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Dia & Co. box #5 – now with pictures

Obligatory disclaimer: The majority of the comments shared here been sent to the company whose box is being reviewed. I am not receiving any type of compensation for my review. This rant is entirely my own doing, mostly because I refuse to do unboxing videos on YouTube, and I hate having pictures of myself taken unless I’m wearing a period costume.

I confess, I watch Dia & Co. unboxing video (since I’ve started down this path of dressing up again), I want to see what other ladies are getting and having a sense bout when the boxes are going to ship because they tell you when to expect your next box, I start visiting my page and peak to see if it’s been shipped. Well, back in the later part of November, I peeked and discovered that my next box was up on the site under “Rate my Items.” Wanting to know what was coming, I did some web-searching and striking out I made a note of what the items were and posted the list on the Dia & Co. discussion group on Facebook and asked, “Anyone else have these arrive in their box?”

Based on the descriptions, I wasn’t feeling this box with the exception of the skinny jeans as my current boot cut jeans are 4 or 5 years old and suffering from elastic failure. Or it could be because I’ve lost 40 pounds!!

Now to recap the items in my November box, which I kept three.  There were six items in this box and a holiday special were you only needed to purchase five of teh six items to get the “full box” 20% discount.

img_00091. A Dress: Esmeralda Skater Dress, $60.00, Society+, Navy – This is Society+ generic skater dress. If nothing else, this dress gave me the opportunity to try on a 4X and compare it to the 5X red dress that I just bought for Christmas. The dress is made in a medium weight polyester interlock, it fits well and since it’s a solid navy I can wear it with any of my sweaters or my silver gray blazer.

I kept it because navy is one of my Fall/Winter capsule neutrals. What I found surprising is that this dress in a 4X fits me the same way that the 5X red dress that I got earlier that month. Go figure.

Added bonus with this dress: it has pockets!! If this company had been around when I was still working in an office I would have had one of these in every color.  I needed pockets to carry my keys.
img_00082. A Top: Kaori Lace Top, $79.00, Kiyonna, Black – This is listed on the website as the Linden Lace Top as it’s $88. It’s a heavyweight polyester lace that was lined with a nude-colored heavy polyester tricot that matched my skin tone too closely.  The top was very pretty but, well … way too racy for wearing to church. It’s hard to keep your mind on the Lord and the university level teaching on theology in the sermon when you’re too busy wondering if the lady sitting a few seats is wearing anything under the lace blouse she has on. It’s not a legalistic fundamentalist thing by any means whatsoever, but simply an act by me showing respect to God in His house by not being a distraction.

The top fit me well, but the husband would never let me out of the house wearing it. I asked if I could exchange it for the one with the black lining that I knew was available on the Kiyonna website, but alas, Dia was unable to do it, so back the top went.

I purchased the black on black top from Kiyonna via FullBeauty.com and it was much better. The care tag said “Dry Clean Only” which knowing better having worked with fabric for the majority of my life, I washed it in cold water and the top became a much softer and less scratchy piece of clothing. I recently wore the top around the house because we were going out on a date night. As the day progressed, the more in my face the girls became, and the more modest I became. I think I was wearing the wrong bra or it was an impending migraine, but I really don’t remember that much décolletage when I tried it on.

img_00103. Top #2: Gianna Sleeveless Top, $69.00, Modamix, Navy, 28W – This blouse is double layer polyester georgette. the neckline is notched and has a narrow band that fastens with two antique brass colored snaps.  This really is navy but the iPaw photographed it as black. We both liked it so it’s a keeper.

This top was on the Lord &Taylor website as “Keyhole blouse” and on sale for $27.60.   I did try to price match, but the rules are it has to be exactly the same thing: meaning size and color. Bummer because screen capture of the top I submitted was red and I think it wasn’t my size.

img_00074. A purse: Morgan Ave Crossbody bag, Shiraleah $49.00, Wine, OS – The bag was divided into two separate compartments and both sides were too small for more than my cell phone, keys, and wallet. The color was okay, but there was this strange alien-looking jellyfish tassel on it that both made us to the confused dog head tilt thing. It went back

 

 

5. Pants: Lora Skinny Jeans, $59.90, Swak, Black, 5X – this is listed on the SWAK website as the Sammy jeans. I kept them because of weight loss and impending elastic failure. They are super stretchy so added bonus, they’re like shapewear. I also like the fact that the legs are long on me. I’m not opposed of the baggy at the ankle look and even better, because they are long I don’t get the gap between the bottom of my pants and top of my ankle socks.  No pictures because I think most people know what a pair of black jeans look like.

img_0011 img_00126. Dress #2 Abigail Sleeveless Dress, $89.00, Eloquii, Green, 28 – This is the sleeveless black bodice with deep emerald green tulle skirt. My iPad took a much better picture of this dress and so now you can see the details in the bodice and just how lovely this shade of green is. Now if they could me a faux suede or velvet leggings or skirt in the green, I’d be a very happy camper.

It went back only for two fold reasons. The first I really don’t have any place to wear this type of party dress. I work from home and the dress was really too girly for a middle-age woman to wear to church, or even date night with the hubby. Now, if I were 20 or even early 30-something, you bet I would have kept this dress and worn it everywhere. The second problem with the dress is that the armholes were very deep and suffered from gap-osis. (The curse of being a DDD girl.) There simply wasn’t enough fabric to work with to make any adjustments to the armholes and sizing down most likely would not have zipped around my waist.

If you’re feeling brave and want to try a Dia box of your own and would like to show me some thanks for this any or of my other ramblings and rants, please use my link, it will benefit the both of us: https://www.dia.co/r/4zxx

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Dia & Co Box #4 — the beat goes on

Obligatory disclaimer: The majority of the comments shared here been sent to the company whose box is being reviewed.  I am not receiving any type of compensation for my review.  This rant is entirely my own doing, mostly because I refuse to do unboxing videos on YouTube, and I hate having pictures of myself taken unless I’m wearing a period costume.

As before, knowing that the next box’s arrival was imminent, I kept checking my “Rate my box” and again, googled the list to try and get a sneak peak of what to expect.  I was only able to find two of the items online, but as many fellow Dia-boxers will tell you, what the garment is called by the Designer and what retailers call it are two entirely different things.  Also, fourth box, fourth stylist.

For those of you who stumbled across this blog post and don’t know what a Dia Box is, it’s a plus-size subscription service.  You fill out a questionnaire, and a stylist selects five pieces of clothing and/or accessories based upon your survey and what’s hot in the world of fashion and they send you a box.  It’s a blind box so you have no clue what’s actually in the box until it arrives.  [Think you’re buying Doctor Who Titans Blind Boxed Vinyl Figures from ThinkGeek.  You know what the general perimeters of what you’re getting, just not the specific items in questions.]  There’s a $20 styling fee and they provide a SASE to return what you don’t decide to keep.

So with the introductory info out of the way, let’s review what they sent went me in this latest box.

1. A skirt – “Eliza” Skirt, Society+, Black/White, $60.00 – This skirt is called the “Kate Midington” on the Society+ website.  The black skirt with the white polka-dots is no longer available, but the white with black dots is.  The skirt is a good length, just below the knee, and has pockets.  The fabric is an interestingly textured woven polyester and the underside of the skirt is as interesting too.  As I am currently losing weight, the skirt they sent me is going to be too big on me within the month so I sized down two sizes.

2. Blouse #1: “Maggie” Top, Daniel Rainn, Black, $69.00 – This was a long sleeve blouse (in a polyester crepe) that had two layers of fabric on the front that overlapped each that was over the top of a basic shell/tank top style lining.  The lower edges had a tulip edge.  The neckline didn’t quite lay flat and the double layer of fabric doesn’t sit properly on my hips. My husband didn’t like it either. He said it looked like a sci-fi prison guard uniform.

3. Blouse #2: “Jayda” Top, Curve by Dora Landa, Purple, $49.00 – The color of the shirt I received was Burgundy, not purple as listed on my stylist’s note/invoice card.  [This is just fine by me as I’m not a “purple” girl, but rather a lavender or lilac girl. I post on the Shawl from Hell is testament to my color preference.] Generally speaking, the shirt is a little boring and the sleeves are a little too short, but the husband likes it and it fits me well right now and will look fine when I drop another 30 pounds, too. Finally, for a rather plain, lightweight polyester crepe de chine the price seems a little high, but I’ve done too much shopping at Wal-Mart; so my thoughts on pricing is a little skewed.  However, since the both the color and fit is good, and I am a costumer, I’m going to embellish the top with some vintage-looking gray lace, which will tie it into my Fall/Winter wardrobe capsule.

4. A dress: “Treasure” Dress, Taylor, Plum, $98.00 (yikes!!) – I like the colors, I like the weight of the fabric and we both like the pattern. The only thing I’m not happy about is the price. I did find the dress on Amazon and the price was $30 more than what I paid for it thorugh Dia & Co., so I feel better about it.

5. A jacket: “Mallory” Blazer, Society+, Navy, $50.00 – This is called Posh Zippered Blazer on the Society+ website.  First, it’s a motorcycle style jacket, not a blazer, people.  Second, there’s a little problem with the zipper sticking, thus it doesn’t zip back up properly. Third, this not quite my style and it doesn’t quite fit right over my hips. Also, the extra pointy pieces of fabric at the hips looks odd on me. This is a bit too trendy for my tastes. A military “Sgt. Pepper” type jacket would have been a better choice. [I had a navy linen “Sgt. Pepper” type jacket that had a low-high hemline back in the mid-80s that I loved.  I missed it.]

My latest Dia & Co. stylist has gotten a better sense of who I am.  The color palette was spot on for working into my capsule wardrobe and I ended up keeping three of the five pieces.  If the black blouse had fit better, I probably would have kept it, too.

If you’re feeling brave and want to try a Dia box of your own and would like to show me some thanks for this any or of my other ramblings and rants, please use my link, it will benefit the both of us: https://www.dia.co/r/4zxx

 

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Dia & Co. Box #3

My third Dia & Co. box arrived in record time.  It arrived before the five-day return window for box # 2 had a chance to run.  It was amazing how quickly it arrived.

Again, I kept checking my “Rate my box” and again googled the list to get a sneak peak of what to expect.  I was happy to see that they found the bag I requested and that they were sending me a black one.  Also, third box, third stylist.

Again, this box arrived nearly a month ago and I’m playing catch-up on my reviews and blog in general while taking a break from the shawl from hell.  So the basic gist of this is what I’ve already shared with the stylist.

  1. A Blouse: Daniel Rainn, “Kyla” blouse Indigo/Tan print for $88 — First and foremost, for a shirt to cost $88 and me to buy it, it has to be extraordinary — some type of embellishment and very flattering. This shirt was neither. The dark blue and tan abstract print looked very matronly and the colors are muddy. For a top to look like my 78-year-old mother should be wearing and not me, says something. On the plus side, it fits reasonably well. The shoulders fit and the sleeve length is perfect. Maybe if it been a solid color like a cranberry or wine or dark green or slate blue, I’d had considered it …but not at this price point
  2. Knit top #1: KIYONNA Knit Jersey Twist Top for $58 — Much to my surprise, I like this top in spite of the fact that it has 3/4 sleeves (those just make me crazy because they always hit in the wrong place: long arms). It fits me very well and who doesn’t have enough black in their wardrobe? [I can hear my husband saying that I do, but that’s neither here nor there at this point.] I confess, it’s a bit pricey for my tastes but it’s unique enough to become a part of my capsule wardrobe. Check it out here.
  3. Knit top #2 Eloquii “Ashton” Textured Knit Top in Black/White for $60 – Oh joy everlasting, a cold shoulder top: not. I freely confess that I did not say that I dislike cold shoulder tops if for no other reason is than they look broken and desperately need fixed – either by turning it into a tank top or sew the sleeves back on right now! I just bought a white with black stripe t-shirt at Target for $9, not going to spend $60 on a top that I’d have to remake. As a historical note: one of my instructors in fashion design school is the party responsible for this design atrocity.  Even they hated it by the mid 1980s.
  4. A little black bag: Under One Sky “Lucille” Crossbody Bag for $36 — Now, this is the bag I requested to see and made better because it’s black and not the tan one I saw on the YouTube review… And all of my bare-bones essentials fit, which makes it perfect for bopping about.
  5. A cheap necklace: Bijoux “Alexandria” necklace in silvertone for $29 — First, I specifically said no jewelry. I have more than enough as I inherited my mother in-laws’ and don’t wear all. This piece was very cheap looking, like it should be for a little girl as a birthday party gift and not a middle-aged woman.

The next box is expected the first part of November and I specifically asked for long sleeve blouses and tops.  let’s see what they send me.

If you’re feeling brave and want to try a Dia box of your own and would like to show me some thanks for this any or of my other ramblings and rants, please use my link, it will benefit the both of us: https://www.dia.co/r/4zxx

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Dia & Co. Box #2– we’re getting better-ish

As I mentioned in my first “unboxing” review I had decided to give the company another chance.  After all, they gave me a credit, so it was costing me nothing to do it.

I confess, I’m going to cheat a little on this review and directly use some of my comments that I shared with the company, mostly because the box arrived almost two months ago, but partially because I hadn’t critiqued all of the items in draft form yet.

Since the receipt of my dismal first box. I went back to their website and seriously updated my profile, added more specifics and horror of all horror: increased the price threshold to $150 per piece.  [God forbid that they ever send me a box where each item cost that much a piece and I like the whole box. ] I even went the extra mile and provided such specific as hair and eye color and “seasonal” color palette of a Cool Summer.

Dressing by seasonal palettes is based upon the 1970s book entitled Color Me Beautiful — this book puts forth the theory that based on our hair, eye colors, and natural skin color undertones, most women fall into four basic color palettes (seasons) and by choosing colors from these seasons, we are guaranteed to look our best at almost all times.  I subscribe to this theory as it helped to explain why I never looked as good in the same shades of blue, green and purple that my “spring” mother and sister (and father) did and why I despise yellows and golds on me.  I also apply this color theory with my custom costume clients to help them look the absolute best or worst as their character or persona requires.

I also gave them two specific items that I had seen on two different YouTubers reviews of their August and September boxes that I liked and asked for them.  Alas, they did not get included.

Now, onto the box review.

Knowing about when my box was coming, I began to check my Dia “rate my items” page to see what was coming.  Yes, I realize that there are some that would consider this cheating, but I was the kid that liked to snoop around for hidden Christmas and birthday presents – I never opened them, I just like to see if I could guess what they were ahead of time. When the items were posted, I did a web search to see if I could find these specific items.  I found one.  It was a top that I had seen in an unboxing video that was in black and they were sending me one in beige.  So I was so optimistic, I went as far as telling my husband that if it fits and looks good, I’m keeping it.

Something to note:  if you chose to go searching for the items listed, keep in mind that what your Dia & Co. stylist calls it and what retailer calls it stand a 95% chance of not being called the same thing.  Case in point, my first item.

When the box arrived, I was left feeling “meh.”  First, the overall color palette was better suited to my “spring” sister than little ole “summer” me.  Second, I had mixed feelings about the selections.  While it wasn’t the epic fail that the first box was, it wasn’t a winner either.  I’d call it a swing and a mostly miss.

  1. A “peculiar” dress: Simply Be’s “Ophelia” Dress in Royal Blue for $100.00 – Now one would think that a dress style Ophelia would be a floral and flowy print dress that might have bell of bishop sleeves and perhaps some lace or embroidery that would bring to mind the tragic Shakespearian character: Nope, nope, and nope.   The dress was a solid Royal blue, which is so not my shade of blue.  I’m more of a navy, indigo, slate, powder and French blue type of girl. The fabric was a curious woven strip that I would liken to extra wide wale corduroy with the negative space between the wales that could best be described as mess-like, sort of like faggoting.  [Historical note: faggoting is an embroidery stitch that is generally used for joining two or more pieces of fabric or trim together.  It was used in late Victorian and Edwardian lingerie dresses or more recently Battenberg lace.] My husband said the fabric looked like I should be jumping out of a plane to skydive or getting ready to ride the space shuttle. I just thought it was weird.  And I’ve got to really, really like a dress and it has to have something going for it for me to pay $100 for it, just saying.
  2. A skirt: Swak retro-ish print Circle Skirt for $65.00  I like this style of this skirt as it’s very flattering for my pear shaped body… but I was on the fence about it because I wasn’t happy with any of my existing tops with it. I liked the “Judy Jetson-esque” retro 1950s space orbiter print. Ultimately this funky went back because I simply cannot pay $65 for a skirt that would end up sitting in the back of my closet because I don’t have a top for it.  And that, my friends, defeats the purpose for a Capsule Wardrobe.
  3. A purse / clutch-like thing:Under One Sky “Harper” Cross-body bag for $30 –First, this was not the bag I requested.  Second, this bag is poorly designed and was a pain in the @$$ just getting my wallet and keys out of it, let alone not have room for my reading glasses or any of heath related necessities.  The price was reasonable and had a slight vintage feel, but it was a fail.  [I once told a saleslady at Dillard’s that I’d pay $300 for a good, well-made leather bag if it meant all of my criteria and I really, really liked it.  So, $30 for a clutch is not bad.]
  4. A knit top: Oddi “Abrielle” Top in Black/White for $46 — The yoke neck kimono style was okay, the fit could have been a tiny bit larger.  My issue was the prints.  Stripes simply do not go with pastel Native American prints.  [My profile says no tribal prints and my husband looked at the shirt and said what the huh? ] Also, I simply will not ever pay over $20 for what is essentially a glorified t-shirt, ever.
  5. A sleeveless knit top: Eunishop “Ellie” Tank Top in Beige for $42 — This is the top that I was excited about.  The main problem with this shirt is that it is too close to my skin tone to be flattering.  It just got lost on me, and that was even with the black panels of embroidery on either side of the front opening. My husband’s response echoed mine: it was meh.  Fortunately, I was able to exchange it for a black one: much, much better and now I have a layering piece with a little more style than the obligatory generic tank top. Even better was the $20 credit I had so the top only cost me $22, which is something I can live with.

I threw caution to the wind and clicked the box to have them send the next box asap when I submitted my rating.

If you’re feeling brave and want to try a Dia box of your own and would like to show me some thanks for this any or of my other ramblings and rants, please use my link, it will benefit the both of us: https://www.dia.co/r/4zxx

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Halloween 2016 — Now Accepting Commissions!

Looking for something different to wear to your next great Halloween bash!  Want to knock the socks off your friends and coworkers and still have something you can wear next spring to your local Renaissance festival to Comic Con, or both?

Looking high and low for a certain GoT religious zealot, and there’s no High Sparrow robe to be found?

We can help!

We have four, possibly six spaces available for costume commissions for Halloween.

Submit your inquiry today.

Halloween special orders close on September 25, 2016 at 9 pm pacific — ACT NOW!

 

 

 

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Dia & Co. — really? No, seriously, really?

Obligatory disclaimer:  This is a rant.  Nothing disclosed herein has not already been addressed with the company that I have written this review about.

This is my first foray into personal stylist subscription box and going out the gate color me not impressed, at least with my stylist.  Their Customer Service department is another story altogether.

By way of instruction, Dia & Co. is a Plus-size clothing subscription service.  They charge $20 per box styling fee, which is credits towards whatever you purchase, assuming that you like what they send you.  If you love everything, they credit the styling fee and give you a 20% discount on the purchase of the full box.  You can get a box monthly, quarterly or whenever you’re looking for something new.  You answer a series of questions like do you like type of tops, bottoms, dresses, outwear, accessories and what type do you like; what body parts do you like and what do you want to hide; colors to avoid; styles you like (vintage, preppie, urban, etc.); companies you like and the like and price range that you’re comfortable paying per garment, not per outfit, per individual garment piece.  The cynic in me looks at the styling fee as covering the cost of shipping to and fro under a different and more tolerable name.

In my case, it was purely migraine pain medication fueled curiosity: it sounded like fun and I spend so much of my sewing time not in the 21st century, I decided why not see what the rest of the world is wearing when I found the link in my Pinterest recommendations.  I spent the better part of Saturday evening binge-watching almost every “Review” unboxing video on YouTube.  Based on what I saw, knew before my box arrived that I was going to be sending everything back.  The target audience was Millennials, which I am so not (tail end of the Baby Boomers, thank you very much), and the clothes were way out of my price range — Not going to pay night unto $50 for an unlined skirt or top unless it has some seriously awesome detailing.

The box arrived and to quote Lorelai Gilmore of the Gilmore Girls “Oy with the poodles already!”  I have never seen such a mismatch.  I dutifully filled out my profile and answered by style questions, which in retrospect was not as thorough as it now is, but really?  Did my stylist even look at my profile and if she did, did make any notes?

First, the clothing was all too small or way too short, but definitely way, way too young for this increasingly conservative middle-aged woman.  I clicked all the appropriate boxes to describe my style, I really did, but nowhere could be found anything remotely looking preppie, or classic, or romantic, or retro (meaning 1950-1960, not 1970s or ’80s [shudder].  What I got was modern, urban and 1970s disco-equese.  So let’s break down the list of the five items I received in my box.

  1. A Multicolor Skirt — I specifically said no yellows, oranges and gold and I got a georgette mini-skirt in a 1980s vertical stripe with those very colors I said to avoid. It also had 2-1/2 inch wide black exposed elastic waistband.  A personal dislike second only to exposed zippers.
  2. A Wrap Dress — There was a cobalt and kelly and white faux wrap dress that even had it fit, would have had way too much northern exposure with the girls busting out all over.
  3. Top #1 — There was the black asymmetrical hem, sheer georgette with a chiffon top.  In truth, there was probably less wrong with this top overall, but who decided it would be a good idea to give the overweight, middle age woman a top that she would have to wear something underneath it?  And the name of the top was “meadow”, which conjures up something green with a small lavender floral print, not a little black blouse.
  4. The LBD — I suppose that if I were 12 or 13 years old, this could have passed for a dress, but it would have been a tunic on me and I am not that tall.  It was a basic black sleeveless shift with a large, cut-out black lace appliqué…on the back so it would be impossible to wear a bra without to showing.  This look always makes me think, “hey, you’ve got your top on backward!”  It’s all I can do not to take pity of the poor soul wearing it and say something.  Something else about this dress-tunic-thing: It felt like this was something that I had seen far too often and on too many people to be done with the look.
  5. Top #2 — I am not sure if I can adequately describe the horror that this shirt was.  The overall silhouette was a basic shell with sleeves; normal, classic design and then it fell off the rails.  The card said it was gray, but it was taupe, at least the front was.  It too was fashionable in georgette and had a brown polka dot cotton patch pocket over the left boob.  The sleeves were in the same color.  The back was white, a jersey I think and had a 1-1/2 inch wide strip running down the center back.  The whole thing looked like it was made from leftover fabric scraps from past projects in an attempt pad the designer’s bottom line.

I said I like Classics, yet I saw none.

I said I like “preppie”, yet where were my polo shirts, pencil skirts, my pinstripes/dots/ginghams?

I mentioned previously, I said Vintage meaning 1950-1960, not 1970s or ’80s yet I got clothes made in the same fabrics we sold at Cloth World and House of Fabrics when I worked for them in the 1980s.  (I had a black and purple version of this very stripe in a Jonathan Martin dress in the late 1980s.)

I said I like Bohemian and Romantic, yet where was the paisley, the small floral prints, and fine lace or even fringe?

Where was the cute little clutch style handbag or scarves (love scarves), where was the cute black with white polka dots and white collar or the houndstooth cape or the floral print tops that I saw on YouTube?  [sigh]

Now, here is why I was impressed with their Customer Service department.  I had problems creating an account and they helped me out using a live chat feature on their website.  When I received my box, I asked about their target market because the box was too young for my tastes which then opened up a conversation on the whole experience and her giving me a $20 credit on the next box and me going back and adding more details about my personal and giving them a second chance.

Here are a few excerpts from our chat conversation:

She patiently explained that, “We have stylish pieces for women of all ages, but with first boxes it can be really difficult to grasp your personal style solely based on your style and fit preferences. The feedback you can provide will really help us make smarter selections for your next box!” and then she added, “The first box is always the trickiest, so with the help of your feedback on the items, we can definitely make sure to make selections that match your specific style!”

We’ll see if they get it right in September.  Stay Tuned.

 

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What we’ve been up too — 7/21/2016 edition

Besides tending to the needs of our gracious feline overlords, where is a little of what we’ve been up to lately:

  1. Game of Throne cosplay — We created our version of the High Sparrow’s robe.  Blog post in progress in this one.  Did you know that he had four different ones if you count the one he wore in the Season 6 finale?
  2. Went on “progress” to have lunch with Claire and Jamie — I went to the Outlander exhibit at the Paley Center.  I have two words: ‘awesome’ and ‘go’.  Seriously, if you live within a couple of hours and are a fan of the show and the incredible work that Terry Dresbach and her extremely talent team create it, it is worth the trip to Beverly Hills to see it.  [Me: Does sipping a frappucino in front of the window drooling at the RED dress count as lunch?]
  3. Fabrication:  We’ve received our first batches of Tudor era style wool from England.  We’ve received some heavy weight “poor black” linen as well.
  4. Costume College 2016 — Yep, we’re going.
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Site Hiccups!

As a result of the fabulous time we spent celebrating our site shop grand opening with our furry friends at #NipClub at their NipClub Monthly fund raiser party, we should have know there would be fallout or some sort.

Now for those not in the know, NipClub is short for Catnip Club — and well, several hyper-nipified kittens got loose and uncovered things, chewed on cables, batted links underneath the stove and well, caused unmentionable havoc.

So with that disclaimer, our shopping side of the website will down for a few days while we scold bad, but ultimately helpful, kitties and fix things.

 

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Costume vs. Garb — well, which is it?

You’ve just discovered the joys of historical reenacting[1] and have joined your first event as a real participant, not a well-appointed patron, and during the course of the event, you find yourself engulfed in a heated dispute over what to call the outfit you are wearing. ACK! What’s a newbie to do? So, while you’re fending off some overzealous, self-appointed member of the costume police, please allow me to clarify a few points and answer that eternal question . . . The ultimate answer might surprise you. It did us!

Is it a “Costume” or is it“Garb”?

As much as some would prefer it to be the contrary, referring to your “fyne period attyre” as a Costume is not only grammatically correct, but proper as well, as I will explain.

A Costume as defined[2] is either “the attire worn in a play or at a fancy dress ball”; “the attire characteristic of a country or a time or a social class” or “unusual or period attire not characteristic of or appropriate to the time or place.”

So let’s examine the facts.

  1. You are a Participant and/or a Performer at your local Ren Faire.
  2. You’re wearing clothes are indicative of 16th century England.
  3. It’s the 21st century America.

First, if you assume the premise that “All the Faire’s a Stage”, then the condition of “attire worn in a play” is met, and thus, you are wearing a costume.

Second, the simple fact you are wearing clothing reminiscent of 16th century England and the calendar says it’s June of 2003 and you’re in Devor, California precludes that it could be anything else but a costume.

Therefore, with that being said, you are wearing a Costume.

Nevertheless, there are instances where not only are you wearing a Costume, but you are wearing Garb as well.

 Garb, as defined[3] is most commonly what we do, e.g.: “provide [someone] with clothing or put on clothes”. Think of that line from a well known Christmas Carole – “don we now our gay apparel.” Additionally, Garb is also “a particular dress for sporting,” and here lays our clue, the use of the word “sporting.” While the usage is somewhat Victorian as well as arcane in nature, and no longer in vogue, sporting refers to one’s participating in athletic endeavors. As any student of Biblical Hebrew will tell you, Garb is one of those words that gets as close to a verbal noun as we get in the English language.

Therefore, if you are participating in recreation of a period athletic event (ie: fencing, archery, horse tournaments, jousting and such), the specific period attire worn for such an event would most certainly as well as correctly be considered Garb. However, it is only Garb if you are a participant in the sporting event, not as a part of the combatants’ following or the spectators.

Regretfully, there is a “certain stigma” that has become associated with the word “costume.” Amongst certain factions of historical reenactors, there are those would rather die a thousand deaths than to have their labor of love be equated to that $40.00 special from the local volume discounter at Halloween time. I, on the other hand am not, but I am going to take the leap and speculate that this might have something to do with the readily acceptance of the word “Cosplay”[4] as a way to distinguish our labors of love – usually from a movie, television program, comic book or anime – from a fancy dress party outfit. [Yes, I used the British term for a costume party.]

So what is our answer to the question? We say Yes, it’s both – we just lean heavier towards the costume side of the equation.  But whatever you want to call it, it’s still just clothes from a different era than the one we are currently in.

 

References:

[1]“Historical Reenacting” for the purposes of this paper is being generically applied to any and all activities which require the participant to dress and conduct themselves in manner appropriate to an era of history that is not the actual years in which they are living. Such groups include reenactors at such places at Kentwell Hall, Colonial Williamsburg, Plymoth Plantation; Renaissance Faire participants (“Rennies”), Dickens Festivals, and members of the Society for Creative Anachronisms (SCA) to name a few of the more prominent groups.

[2] The American Heritage College Dictionary, Third Edition, Houghtion, Mifflin Company, 1993, page 314

[3]The American Heritage College Dictionary, Third Edition, Houghtion, Mifflin Company, 1993, page 561

[4] “Cosplay.” Wikipedia. Wikipedia Foundation, Inc, 5 Mar. 2016. Web. 15 Mar. 2016. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosplay#cite_note-42>.

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How I spend my Thursday nights (a reprise blog post)

OBLIGATORY DISCLAIMER:

This is a “rescued” post from a now retired, theological theme subject matter blog, Hagios Blogging. I decided that it was worth reposting in as a prelude to the exciting happenings that are rapidly evolving for this April in association with my feline friends at NipClub and the site re-launch.  This post has been ever so slightly edited for content and craptastic(R) grammar.

“How I spend my Thursday Nights”

Originally dated 4/12/2012 in the “Almost Crazy Cat-Lady-land” category

Several A couple of years ago, I stumbled upon a group of people on Twitter who referred to themselves as “Ani-pals.” I discovered they were people who tweeted on behalf of their pets, and had made friends with other like-minded individuals.  Hence, they had become animal pals, which became shorten to Anipals because when you’re limited to 140 characters or less to express a thought you abbreviate . . . a lot.  (and yet another reason the English language and grammar is doomed, but that’s another rant for another time.)

I bring this up for a reason, through the process of gaining followers on Twitter and reciprocal follow backs, I have swapped tweets with many wonderful people, many of whom like I and my husband had gotten into animal rescue “accidentally,” having been seduced by the precious face of one of God’s purring or barking creatures.  For us it started innocently enough by watching the elderly lady next door and her porch-full of semi-feral cats that she would feed.  Not being a cat person, it was a source of amazement to me to watch the cats gather as if by announcement by their own Feline News Network that a snack would be available, and the various routes that they would take to get to her front door.  At time it seemed like they had transporter technology because one moment the porch was completely empty and the next they were there.  As time progressed, it became apparent that these cats were simply not getting enough to eat so every couple of days; we started putting food out, too.

As this was during the time that the both of us were working from home, I was afforded the time to observe these furry creatures just being themselves from our kitchen window while doing dishes and was able to connect the dots so to speak and make correlations between cats and how they treat us and how we treat our Lord and Master.  A paper came out of it: Curious about Kurios and Cats where I discuss my observations and how we became cat people.

Now to the subject of Thursday nights:

….having been introduced to this group of people and reading their tweets, I discovered that not only were they animal lovers but they supported animal rescue charities as well and held fund raiser events on Twitter.  They called them “Paw Pawties” and used the hashtag of #pawpawty in their tweets so other people could sort and follow what was going on.  I “attended” my first one in April.  It had a Science Fiction theme and was a birthday pawty for Boris Kitty’s human dad.  It was a little intimidating as most of the group had been pawpawtying for over a year and they had their own lingo and talked about things like Niptinis and Bacon! Beer, but with a photo-shopped picture of our Obi-wan Katnobi as his namesake for my avatar and I watched and learned.  An actual PawPawty itself is best described as a virtual reality gathering of like-minded individuals either tweeting on behalf of their pets or as themselves, (the majority are pets) and carrying on as if they were at an actual party.  (Think LARPing but online, with cats … and dogs and bunnies and the occasional hamster.)

The following month, someone had a brilliant idea to create a weekly ‘pawty’ gathering where people could hang with their friends in a more casual manner, relax and have a good time like the 1980′s TV series Cheers …and #nipclub was born.  Since then, as my work schedule permits, I pop onto Twitter and chat and share a virtual cocktail and have had the privilege of meeting some of the nicest “folk” around.

You can read a fantastic article in the Anipal Times about Nipclub’s origins here, and you can visit NipClub’s own page and read their history from the cats’ own mouths.

Nipclub is getting ready to celebrate its 6th birthday on on the second weekend of May 2016 and I’m glad to be a part of it.