Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Angels of Islington by Sarah Channing Wright

Merry (almost) Hexmas, followers! I hope you are all enjoying this holiday season. Personally I've been running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to get everyone presents and working on getting my flight sorted to visit home in early January, but luckily I've had a bit of a distraction. The lovely Sarah Channing Wright sent me a copy of her book The Angels of Islington to review which I'd like to discuss for you now.

Lets get the stage set, shall we? Our story follows a group of vampires (among them Onyx, Demon, Spider, and Storm) who have integrated themselves into the 1990's Goth scene in London. They hang out at clubs, visit pubs, drink from unsuspecting spooky types, and have their own interpersonal dramas. But! All is not well in Camden town, and the sinister vampire Count who threatens their very way of life.

The setting is probably what is going to be the big draw to a lot of us. Being born in 1994 I wasn't exactly sentient enough to appreciate the 90's Goth scene and Wright explores is really well. Each chapter is filled to the brim with details about music, social interactions, and fashion which really makes the environment come alive. You'll recognize a few songs that are mentioned, no doubt, and probably appreciate the outsider's perspective on the weirdness that is Goth dancing. Fashion is one of Wright's favorite bits, I think, because every character (even tiny, unimportant ones) is introduced with a lengthy outfit descrption. That being said, I hope you like the word "matted" because Wright certainly does! I'm pretty sure it's the most used adjective in the whole book, with everyone having some variety of matted black hair.

Unfortunately, the fashion descriptions are about as in-depth into character development as Wright goes. I'm made fully aware of which characters have (matted) black hair or which ones wear the same frock coats that they wore in the 18th century (as a museum and conservation enthusiast, what?) but their characters are pretty interchangeable. I think this might be because Wright introduces so many different characters in such a short space of time, but their personalities are pretty anemic and even when they are assigned a (single) personality trait they usually don't act in any way that would support it. She's still introducing and trying to characterize them in the Epilogue, by which time I had given up on my list of who I have to care about and what they were doing. Nor do the characters really experience growth over the span of the book, they just restore a certain status quo and off we go. I think cutting down the main cast of characters might have solved this issue.

I also take issue with the Count who causes all of this trouble. All of the vampires act terrified of him (although not terrified enough to not go to the club and dance when they're supposed to be finding a way to destroy him), but he himself isn't really that scary. He prances around, speaks in rhymes, and doesn't do very much besides murder a couple of people. He certainly isn't as scary as Magenta, whose hypnotic powers I found very suspect. And, without meaning to spoil, he is defeated in a very anti-climactic Deus ex Machina way that left me very unsatisfied. That being said, he has some really good moments in the book. When the Count is storming around in a fury he reacts to a group of barking dogs by shouting "Listen to them! Mangy dogs. What a bloody racket they make!" in wonderful reference to the famous children of the night passage from Dracula.

I feel like I've made a lot of complaints but I can't say I came out of the book disliking it. It was camp fun. There's something about being asked to take characters with names like Onyx, Wraith, Demon, and Spider seriously, especially when they are placed alongside characters with sensible names like Jim, that feels very silly and fun. So if you don't go into it expecting any high literature, you'll probably have fun with it. It's certainly enjoyable if you want to read about the 90's Goth scene (and maybe laugh because some of it seems quite familiar, as I did) and can forgive a slightly flimsy plot.

If you would like to pick up your own copy of The Angels of Islington by Sarah Channing Wright and experience the camp joy of reading it, you can purchase it on Amazon here.

So, what books have you all been reading recently?

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Reader Question: Neutral Goth Eyes

Hello Mary Rose, I hope you don't mind my asking but do you know of any goth makeup looks I could do with neutral brown eyeshadow palettes? My mother works for a makeup company and she is able to get a lot of make up for me, but I have sooooo many brown and taupe shades that I don't have a use for. I don't want to throw them out. Ideas?

Hi Alex! Neutral colors aren't the most exciting for your Goth look, but they can be useful in and of themselves. Lighter colors like cream and ivory can be used to high light under your brows or along your tear duct in a more natural way than just using stark white, and many people use eyeshadow to fill in their brows. Matte browns can be used with a fluffy brush to contour your face, and lighter colors with or without shimmer make good high-lighters.


Another option is to use neutral colors alongside other colors in one look. For example, a light brown eyeshadow over the lid that then blends into a deep purple will make the purple pop. A cream eyeshadow on the lid with red eyeshadow lined along the lash line and blending out into black in the crease would also create a spooky look. So, don't feel pressured that just because you have a quad of colors you need to use only those. Mixing it up and playing with combinations will help you create wonderful looks. And, hey, neutrals match everything, right?


As for full-fledged Goth looks with all brown-ish colors, you definitely have some options. As I've said before on this blog, the more Goth aspects you remove from a look the more the other aspects of your look have to hold up the Goth aesthetic. So, amp up other aspects of your look to balance the un-Goth colors out.


In this look, the eyes are done in neutral colors but the exaggerated shapes of the eyebrows and corners of the eyes keep the look Gothic. Of course, it helps if you have other Goth-associated elements like piercings, exagerated V-bangs, and an awesome black outfit.

Or you could also add tons of black and make a dramatic smoky eye look.


While most Goths that I've seen don't necessarily obey this rule, some people hold that you should emphasize either your eyes or your lips in a look (so you wouldn't do a dramatic smokey eye and a bright red lip.) While I'm not one for "beauty rules" in particular, I do think using a neutral eye look would be a great excuse to wear  a red, purple, or black lip. Personally I think purples and browns look good together.

If you want to use the neutral colors as a basis, adding winged eyeliner or interesting lipstick will work to add Goth elements to the look.

So, readers, how do you use neutral colors in your makeup?

ETA December 2015: The amazing Drac Makens over on youtube now has an entire series of Gothic makeup looks centered around neutral eye makeup. Check them out here!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Nightmare Before Christmas Holiday Trees

Christmas trees are a kind of bizarre tradition, don't you think? Nothing says festive like a piece of dead foliage sprinkling pine needles all over your carpet! Especially if you're going to decorate it nicely with lights and shiny baubles. So, combine this slightly bizarre tradition with my favorite Tim Burton film, the Nightmare Before Christmas, and you get one wicked tree. Here's some inspiration from people who had the same idea:









If you want more Goth Christmas inspiration, look no further than my Pinterest board! Lots of decor ideas for your spooky, festive home.

If you celebrate Christmas, how do you decorate your trees?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

St Cuthbert's Churchyard, Edinburgh

At the end of November I went to Edinburgh and, while I was there, popped into a small churchyard to take some photos. Now that I've finally gotten around to editing and uploading them, I thought I'd share them here.

If you would like to see the rest, including some great color shots, click here to visit my Study Abroad blog.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

24 (Non-Clothing) Gifts for Goths!

As the holidays approach it's time for the loved-ones of Goths to panic about what to get them (or that's what my family tells me!) If you don't want to take the gift-card cop-out but aren't sure what size or type of clothes they're into, here are twenty-four gift ideas sure to make Goths of all ages smile:

  1. A CD from a favorite Goth band, or one of the classics like The Cure, Depeche Mode, Bauhaus, Siouxsie and the Banshees. 
  2. Scented soap or bath salts from Etsy
  3. Themed fridge magnets. I'm partial to the poetry ones, which come in themed packs like Vampire or Edgar Allan Poe
  4. Black nail polish
  5. An old fashioned horror film, or one of the many sets out there.
  6. Sponsor a bat in their name!
  7. Dark stationary, perhaps from Evil Supply Co.?
  8. A popular book on Goth, like that by Jillian Venters or Voltaire, or like the one I reviewed on Wednesday!
  9. A dark mug. Bonus points if filled with treats
  10. Dark buttons/pins from Etsy or similar
  11. A new cellphone case, especially good if they have a popular phone such as an iPhone
  12. A Goth keychain
  13. Calligraphy pen
  14. If you can source them, a small (cleaned) animal skull. Be sure to wrap carefully!
  15. Black candles
  16. A package of loose tea 
  17. A jewelry box or stand
  18. A stuffed animal bat
  19. Flavored Lipbalm in an unusual scent like Absinthe or Rose
  20. Halloween craft supplies (will require sourcing in advance)
  21. A Journal
  22. Sample perfumes from BPAL or similar
  23. A spooky vinyl decal
  24. A print from an artist that they like
If 24 ideas aren't enough, check out my Gift Ideas for Goths Pinterest board with great ideas and pictures! I've also been posting a lot on my Goth Christmas board, so be sure to look at that.

What would you like to see under your Christmas tree this year?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Art of Gothic: Music + Fashion + Alt Culture

Thank you again, Mr. Postman, for filling my mail box with all sorts of fun goodies. Recently I was sent a copy of the new book The Art of Gothic: Music + Fashion + Alt Culture by Natasha Scharf to review which I just finished reading this morning.  Along with a cup of the Pumpkin Spice Chai by Twinnings that also came that day, of course.

Now, there are a lot of books about the Goth subculture floating around by Voltaire or Jillian Venters but this is the first one I've seen that actually focuses on the artistic side of the movement rather than a history of the subculture as a whole. As someone who is interested in Art History, I'm really fascinated by it, so I was excited to give this a read.

The book itself is lovely. The large, glossy pages are laid out really well and, if you ask me, it looks pretty nice on a shelf. Inside the book talks about different ways that dark art flourishes in the subculture. It starts with art derived from our favorite Goth music groups, including music posters and album covers, and then goes on to discuss the fine art, gothic comics, movie posters, interior design, wearable art and some bits on fashion. Some of the sections hi-light specific artists like Roman Dirge, Marilyn Manson, and Steven R. Gilmore, while others are more theme-based.

My favorite chapter is about The New Escapism and talks about the aesthetics that videogames and other "nerd culture" influenced Goth, and vice versa. Fans of Vampire: The Masquerade and Bioshock take note, this was a fun section. I hate to sound cocky, but it's rare that a book on this particular branch in the subculture reaches me something new because I'm pretty "geek goth" and have been surrounded by nerd culture since my first family Dungeons & Dragons game in my childhood. But hey! What do you know? I did learn something new, and it was pretty fun.

I will say, though, that this book is not about the Goth subculture. It's not a history. It is not the same discussion of how Bauhaus and Siouxsie Sioux evolved into what happened today that we've all read six hundred times. It's about how the aesthetic of Gothic evolves over time and has influenced a lot of different aspects of alternative art and expression, so the book plays fast and loose with the concept of "Gothic." It focuses on dark themes and things that take inspiration from Gothic but aren't directly Gothic themselves are included. So in the book we end up with a Game of Thrones movie poster, a My Chemical Romance album cover, Steampunk art, John William Waterhouse paintings, and a Rob Zombie jack-in-the-box, among other things. I'm certainly not bothered by this, but I'm sure some people would be.

The righting of the book is pretty good with an easy to follow casual tone that doesn't sacrifice snark to be informative. The foreword by Andi Sex Gang is really interesting, and talks about how gothic is about "being artistically challenging and culturally subversive" while enjoying darker aestheitcs. The foreword ends with the call to action: "Although gothic has been redefined and reinterpreted over the years, it will never truly disappear because there will always be a need for an alternative to commercial culture and brain-numbing mainstream music. Goth as a subculture is here to stay, so let's make it even more interesting, challenging, potent, and creative." I'll drink to that.

So, that's the end of my review! It's a fun book and I'm grateful someone is exploring the parts of the subculture I hold nearest and dearest to my heart. It's certainly something new in the world of writing about Goth, unless I'm missing some holy grail older book. If you would like to order your own copy, you can do so on Backbeat Books (I think it'd also make a great Christmas present for the spookster in your life, too.)

What other books would you like to be written about the Goth subculture? 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

25 Goth Pet Names

So you've taken a look at my list of unusual Goth pets and decided (after a lot of research and consideration because you will be bringing a real living creature into your house that relies on you for its care and preservation, eyebrow raise), hey, maybe it's time to get a new pet. But what to name it? As a kind of fun, silly post I thought I'd make a list of 25 Goth pet names.

Music Names:

  • Murphy
  • Siouxsie
  • Eldritch
  • Eloise
  • Banshee 
  • Balaam
  • Lulu
  • Seraphim
  • Jezebel

Literary Names;

  • Lestat - Interview with a Vampire
  • Mina - Dracula
  • Harker - Dracula
  • Shelly - Mary Shelley
  • Bunnicula - Bunnicula
  • Byron - Lord Byron
  • Hippolita - The Castle of Otranto
  • Annabel - Annabel Lee
  • Carmina - Carmina

  • Bela (Lugosi) - Dracula, etc.
  • Morticia - Addams Family
  • Maleficent - Sleeping Beauty
  • Nosferatu - Nosferatu
  • Lily - The Munsters
  • Jack - Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Victor - Corpse Bride

What are your pets names, and how did you chose them?

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Gothic Spiderweb Kitchen Accessories from Sin in Linen

Whoo, I love getting mail! Don't you? This week I had some really fun stuff come my way, and the thing I was especially excited for were these Spider Web Kitchen Linens sent to me by my friends at Sin in Linen.* Thanks guys!

So, what they sent me was this lovely apron, modeled by yours truly:

(P.S. has my hair gotten long or what??)

The apron is nice quality and covers pretty much your whole front (a lot of aprons I've seen have fairly low neck lines, but this one is quite high over my chest), but not very thick so try not to spill a lot of liquid down yourself. The waist ties fit comfortably around my (plus-sized) waist with enough room for a big bow, and the pocket is nice for sticking a spoon or other small item in while you're being nice and domestic. I like the detail of the lower layer, which brings it to a nice mid-thigh length on me.

Here is the bow detail:

And the matching oven mitt and pot holder set:


The pot holder and oven mitt are lovely and functional. Once I was done modeling pre-made pies (better looking than they were tasting, in my opinion) I actually went to cook something, including holding hot pans, and they worked perfectly to keep the heat away. 

Mmm. Bacon.

Unfortunately, when I actually went to use it I discovered something tragic: there was a little bit of water on the counter top and when the pot holder got a little wet the dye started to run, leaving blue over the spider webs.

It's kind of disappointing, especially since the pillows I reviewed from Sin in Linen over the summer didn't have that problem at all. I was a little nervous to wash them, since I didn't want to end up with completely blue stuff. Luckily I decided to just try completely rinsing the pot holder since it was already fairly blue, and when it dried the blue was gone. So apparently it's just a matter of rinsing these out thoroughly before you use them and making sure all the black dye has gone, then it isn't as much of an issue.

Besides the blue dye scare, I'm really happy with these products and they're a great way to spook up the kitchen while you're making nice treats. Plus, one-size fits all, and at $22 for the apron and $14 for the pot holder and oven mitt set they're sold at a great price. Maybe if you're really into it you could also add in a matching gothic Spider Web table cloth, and if I had my own place rather than a shared flat I would have loved to have decorated with that as well. Holiday presents for the spooky Goth in your life? Maybe!

If you're not much of a cook, you might also want to see some of the items in their Skull Décor section which has really cute stuff, including this awesome skull bedding.

Have you guys gotten anything fun in the mail lately? Or what have you been baking? Please, share recipes in the comments down below!

*Disclaimer: Items reviewed in this post were sent to me for review, but all opinions are completely honest and my own. Any questions can be directed to and I'll get back to you as soon as I can. Cheers!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

5 Goth Ways to Patch Denim Holes

I've only just started wearing jeans again after having worn just skirts (and the occasional yoga pant) for many years, but one thing I always loved about jeans was how they looked when patched. Something about patched jeans appeals to me, so even if I'm not going to tear up my one pair of skinnies I'll be keeping this list around for if that ever happens. So, here are five Goth-approved ways to patch holes in your denim:

Spider webs!

This is my favorite way that I discovered on Pinterest and I'm just stunned that I didn't think of it before. Basically you sew around the hole and then weave the thread in a spider web shape. Wouldn't it be cute in white thread on black denim or with a small spider bead? Tutorial here.

Safety Pins

This one reminds me of middle school when all the Cool Alt Kids would rip intentional holes in their jeans and string safety pins through them. Still, this is a great punky look. Youtube tutorial here.

Fabric Patch

Have a small scrap of Halloween fabric left over from another DIY (or need an excuse to buy pretty fabric like the ones on my Dark Fabric Pinterest Board)? Here's how to patch denim using whatever fabric you prefer: Tutorial here.

Fish net

For a variation on a fabric patch, why not cover the hole with a scrap of fish net? Again, in a contrasting color this would work wonderfully. If you wanted something even more deathrock, use safety pins to keep the net in place. Similar to this.

Cute Monster

For something a little cuter on less fancy jeans, how about a monster face? Using the hole as the mouth, arrange felt eyes and teeth in a monster shape and stitch in place. Tutorial here.

How do you patch your torn denim? Or do you just get a new pair?

Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination

If you're planning on visiting London anytime between now and late January, I've got an exhibit you can't miss! Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination at the British library, which runs until January 20th of next year.

From the website:
From Mary Shelley and Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick and Alexander McQueen, via posters, books, films - and even a vampire-slaying kit - experience the dark shadow the Gothic imagination has cast across film, art, music, fashion, architecture and our daily lives. Beginning with Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto, Gothic literature challenged the moral certainties of the 18th century. By exploring the dark romance of the medieval past with its castles and abbeys, its wild landscapes and fascination with the supernatural, Gothic writers placed imagination firmly at the heart of their work - and our culture. Iconic works, such as handwritten drafts of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the modern horrors of Clive Barker’s Hellraiser and the popular Twilight series, highlight how contemporary fears have been addressed by generation after generation. Terror and Wonder presents an intriguing glimpse of a fascinating and mysterious world. Experience 250 years of Gothic’s dark shadow.
Now, it should come as no surprise that I love Gothic fiction. My favorite novel in my teens was Jane Eyre, and I've been open about my love for dark literature from the beginning of this blog. I just got done writing my final paper for one of my classes this semester on the evolution of vampires from folklore traditions to literary ones, so I'm up to my eyes in Gothic fiction and this is definitely right up my ally.

To view more about the exhibit, including times and ticket prices, check online here.

If you can't make it to London (looks at train prices, winces, looks away) then you might enjoy the Gothic horror podcast that accompanies the exhibit so that you can get a taste for the history.

What do you think? Given the chance, would you visit the exhibition?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Reader Question: Going Darker

Howdy there Mary!So I had a few quick questions that I felt you might be able to help mewith. See, I've been into the subculture for 4 years now but I've justfinally reached the age where I can actually express it more in myappearance and I was hoping you could give me some advice on a few commontopics.
1- Do you know why so many Goths shave off or draw on their eyebrows?
I can't seem to find any real info on this or any particular reason for whyit's done within the community. I've just noticed that most Goths will shavethem off and draw eyebrows on (guys and girls). And I have nothing againstit; in fact, I think it's pretty rad and awesome and cool. It's just thatI'm afraid maybe I'll look less Goth because I don't do that. I mean, I likemy eyebrows the way they are... I don't want to get rid of them or have topluck them, etc. Maybe if I knew why they did it, it'd make more sense and Imight do it then.
2-I was also considering dying my hair jet black and I was wondering if youhad any advice on the process. I've never dyed my hair before and havenaturally black hair so I wasn't really sure if it was a good idea. I'vealways wanted to dye my hair and I thought jet black would be a nice choicesince it wouldn't require bleaching plus it'd be a lot like what I alreadyhave. What do you think? Do you think it wouldn't make a noticeabledifference?
3-In terms of piercings, I was thinking of getting my ear cartilages piercedalong with my nose (not a septum piercing, just the nostril), do you thinkthat's too many at once or that it's better to get them all done at once(I'm not sure when I'll be able to get more)
Please let me know what you think. Thanks! :)
Hi Sara, and thanks for writing in.

Well, I'm sure everyone has different reasons for having fake eyebrows. In Goth you'll see people doing it more often probably the same reason people here dye their hair more often than non-Goths: we draw inspiration from each other. When enough people do their eyebrows a certain way, they become inspiration for more people to do the same. Here are a few more reasons:

  1. They think their natural brow shape doesn't suit them (that's why I keep mine plucked, anyway)
  2. They might change their hair color often and want to be able to match their eyebrows more easily
  3. It makes you look super other-wordly 
  4. You have a lot of options for different fun looks (dotted brows, stickers, etc.)
That's not to say that not shaving off your brows is un-Goth, obviously not everyone does, but that should provide some explanation. 

Going from dark near-black hair to proper black shouldn't be hard at all! But yes, it will make a difference in your hair. Most black dyes that are available now have a slight blue tinge to them, so the tone is different as well as the shade. I think it compliments a lot of Goth looks quite well (I say, having just dyed my hair black again recently and having had black hair for over four years now), but if you're unsure try a semi-permanent or vegetable based dye that should fade sooner just to get an idea of how "true" black looks on you.

There's no reason not to get your nostril and cartilage done at the same time, it might even be cheaper depending on your piercer. However, I would caution you against doing both cartilages at the same time. It can be a slow healing process and they're known for being quite sore piercings, and you'll want to keep one ear free for sleeping on/resting your head on, etc. Even if you don't usually sleep on your side, you never know, and ear pain is the worst. 

I hope I was helpful and answered some of your questions! Readers, if you draw your eyebrows on, why do you do it? And what advice do you have for taking the plunge and dyeing your hair truly black?

And remember, if you have a question you'd like me to answer, go to my contact page or send me an e-mail at

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Goth Hair Tutorial Youtube Playlist

I received an e-mail from viewer recently asking me how I handled my """goth""" hair and what advice I had to pass on to someone looking to goth-up their look. Unfortunately, my approach to Goth hair ends at dyeing it black and putting it up in a bun (I'm very finnicky about hair resting on the back of my neck) so I didn't have much to offer. But what I can do is make a playlist and share it so that I can pass on good advice from people who actually know what they're talking about!


What hair advice do you have?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Reader Mail: Goth and Religion

Hi Mary Rose I am a sixteen year old girl who lives in a very small town anda religious house where I go to church every Wednesday and Sunday and wealways pray over our meals and my father is a leader in the church I waswondering if you clear up my confusion if Goth is religion therefore itwould be sac religious for me to be looking into dressing Goth anddecorating my room gothic I'm not sure if I am very much into Goth I do likethe casual Goth outfits and the like so I'm very confused about what Ishould do please write me back with some advice :) 
-eagerly awaiting your response 

Hi Lilvamp!

Simply put, the answer is no. Goth is not a religion,Goth is a style of dress, a type of music, and a subculture for people who enjoy those things together, and there are Goths of every major religion. As long as you're not openly antagonistic, you're likely to meet and make friends with Christian Goths, Muslim Goths, Jewish Goths, Pagan Goths, non-religious Goths, and more.

I don't want to generalize too much about your family and home town but you might face some raised eyebrows because the media tends to wrongly associate Goth with satanism/paganism/the occult, etc. You might want to read up on the history of the subculture, even a quick browsing through the Wikipedia page should help, which will give you something to respond with if they ask questions. If you keep up with other important things (going to church, maintaining good grades, minding your manners, etc.) then it's likely that the people around you will eventually get used to how you dress and not give you any more trouble.

I hope that helps!

As always, send any questions or subjects for me to write about to me on my contact page or in an e-mail to

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween and happy friday, my friends! I hope you're getting ready for a nice day, even if its just curled up with some fun Halloween movies and a bag of candy. If you are going out tonight, please be safe and have fun!

I have one lecture today so I'm not wearing anything too crazy, but here's what I've got on at the moment:

Outfit details:
Blouse, belt: Torrid
Dress: eShatki
Jewelry: Various
Fishnets: Amazon
Shoes: Payless
Fangs: Scarecrow

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Reader Question: Goth Menswear (and Fan Art)

Hey was wondering if you could help me out, do you have any style tips or know any good sites that do men's goth wear? I spend a lot of time in charity shops and even volunteer at one so about 75% of my clothing is second hand and I have no problem finding clothes that can be turned goth but I never find anything for men! Any ideas? 

PS: Love the blog, whenever I'm feeling out of sorts your blog takes me right back to my mental graveyard.
PS: PS: I found this during a clear out it's an old picture I drew of you.

Thanks for writing in, Alex! And thank you even more for this drawing, it's so cute! Ah! I'm really flattered and pretty speechless about it, so just imagine me flailing my hands in gratitude.

Moving on to a little discussion about goth menswear. 

Now, I'm not a man and beyond a certain, ahem, fascination with men in suits, I don't know a lot about menswear. What I do know is that there are a few different types of looks you can look into so I'll start with that. This is by no means a comprehensive directory of men's fashion in Goth (I won't even begin to try and explain how one goes about achieving a rivethead or cybergoth look, there are some things I'm just not equipped for), but it should give you some idea:


The most basic Goth menswear is pretty casual. Sticking with basics of jeans (black, gray, or darkwash) and black t-shirts, you can then embellish with interesting modded jackets, vests, wallets, shoes/boots, band shirts, etc. you'll make the look more Goth. The best place to find these kinds of accents (particularly band shirts), in my opinion, is humble eBay, but there are also some wonderful graphic tees on sites like Spiral Direct or Kinky Angel that you might like. As always, for boots look for respected companies like Demonia, Dr. Martens, and New Rocks but don't turn down study combat boots, black dress shoes, or canvas sneakers in a thrift store.

TradGoth and Deathrock

To embrace an edgier tradgoth or deathrock style you're going to want to add a lot of DIY touches to your look. So, yes, start with the basis of jeans or trousers and a band shirt, but add more customized details. Band patches or pins, bits of lace or fishnet, chains, studs, etc. will all add a darker vibe to an otherwise ordinary outfit. Again, for patches and pins eBay is a good bet, but also Etsy can yield some interesting fonds. Be sure to check out makeup and hair tutorials on youtube to complete your look. 

RomantiGoth and Victorian Goth

For this look think Dave Vanian's vampire phase: poet shirts, jeans/trousers, velvet and lace touches at your sleeves or collar. While they can be quite expensive, I recommend Gallery Serpentine for beautiful, elaborate jackets and vests (and remember, if you're basing your wardrobe mostly on thrifted finds it's easier to justify the cost of one or two more expensive pieces.) If you have a more Victorian aesthetic consider looking to style examples like the young count from Bram Stoker's Dracula. You'll want more historically accurate clothing here, in black with touches of color, and for that I recommend Gentleman's Emporium.


Lastly, Corpgoth, which is pretty much general officewear with a fancier twist. Think: suits, trousers, jackets, button-ups, scarves, fancy shoes, etc. with gothic details in the tie, wrist cuffs, etc. For inspiration look to Tumblr user Sinister Sartorialist, who I've been a fan of for ages and who has happily provided a guide to finding menswear and building a lovely wardrobe.

Now, your personal style probably isn't going to fit into just *one* of these categories. You'll probably blend a few elements together, or switch between them on a day to day basis. The thing about asking for advice for a "Goth" look is that there isn't really one look, and your personal tastes impact it a lot. In general I'd say in thrift stores you're going to want to look for well-fitted dark jeans, suits/suit jackets, graphic t-shirts (if you can find them), leather jackets, old ties, and button-up shirts. Of course, if you live somewhere where there aren't a lot of alternative types you're going to have a harder time finding Goth-appropriate clothing, but don't underestimate the effect a bottle of black clothing dye or some DIY accents can have on something you found in the 99 cent bin.

Readers, do you have any suggestions for Alex for where to find Goth men's clothing? 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The 5 Best Vampire Movies

Happy almost Halloween, readers! While our Halloween festivities here in Scotland are a bit limited, I've been loading up on wonderful Halloween movies to pass the time. Of course, for me, that includes a lot of vampire flicks. So, I thought I'd list my top five vampire movies of all time.

The Hunger

Is there anything better than David Bowie being a vampire? Well, perhaps David Bowie being a vampire in the same movie in which Peter Murphy sings Bela Lugosis Dead in a cage. While the movie isn't what I would call a horror movie, it's amazingly atmospheric and I always recommend that other people watch it. Yeah, it's just great.

Interview with a Vampire

Around the time everyone on the internet was making fun of Tom Cruise's acting career and religious views, I was a young babybat and had just watched Interview with a Vampire, so I didn't understand that at all. While Queen of the Damned is also a fun movie in a different kind of way, this is just simply one of the best vampire adaptations of the last few decades, no question.

Horror of Dracula (or, Dracula, 1958)

While there's plenty of blood to be had in the previous few movies, I wouldn't call them gorey in particular. However, the stomach-churning scene in which Christopher Lee rakes pieces of his own face away just stun me. If you don't remember that scene, it's because it was cut out until it's restoration in later Blu-Ray releases. Boo!

The Lost Boys

Okay, so we've got older vampires down, but what about young heart-throbs? Kiefer Sutherland's David probably cemented my attraction to guys that look like Billy Idol (also Spike from Buffy, obviously) and there's no replacing the camp fun that comes from hanging out with other Goths and quoting "It's fun to be a vampire" at each other.

Bram Stoker's Dracula

On the darkly romantic side of the classic Dracula tale is Bram Stoker's Dracula, a supremely beautiful movie with a haunting soundtrack and lovely costumes. I hadn't watched this since my early teens so when I re-watched it recently I ended up buying the soundtrack and humming a lot for the next two days. Definitely not to be missed.

What do you think, readers? What is your favorite vampire movie?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Death Becomes Her

Hey guys! Today's midweek post is just a quick excuse to say hi and show off an event that looks like tons of fun. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, one of the biggest and best art museums in the United States, has a new show up starting from yesterday called Death Becomes Her: A Century of Mourning Attire.

Here's a quick blurb from the press release:

The thematic exhibition is organized chronologically and features mourning dress from 1815 to 1915, primarily from The Costume Institute’s collection. The calendar of bereavement’s evolution and cultural implications are illuminated through women’s clothing and accessories, showing the progression of appropriate fabrics from mourning crape to corded silks, and the later introduction of color with shades of gray and mauve. 

I've posted about the Met's collection of gothable clothing on this blog before, but it's worth noting that they have a fabulous collection and this show looks like it's going to be great.

If you're interested in seeing the exhibition, it is running from October 21st to February 1st of next year. Obviously I'm in Scotland for the moment, but I'll be visiting the states in January so I might be able to pop up to New York while I'm there.

Would you go see the exhibit? What do you think should be included?