For this week’s SIA, inspired by Mary Cassatt’s “The Child’s Bath”, I built my outfit around this dress. The striped pattern perfectly reflects the striped dress of the woman in the painting, and I also added a cross-stitch brooch to mimic the floral patterns of the carpet and the wall.
The only part of the outfit I’m not happy with is the shoes – I wanted something dark, because there is a bit of dark red/brown in the painting, but this dress is so quintessentially 80s that if I wore heels with it, I’d instantly look like an extra in 9 to 5 or Working Girl. So in the end, I went with these monk shoes, hoping they can modernize the outfit a bit, but they’re too clunky. Oh well. Don’t forget to check back on Wednesday to see other outfits inspired by this painting!
Here’s another “Dark Academia meets cottagecore” outfit. This pairing is actually something I’ve planned to try for a long time, but the weather was never right – when it’s cold enough for the wool skirt, then it’s too cold for the shirt, and when it’s warm enough for the shirt, then it’s too warm for the skirt. I briefly considered wearing a cardigan with it, but I wanted the shirt to shine on its own. Luckily, the insane weather in the past weeks has given me a chance. Yes, it was still a little warm for the skirt, but by keeping things light on top, the outfit was actually quite comfy. And of course, I had to add a floral brooch to make it more spring-like – call me old-fashioned, but once it starts feeling like spring, I always feel compelled to add some floral touches to my outfit.
It’s a good month of reading. I managed 5 books, and they’re all pretty interesting, so here goes:
The Tough Guide to Fantasyland by Diana Wynne Jones:
Part A-to-Z reference book of the fantasy genre, part tongue-in-cheek travel guide, this book contains explanations of every trope and cliché you’ll find in fantasy (or encounter during a tour through Fantasyland) from ambush and assassin to wizard and zombie. It’s not exactly a book that you can sit down and read thought – it’s more of a reference book. It’s not as hilarious as I’d hoped, but it did give me a few good chuckles here and there, and it can be useful if you’re an aspiring fantasy writer and/or Dungeon Master. 3/5
So I went from a fantasy guide to two history guides. What can I say? My feet are getting itchy again. I’ve enjoyed Ian Mortimer’s previous Time Traveller’s Guide books (to Medieval England and Elizabethan England) a great deal, and these two are no different. I’m more familiar with these eras – Restoration, thanks to Samuel Pepys’ diary, and Regency, thanks to the many Jane Austen adaptations (and both thanks to “The Supersizers”, the TV series with Sue Perkins and Giles Coren) – so the information is not exactly new, and there’s quite a lot of statistics that can be a bit dry, but the whole is still very readable and entertaining. I especially enjoy the various quips about Pepys’ diary in the Restoration guide (I’d forgotten what a dick Pepys was!) 4.5/5
NOS4A2 by Joe Hill:
After three guidebooks, I wanted something a little different – horror. I don’t read/watch much horror anymore, and if I do, I definitely prefer ghost/haunting to gore; however, I came across this on r/booksuggestion, and, seeing it as a new take on vampires (NOS4A2 is pronounced “Nosferatu”) and knowing that Joe Hill is Stephen King’s son, I thought I’d check it out. It follows a woman who can teleport to the locations of missing objects (I’m simplifying things a great deal here), and this causes her to cross paths with an immortal that feeds on the souls of children. Comparison to Stephen King is inevitable – the setting of New England and the theme of childhood horrors certainly remind me of It – but I think Joe Hill can stand on his own. The story is creepy but not too scary; it’s a quick read despite the length (nearly 700 pages); and the characters are all memorable, including the minor ones. My one complaint is the ending – not the climax, but the wrap-up afterward, which feels rushed. 4/5
Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories, edited by Doug Murano and D. Alexander Ward
NOS4A2 has put me in the mood for some more horror, but I’m a bit of a wimp and don’t want to be too scared, so I decided to pick up this short story anthology – if it gets too intense, I can always put it down. Now, the stories in this collection are not “horror” in the traditional sense; rather, they’re about the dark side of the human condition. However, I didn’t love any of the stories. Some have good ideas (“Picking Splinters from a Sex Slave”, “Cards for His Spokes, Coins for His Fare”, “When We All Meet at the Ofrenda”, “Hey Little Sister”) but the endings are disappointing or predictable, while the others are just plain disappointing. It does feature a Neil Gaiman story (“The Problem with Susan”) but it’s actually one of my least favorite of his so… yeah. It was a letdown. 2/5
It’s my turn to host SIA, and here is my pick:
This is “The Child’s Bath” by Impressionist artist Mary Cassatt. It’s a lovely, tender scene, and there are lots of colors and patterns to be interpreted, from the stripes of the woman’s dress to the floral prints of the carpet and the wallpaper. I’ve actually been saving this for Mother’s Day, but then I realize that my week to host didn’t fall on Mother’s Day, so here it is anyway. Remember to send me your outfits by next Tuesday, June 1st. Have fun!
I bought this skirt way back last fall, but haven’t been able to find a top to pair with it – I didn’t realize that gray and blue would be such a tough combo to match! Any color I pair with this skirt would either not look right or seem too much, so I was happy to discover this blue sweater, which matches the blue of the skirt exactly. I also added a flower brooch (some violets, hence the post title) to make it more spring-appropriate. Usually, I would try to avoid “one-trick ponies” (items that can only be pair with one other item) and matchy-matchy looks like this though, so I’m going to have to find some new ways to wear this skirt before next winter.