Goodness, Snarklings! The Lady of the Manners has always been impressed with the Power Of The Internet that our shadowy subculture has at its communal fingers, but didn’t expect quite such the flurry of helpful responses when she asked for useful links and resources for Goths in a family way! As promised, here is a collection of the information that various kind and helpful Snarklings sent in.
It looks like the Lady of the Manners’ first instinct was correct: a pregnant Goth’s best bet for finding maternity wear is to scour any stores that she can (be they thrift or consignment shops or stores that specialize in maternity wear) for anything that appeals to her, and then personalize everything with accessories. But there are all sorts of advice and Helpful Links collected here!
And of course eBay.com is a good place to look!
From Kimberly: You can find gothy maternity wear just about anywhere but you have to dig deep. Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize! With baby stuff I learned my lesson. With all the diaper and outfit changes it’s pointless to be super picky about baby clothes.
From Rachel: I’m pregnant for the second time, so I was particularly interested in your letter featuring a newly pregnant reader. She was asking for non-cutesy baby clothes and maternity wear in keeping with her personality. Would you mind if I suggested…
–A layette of all white. White is a neutral, compliments the purity and innocence of the baby, and is easily bleached!
–Target’s organic line, because the colors are simple and the shapes are un-fussy.
–Using E Bay or antique shops to find infant clothing from the ’40’s and ’50’s. As for her own wardrobe, I don’t have much advice. Tips which I benefited from the most were:
–Non-maternity elastic waist and smocked-waisted bottoms are comfortable and can be worn before, during, and after pregnancy. (I’m wearing some smocked-waist cotton-linen pants by Roxy right now.)
–Bella bands let you wear your own pants for a long time.
–Keep your clothing basic and accessorize with great jewelry and shoes.
–She also might try buying plus-size clothing and tailor them to fit her arms, bust, and shoulders.
From Miss Lolita: In your latest article you asked for links to stores that specialize in quirky/goth baby clothes, and the first website that came to mind was this: www.screamies.com I haven’t spent much time on the website myself, but I have seen several ads for it in Gothic Beauty Magazine. Personally though, I think the best thing goth moms-to-be can do is buy a few patterns and take up sewing, knitting, or crocheting. That way the baby or maternity clothes will turn out exactly how they want them. It would also be something to do, for those who are bedridden, or not able to spend much time on their feet. (I know of one goth lady who went out and bought a bunch of white t-shirts, and some iron-on paper, and printed out images of cartoon-ish skulls and bats for her baby’s clothes. The good thing about this method is you have something that’s both easily washable, and aesthetically pleasing.)
From Monique: How about this place? http://www.babywit.com/ There is some odd/dark/offbeat goodness there for sure. Big plus for having non-sweatshop merchandise, including some orgainics.
From Miss Lynx: While I’ll admit it’s not always easy, there are a few online shops I can recommend. One is Screamies, a side project of Dianna DiNoble of Starkers corset fame. No, it’s not baby corsets (thankfully), just handmade gothy and/or punky baby clothes. Unfortunately, the Screamies site doesn’t seem to be showing up properly for me right now, but I’m hoping that’s temporary. I’ve also heard that Sidonie Spectre of To Die For Designs is considering starting a line of gothy baby clothes, though there’s no evidence of it on her web site yet. And there’s a new site in the works from another local goth designer in my area that’s definitely going to include a few maternity- and nursing-friendly item, though I have to declare a conflict of interest on that one as I’m designing the web site for her. Anyway, it’ll be at http://www.absynthetika.com when it’s finished, probably by the end of the summer. But definitely available now, and very much worth getting, are some of the cooler patterns on the Babyhawk site. It’s a type of baby carrier based on the traditional Chinese “mei tai”, and they have some really amazing fabrics which are a definite change from ordinary baby carriers. The “Punk” and “Oriental” fabric categories are especially worth checking out. (We went with a red koi pattern from the oriental section and black straps.) Aside from the visuals, it’s also a very well made and comfortable style of carrier, which unlike most mei tais has a neck support so it’s safe even for babies who can’t hold their heads up yet. Another cool thing my ex found at a local store – though I can’t recall the brand name, I’ll have to check with her – was black lace nursing tops with a built-in bra that has little holes cut out for the nipples, so you can just pull the neckline down a bit to nurse the baby and have nothing on display, since the baby’s mouth covers the hole. It looks almost like they’re nursing through cloth if you don’t know how it’s constructed. They have a tank top and a long sleeve style, both black, lace-trimmed and very pretty. I’ll try to find out the brand.
From Paige: As far as baby clothes go, one *could* suggest to those family members likely to be hosting a baby shower that they could gently hint to the most likely pastel offenders that Grandma and the Aunties are going to go all out with clothing so if they wouldn’t mind getting the more boring but extremely necessary items like diapers, bottles, etc…. Perhaps mention that you are trying to avoid pastels because dirt will show easier on pastels than on say jewel tones… Or just suck it up, take what you get, take a picture of baby in it so that the family member feels appreciated, and then let it be baby’s “messy” clothes (for those days when baby is spitting up all over everything or has the unfortunate condition that results in baby poo everywhere, or if they’re older self feeding or crafts time). Maternity wear… well, the focus should be comfort, which is probably why all the t-shirts. But stylish Gothy mom’s can also probably get away with larger sizes of styles already designed for the woman with a little extra belly, like baby-doll shirts/dresses. Or find a friend who sews who can throw together some empire waisted sundresses in appropriate fabrics that can be paired with leggings and sweaters in colder months. T-shirt fabric dresses may also be a comfortable compromise.
From Bunny: I think that anyone’s best bet would be to look out for the “normal” maternity wear shops and source out items from them that can work. Fortunately, there appears to be a fair amount of demand for attractive, fun and varied styles of maternity clothing, and at this time of year the Autumn/Winter styles are coming out with all the dark greys, blacks, jewel tones and the likes.
Here’s a few places I found which had potential, although it will depend on your individual preferences.
I particularly like the cape-wing nursing dress here: http://www.isabellaoliver.com/maternity-clothes
I guess once you have a few key items that can be mixed about, it’s best just to accessorize as much as possible.
As one last bit of advice, the Lady of the Manners would like to remind all Goth parents and parents-to-be that while outfitting yourself and your bundles of spooky joy in things that are aesthetically pleasing to you is a wonderful thing, the really important bit is to be comfortable and to reduce your stress levels as much as possible. Not to mention that as delightful as it may be to dress your babybat in wee gothy finery, children will develop and express wardrobe preferences at a surprisingly early age; while you may not want your child to wear something with bright green and pink flowers on it, they may have other ideas.
If someone rolls their eyes or sneers at you because you or your child are not dressed in the height of gothy finery, smile sweetly and ignore them. You’re helping raise the next generation of babybats, which is far more important that wearing the exactly perfect spooky attire. (The Lady of the Manners devoutly hopes that no Goth would be so tactless and foolish as to look down their pale little noses at Gothy parents, but realizes that some people are just clueless. The Lady of the Manners can only hope they grow out of it.)