Sunday, 1 May 2011

Guest post: Still Goth after all these years

By VictorianKitty of Sophistique Noir.

I found myself drawn into the Goth scene when I was 15. Like many other young Goths, the normal people in my life patiently accepted my new style as a phase. From the very beginning, I had a feeling they were wrong.

Image courtesy of Sophistique Noir
At age 37, I now have a very successful career as a Corporate Goth, and I still go for classic, full-blown Romantic Goth on the weekends.

Here are some of the guidelines I have set for myself that have helped my "weekend look" grow and mature with me:
  • Limit the use of cliches in your style. Choose a few to ensure your Goth identity, but make sure they really suit you. Then build your own look on those foundations. I don't feel there is anything wrong with cliches and stereotypes if you really enjoy them, and they can be quite lovely if done right. But giving more thought to your style and sometimes even toning it down just a bit in certain areas helps you look less like a rebellious teen who never grew out of it. It shows that you are really expressing who you are, down to the core of your being.
  • Find a style of Goth that works for your age. Amy has done a wonderful job of describing many sub-styles of Goth fashion. Some of these, such as Cyber or Fetish, might not work as well on people over 30 as others, such as Romantic or Medieval.
  • Wear mostly high-quality clothing. Cheap clothes can look edgy on younger people but tend to make older Goths just look unsuccessful. Save up and buy a few nice pieces that you can use to dress up your inexpensive pieces: a quality steel-boned corset such as those made by Gallery Serpentine (if you like corsetry), a couple of elegant skirts and a few blouses made from good fabric such as silk or velvet (try Heavy Red for skirts and blouses). Wait for sales so you can get well-constructed items at great prices. You don't need a massive wardrobe; just a few quality staples and some creativity for mixing and accessorizing. If you choose to "Goth up" more normal clothing pieces, make sure you use good materials, take your time and do a semi-pro job. Again, focus on quality!
  • As your look evolves, choose clothing that you are reasonably comfortable in both physically and mentally. Corsets and high heels take some getting used to (and aren't for everyone), so don't expect to spend a long night out at the clubs the first time you wear certain things. Adjust gradually, wear them on some trial runs, and give them a chance to become a part of you. When you are comfortable in what you are wearing, it will be reflected in how you carry yourself and give off a sense of confidence that is most becoming in a more mature Goth.
  • Image courtesy of Sophistique Noir
  • Cover up a bit more, even at the clubs. I know, some people do maintain their figures into their 30s and beyond, but even a perfect body looks more mature when more is left to the imagination. Go for figure-hugging instead of blatantly revealing. Choose classier styles that are sexy in a timeless way, such as the amazing designs by Stop Staring.
  • Lighten up the makeup, especially in areas that have fine lines. Dark eyeliner below the bottom lashes, for example, can seep into the lines after an hour or two making you look much older. Even if your makeup style is extreme, practice until you can apply it in a very professional manner. Be sure to check it regularly to make sure nothing is becoming smeared or clumpy.
Of course, all of these things would vary from person to person. I don't believe in hard and fast rules like those that are so popular in the mainstream fashion world, so always use your own judgment and be willing to reevaluate from time to time. Even I break some of my own guidelines sometimes, in situations where I feel it's appropriate to do so.
Image courtesy of Sophistique Noir
I don't know if I have gained any profound wisdom or insight over the past 22 years on aging gracefully as a Goth woman, but I have somehow managed to gain respect and even admiration of my style from the normal, conservative people in my life. This still surprises me every day, and I surely hope it means I've been doing something right. :)


Qwack said...

That's awesome. I'm only twelve, but I think I might stay like this as long as I can. I don't want all the time, money, and effort I put into becoming Goth to be wasted, or for it to be shrugged off as a phase.

Dirgesinger said...

I am turning 30 this August, and still in the scene. VictorianKitty has it right in every sense. I remember times when i went to work just as to a party; I still wear black-only, and love makeup, but I had changed into more sophisticated ways.
Thank you for posting this!
(The only thing I shall add - you are lucky to live in a country where this is accepted as young and as an adult. I am not that lucky:P)

Kitty Lovett; A Charming Notion said...

Man. VictorianKitty, you make me feel like such a...gothickitten (it's like a babybat, but I'm a cat. :3). I'm not even seventeen yet. Stop making me regret my youth. D:<

I was told not ten minutes ago not to worry because being goth is "just a phase".

I basically said, "Yeah, VictorianKitty and Adora BatBrat would like to talk to you...Adora has three kids and VictorianKitty is thirty-seven and amazing."

One day I will have three kids and be as awesome as you - and I shall wear midnight!

Anonymous said...

Love the fashion tips!

MissVermilion said...

That's an awesome article.I began in goth subculture about the same age and,today,I feel the same.When I saw some of my pics of those times I think "Wow,I'll never wear such a thing!!".

SiouxsieL said...

Fantastic post! I love the middle photo. Stunning. And I totally agree with all your tips. Strangely, in my conservative profession, wearing all-black or dark hues is a plus for me.

The Green Fairy said...

Noice post! I agree and have always thought that less is more when it comes to revealing clothing. But I think this applies to any age group.

Dirgesinger said...

You know, eldergoths do not get old they just need less makeup:P

Emily Lynn G. said...

VERY good and sensible advice from a experienced elder goth... I hope I age as beautifully as her! Good clothing advice for all ages, really.:)

VictorianKitty said...

Thank you all for the nice comments! I'm so glad you enjoyed my post. :)

alicatstrut said...

Excellent tips, VK. Good for pretty much anyone aging gracefully in any fashion culture.

CookingChinchillas said...

Great tips :)

Sal Kaye - Still Dark @ Heart said...

Great article & good advice!
Dressing goth gets harder as you get older (or this is what it feels to me) but there're still great ways to express youself as a goth-person over 30. You're one of the best examples, Kitty! :)
Thanks for this post.

Sara said...

I fele so old now :D I'm only 21.

Anonymous said...

50 year old Goth here - was there at the start! Your tips are excellent, especially 'cover up a bit more' and 'change your makeup'. I've gone from a Siouxsie Sioux lookalike to more of a Theda Bara vamp over the years, and it is easier to carry off at my age. Now, if only my mum would accept that it really isn't 'just a phase'!!

Maggie said...

Great post. I never was a feminine dresser - I guess I'm more inclined towards the industrial end of the Goth spectrum - but I noticed that as I grew older, my style evolved and now I tend to wear more pared-down, simpler pieces, which look surprisingly good with a pair of stompy boots.

original goth said...

I am an elder goth in fact I was a goth when we where just called strange. when I got married I thought i should change my look and dress more mundane but now I gam in my 50`s I think what the hell and dress how I want and if other people dont like it too bad

Anonymous said... cool. I am 54 and I have always been 'alternative'. Why DO people judge others? Is it their own insecurities? I will never conform but as we age we can surely look elegant and sophisticated instead of giving in to the 'sensible clothing' and being miserable because society says we are 'supposed' to be someone we just aren't.
Only thing I would love is to meet others like myself to hang out with.

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