Saturday, July 13, 2013

OOTD: Glamorgue

Necklace: Domino Dollhouse
Shoes: Pleaser

We're having a little party today at the Spookshow Lair with a 1950s horror rockabilly zombie apocalypse a la the film "Fido" theme. Here's my outfit for the occasion! When Mrs. Spookshow came up with the idea for this party she also came up with this dress design for me. We took a simple black shirt dress and cut a "blood spatter" stencil and proceeded to paint bloody red polka dots on the dress. It turned out pretty awesome. I just happened to have these bloody heels in the closet, and had just picked up this awesome fang necklace from Domino Dollhouse, so putting together this one was pretty easy, really. It's super fun.

We're gonna be decorating horror-themed cookies, sipping on cocktails, and listening to a horror punk mixtape I've put together. Sounds like a good day, eh?

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Monday, July 8, 2013

Spookshow Pool Party Extravaganza!

Hey, everyone! As you can see in the teaser above, I've finally gotten my first swimsuit. Mrs. Spookshow & I took Bridget down to visit my parents and swim in the pool on Sunday, and I brought along the camera and tripod to take some photos! It was such a fun time, and I got a lot of great photos from the family party. This is going to be super picture heavy, ya'll, so brace for impact!

Sunglasses: Domino Dollhouse
Swimsuit: Modcloth
Shoes: Crocs

I really can't even express how much I adore this swimsuit! Swimwear has always been such a frustration for me, as I've always absolutely loved the range of selection available in women's swimwear, but never felt confident enough to 'take the plunge' and get one of my own. I feel there's a certain irony there, being a guy who wears dresses every day, to have reservations or fears about wearing a swimsuit, but previously in my mind there's just been "tiers" when it comes to breaking sartorial gender stereotypes. In my head, a skirt is easier to wear than a dress, and a dress is easier than swimwear. In retrospect that doesn't make much sense really, but that's how my confidence in my own wardrobe choices has progressed over time. To be super nerdy for a moment, I think I've leveled up!

Outside of family fun around the pool, taking this photo set was really an event in itself. My dad was really fascinated with how much effort goes into taking photos for the blog, as previously my parents have only ever read the blog and seen the finished photos. He got to see all the tripod manipulation, lighting troubles, and 10 second run-and-posing, haha. I've not talked about that on the blog previously, but a reader did ask me in messages last week how I take my photos. The vast majority of the photos taken for the blog are self captured with a tripod and 10 second photo timer. There are times when Mrs. Spookshow will take photos, but generally I do most of it all by myself. Anyhow, dad got a kick out of watching the madness, haha.

Here's some family shots of Mrs. Spookshow & I with our baby, as well as a photo we took with my mom. It appears that we somehow managed to not get my father in any pictures, but he doesn't swim so there weren't a whole lot of opportunities there either.

This is a pretty great picture of my mom, trying to show me how I should pose for a photo....

I couldn't quite nail the pose, so this is what I came up with. I did kick back and relax for a bit, haha.

Not the greatest photo of yours truly (this was taken shortly after Guinness number 4, so cut me some slack), but a fun picture with my mother so I wanted to include it here.

Mom and Hiedi wanted me to pose over on this fort with mom's robots, so after we finished swimming we popped out to the backyard and they took these photos. My dad built me this fort when I was younger, though since I've moved out they've decorated it with these cool robot sculptures my dad got mom one Christmas. Super fun!

This was such an uplifting experience for me in terms of body positivity and confidence. I feel like I've managed to cast off a lot of doubts and fears that kept me from really enjoying myself in a watery setting, but now those chains have been broken. Even more important than that, though, I had such a great time at the pool with my family, and it will be a memory that I will always cherish. Thanks for reading!

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Saturday, July 6, 2013

OOTD: Turvy


Dress: Simply Be
Necklace: Domino Dollhouse
Bracelet: Domino Dollhouse
Shoes: Crocs

We're hosting a party today, so it seemed like a perfect time to wear this super cute dress! To play up the fun, whimsical cuteness I paired it with pastel blues and pinks, with added skull jewelry for that Spookshow touch. This dress is really fun, though it's perhaps just a tad bit tight (still wearable, though) as I narrowly missed out on getting a perfect size 20 and had to instead go with an 18. I do want to take a moment to praise the customer service at Simply Be, who were very quick and courteous in issuing me a refund on the unfortunately out of stock size 20. 

Speaking of awesome shops, I'd be remiss not to give some love to the ever-excellent Domino Dollhouse. Both pieces of jewelry from this OOTD are from them, and I just gotta say that I totally love all the products they have to offer. You should too, and fortunately there's a fantastic sale going on over there. Head on over to the Domino Dollhouse website and use the code 40HOT for 40% off your order! 

That's all for this one, ya'll. Check back very soon for more fatshion inspo from yours truly, Michael Spookshow! 

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Friday, July 5, 2013

OOTD: True Calling

Sunglasses: Domino Dollhouse
Dress: New Look
Shoes: Target

Sometimes it's just a hot pink dress kinda day. I had another outfit all picked out (and even on) but for whatever reason this dress called out to be worn today. Since it's so damn fabulous I just had to oblige, haha. It had just stopped raining; the grass was glistening and the sky was just starting to brighten back up. We've got these two great oak trees in our backyard, and I've always felt they'd be a great place to pose for photos, and today seemed like just the right day to give that a go. I'm really happy with how these turned out.

This dress is super fun. Hot pink with pops of black and silver, what's not to love?

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OOTD: Force of Habit

Sunglasses: Domino Dollhouse
Top: New Look
Belt: ASOS Curve
Skirt: Forever 21+
Shoes: Madden Girl

This look is perfectly in line with my style from the past few years here on the blog, but lately I've felt my sartorial tastes changing. That's not to say I don't still enjoy looks like this one, because I do, but merely that this one just didn't feel particularly me today, if that makes sense. As such, OOTD is a bit of a misnomer, as I actually changed into a hot pink dress after taking these photos. Perhaps it's just a bit too dressy for my usual casual wear? Regardless, I wanted to post this look here on the blog because I do still feel it's solid. At the very least, this skirt plus the tights and heels is kinda killin' it, so I figured I'd share that with ya'll, at least, haha.

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Monday, July 1, 2013

A Brief Thanks

It seems that over the night this blog passed another milestone, 250,000 page views! Wow! When I started this blog, I wasn't really sure of what kind of response I would receive, or if anyone would even be interested, and I'm now averaging about 1,000 daily page views. For that I owe a most sincere thanks to everyone who reads this blog. Your support, encouragement, and love mean the world to me, truly. I deeply appreciate each and every view and comment that I receive here and across all of the media that His Black Dress appears on. I've always felt that if even a single person were to take inspiration from what I've done here and find a way to apply it to their life, it's all worth it. Go out there and keep rockin'!

Thank you, everyone!

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Behind the Seams: Why I Wear Dresses II

(It's been quite a while here on the blog since I've last written an essay about men in dresses. This is partially because I feel like I've covered the topic pretty well in the past, and also because I've come to view and treat my blog more as a fashion blog over the past year. I received an email from a reader in my inbox this morning, and it made me think once again about the broader topic of gendering objects and actions, so I've decided to share my response in an essay format here on the blog. I'll be using a question and answer format for this post, as I want to be sure to provide context for what I'm saying that may not have been fully possibly without the knowledge of what the original email contained. The question itself is paraphrased, and is entirely my own construction, but it is in the same spirit of what has been asked in emails that I receive.)

Q: I've seen other men wearing skirts on the internet, but you seem to take a different approach. Rather than working within accepted male fashion styles and bringing a skirt into the mix, you often wear completely feminine outfits. Since your style is already so close to a feminine appearance, why not go all the way (wig, makeup, ect) and present entirely as female?

A: Your observations about the differences in style and philosophy between myself and some other skirted male bloggers is true. I've actually talked about this in an early article on my blog, Boys in Dresses: A Primer. In the article, I talk about how I see a spectrum or range of opinions and styles among men who wear skirts (or other women's clothing). You can check out the article for all the details, but the basics of the theory are that on one end of the spectrum you have the "bravehearts", men who wear only kilts or other masculine skirted garments. The next step there, in my mind, would be folks like Mike at Fashion Freestyler, who often follow a "one item rule", wearing men's clothes save for one feminine garment, or otherwise do make an effort to maintain a masculine edge to their wardrobe. Down at the far other end of the spectrum, you've got full on androgynous fashion, the folks that either like to mix up gender presentation or outright defy it. While I don't present as androgynous or traditionally feminine, I do fall pretty far along on that end of the spectrum.

I've written a second essay on the blog, Behind the Seams: Why I Wear Dresses I, where I do talk about the reasons for the sartorial choices I make. You can read that for some answers as to why I dress the way I do (spoiler alert: because I wanna), but I'll elaborate a bit further on that here. A significant focus of my outlook and my blog has always been questioning the traditional gender roles that have become canon in our society, and often times breaking them. In truth, I don't really even think about my wardrobe, mannerism, or preferences in terms of masculine / feminine anymore, as questioning those labels and why we have them has led me to believe that we could do well with a lot less of them. Taking, for example, the question of why do I shave my legs, which seems contrasting against my identifying as a man, my answer is that I shave my legs because I like the feeling and aesthetics of it, and I don't really understand why such an act should even be reserved solely for women.

I don't view masculinity and femininity as binary, as most people have been raised to believe. At the barest level, when I talk about gender for myself it is only as an indicator of what reproductive organs I possess, and not a preprogrammed set of likes, dislikes, and mannerisms. The types of things that I'm mainly referencing when I talk about gender in our society at large (boys wear pants, girls wear dresses) are taught, and are nothing more than social perceptions. There's no magical gendering that happens to fabric when it's cut and sewn, yet a piece of fabric cut to a "men's" pants pattern is "masculine", while that same fabric constructed as a dress now becomes "feminine." These are purely social constructs, as the fabric itself has no gender, so any male or female labels we associate with them are solely a fiction that's been created for them. I don't feel the need to play solely in the male or female sandbox, because the truth is that it's all just sand.

Muddy (har har) analogy aside, the answer as to why I don't just "go all the way" when I've already chosen to wear a dress, tights, and heels, is because I don't want to and don't feel that I have to. Ironically, despite the fact I'm a makeup artist by trade, I don't like to wear makeup. I don't wear a wig because I don't really like having hair (my baldness is, at present, completely by choice). I'm pretty content with being a dude, I just disagree with the social preconceptions that come along with my birth gender. In making the sartorial choices that I make, my hope is that it challenges some of those preconceived gender stereotypes that have been preordained and foisted upon us. The question of "Why is that man wearing a dress?" will hopefully lead to "What makes a dress for women only anyhow?"

(That all being said, over the years my focus with the blog has transitioned to focus a bit less overtly on the social / political aspects of men in dresses, and more to just being a general fashion blog. As long as we hold on to those preconceived gender stereotypes there will always be that current of open rebellion against said roles behind my blog, but really I view myself as just another fashionista with a blog. At the barest level, my hope is that by putting myself out there and making the sartorial choices that I do, I can hopefully inspire people of any gender to love themselves, and to have the courage to be true to who they are.)

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