31 Oct 2019


Here it is: the spookiest day of the year! Also, the perfect day to dress into whatever suits your fancy. I can't say I'm the biggest dresser-upper, but I do enjoy it from time to time. Some years, I go all out while others, I call it in such as here. Other times, I simply get into the spirit by wearing black and orange attire with scary accessories (like this and this).

This year, I felt inspired to go all out and do a themed photo shoot. (Who am I?) I chose to go as Claire Fraser from Outlander, portrayed by non other than the super talented Caitriona Balfe! I only discovered the Outlander universe a few weeks ago (yes, I know I'm very late to the party) thanks to my sister's persistence! Thanks for not giving up on me, MJ! You were totally right and I should have taken your advice years ago.

Having recently binge-watched the first four seasons of the show, I was completely immersed in the universe and fascinated with the Scottish Highlands. The history and genealogy nerd inside me even went as far as digging into my family tree because I've been blocked for a while on my Scottish branch. There's nothing like a new show to reignite the research flame! I'm pretty sure I've got direct descendants that fought at the battle of Culloden, but I can't confirm anything just yet. Maybe a research trip to the Highlands is in the cards? One day!

Now, back to the costume! As I often do when watching a series or a movie, I find myself inspired by the costumes and stylings and turn to my closet to try and channel some of that inspiration into my own looks. I do have the luxury of having a vast and diverse wardrobe, so I usually find key pieces to put together. This is how the idea of dressing up as Claire came to me. I was fiddling around in my closet app (Stylebook) and building outfits. I started with a big tartan skirt, added the knitted vest, the peasant top and the wide brown belt. That's when lightning struck! I basically had come up with a basic look inspired by many pieces the character wears on the show. That's the moment I decided what I'd dress up as this year. I completed the look with a scarf, a straw basket and flat leather shoes. Oh, I also added a petticoat under the skirt to give it more volume as I don't have a bum roll. The beauty of this look is that it came entirely from my closet. I did not have to buy or make a single element. What can I say? It was meant to be!

I originally planned on simply dressing up for Halloween. However, I had an Ah ha! moment on one of my runs. I was running along on my usual route one day when a rock display (that's always been there) caught my eye. I'd noticed it many times before (it's actually hard to miss), but I saw in a whole new light: it was basically a mini Craigh na dun! I couldn't un-see or un-think what I just thought... I decided right then and there that I needed to do a full-blown photo shoot of this costume in its rightful setting. And to think, this gem of a structure is right in my neighbourhood!

Now that I had this master plan, I still needed to make it happen. Seeing as the stone structure is clearly in someone's front yard, I wanted to ask permission to take photos there. You know, because it would make for a very awkward situation if I were to show up on in full costume on someone's lawn...

For the following three weeks, I was on a mission to ask the homeowners for permission. Now, this was easier said than done. I have no idea who these people are, let along their names or contact information. For a moment, I longed for an old-school phone book to try and contact them by their address. I settled for knocking on the door every time I happened to run by. Not the best laid out plan, but it's all I had! For two weeks, there was never anybody home when I knocked on the door. On the third week, I happened to be in the right place at the right time. I was coming up to the house when I noticed the car leave the drive-way. I waved it down and luckily they stopped. I can just imagine what the poor guys was thinking! I excitedly asked him if he lived in the house with the stones. Lucky for me, he did! I proceeded to tell him about my Halloween costume photo shoot idea and asked if I could use his front yard. He seemed very amused and, with a big smile, agreed! I'm happy my excitement didn't scare him off! The things I do for the blog... Now that I had the all-clear, it was time to pick a day for the shoot.

I knew I wanted to do the shoot during sunrise, as that's the time of day we first see/hear of Craigh na dun. That meant it would have to be on a weekend. We settled on the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend and marked the calendar. I had enlisted the help of my husband to act as my photographer and explained my entire plan and vision.

On the morning of the shoot, I woke up super early to do my hair and make-up. Luckily, I had braided my hair the night before to get Claire's messy curls and her make-up is meant to look non-existent, so pretty straight forward. I'd like to point out the amount of make-up necessary to look like one is not wearing any is quite astounding! I admit, I put on a bit more knowing I'd be photographed. With hair and make-up done, I put on my costume. It feels odd to call it a costume because this is all clothing I wear on a regular basis... We grabbed the camera and were off to our shoot location.

The weather that day was perfection! I could not have planned for better. The sun rise was spectacular and bright and there was a heavy fog that morning: the perfect backdrop for a Highland feel. We started the shoot with the stone structure and moved on to a nearby ravine. We were in awe at the beautiful colours and rustling stream in the ravine. The setting was absolute perfection for the theme of the shoot!

I really wanted to capture some of Claire's iconic moments, mostly form season one. There was a lot of riding and walking in the woods, there were a few scenes where she would be freshening up by a river, she was often seen fulfilling here healing duties and collecting plants and herbs and I really wanted to get a running shot, reminiscent of the shot in the opening sequence of the show. Obviously, there was a lot of Craigh na dun inspiration as well!

I think we managed to get most of those scenes and I had a blast conceptualizing this post! I love the way the pictures turned out and I couldn't have asked for a better setting! The timing of the leaves changing was perfection and my husband was a real sport. I made him take pictures of my wearing a costume in public at the crack of dawn on a Sunday. Yeah, he's a keeper! I hope you all enjoy reading this post as much as I did putting it together!

Happy Halloween!

Top: Old Navy (similar) | Skirt: Zara (similar) | Petticoat: Anarchy Gallery (similar) | Vest: Anarchy Gallery (similar) | Belt: Old Navy (similar) | Scarf: Smart Set (similar) | Basket: (flea market find) (similar) | Shoes: Bamboo (similar)

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