Fashion, Uncategorized

May the Fourth be with you…

And if you are catholic, you probably answered either: ‘and also with you’ or ‘and with your spirit.’ I know, it’s just what we do.

Because I work at a middle school with a lot of nerds, we celebrated Star Wars day in style. Students and teachers alike got Star Wars free dress meaning costumes, shirts, or whatever else you have Star Wars themed let you have free dress (including a denim day). This is a pretty big deal when you wear a uniform every day of the school year!

The day is topped with a giant picture of the whole school (who remembered/chose to dress up) takes a picture that is later photoshopped onto one of the film locals with some characters added in that is later uploaded across the schools social media.

This is my second year celebrating thanks to lovely gifts from my dad and Bustedtees!

Last year, I wore a great Princess Leia/Tank Girl shirt (now unavailable) which is super cute but was tricky when explaining why the princess looked so different (and figuring out how to explain to 3rd graders what Tank Girl is is a whole nother hurtle!).

This year, I borrowed one of my dad’s new tops which is a casual Han Solo/Vans shoes inspired mashup that takes a second look to figure out how Star Wars is related. Paired with some low Leia buns and a golden robot necklace, I got to play at being a chic Star Wars lady, while in reality I threatened to disown a friend/brother for pretending to mix up many sci-fi fandoms with the films we were celebrating.

So nerd up and may the fourth be with you!

  • Taylor Gallagher
Fashion, Uncategorized

The online problem…

Recently, I’ve come to the realization that I am (slightly) a shopaholic but with severe control over the tendencies – what lingers as a side effect of this compulsion is a constant and growing ‘need’ to shop; a deep and powerful urge that’s hard to fight. While I can fight this in many cases, I have a total ‘breaking the seal’ issue where giving into one purchase, tends to bring on a wide cascade of other purchases. Which brings us to online…

On this blog, I have discussed multiple online purchases I’ve made from the Tulle Chicwish skirt in London to my beautiful white Lulu dress, but most of the time, online shopping is a scary thing to take on.

First, many times you have to have a lot of trust. You have to trust that the reviews are accurate – this can mean people fessing up to their true sizing, ie. weight and bust sizes; explaining the difference in what they though things would look like vs how it actually sits; any details that might be relevant for others looking to make the same purchase. The best I’ve found were on Lulu which had you list your best fitting dress details (ie where it is from) so that they can compare it to the dress you are looking to buy, and Rent the Runway which lets you order two sizes at once to make sure one works (the reviews are also great!) – unfortunately these are rented so you have to return it.

I rarely shop at Hollister (read: I’ve almost bought a hat here, I think?), but I like how their online information works. The site links with the store inventory which allows you to check pieces availability in stores based on color and size – if it’s not there, you can pay online and order to shore. I may be buying my gala top here so getting to try the top on in-store and then placing an order for the right color to pick up later is perfect.

Second, sometimes things that are in the store, don’t exist online. As I mentioned last week, my favorite new pants from H&M doesn’t exist online in any form but walking into the store, you can find a few versions easily. Of course, the opposite is also true: many times there are articles of clothing that are only available online. This could be online stores or just web exclusive but either way, you are faced with the same issues as I talked about in part one.

In other words, as seen in 1 and 2, sometimes shopping online works but sometimes it just doesn’t.

The third issue about shopping online is that since it’s virtual, you don’t necessarily get the satisfaction of your purchase – a problem if you get ‘cravings’ – and you don’t necessarily realize the full cost until you are dedicated. The thing you want is always at your fingers so even if you resist for a while, unless the product is sold out, eventually you’ll buy it and for many of us in the virtual world, not having to go out to the mall and interact with people makes the purchase much easier. It’s also a lot easier to create a longer and longer list of wants that we whittle down so we can say ‘well, I only bought these, even though I wanted all of this longer list’ – ie. Pintrest (a whole other problem).

Again, these are a few ramblings from a little shopaholic who has spent way to much time looking to a top for the upcoming gala.

  • Taylor Gallagher
Fashion, Uncategorized

Personal style and what I’m craving now

When it comes to fashion and style, most people will tell you that picking one defining look and building your personal style around it is the best thing you can do – this is seen in the rise of the capsule wardrobe and the minimalist wardrobe (similar ideas but each can be realized in very different ways). While I like some of the ideas these trends produced – slimming your closet down, cutting back on what you own and therefore wasteful, useless buying, ect. – however, I don’t think I can really, truly commit to these and I don’t believe I would ever want to.

My style choices span across almost all walks of fashion – princess and casual tulle, tees and jeans, high-waist trousers and crop tops, 90’s plaid and dark lipped grunge, full on mix and matched suits (vests, ties, and jackets), to floral frocks and bohemian maxi skirts. To top it all off, I usual mix and match between these styles and switch the style quickly from day to day based on what mood I wake up in even more than what the day has in store.  While this means my wardrobe might be spilling out more than I’d like (i admit I have a LOT of clothes) there is a freedom to be able to decide between grunge, princess and pantsuit without feeling like I’ve abandoned my personal brand.

Still, even with my wide range of personal style choices, there are some trends (some older than others) that have sprung up recently or have begun to nag at me more than others but are definitely considered old loves:

1. Little white dress:

Every girl knows that somewhere in their closet is meant to be one garment: the LBD (Little Black Dress). This is the dress you can grab for any occasion and by a simple dressing up or down, you’ll be ready to go at the drop of a hat. It’s a dress that is so flattering, you know it won’t let you down – you know the cut, the material, everything because it is your perfect LBD.

A few years ago, a twist happened and so many people were showing up in show stopping Little White Dresses – they did everything the black dresses did but felt more daring because we all know the white can be a dangerous color if you’re not careful (spills, sheerness in bad lighting, hides nothing, must I go on?).

While these neutral dresses are on a more level playing field know, I’m really enjoying the thrill of the LWD especially twisted into separates (as you will see). I just bought a pleated maxi skirt and am on the hunt for the perfect white top for it. Which leads us to:

2. Evening separates

I’ll admit I was totally inspired by Rent the Runway’s Waltz Dress by Bailey 44 for a fun gala event I’m going to at the end of the month, but couldn’t help thinking, how great would that be in white (See how #1 works?). The other issue with the dress above is that it only looks like separates, while in reality there is a thin sheer netting between them – I’m not sure how this should work on all skin tones.

For me the choice was clear: take my inspiration an buy pieces that I are cheaper than renting the designer dress and that I’ll be able to wear over and over again, together or apart. This is my favorite part about all separates but especially when you are buying for occasion wear – you have so many options! At a later date, I’ll be able to down plyy a nice white maxi with a t-shirt and sandals and and pair a fun gala top (once I find one that satisfies) with cropped wide-leg trousers and converse for a funky summer look.

Speaking of which:

3. Wide leg trousers

Frankly, I don’t care which point in history you attribute the style to (the silk suit 20s, newsie and musical laden 40s, or ’10 Things I Hate About You’ styling 90s) I love and rock it all. I’ve been living in my two H&M pairs (which you can’t find online) which are longist-cropped (since I’m short legged), elastic, high-waist, light-weight trousers pretty much since I bought them. I love the movement and since they are cropped, pairing these with sandals, converse, booties or heels all work to make a fun, quirky aesthetic.

The hardest park for me is fit and it’s something to really watch out for if this a trend you are looking to try out. Frankly, like most things in the fashion world, these aren’t perfectly fitted for curvy girls. You don’t want anything tight – the material should skim the widest part of you, not cling. I had to buy a size up since my widest parts are my upper thighs but this means the waist band is loose. In the end, I like this because I can choose where the pants sit but I will be adding belt loops because of this. Remember, alterations are your friend!

4. Floral skinny ties:

I’ve seen these beauties popping up in men sections left and right and I want them all!A floral skinny tie is great fro ladies and gentlemen because they give someone of any designation a touch of pretty as well as visual interest that can brighten up a piece. For me, a skinny tie is also the way to go as a woman because you don’t want to be overwhelmed or look clownish, especially if you are petite.

The key to wearing these flashier styles is knowing how to pair your pieces. look at your background colors and keep to that tone – I’ve loved seeing a navy floral paired with a navy jacket or vest but a dark charcoal works well too, rather than a black suit which mostly makes it look like you dresses in bad light and didn’t see the navy.

If you try this trend, you’re usually going to want the tie to be the main event of the outfit – too much eyeball- drawing competition is headache inducing – but floral is one pattern that is hard to pair. That being said, if you do it right…

5. Mixing and matching patterns

Again, like the beginning of the Little White Dress, mixing and matching is a daring adventure in fashion that walks a narrow line but if you don’t mind a few experiments and some critics that will never be on your side, it can be a whole lot of fun. Personally I love watching people do daring mixes of patterns, colors and styles and there are tons of online guides that can help you start to explore without making you look like you dress in the dark (see another theme).

One of my close male friends loves mixing his plaids and always gets mixed results but nothing ever looks garish. He finds the balance by pairing like colors and sticking to subtle patterns – one plaid out of two (more that this gets daunting!) has to stay really subtle almost invisible and playing off a color within your matching set – but don’t match the plaids! This is two much.

For me, stripes are almost a neutral most often paired with a plaid but a floral of a pole-a-dot does nicely too. Again, there are tons of guides on how to do it but the main factor is, even if you have more than one pattern, nothing is competing – there is an order in subtlety that allows each to meld together into a single unified picture.

As I’ve said, my style varies and, for me, settling for one style is putting yourself in a box. Sure you may always appear camera ready but where is the fun in being that clean cut and cookie-cutter all the time?

–Taylor Gallagher

Fashion, Uncategorized

All about the Slanket.


H&M Scarf

I have only recently have fallen in love with this accessory.

If you don’t know what a slanket is, it’s basically a really large piece of material the size of a half blanket that is worn as a over-sized scarf – Personally, I call this a giant scarf or shawl, but one of my students corrected me this week.

Right now, H&M has an amazing sale: each scarf is only $7 and if you buy 2, you get the third free (at least this is the deal in store).

I bought a green plaid one that was so warm for my last SCA event – a scarf during set up and a shawl over my roman during coronation – and was so excited that it worked. On sale, these are cheaper than getting material to create a shawl and a whole lot less work.

I wear mine all the time especially now that it is colder.

I stayed at my sister’s place this week – which is across the street from where we work – but didn’t have a hooded jacket, and, of course, it was raining. This scarf worked perfectly as a head covering that was large enough to cover my head and my overflowing purse on the walk and light enough that, after being laid out, it was dry enough to wear as a shawl on yard duty.

In fact, I love this slanket so much and have found so many uses that I bought my sister – a fellow SCAer – a matching scarf, and two others for us to share.

Even if you are just using a slanket as an everyday scarf, at these prices it is worth it to buy a few since they will keep you warm and can add some texture and color variety to any out fit you end up wearing.

So, yes, I am all about the slanket and you should get on this quick before they are gone!

  • Taylor Gallagher
Books, Uncategorized

Zombies, Run! The Book!

51oau13ciglI am so excited to finally have this! I know I’ve been talking off and on about the Zombie, Run! app and it’s running program, and if you have been reading along, you know that I am hooked.

This month, however, I have been swamped – between working, photo trips, events (and meetings to plan upcoming events), and holiday stuff – so I haven’t really had any time to keep up with my running (the time change and  it getting so dark so early hasn’t helped this problem either).

For this reason, I’ve been finding as many other kinds of work outs that I can do on the run (as it were). Seriously, start pinning female superhero workouts, super fun and nerdy but at the same time they actually do a good job of working you out. As a SCA member with a Viking persona, the shieldmaiden workout (by Neila Rey) has a very special place in my heart.

And on the topic of nerdy workouts, finally getting to look (and laugh) through my copy of Zombies, Run! Keeping Fit and Living Well in the Current Zombie Emergency by Naomi Alderman and Six to Start (the team behind the Zombie, Run! program). What I love about this book is how it really mashes up everything that is great about the app but works alongside it as a supplement.

The whole point of this program – both the app and the book – is too have fun while working out and challenging yourself, and the book is such a great addition to help you with that goal. I was absolutely cracking up skimming through and looking at all the makeshift weapons fashioned for the apocalypse – not to mention the walk through of practicing your spear work with a friend and a marker-tipped broomstick!

I’m sharing this book with my dad which means I’ll be using post-its over the given spaces, however, I love that you get spaces to mark your progress and notes.

I’m not going to give too many things away – I promise the book is worth getting! – but I do want to finish up by mentioning one strategy I never thought about: in a zombie apocalypse you shouldn’t spend more than 10 minutes in a place like a grocery store (too many places for crawlers and the like to hide); if you are trying to shop better (less junk food), limiting your rime here can be a good idea as well. If you give yourself less browsing time in the food section, you are a lot less likely to pick up all the junk food a hungry roamer may grab on a whim.

So that’s it! Have fun, get fit, and don’t get turned into a zombie!

  • Taylor Gallagher
Fashion, Uncategorized

All about the Braids:

Because we can all use a break from politics can’t we?

So as part of my household and barony in the SCA who is new but always willing to jump in, I have become the hairdresser of our group. I love fashion and details and, since braiding my own hair is possible but causes issues when I want to really innovate, I have fallen in love with working on other peoples hair for events.

As I have said, I typically work with a viking persona which involves some fun simple braids that I’m building up, but soon we will be moving to more Grecian and Roman styles which get much more complex rather quickly. Hence, Pinterst!

so both in terms of SCA and my daily life, here are some fun braided looks I am looking forward to tackling:

8e24d951436512a2bef6b2ad66e6b2d91.  I’m starting out with this easy to do Viking braid look. I love this because – minus the hair beads (which, again, I love) – this is a relatively easy style to do. It’s all about varying braid sizes  and keeping things balanced without being overly structured.

I love the smallest braids that have been woven and twisted around the non-braided strands. I have thought about creating something similar – a more Elizabethan woven hair net (think Ever After with Drew Barrymore but with a braid net!) but keeping things stringy never crossed my mind. This is definitely the next thing I will be trying the next time I am a viking at war!

266162b0a75ff760a2a13fee1f037e0f2. My second Viking braid is great for those who need to keep their hair out of their face. Unlike braid 1, this is a pulled back look which gives volume and texture with two styles but three braids to create vivid contrast. The issue with doing this myself is centered on the fishtail braid; I have never been able to really master this style on my own head so I can’s wait to work it all out on someone else’s hair. I think this can be just as successful with a regular braid down the back.

To keep up the volume in the front of the style (especially if you have strait hair that doesn’t like to stay in any style), try curing, teasing, and/or use volume/curling mouse the hair that will form your front twists. The stunning park for my is adding the french braids along the twists. To add some volume and lift from these french braids into the twists, consider doing single anchor braids – adding hair to your french braid on one side (the one farthest from the twists) which lifts the un-anchored side which can be pinned to your twist.

*But now onto the next stage of Roman/Grecian styles. These get much more complicated but I am so excited to get my hands into my friends’ hair – many have much longer hair than I have so they will give me more to work with.

45125202f7f2bcdc3dec232a3f7ab1d73. This look involves braids, curls, twists, and a broken up ponytail; with all the intricacies of this style, this is a banquet/special occasion look, not your average war hairstyle. I have fashioned a whole set of fancy pins which work perfectly for glamming up any style but are definitely suited here. In a quick tangent, these are easy to make – take some easy crafting wire and pearl beads; string the pearl on the wire twice, creating a loop for the bobby pin; twist wire around to secure and snip wire.

As I said, This look takes a lot of work but most of that is curling most of your hair – it shouldn’t matter if these are overnight or quick hot curlers. Based on the curls, expect to have to use multiple types of curlers and curl sizes. Using both curled and straight hair, the styling of these features is what really pulls the look together. I love the over and under twisting between the tight braid spiral and the loose broken up ponytail. And look really carefully! you have tiny woven braids throughout the front of the style. Finally, choose your flyaways carefully and keep it balanced!

43ef377c3fa08f11285b053cb94ae1a04. This is technically four pictures but I am focusing on the on to the top right. Each of these shots show an example of hair from this period and I think they are all worth playing with. The three I didn’t select have harder to pull off fronts – getting those roll curls to stay in place would be hell!

For the one I did pick, again this is a mix of features which is amazing – twists, braids and a low bun. I fell in love with this style from the first for two reason: 1. I love a good faux hawk and 2. there is a great simplicity here that looks complex.

Again, this look is all about volume so the same rules I gave for the second Viking braid apply here – if you do not get volume into your faux hawk, the whole look will disappear. Tease the center section as you braid, use your mouse and braid up and toward the front of your face rather than the usual back braid. I know, this will feel very odd while fashioning this hairstyle but I love a faux hawk pony tail so I am talking from experience. Since your Faux hawk is center stage here, keep yous twists balanced but down play them – don’t make your hair fight with itself!

028c0cce2fd39b477354cea02233e7065. My last pick was hard for me; I could work with a crown braid, a basic faux hawk, or a four piece braid – I love them all. In the end, I had to pick a look that technically isn’t braided but is firmly part of this new stage of persona – which I need in Southern California where it is too hot to be a Viking all the time!

Again, I love all of these ribboned looks and they are so much easier than all the braids which is a refreshing change, but I am going to focus on one in particular: B. the ribbon accented top knot. I love the positioning of the ribbon in this look and how it elevates a very simple but. There are so many times when you need to get the hair off of your neck at an event and this look is effortless and practical yet purposeful – no one can accuse you of simply not wanting to deal with your hair!

The key is to play with texture. Texture will help the ribbon stay in place naturally, though I always recommend extra security with bobby pins. if you don’t have curls or waves and can’t be bothered to do the work to make them (or you just love fancy braiding), you can create texture by making small braids – or a mix of sizes – which lead to your top knot. You can then either lay your crossed ribbon over the braids or wind it through a few for added depth.

Remember, it’s the Society for Creative Anachronism, emphasis on creative. Go play, have fun, and get braiding! Also, If you have any questions, ask me anything.

  • Taylor Gallagher
Fashion, Uncategorized

Do or Don’t: Cat Ear Headbands.

Throughout this school year – and more and more surrounding Halloween – varying designs of cat ear headbands have been popping up all over the school yard. While our old principal would never had allowed it, the current standing around school is a simple ‘if you are not distracting yourself or others, wear your headband and enjoy. Every time I see the girls running around with these headbands, I can’t help but smile; they are running around and having fun and it simple makes my day.

This week, one girl who I had complemented on her bejeweled ears suggested that I get a pair. I laughed and let her know that at 25 I wasn’t sure that was exactly in my range of acceptable headgear. Of course, she came back saying people my age – Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande – wear them and since I look young anyway, I should just do it. Now, first mentioning that I am not a famous musician, am looking for a job not at the school, and really don’t need help looking young – I will be carded forever! – I sent her out to play.

However, this has cause me to wonder: at what point so we stop wearing this kind of stuff?

Of course, the answer is changing – these eccentric additions to wardrobes of all types is growing. Each person has to choose what they can handle based on their lifestyles, career, as well as many other personal factors.

For me, I am 25 years old, regularly get mistaken for a teenager, am looking for work on a more corporate environment (like in marketing), and generally move from preppy posh to casual jeans and t-shirts.

I am kind of in love with the cat ear bowler hat that were all over the place last year but I don’t think that I’d be able to do your cat ear headband for anything other than a costume.

Still if you want to look at a few options in headbands here are a few (1, 2, 3, 4) and let me know, where do you stand on the cat headband (or cat fashion as a whole!) trend? Where do you draw the line?

  • Taylor Gallagher