I know I’ve been rather quiet recently. Sorry, I guess? But I’ve been focusing on my Professor Idgie Sparks, Mistress of Questionable Potions and Elixirs cosplay and, well, watching Labyrinth, and it’s kept my super busy. I honestly have no idea when I’ll get back to my normal blogging schedule. Because I really want this one to be quality. I love this character a great deal and have been working with her for several years and if I’m gonna do her, I’m gonna do it right.
That is all. I love each and every one of you!
I have to check my wig to see if it’s dry now.
➸ Dear people who think writing isn't a 'talent', I have lived a hundred lives and created a hundred more. I have formed dozens of worlds, relationships, and characters. I have felt every emotion plausiable; cried for my characters, laughed for them, and died for some. I have made my emotions into words that can touch others or inspire them. I've done the impossible over and over again all while balancing from the brink of insanity. Sincerely, Still think writers and poets are 'talentless'?
Claire’s fancy-pants HISTORICAL FASHION MASTER POST
So my historical costuming resources list from 2011 was less than a page long- I’m not saying that I’ve learned a lot in the past three years, but this list is now sitting pretty at a solid nine pages. Whew. And people wonder why I want to redo this damn series.
This list is by no means an exhaustive one- it’s a list of (primarily western) historical fashion resources, both online and offline, that is limited to what I know, own, or use! It’s a work in progress, and I’m definitely hoping to expand on it as my knowledge base grows. First things first, how about a little:
ADVICE FOR RESEARCHING HISTORICAL FASHION
- Read, and read about more than just costuming. Allowing yourself to understand the cultural and historical context surrounding the clothing of a particular region/period can be invaluable in sussing out good costume design. Looking at pictures is all well and good, but reading about societal pressures, about construction techniques, daily routines, local symbolism, whatever else will really help you understand the rhyme and reason behind costuming from any given context.
- Expand your costume vocabulary. When you’re delving into a new topic, costuming or otherwise, picking up new terminology is essential to proper understanding and furthering your research. Write down or take note of terms as you come across them- google them, look up synonyms, and use those words as a jumping off point for more research. What’s a wire rebato? How does it differ from a supportasse? Inquiring minds want to know.
- Double-check your sources. Especially on the internet, and double especially on tumblr. I love it, but it’s ground zero for rapidly spreading misinformation. Books are usually your safest bet, but also take into account their date of publication, who’s writing them- an author’s biases can severely mangle their original source material.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Do everything you can to find out information on your own, but feel free to reach out to people with more specialized areas of knowledge for help! Be considerate about it- the people you’re asking are busy as well- but a specific line of questioning that proves you’re passionate and that you respect their subject matter expertise can work wonders.
Okay, onto the links!
It’s impossible to overstate the importance of getting off the internet and looking into books! God bless the internet, but books are (generally, this isn’t a rule) better-researched and better-sourced. Bibliographies also mean each individual books can be a jumping off point for further research, which is always a fantastic thing.
Remember- owning books is awesome and you should absolutely assemble your own library of resources, but LIBRARIES. Libraries. You’ll be surprised to find what books are available to you at your local library.
GENERAL / SURVEYS
- British Costume from Earliest Times to 1820
Fine book with lots of first hand sources, but be wary of the photography in the book- reproduction costumes and thus somewhat less reliable. Though hilarious.
- Corsets and Crinolines
Norah Waugh’s invaluable survey of corsetry and corset patterns- used the world ‘round by modern corsetieres.
- Costume in Detail: Women’s Dress 1730-1930
Elaborate line drawings/diagrams of extant period garments! A fantastic survey.
- Cut of Men’s Clothes
PDF available online! Patterns for men’s period garments.
- Cut of Women’s Clothes
Patterns for women’s period garments.
- Greenwood Encyclopedia of Clothing Through World History
This is a library find, unless you have a pretty three hundred bucks lying around- a great, general resource.
- A History of Costume
A lot of good text and info, to be taken with a grain of salt. Be wary of any reconstructions and or “supposed” patterns that aren’t directly based on extant garments or firsthand accounts.
- Fashion (Taschen 25th Anniversary)
A survey of the Kyoto Costume Institute’s fashion collection- broad but beautiful. On every fashion student’s bookcase.
- Fashion: The Definitive History of Costume and Style
Great overview of fashion history from the Smithsonian and DK publishing.
- The History of Costume: From the Ancient Mesopotamians Through the Twentieth Century
Broad costume survey, second edition.
- What People Wore: 1,800 Illustrations from Ancient Times to the Early Twentieth Century
this is one of those “I am putting this here because I used it a ton when I was younger” but man, mixed bag. Really cool survey to browse through, but also work that is a copy-of-a-copy-of-a-copy in most instances and thus not necessarily trustworthy as a resource.
- What People Wore When: A Complete Illustrated History of Costume from Ancient Times to the Nineteenth Century for Every Level of Society
A collection of Racinet and Hottentoth’s costume plates from the 19th century. A beautiful survey but, since these are later illustrations, to be taken with a grain of salt.
Patterns fo Fashion books
Detailed, hand-drawn diagrams of historical fashion, inside and out. Pretty amazing stuff.
- Patterns of Fashion: The Cut and Construction of Clothes for Men and Women, C.1560-1620
- Patterns of Fashion 1: Englishwomen’s Dresses & Their Construction C. 1660-1860
- Patterns of Fashion 2: Englishwomen’s Dresses & Their Construction C. 1860-1940
- Patterns of Fashion 4: The Cut and Construction of Linen Shirts, Smocks, Neckwear, Headwear and Accessories for Men and Women C. 1540-1660
Fashion in Detail books
Not what you want if you’re looking for photos of entire costumes- note the “in detail” bit up there. Just a beautiful series, and great reference for all the little things you might miss otherwise. The V&A has an amazing fashion collection, and it’s great to see them share it with the world.
- Nineteenth Century Fashion in Detail
- Seventeenth and Eighteenth-Century Fashion in Detail
- Underwear: Fashion in Detail
- World Dress: Fashion in Detail
The one non-western entry in the series.
- Fashioning Fashion: European Dress in Detail, 1700 - 1915
LACMA’s response to the V&A’s series mentioned above, also an invaluable resource for historical fashion detail.
Gee, I don’t know how to research writing Characters of Color tastefully:
- So You Want to Write a Fantasy: Writing Female Characters
- So You want to Write a Fantasy: Culture
- SYWTWAF: Writing What you Don’t know
- A list of adjectives to describe physical attributes, Or, As it turns out, I could go to Starbucks with half this list
- Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack
- Some primers
- More Primers
- RaceFail ‘09: Or where Deepad’s I didn’t dream of Dragons comes from, and why.
- Writing characters of Color
- Writing Outside your experience
- Media Representations Wiki - stereotypes/tropes/culture/etc
- On A:TLA’s whitewashing - All The World’s White, the Rest of Us merely live in it
- The Face of the Other: Do Manga & Anime characters look “white”?
- Describing Characters of Color pt 1 & Describing Characters of Color (pt 2)
- I Didn’t Dream of Dragons
- So You Want to: Avoid Unfortunate Implications
- Transracial Writing for the Sincere
- Why Writing Colorblind is Writing White
- What a Girl Wants: Representation
- An Equal Place at the Table
- Avoiding LGBTQ Stereotypes
- The Problem With Colorblindness (and the Rest of Racebending.com)
- Making Movies for White People: A Tongue in Cheek critique of Minority Representation in the Media, or lack thereof
- From Margin to Center: Writing Characters of Color via Racialicious
- Writing Characters of Color - a helpful community!
- Why my Protagonists aren’t white (even though I am.)
- The Dangers of Telling a Single Story (a helpful Video)
- The Lack of People of Color in Historical Fictions
- How to Read and Respond to Literature of Color
- The Advantages of being a White Writer (in getting published)
- Writing Characters of Colour (Now With 10% Less White Liberal Anxiety!)
- Fic and Skin Tone (discusses Nyota Uhura, otherwise relevant)
- On Problematic Writing
- Writing Race in YA fiction: Debunking Myths
- Diversity Writers: How to Write People of Color
- The Importance of Inclusionary Writing
- Overcoming the Noble Savage and the Sexy Squaw: Native Steampunk
- The Intersection of Race and Steampunk: Colonialism’s After-Effects & Other Stories, from a Steampunk of Colour’s Perspective
- Beyond Victoriana: For EVERYTHING Steampunk/1800s/Industrial Revolution that isn’t just Victorian England and the archives Tales of the Urban Adventurer
- Can I just watch A Game of Thrones in Peace? (A brown feminist fan rant).
- Fantasy and Sci-Fi race Bingo
- Invoking Strangely Colored people
- Many Voices
- AfroFuturism, SciFi, and the History of the Future
- Some Open Thoughts on Race & Dsyutopia
- When Will White People Stop Making Movies like Avatar?
- Portraying POC in YA Fantasy: Are we There Yet?
- Debunking White Fantasy
- Racism in Fantasy
- Magical Realism is Fantasy written in Spanish.
1.) It’s not hard to figure out what to do, there are plenty of resources.
People say you have to get it right, do your research, but … what else are you supposed to research? It’s not like people with more pigment in their skin have completely different personalities than those with less, any more than any individual. It’s frustrating when I can’t even figure out what the heck people are talking about.
Bam. Research step one done for you.
2.) Writing characters of color/minorities is a good thing.
I don’t like the notion that fantasy authors are under some kind of obligation to present ethnically diverse worlds. I’m English, and a fair sized part of English history consists of unwashed beardy white people in mead halls. If I’m inspired by my own history and cultural heritage, then that’s what I’m damn well going to write about. I’m not writing about some other culture just to appease the people who think there aren’t enough black characters in fantasy, or whatever. You want it, you write it. Nothing to do with me.
3.) Your all White Fantasy Land Didn’t Exist in Real Life:
…the rather medieval one has more diversity than real medieval Germany probably had […] In a world with medieval means of transport, it just doesn’t seem natural to me to mix dark-skinned people with blue-eyed blondes in one setting. I just try to give the people a colour that fits the place where they live.
You mean like the people from Africa and the Middle east who began to take over Southern Spain, as well as the Jews who were pretty well spread out throughout Europe, the Middle Easterners they would have met on the Crusades, and the incoming Mongol Hordes who spread to the very edges of Eastern Europe before the empire finally collapsed? Don’t forget that Turkey is right there, and the silk road would have gone from Song Dynasty China, through India, and ended in Turkey before moving further westwards into places like Germany. Also the attempts at the Franco-Mongol alliance would have been pretty interesting. (That’s about the 13th century - arguably smack dab in Middle Ages Europe and definite contact between France/Christian Europe and the Mongolian Empire.)
Unless you’re writing everything in the far reaches of Denmark or something, historically speaking, I call bullshit on people who have societies that are only all white ever, because it’s just inaccurate. Consider the relative closeness of Northern Africa to Spain, or Turkey to the rest of Europe, the conquests of Alexander the Great, the Crusades, Slavery existing in Europe, including England, the slave trade, imperialism, Pax Mongolica, The Silk Road, Jewish Diaspora, the Islamic Empire vs The Holy Roman Empire, Egypt, Algeria, China’s sailing across the world, The Maruyan/Gupta Empires of India, tea trades, Columbus sailing in hopes of finding China, etc, etc, etc.
4.) I mean I just don’t believe you anymore. It’s unrealistic. Seriously guys.
You’d think I’d just denied the holocaust or something. Get a grip. All I said was that I’m going to write about my own cultural experience and anyone who thinks I should do otherwise for the sake of political correctness can bugger off.
This isn’t even about being PC this is just not being wrong about everything.
A delightful fuck-ton of mermaid anatomy references.
A bit of a talk-through; Consider how natural swimming is to mermaids/men. When swimming, they often won’t be utilizing their hands and arms to help them move forward, ‘cause they’re adept to using their tails and want to keep their arms free for multitasking. Of course there are situations where it’s required, like when fighting currents and twisting around. Because they’re swimming on a horizontal, their heads will be turned upward, just like if we humans were standing vertically looking up to the sky. Mer-peoples’ chests are often puffed outward, because the arms are typically pulled back behind them (just like when humans are told to “sit up straight and show good posture” by rolling the shoulders back). Do keep in mind that the GIFs above don’t show full tail movement, as human legs don’t bend outward; mer-tails will be like the side-to-side fish swimming motion, but flipped to the side (if that made any goddamn sense). Don’t forget they’ll be breathing underwater (and maybe on land, depending if you want to grant them that ability)! Are you giving ’em gills, or are the human lungs somehow acclimatized to breathing water? Think about whether you’re designing a mermaid for practicality or aesthetics; if it’s gonna be practical, their hair will more than likely be cut short or tied up, ‘cause, though swimming with long hair isn’t too difficult, it tangles wicked easily and can impede sight (in the ocean, a mere second can cost you). Of course we all like the long flowing hair (I do too), but that’s just something to think about. (Be aware that good haircuts on land might not be good underwater, and vice versa. Consider how the water will affect the hair movement.) And designing the fins, too. Think about whether you’re splicing them with another sea creature or if they’re a new design entirely. Think about how you want them to swim and how the fins will help that work. Also, depending on how “cultured” you want ‘em to be, they probably won’t be wearing clothing, because no other creature under the sea does. But, then again, they’ve been in contact with humans (otherwise there would be no myths and rumours), so maybe they took after us. Who knows. Just food for thought. (Merpeople can be creepy as fuck, too; they don’t have to be these gentle maidens.) And of course, there’s the reproductive/excretive system. If we assume mermaids take after whales, the genitalia will be just about ”mid-shin” level in front. Some people put it at the end of the tail (between the two fins), and some make the fish half disappear slightly at the waist to expose “human” genitalia. You can get creative with it, since they’re mythical creatures. Maybe their belly-buttons are also anuses. Who really knows. “What about merman genitalia?” Look up “male whale genitalia” on Google, or “male fish genitalia.” That might help.
(^ Image credit to mermaids-and-anchors ^)
Sourced by acertainpanda and frenchy-lu:
The noise I just made was inhuman.
I need them
OH GOD NEEEEEEEED I would fucking do everything with these on! Grocery shopping, putting gas in the car, leave ‘em on during doctor visits, whatevs
This Joss Whedon thing has me seriously pissed off…
Not because of Joss’s thoughtless, ignorant comment, but because of the myriad of ways cis people are arguing that trans women shouldn’t be angry.
I’ve seen people say “He wasn’t intentionally insulting trans women,” as if thoughtless insults were magically not dehumanizing or degrading.
I’ve seen people go into semantic details, because the question used the word “female” instead of “women,” directly and unashamedly calling me not female and willfully ignoring the intent of the question.
I’ve had piles and piles of people accusing me of censorship, as if my angry grousing were somehow empowering a government hit squad poised to kill Joss Whedon the next time he makes a “chicks with dicks amirite” joke.
I’ve been accused of thought-policing for daring to say something a rich, white man said was hurtful and insensitive.
I think my favorite was a long message chastising my anger and finishing with “You have a right to your outrage.” Which you can directly translate to “You can be angry, I guess, but you better NEVER say anything out loud.”
There’s always fans defending their hero when a celebrity says something stupid, but the scale with this has been swift and terrifyingly large. I seriously never see this kind of pushback when a celebrity says something racist, or homophobic, or insults gamers. But the second it’s trans women, suddenly cishets, gay men, lesbians, even transmen are tripping over themselves to lecture us about how we’re too sensitive.
And NOW I feel comfortable criticizing Joss Whedon as a human being, not just for the ignorant thing he said:
When you say something mean to a group of people, even if you didn’t mean to, you apologize. You don’t dismiss it, tell them they’re the ignorant ones, and tell them if they don’t like it they can go home. That’s not even really an option, because you help control the messages that go right into our homes. When you decide what a “strong female” is, it gets slapped on movie posters and banner ads and internet forums and all over our friends’ brains. You’re an opinion make and you need to take some responsibility for the opinions you make.
Not that I honestly expected an apology at any point. Whedon has made a career out of abusing his “beloved” strong women. Whether he’s visiting sexual punishment on Buffy, portraying sexually liberated faith as unstable and dangerous, erasing bisexuals by having Willow suddenly declare “nope, lesbian now, never liked all those boys I was deeply in love with,” psychologically torturing Tara for two seasons before fridging her to give Willow pathos, or bright, precocious River Tam’s mutilation into something broken and a burden on those around her, he has a thing for writing smart female character and then punishing them for being too strong. He’s a man who fires actresses for being pregnant and described himself as “a lesbian in a man’s body.”
The man is an entitle straight, white, cis geek with a fetish for girls that can kick high, but fears actual strong women as much as most straight, cis, white men. And yet he’s held up as a feminist icon. I suppose it shouldn’t surprise me that a shallow, ill-thought-out feminist icon would turn out to be transmisogynistic as hell.
Reblog if you are a woman who is offended by the lyrics in Blurred Lines
I will be writing a sociological research paper about the effects of the lyrics in Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines.
Please reblog this if you are a female who finds the lyrics of this song offensive or upsetting.