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!


  1. I love how you turn something unpleasant (compulsory corporate look) into imaginative thoughts and ideas for a corp goth option. I would add: purple satin blouses with black corp pants or skirts, lacey tights, pointed shoes with (discreet) buckles, officer black jacket (very classy but gothy as well), ruffled blouses with, again, corp black bottoms... Good luck for your job!

    1. I like to keep on the positive side of things! Lacey tights are a great idea. Thank you for your good wishes!

  2. Congrats and good luck with the new job.

  3. Agreed, I like that you're turning a dress code into an exploration of options. :) When I had a corporate job, I wore relatively simple styles all in black. It wasn't a super exciting wardrobe, but it made getting dressed really easy. :) My current workplace has virtually no dress code, which is awesome... but I do sometimes struggle to decide what to wear.

    Congratulations, and best of luck on your new job!

  4. Congratulations on the Graduation. It can take a long time to collect an office appropriate wardrobe. Especially from thrift stores but it can done! I was more on the Corpgoth side about 15 years ago. My current job lets me wear whatever I want to. Now I am more romantic goth. The best time of year to shop mainstream stores is fall into holiday season. That's when they have more lace and velvet in the stores than usual. Best wishes on the new job! :)

  5. congrats! and welcome to the corp dress code world. our dress code is business casual. which means nothing. you've got people in jeans and people in 80s powersuits. you'll get a sense of the culture of your setting when you actually start. I'd wear some safe things the first few weeks until you get a sense how other people dress. don't waste your money buying a bunch of suit jackets and find out everyone's wearing jeans and t-shirts.

  6. Dresses were my corporate girl wardrobe staple. Soft, non creasing jersey dresses for travelling in comfort and arriving looking still fairly put together. A well fitting pencil skirt and cardigan - I love Banned's black lace rose cardigan for work with said pencil skirt and opaques / dressy tights - you can find it here (UK supplier, sorry) -

    Super flattering, super soft and very pretty with a plain long sleeve black tee underneath.

    I always get away with Mary Janes - I walk a lot so tend not to go for heels and you can kick them off when travelling.

    Best of luck with the job, and enjoy graduation.

  7. My company is on the VERY conservative end of the spectrum, so for me anything with (visible) lace is not work attire. I don't mind being an "undercover goth" too much though - my work wardrobe staples are dresses and cardigans/ blazers. I tried to wear colors for my first internships and realized that I would inevitably feel self-conscious in them, so by now I'm fine wearing mostly black and navy colors, adding scarves with some patterns and color. I'd suggest expanding your work-wardrobe slowly, to get a feeling for what works for your work environment and personal comfort. otherwise you might end up with a wardrobe full of "corp style" pieces, which you never wear (I donated 5 blouses after realizing I just don't like wearing that particular cut...)

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