Today's email request comes from a reader living in Greece, who explains their dilemmas thusly, "I have some questions about where to find goth clothes. I live in a country where goth is not so well-known. I searched a million times all the shops at my town and there aren't any alternative shops nor thrift shops. As a result I buy clothes from mainstream shops and try to put my own spin on these but many times they don't seem Gothic at all. Could you please write a post about where to find cheap goth clothing in a situation like this? I would really appreciate it. Furthermore in my country (Greece) it gets really hot at summer. How can I dress in order to dress goth?"
1. Sourcing clothing
I'm sure this is a problem that many people have; some of us in the UK and USA may complain about the proliferation of cheap Gawth-branded clothes and accessories popping up in clothes stores catering predominantly to alterna-teens and rebellious spooky kids, but at the other end of the spectrum there are countries where a single Hot Topic would be a welcome Mecca for those starved of dark finery.
There is, of course, always the internet, but this isn't always an affordable or viable option. However, it is one that may be of help to some people. If large clothing items are beyond your budget, do remember that accessories are cheaper and can be used to give a basic black outfit a whole new look; badges, belts, scarves, gloves, brooches and jewellery are all small and generally affordable items that can change a pair of jeans and a black T-shirt into an ensemble that is perfectly suitable.
Are there any shops in your town that sell fabric pens/paint, trims, ribbons etc.? I know I've said this before, but adding stencils or paint designs, a few rips and safety pins or a hint of lace trim can turn pretty much any mainstream store item into something gorgeous. Ditto black fabric dye! Perfect for all those pretty shirts and blouses that would be just right if only they weren't lemon yellow. ;-)
As well as accessories, hair and make-up can make all the difference to an outfit so don't neglect these.
I know that in Greece Halloween is not celebrated as enthusiastically as it is in places like America, but if you should see any stores near you selling Halloween-y items in October, don't be afraid to step in and stock up on tights, jewellery, and cheap costume pieces that you can destroy and use to make something else; for example you could use all the spiderweb lace to add trains and trims to other items. (I did a little research and apparently the chain Epilegin offers Halloween items at that time of year; if you are close to Athens I am told they have several outlets there.)
Honestly, I do feel that simple basics in black - T-shirts, vests, jeans and skirts - can look perfectly 'Goth'. There's nothing wrong with having a simple, casual wardrobe if that's what's available to you or simply your preference. Black basics are available anywhere, can be mixed, matched and customised to your heart's content, and are really all you need for a suitably dark look. Everything else is just trimmings!
I don't suppose I have any other Grecian readers who can offer further advice?
2. Spooky clothing in summer heat
You probably know that I live in England, where when we say summer what we really mean is 'not frosty', so extreme heat is something dark culture enthusiasts in the UK rarely if ever have to contend with. However I can offer some advice I've picked up from around the interwebs.
- Sandals ARE allowed. I know I've made the occasional joke about flip-flops, but seriously, showing some toe won't get you banned from the local Goth club.
- If you are a lady, remember skirts and dresses in lightweight fabrics are obviously cooler than trousers.
- Speaking of lightweight fabrics! Look out for them!
- White and grey are attractively ghostly and will be cooler than heavy black clothing.
- Be careful with patterned tights unless you want weird tan lines.
- If you can get hold of a parasol or elegant fan, these are not only interesting accessories but can be invaluable.