Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Mixing inspirations

Being 'alternative' isn't always easy. Wait, come back, this isn't a woe-is-me we're all soooo misunderstood post. (There are enough of those on this blog already...) I mean it in a more literal sense. For example, I realised recently that the one thing I missed about my 'pre-Goth' years was the ability to roll out of bed in the morning, pull on the nearest outfit and a dash of mascara and be ready for breakfast in ten. Nowadays I am far more high maintenance than I was in my early-to-mid teens - you won't catch me outdoors without a full face of make-up, even if it's a 'natural' look, and I'm addicted to high heels and hairspray. But that wee twinge of nostalgia for days past when I didn't laugh in the face of friends requesting me to be ready in half an hour got me to thinking about my more 'mainstream' years.

And as I thought, I made a few discoveries.

  • Trying too hard to live up to a Gothy image all the time can take the joy out of it. Relaxing is no bad thing.
  • Experimenting doesn't always work, and has the potential to be embarrassing depending on the occasion and on your propensity to post photos of your outfits and make-up on the internet, but by God it's fun. If your dream look is Paris-Hilton-meets-Razor-Candi, then stop worrying about what Gother-than-thou types will make of your pink lipgloss and just go for it. If Goth is about music, it shouldn't matter how you dress. If being alternative is about not conforming, why are some people so worried about following 'the rules'? You only live once.
  • Sometimes I miss my face. OK, that sounds weird. But I've been swamping my features in heavy black make-up for three or four years now and had almost forgotten what I looked like underneath it all. I've been experimenting with natural make-up recently (and even bought some bronzer *gasp*) and have been really enjoying it. A natural face adds an unexpected twist to a Gothy outfit.
I think it's perfectly normal to experience dissatisfaction from time to time. I was initially confused by my recent frustrations with my wardrobe and style; Goth style didn't appeal any less to me, I'm still utterly enamoured with the culture and dark music, I didn't feel like my five-year stint as a black-clad angsty type was 'a phase'... so what was going on? Simple. I needed a change.
Purple Balloons

Sometimes we need to re-analyse our lifestyles and revise our aesthetic. Wanting to try something new or branch out a little more doesn't mean you're going through a phase and it doesn't mean you need to feel guilty. I have been experimenting a little more lately, collecting new inspirations, and it has been like a breath of fresh air. It sounds cheesy, but I feel like I'm re-discovering who I am as I re-invent my style to suit the lifestyle that I want.

Having a mix of inspirations from mainstream fashion, high fashion, alternative fashion and of course Goth can sometimes seem a bit bewildering and overwhelming as you wonder how you can combine your love of a punk, DIY ethic with the luxury and opulence of couture (just for example). I think this is why sometimes it helps take a step back and spend a month in jeans as you try to make some sense out of the mix of influences that inspire you (I have found Tumblr invaluable for this, just FYI).

I made some notes in my personal journal about concepts that intrigued me and styles that I wanted to try. There are only a handful but it occured to me that some of you might find these equally interesting.
  • 1920s meets punk
  • Deathrock meets mori girl
  • 'Mainstream' glamour with a Gothic twist
  • Sleek, futuristic, black outfits (think Zoetica Ebb) with a bright pop of colour, e.g. pink or yellow Doc Martens
  • Casual steampunk meets nu-Goth
  • Urban faerie
  • 'Girlie'/sweet deathrock
I know some of these have much potential for disaster!

I hope this style overhaul will soon come to be reflected in my outfit posts (and hopefully less pictures in my grubby bathroom mirror, fingers crossed!). In the meantime, who are your style icons? Who or what inspires your style? What concepts are currently brewing in the back of your mind?


    xToxicTears said...

    Ack I know the feeling.^_^ Since my post on this subject a while back, I've come up with a bundle of different looks to play with, as well as a lot of different photoshoots I plan on doing. Now all I need is money to buy clothes/fabric/etc >_> lol

    MissGracie said...

    I just want my wardrobe dripping with class and over the top awesomeness... :D

    I don't want to change my look, more like upgrade it.

    Louhi said...

    Flapper!goth (which is sort of like your first suggestion) has been a favorite look of mine for a while and works quite excellently. Flappers and goths have quite a bit in common ideologically as well-- both being proponents of freedom of self expression in the face of societal norms.

    Bored_Homeschooler said...

    "1920s meets punk","Urban faerie",and "'Girlie'/sweet deathrock" could be interesting.

    faoladh said...

    '20s/punk, urban faerie, and anything with deathrock sounds awesome (mori/deathrock and sweet deathrock? neat!). The rest seem at least interesting. Obviously, keep us in the loop.

    MorbidCupcakes! said...

    You know oddly enough I have been feeling split between inspirations I love too!. Between goth ( loving deathrock/batcaver style and 'cupcake goth','gothic lolita) and almost a complete opposite romantic, whimsical vintage style ( also called 'shabby chic'
    with lots of floral garden aspects, worn antique looking and never enough lace. I am glad I do not feel alone with spilt style inspirations. By the way I love the "Mori Deathrock " I think that sounds charming! :3

    Goth Mary Poppins said...

    I think "Mainstream glamour with a gothic twist" is the safest,and "Casual steampunk meets nu-Goth" has the biggest fail-o-factor, so be careful with that one.^^

    My keywords and inspirations are:

    1950s (because of my figure)
    Comfortable to wear
    Old cartoons and movies (e.g. my Ruby Slippers, I mean, red Mary Janes)
    Slutty armygirl (Not THAT slutty, just a bit...)
    National dresses
    Punk cabaret aesthetics

    Once someone said, that I look like some noir-comic character. I'm really glad with that one. ^^

    Kitty Lovett; The Unadulterated Cat said...

    Kitty used BORING

    It was super catffective.

    Still cabaret (cat-baret?), still Victorian. I've been wearing one of my favourite skirts lately, a hippie brand, about mid-calf and hugs the arse (yes...all of it. I know - impossibru! Bigger on the inside?)and goes smooth over the hips. Got it when I was 12/13, it's purple jewel tone. It's probably my most out-of-the-ordinary thing at the minute.

    I can see nothing good coming of those suggestions, because I like invisioning the worst.

    Lady Lovescraft said...

    I've been feeling the EXACT same way lately. A friend of mine has gone through many stages of Goth and has settled on a very Dita Von Teese inspired vintage look. I love love love faerie goth, cupcake goth, trad goth, neovictorian, gothabilly and some darker vintage styles such as goth cabaret/burlesque. Elegance for me is key, so I don't tend to do the jeans-and-band-tees or ripped-fishnets-and-miniskirt thing, unless it's a very casual day >.< Although girly deathrock souns like it could be awesome :D

    Style icons? Helen Bonham Carter, Bettie Page, Dita Von Teese, Siouxsie Sioux, Patricia Morrison, Jillian Venters, Vecona, Kambriel, Emilie Autumn, Stevie Nicks, various film stars from the 1920's through to the 1950's and of course TUMBLR!

    Daniel_8964 said...

    1920 meets punk sounds like a good inspiration to me. I like this article as well and I agree that you stated "Trying too hard to live up to a Gothy image all the time can take the joy out . "If Goth is about music, it shouldn't matter how you dress. If being alternative is about not conforming, why are some people so worried about following 'the rules'?" and "If your dream look is Paris-Hilton-meets-Razor-Candi, then stop worrying about what Gother-than-thou types will make of your pink lipgloss and just go for it". Its true we need more diversity for our wardrobe, than wear all black all the time or limiting yourself to a certain look. I can admit I wear a lot of black along with dark and bright colours such as purple, blue, red, green and white etc. Then some days wearing a little amount or some black and sometimes dress punky or casual. I tend to be more diverse in what I wear and dress gothy in different ways (e.g Trad, deathrock, victorian, romantic, casual, inspirations and other ideas I make myself) than the typical stereotypical goth 24/7. My style icons are basically a mix of Robert Smith, Dave Vanian and other 80s icons, even video game characters and some movie characters. I have more icons and inspirations than that, but it is an example of what inspires me and my style personally.

    Nina Wum said...

    Hello, Amy,

    haven't been here for a while.
    I can see You've changed the blog's name.
    I like the stripes and boots banner.
    To the point:
    My life has taken an unexpected course lately - and not a pleasant one. To put it bluntly, I've been fired and unable to land another job in last four months. Yup.
    I am broke. Activities like "expanding my Gothic wardrobe" seem utterly ridiculous at that point. I can't even afford a pair of lace mittens. This situation has defined my current approach towards fashion. Since I won't be able to buy anything (I mean it) for Cthulhu knows how long, I can as well forget it.
    Stop browsing e-shops, stop dreaming.
    My spacious wardrobe is bursting of long-forgotten mainstream style clothes, relics of the student era. Most of them are pastels. (giggle) Some of them just look kooky, and none seems to channel any Gothiness. Nevermind. I decided that these will have to do. There will be less black and definitely less lace, but more jeans, cable knits and 50's style skirts instead. I plan to pair those with my Neo Victorian jewelry and can't wait to see how it will turn out. Maybe I'll even start a blog, called "Shopaholic on a diet" or something.;)
    I'll continue to follow You anyway. I am still in love with darker fashions, looking the part or not.

    Lots of love,

    Katherine :) said...

    These all sound lovely!! ^_^ I love the sound of 20's punk, girly deathrock and urban faerie :P

    I have a idea for like skinhead goth :P Or what is even more appealing to me, Goth with a hint of new romantic :P I also really want to try Victorian deathrock :P

    BallerinaDark said...

    eheh I "miss my face" too sometimes! I've been wearing make-up since I was 13..I still remember the first time I wore black eyeliner.. *get emotional*

    uh..nevermind.. xD

    I like changing style a lot and exploring fashion! I never had a true style icon..I really get inspired by everything and everyone that surrounds me! :D



    Mira said...

    I have a lot of inspirations (EGA, fairy princess, victorian vampire, film noir femme fatale) but we can all have days were we wear t-shirts and skip the foundation. It's nothing to be ashamed of- it can even look good on its own!

    kakuidori said...

    who cares for disasters, there always will be someone looking worse :-D and we learn from good and bad experiences so that should not be bad!

    cant wait to see some of your ideas (hope you will show us...)

    akumaxkami said...

    I adore (and when the mood strikes me - wear) all different types of Goth and alternative fashion, but lately I've been toying with this idea of a toned down steam-punk look. I've suddenly gotten very fond of the idea of wearing cream and brown and bronzed jewelry....

    Although for this summer I'm cultivating a sort of Gothabilly look - 1950's silhouettes and red lipstick here I come!

    Cupcake.on.Crack said...

    That 1920's meets punk really sparked my interests. I wonder how that would look?

    Anonymous said...

    1920's punk? I would really like to se how that would look like, it sounds cool.

    Miss Eva Morgan Reeve said...

    Tag! You're it!

    Lucyen said...

    1920s punk already exists (in a more parent/ coworker friendly, professional format, too!). It's called dieselpunk, and is pretty much the marriage of 1920s-40s fashion (hey, flappers were really punk for their day...), casual steampunk, and cabaret/vintage goth.

    As for "urban faerie", I tend to dress in a style that could be summed up with that tag on a regular basis. My personal style rules are: one flowy item (peasant shirts or skirts), one fitted item (denim or leather/ pvc), boots/ booties/ flats, and a strong nerd/ medieval motif (dragon necklaces abound!). That's just my take on it, though.

    Brie G said...

    Well, my style is Soft ICE GOTHIC Vintage...but Amy already knows that ha. What I basically do is take the whole "ice goth" look and use it with other pastels...I also add some vintage stuff like cream lace and ruffles. I love black, but I don't wear it often...because I feel as if I am wearing it for the public ha! I love dark or black jewelry to go with light colored outfits, and light or "dark themed" jewelry with dark jewel toned outfits. I also love to add dark makeup; black eyeshadow/random color with berry/purple/black or red lipstick. I have a mild deathhawk and am pretty sure that when I wear all black(even with ruffles) I look quite traditional haha! That is the only real "deahrock or punk goth" aspect of my style...and I think it is just enough! Victorian, Ice Goth, Ethereal Goth and Romanti-Goth are some of my influences. NOTE: This is not a "cutesy" look like Kerli, but more elegant! Skulls and roses are my forte...

    I believe that we all have to revamp ourselves...because our personalities change and we don't feel comfortable being stuck in the past <3

    The Cemetery Dreamer said...

    I think your new style ideas sound very interesting.

    I like the sound of casual steampunk meets nu-goth, because my own style is something like that. I'm not sure what nu-goth is, so maybe not quite, but it's certainly a sort of casual steamgoth.
    You can see a couple of outfits in my latest blog post here:

    Urban faerie sounds delightful too.

    Whatever style you go with I'm looking forward to seeing how it turns out because I think you put together some wicked outfits.

    Personally my own style hasn't so much changed but evolved. I've been inspired by the same things for a long time now and so I'm growing more comfortable in myself and in my style. I find new ways to wear my old clothes and finally feel that I'm wearing the elaborate outfit, rather than it wearing me!

    Megan said...

    My style icons are Bill Kaulitz, Izzy Hilton, Ronnie Radke, Gerard Way, Wednesday 13, and others I can't think of. I know a lot of these people are men, but I take what I like to see on them and make it into a female version. I'm known all over school for my outfits!

    The Cemetery Dreamer said...

    Ok so I had a look at what Nu-Goth is, so scratch what I said above. My style is nothing like that.

    I see how you could combine it with steampunk though- would be tricky, but kudos to you if you pull it off!

    VictorianKitty (Sophistique Noir) said...

    Sounds like you have some exciting ideas in mind! I can't wait to see the results of your experiments. I absolutely love and respect anyone who is willing to break the "rules" and constraints of any one style and combine inspirations to create their own look.

    Anonymous said...

    I love when people come up with their own unique takes on different styles. I'm more of an industrial fan/metalhead, and out of laziness and being sort of tomboyish, I tend to just chill in ripped jeans, doc martens, and band tshirts or anime tshirts most of the time, but I do like to add some random stuff every once in a while, like a long black coat, goggles, etc.

    Vulcan_Butterfly said...

    An excellent post. We call this type of thing "fusion" around here. Some people may gasp when I wear cyber dreads with a victorian-esque traditional type outfit but this is what I do! I think it is best to sample elements we like from different styles and put them together as your own. Cyber-y stuff is my favourite, but I like to sample elements of traditional, burlesque-ish/cabaret stuff,punk, and even rockabilly/pinup types of things. I think this is way more fun than just sticking to one style and this way, you can try wearing all sorts of different things!

    PonPon said...

    Well, I am a goth flapper. Maybe not punk but I do a bit of kinderwhore and slightly victorian themed as well.

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