Fairies in the Forest
Heading back to last summer, to a magical, little Ouji outfit that I wore to Puzzle Wood. It’s been dubbed “Young Newt Scamander” by several of my friends, so I had to go fairy hunting. I mean, what else would I do looking this adorkable?
However as much as I think this look is fun and cute, I’m not as happy with it as I would like. It definitely needs work and I am definitely a perfectionist.
It’s frustrating putting outfits together when you have a really clear idea in your head of how you want the look to go, but you don’t have all the pieces, or something you thought you had has gone walkabout, or, honestly, it just doesn’t quite work and you have no idea why. It drives me up the wall. In an ideal world, I’d want this look to have a velvet waistcoat to match the shorts, and I probably will make one, but, of course, that is a much bigger process. Hand making your own clothes may mean you have unusual, interesting, unique items, but it takes a long time to get anything done. Some days it would easier to buy off the rack.
Of course, most people do not have this strange desire to make all their own clothes, in order to have the perfect wardrobe. I think it comes from my need to control how others view me, and to make sure that I am presenting myself and my gender in a way that I approve of. I want the rest of the world to start understanding me, and that starting point is with my clothes.
I spend a long time thinking about how I dress. Not because I want to look good – though of course that is part of it – but I also want to look “right” for me, and that leads to a weird level of perfectionism. It’s so I can combat my issues, my dysphoria, my internal struggle, and keep a balance in my life with my gender and my body.
Presenting as NB is a very tricky thing to do, after all, what is NB? It’s pretty much whatever the NB person wants to be. I present like a Victorian urchin who’s been kidnapped by fairies, because that’s pretty much the best aesthetic to represent how I feel about my gender. It’s a bit other worldly, but like hell it ain’t a new thing. Nonbinary people aren’t a new fad after all, and they have been hiding away for too long. It’s time to open up a new path of presenting outside of the gender norms, and that means creating fashion that is out of the norms, and that means, we may have to make it ourselves.
Apologies in advance, there’s a lot of handmade and modified stuff in this look, but I will do my best to point you in the right direction for similar items as well as the best places for patterns if you desire to try making some pieces yourselves. Because of this, I’m going to do this break down a little differently to normal, starting with the handmade pieces and then finishing up with the bought pieces.
As I said before this a return to the Ouji style that I have posted about before, though unlike the March Hare outfit, which for me sits in a more “classical” Ouji/Kodona style (by classical I don’t mean Classic which is an actual subset of Lolita/Ouji, I mean more in keeping with the “standard” ouji look. I will be doing a Back To Basics post regarding Lolita and it’s subsets in the near future), this outfit feels more Edwardian, early 1920s. It’s a period style I’ve discussed before, and definitely where I gravitate back to, even with styles of clothing that don’t have their natural home there.
Right, enough waffle, let’s get on!
The shorts are velvet. Obviously. I’m not actually the biggest fan of velvet, but it does have a place, and that place is when you are dressing like an Edwardian child – at least for me it is. These shorts were made for a spring themed meet, but they work perfectly for any time of year, despite the fact that velvet is normally a heavier, winter fabric. I countered that heaviness with a William Morris print, cotton trim on the bottom of the shorts – which the bow tie is also made from, mmm, matching accessories. The lighter nature of the fabric, plus the floral print brings the velvet away from it’s winter abode.
It’s a combination that you can use with any velvet item. Got a velvet skirt? Pair it with a cute cotton blouse, maybe with some birds on it. Wanna wear that velvet top that’s been hanging in your wardrobe forever? Light weight jersey or cotton skirt or shorts will bring it out of the shadows and into the summer sun. It’s a match made in fashion heaven.
Anyway, back on track. The shorts are made in the style of chino shorts but if you want to recreate this look with bought items, I would suggest looking for something corduroy instead because chino shorts aren’t going to give the same look, and the velvet shorts you can get on the highstreet aren’t normally the right cut. If you fancy making them, I actually drafted this pattern off a trouser pattern that I had, but I would recommend this pattern from Burda or this one, depending on your size/body type. Both are easy to follow and easy to modify.
The jacket is the same jacket I wore in School Boy Summers. It’s a really great, transferable piece of clothing. It can be casual or smart, it can go with most things – as long as you are careful with your accessories – and I love it. I would recommend that everyone has at least one all purpose jacket. Be it a blazer or a bomber, having something that goes with everything is more than useful, it’s necessary.
Again, this is a handmade piece, made using a vintage Vogue pattern that I don’t think is available anymore, but you might be able to find it on ebay – search for Vintage Vogue Blazer pattern. If you can’t find that and you want to make one yourself, there are some great choices of pattern at the moment. Just a few off the top of my head Burda B6746, Burda B6813 and Simplicity 1412 but browse a few pattern sites (Simplicity, Vogue, McCalls, Butterwick) until you find something you like. After all, it’s your look.
For everyone who doesn’t want to do any sewing, it’s the same advice as last time I wore this jacket, vintage, tailors, vintage, maybe Topman if you’re lucky, ebay possibly. Sorry I can’t be more helpful on that front, but I’m struggling on finding places to buy myself at the moment. If you happen to be in Bath and have some money to spend Vintage to Vogue is the best place to go.
The jacket is made from a wool blend, lined with cotton. Again, the mix of the heavy fabric with the lighter, printed cotton means that this doesn’t feel like a item just meant for autumn and winter. The rougher feel of the wool, contrasts with the velvet to create depth and definition in the outfit. It feels much more natural and organic than if it was all one, or similar fabrics. Wool and velvet are polar opposites of each other, but that compliment and contrast with each other so well. Honestly I think it’s the best. Also the brown breaks up the green really nicely, and obviously goes with the surroundings. I mean, who doesn’t plan their outfit to look good in the place they’re going? (Oh dear, I’m so sad that I do that.)
Moving swiftly on, the blouse is vintage Laura Ashley but any blouse/shirt with a Peter Pan collar will do because you can’t see it! Even a clip on Peter Pan collar would work – check out Etsy for that sort of thing if you aren’t crafty yourself.
The socks are from Forever England, but they are crochet socks, so you can probably find them other places too. I haven’t been able to find any with the cute lace round the top, but I will keep looking and let you guys know if I do.
Shoes and the bag are charity shop finds. I love charity shops, you will literally find the best and most random things. I’m planning on doing a massive post with all the pieces I’ve found in charity shops over the years.
The boots are lace up pixie style boots I guess, though they could be described as Victorian boots. I reckon any brown, vintage-y boots would do, possibly even brogues or oxfords.
The bag is a leather satchel. You can get them in most bag shops at the moment and ebay is full of them! Worth investing in a good one, it will last you forever (though forever may mean a few years, but still worth it).
Throw a few necklaces into the mix if you feel like it and you’re ready to run off into the woods and fill up a jar with fireflies!
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Written by Holly Rose Swinyard