Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Reader Mail:

My name is Kari, 15 years old. I am extremely interested in the Gothic Subculture, I've already passed this along to my parents, which are perfectly fine with me becoming Goth (I'm sure they're just happy I'm being myself. ) But unfortunately, my close friends actually don't know this. My friends are very open minded but I'm afraid if I tell them, they'll get freaked. But if I don't tell them and I start incorporating the goth look into my style, they'd get even more freaked. I know to take it slow and not dive into it all at once, this is actually who I am and who I want to be but I want to let my friends know about how much of a change (to them) this is going to be. Any advice? Thanks so much!

Hi Kari! Thank you for writing in to me.

Congratulations on having the conversation with your parents about Goth! From what I've heard from readers they are usually the most difficult people to explain things too, but I'm glad your folks seem to be on board.

Friends can be tricky as well, though, but honestly what I would say is that dressing Goth and expressing yourself as a Goth more is probably not going to actually be that big a deal. You're still you and, hopefully, they like you more for your personality than your appearance. Yes, it might take some getting used to, but if you're making an effort to still connect with your friends that shouldn't be too hard!

It might also be worth explaining to them a little bit about what Goth is and is not. If they don't know what it is, perhaps broach the subject by asking them what they think about Goths. Take some time to talk about what you like about it, then suggest that the style is something you might want to explore. This doesn't need to be a sit down discussion with them all, just casually as it comes up.

And just remember, if people aren't willing to accept you as you really are, they're not worth being around anyway. This might be the beginning of some wonderful new friendships for you. Good luck!

Readers, what advice do you have for Kari?

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Review: Bat Black Lipstick

Pretty much everyone who wears makeup has holy grail products that they search for--the perfect liquid eyeliner or the perfect foundation can pretty much haunt us (and pretty inevitably when we find them they get discontinued. Sigh.) But anyway, if your holy grail product is a black lipstick, I might have something here for you sent to me by the lovely folks over at Rivithead. 

In their introductory e-mail Rivithead pitched it as black lipstick "by goths, for goths" which gave me a laugh. Maybe I've just read too many articles where non-Goths are trying to assure their readers "no, really, you can wear black lipstick in a way that isn't goth!!! We wouldn't want that, now would we?"


Anyway, the lipstick comes in a black tube that is printed with the Rivithead branding and a red biohazard symbol on the cap.

The Bat Black lipstick is a creamy semi-glossy formula that goes on very smoothly. It does take a minute to build up (though not long, and wearing a black lipliner underneath helps a lot) but when it does it is a fantastic pure black.

I have a problem with keeping lipsticks on my lips at the best of times even with hard-wearing kinds so I wasn't surprised that I had to reapply this after eating (you can see a bit of the wear on the insides of my lips in the photograph on the left.)

At the best of times a black lipstick look isn't going to be maintenance-free, and the creamy formula doesn't help (but because it's winter and chapped lips are the devil, I'm more than happy to put up with this softer formula and having to reapply.) The lipstick is 10USD and, in my opinion, the quality is much better than cheaper black lipsticks out there so it's worth it. It's even better than some of the gross, drying black lipsticks that mainstream brands tend to produce when the gods of fashion proclaim black lipstick to be "in" this season.

Note: I've been using Rivithead's Jet Black eyeliner pencil as my lipliner because I find that switching between eyes and lips with the same pencil (even if you are sanitizing and sharpening between) is a little bit gross and I love it so far! It definitely locks it into place.

If you want to pick up Rivithead's Bat Black lipstick, you can do so on their website here! You can also follow them on Twitter and Instagram at @rivithead and on Facebook here. If you want an extra 16% off of you order, use the code NEW16 at check out.

What is your favorite black lipstick? Alternatively, do you have a holy grail product that you've been trying to find?

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

What To Do With Sentimental Clutter

Sentimental clutter is a tricky business for a lot of people. Obviously many of us would like to let go of things we don't use often, but it can be difficult when something was a gift or was particularly meaningful once upon a time. For us Goths, lots of clutter that has emotional meaning can get in the way of having a living space that is decorated how we prefer, so here's my little handy guide for dealing with sentimental clutter.

Note: This article isn't covering how to get rid of clutter. Dealing with sentimental objects can be a very stressful issue and everyone approaches it differently, here is one guide. This is more meant for after you prune your collections and when you're deciding what to do with it.

First, you have to assess the clutter you have. What kind of clutter is it and how much space does it take up? Personally my accumulated clutter is usually quite small, paper stubs and mail and that kind of thing, but you might have things that are a fair bit larger. Homeowners might have entire pieces of furniture that they keep for sentimental reasons.

For larger furniture items, consider DIYing it to fit your aesthetic. If you're keeping around a shelving unit from your first ever apartment, add trimming and paint it to fit your current space and put it to use. If you have old chairs you inherited from a relative, consider painting and recovering them to fit your space. If you have an old painting that you like enough, swap the frame out for something gothier. Don't be afraid to make alterations unless the piece is extremely valuable in its current state.

Consider crafting with some of the things you're keeping. Scrapbooking can be a fun and creative craft that makes something beautiful out of old bits and bobs that are sentimental. Concert tickets? Old photos? Movie stubs? Perfect. Just seek out some lovely craft paper from Michaels, stickers, ribbons, washi tape, or the like and make yourself a lovely collage. Scrapbooks aren't any less clutter, per say, but it disguises it and makes it a lot easier to flip through and appreciate some of the sentimental things you have.

Create shadow boxes. If you have an office or creative space, looking up at memories from past times in your life hanging on your wall can be quite inspiring. Since the shadow boxes themselves are taking advantage of  vertical space, they're certainly less cluttering than keeping the items all over your work space or in a drawer you could be putting to practical use.

Digitize it. Photographs and other paper relics can take up a lot of space but when scanned and put on a thumb drive they take up very little. Make sure to label them an organize by the occasion so you'll not forget what those objects were or when you got them. However, if you want to keep the physical copies of paper goods, look into some kind of filing system. I have a lot of newspapers that I wrote in and was an editor for in high school that I want to keep around but keeping them stored in a filing system is a lot neater than just keeping them stacked in a corner.  If you don't like the look of filing cabinets, remember any vertical set of drawers can become a filing system with some labeled folders.

For smaller 3D things, my solution was to find photo boxes from Michaels (pictured above.) These photo boxes go on sale all the time and come in tons of colors and patterns and fit a fair amount of stuff in them. I have one box each for childhood memories, high school, college, and the two times I studied abroad. It's sorted enough that I can find what I want to look at easily and it's easy to store in my Goth room.

Readers, how do you store your sentimental clutter?

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Review: Evil Supply Co. Mr. Ghost Parcel - January

This month the Evil Supply Co. Mr Ghost Parcel is a little bit different! When I heard they were making a few changes I was really interested--I feel like Evil Supply Co. can do no wrong at this point. Besides, this month's theme, The Potion Maker's Authority, is really cute and I very much appreciate it.

Note: If you don't know what these parcels are, just check my previous posts! 

Here is the overview of the entire parcel:

Something new for the Mr. Ghost Parcel this time around is what it comes in! From now on Evil Supply Co. is replacing the screen printed folders with a fabric pouch. This makes the parcel smaller and easier to ship, which is a plus, and also is a bit sturdier than the folders. While I love the folders and rave about them pretty much every time (and will continue to use the ones that I have), the pouch is also pretty great and can be used for a lot of different things. This time around it was printed with this beautiful skull in a bottle print. Currently I'm using it as my sticker storage.

The first thing I pulled out were these stickers, which are a bit different than the usual Evil Supply Co stickers. These stickers are intended to be bottle labels and I absolutely love them. They're very sturdy vinyl and I hope there are more of these to come in the future! It'd be wonderful to have a little collection of bottles with these labels on them on display in your home!

Next up are the note cards. These ones are not fold-open cards but double sided and they're really, really pretty. It's a little bit hard to see in this picture but the white ones have gorgeous green scrollwork and a tiny subtle bottle with a skull in it and i absolutely love them. The envelopes that come with them are plain orange and pink, a bit bright and plain for my taste but a great canvas for decorating with pens or stickers or washi tape.

Because the package is smaller this time around the print included isn't as big as past ones--it's about the size of a postcard, which is perfect if you wanted something small to frame. This one advertises Mermaid's breath.

Lastly are the pocket notebooks and these are fantastic! I use pocket notebooks for to-do lists, catch-alls, blog post ideas, tarot readings, keeping my addresses, writing down quotes, and so much more. These two patterns are really pretty and I'm glad to add them to my little collection. I think I'll be using the red bat potion one for my next to-do list.

Next month's theme is Positivity and Necromancy. Speaking as a person who has another Evil Supply Co. poster on her door which says "Spread Necromancy Not Gossip," I'm delighted by this. If you want to join me and purchase one of your own, you can do so here!

Just to switch things up, what theme would you like to see Evil Supply Co. do a Mr. Ghost parcel in?

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

What is Strega Fashion?

Strega fashion* is a term used to describe "modern witch" style. Now, witches do exist and can wear whatever they want, but an aesthetic of fantasy witches has grown up nonetheless. Primarily the style is rendered in monochrome black or with slight touches of muted, other colors. It can have a distinct nu-Goth flair, or be slightly more Bohemian and fanciful. As long as it's dark and "witchy," it's Strega.

Strega Fashion #2

Strega definitely has its roots in Dark Mori, an offshoot of Japanese Mori Kei fashion which is all about a cutesy, cottage-in-the-woods aesthetic. As the darker cousin, Dark Mori uses a primarily black palette and darker accessories. Mori of all kinds prefer duskier, more muted tones so grey, deep dusky red, and plum would be great additions to a Strega look. But, of course, the more black, the better.

Both fashions use a lot of layering. Tights with legwarmers, a shawl with a coat, lots of scarves. These allow for depth of detail without adding a lot of colors or patterns. You can mix up the textures too, layering sweaters with drapey lace skirts or linen trousers and knobbly knitted scarves.

There are a number of reasons I really like this kind of fashion. First off, it's pretty gender neutral. Now, all clothes are gender neutral of course but Strega in particular is very easily masculine, feminine, or androgynos. It's quite flexible. Secondly, it's pretty modest and practical for daily wear (whereas I see a lot of fashion that is clearly club wear or very, very fancy--nothing bad about that, of course, but this is a nice change of pace.) The amount of layering and cozy materials also makes it ideal for the autumn and winter months. It's certainly better in my opinion than trying to pretend my leather jacket is very warm!

Strega Fashion #3

A Mori look that incorporates fringes and gold occult elements.

The layering of accessories and texture is what adds detail to the Strega look. It's not big on lots of blingy jewelry or patches or the like. The simpler and less "modern," generally the better. Of course, one trend I really like in Strega is a more urban look which incorporates more nu-goth elements while maintaining a slick black witchy look.
Strega Fashion #5

Strega fashion occasionally incorporates occult imagery into the look by wearing pentagrams, ouija planchettes, crystals, or runes, or other kinds of accessories. What it doesn't do is incorporate are lots of kitschy touches or Halloween brooches or the like. It's more minimal and reserved than that-- think real witches, not cartoon ones.

As I'm writing this I know the category seems pretty vague, but I think that's part of its appeal. It's part Goth, part Mori, with a lot of room for whatever you happen to find appealing about it. Here's the manifesto, which specifically says "no rules." I like that about a fashion.

If you want to see more spectacular Strega looks, check out this blog on Tumblr!

What do you all think of Strega fashion? Is it something you would, or have, incorporated into your wardrobe before?

*Some have criticized the style's use of the word "Strega," the Italian word for witch, as being appropriation. If that strikes you as being inappropriate then the fashion can also be roughly described as witch-wear or dark-mori.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

My Top Five David Bowie Songs

On Sunday the tenth of January, 2016, the world lost one of its most iconic superstars: David Bowie. Not only was he a fantastic musician, but an amazingly talented actor who lent himself to The Hunger and Labyrinth, two amazing movies beloved by many a Gothy sort, along with many others. In his memory I've been listening to a few of my favorite tracks of his, so I thought I'd post my favorites here for you now.

What were your favorite Bowie moments?

Saturday, January 9, 2016

On Self-Imposed Style Rules

As part of a larger overall post on how I've grown as a Goth I started musing about style rules I used to give myself that I no longer find applicable. Basically, at some point I decided I can't wear X, or I won't buy Y. And I stuck to these totally artificial rules. As I was talking to my older brother, who is a big fan of the Myers-Briggs personality types, he blamed this on me being an INTJ. But I can't be the only one who has ever done this...right?

Some rules obviously come from society-beauty standards, i.e. I tend not to wear a heavy eye and a heavy lip in the same makeup look or, as a plus-sized person, I tend to stay away from shorter skirts. But honestly, I'm not about that. If I want to be part of an alternative style (and after nine years, I'd say I do) I can feel comfortable ditching those.

For me, one of the big things I've been falling in love with lately is gold. Gold in decor, gold in jewelry, whatever! My past post about Gothic Gold decor (and the corresponding Pinterest board) are testament enough to that. Something about it really appeals to my witchy side.

But for the longest time, I didn't think I could wear gold! For whatever reason, I thought I'd have to just stick with silver. Maybe it's because I never saw any other Goths wearing gold or that I associated it with Steampunk or maybe I just didn't like the way that mixing your metallics looks, but anyway. It's a stupid rule. And I'm ditching it. Hence, this post about gothic gold looks.

Some honorable mentions of stupid style rules: dressing for "your shape," dressing to "slim down," dressing for your seasonal coloring, not wearing white after labor day, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. Gross.

So, basically, I've decided to say "fuck it" to most of these self-imposed style rules that I picked up somewhere along the way. I'm looking for some beautiful black and gold jewelry now to add to my collection. I'm looking into skirts that fall above the knee. Currently I'm looking at this beautiful little gold bat necklace from Etsy. Or maybe this gorgeous black and gold ouija planchette pendant (no, they're not trendy anymore. Yes, I still love them.)

Am I the only one who did this to themselves? What fashion rules do you have for yourself, or what ones did you internalize from elsewhere? What ones did you used to have that you no longer enforce?