Monday, 3 January 2011

Styles of Goth fashion: Victorian Goth

The aesthetics of Victorian fashion are widespread throughout the Goth scene - the corsets, parasols, lace gloves, top hats, bustle skirts and mourning veils sported by many a dark diva or dashing dandy are clearly borrowed from the Victorian era. However, none embodies the decorum and grace of the Victorian aristocracy quite like the Victorian Goth. Obviously.

Source: Photobucket
The Victorian era has had a strong influence on Goth in more areas than just fashion - Gothic literature from the likes of Edgar Allen Poe, Mary Shelley and Bram Stoker lines many a Gothling's bookshelf, and aspects of Victorian lifestyle have pervaded the scene, from masquerade balls to tea parties being enjoyed at festivals and clubs the world over.

Whilst Victorian Goth lends itself well to merging with other styles, such as Gothic Lolita, 'punktorian' as embodied by Emilie Autumn, steampunk and 'spin-offs' such as neo-Victorian, Victorian Goth clothing is often historically accurate - yes, corsets actually worn UNDERNEATH the clothes. However, ladies may also sport accessories traditionally worn by Victorian gentlemen, such as top hats, pocket watches and canes, and many like to create their own unique take on the aesthetics presented within Victorian fashion. Ball dress and mourning garb are most often emulated.

Victorian Goth is often a very detailed look, involving many layers of heavy and often impractical clothing - for example, a lady's attire might include a steel-boned corset, stockings, bloomers, petticoat, skirt, bustle, blouse, veil and parasol. Attire for gentlemen typically includes frock coats, frilled shirts and waistcoats. A toned-down version is generally more appropriate for day-to-day wear, comprising perhaps of a long skirt and ruffled blouse. Surprisingly, amassing a Victorian Goth wardrobe can be useful when it comes to casual attire - bloomers are undeniably comfortable, and a long black petticoat looks stunning partnered with leggings and boots.

Footwear may be more delicate than the usual stompy New Rocks or combat boots - 'granny' or 'witch' boots are often seen on Victorian Goth girls, either with laces or rows of buttons for fastening.

Hairstyles and make-up tend to be elegant - classic up-dos lend a dignified air. Some Victorian Goth guys may complete the look with sideburns or a moustache, although this is quite rare. Jewellery is ornate, and is likely to include lace or jewelled chokers, cameos (Goth-styled cameos may be less traditional than they appear at a first glance - skeletal women, skulls and crossbones, or bat motifs may be seen, for example), and lockets, or more whimsical designs featuring birdcages, skeleton keys, teacups or Ouiji boards, echoing the interest that many Victorians held in spiritualism and the occult.
Source: Photobucket
I want this outfit So. Much.
Some Victorian Goths enjoy imitating the customs and etiquette of the era - writing on black-edged stationery as the Victorians did to give notice of a death; or more commonly, kissing the hands of ladies and doffing one's (stylish) hat.

As well as traditional Goth music, a lot of Victorian Goths listen to classical music and opera. There are a few Victorian-inspired bands within the scene, including Emilie Autumn (yes, her again) and her particular brand of 'victoriandustrial' music, Rasputina's creepy cello rock and darkly extravagant music such as Sopor Aeternus and the Ensemble of Shadows. Other bands of interest to a Victorian Goth may include Abney Park, Lacrimosa, Autumn Tears, The Dresden Dolls, The Clockwork Quartet, Hannah Fury, Lady Laudanum, Life's Decay, Nox Arcana , The Decemberists and Unextraordinary Gentlemen.


tanaraza said...

now I have to get a paper towel to wipe up my drool.....

Alarick said...

As a guy who's a majorly history nerd I love this style.

Too bad it's catered mostly to girls... :(

Sardonique.Rictus said...

In the Victorian Dark music genre I would hasten to add the following artists: Die Verbannten Kinder Evas *, Dargaard, Elend, Ataraxia, Arcana, Dark Sanctuary, In the Nursery (middle period: i.e. 'Sesudient' EP, 'Anatomy of a Poet', 'L'Esprit', etc.), G.O.L., etc. The emphasis on nearly all of the above is poetry married to neo-classical music, intended to engender elegant reverie...


Respectfully yours in lucubrations,

Sardonique Schadenfreude Rictus


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