Snarklings, the Lady of the Manners has been quite touched by the flood of complimentary mail about the previous column on Aging Goths. Mail from fellow ElderGoths, and from younger Goths who are glad for the reassurance that Goth doesn’t have an age limit. Because the Lady of the Manners does tend to get letters like the following one from a young lady named Carrie:
I’ve seen your site and I must say that you are very wise with the answers you’ve given many Goths from around the world. However I have something for you: I’ve been a Goth for so long. It is the most beautiful subculture I’ve ever seen in my life and it’s like home to me. I’m a year away from becoming an adult and I plan on being Goth forever, is this possible? Please respond back. Thank you very much and God bless you.
Yes, Carrie, you can be a Goth forever. If the subculture is a home to you, then please don’t ever feel that you must abandon what makes you happy and comfortable. Will there be times when you might need to “tone things down” a bit? Possibly, who knows? But becoming an adult doesn’t mean you have to renounce our shadowy and gorgeous subculture.
(As an aside, the Lady of the Manners and other “adults” have been known to occasionally flail around a bit in confusion that they are considered adults. Just because certain ages are considered to be markers of adulthood doesn’t mean that you will automatically: A) feel like an adult or grown-up, and B) change your personality and interests. In the Lady of the Manners’ experience, neither A nor B are entirely true, nor should they be.)
Miss Lynx, a fellow ElderGoth, very kindly wrote in with her own cosmetic tips for aging Goths:
question: Dear Lady of the Manners,
I very much enjoyed your recent column on Goths and aging gracefully – having recently turned 46 myself. I definitely agreed with the advice you gave, and thought perhaps I’d pass along a few tips of my own as well.
While I don’t look anywhere near my age (thanks in part to genetics, I suppose, and in part to near-religious use of sunscreen), I’ve definitely found a need to soften my makeup a bit as time has gone on, as you suggest.
One thing I’ve recently discovered that seems to work very nicely is using purple liquid eyeliner rather than black. Almay makes a really nice one that is particularly designed to coordinate with brown eyes — it’s not a bright purple, but a deep, soft plum, and it’s good for a gentle touch of drama without overkill.
In general, I’ve found that keeping my makeup in the cool-neutral range –eye shadows in various shades of plum, grey, taupe, muted rose, etc. and lipstick in mostly plum/mauve/berry sort of shades – seems to be good for presenting a mildly gothic feel without overdoing it. And the purple eyeliner coordinates really well with all of that.
And mentioning sunscreen back near the beginning reminds me — it’s important for everyone, but particularly for us not-so-young Goths — to not just wear sunscreen, but check the ingredients label to make sure it contains ingredients that are known to provide good protection against UVA rays. SPF is only a measure of how well a sunscreen protects against burning, which is caused by UVB. The deep-level skin damage that contributes to aging is predominantly caused by UVA — thus the saying “B burns, A ages”. Virtually all sunscreens claim to protect against UVA, but since there is currently no standard similar to SPF to measure how well they do it, the best thing is to check the active ingredients. To offer good UVA protection, a product needs to contain either avobenzone, titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, Mexoryl SX or Tinosorb (though the latter two are not available in all countries – in particular I think the US may not have approved them yet). There’s more information on this here: sun care essentials.
One other thing I’ve found — one of the biggest challenges for the aging Goth is actually footwear. As we get older, that line from Leonard Cohen’s “Tower of Song” about aching in the places where we used to play becomes an unfortunate reality. Stilettos and high platforms really don’t work so well after a certain point, particularly when one is starting to develop arthritis in the knees and ankles, or a bad back. Finding nice-looking shoes with some degree of Goth appeal that actually offer decent comfort and support can be challenging, but it’s essential at a certain point. Sadly, such shoes are generally not to be found in gothic shops, so it’s generally best to try places that specialize in comfort footwear and just look for styles that aren’t *too* far off from one’s preferences….
Anyway, those are the thoughts that come to mind at the moment. Once again, my thanks for helping raise awareness that a gothic aesthetic doesn’t come with an age limit.
Thank you, Miss Lynx, for your very helpful advice! Especially about what to look for with regard to the active ingredients in sunblock, which is the sort of information the Lady of the Manners always forgets to double-check.
Do you know what time it is, Snarklings? It’s time for a round of clicky-links! First an informative one, and then a few of a window-shopping nature.
Miss Lynx’s information about sunblock ingredients reminded the Lady of the Manners of a website that she finds very useful: < "a href=http://www.makeupalley.com/">Makeup Alley. It’s a community sort of site, so you will need to create a User ID, but trust the Lady of the Manners, it’s worth it. There’s posting boards and a section to post wish lists and swap lists, but that’s not what the Lady of the Manners goes there for. Product reviews, Snarklings. Pages and pages of product reviews, for makeup, for hair color and hair products, for skin care, for perfume, for nail polish, and all submitted by the users of Makeup Alley. Reviews from people who have actually tried the products in question, so the information isn’t just hype and advertising, but actually useful. (Of course, if the product you’re trying to find information about is a brand-new limited-edition item, there may not be reviews available. In which case you should check out the posting boards for the most up-to-date information. While the Lady of the Manners is fond of browsing makeup counters, she prefers to be an informed consumer and not just blindly purchase mascara or hair color just because of the shiny packaging.
Of course, along with the useful information contained in the reviews, you can find comments that will make you laugh, roll your eyes, or both. There are the reviewers who talk about how any dark-ish lipstick color runs the risk of making the wearer look Goth. Or perhaps the reviewers who gush over the dizzying array of brands and finishes of black nail polish, but complain about how they have to explain to friends and family that their black manicures are not Goth, but high-fashion. The Lady of the Manners is of the firm belief that it doesn’t matter how many high-end cosmetic companies release their own variations; black nail polish is one of those things that intrinsically belongs to the Goth subculture.
(Oh, fine, black nail polish also belongs to the Punk subculture, Emo has a strong claim on it, and yes, all sorts of things from Goth and Punk have been appropriated and recycled back into fashion. That doesn’t make those folks on Makeup Alley any less silly.)
Window shopping! Why yes, many clicky-links from Etsy. Remember Snarklings, Etsy is all sorts of goodness because it is full of lovely trinkets from hard-working artists. Which is just one of the reasons that the Lady of the Manners does most of her window shopping there.
The Custom-Made Jezebel Top Hat in Black-on-Black from GypsyLady Hats. The Lady of the Manners is very seriously contemplating ordering this hat. Because why yes, the Lady of the Manners does need another top hat. Also, the Lady of the Manners is more than idly contemplating a hat done in black and cupcake pink stripes …
Madame Talbot’s Victorian Lowbrow Undertaker’s Cabinet Poster. The Lady of the Manners has admired Madame Talbot’s artwork for years now, and is going to be ordering a copy of this poster to put up in her office, and perhaps a copy of the Recipes on How to Kill a Vampire Folklore Poster, too.
The Seduction in Stripes-Special Circus Victorian Gothic Steampunk couture neck ruffle/choker/collar by Tatterdemalion Designs. Yes, the Lady of the Manners has a fondness for black and white stripes. This is such a charming collar! If it were the stripes with a pink lining and ribbon, the Lady of the Manners would have already feverishly pressed the “Add To Cart” button.
The Black Venetian Wrap by maryandangelika. Oh, so delicate and darkly elegant!
With that, Snarklings, the Lady of the Manners is going to return to creating that helpful list (that she mentioned in the previous post) of where to track down supplies and embellishments for your wardrobe and gothy crafts. And this is where, just like always, the Lady of the Manners gives you the helpful contact link for you to write to her!