|Me, on my way to the library.|
I have a smart phone now!
This is the outfit I wore the other day just to take a library book back to the library. To many, this might be over-the-top, but I dress for only myself, and wear what I think is beautiful, and my tastes in clothes are far more layered, detailed, extravagant and anachronistic than most people's, and this to me is too eclectic to be formal-wear, even if the materials (like the jacquard and lace) are often thought of as too luxurious for everyday wear. For formal wear, I would wear either a dress, or a matching set.
|Diamonds, clubs and the Ace of Hearts|
The second trick is being comfortable with your own appearance. If you feel pretty and feel comfortable, others will be more relaxed about it. The more self-conscious you are, the more you will subconsciously project that. If you really like your own appearance, then your own self-belief will shine through and you will carry yourself better and look pretty.
If such ways of paying attention to detail make you feel more confident in your appearance, then do them, but don't agonise too much, though - you shouldn't end feeling like you just can't get close enough to perfection to go out, however many times you re-tie your bows, whatever necklace you wear, however many times you re-do your makeup, or whatever you do your hair or whatever. Remember, nobody is perfect, and it isn't perfection you should be aiming at. If you see a photograph that looks perfect, chances are it is a) a studio set up and b) a digitally altered image - and if you get too flawless, it can actually be uncanny and inhuman (which is fine if you want to look like a living doll, a vampire or a robot, but not so good if that is not your thing). Also, some of my prettiest outfits have come together out of whatever wasn't in the laundry. Sometimes over-planning can make me, and therefore probably others, look fussy and too much like I'm in a costume or going to a specific event or in a costume.
Also remember that really fancy wardrobes take time to assemble; I mentioned this in ::this:: previous post. Sometimes it can be a while before you have a whole outfit to wear - just be patient, keep saving/sewing/thrifting, and you will have all the parts. It doesn't mean you look ugly without the whole outfit, just that you haven't got what you want yet. Of course, some things just don't work without the rest matching; for example a fancy Victorian blouse can look a bit out of place with ordinary skirts and trousers, but if you buy things in stages you can look quite nice, and gradually become more ornate/unusual.
If you are wanting to wear something particularly fancy out (like corsets, petticoats under skirts, hooped skirts, really high platform boots, trailing skirts, wigs, fancy headdresses, etc.) then wear them at home first; some of these things are going to feel strange, perhaps slightly uncomfortable, when you first wear them, and you will, with some, need to adapt to moving slightly differently because of restricted movement, altered balance, or increased size (large skirts catching on things, knocking things over, catching antlers or headdresses on door-frames, being taller in really high boots, etc.). Until you feel 'naturalised' and comfortable in those garments. If you are doing something that radically alters your appearance, then it might take some time for you to get used to your own new appearance! This has happened when I have had radically different hair-cuts or bought wigs; re-framing my face can make it look so different that I hardly recognise myself. Again, getting used to yourself looking different in your own home can help build confidence for wearing it outside.
Most of all, remember that there is nothing immoral about choosing to go outside looking different. There IS something immoral about trying to make others feel bad.
Yes, you WILL garner attention if you look very differently, and some people will want to ask curious questions or even photographs. If you are too busy to answer, stop for photographs, or suchlike, you are allowed to politely decline. If people are rude to you, more than likely they are looking to get a reaction, either out of some kind of sadism or because they want attention; just don't give that to them. If you are upset (and sometimes even I get upset when people are rude, especially if I am having a bad day anyway) don't show it to them. Go somewhere else, somewhere you feel comfortable, talk to someone about the negative experience (I personally rant to my other Gothy friends, who have had similar experiences), and do something that cheers you up (for me, I like sitting quietly somewhere green, so I will go sit in the park, or the meadow, or take a walk in the woods if I am really upset about anything.).
With more neutral responses, I notice that sometimes people stare and do more discrete things like mutter to their friends, but as I can't tell whether that is positive or negative, and isn't really impacting on me, I ignore it. I am also not the best at reading people unless I am paying very good attention to them, and still have trouble even then, so I am also oblivious to a lot of more subtle and private reactions.
The public reaction to you will be different depending on the local demographics. Since I moved to Scotland, my compliment to insult ratio has been pretty good - I get a lot more people telling me I look nice, especially older people! I think because I prefer an anachronistic style that is inspired by funereal elegance rather than a punky style with ripped fishnets and revealing clothes (although I do wear those on occasion) that older women of a more conservative background like what I am wearing as it is feminine, modest, elegant, detailed, etc. If I am wearing fishnets and platform boots and a really short skirt or hotpants, with lots of spikes, I generally get more advances from men (and sometimes women), but fewer compliments that aren't the opening to flirtation. Oddly enough, when I have been in major cities in southern English cities, the number of insults (usually from gangs of teenage boys, young men and drunks) was much higher than the number of compliments, despite Goths being far more prevalent. There are some places where it can be downright dangerous to stand out too much, and especially to wear certain clothes - take care in areas you know to be less than safe, and tone it down if you have to. Yes, bad things can happen anywhere, but some places do harbour greater risks than others.
Lastly, in the case of extended interaction, some people have certain prejudices about various subcultures - I am talking about "Goth girls are easy sluts" and "Goths are all Satanists and devil-worshippers" and "Goths are suicidal or homicidal lunatics" and "Goths think they are vampires" other misinformed and dangerous rubbish. If you join a subculture and wear that subculture's signifiers in public, be aware that there are prejudices, and people may act on them. Try to politely correct misinformation, don't play into the negative stereotypes, and generally, be polite and sensible. Sadly, there will be times when even if you are the nicest person, others will react badly on the grounds of things they think they know about 'your kind'. That sort of thing is highly situational, but read through the experiences of others, sites like Gothic Charm School, and try to handle things in as calm and rational a manner as possible, but I know that this can be hard when people are being really horrible and irrational to you.
Basically, there are four main points to being confident in alternative clothes in public:
✯You are the ultimate judge of whether or not you look nice, not others.
✯If you feel comfortable in your clothes, you will come over better. Get used to things in your own space if you need to first.
✯Reactions vary between places - a good indication of how they are more about the person reacting than the person being reacted to!
✯There is nothing immoral or wrong about different.
Go out there beautiful! Wear whatever you want to wear - whether you want to be a Sweet Lolita or the darkest Goth, do it. Sometimes confidence takes time to build, but it is worth it.