Friday, April 10, 2009

Dollhouse Episode 5: DeWitt analysis

To see all the DeWitt clothing posts, click here.

In episode 5, DeWitt wears two very different outfits.

The first is a bright, canary-yellow sweater with elbow-length sleeves and a cross-over neckline border, worn over a tweed pencil skirt. The pencil skirt is not a new look for DeWitt, but the colour of the sweater is much brighter than the usual muted tones she favours.

You don't want to make her angry.

Here's a good view of the sleeve length:

Full length:

The second is her go-to black pencil skirt with a very interesting forest-green blouse, made in a silky, drapey fabric. It has a slightly cowled neckline and a fascinating construction for the sleeves: the material overlaps from the shoulder seam to the wrist.

From the back:

Dollhouse Episode 4: DeWitt analysis

To see all the DeWitt clothing posts, click here.

Here's episode 4. Unlike the previous episodes, DeWitt wears only one outfit: a dark navy pencil skirt in a slightly tweedy fabric and a sheer blouse over a camisole. Her hair worn in curls piled on her head, a very pretty look. Since she generally wears her hair down, it's a sharp change.

The yoke of the blouse is lovely:

And here is a view from the back:

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Dollhouse Episode 3: DeWitt analysis

Onward to the third episode!

The first outfit is not my favourite by a long stretch -- I don't really care for animal prints or too much khaki, so this combination is not something I'd go for -- though the obi belt look would be great in a different print.

However! Please note that she's wearing Christian Louboutin shoes, a very famous brand known for its trademark red soles:

The second is an un-characteristically busy floral patterned dress, worn with some fabulous black heels.

It reminds me a bit of an Easter dress, actually.

The third outfit is the most edgy and the one I'm most likely to reproduce -- a leather pencil skirt with a piratical flouncy blouse:

I would probably downgrade the ruffled collar a bit...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Dollhouse Episode 2: DeWitt analysis

Here is the second part of the series on DeWitt's costumes in Dollhouse. In this episode, we see four different outfits, two of which occur in a flashback. The flashback is filmed with a bright haze, so the screenshots didn't come out as well.

The first outfit: a jewel-tone jersey dress with a cross-over bodice, worn with pulled-back hair and another small gold necklace:

A full-length view -- note the gathering at the bustline like the burgundy dress from the first episode:

I like this dress a lot, but if I were to re-create it, I would make the neckline a teensy bit higher (more work appropriate) and length the sleeves to wrist-length. I don't do well with 3/4 length sleeves.

The second outfit is a dress with a cross-over top. I didn't get any screenshots of the full length, but it's a simple shape:

The third is from the flashback. It's a dark navy pencil skirt worn with ANOTHER cross-over top, also sleeveless, but in a brighter blue. Were I to re-create this look, I would probably choose either the exact same colour for the top and skirt or two strongly contrasting colours. The almost-the-same colour combination does not appeal to me.

Here is a full-length view:

A close-up for the bodice:

And an even-closer-up view of the necklace, which I love:

The fourth outfit is much less vibrant than the others, but still very classy.

The blouse is fantastic -- and there's yet another gold necklace:

And here's a full-length view. Love those heels!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Dollhouse Episode 1: DeWitt analysis

This is the first post in a series on Ms. DeWitt's costuming in the show Dollhouse.

Here is the first glimpse we get of Ms. DeWitt. The full-length shots were not so great, but she is wearing a matching pencil skirt. I don't usually like the skirt-and-blazer suit look, but it works with her more casual shirt. Also note the small gold necklace, an accessory style that she keeps wearing.

And here we have the second outfit from the episode -- the standard pencil skirt with blouse. I can't say I'm crazy about the print on the blouse, but I do think I need to sew a black pencil skirt for my work wardrobe. Also note the basic black heel, which she wears frequently.

Her third outfit from the episode is my favourite -- a burgundy jersey dress. The draping at the front is excellent.

And here is a better shot of the front draping (and another small gold necklace):

A view of the back -- you can see that it ties:

Coming soon: episode 2!

A New Source of Fashion Inspiration

Since I am a big fan of Joss Whedon, I have started watching his new series Dollhouse. It's been fantastic so far not only for the great action sequence and suspense, but also for the discovery of a new source of clothing ideas.

Ms. DeWitt, played with steely British decorum by Olivia Williams, works as the boss of the illegal organization "Dollhouse." I will be examining her wardrobe episode by episode over the next few days. Four episodes have already aired, but I will contine to document her clothes after each episode.

Her style is highly consistent and fits into the classy, slightly retro mold that I'm aiming for. It's not as intense as the women in Mad Men, but has a similar air. She has yet to wear pants; she favours pencils skirts with wide waistbands that come above the natural waistline; she always wears hose and fantastic heels; and she wears small and delicate gold necklaces. When not wearing a blouse and pencil skirt combination, she wears beautifully styled jersey dresses.

Besides her clothing, I adore her hair -- dark brown, a bit past shoulder length, in loose waves. She wears it down, in a low ponytail, or piled at the back of her head.

While I wouldn't wear everything she's sported so far (no thanks to anything animal print, even in small doses), I'm exciting about getting ideas for new basics from her wardrobe. I believe she's worn the same khaki pencil skirt in two different episodes, which makes her character seem more real to me (since the average human cannot wear a completely difference outfit every day to the office).

Starting with episode 1, I'll be sharing screenshots and analysis. For those of you also following the show, no need to worry about spoilers -- I am anti-spoiler sharing and will not be discussing plot details.

Saturday, February 21, 2009


Until last week, I wore six rings all the time, every day -- four on my right hand, two on my left. Then I was looking at my left hand in class (distracted? me? never!) and realized that the cameo ring would look nicer if it didn't have another ring nearby to distract the eye. I'd been approaching my rings as "all the time" jewelry but I realized that I could wear them in turns and swap them out.

Amazing eh? Here I was thinking that buying a ring meant making a life-long commitment to constantly wear it, but that is clearly false. So right now I am wearing only three rings, one on my left hand, two on my right. I feel liberated! Before I wouldn't get new rings very often because "oh, I already have a ring that I wear on my left index finger." Now I can get weird little rings just for parties and whatnot.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

An Ode and Some Recent Realizations

These days, I amass my wardrobe from a variety of sources -- basic clothing shops like Old Navy and Target (a.k.a. the affordable sorts of stores), thrifting, and making things myself. However, if I were placed under a dreadful curse where I could only ever buy clothes from one location, I would immediately choose Anthropologie and hope that the curse came with a unlimited budget.

Anthro's pieces are light, feminine, and well-constructed. I do have a few things that I found on clearance (an excellent short-sleeved brown jacket, a basic white tee with a lace-edged neckline) and some that were handed down to me from a friend (the world's best turquoise contra skirt). Still, the prices are rarely in my ideal range.

But a I can dream and still read everything about Anthro -- including this recent newsletter about a sweater decorating party (hat tip: Cam).

I loved leafing through the most recent catalog (thoughtfully included in a recent care package) and tearing out some sheets for my inspiration notebook. The Carniolan Primrose dress caught my eye for several reasons: it's long, high-waisted, short-sleeved, floral, and has a vaguely Regency air about it. And yet, I realize that it would be an unwise purchase because I would end up looking like a Victorian pouf footstool.

The issue is that I am 5'2", and therefore long floral dresses with few tailored details make me look rather shapeless and frumpy. I could wear the dress at home to water herbs in and feed my pretend cats, but wearing it outside of the house might indicate that I'd already descended into Crazy Bag Lady territory. Alas! It's tough to come to grips with the fact that the bohemian/romantic look I enjoy has to be reigned in, or at least tightened up slightly, for use in the professional world. If I were a 6'3" supermodel, I could probably get away with long and flowy with less difficulty.

As it is, I'm going to focus on a few things for my future wardrobe, especially for work this summer:
1. More structured jackets -- NOT blazers, but rather jackets with shape that can keep a loose top and full skirt from looking too dainty.

2. Skirts that hit right below the knee -- This is a great length for shorties since it's neither a skimpy mini nor a maxi ankle-length skirt. I really don't like skirts that hit above the knee, even just above, so below the knee length is my new ideal (rather than the previously mentioned ankle-length).

3. Heels -- I tend toward flats because wearing heels is less comfortable and the ones I've had in the past don't stay on all that well. So for the summer, I will look for heels that are relatively comfortable and that stay on my feet (usually a sizing issue). Oddly enough, I only like heels that are at least 2" high, so I don't have a problem with wearing very high heels.

4. Better jewelry -- It's time to stop buying dorky earrings at Claire's even if mini robots are adorable. I don't have that many earrings of good quality, so I'm planning to focus on nicer classic pieces that will last a while. Fortunately, I've inherited some very classy pearl necklaces, which I will rock this summer.

I'd love to hear about your recent wardrobe epiphanies!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Search and Rescue

Last week, I was browsing the thrift shop on my street when I came across something fairly extraordinary.


One of the nice things about being a crafty person is that you can easily recognize something handcrafted, and vice versa, recognize something clearly made by a machine. It didn't take long before I realized that this sweater was a handknit. There were several clues: it had neither a tag nor a place where a tag had been cut out; the sleeves and sides were mattress-seamed; the top edge of the collar was tacked down, making a fold; the back seam of the collar was fairly visible; there was a small rip in the seam on one of the sleeves (not in the knitted pieces, just in the joining); and I recognized the cast-on. Store-made sweaters have distinctive edges on the hems and cuffs, not clear cast-ons.

I knit an Aran sweater myself last year. It was a hard slog -- a fun time, to be sure, but quite difficult -- so I can't imagine anyone relinquishing a handknit Aran to the thrift store donation pile. In the end, I decided that it was a gift and the recipient either didn't like it or didn't want it anymore. Call me biased, but I simply cannot imagine the original knitter giving it up to a shop with nary a thought.

It's a fabulous sweater, roomy and warm. Like the Aran I knit last year, it's very unflattering to wear -- rather like sporting a comforter. I'm sure it would look much better on me if I were a man and 6'5". Still, I knew I had to have it, to make amends with the original knitter, and because I left my own Aran at home.

Here are some detail shots as well:



N.B. Of course I do not store my knitwear on hangers. I fold up my sweaters! Or I at least ball them up gently in drawers. I know that storing sweaters on hangers (except for those fancy padded kinds) will kill the shoulders.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A Return

Poor neglected little clothing blog. Something happened, known in most cultures as "the end of the semester and the part where you go on vacation," and along the way, Deep Red Bells lost out.

However! One of my goals (not a resolution, as I am not doing resolutions this year) is to shift my wardrobe to a greater proportion of used/thrifted clothing plus handmade goods -- for the savings, and for the environment. So, hopefully I will able to put together some posts about that.

I did slip up in Brussels where I bought a lovely white lace parasol. It's not exactly seasonal right now (if I carried it outside, it would blend in perfectly with the snow!) but I'm very excited about using it when spring arrives, if it ever does. Pics will be forthcoming once I find a good location.