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.
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 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?