:  Pretend that’s not my GIANT thumb in the corner, as I was trying to sneak this photo of an AWESOME (and larger than life-size) painting of me!

A 1920’s gem

A 1920’s gem

Every summer, I make the trip back to Michigan to visit my family and head up to our cabin in the northern Michigan woods.  It’s always the week of the Fourth of July, and it’s my only week off, the entire year.  While I’m there, we beach, we trek to the beautiful area lighthouses, we eat obscene amounts of pizza and dubiously-authentic Mexican food, and we visit a handful of staple antique shops.  Every year.  I’m a creature of habit, you see.

This year, on the last day of our trip, we were racing an oncoming thunderstorm, taking shelter in said favorite antique shops.  I was rummaging deep into the haphazard piles.  My interest in vintage and antique items manifests in several areas; cameras, clothing, hats, sewing patterns and ephemera, fashion magazines, costume jewelry, cookbooks.  I was nearing the last consignment stall when I found it.  The tag said two things:  1920’s, and $40.  If you’re someone who habitually purchases vintage clothing, you know that these numbers do not add up correctly, so I was suspicious.  1960’s dupes of 1920’s styles are not entirely uncommon, but the garment had some not-insignificant repair needs, and the shop was about to close, so she came home with me.

I’m not entirely certain I’ll ever be able to 100% verify that she’s authentically 20’s, but I’m mostly sure.  The biggest giveaway is the snap placket in the side seam.  Zippers weren’t introduced into women’s clothing until the late 30’s, and weren’t common in women’s garments at all until the 40’s.  The snap placket could be an extreme dedication to period authenticity, but I doubt it.

She’s a drop-waist, chocolate brown silk velvet dress with lace of a completely indeterminate color in the yoke.  Her skirt has scalloped detailing at the hipline.  She has an accompanying unlined jacket with little bell-cuffs and bows.  Her lace is stained and unraveling in places, there is some underarm wear, the scalloped seams are falling apart, the snaps are falling out of the placket, her belt buckle has been replaced, and there is a hole in the sleeve of the jacket.  All of which contribute to her wildly affordable price.  All of which (even, I think, the hole) are things I can fix.  She also fits me like a glove and is extremely comfortable.

These photos are from an impulse field-trip late in the summer.  By “field trip”, I mean, I took her to the coffee shop to show her off, let her get some long-awaited sun, and ran around the alley behind my apartment building and the yard of the church across the street taking selfies.  My iPhone and its timer were the photographers today.

 

   

OOTD November 7

OOTD November 7

Tuesdays are notoriously difficult for me at the moment.  Most Tuesdays involve me driving to Columbia for 8:30 class, leaving at 12:30 and driving to Harper College to model for a 2pm class, and then driving BACK to Columbia for a 6:00 class.  I was lucky this week in that I did not have to go to Harper, but I still had to stay downtown to finish some pretty hefty midterm projects.  This was also day 5 of wearing a corset all day.

 

Right after I took these pictures, I unbuttoned the dress under the bust, took off the corset, and just wore the skirt open over my petticoat, because this was somewhere around hour 10 of my day and my ribs just couldn’t handle it anymore.  (You can kind of see it in my face in the pic below)

 

The Look:

Dress: Vintage!  It is an original, Mainbocher-designed Girl Scout uniform from the 1950’s

That… that’s it.

OOTD November 6

OOTD November 6

I managed to take photos yesterday (in the lab at Columbia, where I was feverishly finishing my project for my knitting class. Yes, I’m taking a knitting class.)

 

This was day 4 with the corset, but my top is so loose you can’t even tell I’m wearing it.  😛  I was in zero vintage today.  But still cute.

 

The look:

Coat: Express (from, like, five years ago)

Scarf: Vera Bradley

Top: Express

Jeans: Lucky brand!

Corset: Invisible.  (Orchard Corset)

(help meeeeee!)

 

 

OOTD November 5

OOTD November 5

Hello friends!

 

School is still slowly killing me, so I figured I’d take the mental pressure to make long, meaningful blog posts off of myself, and just start shooting Outfits of the Day.  Plus, I was really cute today.

 

I found the perfect spot to shoot full-length selfies (you’ve seen it before, but I just realized I can prop up my phone in the perfect spot and get my shoes in and everything!

 

Also, I’m starting to waist train.  The corset is an Orchard Corset CS-305, with a maximum reduction to 26”.  I’m probably lacing down to about 29” at the moment, but I’ve got some eventual goals in mind.

 

Outfit details:

Hat: Handmade by me!  (Simplicity 9644)

Blouse: Vintage! (Brand unknown)

Pants: Vintage (Miller Western Wear)

Coat: Vintage (Davisella)

Boots: My trusty Doc Martens

1001 West Roosevelt

1001 West Roosevelt

I happened to be down by UIC today, for a photoshoot (which you will actually get to see here later, because it involved my beautiful black and cream Christmas dress).  For the uninitiated, I used to work as the box office manager for Provision Theater, which was, at the time, located at Roosevelt and Morgan, virtually surrounded by UIC campus.  The building had once been a YMCA and boasted a completely random 200-seat theater space, a little too west of the West Loop and a little too south for everyone else.  I knew that, about a year ago, they left that space for good, as it was slated for demolition.  So I decided to swing by to see if it had been done yet.  I was skeptical, since demolition of that building was something that was threatened on a yearly basis since at least 2011.

Well, they finally did it.  1001 W. Roosevelt Road is a hole in the ground and a heap of concrete rubble where the parking lot used to be.  I don’t feel sad about it, but I do feel a little hollow.  My relationship with Provision (they still exist, as far as I know, renting space in other theatres) was tempestuous.  They were ambiguously religious.  I’m an athiest stripper.  We had no managing director and the artistic director isn’t great at making business decisions.  Working for them in an administrative capacity was hellish, the only full-time employee, working alone out of a windowless room in a sometimes otherwise completely empty building.  But working for them artistically was magical.

The same artistic director who would leave me hanging about space rentals and mailing lists could compile a cast of actors who not only fit their roles, but also meshed so beautifully together as people.  The Hiding Place, the first production I was hired for, boasted a cast of 30 and 3 stage managers, and we maintained a mailing list for two plus years, each of us keeping the others abreast of what we were working on.  In the fleeting and ephemeral world of professional theatre, when you may or may not ever work with the same actors ever again, this was something special.

We’d go out drinking at The Skylark in Pilsen every Saturday night, closing down the bar and then stumbling in, hungover, for the Sunday matinees.  It was here that I discovered that I wasn’t the awkward girl that people only dated because they felt sorry for her.  I took one of them home with me, twice, and marveled how someone could be simultaneously so self-conscious and overbearingly confident in his abilities.  I had a six-month long affair with Charlie, which culminated in him divorcing his wife, breaking up with me, and dating another stage manager even younger than I was.  (He was 43 at the time.  I was 25.)  I had to walk in front of his moving car in that parking lot to get him to give me my spare apartment key back.

I met Kenneth.  I met Kenneth the afternoon of the first meeting of the 2010/2011 box office team.  There was Priscilla, Pilot Jeff, Miguel, Martin, Kenneth, and me.  I went to the meeting straight from the clinic.  It wasn’t a good day for me.  I would argue that that day might actually have been the lowest, most pathetic day of my life.  I was falling asleep at the staff table.  Martin was trying, awkwardly, to make conversation.  Kenneth was… I thought he seemed like a self-absorbed asshole, talking about his time in Paris.

But I got along with him, as the season wore on, and we worked together quite a lot.  The day I had to walk in front of Charlie’s car, I was supposed to work alone, a performance of The Wizard of Oz.  I was swamped.  And then, there was Kenneth.  He came to see the show.  He walked in the box office, looked at the line, looked at me, threw his bag behind the desk and opened the second box office laptop.

“What are you doing?”  I asked.

“Bailing you out.”

He took me for coffee after that performance, listened to me cry about Charlie, and… six and a half years later, he’s still here.  He’s ok, I guess.  I still think he’s a self-absorbed asshole, but at least he helps me with the dishes, and sometimes takes the pictures for this blog.

 

So… understandably, it’s a little hollow to say goodbye forever to the room where so much of my life took shape.  To know that I’ll never stand on that stage again, or call another cue from the booth, or snag another coke from the box office mini fridge.  And I’ll never sit on the lawn outside, like I did sometimes, rarely, and marvel about how this could possibly be my life.

ModCloth’s Stylish Surprise

ModCloth’s Stylish Surprise

Let me preface this by saying:  I totally should not have made this purchase.  I’m two months behind paying my rent, so buying cute clothes is so not my priority right now.  But I cannot, but cannot resist a mystery box.  So here we are.

I heard through the grapevine (I’m a ModCloth affiliate, so I get emails from time to time suggesting we promote certain things) that the Stylish Surprise was coming back this year.  I had a friend who had good experiences with it last year, so I decided, what the heck, and ordered myself a dress and shoes.

For the unfamiliar, the Stylish Surprise is a way for ModCloth to clear out their inventory.  You specify your size, plunk down your money ($20 for dresses, $15 for separates, $10 for shoes or accessories), and they send you a box full of mystery goodies.

ModCloth stylish surprise order form

I had zero expectations for this to turn out well, but I did think, being a medium with 6.5 size feet, I’d have the best odds at getting something cute with the dresses and shoes.  This is actually the first purchase I’ve ever made with ModCloth, though I’ve browsed and pined often enough.

 

Let me tell you, the Stylish Surprise did not disappoint.

ModCloth shipping box

Even the shipping box is cute.  Come on guys!

ModCloth Stylish Surprise box

The box, opened.  There’s a bird dress in here, you guys.  A. Bird. Dress.  For a girl called Raven.  It’s like they knew.

ModCloth bird dress neckline detail

Neckline detail of THE BIRD DRESS.  Also, it’s fully lined.  Also, IT HAS POCKETS.  Also, it has a lapped zip and vintage sensibilities and a cute navy belt.  I’m so thrilled.  I may never take it off.  (The kitchen counter and my iPhone were the photographer/art director for this shoot, just FYI)

Raven Gemini in ModCloth bird dress

AND THE BOOTS.

Unboxed Dolce Nome boots

I have been pining away for a pair of cute little victorian-style booties for ages and ages, and here they are, at my door, for ten dollars.  I’ve literally paid more for shoes at the thrift store.  I didn’t wear them for long last night, but they seem pretty comfy, so I have high hopes.

Raven Gemini in Dolce Nome boots

Yes, my ankles are unrealistically tiny.  No, the openings to these boots are not wide.  They are what I imagine normal bootie openings should be.  Also, consider my back-to-school shopping finished.

Both of these items are totally sold out/gone on ModCloth’s website, but if you’re grooving on the cut of the dress, they currently have it in a way cool galaxy print.

 

P.S.  Of course those links to ModCloth are affiliate links.  I totally told you at the top of this post that I’m a ModCloth affiliate.  No, they didn’t compensate me in any way for making this post or for buying their cute clothes, I just did those things because I’m a happy customer.

Columbia College has eaten my soul

Columbia College has eaten my soul

Right about now, you’re probably going “but this is a vintage fashion blog, what the heck are you talking about money for?”  Which, ok, valid.  I’m on a bit of a personal journey with that one, which I’d love for you to come with me on, because, you know, creatives like us tend to find ourselves in situations where there is way too much demand for the finite resources we have.

But where else have I been these many moons?  I’ve been sucking my soul away at Columbia College.  I love it.  I’m doing it willingly.  Fashion and art and creation and designing is fun.  But I’m SLAMMED.  Seriously.  There are three weeks left in the semester and in that time I have to finish 5 hats, design a 10-piece collection (one piece of which I will actually have to sew a sample of), create a completely different garment using specific textile treatments we’ve discussed in class, make an entire pair of pants for my garment creation class, and also design outfits (and illustrate the accompanying 6 croquis) for a fictional celebrity client for my illustration class.  Oh, and also work like a normal adult.  You know.  Like you do.

So… I’m going to say some nice things about my illustrations for class, because I’ve had to do SO MANY of them, a lot of them are kind of vintage, and there are pretty pictures.

 

This first one was the first illustration assignment we had.  We had to draw whatever our idea of a “fashion illustration” was.  At the time I did this, I was WAY proud of it.  I literally took two of my (zillions of) vintage pattern envelopes, picked pretty girls from the fronts, and did my best to replicate them.  I owned literally two markers (fleshtone and grey), I had no idea how to use them or how to shade or create depth or anything.

The first "fashion" illustration I ever did

This one came from an assignment for my fashion foundations class.  This was the first croquis I ever drew facing the back.  I still only owned three art markers.  (I bought the peachy pink specifically for this assignment)  Please note that I didn’t even attempt to color her hair or face.  Like, at all.  Also, I hate drawing flats, but these ones were ok.

Illustration and flats from a Mainbocher dress

*This* one was also for my fashion foundations class, but you can kind of see that things have been progressing.  We had to do a group project to design a handbag.  Our target customer was kind of punky and androgynous, which was way more the illustration on the right and way less the one on the left.  Note the fact that I finally bought some f*king markers.

my illustrations, top right

This one is me.  It’s literally just me.  I drew me in Paul Landers’ stage costume from the Made in Germany tour. (I mean, Paul wasn’t wearing saucy stockings and shorts, but…)

Snuck myself into an illustration

…And then there’s the Mackie.  She’s going in my portfolio, I’m so damn proud of her.  She’s a copy of a Bob Mackie illustration, and so many things started to make sense as I was working.  Shading, faces, embellishment, the fact that she looks somewhat more like a muscular dancer girl instead of the typical shapeless waif in a fashion drawing.

Aside from her, I’m still having some difficulty with faces of my own.  I’m still trying to figure out the eye shape and expressions that I like.  I had to borrow a white paint pen from my teacher to make the crystals on her costume.  But things make a little more sense, and I also have an incredible sense of accomplishment from finishing her.

Copy of Bob Mackie illustration

 

…Beyond that, I’m really just sticking my head in the sand (well, and drooling over ModCloth’s Embolden Age Jumpsuit) and trying to get through the next three weeks.   Maybe soon I’ll have the bandwidth to talk about the fashion study collection!

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April Debt-reduction report

April Debt-reduction report

For the uninitiated, I’ve been a self-employed, creative-industry entrepreneur (of sorts) since 2013.  My last “for The Man” job was working as the box office manager for an Equity non-profit theatre in Chicago.  I ran the entire operation for $9.50 an hour, spent most of my life in a windowless room, and worked for the most conflict-averse Artistic Director in the world.  I loved the theatre and the work they did, but my job was a nightmare and I was barely making enough money to survive.

So… I did what any sensible 20-something artist with a million interests would do.  When I was told they could no longer retain me full-time, I quit and became a burlesque-performing, class-teaching, photographer/art-model/costuming machine.  I do approximately seven times as much work as I used to, and haven’t made a penny more annually, but at least there are windows?  And I can do nonsense things like spend a week in Alaska in the middle of winter.

The drawback to this is that my financial health is pretty poor, and it’s getting to the point where it’s going to be difficult to make things happen the way I’d like.

My credit score has gotten low. (Like, no one’s going to rent you an apartment low.) I have no savings.  My credit card has been over the limit since at least 2015.  (I’m not joking)  I have numerous back utility bills and a couple of toll violations to pay off.  …And I’m a month behind on my rent.

Basically, everything was all fun and games, until it wasn’t.  I dutifully paid my bills until I kind of couldn’t, and then my anxiety kicked in, and I started not paying anything at all, because I was panicking about paying the cable company $25 when I owed them $600.

I’ve taken baby steps.  I had my internet access disconnected for nine months, which has helped me stabilize everything else to a degree.  But I’m really ready to make some sort of long-term change.  I’m hoping that, by being open and sharing my journey with you, I’ll keep myself accountable to my goals, and also be able to help and support other creatives who are struggling against their own low-income lifestyle.

The Goals:

  • My first goal is to pay $2470.79 of my debt off by the end of 2017.  This takes care of everything that is overdue, and brings my Credit Card back down to its $2500 limit.
  • My second goal is to bring my credit score back up to 600 (or more, but let’s not get too eager, shall we?).
  • My third goal is to bring my income level over $14,000 for 2017.  I haven’t earned more than $12,000 since 2011 (when I began working at the non-profit theatre), so this is a big (and difficult) one.

The Process:

I have a very difficult time discerning the process by which I should attempt to achieve my goals.  It’s kind of a weakness of mine.  I experience this for pretty much everything.  I want to do something, but I have no idea how to do it.  So then I just think about it a lot, and never actually get it done.  That said:

  • I aim to increase and diversify the types of passive income-generating sources I use.  I currently use Google Adsense, and have affiliate codes for Amazon and ModCloth, but I haven’t made much use of them.  Part of my plan includes making further use of these sources as well as researching other potential sources of passive-income.
  • I will also post a monthly check-in post here at Revisionist Vintage, including any progress made, income reports, and anything I’ve learned over the course of the month.
  • Lastly, I will continue to stay the course with my current sources of (active) income.  I’ve kept private income reports since 2015 which break down exactly how much money I make and from which sources.  I tend to do a lot of different jobs, so this is can be a wildly variable statistic, but in 2016 I did 45 art modeling sessions and performed 52 times.  I plan on hitting (if not exceeding) those numbers again this year, but those aren’t my only sources of active income.

The Stats:

April 2017:

What I’ve got:

  • Savings: $24.97
  • Checking: $20.30
  • PayPal: $0.00
  • Total: $45.27

What I owe:

  • Rent: $1390 (March/April)
  • Credit Card: $$2,492.58 (March: $2747.96)
  • Gas: $445.38
  • Electricity: $196.70 (March: $210.39)
  • Internet: $41.06 (March: $91.06)
  • Outstanding Toll tickets: $286.00 (March: $86)
  • Outstanding parking tickets: $146.40
  • Total: $4998.12 (March: $4970.79)

Full Disclosure: I am also currently in school, and accruing student loans, but since that’s kind of the least of my worries right now, I’ll worry about that once I’m closer to graduating.

Credit Score:

  • 560 (ouch.)

 

Progress:

There are some pluses and some minuses here, as far as I’m concerned.  The bottom line is that my debt actually increased this month… but only by $27.33.  The biggest reason for this, as I’m sure you can see, is that I did not pay my toll tickets by the designated time, and thusly got hit with an additional $50 penalty for each of 4 violations.  If it weren’t for this fact, I would have actually reduced my debt by almost $175 this month.  I’m sure a discussion about how being poor is really expensive is forthcoming.  Additionally, I included the amount I owe for a parking ticket that I incurred… sometime in 2016, but that I didn’t list in March because I was writing my first post in the coffeeshop, and wasn’t near my stack ‘o bills.

On the plus side, however, I did actually achieve one of the goals for the year (for the moment, at least.  I’m working on keeping it that way, but we all know it’s a process of competing priorities.)  I did finally pay off the overage on my credit card.  All of it.  I am now a whole $6 under my credit limit, for the first time in maybe more than a year.  I also shaved tiny slivers off of both my electricity and internet bills.

On the neutral side: I’m still two months behind on my rent.  I’m willfully ignoring my gas bill.  There are reasons for this (it will be the last thing I pay off).  Basically the gas bill I receive is somehow not the one for my unit.  The meters in my building are all labeled with the correct apartment unit, yet, somehow, People’s Gas thinks they’re all different.  I tried, from when I moved into this building in 2011 until… about the middle of 2013 to get them to correct this with weekly phone calls and numerous visits from technicians, and nothing changed, so I just stopped paying the bill.  One day they’ll get frustrated enough to figure out what the problem is, but until then, I’m not paying for someone else’s gas.

Oh.  Also, I signed up for Digit, since they updated the app to include my credit union.  So far, I think they’re a little generous with what they think I can save, but since I can withdraw it at any time, I’m not super worried about it.  I’m sure I’ll write something a bit more detailed about the service once I’ve used it for a few months, but if you’re like me and need someone else to hide money from you in order to save anything, I’d suggest signing up.  (The link above is my personal referral link, natch.)

All in all, I’m starting to chip away at some of the biggest offenders on my list of debts, and I’m confident that May will bring even greater success!

Commitment, who needs it?

Commitment, who needs it?

You really don’t hear much about girls who have problems with commitment, do you?  After all, that’s supposed to be what we want, right?  What we’re wired for?

Then again, I never pretended I was wired like most other women.  (“I’m not like other girls.” *barf*)  I really never wanted anyone else in my life.  I *emphatically* do not want children.  I have a cat who is almost too much responsibility for me.  The traditional American 9-to-5 lifestyle literally actually makes me sick. (it took several years of daily panic attacks and several hundred hours crying on the phone to my dad to figure that out.  Oops.)

Maybe you could see this aversion to commitment coming, due in no small part to my inability to commit to a regular post schedule, dependable photoshoots, or even a solid theme.  But, honestly, it’s a little bit of a surprise to me.  I guess it makes sense.  Got my degree in theatre, did that for a few years, dabbled in photography, did that for a few years, became a costumer, doing that for a bit.  Strippin’.  But I can never commit to a rehearsal schedule.  Art modeling, this year.

I mean, I don’t even want to be tied down to a specific decade in fashion.  I love the 70’s, but sometimes I want floofy dresses and corsets, and sometimes I just want to rat my hair all to hell and listen to metal.

Rock chick Raven Vintage Raven

(These photos were not both taken in the same week… but they could have been!)

Maybe that’s ok.  I’m working to embrace my chameleon nature.  But it’s awful hard to get ahead when you aren’t really even sold that what you’re doing today is something you’ll want to do tomorrow.

 

How do you feel about commitment?  Am I a weirdo for being the way I am?