My personal blog as a 'grown-up' Goth and Romantic living in the Highlands of Scotland. I write about the places I go, the things I see and my thoughts on life as a Goth and the subculture. Sometimes I write about music I like and sometimes I review things. This blog often includes architectural photography, graveyards and other images from the darker side of life.

The Gothic subculture is not just about imitating each other, it is a creative movement and subculture that grew out of post-punk and is based on seeing beauty in the dark places of the world, and looks back to the various ways throughout history in which people have confronted and explored the macabre, the dark and the taboo, and as such I'm going to post about more than the just the standards of the subculture (Tim Burton, Siouxsie Sioux and Anne Rice et al.) and look at things by people who might not consider themselves anything to do with the subculture, but have eyes for the dark places. Goth should not be limited by what is considered "goth", inspiration comes from all places, the key is to look with open eyes, listen carefully and think with an open mind..

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Outdoor Clothes, Covering and Remaining Goth

I have no idea why I didn't publish this post ages ago. It was written over a month ago, back when the weather was cooler. It got to 33℃/91.4℉ a couple of days ago in Aviemore, a relatively nearby town, and it feels hotter today, but I haven't been to check the thermometer. I am in the North of Scotland, close enough to the Pole to see the Northern Lights, but the sky is clear blue and I'm hiding with the laptop in the shade. Anyway, when I wore this outfit it was chilly and windy. Outfit posts are not the purpose of this blog, and I don't want to stray into making them too regularly, but this is a request. I described this outfit to an online friend, who wanted to see it. 

I'm not sure that's a nice smile.
I wore this outfit to walk and take public transport into the city, and this really is the sort of thing I wear on an everyday basis, except for working hours.  The 'scraps' style skirt is Marks & Spencers, and I saw a customer wearing one back when I worked in a supermarket, and it was love at first sight. I actually asked the customer where they'd got it, and they said it was M&S, but not the current season. I was so disappointed, especially when I couldn't find one on e-bay. Then, a week or two later I found a version of the skirt in my size in a charity shop in town and I was over-joyed. As I am quite tall, I was very excited to find that it was actually long enough on me. The jacket was a Viyella jacket that I bought partly modified on e-bay. It had been given lacing at the back, and re-cut to a narrower, more fitted shape. I then further modified it by altering the lacing at the back, altering the velvet cuffs and replacing the fabric-covered buttons with ornate metal ones. The cloak I got as part of a swap with a friend. The leather gloves were a Christmas present.

Yes, I'm rather tall.
This outfit also got a strange comment out of a "babybat" goth I met on public transport: "Aren't you a bit... covered up to be a Goth?". This surprised me because it held the implication that one must reveal flesh in order to be Goth, which while I have not problem with people who do, and know of quite a few Goths that do, doesn't seem to me as intrinsically part of the subculture. I personally prefer not to reveal much flesh, simply because I am not comfortable with it, and today, even with sweltering temperatures, I am in a floor-length skirt and am not bearing more than an inch of cleavage, nor my midriff nor my shoulders. Also, most historical fashions were not very revealing at all (well, excluding the "robe en chemise" styles of Revolutionary France which was inspired by pottering around in what was then an undergarment, and which could have very low necklines and be rather sheer, and a few other things) and my aesthetic and style preferences and inspirations tend to be rather anachronistic.  Also, long but loose clothes are actually rather good for hot weather. 

Sometimes I do wear shorter skirts, but I do get rather self-conscious in short skirts, a bare midriff, showing cleavage, etc. It's not that I feel ugly, more the opposite - I know that I'm reasonably attractive and I don't like the attention. I can see that this seems slightly absurd when I walk around in decidedly non-mainstream clothes that look significantly different from what most people wear, but I find random insults easier to tune out than innuendo and unwanted advances, wolf-whistles, etc. I also do not think "sexy" and "beautiful" are synonymous, and I would much rather be elegant in an anachronistic way than "sexy". 

I'm sitting in a chair, in a pile of cushions, a big pile of cushions.
They're all my cushions, you can't have them... preciousssss cushionssss.

Now with added candles.
I am also covering my head in this outfit, but for practical rather than religious reasons. Actually, I cover my head with non-hat items quite often. I'd rather like a nice top-hat to wear, but I can't afford a real one. The wind here feels sharp - the damp air makes a cold wind sting. I tend to wear a velvet scarf over my head and ears and my hood up to keep my ears warm and comfortable and to keep my hair from blowing in my eyes. I do know of Goths who are Muslim and Plain Christian who cover their heads for religious reasons, and I do not feel that this is counter to them being Goth, despite the fact that displaying fancy hair has been a strong part of the subculture since the huge back-combed styles of the '80s. Each person with an interest in the Goth subculture should join in however much they want, and should be primarily themselves, rather  than try to conform to the aesthetic of other members, and if they want to incorporate Goth into a religious lifestyle, there are no Rules of Goth to state otherwise. 

I would say that this outfit is somewhere between Aristocrat and Romantic Goth - the sharp, relatively minimalistic jacket and leather gloves seem more Aristocrat, but the cloak, layered skirt and makeup are probably more Romantic Goth. It's definitely not a traditional Goth outfit, anyway. Whatever it is, it is one of my favourite outfits for cool but not wet or particularly cold weather. 

46 comments:

  1. Love the outfit, and if it helps you wouldn't look out of place in Victorian times, however very definately you. I think your right in that people should be free to incorporate as much or as little of the Goth lifestyle and dress into their lives as they wish. Unfortunately people and girls in particular seem to be taught earlier and earlier to judge people on looks alone and are never taught to take people for who they are.

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    1. Aww, thank-you! I think I'd need to be wearing a corset and less tattered skirt, and quite a few other differences to be historically Victorian, but I definitely take that period as an influence. I agree, people are conditioned to be very shallow about appearances, and it especially seems to happen to women - clothes, fashion, style; they have all become such huge parts of the media, and it is in the fashion industry's interest for people to be judgemental about such things, because it puts pressure on people, especially women, to spend lots of money in search of fashionable aesthetic perfection. Personally, I'd rather be myself, make my own, or buy from the charity shops and independent retailers than the fashion industry machine.

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  2. I love this outfit, this fusion of Romantic and Aristocrat is really dramatic.

    Frankly, I don't see any connections between Goth and showing skin...actually, the classical Goth attire isn't very revealing. I think, the amount of skin revealed rather depends on the individual - and in my case, my mood...:)

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    1. Thank-you very much!

      I'm not sure where the connection between being Goth and showing skin has come from. I know some alternative models like the Deathrocker and model Razor Candi are known for showing skin, and there is a tendency for 'Goth' costumes for Halloween to be "sexy" (although I don't think they're remotely sexy) and revealing, but I don't see these as a basis for Goth to be inherently revealing. Maybe it comes from the same place as a belief that Goth girls are "easy"... Really, I don't know, and didn't feel like asking the young Goth in question to find out.

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  3. Your outfit is absolutely wonderful! And fantastic post on such an topic, as always.

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    1. Aww! Thankyou! All this flattery is going to make my head swell!

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    2. Big headedness is not something you can ever be accused of

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    3. I'm not sure, I can get quite vain and silly in front of a camera... Maybe I should remain behind one, instead.

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  4. Stunning outfit! Wow, if I heard someone tell me you need to show skin to be goth, I would be really bothered.
    I've found soo many good items for helping yourself stay modest, i actually made a post here
    http://wiire.blogspot.com/2012/05/modest-fashion.html

    I have no connection to any of those stores, I just posted about them to help other people. Places to get arm warmers and nice shrugs, etc, and just my comments about when the best time to shop is. (if you want light summer long sleeve items actually need to look for them in winter! long sleeve is soo hard to buy in the summer..)

    Anyway, love your style!

    I actually have the opposite reasons.. its mostly self esteem reasons I want to cover myself, and I hope to get out of that mind set and feel better about myself. However right now I still feel the most comfortable with covered arms, legs, etc.

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    1. I've read your article before - it's quite informative! I'm considering putting a "resources" page up on my blog, linking to articles that people might find useful for various topics. If I do, I might post a link to your article :) From what pictures are visible on your blog, you have no reason to be ashamed of your appearance!

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  6. I loved this article, as well as your outfit. It was an interesting subject to post on, because I've often felt that some people view goths as scantly clad creatures of the night, which we all know isn't true. Glad to know that I'm not the only one who thinks that you can be modest, and still be goth.

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    1. This "scantly clad creatures of the night" image is probably apt for some club-wear, but not for us in our everyday lives. I do see a lot of scantly clad goth ladies in clubs, probably because a lot of goth clubs are hot and stuffy and because, in my experience, there is less of a problem amongst Goths with unwanted attention from (especially inebriated male) people looking to land a sexual partner so people who might not feel comfortable like that in everyday life, feel comfortable dressing like that at the club. There are also those who, I guess, are trying to flaunt their "assets" for attention or to outdo others such as happens in mainstream clubs, too.

      I don't always wear such covering clothes - when I'm clubbing or at home or in the garden in the company of friends I have been known to wear shorter skirts, bare my shoulders and midriff etc. Especially when clubbing, because the other Goths don't bother me in the club, and don't infer that I'm slutty or available or wanting sex because I'm showing my legs and wearing skimpy clothes. Occasionally there's a mundane or two that gets past the door despite the dress-code and they bother me, but it's not a huge problem. The goth club I used to frequent was literally underground, in an old cellar, and I did try going clubbing in a rather covered 18thC inspired outfit... and nearly passed out from trying to dance in the heat. From that point onwards it was a definite "mini-skirts and skimpy tops" affair.

      There is a huge divide between what I consider club-wear and day-wear, and it is unlikely that I would decide to wear a club outfit to the supermarket. I have been known to wear shorter skirts to the supermarket, but I've worn them with bloomers over my tights and underwear underneath, a layered lace bustle underneath (so if I bend down my bloomers aren't exposed), opaque tights and long socks. The shape of my legs might be showing, but no actual skin, and there's probably more disguisement of my shape than if I were wearing the skinny trousers I often wear with long boots and frock-coats. The idea was to have cooler legs, but all the layering I did in ended up counterproductive to that end, and I'd have been cooler in a long skirt or trousers!

      As to the actual word "modesty" - I was thinking about it more last night, and I'm not sure it's the best word. To me, modest is more than just covering up, it is not being extravagant, it is not being fancy, and my outfits are often decidedly extravagant, with brocades and lace trims, and shiny buttons and much jewellery and makeup. As such, I've changed the title of this blog slightly.

      My roller derby outfits tend to be stripy long-socks, shorts and a t-shirt or tank top, I guess that's quite revealing by my standards.

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  7. Very lovely. :3

    I agree completely with not thinking 'sexy' and 'beautiful' are synonyms. I don't understand how modern generations do. I take it as a bit of an insult.

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    1. I agree with SaryWalrus and HouseCat here because I understand now.

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    2. I don't see why being sexually attractive is tied up with beauty in the modern mind. Lots of things are called beautiful with absolutely no connotations of sexual attraction - sunsets, mountains, flowers (well, unless you're a confused bee finding a bee-orchid), graveyards, rivers - yet when it comes to people a lot of people seem to confuse the two. There is also the fact that being deliberately sexy rarely ever works, and instead looks tacky.

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    3. I was very confused until I read your article.

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    4. I'm glad to have been of help :)

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    5. Ever since I came to your blog, I really had it with most of the modern things. Not that I'm overly old fashion or anything as I have nothing against same sex marriage and I also know that everybody live in a different path by making their own decisions. However, I'm not really much into modern stuff such as modern clothing and what mainstream songs on the radio today.

      By the way, the outfit you were wearing is very cool.

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    6. http://www.julia-wood.com <- Check out this woman, she is living her life Victorian, and wanders around in the most beautiful hand-made gowns. She's not affiliated to the Goth or Aristo subcultures, but she is a fabulous eccentric.

      I'm not into much modern things. I'm certainly not into modern pop music, but I do listen to a variety of rock music. I love classical music and listen to everything from Renaissance and earlier choral music to early 20thC orchestral works. I detest a lot of modern mainstream fashion, and generally prefer things that are a mixture of the more creative alternative styles and historical ones mixed into one anachronistic combination. I just find that things used to be so much more detailed and beautiful and elegant. You still get fine beautiful things that are hand-crafted, or prohibitively expensive, or both (which is sad, because craftspeople deserve the pay, but too few people can afford to pay them) because most of what we find in stores is mass-produced, and really beautiful, well-made, beautiful, detailed objects can't be mass-produced cheaply. I love shopping in charity shops, thrift shops, and antique and curio shops, because there one can find beautiful objects at reasonable prices.

      Thankyou, :) Everyone complimenting this outfit is boggling me.

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  8. You look quite pretty in that outfit. The style really suits you. I choose cute and pretty over being and looking sexy as well.

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    1. Thank-you very much! I'm quite astounded by all the positive feedback I've had on this article! :)

      I feel a bit old for being cute these days :(

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  9. I love this outfit!! It's so gorgeous.

    If I saw you walking in the street like this I would actually hug you and never let go XP

    This is amazing!

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    1. I think Raven would have objections if you refused to let go! :P

      Thank-you very much. I'm quite overwhelmed by all the positive feed-back I've had. I'm not really one for making these outfit posts and all these compliments are making me want to hide again!

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  10. I think that you and your outfit look absolutely dazzling. I'm glad you remembered to post this.

    91 degrees F. in northern Scotland? That's roughly the same temperature that it is here in the southern United States. It's not unusual for us at this time of year, but in Scotland?

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    1. Thank-you very much!! I don't think this is normal for up here at all. It's sweltering! I nearly got heat-stroke because I fell asleep on the grass yesterday. O.O While it's beautiful, beautiful weather, it's getting rather uncomfortable. Strangest of all is that less than two weeks ago I had a shelf of ice form on my hat from the sleet.

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  11. You look absolutely stately and beautiful. I love the way the lace frames your gorgeous face. Very, very nice.

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    1. Aww, thankyou! Everyone keeps telling me how nice I look here, and it boggles me!

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  12. and another: wow, you look pretty in this! - comment, sorry ;-P

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    1. No need to apologise. I'm just confused and don't understand.

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    1. Goths are human, we're not more or less caring than the rest of humanity, it depends entirely on which particular Goth you're talking to. Some are complete jerks and I politely avoid them and keep out of the crossfire when drama ensues, others are wonderful, lovely, caring and thoughtful people who are amazing to be around and do loads for charity and to help humanity.
      Most reasonable human beings shouldn't be able to bare watching children get hurt. That's basic compassion.

      That it is probably of no actual use as a response, but it's the truth as I've encountered it.

      As to loneliness, that's a different issue. Remember you're not alone in the world - there will be people who care about you. Even if you don't get on with your family (I don't get on with a lot of mine) or are feeling isolated at school/college/work, there will be /someone/, maybe a fellow student or colleague, or a member of staff/employer/etc. or maybe online friends. I was quite lonely when I lost my job shortly after having moved all the way to a new country where, apart from my partner, I didn't know anybody. I found a good way to make friends and socialise and meet new people to connect with was to join clubs based around interests I have - e.g camera club, roller derby, martial arts, etc. If you're at school/university there's likely to be a lot of clubs to join, but most centres of population have public clubs for interests and sports, and if there's nothing that you know you like, try something new. It's easiest if you start by finding people to talk to about the club's subject and then expand.

      Another good thing to do is volunteer. Volunteering as a conservation worker for environmental charities really helped when I started getting depressed after not being able to get a job for months and being tight on money. It was free to do, unlike many clubs where you have to pay a fee, the people there were nice to talk to, and as we were all into ecological issues we had some really interesting discussions, e.g on eating meat vs. being vegetarian or vegan, and most of all, I could end each day feeling like I'd achieved something positive, and all the fresh air and hard work was really good for my health and well-being too.

      That's the best practical ideas I can offer right now, but hang in there, things will improve.

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    1. Things can and will improve. Don't do anything to hurt yourself, from what I've seen of your blog, you're far too young and promising to die. Talk to a counsellor, or an organisation such as Samaritans http://www.samaritans.org/ who offer someone to talk to if you're in despair or feeling suicidal. I'm not much good at advice, not beyond the practicalities of a few subjects, anyway, and am certainly no good at counselling those in distress, but these people are trained and helpful and they are there especially to help when people are feeling like this.

      You're not alone, a lot of people go through times when everything seems bleak and hopeless - I certainly have, and I'm glad I survived, because that was all years ago now, and while life has had its ups and downs since then, I wouldn't trade it for anything now, and am very happy in my apartment with partner and my art and my new job at a school. Things change, given time and effort. Whatever has happened, whatever darkness surrounds you, fight back with whatever you can and make your life yours.

      You need to tackle this at the level of whatever it is that is making you so unhappy, whether it is unfortunate circumstances, personal problems or such things as clinical depression. You also need to tell someone you trust about how you are feeling, and quite possibly talk to your doctor.

      Anyway, cemeteries are rarely dark and frozen, except at night in winter. Right now, the one near me is full of trees and flowers and birds and is quite a happy place!

      Go for a long walk somewhere green, and remember that all of nature is there to partake in if you want to. When I was at my worst, I always found nature a consolation. Nature does not judge, the trees do not think anyone a freak or crazy (unlike my classmates did), and it is almost always beautiful - it is hard to look upon a wild place and find ugliness, even spiders and bones are beautiful. At the very least, a walk in the woods or park is some time away from the pressures of everyday life. Try not to get stuck in your own thoughts as you are walking, though, otherwise you can get lost in your own worries and sadness (something that happens to me sometimes) - instead pay attention to your surroundings, which is why trying to photograph things, or bird watching, or wildlife watching are so good, they give you something to focus on.

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    1. If I have to be with my family when I don't want to, I'll think of it as survival horror; I will survive until the end even if they are still harsh to me.

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    2. I don't know the details of your family situation, or what's going on between them and you, but I can say that you can't live for your family's wishes, you have to do what will make you happy. I'm not saying you have to turn your back and walk off into the sunset or anything, just remember that what they think of you doesn't change what you actually are.

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    3. Now back to Goth fashion topic; I choose vintage or Lolita fashion over modern clothing. I also detest modern clothing because I'm not comfortable wearing them. I don't the attention from others as well.

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    4. I've met a lot of people who are actually quite reticent about wearing Goth fashion in public because of the reactions they might get, for whom it really is purely a love of the aesthetic. I do wish that the perception of Goth as something done for attention would alter to something more accurate. *sighs*

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  17. I love this whole outfit, but the cloak especially! It is exactly like the sort of thing I have been looking for. Maybe I will have to try to make one.

    I like quite covered up styles too, probably because of my neo-Victorian sensibilities.

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    1. The cloak is by Laughing Vampire, but I got it as part of a swap, and is made of quite a heavy lace. The pattern is quite simple, made out of three pieces, so it shouldn't be too difficult to make, the trick would be getting heavy enough fabric to get the correct drape.

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