Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Pretty vs. practical

Over the last month or so I have found myself toning my appearance down a lot. In some ways it has been a relief - by adopting a more practical, casual wardrobe I hoped to be able to get to work on time for a change, and it has been nice to just slide out of bed, shove on jeans, boots, hoodie and hat (and make-up of course) and head out to wherever I might be going that day!

A club outfit from December
Going out for lunch in January
Casual outfits are also useful for day trips and excursions as I generally find them more comfortable and it means I'm not held back from taking part in things by my clothing - for example, last year I was at the beach when I saw bungee trampolines, which I would have loved to try just for the lulz but my fancy hat and flouncy skirt were not especially the best attire for hanging about upside-down. Not to mention that when going out with friends it is slightly more comfortable not to be stared at, harrassed or threatened whilst buying drinks at the bar.

I never had any real problems doing my job in multilayered skirts and backcombed hair, but often when getting dressed for work I would forget that I do actually have to go outside on my lunchbreak and sometimes walk home, so I would dress up perhaps more than necessary (I'm a peacock by nature and used to make the most of having a customer-facing role) only to face major awkwardness when nipping out of doors.

Some aspects of my job have been easier without clothing getting in the way - I have snagged many a trailing lace hem at work and last time I wore a plastic-boned corset in the shop I managed to snap three bones (on the corset, not me) just getting into the car! I also find it easier to layer up and keep warm during the winter months with more sensible clothing - even layering tights and bloomers under a long skirt is simply not as warm as popping on a pair of jeans.

However, there are obvious downsides to this plan! First and foremost is that I now have a whole collection of outlandish clothing that doesn't get worn as much as it should. Secondly, people are assuming that I'm growing out of my 'phase'. I actually had a regular customer complain yesterday that I look much more 'conservative' than I used to and it was nice to see someone who looked different. And thirdly, sometimes it feels downright boring.

So personally I'm setting aside one day out of the week, most likely a working day, to dress up a bit more and pull some of the lace and chains out of the back of the wardrobe again. Have you guys ever faced this sort of dilemma? What was your solution?


linnea-maria said...

I think thats a lovely idea! I have the same dilemma. I would like to dress fancy at work but it's not practical to help the mecanics at the production lines wearing a lace petticoat and a dress, with only a white coat as protection. Therefore I wear very casual clothes on work days. I try to dress up a little on fridays and on weekends but it's often I have to change to working clothes at home because there is always something to mend or paint.

Julietslace said...

I've got a work uniform and I dress casually for art college, otherwise my clothes will be ruined. I think you need to accept that you can't dress gothic all the time, life gets in the way sometimes. I used to hate it but I've since realised I've got nothing to prove to anyone and it's nice to have people staring at me, besides you'll learn to appreciate it more when you can.

Mira said...

I'm able to wear whatever I want to classes, but I do face similar problems when I work. What I've found useful are accessories such as corsets (of the waist-cinching variety, as opposed to the cleavage-enhancing ones.) I'm able to leave my bustles at home and still feel stylish.

Nightwind said...

Look at it this way Amy, if you can't or choose not to wear some of your more dressy clothes every day they'll last longer and you won't have to buy so many.

Miss Eva Morgan Reeve said...

I have a similar dilemma, I work in a office with a certain dress code, so I do tone it down a little. I did get disciplinary meeting about ''that thing in your hair''... ''It's a Bird sir. A bird.''. So yeah, no birds in my hair at work cause it's not professional enough. I do pill up petticoats and rock black nail polish even if part of my job is costumer service and I replace the receptionist during her lunch break, but I don't think I would be able to explain a corset, especially if I decided to wear it over clothes.

akumaxkami said...

I have the same problem. I've really toned down my look since starting college because it's just a hassle to dress up only for class or whatever...

I try to dress up on the weekends though, but sometimes I just don't have the energy.

xToxicTears said...

Its not much of a problem for me, even my casual outfits are what other people would consider "dressed up".

Even on days I think I look pretty damn normal I get people staring, pointing and literally walking into lamp posts because they're so distracted by me.

I guess I'm pretty glad of that. The only thing I find is that I hardly ever make an effort with my make-up anymore, other than my usual eyeliner. I used to do fancy make-up pretty much every day. So I'm trying to play around with that a little more these days.

Personally, I just don't feel comfortable looking "normal". I can't bear to go any further than literally across the street to the Mace if all I'm wearing is a t-shirt and a pair of jeans (I don't even OWN any jeans, I just borrow Jakes if I need to run over). I just cannot stand the whole t-shirt and trousers thing personally.D;

Corin said...

It's all right tot tone down your look when you feel like it. You don't have to live up to anyone's expectations or even your own. I'd say, just go with whatever feels good at the time!
Sometimes I wear 'boring' stuff for weeks on end. Then all of a sudden I'm back to the dressing up mood, with petticoats, lace and dark make-up. It's a bit weird, but that's just how it works for me I guess. :) I used to feel a bit guilty about that too, but then I realized that you really shouldn't wear things because you feel like you have to. It spoils the fun!
And I think your casual outfits still look great, by the way! Seems like you can wear any style you want. And so you should. :)

Anonymous said...

I do this every month. I wear my pikes for special occasions and I do wear some "mundane" clothes along with alternative clothing sometimes to have a change from wearing all black all the time non stop. Most of the time I wear alternative clothing.

DarkAngelCase said...

I think getting more dressed up at least once a week is a good idea, I sort of do that same thing when I go out somewhere. And even though there are times when I think I would like to get dressed up more in goth attire I think that for the most part I'll just stay with being more toned down.

katie said...

Oh, I have the same problem, with going outside on lunch and sometimes walking home. My solution was to wear the five-inch heels only on days when I was certain I'd have a ride home, and I am shopping around for a more sensible, but still kickass, boot for walking. As for hair, it was trial and error to find a style that suited me and didn't take forever in the morning. I lay out my outfit the night before, keeping the weather in mind.

I do feel boring without my usual gothiness, and the comments of others saying how nice and normal I look on those days is motivation enough to goth it up the next day. In fact, I just bleached the black from my hair and today the comments would not stop. I can't bleach again til Friday, so imagine my pain. I want to run to the store and bleach myself insane just to end the normal comments. But I shan't, it will fry.

In all, be true to yourself, and decide each day, comfort or fashion? it can certainly be both, but that's a challenge.

Anonymous said...

I had...a genuine joy-gasm when I saw that red and black striped bustle outfit...

not even kidding.

Anonymous said...

In answer to yet question...I do art at college and really...wearing big skirts and corsets in the ceramics room to make a clay maquette of the White Queen's head, just isn't practical.

Days off college? Corsets all way :D Although there are times when Adam and I have to go food shopping and I just cannae be arsed to doll it up.

Enter the tartan skirt and band t-shirt.

Jade Layton said...

At my work I can't dress up atall, it's best if I just wear jeans and a tshirt because its the sort of job where your clothes get ruined - especially when on your hands and knees cleaning skirting boards... But my weekends mean that I really make the effort to dress up in something special ^_^

Grissino said...

I actually had a regular customer complain yesterday that I look much more 'conservative' than I used to and it was nice to see someone who looked different.
LOL :-)
Usually is the opposite.

Well, if you have time and you dont need to do special work (at Home I mean), dress you as you like. The problem in my case is that I need to be flexible and have clothes that are at the same time good for going to the office (with the bicycle), cook, going outside with my dog, and so on... then the choice is really restricted. I have no time for nice, just for practice. :-(

=> I will be happy (if you have time to do that) to see in the posts comments some answers from you to the users. It then looks like a more interactive and "active" blog.

Anonymous said...

Imstead of jeans and a t-shirt, you can always try a lacy blouse or camisole & blazer with a pencil skirt or nice pair of trousers (velvet, brocade, etc). I've always had jobs that required a uniform or otherwise restrictive dress code, so I always look for pretty, "vintage" sort of accessories. Also, make-up can be a good way to express style, if you are in a position to wear whatever you like.

On a somewhat related topic, your blog has motivated me to tackle my own wardrobe, and I've found that alot of the "normal" clothes can actually be combined with my goth wardrobe. The really ironic thing is pretty much every blouse I've bought in the past few years for work in white, ivory, etc, I've bought the exact same (or almost) in black, too.

Raven said...

i have a simalar problem. i am still in school, live in the country (like farms and stuff, with chickens and a very cocky rooster (yes, pun intended)) so what i want to wear, is not exactly what i want to wear. i would love to get away with a corset, skirt (any kind would be an improvment) Demonia boots and detailed make-up, but for afore mentioned reasons (plus my folks) i can't. i am currently limited to black jeans and shirts (but i'm working on the corset bit) with black eyeshadow and my favorite lipsticks.

Amy Asphodel said...

Lady Lovescraft - haha, thank you! :-)

Miss Eva - "It's a bird, Sir. A bird," probably just made my day. Although I do apologise for laughing at your dilemma >.< The only problem I've had with headgear was an overenthusiastic coworker thumping my top hat and almost denting it. I wasn't impressed.

It's quite irritating to have such a flexible dress code at work but not feeling quite so inclined to exploit it. I'd rather be warm and snuggly in my jeans at the moment, the shop is always FREEZING.

Ria said...

Firstly: Your blog rocks x3 I've been 'blogstalking' you for a while and your posts made my interest in goth and dark culture come back.

I'm somehow going through the opposite problem. I'm turning 21 in April and deadly bored of the sneakers/jeans/tshirt/sweatshirt standart outfit all year around and started picking out clothes with a theme in mind and not only because they fitted somehow flattering and were cheap.
And I feel much more 'me' when I look in the mirror now. (But I'm still lazy at the office because of my long commute and getting up so early.)

Last but not least some advice:
You could try carrying a pair of emergency shorts around XD A long skirt should have enough room to slip in them first and then take the skirt of.
Have you tried 'thermoleggins' (at least it's called like that around here.) ? I looks like ordinary leggins from the outside and have fleece on the inside. I think boots and those leggins are a lot warmer than jeans.

PS: You rock ;)

Cassandra said...

I've fallen into a similar pattern. I do like theatrical outfits/makeup, but I also love a low-maintenance schedule in the morning. So I do tend to go the low-maintenance route most of the time, then make a point of "treating myself" to a day full of black lace and dark lipstick about once a week or so. If possible I try to make it a different day of the week every time, so that look doesn't become my "Friday uniform" or anything like that.

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