Tuesday, 7 February 2012

It's a Goth life: wardrobe woes

You may remember that I have been trying to clear out the unwanted, unworn garments from my wardrobe for, oh, must be approaching a year now! During this time, I have been flailing around trying to work out how I would prefer my style to develop, and it has been like my babybat years all over again.

I have been buying items willy-nilly and then not wearing them, because they don't look right, don't suit me, or in some cases don't even fit. I have tried 'experimental' outfits which I have thought were awesome for about two days and then have been highly embarrassed about afterwards - which is OK if you're experiencing such sartorial schizophrenia in the privacy of your own home, but not so great if, like me, you've been posting these outfits on the web in your initial rush of enthusiasm.

As such, I have a few words to say about three recent outfit posts of mine.

Harem pants.

I have been criticised up and down the internet for these pants, but bear in mind I am a bellydancer, so owning a pair of harem-stylee pantaloons (in a dark colour, natch) is hardly out of the question. However. I may be quite fond of these pants, but they were a) an impulse buy, b) not cheap, and c) will hardly go with anything in my wardrobe. I bought them in a fit of nostalgia for my hippie-loving, madly-boho early teens, which may have been a silly idea. I'm tempted to work out some tribal bellydance-inspired outfits for the warmer months or use them for lazing around the house so that purchasing them won't have been an entirely daft move. If worse comes to worst, I guess I have a new pair of pyjama bottoms. :-/

Heart leggings.

Upon reflection, this outfit wasn't as bad as I remembered it being (in my opinion anyways), but it needs a skirt, or some shorts, or something. I make no excuse for the leggings because I love heart-print anything, but I kind of look like I wasn't sure whether I was a Goth or trying to be a trendy teen. A black pleated skirt over the top would have made this more bearable.

Blouse of doom.

The make-up sucks and the blouse doesn't suit me. End of.

So. Rehashing past mistakes aside, why am I talking about this now? Because I just had a really horrendous experience that has motivated me beyond words to finally clear out my wardrobe, and replace the dross with nice Gothy things that are actually coordinated with each other and that I actually want to wear.

I put on a spider hair clip, stripey tights, an XS Punk skirt I've had for nearly six years, a baggy festival tee and an ankh pendant. This is a basic variation on a look I've enjoyed since I was about fifteen - and suddenly it shows. A twenty-year-old dressed in an outfit dreamed up by a fifteen-year-old Gothling? It doesn't work. Suddenly most of my clothes don't seem to look quite right on me any more - and certainly not in the coordinations that I'm used to! Pink tutus and baggy pants with straps on have gone from 'mallgothy but acceptable, as long as you can acknowledge that it's cheesy' to 'ohmigod what were you thinking'.

Aw bless.
No wonder it's been a struggle for me to find anything to wear other than skinny jeans and a band tee - I haven't cleared out properly since I was about seventeen or eighteen and a large proportion of my wardrobe was bought to suit a teenager who enjoyed revelling in Halloween cliches and cutesyness. Nowadays, cutesy just looks creepy on me - and not in a good way.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not bashing the stuff I wore during my teens, at the time I felt great and it probably looked a lot better on me then than it does now. But my pile of clothes I actually wear has been reduced to a handful of items, and I need to come up with some sort of solution and a more co-ordinated wardrobe (in my mid-teens I used to like experimenting with different styles of Goth; deathrock-ish one day, cyber-inspired the next. Now, I'd like to be able to get dressed for work without thinking about it too much, which means that I need a pulled-together style and a wardrobe in which everything goes with everything else - or near enough).

I came online to re-read my Morbid Fashion ebook (clearly I'm going to need some pointers on grown-up Goth style), vent my horror at my entire wardrobe suddenly looking as though it belongs on someone five years younger (ouch), and most importantly get some inspiration for what sort of style I want to achieve now that pom-pom spider earrings and sparkly tutus aren't cutting it. Wish me luck!


Cody said...

I am dying to see you work those harem pants! How about those with a tank top and a cut up cropped band t on top? Or with a lacy cami and a cropped bolero style jacket. Maybe DIY a cute chain belt with tiny skull beads and dangly bits?? Ugh. I am now off to make polyvore sets that make harem pants goth. I love you for making me think of such a task.

ultimategothguide said...

EXCELLENT! Love the band tee and DIY belt ideas!

Link me your Polyvore please :-D

Anonymous said...

I'm 38, been goth for over 25 years, and still haven't settled on one style. My wardrobe is pretty much divided by "appropriateness". Though some items may cross over between categories, I pretty much keep everything separate, i.e. work (corp goth), events/clubs (pretty much trad goth or deathrock), casual, etc...
This way I have everything pretty much coordinated without thinking too much about it.

My style, like yours, is still evolving and as long as my life/lifestyle continue to change, so will my wardrobe. It really is a neverending process. I still have things I wore in my teens, and I really like them so I find a way to make them work.

We all have had at least one "What was I thinking?"piece, and I have bought many because it was cheap.

I guess the whole point is don't get rid of anything because you think it doesn't fit in a specific mold. If you like it and it fits, keep it at least for a while; who knows, you just may find that one item that would go perfectly with it in the future.

Gwen said...

I'am 19 years old and I have the same wardrobe issues. Though I don't have a magical solution yet... Just to say: you are not alone! :)

VictorianKitty (Sophistique Noir) said...

I'm with Anon. Keep the pieces and see if you can find new ways to work with them. Maybe just the pompom spider earrings OR the tutu, but not both together. ;) You could start collecting a few key "grown up" pieces like a blazer, a fitted skirt, some dignified blouses, etc to pair with the more cutesy pieces and gradually evolve rather than traumatizing your closet with a massive purge.

Also, you might try putting away the things you currently think are too "young" for you. Box them up for a month or two, then go through them again and see how you feel about them once you've kinda forgotten about them. That helps me get a new perspective when I can't decide whether to get rid of something.

kakuidori said...

good luck. but as the others said, dont be too fast at throwing away / giving away / selling things (that is what i usually do *lol*)

Anonymous said...

Do you think another issue is that if you look for your clothes in the dark, or sometimes even in the light, you can barely tell them apart? I have that problem lol.

LovleAnjel said...

I'd box things up for 6 months and re-evaluate. It'll happen where you come up with a way to use that skirt again and it will be gone.

It helps to organize your closet into sections - work clothes on one side and causal clothes on the other. Also, you could set out a couple sets of work outfits & jewelry ahead of time, so you can just stumble into them in the morning without really being awake.

Good luck with the closet cleaning. If you don't post for a few days we'll send someone in after you.

Julietslace said...

All I can recommend is writing down the styles of Goth you connect most with, browsing Tumblr, creating dream outfits on Polyvore, list your daily activities, truthfully what you find comfortable, etc and rethink your basic wardrobe. If you're struggling to come up with a everyday casual outfit then it's time to revamp your basics.

Just look towards other Goths that have a grown up style and imagine one that you would feel comfortable with. Would you still wear band ti-shirts or would you prefer a blouse?

I think I'll write a full post on this subject but keep us informed Amy! Specially new outfits :D

linnea-maria said...

I really love the outfit posts were you dress in a victorian kind of style. And the outfit post you did the 28 january were all very nice and flattering for you.
I almost never throw away clothes. Maybe after 10 years or so if I dig them up in the bottom of the wardrobe and says, what the hell was I thinking of dressing in this poo coloured rag! Many of the clothes can be altered, reused, rematched endlessly, forgotten and found again. Unfortunately most of the clothes in my wardrobe fits more for a masqurade (aloha skirt, skin coloured body suit or a mexican hat...)

zePencil Pirate said...

Oh goodness. I kind of went through that, recently. But I haven't worn my Tripp pants in at least a couple of years, so there's that at least.


I really like your big hair in your profile pic. That looks absolutely fantastic on you!

SkeleDuck said...

Kudos on facing your wardrobe!

I just cleared out mine... Out with almost anything bought in the high street (save for the charity shops...) and anything 'fashionable'. I now have a much more manageable selection of classic, stylish and - I hope - more sophisticated outfits.

It was so difficult getting rid of what I considered to be my reliable, everyday bland pieces - but now they're gone I feel I look so much better! I seem to have outgrown (in most cases, physically) my skinny jeans.

Anonymous said...

Seriously, you are not old!Like everyone else said, keep the stuff! I felt the same when I was your age, then totally changed my mind 6 months later and decided dressing like a teenager was fine! (luckily I'd kept my stuff)
i am about to turn 30 now, and when I see women my age with daughters dressed like me, I think I may need to tone it down occasionally, but nah!
Society forces you to dress a certain way so much of the time, theres no point creating extra barriers to being creative inside your head! :-)
btw... blogger isn't letting anyone post from a wordpress id at the moment ...
not being deliberately anonymous!

Anonymous said...

I know exactly what you mean. You can be Goth at any age, but as with any fashion, the things that work at 16 might not carry over so well into early adulthood. Maybe try purchasing some basic things, for example a plain black pencil skirt or something, that you can mix with a nicer top for work or with a band tee for a casual day?

Kismet said...

Hello again Amy.
Although I am only 15 years old, I had to change my style to look more mature several times, mainly because I don't seem a 15 year old at all.(Some of my friends say that when they first met me, they thought I was in my thirties). Here is what I did to get a more mature style:

- Buy from India or Pakistan shops. They often have good looking and intresting clothes for a very inexpensive price, and when chosen in darker colors could easily be goth.
-Get a haircut. My parents say the shorter I cut my hair the older I look, which may work for you too. Try a darker haircolor like dark brown, but not black, to avoid the typical "goth" stereotype of black hair.
- Wear gold jewelery. I don't know why this worked, I appear to be much older when I am wearing gold. However, try to keep jewelery simple.
-Grow your nails. This could look very gothic, plus more mature since most teenagers cannot grow their nails very long. Try nail polish in either a natural shade or a more muted dark color.
-Although this may not sound very goth-like, try wearing a bit darker foundation for slightly darker skin. I don't mean tan, I mean one shade darker then your natural skin color, no more. This looks very good when it is wear right, but make sure it looks natural!

Apart from that ,wear what you think suits you. Being happy with your clothes is most important!

Naphthalene said...

I definitely sympathize. Right now I'm confronted with the fact that my wardrobe is mostly band T-shirts and I have basically one outfit. Doesn't help that I look stupid when I wear skirts...

Cupcake.on.Crack said...

Oh good luck Amy,

You made some very good points, and as i read along my heart sank as I realized this was all TOO familiar. I am going through the same thing right now. I have been wearing th same shirts since i was twelve.... I am eighteen, turning nineteen VERY soon.

It sucks when you must get rid of something that has been a staple in your wardrobe for a verylongtime. However, i have a younger sister that suspiciously clutches onto every item intended for the good will bin.

Hopefully, you reach your goal of a kick ass wardrobe that can mix and match. I'm working on it. :)

PonPon said...

Wear what you like, I say. ;p If you need work clothes, get some more "grown up" work clothes, but the rest of the time wear whatever you feel most comfortable in. Also there are alot of more "sophisticated"/modern goth bloggers out there.
Zoetica Haute Macabre and Sea of ghosts are a couple you might want to look at.

Rainy said...

I am going to post a tutorial on how to make pants into ruffly mini-skirts, and I plead you to not get rid of any pants that you like the color/print of! I will get the tutorial up soon.

Here is a link to a tutorial I made for big shirts:

I handsew everything I make, and they are not that hard. I, too, have a inexplicable fear of the sewing machine.

I wish you luck!!

Kitty Lovett; The Unadulterated Cat said...

I dress like an old lady. I don't get these problems. But I do get bored with some clothes. I don't have "special occasion clothes" either, since I'm a worrier and always think "what if i die tomorrow?! I won't want to die not to have worn this! Plus I'd want to look good for the paramedics!"

I need more skirts though! It's so hard to shop with my large hips.

BellaDonna said...

I can SO relate to this post! I'll be... erk... 50 in April, but I'm still a babybat as far as wardrobe-building goes! I'm trying to put a basic wardrobe together that will work both at work and elsewhere, and get rid of that "old stuff" at the same time.

BTW, I'm a bellydancer too (since 1984), so I understand the harem pants. Why not create a street wearable bellydance-style outfit around them? Not for work, probably, but nothing wrong with wearing it elsewhere!

And I STILL love those heart leggings... If they were mine, I'd try a red or pink skirt, black top and the same black boots with them, see how that works. You've got the legs AND the thighs to make them look good. :-)

Dani DeathBiscuit said...

OH Amy!

I was JUST sorting my clothes into piles when, well, I got bored and jumped on the net. I'm so bad at sorting clothes! I have way too many, so I'm selling some of my 'babybat' clothes on ebay.

I'll post the link of my blog so people can laugh at my crap :D

Raven, blogmistress extraordinaire said...

You should have a sale via your blog of peices you've outgrown. Someone might find something new they love, and you can get some funds for updating your wardrobe :)

KatSaw said...

Indeed yes. I began to tire of my skinny jeans/band shirts (I love them but somehow you can't help but feel immature) and have recently discovered high-waisted skirts. They are fabulous. They hit you right in the slim bit of your body and thus are flattering as well as grown-up.

As silly as it seems to be so preoccupied with how you look, it really does make you feel better/more comfortable when you present yourself in a way that feels like the best version of you.

Good luck with your evolution.

Anonymous said...

I do this on a semi-regular basis...but there are a few things such as a few velvet Dark Star tops that are too big on me, but I haven't the heart to get rid of! I worry myself when i begin to be drawn to a different style of Goth than what the majority of my wardrobe currently is, but I figure if I get pieces that will double up or triple up as components in different styles, I'm all good :3

Rainy said...

You know what? Now that I think about it, even though almost everyone (myself included) has been encouraging to recycle your clothes into new clothes, you should also bear in mind that there are some that you really should let go of. Not everything will be made into something new, and you will also end up with a huge pile of clothes sitting around waiting for you to make something of them.

Advice would be to go back to a very basic goth for a while with some staples, and build again from there. Starting over may be the best. Whichever you decide is good for you.

Anonymous said...

I turn 20 this year, and I'm currently going through the same thing trying to rebuild my wardrobe.
The never ending debate....
I only wish now that I had the confidence to wear things like tutus in my teens because now I feel too old for them :(

ultimategothguide said...

This is all such great advice! I thought that a few others would have had this problem before too. ;-)

I'm going to:

- keep everything I think I can modify or work with a different outfit (in a lot of cases I expect I just need to rethink the outfits rather than the actual items)
- box up the things that I like but can't currently think of a way to modify or wear well
- sell the rest (stuff I don't like any more or that doesn't fit) on eBay and/or donate to charity (depending on how long I've had it and how much I've worn it, I like to get some cash back from the disasters I've only worn once). eBay link is in the sidebar, FYI.
- make lists a la Juliet's Lace's advice. I have already been keeping notes of what I need to replace and what dream items I want to find.
- buy new stuff IN KEEPING WITH LISTS, not just buying black stuff willy-nilly

Thanks very much everyone! (And no, trying to find black clothes in a big pile in the dark never helps. >.<)

LovleAnjel, keep the search squad on standby. :-P

Dani DeathBiscuit said...

I reckon this:

- Think about the piece of clothing. Does it go with plenty of other things in your wardrobe?

- How often do you actually wear it?

- Sometimes you just can't hold onto things forever! In with the new, out with the old :)

The first two points I apply to shopping :P <3

Cody said...

I made a whole posts of outfits with harem pants, please feel free to check it out!

Jessie Aaker said...

I have harem pants and they make the comfiest pjs! I'd 24/7 if they weren't so horribly ugly.

Dawn said...

Don't be too worried about age and clothes, I'm 25 and I still have a few items from my "babybat" days and plenty that I only let go because they no longer fit *sadness*. I definitely agree about boxing up some things and reevaluating them later on, sometimes this is best. I have the same problem as you that I buy things impulsively and then later realize that they match nothing that I own and it can be frustrating. I know I need to go through my jewelry something terrible >.< Someone else mentioned sectioning your closet by clothing type and I recommend that too. I keep casual items on one side work wear/fancier daily items in the middle and really dressy clothes on the other end.

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