Annoyingly enough, the post I made yesterday asking certain people to stop using my posts without permission... has been reposted without permission. I am still unable to contact the website owners. If any of you charming readers would care to contact gothicholiday.com on my behalf and let them know that I do not like them using my writing and photos without having asked permission, I would be very grateful. To the owners of gothicholiday.com - hey, nice site, great idea, please ask before using any more of my stuff, credit me on each post you have used and remove my personal photos from your site.
Now, today's post is a reader request from Laurel, formerly of The Butterfly In The Belljar. Laurel said, "Odd question, but I once read the assertion that girls who would look very plain in traditional fashion tend to look stunning as goths because it is all in the "packaging". I would like to hear an opinion on that quote! Also do you think that could apply beyond the goth spectrum. Would I be plain if I ditched vintage? What about the personality beyond the clothes? I dug this up a while ago and that sort of contributed to my ponderings on it - probably most striking is Kiki Kannibal - I would not have given her a second look in her before picture. Yet she is definitely eyecatching in the second (even if you are not a scene fan, I don't think you would deny she gets positive attention that way). I wonder if there are many goths who would be willing to share their before/after photos - especially those that came later to the scene. Not just the mallgoth photos either.
Another aspect of it could be self-confidence. We hold ourselves differently, we have pride in how we look and all those make a big difference how the others see us. I occassionally wonder how people like Amelia Arsenic would look in what's hot now. Without their own take on it, exactly as it pops up out of your standard teen magazine."
This is probably going to take me a little while to answer; I'm going to take it step by step and question by question, so please be patient! Let's begin with the painful proof - my own personal before/after photos.
|Will I ever live this down? No, probably not.|
So yes, I agree that in some cases, a girl who would be very ordinary in jeans and a tee - myself included - can reinvent themselves via alternative fashion and beauty.
Although I didn't become Goth because I thought it would make me beautiful. I did it because I wanted to, because I liked it. The fact that actually, black velvet is highly flattering on my rear end, is simply a bonus. ;-) Do I get more attention as a Goth girl? Well, yes and no. I certainly get stared at a lot more. But blonde hair and miniskirts were more conducive to positive attention from the opposite sex. Goth, on the other hand, can be a little intimidating. Let's just say I don't get beeped at by passing truck drivers quite as much nowadays!
As to 'would I be plain if I ditched vintage?', I think that depends. A beautiful girl is beautiful whether she's wearing clothes by an indie designer out of the pages of Gothic Beauty, or MC Hammer harem pants. If you didn't wear vintage (or other alternative clothing) would you still wear clothing that is flattering to your shape; well-tailored and of good quality? Whether naturally pretty or not, are you well-groomed?
A quote that has stuck with me is 'there's no such thing as a plain girl, only one who can't be bothered'. I fully believe that confidence, clothes that look good on you, good grooming (and if you're lucky, natural beauty) will make a person look stunning no matter what kind of clothes they are wearing. I don't think you would be considered 'plain' just for dressing in 'ordinary' clothing - that's like saying 'only weird chicks are hot'!
The thing about many kinds of alternative fashion is the effort that one has to put into grooming - Goths often (but not always) experiment with elaborate make-up and hairstyles, as well as unusual clothing. Those who like vintage clothing often wear items as seamed stockings and red lipstick - hardly the staples of a 'plain' wardrobe. The confidence helps, too - I know I feel much prettier and more outgoing when I'm fully Gothed-up. Catch me without make-up on, or at the gym, and I'm painfully shy. It's very difficult to dress in an alternative manner and still be 'plain', whereas if you're slouching about, don't pay much attention to cleanliness or hygiene, and are wearing an ill-fitting football kit, then chances are you look plain (or worse).
As for Amelia Arsenic (or, following this train of thought, Adora BatBrat, Razor Candi and their ilk) in current fashion trends, it's hard to envisage. Underneath the beautiful make-up and painstaking hairstyles, these women could be very ordinary-looking and we might not look twice at them in an off-the-rack outfit from Primark. On the other hand, they might still be very beautiful, or able to turn heads simply because they are strong, successful, confident women. Would Amelia still feel confident and comfortable in leggings, ballet flats and a fake tan? If yes, it's hard to imagine she'd be any less gorgeous. If her attitude comes from the care she has taken to create her alternative appearance, then maybe she'd be just another face in the crowd.
Which I guess is where the personality behind the clothing comes in. Those of you who have read The Twits by Roald Dahl will know that happy thoughts show on the face and make you beautiful; someone who is unkind, mean and miserable is more likely to look it. A woman may not be a ravishing beauty, but if she is cheerful, open, and vibrant, the 'vibes' she gives off (I hate that expression but I can't think of another way to put it) will draw attention simply because her positive energy is good to be around.