Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Turn it up, don't tone it down

"I hate to bother you about this, and actually I almost feel silly but in all my reading about goth in articles and blogs online I've forgotten how to be over the top when it comes to goth..... I mean it seems there are always blog posts about how a goth should tone down their look, but never how to make their look more extravagant... and of course in our everyday world toning down one's wardrobe makes a bit of sense, but I'm tired of toning it down...." - Miss Grave

I almost envy you for having forgotten how to turn your Gothy dial up to thirteen - I have times when I feel I never really started (says she, writing in tracksuit bottoms, band tee, no eyebrows and scraggy ponytail - I was just at a fitness class)! It's true that for some people it can be easy to slip into a rut, and getting out of it again requires inspiration, motivation, creativity and time.

Nobody does all-spooky all-the-time like Elvira, Mistress of the Dark

Inspiration and motivation
Quite often when I slip into a jeans rut, I am startled out of it by either seeing a rather stunning spooky type dressed to the nines or by - don't laugh - reading a book, usually some awfully cheesy YA novel, about a very Gothed-up character. I don't know what does it for you. Maybe it's looking at pictures on Tumblr or watching WGT vids on YouTube, but whatever it was about Goth fashion that made you go 'wow!' in the first place, recreate it.

You can also collect ideas and inspiration from looking in such places. (And don't feel you need to be limited to Goth either - you can get inspiration for your style anywhere and everywhere. As an example, my tracked tags on Tumblr include deathrock, mori kei, decora, gyaru, lolita, punk lolita, psychobilly and bohemian.) Work out what delights you and then apply it to yourself! Even if you have to play around with your make-up in the evenings or spend mornings laying out different combinations and ensembles on your bed.

Think outside the box! Yes, I'm opening the 'creativity' sub-section with a cliche, but being trite doesn't make it less true. Buy a new eyeshadow colour you've never used before. Find an item you've never worn and make it work.

When we think of OTT looks, we think of big hair, big eyeliner, hats, corsets, extravagant parasols, canes, waistcoats, falls and more. Feel free to draw on these staples - pile on the accessories - but don't forget to add your own twist and keep it uniquely you. Accessorise where you wouldn't normally - add a band around your upper arm, a belly chain, a tiara... add decals to your nails or wear a darker shade of lipstick.

Face it, you know what Goth As Fuck looks like. It may take some time spent experimenting and you may make a few mistakes, but if you're reading this you probably spend enough time online to know what ubergoth means for you - all you have to do is get in front of that mirror and get your freak flag proudly flying.

Jeans and a tee take much less time than a festival worthy G.A.F. ensemble. Light, everyday make-up is different than a painted-doll face a la Lady Amaranth. You might need to choose an outfit the day before and get up half an hour earlier - only you know whether or not it's worth it!

Not being 100% ooky-spooky at all times doesn't make you any less Gawth. If it pleases you to put in the time, then go for it! But don't feel you have to do it every day if you don't want.

Of course, if you're getting your Goth on for an event or other occasion, whether you prefer to plan weeks in advance or like to select an outfit spontaneously right before leaving for the club, it does help to keep your hand in with fancy make-up and corset-wearing (not to mention balancing in silly shoes) to avoid last-minute panics and disasters.

I hand over the floor to you guys to share your own advice! Hope this is of some help. :-)

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Make-up hypocrisy?

Something I often associate with darker fashion is heavy make-up, a la Adora BatBrat or - more traditionally speaking - Siouxsie Sioux. For a long time this is something I've felt, and still do feel, is very beautiful and expressive, not to mention great fun.

However, it occured to me lately that for all its rejection of mainstream aesthetic values (you must be thin, you must be curvy, you must not wear too much make-up, you must not be a man and look feminine), for some people 'dark' ideals of fashion and beauty can tend to operate under the stereotypes of hyper-grooming more commonly associated with Barbie dolls than punk rockers.

Don't get me wrong - for all that what some Goth girls seem to prefer being fully made up at all times when in public, there are some obvious boundaries between the world of purple lipstick, Siouxsie eyebrows and perfectly ironed V-fringes and the super-bronzed, super-blonde but equally super-groomed figures presented to us on, say, The Only Way Is Essex.

(I hate to generalise, but for starters, one aesthetic seems to be about pleasing and expressing oneself, the other seems to be about matching up to society's 'standards' of feminine beauty and pleasing the opposite sex. Of course, I could be wrong. And I'm sure that in some cases the opposite could just as easily be true.)

But nonetheless the feminine aesthetic of Goth has changed rather a lot since the deliberately 'ugly' styles of make-up seen in the early days of the punk scene - whilst certainly exaggerated and often featuring creative use of colours (and eyeliner doodles), many dark make-up looks now aim to be beautiful (in an otherworldly kind of way) rather than discomforting or provocative.

This is neither a complaint nor approval, merely an observation. I was thinking about it after bumping into an old friend who wears no make-up, although I once saw her with glitter sprinkled under her eyes for a night out (and who also has blonde dreadlocks, wears 'boho' style clothes layered over each other... we probably looked like an interesting pair standing next to each other!). As someone who strives to be body-positive and to not get caught up in media-hyped ideals of how we should look and present ourselves, I was intrigued by the comparison of her personal rejection of media and mainstream aesthetics vs., say, that of deathrock model Emily Pollution. Visually complete opposites, but sharing the similarity of a preferred personal aesthetic instead of how we are told we should look.

However, I suppose what I am trying (badly) to say is that whilst it is creative and expressive, in many ways it could be said the dark aesthetic is not necessarily that different from the much-maligned 'Barbie' look sported by the likes of Cheryl Cole, as it is also creating a certain image using a precise style and grooming using large amounts of product.

I don't necessarily feel that going make-up-free is more 'anti-mainstream' than choosing blue or green lipstick over red or pink. I also don't have any particular dislike of the mainstream beauty aesthetic, I just don't like how it marginalises certain groups (e.g. anyone not 'perfect' by beauty and fashion industry standards) and I prefer not to have it rammed down my throat. But I do wonder if perhaps it's hypocritical for those who wouldn't ever be seen outside without their many layers of black eyeliner to claim superiority over non-Goths who wouldn't ever be seen outside without many layers of black eyeliner based on aesthetic preferences alone.

A few disclaimer-y notes: not all followers of dark fashion wear make-up, and of those who do certainly not all consider themselves 'superior' in any way to anyone else. I personally think that no make-up, Goth make-up and 'mainstream' make-up can all be beautiful.

I just wondered what others' thoughts were on this?

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Sightseeing in Oxford

I had a little day trip yesterday to the beautiful city of Oxford. Dad wanted to show his current lodger, Gosia from Poland, some of the sights of England, and since it was my birthday that week we made a day of it.
These first few pics were taken at Christchurch College. We saw dozens of the colleges around Oxford, but this one not only has its own cathedral but it's where Charles Dodgson, better known as Lewis Carroll, was a maths lecturer. There is a small shop across the street called 'Alice's Shop', as it's both drawn and mentioned in Carroll's Alice Through the Looking Glass.

Gosia and me at Christchurch.
 These next few are from the Oxford University Botanical Gardens. The lady on the ticket desk said my outfit was beautiful! :-)

 These are from another of the colleges; I don't remember which but it had its very own deer park!

 The Bodleian Library.
 In the Covered Markets.

 After climbing the very narrow and spiral-y 99 steps up Carfax Tower.

 The Ashmolean Museum.

 The Oxford University Museum.

Being a vry srs museum-goer.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

30 Day Clothing Challenge: Day 28

28. An outfit you are ashamed to say you wore.
Oh, where to even start?

I decided to exonerate my childhood fashion sins (age 12; leather skirt with white trainers, age 13; white tracksuit bottoms with 'angel' on the bottom and gold hoop earrings) and skip directly to my disastrous forays into the world of Goth style.

Here I am in 2007.

Now, let us never speak of this again. >.<

In the hope of making up a little for the above photo (which I am staring at with a kind of horrified fascination), an outfit post from - I believe - the week before last. See how I have grown (thank gawd).

Yes, I am still living in the fluffy cardigan.

Friday, 21 September 2012

A Plea for Dead Rights

I was honoured to recently receive a message from a candidate running for election in the good ol' US of A. You may not have heard of David Moss, but he told me that although he is 'sort of' new to  Goth and dark culture, it's only because it didn't exist when he was alive (1865-1918).

David says, "I recently got up out of my grave to run for President of the United States. I'm hoping to raise awareness of the dead and dead rights (or lack thereof). The dead have no voting rights, few job prospects and very little voice in government. I plan to change that, and hope that your community of forward-thinking, dark-minded, beautiful souls will be on board to help me. I realize that our minor doings in the new world aren't always relevant back in England, but if I get elected here, a new day will dawn for the dead everywhere (maybe we can call it Dawn of the Dead?)."

He also described my blog as 'deliciously purple', just FYI, which is pretty much a surefire way to get in my good books, although as an English citizen I am obviously not eligible to vote in the United States.

As President, David plans to abolish all taxes ("They say nothing is as sure as death and taxes. David Moss has been through both of these, and knows both sides of the issue." - more on this policy here.), help living and dead students alike access the college education they need, and grant more visas to dead people to help make up for labour shortages.

(c) David Moss For America

You can help support the David Moss campaign by purchasing some yummy goodies at the webshop here (favourite slogan: Dead, but still a better choice) or simply check out the campaign website and blog, here.

David also suggests that supporters spread the word by holding their own graveyard party. Obviously I think this is a rather wonderful idea, although I would strongly advise that you ignore bullet point #3 in the linked post. >.<

Why do we not have any dead people running for Prime Minister here in the UK? English dead, stir yo' bones, pronto.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Things that happen on birthdays

Phew. Have been having some trouble with Blogger and didn't think I would be able to post today. But here I am! First order of business is that I would like to say a very big thank you to everyone who wished me a happy birthday, you guys are so sweet and if I could I would personally bring you all a bat cookie and a big overperfumed squeezy hug. <3

Second order of business: birthday picspam.

These first two are from Tuesday night, when I went out for a pre-birthday party with my friends from the shop where I work. We had a nice meal at Wetherspoons. The balloon was from lovely Marylon, who Gothed-up for the occasion! I found that everyone had chipped in to buy me some AMAZING presents including an Ed Hardy perfume I had mentioned I liked months ago, a skull top and some gorgeous ear cuffs - I was completely surprised and frankly quite honoured. The skull necklace I'm wearing was a present from my manager Julie.

That's not my most attractive facial expression (above) but I had a really great time. I was really glad that almost everyone came. Oh, and yes, I wore pink!
This is what I wore to work.

After work I sneakily used the shop's changing room to get into my pink dress. It's a Hell Bunny frock that I got on sale many moons ago but hadn't had the chance to wear yet. The eyeball-and-flower hair clip is made by my tattooist Steph at Poison Ink Apparel; the shrug is from a charity shop and the boots are my purple cobweb New Rocks.

On my birthday proper (yesterday), I spent the day shopping at Festival Place in Basingstoke with my boyfriend Dan - after first opening my presents, of course! My present from Mum is a new pair of Demonia boots; unfortunately we ordered them a little bit too small and had to send them back. The right size pair should arrive later this week!

From my Nan I got a Queen of Darkness hoodie with enormous bat wings sprouting from the back; I don't think I have a picture of it but I wore it all day yesterday. Snuggly, warm and a little bit demonic... ;-)

Oh, Jode...
As you can see, I was very spoilt! <3

In the evening, we went to a local Chinese all-you-can-eat with a small group of friends and family. (Some identities have been obscured by request, which looks sliiiightly creepy but never mind...)
Left side, front to back: Mum, Dave, Rosemarie, Bronwyn, Chris.
Right side, front to back: Nan, Walt, Sioux, me, Dan, Jodie.

After some of the adults (oh right, I'm an adult now... oops) had headed home, we young'uns caused havoc and general mayhem.
Bronners looking adorable <3

Short friends are an endless source of amusement.

Not sure what the boy fiend is doing here o.O

I say! What's going on?

My girls are so purdy :-3

Getting pose-y with Rosie

New favourite pic! <3333

Oh, Jode... XDD
So all in all it was a great birthday - still got a trip to a burlesque club and a ride on the London Eye to be arranged, which I am very excited about. I love my friends and family and couldn't have asked for a better day! <3

P.S. I bought a onesie.

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