Saturday, May 30, 2015

Building a Goth Wardrobe from Scratch

One of the most common questions I get asked, both via e-mail and on Tumblr, is how one should go about building a Goth wardrobe. While I've written other articles about my own personal wardrobe plans and guides for plus-sized Goths, I've yet to write a general guide about building a Goth wardrobe from scratch. Still, I think it's time I pulled everything together so here's my guide for building a Goth wardrobe completely from scratch.

Before you Begin

Before you even begin planning, know that there is no reason not to build a Goth wardrobe if that's what you enjoy. People e-mail me all the time worried that they are too young, or too old, or too fat, or they listen to other music besides 80's post-punk, or whatever, and I want to assuage that worry from the get-go. There's no one way to be a Goth and no reason not to build this wardrobe that you want.

Also, resist the temptation to throw out all your old clothes and buy all new over night. Doing that isn't economical and will more than likely leave you confused as to what to wear. I'm not sure what your style is before you make the transition into Goth, but chances are there are some things that can be worked into a Goth wardrobe fairly easily. A good pair of jeans, white or red blouses, black skirts, black t-shirts, and the like are all reasonable things to put into a Goth wardrobe that you might already have.

It'll also be a good idea to find a measuring tape and make a note of your measurements. Many Goth folks buy some of their clothes online so knowing what size you are is pretty essential for us. At bare minimum, know your waist measurement, chest, and hips. If you don't know how to measure yourself effectively, check this link here.

If you have a dress code at work or at school, now is the time to look into that and see what your limitations are. While you probably will have opportunities to dress more extravagantly Goth outside of those places, if you want to be wearing Goth clothing all the time you'll need to know what your limitations are.

Bat Bored


Brainstorming your wardrobe comes next and luckily this step is also extremely fun and there are a lot of different ways to plan on whatever websites you frequent most often. Having a Pinterest board devoted to style inspiration, a Tumblr blog, or Polyvore sets are all great ways to explore different styles and see what appeals to you.

You might find that there are lots of different styles that appeal to you. You might look at a Pin-Up inspired look and decide you really like how that looks, but also a more Trad-Goth look, but also Gothic Lolita, but also.... ack, it all looks so good! That's perfectly okay. For practicality reasons, you might want to narrow your focus initially, but there's no reason your style can't encompass lots of different Gothic styles.

That being said, not everything that appeals to you will be very practical for your day to day life. Yes, a full Victorian Gothic look is striking and lovely, but if you're still in high school in Florida, that's not going to be practical at all. Take into account your dress codes, either for school or for work, as well as your climate.

You might also have to come to terms with some facts about yourself and your own clothing preferences. For instance, I love how high-collared shirts look, but I find them very uncomfortable to wear so I avoid buying them even though I really like how they look. (High heels are a similar problem for many people.) If you don't have the time or energy to take care of clothing that is hand-wash only or dry-clean only, look for easier to clean versions.

Men's Wardrobe


Planning is the next step where you make more direct decisions about how you'll go about working on your wardrobe. First is to make a list of the things you'll need to buy. Back in 2012 I wrote a list about what makes a basic wardrobe which I think holds up here, but absolutely tailor that list to what you need (this list from F Yeah Lolita about a complete Lolita wardrobe is an excellent example of a list tailored to your specific style.) That list was meant to be very basic to fit a variety of clothing styles, so you won't see fancier items of clothing there. If you have a more specific style that you're aiming for, your list will vary slightly.

Most of the pieces you buy will probably be in all black, par for the course for us spooky types, which is great because it means most of the pieces you buy will match one another. Still, don't be afraid to add color into your wardrobe, Goths don't have to all wear black. What colors you wear are up to you but red and purple are very popular for Goths.

Willow Whisp


When making your purchases you're going to want to buy the absolute basics in neutral colors (black, usually) first. Jeans or trousers or basic skirts, t-shirts or button-up tops, hosiery, etc. can all be found at regular chain stores relatively inexpensively. These are the most important part of your wardrobe because they can stand alone as outfits and then have more elaborate pieces added to them over time. A wardrobe that starts with very elaborate pieces will be more restricting and you'll find it difficult to make lots of different outfits.

When it comes to the more extravagant items (corsets, fancy boots, hats, waistcoats, expensive jewelry, fancy dresses, etc.) these should probably be purchased over time as additions to your wardrobe. What these items are depends on your personal style but they'll probably be from more Goth-focused online retailers, which I've compiled an in-progress list of on this page here. These pieces will usually be more expensive than your basics (I have a post on justifying the cost of expensive items here) so look out for sales from online Goth companies, especially around the holiday season.

You can also find Goth-appropriate pieces from mainstream fashion stores around the fall and winter, since designers tend to favor darker colors, vintage motifs, richer materials, and generally "alternative" looks during those times. At the end of the season these items will likely be on clearance, so keep an eye out for those as well.

Thrift stores are also beloved of Gothy types, with good reason. Cheap, unique clothing that you can DIY to your heart's content. That being said, when you're going into a thrift store resist the temptation to just buy up everything that -might- be fun to wear just because it's cheap. Stick to your plan as best you can even when in a thrift store.


DIY and Accessories

Accessories make the difference between a plain black outfit and a Goth one so pay attention to the things you add to your outfit. Jewelry, bag, scarf, hat, etc. are all points of interest for you to pay attention to. They don't have to be extremely expensive, either. Be sure to check out Etsy and smaller retailers for truly wonderful pieces for your Goth look.

As always, DIY is one of the best ways to add a unique touch to your Goth style with just a bit of ingenuity. You don't have to be prepared to whip up a whole outfit from scratch, but basic decorative touches like understanding how to apply lace to a sleeve, sew on patches, apply studs, embroider, change buttons, etc. will ensure that the pieces you buy are unique to you.

And there you have it! A great Goth wardrobe cannot be built overnight but by planning it out and making smart purchases over time you can build something truly workable. Many of us never truly "complete" our wardrobes and are constantly evolving and adding new pieces but if you can make a unique outfit for every day of the week plus one or two for special occasions, that'll be a great foundation to build on.

What are your best tips for building a Goth wardrobe?

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Reader Mail: Choosing a Room Color

My parents are letting me repaint my room soon, it is currently bright pink.
EWWW!! It is a large room but my mom wont let me paint it black. Do you have
any suggestions that will make my room a gothic color without it being
BLACK!!!! I cant think of anything, and your help is needed. Thanks

Choosing a room color is an interesting proposition as it sets the tone for the rest of your room. That being said, it's not the most important thing.  In the past I've written an article about designing a Gothic room around an un-Goth wall color, which you might find interesting. But! That being said, you've been given a great gift in being able to repaint your room. So, my top picks for a room color would be:


Red is an extremely pretty room color that comes into trend every now and again for home designs, especially the bedroom. If an all-red room seems overwhelming, consider painting an accent wall red and the other walls a more neutral color.


So, black is out, but what about gray? Grays come in a lot of tones from almost-white to charcoal and lots of undertones, from warm pinky-grays to cool blue-grays. A medium tone gray makes a great plain background that will match with lots of different decor styles.


A gorgeous royal purple is a great color for any kind of elegant gothic room. Deep purples lend themselves well toward Victorian or Romantic designs but are actually quite versatile. Bane of Goth It Yourself has a lot of purple in her home so you can see what it might look like for your space.

But, as I've said, you can make a Goth room out of any paint color. My room is robin's egg blue, for example, and I quite like how it looks. You could make a gorgeous Gothic room with a rich emerald green or a pale lavender or stark white. Don't forget that you can also use vinyl decals, stencils, or other add-ons to your color to give it an look unique to your space. So pick something that plays well with the decor of your room and get painting!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Wednesday Wrap-Up #1

Hey everyone! I'm slowly starting to get back into the swing of things here which means I'll be back to posting before you know it. I have a back-log of reader mail and questions to get through, as well as some interesting new collaborations coming up, but I thought I'd start by giving some lip-service to some of the wonderful things I've seen around the web lately.


Digital Throne - The U Project
The lovely Em Weston contacted me to show me this music video for their goth industrial / alternative rock band that's just starting up and I've positively loved it, so I look forward to hearing more from them in the future.

Sanity - Whiskey & Speed
I've been on a weird punk-y sludge metal kick lately. Is that weird? Anyway, Whiskey & Speed have been filling that little hole in my heart lately. Their album The New Dumb Idea is available for name-your-price on Bandcamp here and it's full of raw punky goodness.

Only When I Lose Myself - Depeche Mode
Okay, it's an oldie, but a goodie. Depeche Mode is one of my favorite bands and this song has been on-repeat on my iPod for a while now, so it's worth shoving in all your faces I think.

Fashion and Beauty

Goth Makeup Tutorial for Guys - It's Black Friday
Black Friday is one of my favorite Youtubers at the moment, she's just so charming and funny in her videos, and now she has a tutorial for guy's goth makeup featuring her SO. Neat!

Exercise-Proof Goth Makeup - Bats and Dumbells
I don't wear makeup when I go out for runs (especially now that summer is creeping up on us Maryland folk) but for those of you that do, Bats and Dumbells has a fantastic tutorial for Goth makeup that stays put and won't melt!

I Believe You Call This Fashion? - The Everyday Goth
Yup, boasting about my own selfies, as you do. I bought a pair of wide-legged trousers at a thrift store recently and have been absolutely adoring them, so expect to see them in some outfit posts in the near future.


Skull Icon Patch - Evil Supply Co.
Evil Supply Co. just redesigned their website and it looks fucking fantastic, so as I was browsing a couple of things caught my eye. I'm working on a patch jacket right now (keep an eye out for that post!) and this is on my to-order list, as well as this cute bat patch.

Skull Necklace - Kerry Dyer
Kerry Dyer is a sculptor and puppet maker who just opened this store to sell some of her products and this simple two-skull resin necklace caught my eye. I can't decide if I want the white or the black more!

Bats Beach Towel - Sin in Linen
I've featured the lovely folk from Sin in Linen before on this blog, they're an absolute delight and I think they sell absolutely gorgeous stuff. This towel caught my eye because it's coming up on beach season and my beach bag will be Goth or it will be Bullshit.

What's been going on in your corners of the web?