Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Elementary, my dear Watson

Everyone takes inspiration from random sources. Just looking at the Style.com reviews of runway collections reveals a whole smorgasbord of interesting inspirations, from milkmaids, football, and gypsies to Michael Jackson, cowboys, and sea creatures.

Well, I'm inspired by Sherlock Holmes. Or more specifically, London in the late 1800s, as exemplified in the new Sherlock Holmes movie. I know that seems insanely random and specific, but there's a reason, I swear. Before I start waxing poetic, I just want to say that this isn't a movie review or me declaring my undying love for the high cinematic quality of Guy Ritchie's new movie. Although it's pretty entertaining, and my dad read me Sherlock Holmes when I was little, so it's kind of in my brain. What I really loved about it was that it brought that gritty, twisted, dark London to life. I'll admit it, I'm one of those people who's pretty obsessed with England and everything related, but there's something about London in that time period that really gets at me. It's a beautiful city, full of gorgeous architecture and tree-lined streets, but at the same time (back then at least), there was something raw and almost savage under that manicured exterior. Just look at Jack the Ripper. People rebelled from the expected primness of the Victorian era like the Americans during Prohibition--i.e., a lot. Sherlock Holmes really hit on that. His investigations would crack the polished veneer of any situation to reveal the twisted goings-on underneath.

There are a lot of arresting visuals in this movie that capture that spirit, like the half-finished, steel Tower Bridge clawing at the sky surrounded by Gothic architecture, or creepy black magic rituals in the basement of a Neo-Classical church. I couldn't find that many good stills, so here's the trailer. It's pretty.

See what I mean? And Rachel McAdams has some pretty sweet costumes.

I know this all might still seem irrelevant, but it's what Awkward Chic is all about. We like things that are 90% chic, but with a little weird, awkward, offbeat twist, outfits that need a double take or have more than meets the eye. I'm all hyper from the gym, so I'm going to channel that awesome Sherlock Holmes energy into an outfit. I'm thinking classic pieces, old world detailing, and a bit of a morose twist.

Veda Kendall Leather and Lace Jacket, $ at shopbop.com, KAIN Pocket Tank in Deep Lavender, $80 at shopbop.com, Robert Rodriguez Twist Knot Pencil Skirt, $242 at shopbop.com: So the foundations of this outfit are very simple: pencil skirt, tank, cropped jacket. The color palette is pretty neutral, with a pop of lavender peeking out from under the jacket. The skirt works because it's a very basic cut, but the knotted detailing gives it a bit of a couture touch and has a Baroque feel. The tank is simple enough to not steal the spotlight, but the pretty pastel color keeps it from being boring. I love this jacket. There's something very Edwardian about the trailing lace detail and the way it hangs in the front, but the leather gives the outfit an edge. The detailing here doesn't show up from far away. It's only once you get a little closer that you see how complex it really is--very Sherlock.

Merona Opaque Tights in black, $7 at target.com, Frye Melissa Button Boots in Dark Brown, $298 at fryeboots.com, Iosselliani Snake Ring, $384 at bonadrag.com: The tights unify the bottom and top halves of the outfit by making your legs the same color as the jacket (a great styling trick), and these tights are a serious bargain for $7. I've had a pair since September and they haven't snagged or run at all, plus they're actually black, not sheer. I love these boots (I just got a pair!), and I think they really work with this ensemble because the cut is really classic, just a simple equestrian boot, and the Frye quality is reminiscent of another era. I also like the boots because they're not really expected with a pencil skirt, but they totally work. The jewelry is really what makes this look--that's where you can go all out without overwhelming the rest of your outfit. This snake ring looks pretty and sparkly from far away, until you get up close and see that those arabesque curves are actually a reptile. The snake-crystal combination is weirdly awesome.

Unearthen Vial Necklace, $185 at bonadrag.com, Pamela Love Dagger Rosary, $207 at bonadrag.com, Giles & Brother Tiny Bat Studs, $54.60 down from $78 at shopbop.com: These Unearthen necklaces come filled with crude oil, water from the Pacific ocean, or Blue Holi powder. You could almost mistake them for just a simple pendant necklace, but then you realize that there's something seriously twisted about them. I personally like the crude oil version. It catches the light so nicely, and has the creepiest vibe. I'd layer that with this Pamela Love Dagger Rosary. Yes, that is a rosary with a dagger on the end. It's the ultimate chic, gothic accessory. These tiny bat studs complete the outfit. They'll just look like sweet, little gold studs peeking out from your hair, but only you will know that they're actually tiny bats. It's very quirky, and insanely awesome.

So it's actually not that hard to turn something like Sherlock Holmes or 1870's London into an outfit without being costumey. That's my personal inspiration, but you could really do this with anything. Just step back from the actual inspiration, look at the underlying themes, and then translate that into something you'd actually want to wear. It's elementary, my dear Watson! Yeah, I overdid it, I know. Hehe.

Image Sources:
Sherlock Holmes trailer: traileraddict.com, Sherlock Holmes stills: imdb.com, Veda jacket: shopbop.com, KAIN tank: shopbop.com, Robert Rodriguez skirt: shopbop.com, Merona tights: target.com, Frye boots: fryeboots.com, Iosselliani ring: bonadrag.com, Unearthen necklace: bonadrag.com, Pamela Love necklace: bonadrag.com, Giles & Brother earrings: shopbop.com.


  1. I love how you put together this outfit, and I just came across your blog but I'm seriously loving it! Those bat studs are beautiful, I might have to get a pair. ^_^

  2. Thank you! Aren't they super adorable?



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