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, and things in the broader realm of the Gothic and darkly Romantic. 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.

Goth 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, the expression of that in Goth rock. It 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 (Siouxsie, Sisters of Mercy, Bauhaus, 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. The Gothic should not be limited by what is already within it; inspiration comes from all places, the key is to look with open eyes, listen carefully and think with an open mind..

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Being Fancy Everyday

Here's an outfit I wore out of the house a couple months ago - one of my more "put together" ones, for lunch in town with friends, but not considerably more elaborate than many I wear. 

I am a pile of frills and lace, I admit it!
I'm wearing a pouf of a skirt, all layers of in-built and extra petticoats with flock and gauzy layers, a fancy shirt with oodles of ruffles at my neck, a waistcoat clasped with chains and ornate buttons (my own modification), lace gloves, fabric flowers in my hair, silver Gothic jewellery, iridescent sunglasses, and Gothic eye-makeup. Not visible are the plum tights I was wearing to match my hair flowers, and the long black "granny boots" too. Quite fancy, quite ornate by modern standards, but other than the "shiny" and fancy fabrics, not much fancier than many Gothic Lolitas and Elegant Gothic Aristocrat fashion followers wear regularly. I'm rooted in European expressions of the Gothic, but I am a big fan of darker Japanese fashions, so it should be no surprise that my outfits are heavily inspired by followers of those styles too. 

In Lolita fashion, there are plenty of 'Lifestyle Lolitas' - those who wear the fashion everyday, and tie the aesthetic into other aspects of their life, the same as there are plenty of members of the Goth subculture for whom the aesthetic and the mindset colour their entire lives, but with Goth, I see more who wear the more casual embodiments of Goth as everyday wear, and reserve the fancy for special occasions, whereas with Lolita it is more a sliding scale of "relatively fancy" for everyday, to "really, really fancy!" for special occasions. There are, of course, Lolitas who only wear Lolita to conventions and meets, those who wear it sometimes and wear other fashions other times, etc. 

Goth being less fancy does make sense - the original Goth fashions grew out of punk, and were full of stuff like ripped tights, skinny jeans, pointy boots etc. and not of the fancy Romantic fashions that grew out of it later, and there is nothing "un-Goth" about wearing, say New Rocks, skinny jeans, a Sisters of Mercy t-shirt, spiked collar and trench-coat instead of say, a bustle skirt, pointy boots, fancy black tights, corset and ruffle shirt with lace gloves. However, is wearing Romantic Goth fanciness too much for anything other than events? 

To be honest, I think it depends a lot on what you are wearing, especially fabrics - if what you are wearing is made of the very luxurious fabrics and styles that are mostly reserved for 'evening' and 'occasion' wear in any century or locale, then you're probably too fancy for just shopping in the supermarket (after all, such things are expensive and delicate, and everyday life will probably damage them), which doesn't mean you can't wear them shopping if you really want to, only that it's probably not practical or sensible and would be a lot like wearing a ball gown to the supermarket, just a black one from several hundred years ago. 
Totally hipster pose... argh!

Hang on! In these pictures I've got synthetic satins for my blouse and skirt, and there's flock on the skirt! Yes, and this outfit is probably good party wear for a more casual party (and I'll be wearing it to one tonight!) or, when it was originally worn, for a Saturday lunch with friends. I made the outfit more day wear than fancy party with a matte fabric modified business waistcoat, matte purple tights, and 'day' Goth makeup rather than fancier evening makeup. If I wore the exact same cut garments, but made entirely of cottons and other matte fabric, then it would look a lot more like anachronistic day wear. I could have easily made it into more 'special' party wear by swapping the waistcoat for a fancy brocade bolero jacket or an ornate shrug, and the tights for patterned lace tights rather than block colour tights, and the granny boots for fancier shoes. 

This is where I think Lolita's and Aristocrat's influence comes in for fancy everyday wear - a lot of the cuts are full of ruffles, full skirts, and rather fancy designs, but they're usually made of lined heavy cottons, and occasionally velvets, rather than satins, brocades, silks and flocks. The've often got prints on them too, which always seems more casual than woven-in designs, and therefore offer a good balance between having a pattern and not being too fancy for day wear. They have plenty of details such as bows and lace, but bows are often of the same fabric as the dress, and lace the same colour, or a complimenting one. Altogether, and despite being a lot more colourful than a lot of Goth fashion, Lolita and Aristocrat manage to be both fancy and able to be worn everyday.  These aspects can easily be incorporated into outfits that are Goth rather than Lolita, and allow those who want to be fancy out and about, to be fancy without looking like you're going to a party or a masquerade ball. 

My tips: 
♣ Wear cottons, wool, lace and matte fabrics for day wear, and brocades, jacquards, flock, devoré and velvets as occasion wear. 

♣ Prints can add fanciness without stepping up the 'occasion' level, and come in everything from kitsch and rockabilly designs of neon zombies to ornate wrought iron gates. 

♣ Accessory choice can make an outfit more or less special-looking.

♣ One or two 'statement' pieces can be made of fancier fabric and be more detailed without necessarily making the entire outfit more of one for a special occasion.

♣ Sometimes less is better - don't heap on the accessories - one bracelet or cuff can be enough, one necklace, one hair accessory/hat, etc. Wearing too much can look cluttered. 


  1. It looks so damn good!

  2. While looking at the thumbnail I thought you were Lady Gaga! The round glasses, short straight fringe and head wear got me!

    1. This will probably get my 'Goth Card' revoked, but I'm actually quite a fan of Lady GaGa...

  3. Your outfit looks amazing! I especially love the chain detail! I want the whole outfit thought!

    I always like to have something a little Victorian in my outfits, as that is my main inspiration!

    1. The chain details are something I see a lot on biker jackets, and sometimes on Japanese fashions. I made the chain clasps for that waistcoat before seeing it as an idea in a Japanese fashion shop in London, and being quite disappointed to find my very original idea of biker chains + fancy frills was not such an original idea!

      I find it hard to pick just one century, and get a lot of ideas from fantasy costuming (some of my everyday stuff is just the least costume-y and obviously fantasy of my L.A.R.P gear...)

  4. You look fantastic! :) Plus a wonderful post on gothic fashion in general. I alternate between the Neo-Victorian look and the more traditional 80s goth style, and have been known to combine the two.

    1. I love styling my real hair (currently violet) in big '80s back-combed styles, wearing pointy boots and other aspects of '80s goth fashion, but I'm mostly into the Victorian stuff :) I tend to look more "trad Goth" when I'm out clubbing, but not even always then.

  5. Wow, that's a lovely outfit :D
    Mine usually depend on mods. I just can't commit to one stile so my wardrobe could pull out anything from cyber to romantic, I guess :D I gave up on tried to have a coordinated waredrobe.

    1. My mostly Victorian wardrobe has fluffy leg-warmers and PVC in it too ;)


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