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Monday 13 May 2013

Lurex in the alley

As the bouncer of this back-alley speak-easy I should practise looking more formidable. I'm afraid this look says, "Um, don't come in here, okay? You're so tall and your brass knuckles are making me anxious. Don't make me step outside my comfort zone, please? You'll regret it? Grrr." I was loathe to brace myself against the walls because I had not brought any handiwipes and I'm simply not getting paid enough to do so.

  • powder-blue lurex dress, thrifted
  • powder-blue beret, thrifted
  • ivory bamboo tights, retail
  • long-sleeved white T, sample sale
  • patterned socks, retail
  • falling-apart booties, retail
  • magic pendant, made for me by O
  • other neck stuff, thrifted

After my 18-hour shift and time out for good behaviour, my boss gave me ten minutes for a lovely lunch of day-old peanut butter and jelly on white bread at the abandoned car lot across the way.

After my long shift, it's no wonder I had to punch up these photos with photo editing, which I don't normally do for my outfit posts other than contrast adjustments to compensate for poor indoor lighting.

My booties are almost done and I wear them with the attitude, "Hey, I LIKE them like this." The stretchy coating is peeling off the uppers, the seams are coming unsewn at the back, and I've had the heel taps replaced several times. There's nothing left to do but paint these suckers. I tried marker on the right boot just before I went out, but paint will work best.

I'm hooking this outfit up to Patti's Visible Mmmmonday at Not Dead Yet Style. Yeeeeah. I'm tired after my long shift so if you wouldn't mind just strapping that backpack of Long Island Iced Tea to my back and sticking the straw in my mouth I would be much obliged. See you there through bleary eyes. (Okay, not really. I'm fine, although recovering from a weekend photo safari, Sandra's term.)

Photo Editing Details if you're interested:

Junkyard photo:
  • blurred and de-coloured some of the background which creates depth and focus on the foreground
  • saturated colour on me and the foliage, especially on my socks, necklace, and lipstick
  • adjusted the brightness and contrast
Bouncer photo:
  • same as above except for I didn't blur and desaturate the background
I never "fix" my wrinkles or play with my eyes unless it's part of an overall filter - it feels too cheaty. These changes may not be easily detectable at first glance, but what you see is unnatural in real life, for example, the fence is very blurry and it's less than a foot behind me, not to mention the nearly black-and-white world in the background, but sometimes that's more real-feeling than I can stand. Depending on the time spent, any mediocre photo can be elevated with tweaking. So don't sweat your VOGOFF photos; editors here are standing by.

I decided to do this shoot outdoors by myself with my tripod, which I have only done a couple of times, but I see so many of you braving the public alone I decided to go for it. Except for the eyes of several highrises upon me, I was alone. I was safe, I liked the challenge, and I like the results. What can be better than that?


  1. I like your poses in the urban jungle! Rar! Very fierce of you.

  2. i must find some of those socks!
    I really LOVe taking photos outdoors, no flash issues (if it's cloudy) then the sun gets to be a major problem for me ;)
    Another rockin ensemble :)

  3. your photos are wonderful! Thank you for describing your process. I enjoy the composition, and of course, your hilarious commentary. wow!!

  4. Amazing post and wonderful pix.

  5. I really really like the second image of you and GAWD you always make me laugh!

  6. What could be better than that? Nothing. You nailed it. Besides, gorgeous Mel, I think I knew that dress in a former life.

  7. Love these photos especially the sitting pic. Enjoy your spirit and zest!

    blue hue wonderland

  8. Melanie, you are the Lurex bomb! You are so cool! I love your photos and I enjoyed reading about some of the color adjustments.

    Lynn Dylan

  9. Beautiful photos Melanie. I particularly love the one with the horsetail. I wish I could have half the spirit and strength of horsetail. Actually, I wish I could have half the strength and spirit of you. You're a gem!

    Sue xo

  10. I thought the boots were intentionally like that! Interesting effect. I also love your hat.

    I like seeing your effects on the grass. It does look otherworldly, but in a good way.

    I rarely touch up my photos, but if I ever do it's because of poor lighting. Adjusting the levels in photoshop can mean the difference between a drab photo that comes out too dark or light and a nice one that better reflects what I'm trying to show.

  11. You are so young in heart and in appearance.

  12. I think you look great and I get the "photoshop"-ing. You look great with a gritty background. You have a wonderful look. Keep it up!

  13. Oh, man, you mean the grass isn't actually greener on the other side of the blurry fence? Actually, I couldn't even tell you did any touching up. I was looking at your powder-blue eyes that match your outfit. And those boots are so cool! I have some that are starting to peel a little, and once again you've provided divine inspiration!!!

  14. My boots are almost done, but I take them always with me is like walking barefoot.
    Glorious lurex, dear friend.

  15. I love your knackered old boots Melanie and I look forward to seeing what you do to them when you get into them with some paint. It was interesting to read about your photo editing, I also feel like it's cheating to cancel out my wrinkles, I'm already picking out the best photos of the bunch and discarding the ones I don't like of myself, so I'm editing how I look with that step. But I do like a nice bright flash in my face though! All the wrinkles magically disappear with that. I have used the PicMonkey effects just to improve photos overall or try to create a different feeling though. xx

  16. Love the powder blue of beret and dress. I feel ever so much better now about the dime sized tear in my boots. I just need a dab of magic marker to fix it right up! And to think I was going to get rid of them... Thanks for the idea.

  17. LOL Gawd I love your writing, Melanie. so funny and brilliant. Top outfit! Btw in the first pic you look like a back-alley angel about to ascend...I'm sure you are hiding your wings.

  18. The 2nd picture is divine! Your style amazes me in every post!

  19. I've just been catching up with your awesome postings over the past week. I am so in awe with your amazingly creative style and quite envious of your tremendous vintage wardrobe. I've added you to my little collection of 'Legendary Frockstars' cause quite frankly it wouldn't be complete without you. Keep the fabulousness coming gal, you ROCK!

  20. Guerilla warfare in Lurex! Fabulous - love these city pics, and thanks for sharing them with Vis Monday xoxoxo

  21. Lurex in the inner city - don't mess with this woman, she's TOUGH! Actually, despite the setting, you look rather angelic, Melanie, all blue and white and pink and gorgeous. Till we get to the sharp-heeled, peeling boots, and then it's all kick-ass-scary!
    I tinker about with colour and contrast and blot out the odd spot... But anything more and it wouldn't be me, would it? I might try a total PicMonkey refashion on myself, just for the fun of it!
    Just selecting Clementine's photos for submission - obviously there are hundreds to choose from, she is such a Goddess, but feel free to improve and enhance as much as you like! xxxxx

  22. If I was really determined to get into that Speakeasy, I could so take you out, unless you decided to stab me with your boot heels.

    I will usually adjust the levels a bit on my photos and bump up the contrast if needed. I have been known to photoshop out some annoyed background item occasionally, and get rid of a zit or two.

  23. Love love love you in baby blue lurex!! I'd love to see how you would paint the bpoots--i'm sure you'd make them even more kick-ass!!

    I really need to learn how to use Photoshop more effectively!!

  24. Pretty in pale blue !
    Mmmm, yes, paint the boots. Maybe just peel the rest of the top coating away on the shaft part of the boot ... you could do some grand painting on that under-fabric.
    Thank you for the story ... she is clearly on bad-ass in pastel blue!
    What program, please, are you using to work with your photos? Thanks in advance,

  25. This dress!!!! Why I wanna touch it!!! I love the cool shimmer of it against the dirty dark urban backdrop. You are a tall beauty tucked in that greenery, boots who even notices them with you looking so dam cool!

  26. Now that's just reminded me to get my arse in gear and sort out some pro shots or Mizz Baggs will be having my guts for garters!
    You look fabulous in lurex, the fabric of urban goddesses the world over and I'm loving the knackered boots, too.
    I should get more creative with Picmonkey, there's a plastic recycling bin in my blog pictures today, ever the consumate professional! xxx

  27. Well done for venturing outside, I haven't even taken my tripod into the garden! The results are fab and Ilike hearing about the touch ups as I am new to this picture larks...
    P.s you in powder blue = fantastic

  28. Thanks Mel, for the info. I mess a bit with PicMonkey (as one does!) but have GIMP loaded on my laptop. Haven't really gotten into it much for lack of time and more than a little intimidation factor. Do you know it? I really want to learn more about manipulating backgrounds ... I'd like to remove pieces of rusting farm equipment and trucks full of fencing materials! (Sounds colorful but it strikes me as "meh.")
    I need to get in and dig around.
    Thanks especially for your info on this last photo shoot ... inspiring and informative. Thank you again.

  29. I agree with Curtise, Melanie: you look ethereal in these photos! The powder blue and the sparkles and different textures transport you out of the gritty city to another plane. Lovely, and I like the contrast between the two worlds. Xo

  30. wonderful colours! love this gray-blue on you!

    Inside and Outside Blog

  31. Aw, you didn't see anyone 'cause you're tougher than you think you are.

    Lurex. I love saying that word over and over and over.

    Great photos! It depends on my degree of social anxiety and time restrictions as to whether I can take public pics. Which is mostly why you see our parking lot and porch very frequently :P

  32. I think you've just invented a new style, Mel, 'alley disco', it's a corker! Fabulous dress, such a great colour on you.

  33. surely brass knuckles make everyone nervous? oh i love this, you look divine as ever, you have style to die for...and hanging around in alleys (with no wipes) you may just do that! xxxxx

  34. You look amazing!!! I would love to hang on my wall that second photo for my daily inspiration!The pastel blue lurex dress is perfectly framed in the urban background.It's a great and powerful image and I like your dreamy expression, perfect!!

  35. Alley cat in lurex, prowling the area for the unwanted of the world, always on duty.......
    Great photographs........
    love V

  36. so, what day is International Wear Lurex Day? There needs to be one

  37. Lurex in the Alley, isn't that one of those Dr. Seuss books? A divine inspiration on your part, for sure. You and Reality, which came first? Which is untouched? What? Photoshopping? It's what I spend all my time doing. There's no end to it.

  38. Outdoor pics always look the best to me! I love the blurred background affect. I have a shitty camera but may try to do that with photo-shop. I've seen real photographers do it and I like it. The lurex dress is so pretty and you're a stunner in it. I love it when somethings gets so destroyed that it's obvious you're wearing it that way on PURPOSE--the boots are great.
    Becky :)

  39. I love the powder-blue beret and the idea of painting boots might just manifest itself in my world. And lurex in the alley - smashing!

  40. Pretty cool pics there Melanie!
    Love what you did with your pics, you use photoshop?
    Maybe i will try more photoshop in the future, i know the basics -
    I should bring my camera stuff at work, lots of cool places around here to take pics!

    Have a great weekend

    Ariane xxxx


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