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Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Styles of Goth fashion: vintage Goth

A close relative of the burlesque/cabaret Goth is the vintage Goth (aka retro Goth). Many Goths take their inspiration from a bygone era, whether it be Renaissance, Medieval or Victorian, but the vintage Goth derives inspiration from a slightly more recent time. The 1940s and 50s are the most popular source of inspiration for these Goths, although the 20s and 60s get a look-in sometimes as well.

Source: Tumblr
I think that the fashions of the 40s and 50s appeal to Goths because of the emphasis on grooming, the flattering shapes and styles, and the elegance. Red lipstick and winged eyeliner are, of course, Goth classics, and whilst a 60s beehive might not sound especially dark or spooky, Goth icon Elvira has been rocking a beehive for decades.

A main source of inspiration for this look is of course Marilyn Manson's ex-wife, burlesque dancer Dita Von Teese, who is seen from day-to-day with perfectly-coiffed raven locks, scarlet lips and an envy-inducing array of 40s-style dresses. Interestingly, Christina Hendricks from the TV show Mad Men, infamous for its gorgeous vintage fashions, was a purple-haired Goth in high school.
Dita ably demonstrates the vintage Goth aesthetic.
Source: Google
Many Goth ladies are inspired by the effortless sex appeal and glamour of 50s icons like Marilyn Monroe, and silent film or film noir actresses from the 20s, most notably Theda Bara, who usually played vampish femme fatales and whose plum-coloured or brown lipstick looked perfectly Goth black on screen.

Whilst there are less icons of note to inspire the gentlemen, this look is not just for the ladies. If frilly shirts and frock coats are too dressy, and skinny jeans and ripped tees too casual, the vintage Goth gentleman might choose to don a smart suit (in black, of course) with a spider-decorated tie pin and Panama hat, bowler or trilby worn at a rakish angle (actually, nothing to say that ladies wouldn't look nice in this outfit too).
The perfect example of a classic vintage Goth look for gentlemen.
This fine chap is Lucas Lanthier from The Deadfly Ensemble and Cinema Strange.
As I mentioned, this style has some similarities to burlesque Goth fashion - heels, stockings, boas, veiled fascinators, leopard prints, bow ties, trilbies, canes and other such accoutrements are the style staples of the vintage Goth. You can pick up accessories such as pillbox hats and elbow-length gloves from charity shops; 40s and 50s style dresses are easily found in charity shops and vintage stores, and from popular Goth brands such as Hell Bunny.

Music associated with this style includes classic dark cabaret such as Dresden Dolls and Vermilion Lies, some steampunk bands such as Abney Park and The Men that Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing, some Gothabilly and even a little deathrock.

Vintage Goths may spend their weekends strolling on the promenade, watching black and white movies, or poking around vintage stores for their next must-have.

20 comments:

~† Nanna †~ said...

Hehe, very interesting post. I'm seriously wanting to be a wiccan, so... It's vossible to publish one post about it? >.<

Minakitty said...

This definitely is my favorite style for myself (though if I had the money/skill/youth I'd love to attempt ├╝bergoth). I think the possibilities are endless for all ages and body types.

Incidentally, Theda Bara is the symbol/'mascot' of our local nightclub. We even had a mural of her at the top of the stairs in the old space, which sadly was vandalized (and then later the club burned down!).

Anonymous said...

you're so wonderful for posting this thank you :D

Kitty Lovett; The Unadulterated Cat said...

"whilst a 60s beehive might not sound especially dark or spooky"

You and I are from very different worlds, Amy. :| Susan Sto Helit pulls off the white curly beehive.

Luna Valentine said...

My favourite personal aesthetic for sure. Also, incredibly happy to see Mr. Lanthier up there. Cinema Strange has long been a favourite band, and a vast source of inspiration.

Stephanie said...

Beautiful! Two of my favorite styles [goth and vintage] rolled into one! I love it. And wonderfully written, I'll add. Your blog is getting better daily. =]

Adalis Stargazing said...

Beautiful, elegant goth. I prefer this over the too dark eyeliner, black lipstick and all around tacky outfits of some I've seen.

VictorianKitty (Sophistique Noir) said...

This is currently my personal favorite as well! I call it Pin-Up Goth. I should change my name to VintageKitty! ;)

BallerinaDark said...

I call it pin-up goth too :P Lately I've been following this style a lot. 40s hair-dos and clothes...I love it!♥

BallerinaDark of Gothic Divine Magazine

Dr. Cult said...

I love this style, but me wearing it ... Sigh, never :( I'm not the type ...

How are you anyway? Been ages since I last commented & I feel bad about it O_O

Gibson said...

I agree with Nanna!

Chloris said...

*gasp* Oh my goodness, I think this might be "my look". I was hesitantly calling my interests Gothabilly because I liked the idea of retro 50's and 60's style + goth, but something about it didn't feel right for me. I thought maybe it was because I was too shy, not Rosie-the-Rivethead enough. But Vintage Goth might be just the thing. It's classy, dark and fun but a little more "mature" and subdued. I had been secretly thinking of myself as "Hitchcock Goth" for a while... it's good to know that I'm not just making stuff up! Thumbs up, Amy, as always. Thou art Goddess.

katysioux said...

This. I love deathrock, black lipstick, and torn up stuff, but I always seem to revert back to long Betty Paige hair, winged eyeliner, natural brows, and bright red lipstick. I'd say my style definitely has a 50's/60's flair, but Rockabilly never feels like it fits me quite right though.

Ashlee said...

Dita Von Teese? Theda Bara? Lucas Lanthier? And all about mixing Goth and vintage fashion? Three of my favorite people and two of my favorite styles in one post.

Did you know that the term "vamp" originated with Theda? They called her a vampire because of the characters she played, and they shortened it. And the best part is that she was the opposite in real life.

Anonymous said...

Ah, I love that look! I knew it was a possible goth style. Oh, how I missed your fashion posts. I remember that on the Queen Mary ship (Long Beach, California) there were so many retro-inspired clothes in lots of black. There was even a faerie statue shop! I have been wanting to buy retro clothes with gothic aesthetics, but I can't find a place near enough to convince my mom to go without paying for the parking(ahem, not Queen Mary ) Anyway, I instantly recognized Lucas! My, he looks so different when not wearin crazy outfits indeed. There IS blood on the hooves of the fawns of the Greensward Grey...

ultimategothguide said...

@ Kitty - sorry. I will do a Goth beehive post or something. >.<

@ Dr Cult - aw, don't feel bad! ^^ I'm very well thanks, and you? :-)

@ Chloris - I tend to think of Gothabilly as more horror-themed and deathrock-y, whereas vintage Goth is more classic Hollywood elegance. Thanks! ^^

@ Stephanie - aw, thank you! <3

Sheridan said...

Kind of alive, as much as we Goths & obscure creatures can be right? :P

Jessie Aaker said...

I love Dita Von Teese's elegant classy look. <3 What a style icon!

Sakara said...

20s silent film makeup have even more in common with gothic makeup. Blue and green lipstick actually looked better on screen than red which often looked duller. Green appeared a warm dark grey where as blue was more a crisp black..

Taylor said...

THANK YOU! It feels like the 'vintage' look is often overshadowed in favor of Victorian or deathrock-based styles. This look works beautifully with corpgoth pinstripes (very Jazz Age mobster- my preferred look). Hybridizing corp and vintage goth with rivethead styles tends to be a great deal of goggles-wearing fun (see: "dieselpunk").! Musically, jazz groups echoing the period (like the Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble) tend to be pretty spooky, as well.

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