Saturday, March 30, 2013

Finding Patterns for Goth Home Sewers

Finding Goth-appropriate patterns can be almost as frustrating as finding Goth-appropriate clothing in an ordinary store. How exactly do you decode which patterns will accentuate your Gothy wardrobe when all of the patterns seem designed for soccer moms and the illustrations are in garish yellows and lime greens? At the behest of one of my readers, who simply wrote and asked "how do I find goth sewing patterns?", I've endeavored to find this out.


The first thing to know when shopping for home sewing patterns is that you need to know your measurements. I'm going to assume if you're going to be sewing, you've got a tape measure around somewhere. Use it. While in pre-made clothing, especially with elastic waists, you generally have a bit more sewn-in ease for your measurements, that's not a guarantee with your at-home sewing project. So know your measurements, and find out what size you are for patterns. Now, this depends on where you buy your patterns from, but usually the pattern company will having a sizing chart which should be helpful.

So what about choosing your patterns? As Bane of GIY: Goth it Yourself says, "ignore the fabrics and colors used in the pictures or drawings on the envelope." Instead, look for the overall design. Look for where the item falls on the body, what the shape is, what details are sewn in. The line drawings will help you with this exponentially. Don't let the styling of a pattern push you away. Almost every item of clothing can, if done in black, work with a Goth wardrobe. Well, I say almost. I'll eat my stripy socks if someone can make the jumpsuit pattern from this blog post into a Gothy ensemble.

On that same note, finding fabric is a whole other kettle of bats. Your local fabric store is a great options around Halloween time, and there are also online retailers. If you're feeling particularly bold and artistic, Spoonflower allows you to make custom fabrics from your artistic designs. Once you have your fabric, and any other details you choose (buttons, lace trim, ribbons, grommets, chain, etc.) you'll be ready to turn any pattern into a great Goth garment.

So what patterns to choose? Well, unfortunately, there's no blanket answer I can give to that beyond whatever you like. Simple skirts are probably one of the easier patterns to start with if you're new to sewing with patterns, but beyond that anything goes. And lord knows there are patterns for anything you can dream of. Jackets, skirts, legwarmers, trousers, underthings, petticoats, blouses, t-shirts, coats, and dresses, and that's just the tip of the iceburg. All it takes is a little imagination, and the above reminders about following the lines rather than the styling, and most patterns will fit a Gothy wardrobe.


One place that can be often overlooked when pattern shopping is the costume section. Goths are often cautioned away from shopping anywhere near the costume section for clothing. However, I'm doing to steer you all away from that and claim that costume patterns are a boon for Goth home sewers and you'd be fool to skip past them. Why bother buying Halloween patterns when there are perfectly "normal" sewing patterns to chose from? Well, it's the simple fact that the Halloween patterns tend to have a different aesthetic to them that many Goths are interested in. You're not going to find any dramatic sleeves or bustles in most normal pattern lines, but you're sure to find them in the costume section.

Some pattern shops have two different costume sections. The first is for historical costuming, and the second is for Halloween costumes. I recommend you check both, but note that the Halloween costumes will probably be sized more generously and be looser because most people don't want to be miserably uncomfortable in their Halloween costumes that they'll be wearing once a year. Since historical costuming patterns are used by reenactors who wear their outfits more frequently, you might see more true sizing in them. But, of course, it depends on the pattern.

When finding your pattern, it's necessary to know your keywords. It can be intimidating to find patterns and sift through all the pattern ID numbers, but luckily many pattern shops online offer descriptive words to assist you. Unfortunately unless you're at an awesome seller, "Goth" isn't going to be one of those keywords. So, what else can you search for? Romantic, medieval, Steampunk, Victorian, Vintage, historical, gown, vest, and corset are all excellent options, though of course it depends on your aesthetic. Still, you're more likely to find costumes for a Romantigoth, Victorian, Lolita, Vampiric, Medieval, etc. costume than you are for, say, Cybergoth.

Luckily, you're not obligated to stick to the pattern all the time. If you have a little bit of draping know-how, or are good enough with sewing to make some guesstimations, you can make alterations to the pattern. Hate the collar? Ditch it and make a new one. Pattern is too big in the bust? Make a small bust adjustment. Think the ruching is god-awful? Draft a pattern piece to replace it. It's definitely not impossible.

So, where should you buy patterns? Perhaps the most popular pattern companies that I know of are Simplicity, McCalls, and Butterick. If you're looking for vintage patterns, Etsy and eBay are your best options.

How do you Goth home sewers out there source your patterns for Goth clothing?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Fan Plus Friend Review (And Outift Posts)

I've been at Mount Holyoke for a little two months now and I can safely say that I'm pleasantly overwhelmed by midterms. So, to take my mind off of things, I thought I'd write a nice little review of the clothing I ordered from Fan Plus Friend just after Christmas now that I've been able to wear the items a few times and give a proper opinion on them. So, without further ado, here are my thoughts on the order I got from Fan Plus Friend:

I made my order on Boxing Day, December 26th, and was hoping that it would make it to me before I left for Mount Holyoke. Two years ago I ordered clothing from Fan Plus Friend the day after Christmas and it arrived on January 16th, so I was worried that it would be cutting it really close as far as time was concerned. Fortunately for me, I got my order in on January 9th, much sooner than I was anticipating. And I didn't even chose the fastest shipping option! So that's a definite plus. I didn't get a picture of the parcel, but it was a thick plastic-y parcel from UPS which arrived undamaged. All of my clothing items came inside individually wrapped and sealed plastic bags. I love this method of shipping because it means that no matter if the package gets rained on, my clothes are fine. 

Now, onto the items themselves. The first thing I purchased was the Classical Gothic Lolita Bustle Tiered Cotton Skirt in black and white stripes. I already own this skirt in plain black and it's one of my most worn pieces, I just adore it. So, I decided to get another one. The skirt has a fitted waistband and a zipper down the side for closure.


The skirt's shtick is that you can wear it normally or you can tie up the back of the skirt using the provided ribbon channels to create a bustle effect. I never use that function on the skirt I own, so I snipped the excess ribbon that was dangling down behind my knees and don't have to worry about it! The skirt hits just in the middle of my knee caps at my height of 5'7" so it's perfect length for me.

A close up of the fabric

The fabric is nice and soft and the stripes are color fast, which is wonderful. They remind me of Jack Skellington-esque pinstripes (especially from a distance) which is my preferred alternative to traditional Beetlejuice wide stripes. 


The back of the skirt's waist has corset detailing, which is nice, but the cord provided isn't so much. I plan on switching it to a thin cotton ribbon instead, but that's just personal preference.


The inside of the skirt is lined, with the exception of the lower ruffle of the skirt. The material it's lined with is slippery and almost satiny, but nothing to write home about. I could't find any fly-away strings or stitching on it, so though the construction obviously isn't artisan or anything, it works perfectly well for me. 

Now, here the skirt is coordinated:

Skirt: Fan Plus Friend
Shirt: Gesshoku Designs
Lace Shrug: Torrid

The next skirt I ordered is the Dolly Sweet Lolita Tiered Flared Skirt which I own in black and, you guessed it, adore. I decided to go with a bright red fabric as part of my wardrobe overhaul color pallet and I quite like it. The front of the skirt has a single ruffle along the bottom, very similar to the above skirt, but the back of it has five layers of ruffle all down it. 

Front (slightly orange-y by mistake)

Back

The inside is lined with the same kind of satin-y fabric as the above skirt, this time in bright red.


The waistband is elastic and a little hard to stretch out, but the elastic should relax over time (at least it did with the other skirt.) My only complaint is that Fan Plus Friend sewed the tag on the front of the skirt as opposed to the back. Weird! It wasn't this way on the first of this skirt I got, so I guess it must be a mistake. Ah well.

The back of the skirt is at the bottom, the front of the skirt at the top. Weirdo tag.

And here's the skirt coordinated:

Skirt: Fan Plus Friend
Blouse, Belt: Torrid
Cardigan: Thrifted
Bracelets: Various

The next skirt I got was the Elegant Gothic Lolita Frilly Jacquard Cotton Skirt. I've liked the look of this skirt for a while, and like it even more in person. The only real problem, which isn't their fault at all and is just personal preference, is that it is a shorter skirt. It sits about two inches above my knees (as advertised) and I prefer my skirts to be right at my knee. So I wear a black underskirt under it and everything is fine, I just wouldn't wear it on my own this way.

 If you look at the stock photo, the print of the fabric is kind of hard to see, but in person and in my pictures it's easy to see and stands out more. I love it.


The construction is a little odd in that the main body of the skirt is jacquard, then there are a few layers of chiffon-ish ruffles, then there is the lace. The thing is, the chiffon is ruffled more than the lace is, so unless the lace is supported by something it kind of hands vertically which has a weird silhouette. Again, I wear it over an underskirt so the lace is supported and this isn't an issue (and I assume it wouldn't be an issue if you wore a petticoat, but you might want to use a petticoat that has some sort of pretty lace-y edge to it because it will show) but if you were to wear it plain that'd be something to consider.


I was surprised at the lace used in the dress. It's not the highest quality out there, but it's soft and thick and pretty and I wasn't expecting anything that nice. It does appear to be different than the lace in the stock photo though, so they're probably using different lace based on what's available. Just don't expect consistency in that department I suppose. 


The inside, except for the lace, is lined with the same satin-y material as the above skirts. Nothing special. I did find a couple loose threads on this one though.


The waist is tighter than on the other skirts, even though I ordered them in the same size. I'm not sure why, since the fabric doesn't have any more "give" and I'm not stretching the waists on those. It's not a real deal breaker, but kind of a drag when I have to wear an underskirt and get those extra layers of fabric involved. 


Below the button is a little hidden zipper. I've never had troubles with Fan Plus Friend's zippers breaking before (I had that issue with Chicstar and got irritated)  and hope not to in the future.


Here's my outfit for this skirt:

Skirt: Fan Plus Friend
Blouse: Thrifted
Jacket: Camden
Pin: Evil Supply Co.
Belt: Torrid

Lastly, I got the Gothic Lolita Frill 360 Circle Skirt. Guess what? It's another version of something that I already own! Gee, aren't I consistent  This time it's the knee-length version of the ankle-length underskirt from my prom dress. The skirt has three double-layers of ruffles all over it and a tulle lace at the bottom.


The waist is elastic and stays up well, not too tight although stiff like the above skirt. Hopefully it works itself out in time. 


The skirt hits at just above my knees, like the jacquard one, so I wear it with an underskirt. Unfortunately, this one is listed as going down to one's knees (like the first two skirts, which do achieve that length), so it's a disappointment that it isn't quite that long and that they're inconsistent in marking these. I mean, I know I'm considered tall, but still. 


I will leave you to guess what the lining of the skirt is like.

Slippery. Satiny. Black.

The lace at the bottom of the skirt is interesting because, well, it's not lace. It's tulle. Anyway, when I got the ankle-length version of the skirt it had 4-5 inches of an unpleasant, ugly slippery thin raschel lace. There wasn't even an edge to it, it was just a strip of the lace cut from a bolt of it and sewed on the bottom. I can't find the skirt itself, but you can see it in the stock photo for the full dress. I snipped it off before I wore it and was fine, but I'm glad I didn't have to do it with this skirt. Key phrase being "have to". I probably will, but only once I can find a replacement lace. Something like the lace used on the jacquard skirt above. I'll be on the look out.


And the last outfit:

Skirt: Fan Plus Friend
Belt: Torrid
Sweater: Thrifted
Necklaces: Various

If you're going to buy from Fan Plus Friend, I recommend you wait until they have a sale (they had one going on when I bought these skirts, otherwise I wouldn't have.) They always have one around Christmas time and I believe they have them in the summer, maybe at other times as well. Overall, while not flawless, I'm very pleased with my purchases and I think the skirts have served me well thus far and will continue to in the future. Hopefully this signals more progress being made on my wardrobe overhaul. Until next time, guys! And as always, don't forget to send me an e-mail or comment below.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Style Inspiration: Gothic Architecture

I've already posted about the wonders of Gothic Architecture and its connection to the Goth scene. However, as I was musing about a post topic for the day, I started wondering about how to incorporate some of the flare of Gothic architecture into our outfits. So, I put together some Polyvore sets and tips for you all. I hope you like them!


Gothic 7


The first and, perhaps, most obvious choice is to feature a Gothic cathedral in full on some part of your clothing. If you are of a Lolita bent, you might be able to find Gothic prints on some skirts and dresses. T-shirts are also a possibility, and tourist t-shirts can be found pretty cheaply on eBay.


Gothic 1


Firstly, pointed arches are iconic of Gothic Architecture, so much so that I accidentally typed "Gothic arches" in this sentence. Tall pointed windows, called lancets, are expansions on this theme. To incorporate Gothic architecture into your outfits, look for any style inspiration that includes pointed arches or pointed windows. This can either be done through a print on the fabric or through the cut of it, especially hem lines.

Gothic 4


Stained Glass, used to provide a kind of mystical atmosphere for the church and visual interest where mosaics were now obsolete, are an excellent element to use in any Gothic Architecture-inspired outfit. To emulate them, reach out beyond just the Goth's ordinary black and look for jewel toned pieces that will punctuate your look with splashes of color. Ruby reds, sapphire blues, emerald greens, topaz yellows, and similar colors will work nicely.

Gothic 3


Gothic architecture aimed for the illusion (if not the fact) of height in their design, and luckily every fashion magazine since circa. forever has suggested the following tip: Vertical lines will help you to mimic the emphasis on height that Gothic architecture aimed for. Avoid anything horizontal, but stripes and details that point upwards (including high heels) will do wonders.


Gothic 5


Christian religious iconography is also typical of Gothic architecture (mostly because Gothic architecture was primarily focused in churches), and not all that uncommon in Goth look. Get out your wrought iron crosses and little angel rings, they'll fit in perfectly into an outfit inspired by Gothic architecture. If you want to avoid using crosses, you can replace this with using the fleur de lis symbol, which is associated with the royal family of France (who were the patrons of many of these Gothic churches.)

Gothic 2


As I mentioned in my previous post, some elements of Gothic cathedral are best described as lacey and spindly. In fact, part of the appeal of Gothic architecture is that some of the structural innovations (such as the flying buttress) enabled the cathedral to look weightless. To mimic this in your look, avoid heavy looking materials like leather and velvet and use lace and chiffon to add a bit of ethereal weightlessness to your look.
Gothic Whatever


If all else fails, just go for a medieval inspired Goth look (I'll forgive you if you're not historically accurate, even looking at thirteenth century fashion plates has me overheating.) While not specifically Gothic, you'll look more than at home in a Gothic cathedral.

Gothic architecture is an excellent source of inspiration for Goths, in my opinion, but I want to know how you all would incorporate Gothic inspiration into your outfits. Are there any other elements you would love to use?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Peter Murphy what did you do now?

Peter Murphy, lead singer of iconic Goth band Bauhaus, was arrested this weekend in LA on charges pertaining to DUI and drug possession. Chances are, if you're a Goth on the web, you've head snatches of this already, but I wanted to bring as many of the details together as possible for an easy but comprehensive guide to what this means.


The court accusations are as follows: Peter Murphy was driving intoxicated on Saturday, March 16, and hit a car at about noon in Glendale, California. The driver took down the licence plate number, but apparently was injured enough to necessitate hospital care. A witness to the crash followed him, blocked his car, and called the police. On inspection of the vehicle, methamphetamines were discovered in the car. The three misdemeanor charges are the DUI, hit-and-run driving, and drug posession. Peter Murphy is currently pleading not guilty, but don't expect to see him in court. He is pleading through his lawyer and is probably going to avoid public appearances as much as possible.

Peter Murphy is pleading not-guilty, so it might be interesting to see what the defense has to say about it. Especially the drug charges, because according to the police Peter Murphy was trying to dispose of the drugs in the police car, and anti-police feeling is at a high at the moment so it might not be difficult to imply that the police planted the drug bag. Why? God knows, but it is a possibility for the defense to implicate it.

If this is Peter Murphy's first DUI offence, he can face up to six months in jail, a fine up to $2600, and license suspension for up to ten months. But if it's his second or third he can face up to a year in jail, a fine up to $18,000 and three years of license suspension. Owning the methamphetamines will almost certainly increase the fines and jail time, but we have to wait until May 17th for the pretrial hearing.

However, Peter Murphy was also intending to go on his Mr. Moonlight tour, where he would be preforming both modern solo work and older Bauhaus-era songs. The tour is set to kick off in San Antonio on April 22,  and will continue as scheduled since Peter Murphy is on bail. He will not be permitted to drive during that time without court permission, but that shouldn't make a difference to tour.

Of course, many are disappointed by this because we all like to put our favorite musicians on a pedestal and think that they can do no wrong, or, if they do do wrong, in a glamorous way. Driving while intoxicated and injuring someone is not exactly a glamorous premise. It's also not doing much to help the stereotype that Goths are all horribly irresponsible drug addicts, especially when some Goths seem to be more upset that the tours might have been cancelled than justice be carried through. I wouldn't be surprised if some media use this an example of how Goths are the worst thing to ever happen to human beings ever.

So, I'm disappointed in Peter Murphy, as I would be disappointed in anyone else who did that. But I know you all must have an opinion. What was your reaction to this news?

Friday, March 15, 2013

Goth Origami

Goth origami, now I've titled posts everything, haven't I? Today, readers, I'm taking a train from my college in Massachusetts to my home in Maryland and I have about eight hours to kill. So what's a girl to do? While I've got my kindle charged up, I do wish I'd had the foresight to pack something else that didn't involve just reading or playing Solitaire. So, today, I'm bringing you a post about one of the fun things I wish I could be doing as I continue down the East Coast: Goth origami.

An origami bat folded for me by a friend

Most people recognize origami as being the paper crane kits sold at Michaels all the time (I had one when I was twelve, I admit, and I jealously guarded the metallic purple paper saving it for my One True Project which never came.) It's a perfect craft, in my opinion, because it's relatively cheap, extremely portable, and once you get in the rhythm of it can be done while you do other things. If you have the paper you need for origami, you can look up all kinds of folds online and don't need to purchase books or trace templates. Besides, they make great little gifts, and the types of origami you do can personalize it to no end.

So how do we personalize things around here? There's a surprising amount of stuff you can do to make origami Goth friendly. First would be, I think, to start with the kind of paper you use. While you can technically use any paper you choose, Wikipedia recommends choosing a paper that is the same weight or slightly lighter than copy paper. Wet origami, or origami done with a special paper that is dampened and then folded, is usually slightly heavier, and one of the only origami types that has to be done with a specific kind of paper. So, to make it Gothy, pick a color pallet that speaks to your spooky soul, such as black, silver, grey, white, red, purple, dark green...etc. You can also chose double sided or single sided paper, meaning paper that either has color on both sides or is colored on one side and white on the other, not to mention papers that are metallic or have patterns on them.

If you're having a hard time finding the perfect origami paper in the right colors, you can order reams of paper on amazon or similar websites in a staggering variety of color, texture, and weight. Just make sure to trim the paper into perfect squares before folding to avoid a misshapen disaster.

So, you have your paper. Now what to fold? I took the liberty of finding a few origami tutorials with Goth appropriate motifs, so grab some paper and get folding!

Dracula
Witch Hat
Spider
Wolf
Jack-O-Lantern
Tombstone
Cat
Tiny Pirate Hat
Octopus
Rose

Do you guys do origami? What kinds of things have you folded?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Five Ways Goth Improved my Self Esteem

Goth improved my self esteem, there's no doubt about that. Perhaps it's because I grew into my own at a Goth during that special time (i.e. the preteen and teenage years) when everyone's self esteem plummets for half a decade and then you spend the rest of your life trying to build it back up again, but it definitely helped me grow into a sense of self love and acceptance that I'm very proud of myself for having. So, today, I thought I'd give a little explanation as to how I feel it helped me.


  1. Goth taught me that it is okay to do likes just because you like them despite what is currently popular. It's probably the most obvious of these five points, but expressing yourself through your tastes in music, clothing, literature, and other aesthetics is completely healthy and a good thing. It no longer made me feel like an out cast to like old, dark books and dressing in a Romantic, spooky way. It was okay to do things for yourself and love yourself despite being a little (or extremely) different, and for a twelve year old girl, that's a huge relief. 
  2. Interacting with Non-Goths while being a Goth helped me come to terms with the fact that, while some people are made of 100% absolute Suck, I cannot let them control my thoughts, actions, and emotions. If I do submit myself to the whims of everyday people on the street who take issue with my spookiness, I wouldn't be a happy person. With expressing my own interests comes the inevitable crash-course in self defense from narrow-minded and rude people. It's hard not to let their words cut, I know that, but as I've gotten more and more practice with it, I realize that I just do not care. And besides, little old grannies telling me I look like a pretty fairy doll is always good for my self esteem.
  3. Goth improved my self esteem because it encouraged me to create things. Every thing that I make for myself, whether it be my blogs or poetry or a playlist or a new piece of jewelry, makes me feel proud of myself.When I feel proud of myself, I love myself even more. Without Goth I don't know that I would have had the inspiration or the wide network of suppot for DIY and self expression that makes that kind of inspiration and creation possible. 
  4. Oddly enough, the fact that Goth has almost forced me to meet new people has also been a boon for my self esteem. I can still be rather reluctant to meet new people at first, but when you don't have anyone around you who hasthe same interests at you it's almost necessary that you meet new people. Online and in person, Goth has thrust me into more social situations and friendships than anything else in my life, except, perhaps, school (but that's what I get for having been in three different institutions in the last two years) and the more I enter into the situations, the more confident I've become in myself. Confidence tends to, if not always, bring along it's best mate Self-Love, because if I can go by myself to a strange city to meet other Goths from the internet and pal around at a museum, there's nothing I cannot do.
  5. Lastly, Goth helped expand my horizons. When I realized, through my connections and involvement in the subculture, what else existed in the world, I was struck with the realization that being a Goth has turned me into a more open-minded person. I'm by no means flawless, I've covered that already, but Goth helped me look for beauty in other places, possible interests in unexpected hidey-holes, and new people which make me feel enlightened. 
Has Goth had an impact on your self esteem? How so? 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Is Goth (Music) Dead?

Goth is dead. Punk is dead. Everything we love is dead and gone, there's no point in trying to participate or revive it because it is dead and nothing will ever compare. Surely you know Goths who live by this mantra. Maybe you are one. Either way, it's a pretty prevalent attitude in our subculture that Goth is somehow past its prime. I won't wait until after my intro to express my opinion on this: I think it's a steaming load of nonsense. However, while discussing how a subculture can be considered "dead" with a friend, an interesting question was raised. If Goth isn't dead, maybe the music is dead? And that is a question I'd like to explore with you all today.


I have this subtle voice in the back of my head that likes to snark at people, and it and I often have these little dialogues about people and their finicky tastes. One day, this little voice told me, in his infinite wisdom, that people hate not being consulted about change. Think about it. When a website changes the layout, when a band explores a new sound, when Aquanet changes the formula, when a fashion label chooses a new direction, everyone who was a fan of the original stamps their feet and says "Nonononono." Sometimes, there is a lot of justification for this, sometimes it's just a knee-jerk. Changes mean adjustments, adjustments mean that everything else has to slow down or come to a complete standstill while we reorient ourselves. In these cases, people have a right to be somewhat annoyed.

I think it boils down to one essential fact: we like to be consulted before changes are made to our lives. And, unthinkable horrors, the Goth music scene has changed. And no one consulted the Goths. The music scene moved on from its roots in the late seventies and early eighties, some of the most popular bands continuing to produce and record new music up until the turn of the millennium. You can still hear Goths who were spooking around in the mid-nineties when I was in diapers lamenting about how awful the scene was. Opinionated music bloggers dismiss Peter Murphy's new solo work and call The Cure's Bloodflowers and 4:13 Dream a waste of time. How dare they try to move on as an artist and not keep rehashing the same style, subject matter, and image from thirty years ago! The nerve of them.

An aside: It is completely reasonable to like a band's older sounds because you, you know, like the type of music and older sounds better. However, this very "hipster" mentality that you should like things before they were cool, and can only appreciate a band's older sound (before they got popular and changed, man) is more than a little bit ridiculous.

So, as people continue to whine about it, they listen to the older music. Over. And over. And over again. (You don't even want to know how many plays Twenty-Four Hours has on my iTunes.) While not an active club goer myself, I've heard tell from others that some Goth club DJs even have lists of music that they Will Not Play because they're sick of hearing it over and over and over again. However, it does not seem that there are many (or any at all) new bands taking on the moniker and actively trying to produce Goth music. Why?

I think it's probably a combination of a few issues. Firstly, this bizarre gate-keeping mentality that exists among Goths. I've written about it before, but essentially if certain Goths continue to shoot down every single person who put the Goth label on something not traditionally labeled Goth, you can't expect that many new people will want to try to claim it. It's not worth the hassle to try to carve your way into a niche that is so firmly closed off against you. Some will say to this that they're not gate-keeping, but that Goth music is an actual genre with definitions and none of these new bands fit the definition. Putting aside for a moment the fact that no one can decide what the traits of Goth music are (complicated by the artists having hissy fits about it and the staggering variety of bands that are associated with Goth, including ones that fit just as well under the New Wave or Post Punk genres), I take issue with this declaration. 

But that's not all. Believe it or not, I'm willing to bet that even the most hardcore modern Goth musicians would want to personalize and grow their genre rather than being an entirely faithful Joy Division coverband or what have you. Rehashing the same material again and again stagnates a subculture, it doesn't revive it, and it makes for a pretty boring living (or none at all, being as many Goths would rather go see some of the performers live than see a cover band of them.) So, more new artists are cropping up in the genres that branched off of Goth, experimenting with the new sounds (especially of synthesizers) and influences of a twenty-first century music experience. It's generally accepted that they are not Goth, but something else, and anyone who says otherwise is shouted at and driven off. And Goth music continues to stagnate or, dare I say it? Lay dead in a ditch.

But, it depends how you see it. If people still listen to Goth music, is the genre dead? Is it like a species being considered extinct because there aren't enough individuals to support the population? Can I keep the whole Goth music scene alive with an iPod filled with Sisters of Mercy and Specimen? Do all the performers who originally played Goth music have to be dead, too? How do you describe a dead music scene? What say you readers? Is Goth music really dead?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Goth Blogging 101: Idea Generating

Keeping any kind of blog poses a challenge, but it can be especially difficult if you have a kind of niche. And what a niche Goth is! Fortunately for all of us, so many Goth blogs are springing up all over the place, so that our niche hardly feels limited and empty. Today's post topic comes from one such new blogger:
hello Mary,
firstly i just want to say i love your blog.
i need some help and advice, you see I am goth and an American Muslim, I have made a blog which is goth and Muslim friendly(which is new) but each time I sit to write all my ideas go down the drain.what should i do?please help, i'm a very shy person but i am determined to write.
regards
scary.littleme
Firstly, thank you very much, and welcome to the online Goth blogger community! As I said above, I get really excited about new bloggers coming into the blogosphere. I'm a huge believe in the fact that this subculture will only stay alive so long as we are all actively participating. With every new blogger there's a new perspective and something fascinating to be said about the spooky subculture we love so much. So, again, welcome!

We've all been here.

It's rather funny, actually, that you ask me about the blogging topic I myself struggle with the most. I know there are some bloggers out there who positively overflow with ideas, but I'm not one of them. I like to think that I make up for it in other ways, but it's certainly more effort for me to come up with ideas and inspiration. Luckily, this means I can give some advice for how I've learned to deal with this particular problem.

If you're looking for post inspiration, it can come from pretty much anywhere. So, I recommend keeping some way of jotting things down at all times (that is preferably not your skin and a sharpie.) I carry a notebook, but laptops, hand-held notepads, or even a stack of post-it-notes can be helpful. I had a friend in High School who had a set of bath crayons for writing on the wall because all of her best ideas came in the shower. This way, you're prepared to write an idea down whenever it strikes you. When you write it down, try to write more down than just the main idea if possible. Of course, the main idea will work in a pinch, but if you write down more you have a better chance of capturing the "spark" and enthusiasm about the topic. And, trust me, enthusiasm is important.

Similarly, try not to write anything that you aren't enthusiastic about. If you aren't enthusiastic about your topic, I don't care how many exclamation points you throw in your post, it's not going to be a compelling read. If you want to write about a topic, but for some reason cannot get really enthusiastic about it, let it percolate a bit more and keep jotting down any inspiration as they come to mind. Your post might sit there for a while, but it will be a better post in the end.

Here are some ideas that I've found helpful to jumpstart the idea-generating process:
  • Read other Goth blogs. 
  • Keep your eyes peeled for mentions of Goths or Gothdom in major media.
  • Write what you want to read. If you've been wanting someone to blog about a certain topic but no one has stepped up to the plate, why don't you start? That's how I came up with my posts about Goth dorms, and I've already gotten wonderful feedback from college-bound Goths who were waiting for someone to write about it!
  • Think about something you do everyday that might be old-news to you but new for other people. How do you handle your frizzy hair for a perfect Goth look? How do you decide what to wear? How do you built playlists? How do you handle catcalling on the street? I guarantee, someone wants to know. (Personally, this blogger wants to know about frizzy hair tips. Summer is coming.)
  • Take photographs, even with your phone or a little point and shoot. You don't have to use them for your post, they can just be an idea starter.
  • Think about what you do well. Blog about it.
  • Ask Non-Goths questions. Not every post has to be directed directly at Goths, even if they make up the majority of your audience. Sometimes non-Goths wander in off Google and they might have some questions. If you write it right, it should even be fun for Goths to read.
  • Write a review. Not every post should be a review, and you might want to hold off on them until you've built up a bit of credibility first, but they can be great ways to share your excitement about something. 
  • Read your comments! They can be the start of some very interesting post ideas, especially if someone has questions or ideas different from yours.
  • Look at your tags, and see which tags are lacking in substance. Try to think what other posts you can fit into that tag. 
  • Leave a way for people to contact you on your blog besides the comments. I just instated a new contact form on my E-Mail Me! page, and I have a blog e-mail address for people to contact me through. If possible, use an e-mail address that is different from your "main" address, to avoid the spreading of your personal details online and keep your inboxes mostly on-topic.
  • Share what you've been doing on other websites. Are you on Pinterest making great boards, Twitter being hilarious, Polyvore making fabulous sets? Share it with your blogspot readers!
  • Tell a story. How about your best thrifting experience, how you discovered your favorite song, or the ever popular how did you become a Goth? 
  • Fill out a meme or tag. They might not be the biggest traffic drivers, but they're good for off days, and they might even give you a bigger idea for a longer post. 

So, scary.little me, thank you very much for submitting your question, and I hope I was at least a little bit helpful. To my readers, feel free to check out the brand new (NON-POP UP!) contact form on my E-Mail Me! page and ask me more questions, or just e-mail me at theeverydaygoth@yahoo.com. So, are any of you guys bloggers? What do you do to generate ideas?

Saturday, March 2, 2013

What's In My Bag Version 2.0

What's in your bag? is a question I'm going to assume only really famous people get asked, but I'm going to answer it anyway by bringing it back to my blog. After all, I can't be the only one who likes reading them, right? Maybe I'm just nosey, but at least I'm contributing back to it. I have done one of these before, but I thought the time was right to update you all on what the heck I carry around every day.

But, first, let me show you my bag. I currently use a big, black tote bag from allegiance2none, an e-bay seller, which has a printed bat skeleton on it. Quite the switch up from my little h.Naoto bag that I used previously, but I like the extra room.


I had little pins and badges on it, but they kept falling off so I removed them in favor of one little "SCOTLAND" pin from my time abroad, which is affixed just below one of the straps. Every time I see it I get a little nostalgia rush, which is nice.


But! How about what's actually in my bag? I'll start with the tech-y stuff. I got a new cellphone recently, an LG Reflex which is nice since I had my older phone for over almost four years. Unfortunately I also accidentally soaked it in laundry detergent, so it's kind of on the fritz if you see my meaning. But it works. I also have a little iPod nano and my heaphones, corralled with a binder clip. Lastly, I keep my kindle with me all the time. I use it whenever possible for school because the books are so much cheaper, and sometimes even free. A lot of my leisure books are also on there because I have a penchant for old books which are out of copyright. Heck yeah.


I also keep my Demonia wallet and my set of keys in my bag. The keys were on a spider lanyard, but the longer lanyard strap broke so I just carry the shorter end now. The keychain is also from Scotland, and has the Scottish flag, a silver thistle, and a little lion on it.


Inside my wallet I have a dollar in change for emergency cookie runs and a wooden coin from the Library and Information Technology department which is good for 1 cup of coffee from a local coffee shop (but which I will never use because how often do you get cute little personalized wooden coins? Not often, I'd wager.) I also have membership cards for Sephora and Hot Topic (I know, I know), as well as gift cards to Safeway and Target. I don't think I need them around here, but it feels safer to carry them than to put them somewhere and forget about them. Above those are my student ID and my Maryland State ID, because fuck driving.


Above the wooden coin in that photo is a little pressed pence (same concept as the USA's smashed pennies) from Eilean Donan Castle in Scotland. It's my little good luck charm.


Since I am a full time student, I carry my planner around with me everywhere, as well as a few pens. Very useful. If I'm going to class, I'll toss my notebook into the bag as well.


As for makeup, I keep this decorated mirror from Sephora in my bag, as well as "the Falsies" Volume Mascara from Maybelline and a Juicy Tube in "Dreamsicle" from Lancome. 


I believe, and I thin most people in creative fields will agree, that having a journal on you almost all the time is a great way to keep yourself inspired and avoid that dreaded feeling where you thought you had a great idea but then forgot it. This journal isn't fancy, but it does the trick. I also keep mints around with me and a pair of gloves, an essential in New England winters. Trust me, I forgot them a few times in my dorm, and I will never make that mistake again.


Lastly, since I participate in Project365 over on my Tumblr theeverydayphotographs, I carry my camera around with me everywhere. I also carry a flashdrive for my photos and documents.



And that's it! Well, most of the time. The great thing about having a larger bag is that I'm not married to the contents of it and can add more if I need to. My laptop and chargers sometimes come with me, as do papers and scarves and anything else I might need, but for the most part this is it. I hope you all enjoyed reading! So tell me, what's in your bag?