Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Black Velvet Cincher Review - True Corset

I own a fair few corsets by now, which is really fortunate for me as I've come to love them as inner wear as well as outer-wear. Nothing smoothes the line under a pretty slinky dress quite like a corset. I own several patterns and colors, black, silver, blue, striped, damask, but what I really have been wanting for quite some time was a black velvet corset. When True Corset approached me to ask if I would like to review one of their corsets, I immediately jumped on the opportunity to add to my collection and try out a new corset retailer.

The model I chose was this Steel Boned Black Velvet Cincher Corset. The package came from True Corset quite quickly and bundled up nicely. Of course, it's now approaching the humid, hot Maryland summer, so I wanted to wear it often sooner rather than later.

Unlike many corsets, this cincher does not have a peak under the bust and is largely flat all the way around. For me, this means that it's actually very comfortable to wear--where on a normal corset that peak interferes with my braline, this one doesn't at all. It also makes it an extremely versatile piece to be worn on top of any kind of outfit. The steel bones are very nicely supportive as well.

The laces on this corset are nice and sturdy and don't seem to be fraying at all around the grommets, which is good. On the inside, the corset is lined with a cottony fabric which keeps it from being hot and sticky against the skin. I couldn't find a stitch out of place on any of it.

Are there any downsides? Well, like any velvet fabric, the corset attracts lint and pet hair like a magnet. Still, Goths are pretty used to this by now, and if you don't mind giving yourself a nice lint rolling after cuddling Fluffy, it shouldn't be too much of a problem.

All in all, though, I think this corset looks pretty great! It matches so many things in my closet and is going to be making a lot of appearances, especially when we reenter autumn and winter. I plan on keeping this corset as an outer piece, rather than a foundation garment, just because it's so pretty.

If you are in the market for a new corset, or if you just want to stock up your wishlist for when you are, check out True Corset! The link to this velvet cincher is right here, but there are tons of other options. Their Gothic corsets collection is pretty gorgeous and fits a range of sizes while not breaking the bank.

What is your favorite corset, if you have one? If not, would you wear velvet in the summer?

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Goth in All White

As I posted about a few weeks ago, I had to wear white this past Saturday to participate in a 100 year old college tradition called Laurel Parade. Yeah. A Goth wearing white. Tragic.

As a part of graduation weekend, the seniors wear all white (plus accessories in our class color, blue) and then carry a long laurel chain to wrap around the grave of the college founder. We are joined on all sides by alumnae dating back to 1946 and beyond who are on campus for their reunions. When there, we sing the school song and Bread and Roses in tribute to labor strikes from the early 20th century.

An alumnae class processes in their class color, red.
It's a wonderful tradition and it was very emotional to walk with my best friends and be greeted on all sides by alumnae, the perfect first step to graduating.

My dress was just a basic white one from eShakti, and I wore our class scarf and a pretty floral wreath that I got off of Etsy. My plan for the dress, because it is cotton, is to dye it so that I can wear it again, maybe dark purple or red. 

And then, on Sunday, I graduated cum laude in History and Art History . Whoo!

So, for now, onto the corporate job that I blogged about previously. Then, back to academia for graduate school.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Corp without Corp Goth?

So, I graduate college this Sunday. No big deal or anything (except that I am internally screaming at all times.) With that comes entering the job market. In college I've been blessed to have jobs that don't require me to change my appearance much at all, but not so right now. I got a job I am pumped for which will be great experience and hopefully a good addition to my resume for when I apply to graduate school. But, it has a corporate dress code.

The dress code I've been sent uses such charming words as "business professional," "corporate conservative," and "no visible tattoos." My job also requires travel, which means I need more basic pieces that all work well together. While I don't have an assigned uniform, the corporate uniform of black two-piece suits and conservative button-ups is calling me.

Corp-Goth as a style is versatile, from the very conservative with just hints of more Gothic colors to elaborate, very-Gothy and even fetish-y inspired outfits. Some people can get away with a skull-printed tie or belt, others can't. I need a look on the more conservative end of the spectrum. So, what to do?

1. Limited color palette

Probably the most obvious thing is to not go out and buy lots of colors, not that I would do that of my own accord anyway. For starters, I'm sticking primarily with black, turquoise, red, and gray. I might incorporate others later (I've been loving olive green, royal blue, and eggplant colors lately, especially if they happen to be in a gorgeous velvet) but for now keeping it simple and dark will hopefully be keeping me looking on the gothier side.

This red lace floral dress would be pretty good for dressier work events, but something in this bright red color looks wonderful as a blouse poking out from under a black blazer or as a skirt with black suit top and black tights. It just adds a pop of fun color that isn't too far off the end of the gothy color spectrum.

2. Vintage touches 

Vintage styles can fit a more Goth aesthetic without seeming at all inappropriate for a work environment. High-waisted trousers and skirts, pretty buttons, and tea-length skirts all fit the constraints of my dress code. While I won't be doing anything rockabilly with cherries and skulls, I think I'll be able to find a couple of pieces in Gothic stores that would suit the kind of look I am going for.

I personally love these pants by Chicstar. I own a skirt with a similar cut and it holds up very well. Wide-legged trousers always strike me as more business appropriate and a little vintage-y. The blouse is also pretty cute, but I can find something like that at a more mainstream store fairly inexpensively.

3. Long sleeves

Yeah, I need to cover up my tattoo somehow so I will be wearing a lot of long sleeves. I actually don't own too many long sleeved blouses of my own accord, so we'll see what I can come up with. I'm gravitating to a lot of peasant-sleeved blouses recently because I think they look romantic without being either too boring or too witchy.

This blouse from Macy's is currently unavailable but it should give an idea about what I'm looking for.

I won't want to wear long sleeves all the time (I need 2-3 cocktail dresses and finding one that is plus-size friendly, not hideous, and not $400 is bad enough without adding in long sleeves as well) so what I was going to do was buy one or two wrist cuff bracelets like these ones by Forever 21 which should cover it perfectly.

4. Lots of lace

Lace is another one of those details that can be pretty Gothy while not being work inappropriate, so I'll be incorporating it where I can on blouses, skirts, and dresses. Hopefully black lace will be a little bit easier to find when we get closer to autumn and winter here in the northern hemisphere and then I can add it to pretty much anything.

This black lace dress is a little bit on the dressy side just for regular work days but with a blazer over top it should work out pretty nicely and still have the lace overlay on the skirt and at the neckline. I think paired with more practical business tights and shoes it would look even better for my purposes.

5. Dress in my down time

I am working six days a week and I have about a month break every six months (don't ask, my work schedule is bizarre) so what's left for me to do but dress how I want to in my down time? I'm honestly not that bummed about having to tone things down for a while (I've been cultivating a black pencil-skirt filled wardrobe for years now, so it's not that out of my comfort zone) but I will enjoy dressing how I want to on my days off.

The outfit on the right from might even be work appropriate (or dressy work event appropriate, anyway) but it looks so amazing done up with gloves and more Gothy accessories and makeup.

So, it's about time for me to go to some thrift stores and see what kind of magic I can work to assemble something business appropriate.

What is the dress code where you work? Can you do what you want, or is it more conservative?

P.S. I won't be posting this Saturday because I have a million graduation related things going on right now, but next Wednesday's post should be a lot of fun!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

"Gothic to Goth: Romantic Era Fashion & Its Legacy" at the Wadsworth Atheneum

Yesterday, two of my good friends and I decided to take the forty-five minute drive to Hartford, Connecticut to see an exhibit at the Wadsworth Atheneum entitled Gothic to Goth: Romantic Era Fashion & Its Legacy. One of my friends had actually heard about it from the curator during the planning stages a few years back, so we were excited to see how it actually panned out.

 To preface this, I'm not only a Goth (as evidenced by this whole blog,) but I'm graduating in a week with my BA in History and Art History. One of my biggest areas of interest is the Gothic Revival during the nineteenth century, and after a couple of years of working I will be returning to graduate school to pursue a Masters and then PhD. So, I have double-vested interest in this museum exhibit. Just thought I would put all my cards on the table before we begin.

The Wadsworth Atheneum is a museum which houses lots of different kinds of art, from pre-Medieval all the way up through contemporary. It's housed in a neo-Gothic, castle-like building on Main Street in Hartford.

(The "OMG," as I later discovered, is not just tacky signage, but also an instillation by a contemporary artist Jack Pierson. The website calls it a "colorful and engaging addition to the museum’s historic, Gothic-revival fa├žade." I call it tacky, but what do I know.)

It has really nice galleries as far as I can tell, and I enjoyed wandering through. The Gothic to Goth exhibit is on the third floor. We started there and wound our way down through the rest of the exhibits.

No photography was allowed in the exhibit. Fortunately, I have a propensity for breaking the rules (especially stupid ones, but more on that at a later date) and snapped a couple of photos. If I get tracked by the FBI and have to remove these photos, sorry in advance.

The overall space was a little bit confusing to me. It wasn't chronological, but it also wasn't entirely thematic. It seemed to sprawl, taking paintings from the first decades of the nineteenth century and sitting them alongside dresses from the 1860s. There was very little sign posting about where you were supposed to begin or end (and you could entirely work backwards, if you didn't have any idea what you were doing.)

Also, it seems weird to me to title the exhibit "Gothic to Goth" and not talk about, you know, actual Gothic art from the Medieval period, but what do I know.

Side note: the dress that they use in the promotional shots, the blue and black one, is one of the most gorgeous dresses I have ever seen, hands-down. It also has an amazing Chantilly lace shawl with it from 1850 and I am stunned that it is in such good condition. Honestly the exhibit was worth $5 for me just to see that dress.

So, I have quibbles about the lay out and the history, but then again I've worked in museums before and I like history, so for other people that might not be as big of an issue. If you're just here to see examples of gorgeous clothing and art, you'll probably enjoy the exhibit. We all loved looking at the clothing and art regardless of the way it was presented.

Except, for readers of this blog, the "Goth" bit.

The exhibit wraps around in a circle and ends with talking about modern Romantic Revivals, which was a tiny room with very little context whatsoever. There were Steampunk pieces, two Alexander McQueen dresses, a painting from the 18th century (again, what the hell is chronology?), a dress by Helene Hayes, and two "Goth" ensembles."


You know when you're watching one of those videos (probably by Buzzfeed) where someone who is not a Goth tries on Goth clothing and it never looks quite right? Even if they were wearing something that a Goth might conceivably wear, something about the styling makes it seem off? That's what these were like. They were assembled by Jean Paul Gaultier of all people.

Something about them is weird to me, possibly because they're so unrepresentative of Goth fashion as a whole? Rather than showing the diversity of Goth looks (or even the earlier 1980's ones that were more punk inspired), we see these. There's also very little mention of the music or political history of Goth, which I feel misrepresents the subculture. I probably wouldn't be as bemused by them if it weren't for this, excerpted from the catalog:

"Intertwined with the New Romantics, Goth reached its height in subculture fashion in the mid-1980s. Although Goth street style has since faded, some followers remain loyal, and the fashion aesthetic has never disappeared."

Hm. Okay. Goth "reached its height" in the 1980s, "faded," and only has "some" loyal followers. Right. Totally makes sense.

Also, now I'm nit-picking, but Jean in all his glory decided to add this Hot Topic wallet to the ensemble on the right and it clashes so much and is so desperately mall-Goth that I'm laughing.

Do I seem bitter or annoyed in this post? I don't really mean to, but I remain somewhat disappointed by the representation of Goth here. Goth has been represented in a lot of museum exhibits, including Gothic Dark Glamour at the Metropolitan Museum of Art which I own the accompanying book to and which I feel accurately captured so much of the subculture. So, academics and curators outside of Goth can write about Goth, but the curators of this exhibit chose not to. And that's sad.

So, would I recommend it? That entirely depends. If you want to see gorgeous period clothing, learn something (but take it with a grain of salt) and laugh a little about the continual misrepresentation of Goth, yes. I had a good afternoon out at it anyway, and I'm told the Wadsworth has free admission hours. So, if you're in the area, it might be worth it to you! (Also, I'm a sucker and bought the catalog, so evidently I was not so offended by it as maybe I seem now.)

Gothic to Goth: Romantic Era Fashion & Its Legacy runs until July 10, 2016. If you want to learn more, you can read about it on their website there.

So, would you go to this exhibit? If you were in charge of a museum exhibit about Goth, how would you go about it?

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Goth Looks I Love for Summer

Summer is just around the corner, isn't that weird? It feels like 2016 has just begun but it's nearly half over! We've already had some nice warm spring days here in Massachusetts (although it's been raining a lot recently so who knows when we'll get the nice weather back.) So, of course, for Gothy types that means trying to figure out how we're going to survive the heat.

(I'll be going corporate for much of this summer, so for me it's going to be a bit of a pain, but I'll talk about that at a later date!)

So let's have a look at what my picks are!

Trad Summer

Ripped or Laddered Clothing

Ripping your clothes gives them a gothic vibe while actually reducing on the amount of fabric actually touching your skin. Score! This summer (as with the last, what, five?) grunge clothing has been in style so you could buy laddered clothes if you really wanted, but they're also not hard to DIY. It's Black Friday has a good video tutorial of no-sew t-shirt laddering if you need a refresher.


Wearing shorts is the perfect opportunity to let some garters peek through, especially if attached to thigh high stockings or socks. There are all sorts of garters out there now days, from ones with O-Rings to lacey confections, and they add a very cute (and sometimes sexy) touch to most summer looks.

Southern Gothic #1

Ivory and Other Pale Neutrals

Goths talk a lot about wearing white (myself included) but you know what else is a good look for summer? Ivory and other pale, brown-y neutrals.  If you want to DIY this look, here's a basic tea or coffee dyeing guide. (This is also preferable if, like me, you're a bit accident prone and don't want to ruin a white garment within minutes of wearing it!)

Billowy Clothes with Structured Accents

Layering light, breathable fabrics like chiffon with structured elements like cage bras, harnesses, belts, corsets (on cooler days), etc. is one of my favorite looks and is absolutely perfect for summer. There are all sorts of tutorials for harnesses that you can make yourself out there, including ones for pentagram harnesses!

Summer Shun

DIY Denim Vests

Swapping out your black leather jacket for a black denim jacket or vest is a great way to keep from boiling yourself alive in the summer, and they're just as easy to customize! Pick up patches, studs, pins, lace, or whatever you like on Etsy, eBay, local shops, even HotTopic, and Goth up your wonderful vest.

Fishnet Shirts

Fishnet shirts add instant goth appeal to any less-than-interesting outfit (they're fantastic for layering), and if you can't find one near you, you can make one out of an old pair of fishnet tights! Adding rips or safety pins add another gothy touch. Just remember to add sunscreen if you don't want weird tan lines.

How are you all going to be keeping cool during the summer months?