Saturday, July 4, 2015

Reader Mail: What is the Goth 'Lifestyle'?

Hello, I'm a sixteen year old girl living in Luxembourg. I "discovered" the Goth subculture some time ago, I already know some stuff about the subculture but I can't find enough information about the lifestyle. Knowing more about it would help me to decide if I really want to be part of the subculture. I would love to have an answer, I'll be waiting.
P.S.: I really appreciate your blog :)

Hi Daniela and thank you for writing in.

Unfortunately there is no consensus on what the 'Goth lifestyle' is or if we even have one. Goths respond to "What is Goth?" by referencing the music genre, fashion sense, club scene,aesthetic, subculture, and, yes, occasionally the word "lifestyle" but there is a lot of dissent as to what this means or if we can even pin down Goth in these terms.

The Wikipedia definition for lifestyle accounts for "interests, opinions, behaviors, and behavioral orientations of an individual, group, or culture." We'll roll with this definition for now.

We hit a hurdle right out of the gate with the idea that Goths have all the same interests. The Goth subculture as it exists now encompasses tons of interests and hobbies, some include:

  • 1980's postpunk music
  • Classic Horror Films
  • 'Goth' Fashion
  • Visiting Cemeteries
  • Celebrating Halloween
  • Dark folklore
  • Gothic Literature
  • Etc.

Everyone in the subculture has some aspects of Goth-related interests that they like and others that they don't. And, of course, there are people outwith the Goth subculture who are interested in the things that are under the Goth umbrella.

The next aspect of the definition, however, is where things really start to slide down. As I've made the point before, Goths don't have unified opinions. We can't even decide on a definition for our subculture, much less unified opinions about politics, religion, philosophy, or other important human queries. That's fine, of course, but how would we lead a lifestyle if we can't agree on important points?

Lastly, behaviors and behavioral orientations (or patterns.) I can say with fair certainty that Goths do not all act the same way. We might have similar hobbies, but as for how we act on a day to day basis, I'm sure I have more in common with some non-Goths than I do some other Goths. We don't have unified "Goth" behaviors however much our silly stereotypes of elitist mope-y Goths like to say we do.

Of all the Goths I've had the pleasure of meeting there is no unifying way of living that unites us all besides a mutual interest in Goth, which is why I feel more comfortable calling it a subculture-- "a group of people within a culture that differentiates itself from the parent culture to which it belongs, often maintaining some of its founding principles," according to Wikipedia. We still maintain many aspects the cultures in which we grow up (except when we deliberately strike out against them) and yet have a some of a subset of 'Goth' interests that unite us as a subculture while enjoying interests that are more mainstream.

So, should you join the Goth subculture? Well, that's entirely up to you. Do you want to be a part of the subculture? There's no membership card, so it's largely just interacting with other people who have some of your same interests, and you can decide your level of involvement. There aren't certain lifestyle activities you have to participate in to be in the subculture, so I'd say you have nothing to lose.

Readers, what would you have to say is the Goth 'lifestyle,' if there is one?

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

OOTD: Making 2007-Me Proud

Followers of my Tumblr will have already seen this outfit but I couldn't resist sharing it here. Spurned on by the middle-school alternative Spotify playlist I mentioned last week, I've been enjoying a bit of a nostalgia trip. This outfit was inspired by something I would have absolutely loved around 2007 when I was around twelve years old.

I think it still holds up.

I feel like the type of girl who'd appear in a pop punk music video.  It's not a bad look, certainly a nice change of pace from the corp-goth inspired looks I've been favoring recently. 


Corset: Amazon; Skirt; Fanplusfriend, T-shirt: Target; Shawl: Vintage; Shoes: Payless, Fishnets, Jewelry: Various.

How are you all doing this week?

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Five Spotify Playlists I've Been Loving

As usual, I'm about six-thousand years behind everyone else when it comes to new sites to use. For those of you like me who live under a rock, Spotify is a platform for legally streaming music on your PC, phone, or tablet. You can use Spotify for free with some limitations and ads or you can pay a monthly subscription fee and get it ads-free. I was able to get three months of premium which is ads-free for under a dollar so I figured I'd make the most of it and I've been discovering a lot of new music lately.

Gothic Splendor by Record Club - 52 songs, 4 hrs 17 min

"Take a walk on the dark side of new wave, synth pop, post punk and dark wave. Classics from Siouxsie, Joy Division and The Cure alongside more recent gems from The Horrors, White Lies and more." This could also be called quintessential Goth tracks. Not sure where to start with Goth music? This is a good first bet.

Southern Gothic by Spotify - 98 songs, 5 hr 54 min

"Deep, dark, dramatic. Roots rock, folk, and americana -- with a gothic soul." This playlist combines my love of folky music with my love of darker sounds and themes and introduced me to a bunch of new artists, it's what I turn on when I'm lounging and don't want anything too up-beat.

OccultRock.Com by Richie Katz - 274 songs, 23 hr 30 min

It's hard to describe this playlist and there isn't a description on it besides mentioning that it's the playlist for OccultRock.Com, but the music is a mix of every kind of metal with a darker, mystical bent and there's a fair number of bands I've never heard of with more added regularly.

Middle School Alternative by Bronson Kimball - 157 songs, 9 hr 20 min

Ready to take a walk down memory lane? Like many now-Goths I had a phase of listening to a lot of... angsty alternative rock during my early teen years and this playlist has it all with a variety of bands you might recall (or still be fond of, no judgement.

Dark Cabaret by Dondunken - 175 songs, 9 hr 28 min

This playlist has been a lot of fun. Cabaret music in general is playful, a little sexy, and a bit silly, and this dark twist on it makes for a very light-hearted station that appeals to the dark at heart. There are a few old favorites on there, like Voltaire, Rasputina, and Tom Waits, but it's mostly all new to me.

What music have you all been loving lately?

Saturday, June 20, 2015

OOTD and Kates Clothing Review

It's too hot for this outfit and I'm too Goth to care.

Blouse: Thrifted
Skirt: Kates Clothing
Jewelry: Various

This outfit was planned around this lovely bow-fronted skirt that was sent to me by the lovely folk over at Kates Clothing for an honest review. The skirt is manufactured by Chic Star and I've owned other Chic Star pieces in the past but this was my first experience with this particular website. Kates Clothing are a UK-based alternative clothing website that host a whole bunch of brands offering most styles of gothic clothing and other alternative looks in different styles. International shipping to here in the US was super quick, which I really appreciated.

The skirt is a fairly simple black pencil skirt with notched top and a decorative flat bow. It rises up under the bust and falls down below the knee (on me, anyway, at 5'7".) There's no boning or structure in the top of the skirt but I was surprised at how well it stood up without unfortunate folding or creasing. The fabric is on the thin side, not enough that it's sheer but if you're wearing bulkier underwear you might end up with a visible panty line, so Spanx or skimpy underwear might be advisable. 

The skirt is closed at the side with a zipper. In the past I've had issues with Chicstar zippers breaking easily but this one seems sturdier and has stood up to a fair bit of wiggling. The skirt runs from a UK8 (XS) to a UK30 (8XL) so there's a size for everyone, which is always really nice and something most goth clothing brands don't cater to.

On one side there is a pleat with three decorative buttons on the side hem, which is a cute little touch.

Style-wise I think this skirt is really versatile. There's nothing about it that screams GOTHIC but that's perfect if you're wanting something that can be worn as part of a corporate Goth outfit or around less-accepting family members. It also lends itself to a retro/vintage pin-up look quite well, so there's a lot you can do with this skirt.

I don't have any real complaints about this skirt, it's a very versatile piece that I'll certainly be wearing a lot and if you're into this kind of feminine pin-up or corp-goth style I'd definitely consider it. The one thing I will say is that it is fairly long and if you're shorter than 5'6" or so you'll probably find yourself with the skirt hitting your mid-calf, which isn't really the intended look. So, this one might be for my taller folk.

If you'd like this skirt for yourself you can find it on Kates Clothing here in straight-size and in plus-size, as well as in a red colorway. Thank you to Kates Clothing again for sending the skirt, I really do love it.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Gothic Gold Decor

Silver and black is Goth's ubiquitous color combination. Everything from classic Goth platform boots to Gothic jewelry and home decor tend to favor metallic tones in the silver, pewter, and nickel range. That's wonderful for me as I've always favored silver accents but lately I've been expanding my horizons and looking into the options that other metallic tones can offer for a Gothic look.

When done right gold is luxe and has a great vintage vibe that I think goes very well with a Gothic decor scheme. Some people think that lots of gold looks tacky so I think the key is to use it subtly. The highlighting on this architectural wall is the perfect place to add just a touch of shimmer, which also helps reflect light to keep a black-painted room from looking too small.

I'm still as much into minimalist gothic decor with a black and white palette as I was when I wrote my Minimalist Gothic Decor post a while back so the black and white basic color scheme catches my eye a lot here.

That being said, not everyone is as into that stark look as I am, and I understand that. Gold matches a lot of different colors so you can incorporate whatever accent colors your dark heart desires. Red, purple, dark green, and turquoise pop especially well when paired with gold. Black and gold also goes well with a variety of different styles and motifs. Occult imagery art deco, Greco Roman, and Art Nouveau are the ones I've been most drawn to on my Pinterest board, but Egyptian motifs, Japanese laquorwork, and Medieval decor all often have gold touches.

Follow Mary's board Gothic Gold on Pinterest.

So, readers, do you ever stray outside of the usual silver metallic accents for your Goth looks, decor or fashion wise?

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Reader Question: Bending Workplace Dress Codes

Dress Codes
Hi, Miss Mary Rose,
I am writing to ask you for your advice. I am part of the Gothic Subculture, while I am happy I am, I Volunteer for a library where I have to wear a t shirt everyday. Is there any way I can incorporate the goth look without breaking the dress code for the volunteers? Thanks
Hi Mirith! 

Dress codes can be kind of a pain to work around, especially if you have a uniform of sorts (I assume by t-shirt you mean one provided by the library and not just any t-shirt?) The best way to start is to familiarize yourself with your limitations. If you were given a pamphlet or something that outlines the rules, that's a good thing to familiarize yourself with. If not, speak to your supervisor and ask questions. Some common dress codes might regard high heels, religious iconography, heavy makeup, skirt lengths, facial piercings, covering tattoos, or something similar.

The reason I say this is that having to wear a specific shirt is still pretty flexible as far as dress codes go. You can wear black jeans or trousers with that, or a pretty black skirt. Your shoes can also be a point of gothy interest, though some more than others (creepers or Docs are gothy but still pretty work appropriate while Demonia platforms might not be.)

Generally speaking you can add a Goth-y look to most outfits with accessories. Add bracelets, cuffs, necklaces, hair accessories, or earrings that will Goth up your look. Subtle bat earrings might not be noticed by everyone, but you'll know that they're there adding a little bit of spook to your day. Even if no one notices that you're wearing cute striped socks, you will and it'll help you feel more connected to your Goth side.

If you carry a bag to your work you can add some Goth there as well. Band patches on a fabric backpack, a Gothy tote bag, an interesting purse, etc. are all ways to spook up your outfit that you can then store during the day to keep within your dress code. Whatever you carry in your bag can also be little decorations you might enjoy to add a Goth aspect to your day. If you carry a compact, decorate it with Goth appropriate stickers. If you have to have an umbrella, make it a spider webbed one. Use a Goth themed phone case. Add a Goth keychain or something to your bag.

If all else fails, though, just change your clothes when you get home from volunteering! It's not the end of the world if you can't dress to your spooky heart's content at all hours of the day, so just do it when you can. It won't make you any less of a Goth, promise.

Readers, what are your tips for dressing Goth when you have a dress code?

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

[Closed] RebelsMarket Ring Giveaway


To celebrate coming back from my unintended hiatus I'm partnering with Rebels Market to give away this lovely titanium skull cluster ring to my followers. Rebels Market is a website that brings together alternative stores to one shop front for you and I to buy from, which is a neat little idea for all of us spooky types looking to browse a wide variety of retailers.

This giveaway is open to anyone in the United States. It will end on July first and I will e-mail you to confirm and then pass your e-mail on to Rebels Market where they will ask for your ring size (8-11US) and mailing address. If you do not respond to me within 48 hours I will contact a new winner.

RebelsMarket Giveaway

Best of luck!