Monday, 9 May 2011

Tips on toning it down

It seems that I will be returning to my old haunt at the arts office for an indeterminate period in the near future... one of the ladies I worked with has left and they need someone to cover who won't require training. Embarrassingly, my last stint at the office coincided with what I think was a brief state of late teenage rebellion, which meant that more often than not I turned up to work in ridiculously baggy bondage pants and huge hoodies with skulls on. This time around, I am hoping to repair some of the damage.

Which means, corporate Goth.

Source: Heavy Red
Thankfully my office has a very flexible dress code, so jeans are perfectly acceptable - I would just like to look a bit more polished and elegant than previously, which means I'm doing a lot of lurking over on Sophistique Noir. I even took the step of sorting out my wardrobe(s) a little bit last night, arranging them into 'Office Friendly' and 'Decidedly Not'. (I also discovered that my developing suspicion that I Actually Have Too Many Clothes To Fit Into My FIVE Wardrobes was correct, so I STILL have clothing piles and shopping bags all over the floor.)

Sooo... in a timely fashion, here are some tips and tricks I have learned over the last couple of years for fitting into a corporate environment without losing your Goth cred:
  • You might not have to tone it down as much as you think you do. It's surprising just how Gawth you can still look whilst dressed smartly for a day at work. Even if you're wearing colour, the right hair, make-up, and accessories can create a stunning look.
  • Dark make-up is fine and dandy, but this is not the time to play about with swirly bits or excessive eyeliner. Think sophisticated rather than spooky. Gentlemen should steer clear of nail polish as a general rule.
  • Some of the staples of a Gothy wardrobe are equally suited to club and corporate attire. Simple, elegant skirts, knee-length or longer; black trousers; blazers, shirts and blouses of all descriptions (although I recommend avoiding anything too sheer) and a smart pair of black boots can be dressed up or down with ease.
  • Unusual, avant-garde jewellery hints at your Goth identity without being OTT.
  • Just because you have a flexible dress code does not mean that you need to appear unprofessional. Err on the side of 'smart' to earn the respect of your colleages, especially if you have lots of visible body mods and strangely-coloured hair. Balance between your Goth look and conventional office appearance is key.
  • Keep in mind what you are gaining, especially on those days when you have too much work to do and a line-up of boring meetings which require toning your look down even further: more money for pretty clothes and nights out.
  • Play 'spot the Goth'. You may not be the only darkly-inclined person in your building, especially if you work in the arts sector, or anything to do with computers. Giveaway signs are: a consistently monochrome wardrobe, clothing that is a tad lacier or more flowy than average office attire, quirky jewellery, a tendency towards Halloween-inspired desk decor. 
  • Find some lighter colours that you can bear to wear. I like grey, pink and purple. It just breaks up the black a little bit and makes you appear more approachable.
  • Your ability to do your job is more important than your appearance. I have always told myself that if I am employed by someone who feels, for example, that my lip ring and tattoo somehow affect my capability to work - well, there are other jobs. However, think long and hard before you make such a decision, this kind of attitude may not work well for every person and every situation.
The look I'm hoping to re-create for myself is exemplified by these pictures I've found on Heavy Red, a bit of a detour from my usual frills and sparkly bats. Wish me luck!
Source: Heavy Red
Goth gossip: Porl King from seminal band Rosetta Stone is selling his crimpers on eBay. The listing says, "Here we have for auction the very crimpers that were used by Porl King throughout the nineties during his years with Rosetta Stone... all gigs and videos - these are the very crimpers that created that look... by attaching a plug and plugging them in - the winner of this auction is guaranteed to be whisked back to a previous era as the room begins to fill with the aroma of burnt hairspray... the crimpers can be autographed on request..." I am currently debating whether or not to bid. Get your very own Porl King crimpers here.


Laurel said...

Amy, could you pass this link onto thegothicasylum/Claire? When she was on piczo she mentioned she wanted Marie Antoinette shoes and I thought of her when I came across this shop!

I would tell her myself, but ... well, we are both not exactly contactable :)

Good luck in the office :) On the subject of strange clothing/self expression the more specialised you are the less likely you are to get into trouble. If there is no one else that can do the job than of course you have to stay. That is how you get some people with crappy attitudes :(

Becky said...

I'm fortunate in that the dress code at my school is extremely flexible. If I'm not actually showing crotch or frightening the students with my makeup, it passes.

I must say, those pointy-collared shirts at Heavy Red are gorgeous. I might have to swing by there when the weather cools off...

VictorianKitty said...

Congratulations on the job!! I love your tips for surviving as a Goth with a corp dress code. And I just adore the more "corporate" looks by Heavy Red. Sadly, I have too few of their pieces in my wardrobe... Time to add a few to the Wish List! ;)

BallerinaDark said...

Hey there! ^_^ it's BallerinaDark from Gothic Divine Magazine !! and..Oh my GOTH! xD Your blog is AMAZING!! Maybe we could collaborate?? xD

I'll definitely make some advertisement of this blog on GothicDivineMagazine :P

Thumbs up for this beautiful blog ♥

Maeam said...

Ah, yes. Corporate goth. Soon, I shall find myself in need of this style...*sigh* but I've got it alllll planned in my head...

Fallen Angel said...

Great post! Very inspiring to go through and find out which outfits can be created for the corporate world and still have style.

ultimategothguide said...

@ Laurel - you can find Claire at now, but I am happy to pass on the message ^^

@ Fallen Angel - thank you ^^

@ BallerinaDark - aw, thank you so much!!!!!

@ VictorianKitty - thank you!

Laurel said...


Thank-you :) I'll have to save the blog link, I had no idea she was starting to write again!

Anonymous said...

I was just wondering, are you going to post any more free music downloads anymore? I love discovering new music. Other than that I love your blog. Big fan <3 And I appreciate you posting a bit more 'man posts.'

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