Wednesday, October 26, 2011

25 Things a Goth Needs

Have you guys seen those "# Things a ____ Needs" posts that have been going around for a while now? I've seen them for Lolita, Hime Gyaru and Scene kids (this one is a bit satirical) so I thought I'd post mine for Goths. Obviously, you don't need these things, per say, but they are nice things to think about. It's a lighthearted list. I've tried to keep them relatively all-inclusive and not just for female Romantigoths like myself, so we'll see if I succeeded.

1. A playlist or CD full of older Goth rock for those times when you need to disappear into your own personal Batcave. Suggestions for bands include Christian Death, Joy Division, Bauhaus, The Cure, Type O Negative, Siouxsie and the Banshees and The Sisters of Mercy.

2. At least one copy of some of the classic Gothic novels. Think Jane Eyre, The Monk, Dracula, Mysteries of Udolpho, The Castle of Otranto, Wuthering Weights and Frankenstein. If you're going to read, which you should, you might as well read some of the novels that have influenced the movement we know and love.

3. A pair of shoes that work with your style of Gothy dancing. Things to consider include height, thickness of the heel, and strength (or presence) of the tread so that you can stay safe while you rock out.

4. Something that you've DIYed yourself. An item as simple as a choker or as complicated as an entire outfit will do here. The point is to have an item that is a call-back to Goth's DIY roots and to have a moment of pride when you put that item on. FYeahLolita has a list of tutorials that, while aimed at Lolitas, can be used by a lot of Goths as well.

5. A journal. Whether you use it as a sketchbook, a diary, a place to draft blog posts or wishlists or as a place to keep an ever-evolving writing portfolio, I would definitely recommend a journal. You can customize it with stickers (during Halloween there are usually a lot of places selling Halloween scrap-book supplies, including stickers), make it yourself or buy a premade one.

6. A Lint Roller. For pet owners, sewing enthusiasts, long-tressed Goths and dust collectors, a lint roller is absolutely necessary. If you can, buy several and stash them in various places (your car, your room, your locker, your desk, your purse, etc.) so you'll have one no matter where you are. They come in different sizes, too, luckily enough.

7. A preferred brand of black clothing dye. Black clothes fade, whether we like it or not, and a bottle of black dye will help keep your blacks looking nice for years. Make sure that the garment you are planning to dye will not be damaged, or that it does not have pale details in it that will be distorted by the dye. Follow the directions carefully for the best results!

8. A favorite thrift store. Thrift stores, while they appear to be full of tacky 70's prints and shoulder pads a mile wide, can be great places to find things, especially after mainstream fashion has moved on from one of their flirtations with alternative fashion. Keep an open mind, especially if you have some decent sewing skills, there are a lot of items with potential. Can those bedsheets be turned into a skirt? Could that jacket be more flattering without the shoulder pads? And don't forget to keep an eye out for antique-looking decor, too!

9. A blog. Whether you want a Blogspot blog, a Livejournal account, a Tumblr blog or any other kind, a blog that allows you to keep track of your personal progress as a Goth and helps you to connect to the Goth community is a fantastic idea.

10. A small collection of simple DIY supplies. Whatever fits your style, really. Ribbons, safety pins, cone spikes, pins, lace, stickers, fabric flowers, patches, etc. are all great to have around just in case you get a spark of inspiration. Most of these items can be applied without too much difficulty, maybe 10 minutes tops, and can make your item more personalized and cool.

11. A place to be spooky. A club, a cemetery, an abandoned building, anywhere that makes you feel at peace and brings out your gothy side. Being able to take pictures there is a big plus, too, and you should be able to bring friends there if need be, though going alone should be just as enjoyable.

12. Something to wear when your usual clothes are "too much." Something for a job interview or a non-accepting family get-together, I mean. Of course, it should still feel "you," there's not much point to this otherwise. Who wants a pair of khakis and a striped oxford hanging around their closet when they usually wear bustle skirts and blouses? If you're lucky enough that this isn't necessary, I'm quite jealous. If you're lost, Corp Goth is a great place to start.

13. A basic knowledge of the history of Goth. There have been books on the subject, there are numerous online articles, there's even the damn Wikipedia page. Any way you chose to find out is fine by me, but everyone involved needs to know the basic history of our subculture.

14. A sunscreen for everyday use. Whether you want to stay pale or keep skin cancer at bay, a bottle with SPF30 or higher is a good bet. Usually, you're going to have to invest in a separate one for face and body, but either way you're going to want a sunscreen. Make sure to reapply if you're going to be out in the sun for long periods of time.

15. A brand of eyeliner that works for you. While there are many, many different types of Goth makeup, most of them will require some kind of eyeliner, usually black. Choose a formula (liquid, pencil, gel, etc.) and color that works best for you.

16. A trusted place for mods. Unless you do these things yourself, it's best to have someone you trust to go to for hair dyeing, hair cuts, tattoos, piercings, etc. If this is your first time going to that person, look for reviews online first, and see if they have a portfolio (this is for heavier mods like scarification and tattoos, usually.)

17. Teeth whitening system. This can be anything, from the strips to a whitening toothpaste to some special kinds of mouthwash, but it should have "whitening formula" somewhere on the package. Thing is, many of the Goth's favorite lipstick colors, black, purple, blue, red, etc. make even the slightest yellowing of the teeth more pronounced. To counter this, keep your pearly whites as white as you can. And, on the less vain side, there are health benefits to clean teeth, too.

18. Spooky Pajamas. Why drop the Gothic glamour when you're sleeping? Halloween time is usually a good time to get some pajamas, since they'll come with ooky-spooky motifs, but other options include concert shirts (great for those of us whose everyday wardrobes don't include the merchandise of the bands we love) and black nightgowns.

19. A Goth friend or Goth-friendly friend. Sometimes, gushing into the computer screen doesn't feel the same as gushing to someone in the physical world, so everyone should have a friend near them that has some common interests of the Goth kind. Even if they only "Goth interest" you have in common is a love of Tim Burton or David Bowie, making that friend could prove useful.

20. A ready-made response to Goth-hate. Depending on you, this might be a witty comment or a polite one. For me, personally, it depends on the day and the nature of the comment. A simple "it's not Halloween YET" might merit a smile and a nod, but some of the more, erm, bombastic cat calls might deserve a bit more snark. Think of some that work for you so you won't be deer-in-the-headlights at the next ignorant person you meet.

21. A way to connect to your inner child. This doesn't just go out to Goths, I just think that all people should make sure that they do not forget that wonder, curiosity or innocence that characterizes childhood. Ways to connect to your inner child while keeping a Goth attitude about it include coloring books, cartoons, and stuffed animals.

22. Undergarments. Obviously, underwear can make sure that you don't suffer a bit of embarrassment if the wind blows your skirt up or your jeans rip down the back, but that's not all. Undergarments like corsets (for men and women), shapers, bras, and petticoats can really make an outfit look its best. Buy or make whatever works for you.

23. A way to keep cool in the summer. Well, this is coming from a girl who suffers from hot and humid Maryland summers, but in general velvets and leathers aren't the kindest on hot days. Unless you're lobbying for a spot on Goths In Hot Weather, you might want to find some lighter weight fabrics, a fan, a parasol or some ice packs for putting in your pockets on hotter days.

24. A hobby that has nothing to do with Goth. This one might be a bit more difficult for some because Goth might permeate all facets of their personality and all of their hobbies, but it's not impossible. It can be a great way to meet new people, too. Besides, you can Goth it up without making the activity itself Goth. Unless you start renaming your Yoga positions things like "Mina's Cradle" or "Hanging Bat," I doubt that your black yoga mat is going to make Yoga, in itself, Goth. Besides, it helps dispell the stereotype that Goths only participate in activities on the Approved Gothy Activities list.

25. Confidence. Yeah, I nicked this one from the Gyaru version of this list, but I think that Goths need this in abundance. Keep your head high and remember how wonderful you are and it'll shine through. Slumping and trying to hide yourself isn't going to help anyone.

So, there's my list (that isn't meant to be taken as the gospel), what are your necessities for a spooky life?


  1. I'm definitely going to try and rename my yoga poses... yes.

    I think that in addition to some dressing-down clothes you should have some dressing-up clothes. Ones even better than your everyday clothes, whatever they may be.

    Also, tights. They are seriously the best thing ever. They make nice sleeves too.

  2. If I did yoga, I'd probably find a way to rename the poses too. But, as is, I can just make them up in my head and giggle to myself.

    I agree! Fancy clothes are delightful and more useful than some people realize. I might write up another post about it later... thanks for the suggestion!

  3. Wow, I have that journal. I use it to list all the "I'm so goth..." jokes I read or make up.

  4. I love this post so much! Especially the point about connecting to inner child. I adore all things dark since I remember, and at the same time I collect My Little Pony(4 years and counting!), cute plushies and figures related to cartoons I like, etc.
    BTW- thank you for reminding me of Bauhaus... I still need to listen to them. Thanks to my parents, I've got one of their records, but I wasn't in mood before to listen to them...

  5. im a new gothic can some one help me expile to my frind that i dont worship the devel

  6. im a new gothic can some one help me expile to my frind that i dont worship the devel

    1. You don't need to justify yourself. You just say "No." If they don't believe you, don't trust you, or don't respect you and how you want to express yourself, then start questioning whether they are really a friend or someone you want to hang out with.

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  8. Goth comes from franklin,gremany and was intended to be the right version of christianity, then a war happened with the cardinals of the luther victorian kings seperating the gothic monks,hence the reason we are dead...but it also leaves some people to believe in a Satanic/Goth Stereotype, however, there are those few...

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  10. Yes. Wuthering Weights is a wonderful book! :D
    I'm not much a fan of the traditional 80s bands (because I'm a baby bat); I prefer Nox Arcana, and similar music from fantasy artists such as Adrian von Ziegler and Peter Gundry. They have some great albums of dark music.

  11. This is a really interesting list. Particularly the lint roller... i would never have thought of that but it does make sense when i think about it.

    Can anyone recommend the types of books you might read to learn about goth history/culture. I'm not a goth myself by the way so sorry if i seem ignorant.


  12. I have been running since 2001 and I remember before that when I would go out all 'gothed up' (which I really don't do much except that my wardrobe is probably 90% black and on the dressy side) I had at LEAST 8 people asked me if i worshiped the devil. I've not been asked that question since 2001 though. Maybe culture is changed enough to at least not be THAT presumptuous.

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