Day 15: My Newest Purchase

Spring can never decide what it wants around here. The sun will shine and the flowers will bloom one week, and the next will be back to wintery rain and snow. I bought this dress with an eye to spring and summer, but today I’m glad it works just as well with a sweater and boots.

I thought I’d show you both ways for fun, but it’s definitely sweater weather today. The dress is from Target, which I’ve noticed has a lot of black basics right now, so yay for that. It actually ties at the back of the neck and the ties are very long, so I’ll probably play with that over the summer.

tieback1
Image from target’s Who What Wear collection

In the “summer” picture I’m also wearing a preserved seahorse pendant I got on a trip to New Orleans. It’s not a particularly gothy color (though I’d argue that wearing dead things is pretty goth anyway) but it really pops against all that black.

seahorse

 

Day 14: Cutest Socks

It’s a tie betweeen my Bride of Frankenstein socks and my alien landing socks. All my other socks are either “serious” blacks and grays or random skulls and stuff, so these are the clear winners. I’ve already worn Bride of Frankenstein this week, so I had to fish one out of the laundry basket to get a picture.

Fashion Challenge: Days 5-8

Day 5: My Favorite Legware

I got these ponte pants from Dress Barn online, on sale for $13. They’re comfortable and go with everything, but the textured Victorian wallpaper pattern (hope you can see it well enough in the close-up) is my favorite thing about them. Also, my kid took the full body photo, which is why the weird angle (and the weird face?).

Day 6: My Comfiest Outfit

This is what I wear to work around the house (this weekend we finally took our Christmas lights down) or lounge around on weekends. The shirt is Rainbeau Curves and the pants are Duluth Trading drawstring armachillos. I’m pretty sure the shoes are old Skechers.

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Day 7: My Cutest Outfit

I rarely go all out with the fuss and frills, but when I do I look like a jolly witch. My only regret is that those shoes are navy blue, not black.

halloween cuteness

Day 8: Most Expensive Clothing

Pretty much all my clothes hover around the same price range, so I’m not really sure on this one. I think it’s this dress, but probably not by much. I wore this out for my anniversary once but I can’t for the life of me find a picture so let’s just pretend I looked like this model. Only fatter. And with black hair (I’m so goth my hair is naturally black). And no arm tattoos. But otherwise, exactly like this model.

Fashion is a Vampire

Goth isn’t fully goth without the fashion. Fashion is what separates goths from vampire lovers and Victoriana nerds with great taste in music. Clothing and makeup are often seen as shallow or silly things to care about, and alternative styles are often ridiculed as being all about “shocking people” or “just wanting attention,” but clothing and makeup are also great ways to express your creativity and find people who might share your deeper interests. Gothing up your personal style is a great way of finding out who around you might share your interests and keeping away the kind of boring, closed-minded people you’d rather not deal with.

A lot of people dial their personal style up and down according to what they’re doing (work? play? meeting new people? seeing old friends?) and who they’re with, and a lot of people are looking for their own balance between standing out and blending in. Goths are no exception, but I think goth style goes farther than that. Not to get all pretentious here, but goth fashion is also commenting on society. In my mind, at least, dressing goth says three basic things.

First, modern consumer society likes to pretend that weird and sad and painful things can and should be somehow done away with. I think (and this seems like a fairly standard goth attitude) that those things should be understood and embraced instead of swept under the rug. Dressing “like you’re going to a funeral” is a subtle but insistent reminder to the world that darkness will always be with us, no matter how much you want to pretend otherwise.

Second, goth is often a very feminine style full of rich textures and lovely jewelry and elaborate hair and makeup. But it’s very different from the soft and pliant “traditional” femininity I grew up with. It’s a very dominant and powerful sort of feminine energy. Goth fashion for men is laced with “feminine” sensual elements as well. Goth is almost the only subculture I can think of that plays up this kind of energy for all genders and I would love to see elements of it catch on with a wider range of people.

The last statement goth makes in my mind is also the most basic and general. To my mind, style should be about what an individual likes and feels good in. I feel good in black. I like skulls and blood. It shouldn’t matter whether some magazine thinks I look good in black or what some celebrity  wears or doesn’t wear. I don’t care about getting attention and I’m not interested in shock value, but I’m stubborn about my right to like what I like and wear what I want to wear.

And that brings us to what frustrates me about fashion, goth fashion included. Fashion can be such a great tool for expressing yourself, saying something to the world, finding your people, having fun and feeling good. Fashion is an art, and it takes talent and time and skill to be really good at it. And yet, sometimes it’s exactly as shallow and silly and conformist as critics say it is. Goth fashion is no exception to this. Buying status brands, whether it’s Chanel or Hellbunny or whatever is hot in your circle, is a poor substitute for creativity. Glorifying a certain (tall, thin) body type doesn’t exactly celebrate individuality and self-expression. Judging people’s gothiness based on looks alone is just . . . ironic. A subculture that gets so much judgment from mainstream folks ought not be replicating that awful system. If we bring that kind of bullshit into alternative fashion, well, that ain’t much of an alternative. And that would be a shame.

 

Black and Burgundy

I wear colors besides black. There, I said it. I wear gray, I wear red, I wear orange or purple once in a while. But it doesn’t stop there. Sometimes I wear royal blue or forest green or even, dare I say, brown. But not pastels. I draw the line at pastels.
Fact is, wearing all black doesn’t make you goth any more than staying up all night makes you a vampire. I’ve seen countless chic New York wannabes, tough biker chicks, beatnik musicians, and stylish soccer moms wear head-to-toe black and not look the slightest bit goth. We’ve all known goths or other unique types of people, though, who somehow capture the look no matter what they’re wearing.
When you know who you are it shows through and people can’t help but see it. Fashion is just a tool. Clothing, hair, makeup, jewelry, they help project who you are but if you have a strong personality people will see it anyway. Even if you’re wearing pastels.
Dark Day to Dark Date

I have the jeans and both the tops. I love all three, especially the casual top, which I probably wear once a week. I also have the Victorian boots. Everything else is just examples, things I want or that are similar to what I wear.

Sassy Schoolmarm

Polyvore doesn’t really get my style. I had to clip all three items from websites and couldn’t find pictures in the colors I actually own. I couldn’t find a picture of my pants at all (Duluth Trading armachillos, which I secretly live in around the house). Pretend the sweater is gray and be amazed that I made it all by myself out of yarn. And pretend the shirt is dark blue but I wish it was black. It’s expensive but great, but I bought it a while ago when I was trying to fit in with other moms.
Aside from the color issue this combo is very me. I love dressing like a slightly spooky schoolmarm.
Sassy Schoolmarm