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..

Monday, 27 October 2014

7 Days, 7 Corset Outfits!

Initially, this was supposed to be a 14 day corset challenge, but I pretty much failed that half-way through. Putting together a corset-centred outfit is time consuming, especially the getting dressed and getting laced up part, and even with Raven helping me I decided it just was not practical to wear every day. While my corsets are comfortable, they do restrict mobility to a degree (especially bending over) and when I have practical things to do, I'd rather not be wearing one. I was on October holiday, as I work at a school, and thus had two weeks where my outfit choices where not dictated by what was work appropriate, and I wanted to see if I could wear corset-based outfits for the whole duration. I know some people do wear corsetry every day, but I have discovered that it is not for me. Part of it is that my corsets are all really outerwear corsets, rather than underwear corsets, and for an outfit to incorporate a corset and seem fitting, to me at least, it needs to match the corset for fanciness, and I just do not feel like I can carry that level of fanciness on a day-to-day basis. 

Firstly, I'd like to apologise for the photo quality; most of these were taken either on my smartphone or my webcam and neither of those have particularly amazing cameras, although the smartphone is considerably better than the webcam. My laptop's camera is actually relatively good in daylight, but really struggles with artificial light. All photos were edited at ::PicMonkey:: which is a free online photo editor, aimed at making selfies and similar funky and fun.

Day 1 Outfit Rundown:
My natural waist here 29 inches and my corseted waist here is 25 inches here, in a 24 inch corset. While I can lace them all the way, I don't wear corsets frequently enough to find lacing myself down to 24 inches very comfortable, so I tend to leave a bit of breathing space.
⚰ Corset: Corset Story UK (secondhand, eBay)
⚰ Blouse: Zara (secondhand, charity shop)
⚰ Cameo necklace: Rock & Roar
⚰ Wig: Coscraft
⚰ Shrug: Tesco (secondhand, charity shop)

The Coscraft wig tends to end up a bit spidery, and the ends of the fibres were a bit frizzy when I got it, and have only got frizzier. I have noticed this is a common problem with synthetic black wigs, that the fibres have a tendency to frazzle at the ends more so than other colours, and I wonder if this is something to do with whatever is commonly used as a black pigment altering the synthetic hair plastic somehow. That's not to say my other wigs do not frazzle - they do - it just seems something that black wigs are predisposed to do so much faster, and I've had black wigs from four different quality brands, and the only one that has been silky and stayed silky was really cheap on eBay from China, which then proceeded to moult rapidly and thin much faster than the more expensive ones. If anyone knows a brand that sells black wigs that stay as silky as their more brightly coloured wigs, then would love to hear recommendations.

I am a sky-pirate, just for one day... 

Day 2 Outfit Rundown 
I had this corset fully laced to 26 inches for this outfit. 

⚰ Brocade trousers: Primark
⚰ Blouse: Gothic Lolita & Punk 
⚰ Corset: Leatherotics 
⚰ Frock-coat: Hearts & Roses London 
 Wing pins: eBay 
⚰ Wig: Borrowed from Raven 
⚰ Goggles (barely visible): modified by me, originally bought on eBay.

For my second outfit I was inspired by the buckled corset to create an outfit with distinct Steampunk influences, yet not one that is truly Steampunk, just Romantic Goth making a nod towards the Steampunk aesthetic. I love the 'sky pirate' character that often turn up in Steampunk fiction - it appeals to me in the same way as Firefly and Serenity do. Unfortunately all of these photographs have the goggles I was wearing cut off (but those who follow the ::Domesticated Goth Facebook Page:: will have seen the full body pictures, and some of these photos, already!). I chose the wings double-brooch (which I wore as collar pins) as a symbol of flight. I have some pleather gloves that I think would have suited this outfit, with straps and studs, but I can't find both of the pair right now.

This outfits seems quite androgynous for one involving an under-bust corset which is very specifically designed to both cinch my waist and emphasise my bust! Partly this is because the combination of frock coat, frills and trousers is traditionally considered male, and partly this is because the wig and that specific make-up (with its heavier brows and contouring on the cheeks, but lack of blush or lipstick) seems more akin to that from masculine Visual Kei artists than my usual styles, and take some of the softness away from my features. I liked the combination of 'effeminate' and 'masculine' elements in this outfit, as it feels like a way to incorporate my 'tomboy' side with still loving all the ruffles and lace of Romantic Goth. I'd quite like to do another version of this  outfit with a waistcoat rather than a corset.

An almost monochrome aesthetic.
Day 3 Outfit Rundown 
This is the same corset as in the first outfit, and laced about the same amount. I feel that even when it is not fully laced, it gives me quite defined curves.

⚰ Blouse: G:21 (secondhand, bought in a charity shop)
⚰ Corset: Corset Story UK (secondhand, bought on eBay)
⚰ Lace mitts: Accessorise 
⚰ Overskirt: Don't know! (secondhand, labels removed before I bought it, so I don't know)
⚰ Skirt: Marks & Spencer (secondhand, bought in a charity shop)
⚰ Wig: Coscraft
⚰ Necklace
: Restyle

This is a very classically Romantic Goth outfit, with make-up and clothing choices that put me very much in the greyscale. I am not naturally that desaturated and pale; I used white foundation (and remembered to apply it to most exposed skin) to take the rosiness out of my skin tone (I'm already very pale) and used grey and silver as shading on my face, in order to aim for something akin to being a black and white photograph of a person but alive in the polychromatic world. Having naturally grey eyes helped! The entire outfit was built around matching the aesthetic of the pewter raven necklace with its black 'stones' (which I think are either plastic or glass) which was both wonderfully detailed and very Gothic, and made me think of old black and white horror movies.

One thing I would improve is choosing a top with a different line of frills the nest time; I feel like the line of the corset and the line of ruffles should match, as with the ruffles across the top of my bust, this looks a little strange. 

Day 4 Outfit Rundown
The same corset as the second outfit, but with a dramatically different outfit. 
⚰ Jacket: Dark Star, (via Far Fetched, Inverness) 
⚰ Blouse: Zanzea (Christmas present from Raven) 
⚰ Corset: Leatherotics
⚰ Cat handbag: H&M 
⚰ Lace Mitts: Accessorise

I tried for a more casual outfit, but as corsets seem fairly fancy to me, the rest of the outfit ended up fancy anyway. It's hard to tell in the photographs, but I'm wearing a skirt with it - if I had a longer mirror I'd show that it's floor-length. I love pairing purple up with the blueish green of my hair, so I picked this rather fabulously patterned cropped jacket from Dark Star. Far Fetched were very accommodating, and as I am a regular customer (they sell incense... ) I was able to pay for it in instalments, and therefore buy a much fancier jacket than I could normally afford.  One of the reasons to support independent retailers is that it is far more likely that they will allow payment plans for items that aren't expensive electronics! 

I don't take myself too seriously, especially when doing a 'duck-face' pout!

Day 5 Outfit Rundown
This is probably my favourite outfit from the week! 
Corset is a 24 inch corset, again laced a bit loosely, somewhere between 25 and 26 inches at a guess. 
♛ Wig: Coscraft 
♛ Necklace: eBay 
♛ Shawl/chiffon cardigan thing: New York Laundry (modified by me, bought secondhand, charity shop)
♛ Blouse: H&M (secondhand, eBay)
♛ Corset: Corset Story 

♛ Skirt: Marks & Spencers (secondhand, charity shop) 
♛ Lace Mitts: Accessorise

This outfit was all about the lovely sleeves off this cape/shrug/over-shirt/cardigan thing... It's loose, floaty, sheer and light synthetic chiffon with vast bell sleeves that end in ruffles, and it swishes delightfully. I bought it for £1.99 in a charity shop and decided that the neckline was too plain, so hand-stitched that crochet-lace (venise lace?) collar onto it, and the collar was cheap on eBay. Originally the collar was for another project entirely, and I bought somewhere around a year ago, but it was too big for the blouse I wanted to sew it to, so it just lurked in my sewing supplies until I figured it would go well with this item. I also changed the black buttons on the top for silver-tone metallic ones, and instead of doing the bottom buttons up at the front, I like doing them up behind me when I am wearing a corset, to emphasise the curves of the corset.

This many selfies of the same outfit is probably a sign of narcissism... 

I really like how this outfit turned out (probably a bit too proud of it, actually!) and it is certainly an outfit I'd wear again, especially that top! I just love the big, floaty sleeves. I'm a bit annoyed with the photographs, though; on the whole they're a bit hazy, and a mixture of washed out and strangely dark. I think I over-lightened my face in the third picture down, in order to try and make it visible - at least I look ghostly, which seems apt in the run-up to Halloween! 

Spiky! Now, which supernatural foe am I supposed to slay? 
Day 6 Outfit Rundown
Same corset as before, laces to 26 inch waist. ⚰ Spikes: (an assortment of places, mostly market stalls in Camden, Reading and Bristol; I've had them so long that I don't remember where I got them all) 
⚰ Upper set of choker spikes are from a wholesaler on eBay, Phoenix1900 
⚰ Blouse: Zanzea (Christmas present from Raven) 
⚰ Corset: Leatherotics
⚰ Belt with overskirt: Gothic, Lolita & Punk
⚰ Mesh gloves: (secondhand on eBay, unbranded)
⚰ Skinny trousers: H&M

This outfit is far more modern in its Goth. I picked buckled accessories with spikes and studs and obvious eyelets to co-ordinate with the studs and buckles on the corset. The last two outfits with this corset were based more on anachronistic ruffles - this one is far slicker. I am wearing skinny black trousers with it, and picked a fitted shirt and stretch mesh gloves. I guess this sort of fashion style is rooted more in Underworld and Resident Evil than the usual period horror inspirations! I felt rather badass wearing this outfit (although I don't think my martial arts skills and weaponry are quite up to par with those of my pop-geek culture heroines!). I finished it with my eternally comfortable army boots.

My make-up isn't actually as pale as it appears in this photograph; that's a byproduct of my tinkering with the contrasts and such to make the detail apparent in what was quite a dingy and poorly lit pair of photographs. As you can see, I have been given a new smartphone, but it is 'only' a cheap one, and the camera is not a significant improvement upon the last smartphone camera, so I am afraid that the photograph quality is still lacking. I have noticed that the flash on my new smartphone isn't very powerful. At least it's still better than the webcam! 

These photographs officially suck
Day 7 Outfit Rundown
This is a new corset I ordered cheaply on eBay. It is supposed to be a 26 inch waist and suitable for tight-lacing, but with its use of spiral steel bones throughout, rather than rigid steel bones, I am reluctant to lace it all the way in case it warps. 
⚰ Dress: Tic Toc
⚰ Shrug: Tesco (secondhand in a charity shop!)
⚰ Corset: eBay
⚰ Belt: (unknown, secondand, charity shop)
⚰ Necklace: Phoenix1900 on ebay. 

I am really disappointed with how the photographs came out for this, but I really don't think either my smartphone or my webcam deal with electric lighting indoors very well. My older smartphone coped much better, as is evident in fourth set of selfies. The dress is stretch lace, and very slinky, and the shrug is woven lace and a nice pattern. I tried to highlight the belt, but the swirling plant designs on the metal are lost, as is the intricate lace of the choker. 


  1. Love your selections of outfits, especially with the Victorian style blouses

  2. I did enjoy this post, as corsets are basically a favourite of mine. I agree it is not easy to incorporate them on a daily basis though. Even the most modest piece adds a lot of fancyness to any outfit, and sometimes they can make you feel overdressed (they can be specially inapropiated for job purposes, for instance). Nevertheless, I enjoy by wearing them at the first given opportunity, and family is used to see me popping out at meetings on fancy stuff, haha :)

    I was thinking, since I enjoyed thispost so much, would you let me to make my own corset challenge post? Of course I would tag you as the original idea holder :)

    1. The only time I have worn corsets to work was under my clothes when I had a sore back and needed the support. I tried to hide the fact I was wearing a corset, and certainly didn't tight-lace it, just did it tight enough to help ease my sore back. Most of the time I feel overdressed in a corset unless I am going out somewhere special, or busking (as I am performing, and wearing fancy outfits actually improves my earning, but as I play wind instruments, I tend to not tie them too tight.).

      Certainly! I wasn't planning on tagging people, but if people want to do a 7-day or 14-day corset challenge (which is what I originally intended), then that's fine - just link back to me :)

  3. Love this idea!! Seven days is just fine haha its quite a commitment to wear a corset everyday. I miss wearing mine you have now inspired me... :D

    1. If you want to do the seven day corset thing, by all means do :3

  4. Wow! Great outfits! And they're excellent examples of fantastic outfits assembled with items bought secondhand or at normal shops. I love the variety of styles! :D

    1. Most of what I wear is either secondhand or from mainstream shops, and I usually add one thing that's designed for the alternative market (again, often secondhand) in order to have an outfit that's a little bit different.

  5. I love how wearing just one simple corset makes such a difference to an outfit. I agree wth you: it's a fancy garment and because of that I've worn corsets just twice outside my home. In both cases they were hidden beneath jacket when I walked on the street, because I can't cope with the stares.
    I love all of your looks, but my favourite ones are the classical and elegant day 3 and androgynous pirate-ish day 2, and, in some strange way, 6. I'm not that much into cyberpunk and 'future goth', but you nailed the look - and the jabot is such a nice anachronistic touch to an otherwise modern outfit.

    1. I've got used to stares - I get stared at enough in my usual Goth gear! That said, I sadly get more sexual type harassment if I'm in a corset than usual - I end up hiding under a trench-coat too. I just love mixing and matching between periods. I will need to get Raven to take some better photos than I did of the Sky Pirate outfit.


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