Costober 2022: The Storybook Girls

Buttercup, Olive, Alice, Wendy, Dorothy, Sara, and Clara

About the Looks

Alice (of Wonderland) has been a part of my online persona since I first got online. And I chose her because she best described my offline persona. I grew up on a university campus with early and easy access to art and culture. My parents practiced “free-range parenting” before it was a thing. I was a curious and confident child who asked questions and expected answers. I was a polite little girl who teachers loved and it allowed me to be a bit of a brat. To wit, I was Alice.

Now, I’m in my forties but I’m still Alice. I still expect a lot of the world. Most would say I expect too much. But progress requires people who refuse to settle. I don’t mind being called mad. All the best people are.

The storybook girls are:

  • Princess Buttercup from The Princess Bride by William Goldman
  • Olive Abroholos Elephanta from Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
  • Alice from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
  • Dorothy Gale from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
  • Sara Crewe from A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • Clara from The Nutcracker by Alexandre Dumas, based on the short story “The Nutcracker and the Mouse-King” by E. T. A. Hoffmann

About My Looks

I had quite a lit of fun going through my bookshelves and closet to put together my looks this October. Most of the clothing and accessories were purchased secondhand and/or repurposed.

I modeled the looks for Buttercup and Olive from the cover images on my editions. Buttercup’s red dress and gold belt are from the film adaptation of The Princess Bride, also written by William Goldman. I layered a couple different off-white blouses to achieve the effect of a petticoat for Olive. I’m wearing the same cream colored tights and black shoes in both these looks as well as Sara and Clara below.

My two ‘princess’ looks, Buttercup and Sara, share the flower crown, which I find highly appropriate. I have a small collection of faux flower wreaths, I like to wear them to conventions and conferences.

I found the “Let’s be Magical Girls” sweatshirt on a Hot Topic clearance rack and it spoke to me. I took the color pink and flower crown from the cover image, but the message of the hoodie is a reference to Sara’s active imagination.

Presentation helps sell a look, as these three photos demonstrate. In the first two photos above, I simulate flying. Olive is a “peculiar”, a child born with an aberrant ability (similar to X-Men‘s mutants): she is lighter than air and requires weighted shoes to not float away. Wendy, on the other hand, chooses to fly with the help of pixie dust and happy thoughts. The third photo is my nod to the yellow brick road using the fallen leaves of a native tree.

My ruby slippers are costume replicas of those used in the iconic 1937 film The Wizard of Oz. My Dorothy look was the one most easily identified and entirely thanks to the shoes.

Here you can see the blue gingham blouse that completed my Dorthy look. I purchased this blouse secondhand many months ago knowing all I’d need was the shoes to complete it. I patronised two local businesses these photos. I posed with the Scarecrow at Perkatory Coffee Roasters, a delightful coffee shop that has a gothic-spooky aesthetic all year round.

And my kids and I visited Alice in the Village for our tea party. As you can see, the whole shop is dedicated to the Alice theme and it’s super fun and tasty.

I am particularly fond of my Alice look as it too includes a variety of nods to the source material: rabbit, key, cards, chess, and the ‘mad’ mix of patterns. All of the elements of this outfit were purchased secondhand except the shoes (Demonia) and purse (Well Read Co.).

Finally, I dressed as Clara for our visit to the Beardsley Zoo‘s “Glow Wild Lantern Festival”. The Nutcracker ballet, performed annually across the world, includes a nighttime trip to a fantasyland of lights, sweets, and cultures, so it felt like the right choice for the event. Everything except the ‘toy soldier’ themed jacket has appeared in a previous Costober.

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