I received an e-mail from a lady named Jai, who had the following queries. With her permission I have posted them here to see if you guys can offer any further advice.
|But first, have some Peter Murphy.|
1. I am a goth of colour - I'm mixed race, black and white and was wondering if you had any advice on make up for me? Obviously I cannot do the white face thing and blues and other cold colours look dreadful on me. Just everyday make up and colours for someone with mixed skin?
The lovely Dismantlynn of Color Me Goth recently wrote me a guest post regarding beauty tips for Goths of colour, which you can find here.
The alt.gothic.fashion FAQ has some really helpful tips, particularly regarding colour ideas.
2. Next year I have a wedding to go to. I am hoping to get a Victorian inspired dress to wear for the occasion. Romantigoth type style. Can you recommend places I might look for such a garment? Second hand is fine.
Second-hand stores and charity shops can be iffy when it comes to anything Victoriana (with the notable exceptions of petticoats and hats). As someone who works in a charity shop, I can tell you that anything deemed to be 'too old-fashioned' is recycled as 'rag', which (unfortunately for an acquaintance of mine who is an aficionado of vintage pin-up style and scours charity shops for 1940s and 50s dresses), is where most vintage and 'retro' garments go when they are donated.
This does not rule out charity shops and the like for sourcing Victorian-inspired items; look out for high-collared blouses and long skirts to which you could add a bustle (either a tie-on bustle and bustle pad, available from indie designers on Etsy, or you could make your own following this tutorial (with thanks to Bloggery of a Gothcat, where I found this link)).
What about vintage stores? This is potentially tricky, as genuine Victorian items would of course not be cheap at a vintage shop, and a shop which only sells genuine vintage items is unlikely to sell Victorian-inspired or replica Victorian. That being said, many vintage stores in the UK at least do seem to sell brand-name Goth items when they come across them (usually not much cheaper than they would have been in the first instance, in my experience, but never mind) so for a romantic gown from a brand like Raven, Laughing Vampire or Sinister you might just get lucky (my personal favourite vintage store is Foxtrot). This is also a good place to look for parasols, fans, gloves (I have some vintage lace bridal gloves that I cherish, no pun intended) petticoats, corsets, veils, reticules, canes and other such accessories, although don't expect them to be cheap unless they are in poor condition.
Don't rule out local theatre hire companies and even fancy dress shops selling off ex-hire garments. Again, places like these often cling onto brand name Goth goodies, particularly of the romantic variety. Ex-period-drama-costumes and accessories may be made of lesser-quality fabrics so do look closely but you could just get a real bargain.
3. Can you tell me of any places online that specialize in customising accessories? Like patches, badges, funky bits of fabric etc.? I buy a lot of my clothes second hand in charity shops and add my own twist to them to make them unique and give them life. I live in the East Midlands in a small town that is shocking for most things including alternative people. Getting hold of simple things is a nightmare. We don't even have a haberdashery!
As someone who lives in a small town with no haberdashery to speak of (well, we have one but it only sells a limited selection of fabrics and about forty-two overpriced varieties of safety pin, and is run by an incredibly grumpy woman who is convinced I am a potential thief so I only go there for fabric paint, ribbon and lace trims), I feel your pain. :-/
I'm sure you would have already thought of this but the easiest way to make patches is to cut them from other clothes; e.g. if you see a T-shirt with a cool slogan or design you can make it into a back patch for a jacket or whatever, so as you attest, charity shop trawling is immensely useful. Painting your own designs onto plain fabric with fabric paint (obviously) is another simple way to create your own designs.
When travelling, especially anywhere on the English coastline for some reason, most gift shops sell an array of badges and there are usually some Goth-friendly bands or designs in amongst these. Of course alt shops sell patches and badges so even if you prefer not to wear brand name clothing from such stores it can be worth popping in to pick up spikes, studs and the occasional Alien Sex Fiend badge. I'm not sure if this is just in Hampshire, but my local library, of all places, stocks a range of Goth and punk-friendly badges, running the gamut from the Nightmare Before Christmas to the Clash to David Bowie to cute slogans ('Princess of Darkness').
For funky fabrics, I suggest shops like Claire's where you can pick up gloves and things for £1 or £2 in the sale, shred them beyond all recognition and use them to make something else. For all of the above, you can also try Etsy and eBay. There is a large range of patches on Etsy, but I notice that a lot of them have been made with designs from Urban Threads so you could always made your own if you feel so inclined.