Mrs Santa Dress How-To

Presenting My Mrs. Santa Dress

Mrs Santa Dress How-To

All dolled up in my Mrs. Santa dress–unveiled below!

You may remember my desire to make a big green velvet Christmas dress this year–I even had a pattern picked out! However, after an extensive search (at three different fabric stores) I couldn’t find any green velvet, and after a look at the calendar, I realized that realistically, I wasn’t going to have time to sew a dress anyway. I was quite disappointed–until I brainstormed a way to make the most Christmassy gown I could ever want, using a dress I made a few years ago!

Mrs Santa Dress How-To

Mrs. Santa dress: before!

About six years ago, I wanted to make a big red Christmas dress, which I did, using a pattern I cannot find, either in my sewing stuff or online, but I believe it was a Vogue pattern that must be out of print: boatneck, big swingy skirt, defined waist, bracelet-length sleeves. While I wore the heck of it that year, it was never quite right: I should have taken up the shoulders, and I chose a polyester crepe fabric (partly because it was inexpensive, partly because it was the perfect color) that was a little too stiff.

Mrs. Santa Dress How-To

Mrs. Santa dress: after!

But! If I took it to a tailor (who fixed the shoulders for $20) and hot glue-gunned a little fake fur around the edges–voila! I’d have a perfect Mrs. Santa dress! After I rummaged through my closet and found a black patent leather belt and heels, my course was set.

Mrs Santa Dress How-To

Out on the town as Mrs. Santa at the Rum Club!

You can see the end result, and I’m quite proud of it! I wore it to a party and out for holiday drinks with my best girlfriends, and let me tell you: it is a lot of fun to dress as Mrs. Santa–I got a big (and mostly positive) reaction everywhere I went.

I’m pretty proud of my ingenuity (or is that insanity?). It took me less than half an hour to glue the trim on, and I got a re-branded, very distinctive dress for less than $40!

Do you have an ideal Christmas outfit? I’m still dreaming of a White Christmas-type dress (basically my Mrs. Santa dress on steroids). Post it below!

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Toxic Femininity Destroys the Patriarchy in The Love Witch

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This movie poster is everything.

What happens when a woman consecrates herself–not to God, but to the idea of becoming man’s ultimate fantasy? This is the question brilliantly and bloodily answered by Anna Biller’s The Love Witch, a delirious, candy-colored foray into the pursuit of love (or at least the superficial aspects of it) above all else.

While writer/director/producer/art director/costume designer Anna Biller has said she wanted to evoke the Technicolor thrillers of the ‘60s, another comparison kept plucking at the edges of my memory as I watched–The Wonderful World of the Brothers’ Grimm, the 1962 film directed by Henry Levin and George Pal. It’s a fitting comparison: like any Grimm fairy tale worth its salt, The Love Witch offers beauty and fantasy, but something darker and uglier eventually seeps through.

Before we go any further, you’re going to have to watch the trailer (except maybe my Mom–NSFW):

When we first meet Elaine, she’s fleeing a cloud of suspicion following the death of her ex-husband, and starting a new life where she can pursue both the Satanic arts and her dream of finding a man to love. “You might say I’m addicted to love!” she burbles to Trish, the modern woman who rents Elaine an apartment. After listening to Elaine explain how women need to give men what they want–“Just a pretty woman to love, and to take care of them, and to make them feel like a man. And to give them total freedom in whatever they want to do or be!”–Trish incredulously says, “You sound like you’ve been brainwashed by the patriarchy!”

Later, we find that Elaine has indeed internalized the criticism of her father and ex-husband (“You’ve put on weight!” “How hard is it to get dinner ready on time?”) and devoted herself to the dark arts to catch a man, becoming a weaponized Cosmo magazine in the process. Elaine’s outer glamour–luxurious wig, lacquered makeup, lingerie–isn’t just about vanity. They are her rituals, her magicks, her power, and she wields them with blunt (and perhaps deadly?) force.

Elaine quickly captures the attention of Wayne, a local professor, asking him to take her to his remote cabin, offering a flask of some unknown potion, and then cooking him a very masculine steak dinner. Then Elaine and Wayne retire to the bedroom, after which . . . the shine begins to fade.

You see, whether it’s the potion or the heady combination of red meat and hot sex, Wayne begins to feel and express emotions. “Elaine!” he cries, tears rolling down his face, as Elaine, stone faced, sneers, “What a pussy.” Things do not end well for Wayne.

That’s the double-edged sword cutting through this devilish fairy tale: by becoming the living embodiment of the male fantasy, Elaine is now all surface, no soul. She’s only interested in the thrill of the hunt, of capturing the attention of a man. Why would she subject herself to the daily drudge of sharing a bathroom or talking about feelings, when she can dispose of all that messiness (along with the man) and find a new conquest?

Griff, a police detective who’s a living caricature of the “manly” man (He likes his coffee like he likes his women!), and therefore Elaine’s ultimate prey, accuses her of being a black hole that no amount of love can fill. And he’s correct. The narrow desires of the patriarchy have created its own Frankenstein’s monster in Elaine, and the men pay dearly in The Love Witch.

Is The Love Witch a “good” movie? Yes and no. The acting is stilted (although perfectly in keeping with the atmosphere Biller is trying to achieve), the storyline is ridiculous, and the supernatural elements are incredibly campy. But it’s a strange and beautiful and sexy and unique and bizarre and intentional movie, and it is exactly what director Anna Biller set out to make (seriously, look at the credits on IMDB, Biller did nearly everything herself, including designing and creating the pentagram rug in Elaine’s apartment).

If you’re very lucky, you can still catch The Love Witch in theaters, or pre-order it from the official website!