And Now For Something Completely Different…My First Wantable Box!

“And now for something completely different…” – John Cleese, Monty Python

This series of blog posts is for posts that don’t really match the rest of my blog (i.e. they aren’t related to writing, reading, steampunk, etc) but that I wanted to post anyway. In this edition, I’ll be reviewing my first Wantable Style Edit box.

Wantable Style Edit is a fashion subscription box, very similar to Stitch Fix. You can read my review of Stitch Fix here! In each box, which comes once a month, you get 7 articles of clothing or accessories (compared to Stitch Fix’s 5 items) that have been picked out just for you by a stylist. When you sign up, you fill out a style quiz that asks for things like your measurements, general style preferences, occasions you’ll be dressing for (casual, work, special event, etc), what types of items you want, etc. Your quiz can be updated any time your preferences might change. Unlike Stitch Fix, Wantable does not provide an option where you can link a Pinterest board or other social media.

For each shipment, you’re charged a $20 Styling Fee.  This fee will be applied toward the item(s) you decide to keep in that box (e.g. if you decide to keep a $40 shirt, you’ve effectively already paid for half of it, and only owe an additional $20). When you receive your box, you have 5 days (compared to Stitch Fix’s 3 days) to decide what you want to keep, and what you want to return. A pre-paid USPS bag is included with your shipment, which makes returns very easy. You only pay for what you decide to keep!

As I noted above, Wantable gives you 2 additional items per box compared to Stitch Fix, and 2 additional days to decide what you want to keep. Another big advantage of Wantable is your “Closet” and “Stream”. Your Closet shows you every item you’ve ever received from Wantable, which is very handy to have for your records. You can also request to receive items again, as long as they’re still in stock! Your Stream shows you items that other subscribers have received that match your style profile. You can get a good idea of how those items look and fit, and if you like an item, you can request it for your next box.

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Item number one is the V Neck Pleat Detail Cami in a mint green. This top was very light and flowy – perfect for summer! At $59 it was a little pricey, but I decided to keep it because I loved how it looked on.

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Next up was this sweater and necklace. I loved the sweater – it was a nice fabric and very cozy. The cost was a very reasonable $48. However, I can’t bring myself to buy a sweater in June! At $39, I wound up not keeping the necklace either.

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I fell in love with this blazer immediately. After regretting not keeping the blue blazer from my Stitch Fix box, I thought Yes, I’ll keep this one! Then I looked at the price: $118. It’s a nice blazer and I like, but I don’t like it THAT much!

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Next was this floral top. I like the pattern, and the fabric was comfortable and breathable – another perfect summer top! It cost $39, and I kept it.

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I also kept this pair of shorts, which cost $69. I thought they were a little pricey, but I literally owned 0 pairs of shorts before I received these. They fit well, and I like the length.

The last item I received was a really pretty black lace scalloped skirt, which was $58. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to zip up the skirt over my hips.

Overall, I really loved my Wantable Style Edit box. I think the fashion styles were better suited for me compared to Stitch Fix (a surprise to me, since Wantable doesn’t look at Pinterest boards). One disadvantage I have found with Wantable is that they don’t seem to have an option to swap an item for a different size, which Stitch Fix does allow you to do. The prices also ranged more widely. That means that while some things were too expensive (like the blazer), other items were cheaper than anything I got in Stitch Fix (like the floral top). So, for me, Wantable Style Edit wins out!

If you’d like to sign up for Wantable, I would really appreciate if you’d use my referral link: https://www.wantable.com/?invite_token=jwID1c3vuy4

And Now For Something Completely Different…My First Stitch Fix!

“And now for something completely different…” – John Cleese, Monty Python

This series of blog posts is for posts that don’t really match the rest of my blog (i.e. they aren’t related to writing, reading, steampunk, etc) but that I wanted to post anyway. In this edition, I’ll be reviewing my first Stitch Fix box.

Stitch Fix is a fashion subscription box. In each box (which can come every 2 weeks, monthly, or every-other-month, your choice) you get 5 articles of clothing or accessories that have been picked out just for you by a stylist. When you sign up, you fill out a style quiz that asks for things like your measurements, general style preferences, occasions you’ll be dressing for (casual, work, date night, special event, etc), what types of items you want, etc. Your quiz can be updated any time your preferences might change.

In addition to answer the style quiz, you can also give your stylist links to your social media pages. Pinterest is the most useful here, as you can make a style board which your stylist can refer to in order to better understand your tastes.

For each shipment, you’re charged a $20 Styling Fee.  This fee will be applied toward the item(s) you decide to keep in that Fix (e.g. if you decide to keep a $40 shirt, you’ve effectively already paid for half of it, and only owe an additional $20). When you receive your Fix, you have 3 days to decide what you want to keep, and what you want to return. A pre-paid USPS bag is included with your shipment, which makes returns very easy. You only pay for what you decide to keep!

I was excited to try Stitch Fix after my mom tried it and liked every item she received. My box arrived June 1st and I was pretty impressed.

As I post this, I’ve realized a glaring criticism I have of Stitch Fix: there is no way for me to see what items I received online. I received a card with the items, brands, and prices in my Stitch Fix box, but no digital version of that card exists. So, unfortunately (since I recycled that card with the box) I don’t have the prices for any of the items except the ones I kept (which I do have a receipt for).

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Item number 1 was a pair of dark skinny jeans, which unfortunately didn’t fit. They did feel like good quality jeans, though. They were also the priciest item in the box (I think $88)(On this note, you can choose price ranges as part of your Style Quiz). For those reasons, I decided not to keep the jeans. (Another note, you do have the option to exchange items if they aren’t the right size. I just chose not to for these jeans)

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Item number 2 was this really cute dark blue blazer. I went back and forth on this, because it is so cute! However, it didn’t make sense for me to buy a (somewhat pricey – $70-something if I remember) blazer when summer is about to kick off. If I received it in, say, September or October, I probably would have kept it. But it didn’t seem worth it to spend that money on something that would sit idly in the closet for months.

The next item is a bit hard to see in these photos. It’s a silver layered necklace. At $34, it was a bit more than I’d usually spend on jewelry. But, I’m pretty cheap when it comes to jewelry! I liked it a lot, so I did decide to keep it.

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Item number 4 was a lovely floral blouse. Now *this* felt appropriate for late spring! It fits nicely and is lined, so I don’t need to worry about wearing a cami underneath it (this is important for people like me, who fall behind on laundry!). I decided to keep this as well. It cost $58, which is about on-par with what I typically spend on nice blouses.

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The final piece was a bit of a disappointment. I love the idea of maxi dresses. They make you look glamorous with about 0 effort. Unfortunately, this was not the maxi dress for me. There was too much excess fabric on the top, which did funky things to my body shape. If it was more fitted on top, I would have loved it! Oh well. I believe this was also around $70ish.

Once you decide what you want to keep or return, you fill out a form on the Stitch Fix site where you indicate what you’re keeping or return, as well as what you liked or disliked about each item. That way, your stylist can more accurately curate your box next time!

Overall, I was satisfied with my Stitch Fix box, and look forward to my next one in July.

If you’re interested in using Stitch Fix, I would really appreciate it if you used my referral link: https://www.stitchfix.com/referral/12357829?sod=w&som=c&str=13803

#SteampunkHands Around the World 2017: Making Life Better – Aesthetics

*artwork by MrXpk*

Steampunk Hands Around the World 2017- Making Life Better is a month long event in February 2017 showing and sharing the great steampunk people, events, and things around the world that other people should know about. Through these means, we come together as a community to forge new connections and friendships, inspire and be inspired by each other, and create realities from the stuff of dreams.

This year, we will share and explore the ways in which steampunk can and has made life better, for ourselves and for others. How does steampunk make life more fun and enjoyable, how does it expand our horizons and help us define who we are, or who we want to be? How does steampunk inform us about ourselves, others, and the world around us? How does it help us find solutions for real life problems, and find ways to make changes for the better?

Airship Ambassador

To kick off my contribution to Steampunk Hands Around the World 2017, I’ll be discussing the aesthetic of Steampunk. Things like art, fashion, and architecture bring so much joy to people, it seemed like a good place to start!

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art by Vadim Voitekhovitch

Steampunk art and crafts often center around taking mundane, every-day items (a phone, a light switch, a table) and transforming them into steampunk gadgets. There are also brilliant examples of steampunk cityscapes. This often involves elements such as leather, brass, copper, gears, levers, and patina. The craft and maker aspect of steampunk has helped transform it from a genre to a subculture.

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Image from Artfire

Steampunk fashion is easily identifiable, as it combines Victorian fashion with gadgets and the “punk” aesthetic. Common elements of steampunk fashion include corsets, bustles, waistcoats, top hats, spats, goggles, parasols, mechanical limbs, and post-apocalyptic elements.

Steampunk architecture is often Victorian, or 1800s-style architecture from other parts of the world. What makes it steampunk is, like in steampunk art, the addition of elements such as leather, brass, copper, gears, levers, and patina. Take a grand, Victorian mansion and add some grime, some grit, and some whimsy.

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Image from Airship Flamel

(Note: the image above depicts a real Victorian house in Irvington, NY. On the one hand, that means it is not steampunk, but simply Victorian. However, because it is on the more whimsical end of the Victorian architecture spectrum, it is a great example of the type of historical architecture steampunk draws from.)

What’s your favorite part of the steampunk aesthetic?

What is Steampunk?!

I realized recently, much to my chagrin, that I’ve never written a dedicated post about what “Steampunk” actually is. I get asked about it all the time; even though steampunk has grown a lot in recent years, it’s still a lesser-known genre that leaves a lot of people scratching their heads. Part of the confusion comes from simple unfamiliarity, but part comes from the fact that “steampunk” can be difficult to define.

So, first, I’ll try to explain steampunk in a few succinct ways. Then I’ll elaborate more on the history of the term and where it seems to be going as we move into the future.

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Art by Rowena Wang

The Short Answer

In short, steampunk can be described as:

  • Retro-futuristic, Victorian science fiction
  • Alternative history, wherein the technology of the Victorian era advanced much more quickly
  • Any fiction wherein steam is the primary source of power
  • Fiction set in an alternate universe that features anachronistic technology and/or Victorian aesthetics

There are some common elements to these descriptions: influence of the Victorian era and a focus on technology.

Here are some steampunk examples you may be familiar with:

  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (comic and movie)
  • The Difference Engine (book)
  • Infernal Devices (book)
  • Wild Wild West (movie)
  • Van Helsing (movie)
  • Castle in the Sky (movie)
  • The Golden Compass (book and movie)
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Art by Vadim Voitekhovitch

The Long Answer

To better understand what steampunk is, you need to look at its history and influences. The term itself, “steampunk” originated in the 1980s as a variant of “cyberpunk”. As defined by Wikipedia, “cyberpunk” is “a subgenre of science fiction in a future setting that tends to focus on society as ‘high tech low life’ featuring advanced technological and scientific achievements, such as information technology and cybernetics, juxtaposed with a degree of breakdown or radical change in the social order”.

That’s a complicated definition, but you’re probably pretty familiar with cyberpunk. Examples include Blade Runner and The Matrix.

Steampunk takes the genre of cyberpunk and, instead of using the setting of the near-future, uses the setting of the 19th century. Steampunk draws from actual Victorian influences such as Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, H.P. Lovecraft, and Mary Shelley. The genre also goes well beyond book or movie genres. It extends into fashion, DIY crafts, music, home decor, etc!

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Steampunk fashion is easily identifiable, as it combines Victorian fashion with gadgets and the “punk” aesthetic. Common elements of steampunk fashion include corsets, bustles, waistcoats, top hats, spats, goggles, parasols, mechanical limbs, and post-apocalyptic elements.

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Steampunk crafts often center around taking mundane, every-day items (a phone, a light switch, a table) and transforming them into steampunk gadgets. This often involves elements such as leather, brass, copper, gears, levers, and patina. The craft and maker aspect of steampunk has helped transform it from a genre to a subculture.

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Abney Park

Steampunk music can take a variety of forms. Influences include Victorian music (e.g. pieces by Tchaikovsky, Liszt, and Rachmaninoff), industrial dance, world music, rock and punk, opera, and more. Overall, steampunk music combines elements of the “old” with the “new”.

Part of the issue with defining steampunk is that it’s a very new genre. As such, with each passing year it grows and evolves within the community of writers, artists, makers, musicians, filmmakers, and fans. I think that’s one of the reasons steampunk is so appealing: everyone involved can make their mark on the genre.

Hopefully that helps explain the genre to anyone who was less familiar with it. Feel free to leave questions for me in the comments! What’s your favorite part of steampunk?