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So my historical costuming resources list from 2011 was less than a page long- I’m not saying that I’ve learned a lot in the past three years, but this list is now sitting pretty at a solid nine pages.  Whew.  And people wonder why I want to redo this damn series.

This list is by no means an exhaustive one- it’s a list of (primarily western) historical fashion resources, both online and offline, that is limited to what I know, own, or use!  It’s a work in progress, and I’m definitely hoping to expand on it as my knowledge base grows.  First things first, how about a little:


  • Read, and read about more than just costuming.  Allowing yourself to understand the cultural and historical context surrounding the clothing of a particular region/period can be invaluable in sussing out good costume design.  Looking at pictures is all well and good, but reading about societal pressures, about construction techniques, daily routines, local symbolism, whatever else will really help you understand the rhyme and reason behind costuming from any given context.
  • Expand your costume vocabulary.  When you’re delving into a new topic, costuming or otherwise, picking up new terminology is essential to proper understanding and furthering your research.  Write down or take note of terms as you come across them- google them, look up synonyms, and use those words as a jumping off point for more research.  What’s a wire rebato?  How does it differ from a supportasse?  Inquiring minds want to know.
  • Double-check your sources.  Especially on the internet, and double especially on tumblr.  I love it, but it’s ground zero for rapidly spreading misinformation.  Books are usually your safest bet, but also take into account their date of publication, who’s writing them- an author’s biases can severely mangle their original source material.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  Do everything you can to find out information on your own, but feel free to reach out to people with more specialized areas of knowledge for help!  Be considerate about it- the people you’re asking are busy as well- but a specific line of questioning that proves you’re passionate and that you respect their subject matter expertise can work wonders.

Okay, onto the links!


It’s impossible to overstate the importance of getting off the internet and looking into books!  God bless the internet, but books are (generally, this isn’t a rule) better-researched and better-sourced.  Bibliographies also mean each individual books can be a jumping off point for further research, which is always a fantastic thing.

Remember- owning books is awesome and you should absolutely assemble your own library of resources, but LIBRARIES.  Libraries.  You’ll be surprised to find what books are available to you at your local library.


Patterns fo Fashion books
Detailed, hand-drawn diagrams of historical fashion, inside and out.  Pretty amazing stuff.

Fashion in Detail books
Not what you want if you’re looking for photos of entire costumes- note the “in detail” bit up there.  Just a beautiful series, and great reference for all the little things you might miss otherwise.  The V&A has an amazing fashion collection, and it’s great to see them share it with the world.


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Tech Writer Clive Thompson: “The world of fanfiction is the most technologically explosive thing I’ve ever seen in my life.”


The leading flank in discovering how to use technology in cool, interesting, thoughtful ways will generally always be the amateurs. […]

I have a whole theory, actually, that the world of fan fiction is the most technologically explosive thing I’ve ever seen in my life. Every single technology that has come along, fan fiction people have come along and colonized it and stress-tested it and found the most amazing things. They were the first people to realize the potential of meta-tagging and bookmarking sites. Like, here’s a link with four tags, and then you go to a fan fiction person, and they have a link, and it has 70 tags. They are pushing this to absolute limit, and they are finding these amazing ways to sort knowledge.

It’s all because they’re passionate and nobody is making any money off of it and they don’t want to make any money off of it. They get some amazing stuff done. If you’re ever wondering about a future technology, just drop what you’re doing and find out what fan fiction people are doing with it. What are fan fiction people doing right now with WhatsApp? I don’t know. But, whatever it is, it’s the future. 

- SXSW Interview: Author Clive Thompson Explains FOMO, the NSA, and His Latest Book, “Smarter Than You Think” (x)


(Source: mugenmine)





Let’s stop HIV in New York City

  • If you are HIV-negative, PEP and PrEP can help you stay that way.
  • If you are HIV-positive, PEP and PrEP can help protect your partners.


Daily PrEP

PrEP is a daily pill that can help keep you HIV-negative as long as you take it every day.

  • Ask your doctor if PrEP (Pre-exposure Prophylaxis) may be right for you.
  • Condoms give you additional protection against HIV, other sexually transmitted infections, and unintended pregnancy.


Emergency PEP

If you are HIV-negative and think you were exposed to HIV, immediately go to a clinic or emergency room and ask for PEP (Post-exposure  Prophylaxis).

  • PEP can stop HIV if started within 36 hours of exposure.
  • You continue taking PEP for 28 days.

Many insurance plans including Medicaid cover PEP and PrEP. Assistance may be available if you are uninsured. Visit NYC Health’s website to find out where to get PrEP or PEP in New York City.

This is such a giant step that barely any people know about it seems, so amazing to see progress in the treatment of HIV

I honestly thought this might be exaggeration but the CDC says that PrEP is 92% effective. Damn. Damn.

reblogging because this deserves waaaay more attention D:


sooo I’ve been thinking a lot about solarpunk


and mostly about a question posed here: “What would the punk aspect of solarpunk be?”

The big popular post going around and a lot of resulting brainstorming focuses on the beautiful cities and light and art nouveau influences, but what about the places that aren’t the cities? what about the people who can’t afford and/or don’t have the privilege of solar everything and beautiful self-sufficient homes and all of those trappings? how does solarpunk even begin to exist? it looks like such a lovely utopian idea/place and that’s all cool but then i saw this. (credit)





tbh i find solarpunk kind of naive and self-congratulatory but at the same time it’s tremendously hopeful and also i’m super weak to art noveau aesthetic, so why not! i’m really interested in if this is going to go anywhere or just be one more quick little n-punk fad. 

Ok well, coming from decades of engagement, participation, and contact with holy crap just so many strains and permutations of punk and *-punk, anyone who thinks punk isn’t or can’t be optimistic and joyful is sadly misinformed. Even at its most nihilistic and bitter, punk is a refusal of despair-submission-conformity and a wish for something better than the bag of flaming shit you got handed in this life. And yeah, at times that’s expressed through destructive rage, if you got handed a life that is a bag of flaming shit then it’d be weird not to get angry about it ever. And yeah at times punk scenes and movements get shit so magnificently wrong you just sit there and go did you need a map to achieve this amount of fuck up or what. But at its root, punk is about knocking shit down and experimenting with the rubble to see if you can make better shit, which is intrinsically idealistic.

Even the wonderful steampunk scene I was part of (which granted I have since learned was REALLY unique and I was just damn lucky to be in the place I was at that time) was breaking apart the things other subcultures got wrong and making a better community, even in the absence of defined politics or the slightest interest in anything that looked like one.

Solarpunk interests me because it’s unashamed of its optimism and celebration of beauty, and that actually is kind of a revolutionary stance in a disgusting meathook dystopian present. When despair is the order of the day and people deliberately affect jaded cynicism, it’s radical to be hopeful. When death and horror assails us from every screen and paper, it’s radical to be innocent and enthusiastic. Surrounded by ugliness, beauty can be resistance—have you ever seen a dandelion growing out of a crack in the pavement?

Which leads me to another point. Even though the selection of Art Nouveau as a guiding point was ostensibly arbitrary, it’s interesting because Art Nouveau emphasised harmony with the natural world and advocated a whole-life approach, it was effectively an early lifestyler counterculture, and was itself a reaction against over-formal, rigid aesthetics and cultural structures that demarcated sharply between production and consumer, human and nature. It’s a no-brainer to extend that to tech. Solarpunk, instead of rejecting the smooth and inscrutable modern object (as Steampunk does), takes hold of it and demands it give up its secrets (as Cyberpunk does) and also be prettier (as Art Nouveau undoubtedly would), all the while infused with righteous equality and viridian environmentalism.

Finally, as a meta side-note, there’s an interesting continuation playing out, from apocaplytic, to post-apocalyptic, to regeneration, and I think Solarpunk may be a rare manifestation of the regeneration phase. See, when people or cultures are traumatised, their narratives and inner worlds become apocalyptic. Then, they become post-apocalyptic, as they struggle to survive in the scarred emotional landscape. But given time, the inner/emotional world never goes back to the way it was, but it can regrow and be good again, like Oo in Adventure Time. With Steampunk, I encountered a theme of recovering dignity and civility in the post-apoc wasteland, which signals the beginning of regeneration; Solarpunk strikes me as a natural progression, and it’s a point in the progression that is too seldom reached at a community scale, so I am fucking thrilled to see people are latching onto this idea and running with it.

I realise this is all far more academic than practical, but meh.

What wonderful commentary! Thanks for laying this out. And yeah, I think that’s one of the most delicious hooks of Art Nouveau, that desire for technology to be beautiful and harmonious, the rejection of separation between man and nature. It’s the perfect thing to enjoy a revival now.






tbh i find solarpunk kind of naive and self-congratulatory but at the same time it’s tremendously hopeful and also i’m super weak to art noveau aesthetic, so why not! i’m really interested in if this is going to go anywhere or just be one more quick little n-punk fad. 

this reminds me of the thing I’ve been wondering about for a while: the thing about solarpunk is that it doesn’t seem to be very, well, punk. Now I am the furthest thing from an expert on this, I am just bouncing shit around, but I always thought that cyberpunk/steampunk/whateverpunk required a certain amount of bitterness about the society you were in, a certain amount of scraping by on the scraps and the edges. Illicit scraps of power. Hackers teasing bits of truth from the terrifying datanets of the world. Urchins in waistcoats picking pockets and fleeing through the tunnels under the roaring steam-engines. Wrestling what you can from a world that other people have used up, a world that doesn’t want you. 

And a huge part of solarpunk, or solar’punk’ - and I think a big part of why people are picking it up - is that none of that is there. It’s a world in renewal, a world expanding its bounty out towards the edges, a world where you can sidle in and sit under the vines and breathe, no matter what you’re looking for. And, don’t get me wrong, that is refreshing as shit. Recent dystopian trends have left me hungry for hopeful futures, and apparently I’m not the only one. But it makes me question the punk part. It’s more solarworld, solarfuture, but those aren’t recognizable Things, and it’s easier to convey an idea when you tie it to a Thing.

Like I said, I’m no expert, but I’ve been thinking about how I’d go about adding the punk-ish element back in (and, really, as I said, I like the extant solarpunk; this is about an alternate version in line with the name, not about “”“fixing”“” anything). I’m imagining little treasured hoards of plants on windowsills and fire escapes, people punching holes in tin cans and carrying them around for days to fill them up with little scrapes of fertile dirt, and balancing them on take-out trays for planters. Hiding them from landlords who don’t want plants in their buildings, bringing in bugs - growing them anyway, damn the landlords. Kids spraypainting graffiti made up of swirls and arches and bright soft greens, because all the walls have thirty years of neon spikes on them already. Women and girls who don’t like the way their curvy-chubby bodies look in pinching skintight jeans and high-tech jumpsuits that make it hard to breathe, so they say “screw it” and and sew together loose floaty drape-y things that look kind of strange at first, while they’re still figuring this out, but they don’t crush your stomach into your gut and you can move easily up and down the stairs when the elevator is broken and in the boiling humid heat of summer you can feel the breeze flow by you and swirl up your skirt. Someone reads a magazine article about outrageously rich people throwing “vitamin banquet” dinner parties, and how to throw a similar party on the affordable and reasonable budget of twice what she pays in rent each month, and when she mentions it to her landlord in the hall on Tuesday the landlord jokes about opening up the roof for a Vitamin D party, since that’s free, and then somehow the idea takes off and everyone on the block has rooftop sunshine potlucks on Saturday or Sunday afternoons, or sometimes Mondays or Wednesdays so the people who work the weekend shifts can make it. Everyone’s favorite science project is “make a solar-powered charger” so you can get your teacher to help you build something that’ll charge your phone or your game or whatever; some teachers catch on and make that a science unit, argue with the budget committees and shell out from their own pocket to buy the materials so the kids can do that, hope to God that this’ll convince at least a few of the kids that school is sometimes useful. Some clever entrepreneur selling sunshine tea by the sidewalk in a slow cart, carefully dodging various restrictions because there’s no actual electronic heating involved, just a few big jars and the daylight. People sneaking a little rebirth in around the edges of the world, instead of fighting for the table scraps. Maybe this is what your grandma, your great-grandmother, remembers, if you live in an original-flavor solarpunk future. Maybe this is how that got to be that way.

Oh, thank you, this is lovely.

yes, well said. i like this.

what came to my mind when thinking about putting some punk in solarpunk was a post-steampunk era where guerilla gardening and seedbombing is transforming brick rubble and rusty machinery to masses of vines, and mudlarks are living in reed huts downstream of the big cities where marshes purify the water, picking treasure out of the trash that washes up on their shores.

I was just commenting to Aud that it’s funny no one’s linked Solarpunk up with guerrilla gardeners and moss graffitti and stuff. Urban gardening, seedbombing, food trucks, backyard chicken coops, farmers’ markets and pop-up markets, even diy crafts— I definitely agree with you guys, I want to see more about the construction of this lovely dream than the peaceful utopia of living in it. 

And like…. up top the face of the green movement is all beautiful people with their hybrid cars and their organic fair trade coffee and their conspicuous consumerism, but I think under that is a lot of really dispossessed, disenfranchised people just waiting to blow the top off this toxic and unsustainable system that gives some people private jets and personal islands and the rest of us cancer and food deserts. 

I mean we live in a world where there’s more empty houses than homeless people, and american land was coopted from the indiginous peoples on the excuse that they weren’t working the land but now people get arrested for farming a dirt lot if a corporation is holding on to it for tax purposes. Shit’s fucked. I’d love to see some revolution. 

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