Captain America Fitness

Last year, geek fashion giant Her Universe teamed up with Kohl’s department store to release their first major activewear line. Just in time for the Captain America: Civil War movie release, the line was themed with the powerful figures of Captain America, Black Widow, and Iron Man.

Geeky activewear? Well that’s something I didn’t have in my wardrobe. Affordable geek activewear? Excuse me while I shuffle over to Kohl’s….

So shuffle over I did. After trying on every piece (and subsequently realizing that no, I didn’t have enough of a paycheck that week to buy EVERY piece. It was a tough choice, let me tell you…), I walked away with two Captain America outfits and one Black Widow outfit. For this post, I’m going to focus on one of those outfits and roll out the other two later. Since today is July 4th, what could be more patriotic then Captain America?

This particular combination is a bit daring for me, but I’ve found it’s a very comfy combo to wear in the heat of Atlanta. The fabric is comfortable and the cuts of the pieces allow for full range of movement (but without the clothes moving too much for the dreaded wardrobe malfunction). The higher waisted shorts in combination with the sports bra puts a slight vintage feel on an otherwise very modern pattern.

Confession: I wear the Captain America outfits and the Black Widow pants a couple times a week. Yep. They’re totally my “activewear-as-everyday-wear-even-though-I’m-not-going-to-the-gym” clothes. They’re comfy. They’re geeky. They’re conversation starters. What’s not to love?

(While the colours have been retouched in these photos, my skin, body size, etc. have not been. So every bit of cellulite, scars, wrinkle, or bony/flabby part you see is all me.)

Photograph: Kyle Matthew Williams
Sports Bra: Her Universe
Shorts: Her Universe
Aviators: Target
Shoes: Naturalizer via DSW

Star Wars Tee

Star Wars teeWhile I’m aiming to keep this blog more on the high fashion/business side of geek style, I also like to show a well-rounded wardrobe (as, let’s face it, wearing a slinky gown or business suit all the time is not the most realistic. Can you imagine trying to clean the bathroom or help your friend move in a crisp tailored dress? Nay. Sometimes life calls for the practical).

Star Wars teeTechnically, this is the underlayer to the outfit in my Darth Vaderinspired outfit post. But due to the recent spike in hot weather recently, I’ve been practically living in this t-shirt. I’m not usually one for t-shirts in general (I’ll take a tank top over a tee any day) and definitely not loose ones. But I was trying to find any decent looking Star Wars tee a couple months ago to wear to The Force Awakens premiere. I had kept the tags on to return it, but I found I actually liked the shirt. It’s cool, breezy, and comfortable.

Star Wars teeThe catch with this kind of t-shirt though is to keep the other layers tight or else, due to the baggy nature of the shirt, one can look dumpy real fast. Now there’s no hard and fast rule on that as we live in the age of anything goes. But I find, I personally like to keep proportions balanced.

Star Wars teeStar Wars the force awakens tshirt
Photographs: Kyle Matthew Williams
Tshirt: Target
Leggings: Forever 21
Boots: Steve Madden

Star Trek Dress

Star Trek Fashion dress
Set phasers to stunning!

Star Trek Fashion dress
In continuation with my geek chic outfit series (which I dearly hope can become a regular thing), I bring you the everyday Star Trek outfit. With its iconic color blocked sections, short skirt, and long sleeves it was too perfect of a dress to pass up. I paired it with boots to mimic the show as well as heels for those desiring a more fashion and less costume-y look. (Further still, for those who want to add another layer of modesty, black tights go well with the dress. Just think of it as continuing the long black lines of The Next Generation uniforms. 🙂 )

Star Trek Fashion Dress
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the beloved sci-fi television show. With it’s rebooted movie franchise and newly announced 2017 TV show, Star Trek is more alive than ever. This cultural phenomenon has lived on in its influences on science, modern philosophies, racial issues, role models, fashion, technology, and many more facets of our society. Very few shows can claim that sort of impact, much less the longevity! (While I admit to being more of Babylon 5/Star Wars fan myself, I have a deep appreciation for the legacy of
and many of the lessons taught in The Next Generation series (my favourite of the bunch).)

kmphoto-startrek-5588
Alas, the dress was no easy thing to acquire though as it came from the hotly anticipated 2015 H&M Balmain collection. I originally had my eye on the premiere black and gold embellished dress for a Game of Thrones-inspired outfit (until I saw the price! One certainly worthy of a Lannister…). But in searching through the collection, my eye fell on this dress. My mind immediately screamed “STAR TREK!” After seeing the price was in my budget, I opted to go for it.

Star Trek Fashion Dress
Alas, I didn’t anticipate how intensely people were after this collection. I moseyed on over to H&M when the doors opened on launch day only to find that I had missed out on the information that they had opened the doors early. I was a bit annoyed at my ignorance of that fact until I discovered that people were waiting overnight for the collection launch; that they practically ripped apart the store, knocking over displays to get their hands on the coveted pieces. I love clothing just as much as the next person, but my goodness…

Star Trek fashion dress
But all was not lost. I managed to be one of the lucky ones to find this dress on eBay for near the original price (many were being sold for 2-3 times the price for those looking to hawk a profit). So keep that in mind when you’re shopping. If a popular piece is sold out, it might show up on eBay!

Star Trek Fashion Dress kmphoto-startrek-5638 kmphoto-startrek-5880 kmphoto-startrek-6031
Geek chic fashion….to boldly go where no man has gone before.

Photographer: Kyle Matthew Williams
Coat: PCK New Zealand
Dress: H&M Balmain
Boots: Steve Madden 
Heels: Aldo
Earrings: Amazon 

Darth Vader Leather Jacket

Darth Vader Leather Jacket the lady nerd

In my continued flirtations with the Dark Side of fashion, today I bring you another outerwear from Her Universe and Hot Topic the beautifully designed Darth Vader jacket. This is one of my favourite pieces out there in the world of geek fashion with it’s subtle tones, understated, but well-crafted design to mimic Vader’s suit. Not to mention it is the epitome of “stealth geek”. For those who know what it is, the Vader design can be clearly seen. But for those not in the know of the culture icon, it simply looks like a stylish leather jacket. Perfect for a model off-duty look.

12360131_10154396157443662_6179332622267083029_nkmphoto-starwars-9804kmphoto-starwars-9619kmphoto-starwars-9599I opted to experiment a little with this shoot in changing the proportions of the top and bottom (normally I wear tighter tops and looser bottoms. But here I swapped as well as going for a shorter top and longer bottom when I usually do the opposite to cover my Na’vi-length torso). It felt awkward on, but seeing the photos now I like the effect. It makes me look so much taller!

kmphoto-starwars-9586 kmphoto-starwars-9666Then there’s the boots….I bought this pair of Steve Madden over-the-knee boots (on sale!) specifically for this shoot intent on returning them afterwards, but after a barrage of friends gave me the “don’t you dare!” I guess I’m keeping them…

kmphoto-starwars-9845 There’s a few wonderful details hidden throughout the jacket that bear mentioning. From the subtle pops of red to give a nod to the crimson hues of a Sith lightsaber to the imperial logo etched on the back of the jacket to the message hidden on the interior lining, this jacket is a true work of geek fashion art.

kmphoto-starwars-9743 kmphoto-starwars-9870 10620631_10101171438694728_1387164952943616591_nWith great regret though, I have to admit that the jacket doesn’t fit me. “But it fits in the photos so well!” Ah, and here is the great secret of many a modeling photoshoot – clips. I cut a lean figure with a very long, thin torso so even clothes made in the XS variety don’t fit me most of the time. Usually I get my clothes cheaply tailored, but every so often there comes a piece like this where I can’t afford to have it tailored. This jacket is better suited to those with short-to-average torsos and more curves than little ol’ stick me. (You can actually see in the first photo at the top of the blog how far the jacket flares out, almost peplum-like on me. I prefer a sleeker cut.) So with a heavy sigh, I’ll be passing this along to a friend, but I couldn’t not take a photoshoot beforehand!

Fashion clipsPhotographer: Kyle Matthew Williams

Earrings: Ebay
Jacket: Hot Topic
Leggings: Forever 21
T-shirt: Target
Boots: Steve Madden
Clutch: Pop Cult
Sunglasses: Mall kiosk

Imperial Fashion

OpenAlthough I will forever be on the Light side of the Force, you have to admit, the Empire had better fashion sense. (Rather like the Nazis, from whom the Imperial costumes were designed. A horrific group on many levels, but admittedly stylish.)

While I am most certainly a lover of geek fashion, alas, I’m not a fan of the majority of designs out there for geek women. Just not my style (or body type. With my taller stature and long, thin waist coupled with short inseam, it doesn’t lend well to popular styles of skater dresses or high waistlines). Though I love the idea behind companies like Her Universe – bringing geek fashion directly to female fans. Geek girls have often been ignored in favour of guys, relegated only to simple tshirts. But no more! It’s an amazing time we live in that such companies, like Her Universe, exist and are flourishing. Alas, I’ll give my confession that I’m not much of a fan of most of HU’s designs (as I tend towards a more tailored look akin to sleek, sophisticated fashion lines like Ralph Lauren or Yves Saint Laurent), so I haven’t bought anything from them.

Until now.

kmphoto-imperial-9413I love this cardigan! I’ve been wearing it so much since I bought it (as, truth be told, the outfit in this post is exactly what I wear normally. In fact, this may be the outfit I’ve worn most this fall). It’s subtle in its geekery where it looks like a fairly normal cardigan. But to those who know Star Wars, they will recognize it as a piece based off Grand Moff Tarkin’s imperial uniform, complete with matching coloured rankings.

kmphoto-imperial-9527It’s well constructed in a heavier cotton-esque knit. I love the 3/4 length sleeves as I inevitably push my sleeves up that high anyways out of habit. It’s not too warm, not too thin (which I find is a problem with many a cardigan or sweater these days). It’s just right. In what seems to be typical for HU’s designs, the cardigan is on the shorter side and ends above the hips (well, on me anyways). For any other HU piece I’ve tried one, that’s a deal killer. But due to the construction of this cardigan with it’s wide banded bottom, it actually works quite well.

kmphoto-imperial-9459My little twist on it is that I always wear it open, but buttoned by one button at the top. It keeps some air flow underneath the cardigan and acts as a colour break from all the black. (I went with black as an easier option than driving myself crazy trying to find pants to match the cardigan.)

12347605_10101157261885168_4610338871292658405_nkmphoto-imperial-9529kmphoto-imperial-9546
And a view of the cardigan closed. (You’ll have to forgive my slight frown. Even overcast, shooting outside still makes me squint. ‘Tis the downside of having great eyesight…yay photosensitivity!)

Closed

Photographer: Kyle Matthew Williams

Earrings: Ebay
Cardigan: Her Universe
Pants: Express
Belt: Target
Boots: Marshalls

Everyday Rey

While I mainly lean towards the couture side of things with gown versions of popular characters, sometimes certain costumes are just better suited to casual wear. Such I feel is the case with Rey and her rugged, but simplistic looking outfit. So I drew up an outfit that would be easy to translate into regular 21st century everyday clothes.

Everyday Rey The Lady Nerd
Hair
A simple bun would do nicely! (Unless one wants to go for the gusto and do Rey’s 3-bun style, which I still have yet to figure out…)

Top
This style is a variation on the popular wrap shirt. I’ve seen this particular sleeveless variation often this summer (and kicking myself that I didn’t pick up a white one to dye). It would be ideal to find a top that has the look of two-in-one, but if you can only find the outer wrap top, just throw a tank top underneath it and voila! (And if you can’t find the top in the right sandy colour, try getting a white top and dyeing it to the right shade with RIT dye.)

Karen Kane Wrap TopKaren Kane Sleeveless Wrap Top

Calvin Klein Wrap TopCalvin Klein Bar Plaque Sleeveless Wrap Top

Belt

I didn’t think about it when drawing as I was going for a thicker banded bottom to the top, but it would entirely be appropriate to pair a brown leather belt with it at as well in reference to Rey’s costume.

Pants
I plan on just using the pants from my Rey costume, but thankfully her pants style is fairly easy to find (or find pants to alter). In the film they’re of a silk fabric, but any soft fabric should do for an everyday look. Alas, they’re out of season right now, but who knows you might get lucky in thrifting!

41zcWPAU7qL._UL1500_Top-EC 3/4 Pants

F21 culottesForever21 High-Waisted Pleated Culottes

Shoes
Since I have them (and they are SUPER comfy!), I’ll be using the Po-Zu Piper boots that were used in the film. But they can be a little steep in price for some, so here are a couple of cheaper alternatives…
50058891
Target Muk Luk’s Demi Boot

2337195_Gray_Multi
Kohl’s Madden Girl Jackmen Boots

Accessories
BB8 has to show up somewhere right? I think a necklace with be a nice touch in addition to either a leather cuff or any sort of brown material or bejeweled bracelet.

50096893Target BB8 Necklace

50094942BB8 stud earrings


s-l1600Multistrand Leather Bracelet

If you happen to put this outfit together, take a picture and send it to me! I’d love to see it. 🙂 Now all of this being said, I’m totally working on a couture gown version of Rey too….(predictable? Who, me?)

Female Tony Stark

Natasha StarkEnter Femme Tony Stark.
 
Also known as Natasha Stark in an alternative universe known as Earth 3490. (In comic lore, Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four went searching alternate realities for a universe in which the Civil War did not happen, thus avoiding the atrocities that came after. (If you don’t know what the Marvel Civil War is, don’t worry, you’ll find out next year when Captain America 3: Civil War premieres in theaters! 🙂 In the meantime, if you can’t wait that long, check out your local comic store for the comic bearing the simple title, “Civil War.”)

Natasha StarkBut how would a female version of Iron Man look?Probably with the same air of arrogant sex appeal that Tony Stark does. As my makeup artist put it, “Stark looks like he bought a $5,000 Armani suit, went home and slept in it. Then got up the next morning and walked into a photoshoot. All that money, a bit of bedhead, marinated in scotch.”

Natasha StarkAlas, I don’t have Stark’s bank account (or Marvel’s movie financing division either) so I had to settle for a little less on the expensive scale. I’m relatively new to the brand H&M (as a store only recently opened near where I live), but I’m already a fan. They have good-looking clothes for half of department store prices (and less than my usual go-to place, Express). Although, I wouldn’t mind if they started carrying size 0 for teeny gals like me, H&M’s size 2 tend to do the trick.

Natasha StarkI’m always on the lookout for a well-cut blazer on my meager budget. H&M didn’t fail to deliver. I went to simply browse the store’s summer collection only to walk out with not one, but two sharp blazers. (I had to break a few hearts when friends asked where I got the khaki and black leather blazer, only to reply that I had bought the last one.)

“Sometimes you gotta run before you can walk.”

Natasha StarkAlthough they’re not pictured here, the khaki and leather blazer perfectly matches my Express slacks (seriously, it almost looks like they’re cut from the same fabric). It would appear the black blazer also has the same advantage. This pleases me greatly.

Is it better to be feared or respected? I say, is it too much to ask for both?

Natasha Stark“…What are you?”
“Genius, billionare, playgal, philanthropist.”

Natasha Stark

Natasha Stark I’m female.
FE = Iron.
Male = man.
Therefore, I am IRON MAN.
Photography: RBC Image
Hair: Abraham Saucedo
Makeup: Courtney Walters
Khaki Blazer with Leather Sleeves: H&M
Black Blazer: H&M
Arc Reactor: Custom made by Pixelbash Props
White tank top: Forever 21
Black tank top: H&M
Watch: Target
Belt: Target
Pants: Express

The Joy of Hooping

HooperThere are few greater joys in life than finding that one physical activity that you love. For me, I’ve never been a major gym rat or fitness nut. I’ve been blessed with naturally thin physique, so that coupled with a severe dislike of lifting weights for the sake of lifting weight has kept me looking alternative forms of exercise.

neck hoopingThankfully, I got involved with martial arts early in life and developed a love for exercise that engages both the body and the mind. Later on in high school I discovered dance which opened up a whole new world for me in terms of isometric conditioning and mind-body interaction.

Then in college came hooping.

hoopingOh yes, you read that right. Hooping. As in ‘hula hoop'(ing).

I adore hooping. Be it simply moving with the hula hoop around my waist or eliciting oos and aas from an audience with some crazy off-body movement. It’s fun, it’s energizing, it’s calming, it’s refreshing, it’s simple, it’s hard, it’s all of these things. There’s so many different things that one can do with a hula hoop. So many different things that can be brought inside that circle (pun intended). It can be a soulful dance, full of slow explorations of what your body can do or a fast-paced frenzy of wild energy. I never get tired of picking up my hoop and learning a new trick (or better yet, sharing the simple joy of hooping with others). There’s nothing quite like it.

hooping joyI had hoped to take my hooping further to become an instructor and spread this joy to others (or even to choreograph my own hoop routines and do geek-themed videos ala Lindsey Stirling). But alas, those dreams got put on the backburner when my accident happened.

hula hoop portraitBut my dreams didn’t die in the car accident. They just took on a different form. Hooping became a small part of my recovery, with hooping with my arms, then eventually my waist was used as an unofficial part of my physical therapy. Now, I’m back to the level I was hooping at before the accident (with the exception of not quite being able to dance fully just yet. My left leg isn’t quite up to strength. But soon!).

HoopingRight before these pictures were taking by my friend James, I had been invited to a cosplay dance-off at Atlanta’s anime convention Momocon. I’ll confess I was quite nervous as I hadn’t hooped in public since before the accident. But as you’ll see in the video below, I had nothing to fear.

Dress: Double slit maxi dress from Bebe
Photographer: James “Frameshot” Garner (photos used by permission from Anime Geek Gaming Nation)
Video: The Aficionados

The Perfect Spring Maxi Dress

Long green dress olympic ringWell…perfect for me. 😉

I’ve never been a fan of floral prints or pastels, so spring fashions have always boggled me. When shopping amongst an array of hydrangea printed skirts and bright yellow sundresses, I tend to stand dumbfounded at what to do with the brightly coloured frocks. Should I wear them? Can I take a Photoshop desaturate tool to them?

I’ll admit, I’m a dark colour girl (there’s a reason black will always be classic). But in addition to the dark jewel tones, I like (and look best in) forest tones. Earthy hues like greens, browns, rusts, and any other colour that might make one think that I am, in fact, an elf.

Bebe long green dressI stumbled across this pristine piece while on a out on a retail therapy excursion due to a rather stressful week. While perusing through the racks at Bebe, I saw a long piece of pale olive green fabric nestled in between the loud and/or pastel prints. My elven heart was immediately drawn to it and its silken feel. I tried it on, wrestled with the price (as on clearance it was still a hefty sum for my meager pocketbook), walked away for an hour to decide if I really wanted, decided I did, went bought, and smiled about it all the way home.

long green dressI wore it the next day while out visiting friends at one of Atlanta’s anime conventions, Momocon. I got stopped quite a few times by folks thinking it was a costume or just oggling over it’s formal, but casual vibe. A friend was kind enough to snap some photos outside by the 1996 Olympic Ring statue (or “incognito Stargate” as I like to call it).

long green dressAGGN-MomoCon2015-BrianaLamb-JGarner_0014AGGN-MomoCon2015-BrianaLamb-JGarner_0015AGGN-MomoCon2015-BrianaLamb-JGarner_0016Ah, but that wasn’t the only part of the fun. Here’s a sneak peek of Part Two of the photoshoot….

aggn-momocon2015-brianalamb-jgarner_0001Dress: Bebe Double slit maxi dress
Cuff: Forever 21
Photographer: James “Frameshot” Garner (photos used by permission from Anime Geek Gaming Nation)

 

My Little Black Dress

IMG_6826One of the staples oft’ recommended for a woman’s closet is the famous Little Black Dress (or LBD for short). Some would even say it is THE wardrobe essential. It’s a timeless classic and has the advantage of fitting into just about any fashion style. No matter if your personal style is old Hollywood Glamour, modern, preppy, goth, etc. the Little Black Dress suits all.  It can be dressed up and dressed down, depending on the occasion (and cut of the dress), making it incredibly versatile.

Misc7While the true history of the little black dress is a matter of debate, it is most often traced back to Coco Chanel with her Gallic chic stamp on both local French and global fashion. The next most notable LBD (if not of all time) is Audrey Hepburn’s famous black dress in the film, Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

IMG_6823Black also has the added advantage of being a flattering colour on anyone. Not only  that but it’s a universally slimming colour (especially if there are well-placed seam lines to suit an individual’s body type. Example: Princess seams for a flattering torso).

IMG_6798My current LBD is a sleek little number I bought in New Zealand from the store TEMT a few years back. I like the mix of business and cocktail dress that it exudes. I can wear it as-is to a cocktail party or night on the town or throw a business blazer over it for a client meeting.

Heist4(This was an outtake from a Selina Kyle photoshoot I did a few years back, hence the odd about-to-steal-something pose. 😛 )

Dress: TEMT
Tights: DKNY
Shoes: Aldo via thrift shop

Photographs: Me, Kirk Hughes (bottom two)