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, 12 May 2018

Experiments in Ouji: Leakey's Bookshop

This is more content from last year that I should have uploaded then, but didn't have time to do. It's a fashion post, and I guess analysing my outfits probably won't be of interest to everyone, but I'm trying to chart my journey as I improve at Lolita, Ouji, Aristo and other Japanese street fashions, which are a bit more structured and have a degree of expected polish that I'm not quite achieving yet. 

[Last year] My friend Luna hosted a meet up for the local Lolita community as part of her birthday celebrations, and I thought I would try wearing Ouji. For those who don't already know, Ouji is the more 'masculine' twin to Lolita fashion, with the name Ouji-Kei meaning 'Prince-Style'. I find this a little more comfortable and practical to wear than Lolita as it doesn't involve skirts with lots of petticoats. I'm wearing

☠ a cheap wig from eBay*
☠ 'Blood Moon' pendant from Alchemy Gothic (second-hand)
☠ Punk Rave jabot
☠ Punk Rave waistcoat 
☠ Bat lapel pin I bought second-hand
☠ Spin-doctor blouse
☠ Fair trade velvet wrist-warmers from 'FarFetched' in Inverness
☠ Red & black lace gloves (can't remember where I got them)
☠ Alchemy Gothic bracelet, can't remember the name of the bloody thorns set. 
☠ Belt from a charity shop 
☠ Vintage Marks & Spencer's trousers
☠ Boots from a charity shop.
☠ Nemesis now dragon cane. 

*bought cheap so I didn't feel bad messing it up with my first attempt at wig styling.

Not a vampire, not a library!
First set of photographs, taken by my Lolita friends.
There are two sets of photos, one set taken on the day, but which suffered from poor lighting as the book-shop is deliberately a bit dingy to make it less glaring for shoppers, and the second set taken a little bit later, when I was re-working the outfit. I asked permission from the chap who runs the shop if I could have photographs taken on the upper gallery, where there's usually fewer shoppers, and is a quiet and aesthetic part of the shop. Please check ::here:: for a pos tshowing the interior of Leakey's as a whole, and ::here:: for the Leakey's FaceBook page.

I changed which jabot I wore between the two sets of photographs - I liked the volume of the large Punk Rave one I wore in the second set better than the smaller hand-made one I wore in the first set. 

Second set of photographs of me at Leakey's

I definitely like where I am heading with the clothes, but I think it is my hair and make-up that is letting me down. One thing I have struggled with quite a bit for Ouji is my hair and make-up. It's quite a different style to that which I'm used to, and I can't use my 'natural' hair for Ouji because the bright green hair and purple fringe doesn't suit the aesthetic. I tried wearing a short-haired wig. The wig was a bit cheap, because I wanted to have a go at styling it, and I haven't styled a wig like that before, so I didn't want to spend a lot of money only to ruin it. If you look between the two sets of photographs, you'll see that for the second time I wore it, the wig started to slip off the back of my head - my natural hair is long and voluminous, and it was too much hair for the wig, and my natural hair was pushing it off. I didn't realise this until after the photographs were taken, sadly. I have two short term options: re-dye and re-cut my natural hair into something more ouji-friendly, or get better wigs, and get someone who knows what they are doing to style them for me. The long term option is to learn to style wigs better myself, which I intend to do, but as I don't wear wigs very often, I probably won't get regular practice. 

I think this shoes the problems with the wig best
I asked for some advice on an Ouji forum, on hair and make-up - and the other criticism (and a valid and constructive one) is that my eye-makeup could have been better blended; I agree - I did it in a bit of a rush, and it's quite different to what I would normally do, so I should have taken more care and blended it better. I also think the contouring I did the first time around was something I should have done again the second time around. The wig in the photo-above is very much awkwardly sat on my head, with the bulk of my natural hair sitting under it awkwardly. I'm getting my hair cut a lot shorter in summer, anyway so perhaps my wigs will sit better on my head then. 

I like how the outfit turned out. The blouse with the gathers midway down the sleeves and slight puff at the shoulders sits nicely with the waistcoat - I'm quite happy to have found a combination of cuts like that, where the waistcoat is just narrow enough at the shoulders to let the puff of the sleeves stand above them. I'm not completely sure how much I like that specific jabot with that blouse, as the jabot really requires a collared shirt to look best, and the blouse I was wearing actually has a neck-bow under the jabot instead of a collar; I left the bow undone to avoid bulk under the jabot and tucked it into the shirt, which was a bit awkward, even if not outwardly visible. The waist-coat originally had crosses on it, but I don't feel right wearing crosses as just a fashion statement, so I took all the cross  charms off the chains and replaced them with bat-charms and skull beads ands suchlike. The boots didn't originally have trim on them, I just got two types of upholstery trim and glued them to the turn-downs at the top of the boots.

The cane is from Nemesis Now, and is a lovely dragon - he has one red eye because I chipped the handle and the eye was damaged, so I put a little glass gem in the damaged eye. It's pretty, but it's not the best support because the handle is brittle, and I think if I had to lean on it too heavily, it might crack or break. I have anterior ankle impingement, partly caused by my hypermobile ankles, and partly caused by my over-wearing of very high heels (and falling off them, partially because I'm dyspraxic and thus really clumsy...), so often if I'm walking around a lot, I'll have a cane because my ankles can really hurt sometimes - effectively my shin bones and ankle bones are pinching. I've been told to wear completely flat shoes (hence the boots) and I've got physio exercises to do at home, but I'd like to save up some money to get physiotherapy privately and regularly. Anterior ankle impingement apparently can get worse to the point where you get bone-spurs or a kind of arthritis, and I don't want that! I'm probably being a little too paranoid about making it worse, but I'd rather be paranoid and overly careful than get careless and make them significantly worse.

One thing that was mentioned on Closet of Frills was that straight legged trousers is more Aristocrat than Ouji, and that puffy shorts are more suited to Ouji - in summer, when the weather is warmer I will definitely be wearing such shorts!