Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Why the "40 Years of Goth Style" Video Fails

So this video has been bouncing around the internet lately, have y'all seen it? My grandmother posted in on Facebook, and if she could find it I'm sure you all have. It's a "recap" of the evolution of Goth style, kind of/sort of related to those 100 Years of X Fashion videos. Someone on Tumblr asked me what I thought, so I figured it was time to explain why it just doesn't work for me.

So for starters, the continuity of this video is weird. It seems like they were stuck half-way between wanting to do one of the aforementioned 100 Years videos and wanting to recreate the Goth types drawings by Megan Balanck that have been around forever.

Let's start with the obvious. Steampunk and Rockabilly are not Goth. Yes, they can be tangentially related, but they're not part of the Goth umbrella. What you can say about them is that Goths do cross over and borrow styles from each, but they are interesting subcultures with their own histories that should be explored. The Death Rock one has a similar problem in that it evolved more or less alongside Goth, rather than springing from "Batcave" style.

Side note: what is that Death Rock hairstyle? Yikes.

Really, Goth style is best discussed not has one style taking over another (like the video implies) but as the ebb and flow of trends that some Goths participated in and the influences of other, simultaneously evolving, subcultures.  It also ignores revivals, like the recent TradGoth revival we've been having.

The biggest problem I have with this is that they picked a non-Goth model and she looks "off" in every look, except for the pin-up inspired style (which is the closest to her real-life style which you can see on her Instagram. Go figure.) It's hard for me to put my finger on why. Bad wigs? Makeup not suiting her face? General sense of unease? I was trying to figure it out when I mentioned the video to my father.

Me: So whenever a non-Goth tries to dress like a Goth, they look "off." Even if they're being dressed and having their makeup done by a real Goth.
My dad: Maybe it's not the black on the outside that matters, but the black on the inside? 

Probably true, dad.

But really, if you had a Gothic Lolita on set they would have been able to stop you from doing... whatever you did to this poor woman's mouth.

I'm not trying to be mean to the people behind the video, but I would love to see one of these staffed entirely by Goths, before we get overwhelmed with even more videos from Buzzfeed of normal people "trying out" Goth as clickbait.

What do you all think of the video? Have you been struck by how weird some non-Goths look when they try Goth fashion? What would you have changed?

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Currently Loving: Letterboxd

People I meet always seem shocked by the number of movies I've managed to not see. Many film classics have just slipped me by because 1) I don't have the patience to sit through many movies and 2) I can't seem to keep track of my list of films to watch.

Some of you may know that I've been a long time lover of Goodreads, the website that lets you track your reading. You can set a goal for a certain number of books to read in a year, join groups to discuss books, create shelves to organize what you're reading, keep a track record of all the books you've been meaning ton get into, and get recommendations based on the books you really love. It's one of my favorite websites, even if I sometimes fall behind and don't read as much as I would like. For a while I've searching for a website that does something similar for movies and television, and recently I stumble on Letterboxd.

Letterboxd doesn't have everything that Goodreads has. There's no effective recommendation algorithm, so you're basically on your own finding movies that appeal to you, but that's where user-made movie lists can come in handy. Just searching for a key term, say, "horror film" will come up with people making lists of horror films, or even more specific ones, such as Japanese Horror Films, Slasher Horror Films, etc.

You can review movies, giving them 0-5 stars (with half stars) and adding your commentary. Since the site attracts film buffs, some people's reviews are pretty good reads, too. What I also liked is that, no matter what review you give the movie, you can also indicate separately that you enjoyed it. So, a dumb movie that was terrible in pretty much every way but which you nonetheless enjoyed? Just like it.

If you want you can follow my movie list on Letterboxd here! Do any of you use Letterboxd? How do you keep track of the movies you've been meaning to see? What was the last good movie you watched?

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Reader Mail: Becoming a Goth

Hi,I'AM A 17 yr old African American girl and I'am interested in being a
goth. I listen to goth music: Bauhaus, switchblade symphony,the
cure.etc,wear black clothes,read Gothic literature, look at dark art, and
watch old horror movies. but my mom thinks i only like goth for the
fashion,i'm not really a goth inside,and my room isn't very goth.What should
i do?

I personally am of the belief that if you like Goth things, which you do, and you want to be a Goth, which you seem to, then you are a Goth. It's not unusual to feel like you have to do something "more" (I get similar e-mails all the time) but that's really it.

As for your mother, what she's saying is plainly not true. You do like things about Goth that aren't fashion related, so just don't worry about it. She might be slightly confused about what Goth is, so if you really feel the need you can explain it to her, but personally I don't think you need to prove your gothness to her or to anyone else.

As for your room, it's pretty easy to redecorate your room in a goth way if that's what you're interested in.

A few years ago I posted a list of 100 DIYs for Goth dorms which would probably also work for your room. If you can't paint your room, I also have a post about disguising a non-goth wall color in your room.

 You might also want to check out Pinterest for some more inspiration: I have a bunch of boards dedicated to Gothic decor and you can have a poke around to see what you like and what you might want to do to your room.

Long-time readers will know that I take a more relaxed approach to being a Goth. Being a Goth shouldn't be difficult or something you have to try really hard to do, it should just be who you are. What do you all think about the process of "becoming a Goth"?

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Etsy Spotlight: Paragon of Design by Skrocki

*This post is not sponsored*

Recently, I've been in contact with leather and metalworkers Skrocki about their amazing Etsy store Paragon of Design, and I had to share with you all. They create masks, guitar straps, accessories, and jewelry that I've fallen in love with. Their designs take inspiration from Celtic patterns, Egyptian motifs, and tons of other sources and many of them compliment a Goth aesthetic perfectly. Here are a few of my favorite designs currently on their website:

Please go check out Skrocki for some of their amazingly gorgeous leatherworked and metalworked goods! You can also find them on their website, Facebook, and Instagram!

What are your current favorite Etsy stores?

Saturday, June 4, 2016

DIY Goth Planner Pagemarkers

Who's ready for an easy, cheap planner DIY that works no matter what planner you use?

I recently switched into a Filofax binder planner and have been loving the many ways I can customize it to suit my needs. While browsing Etsy, where I get most of my planner supplies, I started finding lots of beautiful decorative bookmarks for planners. These bookmarks are great because you can add different ones to change the decor scheme of your planner. My original decor scheme has been black and white, but I'm starting to add touches of lime green and purple which I can remove whenever I get bored and want to try something new. The combinations are endless, just depending on what embellishments you use.

They didn't look to hard to make (and most people don't make Goth-appropriate bookmarks outside of October) so I figured I would try my hand at making my own.

These felt bookmarks on the left are from Created by Danielle on Etsy and I love them, great quality and super cute. I also bought the bat in orange and green for when I want to switch up the look of my planner.

For this project you will need:

Paperclips (jumbo works best, and I used silver, but paperclips come in all kinds of colors nowadays.)
Embellishments (mine are from Michaels Arts & Crafts Store in the scrapbooking section. You could also use gothy flat backs, bottle caps, coins, cameos, or whatever else you like! )
Stickers (mine are from Evil Supply Co.)
Glue (Keep in mind that you will be grabbing your paperclips by the embellishment on the end, so use a strong glue.
Cardstock, thin foam, or felt for backing (optional)

When using a Scrapbooking embellishment, you start the project with your embellishment of choice and simply glue it to the paperclip so that the doubled-over end of the paperclip is pointing down. Then cover the back glue with paper, foam, or felt.

When using a sticker, it's much the same except that you sandwich the paperclip between the sticker and cardstock (If you have two of the same sticker, you can also sandwich it between two stickers so that it is double sided, but I find that the added stiffness of the cardstock helps keep the sticker's shape.)

Once you find out how ridiculously simple it is, you can make an army of them in different colors and patterns. 

Here's what some of them look like marking different pages in my planner.

When I'm not using them to mark pages I also keep a few of them in the front pocket of my planner along with some sticky notes as decoration.

Do any of you use planners? If so, do you decorate them? Or are they purely functional?

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

OOTD: Bottle Green

A few weeks ago I mentioned I was building up a corporate wardrobe for work. Part of my list of things to get were a few cocktail dresses which I could use for evening events which we host. I'm already looking into a black one, but when I stumbled on this bottle green velvet beauty from Modcloth, I fell in love at once.

Here I'm wearing it with a black shawl (vintage), black heeled Mary Janes (thrifted), gold jewelry (assorted), and a black camisole underneath. For work I will probably go for a higher camisole so the entire ensemble is less cleavage-heavy and a thick cuff bracelet to cover my wrist tattoo, but for a test run I thought this suited perfectly.

From behind, a few of the shawl (and my uneven hair.)

Close up of the draping at the neckline.
Stay tuned for more corporate OOTDs as I begin assembling my wardrobe.