Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Evolution of the Insomniac's  Style, from Romantic Goth to Elder-ly Goth

One of the insomniac's  many obsessions has always been fashion; a dead giveaway being the number of pins on her Dark Fashion Board, surpassing even Gothic Gardens and Decorating Inspirations. And so, a brief look at the insomniac's  wardrobe through the various stages of her life thus far, and how the onset of Old Age is forcing her to constantly re-evaluate her style while still trying to maintain her predilection for All Things Dark. 

In the beginning, when she was younger and much slimmer, the insomniac  had a passion for vintage clothing and had quite the impressive collection, almost all of which was black. Only a bit of the collection remains because, as much as one would like, it really isn't possible to save absolutely everything. Almost everything perhaps, but not Every. Single. Thing. So one has limited oneself to conserving things that were the most unique - anything with beadwork or handwork of any kind, anything Victorian, most of her shoes ... Upon reading this list, it might seem as though the insomniac  has, in fact, saved everything she ever owned, but please believe her when she says - not even close.

Crepe Blouse w/ Ruched Detail

Crepe Jacket w/ Soutache Detail

The following silk velvet outfit was only worn on special occasions and although one absolutely loved the jacket with its beautiful ruching, the skirt always seemed as if it had been made by a different person - someone less skilled than whoever made the jacket - as it never hung properly and required one to spend a large amount of time fussing around with it. The insomniac  has never enjoyed clothes that require fussing, preferring things that can be put on in the morning with no further thought given to them for the remainder of the day. The silk lining in the jacket is now shattered and will need replacing, should one wish to ever wear it again. Which is quite unlikely, since one's tolerance for fussy clothing has decreased even more so as one has aged, if that's even possible.

Maybe it's time to remake the skirt into something else ...

This Victorian lace blouse was worn at the office, generally with a fitted black blazer and one of the many long, flowing black skirts that were in the insomniac's  never-ending collection of long, flowing black skirts, usually with a petticoat peeking out from underneath. The blouse has extremely teensy mother-of-pearl buttons at the back which were quite a challenge to do up, especially with burgundy painted talons (black nail polish had yet to be invented). Over the years, the insomniac  has always worn her nails far too long and to this day prefers dark coloured polish. Although never black; she feels she might be a bit too old to rock that look.

Victorian Blouse

Victorian Petticoat

Based on her choice of attire, the insomniac  surmises from her research she might have been known as a Romantigoth or Victorian Goth, should such labels, or even a Gothic subculture, have existed back in the Dark Ages when she was born. Although she never wore a corset herself (having just missed the Victorian Era by only a few years), she greatly admires the look on today's youth, but is quite grateful she is well past the point it could be considered age appropriate to wear one, as they do seem like the type of attire that require a fair amount of fussing. And should she ever have attempted to wear such an article, she is quite sure her Sainted Mother would have made some kind of snide remark about chippies - an antiquated expression that used to translate as “a vulgar, common girl who wears cheap, shiny jewellery and far too much makeup”, although one has the distinct impression it might mean something completely different these days.

The insomniac  also had a passion for Peter Fox footwear and first discovered them in Vancouver's Gastown in a boutique called Fox & Fluevog. And while John Fluevog claims he “is thousands of years old and Peter Fox is, in fact, Methuselah”, the insomniac  is probably quite close to being the same age, a fact one doesn't usually care to admit publicly. Almost all the PF shoes were saved for the day they would be handed down to the youngest female offspring; upon reaching the age of thirteen, her shoe size determined that could no longer be considered an option. And so now they're being preserved for ... Posterity? The Peter Fox Shoe Museum? The Salvation Army Thrift Store, once the insomniac  passes? Who really understands why she insists on maintaining the collection ...

But for now, the shoes have been rewrapped in their tissue paper and lovingly returned to their original boxes. All except for the black pair indicated by a question mark - that particular box somehow went missing. You didn't really think the insomniac  was so obsessive she remembered all the shoe's names without the help of the box labels, did you? DID YOU?

L-R:  Kimberly  -  7210  -  Kim  -  Helen  -  ?

In addition to the shoes, two pairs of Peter Fox boots were also in the collection - one pair called Brandy that were so worn out and completely beyond repair they were actually thrown away. Having said that, one might just go double-check the basement, as one is having a really hard time believing she actually managed to throw something out. But the next pair were always the favourites, purchased in Montreal for the astronomical price of $498, which back then actually was a staggering amount. The insomniac  walked past the boutique numerous times before finally deciding she couldn't possibly live without them, and would regret it for the rest of her life if they were left behind. And that might very well have been one of the smarter decisions she's ever made, to date. A similar style is still available on the Peter Fox website (you'll never regret it).

Victorian Granny Boot

After the arrival of the offspring, and the subsequent loss of whatever slim figure she once had, the insomniac's  style evolved from tight, figure-flattering vintage clothing to looser,  more practical clothing. At this point, a bit of pattern was added in a futile attempt to camouflage any spit-up or jam-encrusted finger marks that managed to land on her outfit before leaving the house for work each morning.

California Dress, from a now defunct company called Victoria Falls.
Often worn with the lace-up-the-leg PF Kimberley ...

Mulberry Dress, which looked smashing with the PF Helen.
And also made a very nice maternity dress ...

Then came a long stretch of time when the insomniac  stayed home with the offspring. Funds for anything other than the mortgage on the Gothic Mansion and keeping the offspring fed and clothed were just not available. During those lean years, the insomniac's  style (or lack thereof) was limited to black t-shirts and Levis for dressier occasions, or black t-shirts and the spouse's cast-off sweatpants for more casual days. And no, there aren't any pictures one would be willing to share from that particular period ...

Later in life, when the insomniac  returned to work in the Retail World, she was lucky enough to be employed in a beautiful little boutique for four years, and there acquired a  taste for expensive European clothes, being particularly fond of the loose and comfortable Lagenlook style. But her colour palette was still quite limited, to the point where her co-workers finally exclaimed, “For heaven's sake, will you please  buy something other than black!” And because the insomniac  adored these women and completely trusted their sage advice, she broadened her palette a teensy bit and rediscovered grey, burgundy and certain shades of purple. Even so, if you were to take a peak inside her closet today, it is Still Quite Dark in There.

Olars Ulla Skirt with Plum Petticoat ...

And at this present stage of her life, such is the insomniac's  wardrobe: predominantly black Lagenlook outfits when working at contract jobs; black t-shirts and jeans when she is not. The only things remaining unchanged throughout this evolution of style being the overly long, dark nails, a fondness for black t-shirts and Levis, and the fact she still enjoys a Really Good Petticoat. Which would explain why a substantial assortment have been ordered for the Attic, with the unspoken understanding that one of every colour will  be ending up in the insomniac's  closet. And this is how the collection grows ... 

Until next time, the insomniac  wishes you nights of blissful sleep filled with pleasant dreams. But before you drift off tonight, the insomniac  asks if you might give some thought to her new business plan ... a clothing line in a comfortable organic cotton jersey with a bit of handwork in a Gothic/Dark Mori motif, suitable for Retirement Home attire; an easy-care wash and wear line for those instances where spit-up or jam-encrusted fingers manage to land on the outfit. The insomniac  welcomes your comments, and any suggestions for a brand name.

Goodnight, my pretties.


This post is dedicated to the insomniac's  former co-workers, who helped her exhume a love of fashion that had been buried for far too long. She really misses you. And though she loves you all dearly and has nothing but the utmost respect for your opinions, the very second her hair turns completely grey she will be ignoring your sage advice and letting it return to its former length so she can resume wearing it in a long braid down the middle of her back. Why on earth would she do that, she can hear you asking? Because that is how the insomniac  rolls, my pretties. That's just how she rolls ... 


  1. Oh your vintage clothes are soo lovely! I have a lot of vintage clothes most from the 50's I also have a larger body but my goal is always to fit in my beloved treasures :). Nice to see that you wear swedish brands. In the same style but not much black you have Gudrun Sjödén (her autumn collections are always the best) or Ewa i Walla (lots of grey and dusty brown).

  2. There are so many vintage clothes the insomniac regrets getting rid of - mostly because they no longer fit! It would have been an excellent plan to have a goal like yours, to always fit into your treasures ... Sigh.

    One does love all the Swedish brands, and actually owns one piece of Ewa i Walla (in black), but no Gudrun Sjödén as yet. One always prefers the autumn/winter collections in any line, since there is a very good chance there will be something in black or grey.

    Might the insomniac mention at this time how much she is enjoying your blog, and how much she Absolutely Loves your new haircut - it looks smashing on you!! :o)

  3. May I jump into your closet? Please??? You have no idea how much I love the velvet coat and the petticoats!

  4. Perhaps you should forward the insomniac your address, because her own female offspring believes her Sainted Mother's taste is Just Too Weird, and one is going to need someone to bequeath the collection to! :o)

  5. ...♥...
    loving your blog

  6. Thank you - that is so kind of you! One will definitely be checking all yours out tonight after work!!

  7. Oh my, the blouse and shoes are to die for! the shoes utterly look like they are from the long ago and elegant past! Delightful! Adopt me? :P

  8. The Victorian petticoat is gorgeous! and I love that velvet jacket! I'd love to see photos of you rocking your fabulous shoe collection then and now!

    1. The petticoat is gorgeous, isn't it?

      As for a photo? The insomniac predicts the popularity of this blog would decrease dramatically should she ever make that unfortunate decision! We'll leave that sort of thing up to all you beautiful creatures who already do it so well ... ;o)

  9. Forgive the late reply as I only just discovered this post. I was, years ago, one of those Goths who sews their own clothes and I developed quite an eye for fabrics etc. You are right about that velvet skirt. It is not as well made nor is constructed from the same quality fabric. I love your style. It is so beautiful. I am an elder goth but of a more minimalist style. Lace does not work for me sadly but I am one of those rare people who can still wear black lipstick and not be worn by it past thirty, so it's not all bad.

    1. Of course I forgive you - I'm kind of amazed you even came back this far to read, Violette Rose-Jones!

      Even when I bought the silk velvet outfit, I knew I shouldn't have purchased the skirt - but sometimes you feel obligated when buying old things that they shouldn't be separated, don't you? Same with antiques - I've frequently bought groups of pictures that were obviously a set, even when I didn't like one of them, to avoid breaking them up. Silly, I know. :o)

      My style at the moment isn't so beautiful, and I think it will degrade very rapidly once we've moved to the country. Although I am kind of liking the whole Dark Mori thing ... I think that might work well out there. I've never been able to wear lipstick - black or otherwise - so I envy you that! But I have found a lovely gunmetal nail polish which doesn't look quite as harsh as black, which I'm very happy with. :o)

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment, Violette!