When making one's first foray into the world of Goth fashion, it's all too easy to come a cropper in the style stakes with certain sartorial disasters. Here's your blogmistress's guide to NOT falling prey to any of those same mistakes...
|D'oh... pretty Goth Girl hates your outfit.|
And, come to that, it doesn't go with every outfit. If you're unsure, get out in natural light and snap a quick picture of yourself on your camera or phone. The camera doesn't lie, and if you look like... well, I can't think of a suitable metaphor, but I'm sure you'll know if it's somewhat unflattering.
And on the subject of lipstick, please, please, apply it neatly instead of smeared all over the place (if you are going for the Mad Bob look, please make sure it looks deliberate and not as though you tried to apply your make-up without a mirror). It sounds obvious, but I knew this one girl who did not seem to realise that lipstick goes primarily On The Mouth, not all around the mouth and halfway up the left cheek...
I would also recommend buying a lipstick sealant so that you don't leave smeary marks on the cutlery and glasses in every restaurant or friend's house you visit.
Also, some eldergoths have been known to get a little sniffy about black lipstick, considering it to be the preserve of the mallgoth. But these people seem to be in a minority, to judge from clubs and festivals that I've been to, so hell, if you like it, and it looks good on you, why not?
There is a difference between 'deathly pallor' and 'evil clown'
No, I'm afraid that taking style tips from Pennywise *shudder* does not earn you any extra Goth points. Whiteface. Halloween make-up. Honey, unless you are naturally whiter than bathroom tiles, your face is screaming "MIME!"
However, if you are sure you want to use this type of make-up, make sure you apply it to all exposed skin (including ears and neck, please) and blend like crazy. A better option is to apply a foundation no more than two shades lighter than your natural skin tone. You still achieve a pale look, without looking like a Halloween party escapee.
Be warned that Halloween make-up brands are generally cheap and crappy and could lead to skin irritation or breakouts. If you must use a white foundation, try Stargazer's white liquid foundation (available online or, probably, your local alternative store). It also blends wonderfully with other foundations if you, like me, have difficulty finding a shade pale enough to match your natural skin tone.
If you're a Goth of colour, whiteface should be an obvious no-no. In the words of one body lotion advert or another, love the skin you're in. Lily-white skin is NOT a requirement for the Goth look.
Eyeliner doodles - there's a limit
Yes, yes, we all do the elegant eyeliner curliques/tears/upside-down crosses or whatever at some point. But if you look like you have a skin disease from ten paces away, chances are you've gone too far. There is such a thing as overdoing it - when in doubt, less is more.
Oh, and if you are going to doodle, please use liquid eyeliner. It takes a steady hand, but trust me, practise makes perfect, and pencil eyeliner makes you look as though you've been attacked with a crayon. And the Crow look? Overdone. Really, REALLY overdone.
Just because it's black doesn't mean it looks Goth
Yes, sometimes in mainstream stores you can find stuff that will add delightfully to your Gothy wardrobe, and this is a Very Good Thing. But please don't assume that it will make you look Goth just because it comes in black. Browse Goth websites and galleries online to get a feel for Goth fashion - its elegance and/or dark whimsy - before you go running out to buy bags of black clothing.
And I must also advise against buying those pre-packaged 'Goth'-themed Halloween costumes for any occasion other than Halloween itself. Halloween costumes are made out of inferior fabrics - and it shows. Not to mention, they're as cheesy as anything. You don't have to buy expensive brand-name or custom-made Goth clothes to get 'the look', but you do have to pay time and attention to your outfit.
Goth is in the details
Well-chosen and well-applied make-up and accessories can make all the difference between a good ensemble and a bad one. Goth is not generally a low-maintenance look, so be prepared to put some effort in.
Side-note: younger Goths are often stereotyped as spooky kids or mallgoths. This is because it's very easy to make mistakes when you're starting out in the scene (I've been there myself... *cringe*), and the majority of people discover Goth (official statistics here!) between the ages of eleven and seventeen. But babybats and younger Gothlings, don't be disheartened! One of the best-dressed Goths I've ever seen was about ten years old. Just because you're young doesn't mean you are automatically going to fall into the bad fashion/make-up traps. Some young Goths are impeccably dressed.
Being sexy does not equal being semi-naked
Yes, it is fully possible to be Goth and sexy. But no, you don't have to run around in your undercrackers to be so! Well-fitting, sumptuous fabrics that emphasise all the right curves have a much better effect. (My sort-of boyfriend tells me that one of my sexiest pieces of clothing is a floor-length velvet skirt. This is because it clings to my butt. Tightly.)
Disclaimer: in no way am I attempting to tell you what to do here! If you want to doodle all over your face with black lipstick and wear a big Cat in the Hat hat, that's cool. It's your call - do what makes you happy. I'm just offering a little gentle advice.
Listening to: Stand Strong Stand Proud - Vice Squad