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More Christmas Gifts (for less than $50)

We’re officially 3 weeks away from Christmas. By now the tree is decorated, the lights are up and you might be starting to freak out about last minute Christmas gifts. It’s okay, deep breaths, we are here to help you figure it out. So sit down, grab some eggnog and sugar cookies because we have our top three unisex gift ideas for under $50. To make things even easier, these are all available online as well as in store so you can shop however you’d like.

Pocket Belts

Give your loved ones the gift of not having to carry a purse or backpack. Pocket Belts let you carry your valuables (keys, phone, wallet, ID) securely without inhibiting your mobility. They are also super stylish and go with any outfit. It’s the perfect gift for anyone who likes to travel, go to festivals or busy parents.

grey faux fur wrist wallet

Wrist Wallets

Got a friend with a wild side? Do they remind you of viking or amazon? Then a faux fur wrist wallet might be the way to go. Faux Fur Wrist Wallets are made of super soft pettable faux fur and are available in white, grey and tan. They lace up which makes the size adjustable. Their small, zippered pocket is just big enough to hold ID, cash and a couple of keys. Perfect for going out dancing! Get it for your friend in the fetish community, ravers, or just people who don’t like to carry stuff.

Gift Cards

We all have that one friend who is impossible to shop for. Their tastes are too eccentric to anticipate what they need or want. Or maybe you have a friend that’s got a huge tickle trunk and you just have no idea what’s in there. For those hard to shop for friends, we suggest a gift card. Let them pick out something they really want or need. If you feel like a GC is too impersonal then make it an event. Pick a day and make up an itinerary. Go for lunch at Meat and Bread, followed by shopping at Venus & Mars and end the day with a treat from Pure Bread. What could be more fun than spending an afternoon eating yummy food and shopping at cool stores?

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December Store Hours

December Store Hours

  • Monday – Saturday 11am – 7pm
  • Sunday 11am – 5pm
  • December 24, 2018 11am – 5pm
  • December 25, 2018 CLOSED

Happy Christmas Season! If you don’t think you can handle going into a mall this December, I don’t blame you. Malls in December are basically hell. There’s people everywhere. No one is happy to be there. And to top it off Christmas music is play everywhere. Don’t worry, we’re here for you.

If you need a little break from the Christmas spirit, then come on into VM and center yourself with some corsets, kilts and cloaks. We’ll be send out some gift guides throughout the month to help you with your Christmas shopping but we also have all your favorite things if you just need to take a moment for yourself. As always, our website will be open 24/7 if you don’t want to leave your house at all and you want to do all your shopping in your pjs while drinking wine.

Make sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter if you want outfit or gift ideas for this holiday season!

 

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Fan Expo Refresher – What is Cosplay?

What is Cosplay?

Fan Expo is three sleeps away! I’m so excited to see all the amazing and creative cosplay. In honour of Fan Expo, I thought I’d re-post I blog I wrote explaining what cosplay is for those who are not initiated! Enjoy and don’t forget to drop by and say hello to us this weekend!

Cosplay is actually a portmanteau of two words: costume and play. Originally, I think that the word specifically applied to anime culture where people would dress up as their favourite anime characters.  As time has gone by, it has expanded to include pretty much any pop culture icon. Some people are purists and get every detail perfect right down to the colour of the thread on the switching.  Some people mash up differently cultural elements to create a new version of a character like making a steampunk sailor moon or a little mermaid princess Leia.  Lots of people make gender bending version of their favourite characters like a male Harley Quinn or a female Captain America. The options are limitless and the community is super accepting.

If you are still not sure you understand, fear not! I have some examples of awesome Venus & Mars  versions of some of our most favourite fictional badass ladies.

Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman is one of my personal favourite super heroes so naturally we had to include her.  It’s so empowering to have a strong, fearless female hero kicking ass and taking names. Who wouldn’t want to dress up like that? For Wonder Woman we combined the iconic Linda Carter look with some of the badassery of the new Gal Gadot look.  We put together a gold Venus & Mars bandeau with a red reversible VM waist cincher some blue booty shorts, a black velvet cloak and gold pointe glovettes.  Suffering Sappho, I have never seen a cooler Wonder Woman!

Harley Quinn

If you have ever been to a convention you know that if we had to include anything it was Harley Quinn.  There has been so many Harley looks over years and we couldn’t pick just one. We used her original black and red for inspiration but gave the overall outfit more of a roller derby feel. For this outfit, we combined a sleeveless red skinny tee, the reverse side of the reversible red waist cincher, black and red tap shorts and mix and matched a pair of red and black fishnet glovettes. We also added a pair of black goggles as a nod to the original Harley Quinn’s black eye mask. Trust me, puddin’, everyone will love this Harley look.

Princess Leia

We love Carrie Fisher. Her real life sassy no bullshit approach to Hollywood is something we can all aspire to. We absolutely had to pay homage to her with a Princess Leia inspired look. I know slave Leia is super popular but we wanted to show off the all white princess outfit instead.   We put together a white under blouse, white reversible waist cincher and cream panne cloak.  And we used a white pinstripe tube top as the skirt. To really sell the look we put Ivette’s hair into buns. I sense great awesome in this outfit. (PS. I love this picture so much. I think it’s one of my favourites ever.)

So what did you think of my definition of cosplay? did I get it right?  Would you explain it differently?  Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to hear about new and exciting things we are doing!

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FAQ: Do you do custom?

Why we don’t do custom work

One of our most frequently asked questions is: do you do custom and/or alterations? It’s a totally reasonable question. If everything with the Venus & Mars label is handmade in store then it only seems logical that we would be set up to do custom but the truth is we’re not. Back in the day we used to do custom but a steady increase in business and customers has made it impossible to continue. The following is why.

Custom is expensive

Custom work is expensive. In the time that it takes to make one custom jacket, we could probably make two dozen steampunk frock coats (more on that below). From an accounting standpoint, it’s difficult to justify charging the same amount for one custom jacket as it would be for one regular jacket that we could produce in a small production run. We don’t think it’s fair to charge $1,000 or more for just one jacket but we wouldn’t be able to survive if we charged the same amount for custom as we do for off the rack.

steampunk frock coat

It is time consuming

Everything we make is made in small production runs. That means that Sanne uses a pattern (of her own design) to cut multiple items at the same time. She then bundles everything together for our sewer and we get shiny new awesome products once they are all put together. If it is a brand new design then Sanne will cut one and sew a sample for our sewer. Depending on what we are making, we generally have a turn around time of a week for multiple items in a size run.  Custom work requires a lot more time.We have to set up a consultation, make a new pattern, construct the garment, provide a fitting, and make any necessary alterations. In the time that it takes to do a consultation alone, Sanne could have cut 6 black wool cloaks.

Bonus: Putting together a cosplay? Check out  What is cosplay for suggestions on how to put something together off the rack.

We don’t want to

Sanne started Venus & Mars in 1993 because she wanted to make her own designs. People come to us with excellent suggestions and incredibly creative ideas that we love to hear about. Sometimes these ideas even inspire us to make new things (for example the ladies tails vest) but that’s on our own terms and in our own designs. What has made the store successful for a quarter century is Sanne’s unique designs and we would like to continue in that vein.

We totally want to make your vision a reality. If you bring in a picture of what your trying to recreate, we can offer suggestions and help you come up with at least a base for your outfit. We’ll try to recommend other places too that might have what you’re looking for. If you do end up getting custom work done then make sure to do your homework. Look up reviews from other customers and shop around for a price that fits your budget.

What has your experience been with getting custom clothing made? Let us know in the comments below.

Like us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to get the latest scoop on what we’re up to. You can also sign up for the Steampunk Tempest in order to get awesome, secret deals.