Mermaid Monday #18: Red Tattered Mermaid Wedding Dress for a Land Wedding

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For obvious reasons, mermaids prefer thin, delicate fabrics for their undersea fashion statements. These are usually just in single layers, possibly two or three extremely light layers for special occasions or if your situation in life is such that you don’t have to move around too much; anything beyond that registers less as sumptuous and more as vulgar and ridiculous, if not simply dangerous. There is a mermaid fable, in the Aesop vein, about a particularly vain young thing with a pearly pink tail and a fondness for adornment. Despite the warnings of her more practical sisters, she kept adding layer after layer of richly embroidered skirts and tops and sleeves, as well as bangles and necklaces and hair ornaments; in the end her outfit becomes just too heavy and billowy to swim properly in, and she gets eaten by a shark. But then, there is also a mermaid fairy tale about a vain young thing with a pearly blue tail, who starts out with too many layers and sheds them, one by one, to give to others in need; in proper fairy tale fashion, the recipients repay her kindness later on. (From the mermaid point of view, neither story is a caution against vanity per se: the latter is about generosity, the former merely about self-preservation.)

This sleek, light aesthetic often carries over to what mermaids might wear on land. As a matter of fact, most mermaids mentally class humans with other mammals such as dolphins, so it’s only natural to them to consider themselves superior in every way. Because of this perspective, mermaids tend to consider their own style to be obviously better than the fuller, often gaudier fashions popular among human women. Still, sometimes even for a mermaid it’s fun to pile on the fabric. This bride wanted most elements of mermaid wedding gown design for her own dress: the traditional red, the romantic tatters, the bare midriff that would shock most human brides. Indeed the top is such a common design for mermaid wedding outfits that it’s rather cliché. But now that she doesn’t have to worry about sharks, she wanted a skirt with something like ten layers of fabric. The resulting creation looks odd to both human and mermaid eyes alike: the mermaids criticize the mismatch of tatters and heavy skirt, while the humans scorn just about every other part of it. But the bride and her partner adore it, and they’ve never quite been known for paying undue attention to the opinions of others.

The tatters are a long-standing symbol of enduring, patient love among mermaids (and someday, remind me, I’ll tell you the story that most mermaids know a version of that started the trend). Of course, to humans, it just looks ragged and ridiculous. The tailor of this particular outfit took one last look at her beautifully balanced layers of fabric, then actually curled up in a corner of a different room and cried while her apprentice “distressed” the edges.

Halloween Masquerade Costume Series #6: The Cursed Sisters, Part 5

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“Look at that one,” he said, pointing to a woman in a white and red gown. “How brazen to wear such a thing.”

“What do you mean? It’s kind of an odd color combination, but…”

“Considering poor Lenora’s fate, it’s downright indecent.” He shook his head. “She must not have known, or she’d have never worn such a thing tonight.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen her before,” Linnetta replied, “so I’m sure it’s just a coincidence.”

“It seems to me Lenora’s story is the most tragic of all of your sisters,” her partner said. “How horrible her last days must have been.”

“It wasn’t her fault though. About Georgiana and Ginevra, I mean…”

“Who’s to say for sure? She thought it was. Maybe Georgiana was just an accident, but she did deliver the poison to Ginevra.”

“Shall we dance again?” Linnetta asked, hoping to stop the conversation, but she regretted the words as soon as they were said. Just getting to her feet made her feel light-headed, and she clung to her partner as they made their way to the dance floor. Where was her father? Once she could have counted on thoughtful Ginevra to save her from such a predicament, or for Celestine to cause some sort of distraction.

“It’s all right,” he said. “This will be the last dance before the announcement of the queen.” She could hardly pay attention to the dance or the music; she had to fight back the feeling of being overwhelmed. It didn’t help that her partner was still talking about her family.

“I’ve heard,” he said, “that towards the end, Emmeline became paranoid, which I suppose was a reasonable reaction given the circumstances. She said Celestine complained of a crushing feeling right behind her eyes, shortly before her unfortunate boating accident, and that Lenora refused to see anyone before she took her life, blaming a horrible headache. And so when she started getting headaches herself, her own retreat was foretold.”

“You know more than I do, I’m afraid,” Linnetta said, her eyes downcast. “I was so dreadfully sick that the whole time is still such a blur. My father shielded me from the details, too…”

“Of course. You wouldn’t have needed to know things like that,” her dancing partner replied.


BitterLilly sent me colored versions of the two most recent black and white dresses – they’re very delicate and cute! Click for the princess gown and for the masquerade gown. And as before, vote for next week and… uh… start suggesting literary character Halloween costumes, because I was counting on fairies winning and I haven’t thought of any. I’d like them to be Halloween related in some way though. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is probably in, for example. Assuming that fairies don’t make a comeback…

Evening Gown in Layered Fall Colors

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So I was talking to my husband about what I should do for today’s paperdoll. “You should make a beginning of fall fairy,” he said. “Nah,” I said, “not if I’m going to end up doing fairies for the first week of Halloween costumes.” “You should make a beginning of fall mermaid,” he said. “Nah,” I said, “I just did a mermaid.” “You should make a beginning of fall human,” he said. “What a great idea!” I replied.

That is what it is often like talking to me, I’m afraid. I’m a lousy brainstormer. But anyways, he’s a good one, and that’s why we have this dress today. Remember that, when you are wondering why I have a Mega Man costume up, sometime in the next couple of days.

Congratulations to Catie, who guessed my favorite Prismacolor color: ultramarine! Now, you may be clicking back to the list of Prismacolors thinking “wait, what, that ugly thing?” For some reason, the color on the website is completely different from the actual color the pencil produces, a heavenly rich blue. I actually don’t use it all that often, because it can be a little finicky to blend with the other blues – it has a kind of reddish undertone, and most of the blues really don’t – but when I do it really makes me happy. The 1893 bathing suit’s blue is primarily done in ultramarine, with blue violet lake and cloud blue blended in – and still the scan doesn’t do the original justice.

The poll is still open for set 1 of Halloween costumes!

Mermaid Monday #7: Crimson Tailed Mermaid with White Ruffly Top and Ruby Jewelry

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This mermaid was born with red hair and a red tail, and although red has positive connotations in mermaid culture, associated with weddings as it is, she thought it was just too unfair for words to be naturally confined to one color and longed for shining black hair, or maybe a lovely gold tail instead. (Most mermaids have different color hair and tails, so we might consider her something of a mermaid albino, in a way.) She was quite self-conscious about it for some time, because she was teased about being destined to marry early by her mom and sisters and the less kind mermaids nicknamed her “Sockeye.” Then she figured out that humans found red an intriguing and sexy color, and they didn’t know that her peers thought that she was some kind of freak. So, far from being ashamed of her natural coloration, she embraced it and started spending more time on land than sea, dancing all night in outrageous crimson gowns and demanding presents of ruby jewelry from her admirers. She ended up forsaking the sea entirely and became a famous actress among humans, never marrying but constantly throwing spectacular parties in her indoor grotto for her favorite actors, artists, aristocrats and sometimes even a reformed pirate or two. Sometimes she would send invitations to those who had called her “Sockeye,” but the invitations were meant as a slap in the face and all concerned knew it.

Putting our scarlet girl aside for now, I am quite happy today because I ordered sixty-one new colored pencils this morning. Ten of them are colorless blenders, since those are like water running through my hands, soon sharpened into nothingness (well, actually into little stubs I can’t use until I find some decent pencil extender). Maybe 40% of them are replacements of colors that are getting low, and then the rest are colors that have come out in the ten years I’ve had my set. I’m ecstatic just thinking about their names! Pale sage! Ginger root! Kelp green! Come to me quickly, little pencils, and we will have some fun together.

This poll has a clear winner so far, but it’s not time for it to go away yet…