Wednesday, 5 January 2011

A Goth girl's guide to the January sales, UK

Yesterday I took the opportunity to hit the sales with my gorgeous friend Bronwyn, spent far too much money, but saved several hundred pounds on delicious things that I would otherwise never have had the chance to buy. Those who are new to Goth often overlook mainstream high street stores when searching for goodies, but judging from all the lovely, decidedly Goth-friendly items I found, I thought I'd post some pics (many apologies for the grainy cameraphone images - after four years of loyal service my poor Kodak has died a tragic death and I haven't yet bought a replacement) and share my hot tips for what you can grab on the average UK high street this January.

Peacocks is often a good place to grab some nice bits and pieces on the cheap, and this January was no exception. Fledgling Goths often worry that they will have to really splash out to find a nice pair of Goth boots to complete the look, but I have several pairs of boots from Peacocks, haven't paid more than £30 for any of them, and have so far not been let down by the quality.

This season, Gothy shoppers could do worse than to lay their black-polished talons on a pair of high-heeled boots with multiple buckles and straps - black, of course - the Sedgewick buckled boot. Unfortunately, there were none left in my size. There are a few pairs of the steampunk/Victorian-esque knee-highs with O-ring ankle detail (the Loughton Saddle Boot) that I originally bought to wear to work still lurking around. Despite having heels, they grip beautifully on even the iciest pavements and have served me well for several months.

I treated myself to the Wembley Work Boots for £20 (reduced from £28) - they are made from a textile that has the soft sheen of velveteen or suede. I also tried on some pretty lace ballet pumps with huge bows on the toes, but there wasn't a small enough size left.

Whilst writing this post, on the Peacocks website I spotted such bargains as the Veronica Lace Peep-toe Heel, the Tatiana Hiking Boots (which are adorable, and now half-price at £15), the Maidavale Lace Boots, and various styles of ballet pumps with lace, bows, glitter and other interesting details.

In the clothes section, I found a red-and-black leopard-print 50s-style cardigan - very Gothabilly, and extra-flattering. There were also plenty of velvet minidresses in either black or purple, but none in my size. I spotted several black tops with lace sleeves, but didn't like how the lace was puffed at the shoulders.

The previous Sunday, my mum had taken a trip to Peacocks and bought a smart military jacket with braiding and antique gold-coloured buttons for just £10, which is included in the picture below. I also found some bits and bobs such as red-and-black dangly earrings with little crosses, half-price for £3.50, and a pair of striped socks with pumpkins for just 75p.

Gothabilly prints and lush fabrics at Peacocks
Topshop is one of those places that I can visit at regular intervals throughout the year and find nothing (and spend a lot of time rolling my eyes and muttering to myself about the kind of people who will spend ridiculous amounts of money on pre-studded leather jackets, pre-frayed denim minis and pre-ripped leggings when it takes hardly any time or effort to do such things oneself) and then suddenly, come the sale season, I always, always find something that tempts me into parting with a little more of my hard-earned cash. Last year, a ruffled black minidress. The year before, pink pyjamas with black bats on, and a black velvet tunic dress.

Imagine my glee when I spotted the cutest pair of ankle boots in the sale, down from £80 to £30! They didn't seem to be selling very well - perhaps because they are now so out of season that Topshop's particular brand of fashionista refused to buy? For those of us who really couldn't give a monkey's whether parts of our ensemble are 'last season' or not, the Topshop sale is brilliant.

The one thing that I feel Topshop does well all year round is pants for the Gothically-inclined. Or, in proper English lingo, knickers. I couldn't resist underwear with glow-in-the-dark ghosties on, although I'm not entirely sure what this says about my mental state.

On the Topshop website, I have been admiring a polka-dot bustle-back (interestingly spelt 'bussle') minidress, down to £50 from a shocking £150; a ruffled blouse which is now £20, down from £70; and a black lace slip for £10.
Topshop made me a very happy Shoe Queen
Claire's is one of my favourite shops all year round, but I can't deny that the sales are usually crap. No, I don't want stuff in obnoxious neon, or with Edward's caveman mug printed all over it. And get away from me with those floral prints.

So when I spied a beautifully luxurious black feather cape with a price tag of £28, I thought, "Sod it. Who cares if it's not in the sale? It's pretty. And it's cheaper than the handmade one I was so tempted by at DV8 Fest." But! When I got to the till, you should have seen the Face of Glee and the happy dance when the cashier told me it actually WAS in the sale - and I had just bagged a £10 bargain.

The sale items are also currently at three for the price of two, so I picked up a coffin-shaped notepad (complete with black and red heart-shaped sticky notes); an 'I <3 Vampires' wristband (to match the earrings and necklace that I already have - stop laughing, please...) complete with dangly fangs, just £1; and the cutest little Dracula bush baby cuddly toy, who was £2. (His name is Magnus.)

I think the cashier - who I went to primary school with - may have thought I was a bit cracked.
Spookycute vampirey goodness at Claire's
Dorothy Perkins was a disappointment. The previous January I had found such delicious goodies as velvet and lace peep-toe boots for only £15. This year, there was hardly anything that appealed to me - some socks with skulls on; and some purple velvet hair clips. At least I didn't break the bank.

The website was a little more interesting - a black velvet bell-sleeved dress is only £20, or a sweet little mini with bows on the shoulders for £23.
Nothing much exciting at Dotty P's.
The local HMV is one of those temporary Christmas pop-up stores that seems to sell nothing but Twilight, Justin Beiber and other various Top 40 crapola. However, in the sale I spotted one lonely Cure CD - their Greatest Hits album, which I already had - and the newest albums by metal bands I happen to like, namely Avenged Sevenfold and Bullet For My Valentine. Nonetheless, I muttered my typical refrain, "Can get it cheaper on Amazon," and shuffled around to the DVD section.

Much better. I nabbed Coraline for £4, and reluctantly put back Daybreakers (£7), New Moon (£8) and Suck (a vampire comedy I hadn't heard of, starring Alice Cooper and Iggy Pop - £5), mumbling about Amazon again.

The pink and white Skull Candy headphones I wanted were unfortunately not on sale, so I think they will have to be my next extravagance (after a new camera, that is...).

Shoezone was another disappointment - I love bargain shoe stores, and Shoezone is possibly my favourite. I have a pair of £25 heeled ankle boots from here that I get compliments on whenever I wear them, and a pair of pink and black tartan high-tops (useful for when I actually have to take part in physical activity, which admittedly I do try and keep to a bare minimum) which were £8. However, there wasn't really anything exciting or interesting there - just cheaper rip-offs of boots and shoes I already own. If you don't have any combat boots or attractively trashy knee-high heels, Shoezone might just have what you need - otherwise, just go to Peacocks.

Superdrug was great - their three-for-two cosmetics offer was FULLY taken advantage of. (May I recommend, however, that you do not buy 2True eye gems, as they are impossible to peel off the backing. Literally impossible.)

WHSmith also has some good offers. Bronwyn bought a birthday present for her sister at a third of the original price. Grab vampire books and various other popular Young Adult novels by authors such as Lauren Kate, Cassandra Clare and L.J. Smith on the cheap (although still not as cheap as Amazon...).

My town doesn't have a Primark, which for a devotee of exceedingly cheap basics to mix-and-match with Goth brandnames and custom items, is more than slightly annoying.

New Look was my favourite this year - my mum got me a black military jacket in the sale for my new year's present, and I treated myself to another in a similar style, but in burgundy velvet (reduced to about £10 from £45!). I also grabbed some Stargazer false lashes, and made myself put back several other lovelies, including a furry black cropped gilet (I have enough things made out of faux fur) and a one-shouldered Little Black Dress that I would probably never have the opportunity to wear.
Because I needed MORE jackets, obviously.
My local alt shop also had some great bargains, I got a gypsy/peasant top from Spin Doctor for just £7, and forced myself not to buy a high-waisted tartan bustle skirt because I couldn't justify spending another £40. I also got a one-shouldered velvet minidress with a chiffon batwing sleeve from the Evita brand (I think every town has a shop or market stall selling trashy fashions from Evita) for £13.

The January sales are a great way for those new to Goth to stock up on dark fashion  - you can purchase a whole new wardrobe in a single afternoon, without spending a fortune. Good luck!

Listening to: 4472 - Rhombus


Serifina said...

I found a beautiful corset top at my local Next for £8...but it was four sizes too big.
You did well at Claires, mine didn't stock much. ;-(

ultimategothguide said...

Hmm, we didn't go to Next as it was well out of our way and our local Next tends to suck anyway. Kind of wish I had had a quick look now... just in case!

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