Of Cakes, Dresses, and Princesses. And Lady GaGa.

Good heavens, Snarklings, it’s 2010! 2009 seemed to go by in a bit of a blur, what with the release of the Gothic Charm School book and all of the corresponding book-related travel and media events. The Lady of the Manners had an exciting time during all of it, but does feel a bit bewildered by how fast the year went.

This installment of Gothic Charm School is going to be a bit all over the place, with all sorts of different questions for the Lady of the Manners to address. Even one about Lady GaGa?

Dearest Lady of the Manners,

There is a question I’ve been pondering for some time: is Lady GaGa goth or does she just fancy dwelling in macabre elements? I’m not quite sure. Your opinion would be most valuable.

Sincerely,
Rose

::blink blink blink::

While the Lady of the Manners is not terribly familiar with Lady GaGa’s music (the Lady of the Manners resides in something of a musical isolation chamber, and is frequently unaware of what is going on in the world of pop music), she has seen all sorts of photos of Lady GaGa. No, Rose, Lady GaGa is not Goth. She seems to be some sort of descendant of Glam Rock, with overtones of Cyndi Lauper, the “club kids” of the 90s, and anyone else who looked like they would bleed glitter. While Lady GaGa isn’t Goth (even if the Lady of the Manners has been informed that some of her songs have been heard at Goth clubs), the Lady of the Manners quite approves of anyone who decides to present themselves in such an over-the-top manner, and would love to sit down with Lady GaGa over a cup of tea to talk about makeup tips.

Aryana Victoria wrote in with a question about cake!

Lady of the Manners, please I seek for your opinion and advice for I have an issue that I believe you can help me with (since my friends are not being exactly… helpful.) I am turning 16 and I am having a Sweet 16 gothic style ^^ I am getting everything I could ever ask for… except for my cake. You see, I’m getting one of those fancy-shmancy cakes that cost BIG $$$ but I don’t know what to get. My colors are black, silver, and a dab of white. I want black to be the main focus of my cake but my mother wants it to be white! I am not sure of a way for my cake to be, but I don’t want it all white. I want it mostly black but that’s not going to happen… I’m stuck, what should I do? Please help me Lady of the Manners, my deadline is almost up!!!

Ooh, a fancy-shmancy birthday cake! The Lady of the Manners loves those sorts of things. And while the Lady of the Manners understands your wish for black to be the main color of your cake, she has a little secret to share with you: black frosting, no matter how good the baker, always tastes a little odd. Not to mention it will stain your tongue and possibly your teeth a darkish grey-blue color, which is not terribly fun. So! The Lady of the Manners suggestion is that you go with a mostly white cake, but have black bats and vines as decorative accents, and perhaps some black and silver skull designs, too. Or what about black stripes of frosting on an otherwise white frosted cake? (An option the Lady of the Manners hopes to see on a birthday cake for herself one of these years!) Fondant or marzipan can be tinted and molded into all sorts of shapes, so you could have skulls, bats, or coffins decorating your cake.

But wait! There’s another question relating to a Sweet 16 birthday, from Jessica:

Hellooo :)

I would just like to ask your advice on where to find a gothic gown suitable for a big party. You see I’m going to have a sweet sixteen/Quinceanera party (odd i know hehe) and I need a dress of that sort. I just don’t know where to start looking and would greatly appreciate any references you may have to offer.

Please and
thankies,
Jessica :)

You do realize, don’t you, that the description of gothic gown covers a very large range of styles. Are you looking for something over-the-top ruffly? Something with a more Victorian air? Or perhaps a gown that is more gothabilly? But never fear, Jessica, because the Lady of the Manners has a couple of suggestions for places to look for gothic gowns; places that have never let the Lady of the Manners down yet, no matter what sort of finery she’s been looking for.

Firstly, there is Kambriel. Kambriel, in addition to being one of the sweetest, most gracious people who the Lady of the Manners has the good fortune to be friends with, is a fantastically talented artist. The garments that Kambriel creates are wearable pieces of magic and art. When the Lady of the Manners eventually rules the world (with her faithful fanged bunny at her side), she is going to have closets and closets full of gorgeous creations from Kambriel.

Next is Voodoo Lounge on Etsy. Her work has a charmingly quirky, spooky circus feel to it, and every item is wonderfully made. (The Lady of the Manners is especially fond of her Underbodice Vest.)

If your family isn’t willing to take the plunge of having a gown custom-made for you, then the Lady of the Manners would like to point you in the direction of Retroscope Fashions! The talented folks at Retroscope also do custom clothing, but they’re best known for their selection of reasonably-priced gothy finery. Retroscope Fashions is where the Lady of the Manners purchases a lot of her wardrobe “basics” (mostly in the form of ruffly skirts and blouses), and has found them a delight to shop with every time.

The Lady of the Manners hopes that her clicky-links help lead you to the gothic gown of your dreams!

Melissa wrote in to Gothic Charm School with a gothy wardrobe issue that the Lady of the Manners hadn’t run across before:

Dear Lady of the Manners,

I have a bit of an unusual inquiry that I believe you may have an answer to… To explain, I’ve indulged in various gothic fashions for years now without incident, that is until I recently purchased Lip-Service’s “War of the Roses” Military Style Jacket. (Admittedly I positively love petticoats/tailcoats and more 19th century-esque fashion haha.) Problem is, when I’ve worn it out in public on a number of occasions now, I’ve merited VERY disparaging comments and scathing glances… I should preface that I fully understand the goth culture naturally attracts attention in that it’s not the “norm” for a lot of people so to speak. With this particular article of clothing, I do have some concerns that I may be being inadvertently TERRIBLY disrespectful to anyone in the military or some other possibility I hadn’t considered though. I’m certainly not trying to appease the masses, but if this is somehow regarded offensive or vulgar, it would help to be informed. Perhaps I’ve just managed to coincidentally run into quite a few closed minded individuals, but either way, your input on this peculiar (and trivial) matter would be greatly appreciated as I admit I may not know some of the finer nuances of some goth attire.

-Thank you so very much for you help,
Melissa

Melissa, the Lady of the Manners is absolutely baffled at the reactions your jacket is receiving. (And the Lady of the Manners knows exactly what the Lip Service “War of the Roses” jacket looks like, as she has been coveting it for quite a while now. Perhaps there will be one left in her size when the line goes on closeout …)

As far as the Lady of the Manners is concerned, there is nothing disrespectful about wearing a “military-inspired” item of clothing, especially when the item is quite obviously in no way meant to be mistaken for an honest-to-goodness item from a uniform. Gracious, mainstream fashion has been swarming with all sorts of “military-inspired” jackets and waistcoats for a few years now! (Which makes the Lady of the Manners and other Goths very happy indeed, and yes, we’ve all been snapping items up as soon as they hit clearance racks.)

It does sound like you have merely had the misfortune to run into some close-minded individuals who apparently have nothing else to be fussy about. The next time you wear your “War of the Roses” jacket, if you happen to run into one of these cranky and curmudgeonly types, just smile sweetly at them and ignore them. Your jacket is not offensive or vulgar in the least.


The next question presented here at Gothic Charm School is … a bit of a puzzle. The Lady of the Manners isn’t quite sure how to answer it, but felt that it needed to be addressed in some way:

Dear Lady of the Manners,

How could I Be Gothic Lolita or The Real or The one and only, The Goth Princess? I always wanted to be the Goth Princess, but my Parents wont allow me to buy Black Clothes Accessories or Even Dresses or Goth Stuffs, I am Just pretending to be the Goth Princess because I want to! I mean if I am The real Goth Princess, for example, I am The Richest Girl in The whole World, and I am Intelligent, Red-Ruby Eyes, Pale White Healthy Skin, Long Straight Beautiful black Hair with H-Shaped Bangs, A Beautiful Mansion, A cute Black Cat Named Mystery, and Most of all I have a Special Private Guardian and His name is going to be Seira (He do whatever I say, He always obeys me, but sometimes when i say bad things, he wont obey me, because its bad! This is Just an Example, But PLEASE could you teach me how to be The Goth Princess…⠥⠥⠥

⠥⠥⠥PLEASE & THANK YOU⠥⠥⠥

Love,
Emily TheSpringField

“The Goth Princess”? Dear Emily, the Lady of the Manners, while sympathetic to your wishes, suspects that the whole of them (the richest girl in the whole world, red-ruby eyes, a beautiful mansion, a private guardian named Seira) are, well, not really things that are obtainable. To be honest, the Lady of the Manners isn’t even really sure what you mean by teaching you how to be The Goth Princess. The Lady of the Manners knows all sorts of people who have been referred to by that label (and has even had it somewhat teasingly applied to herself), but doesn’t know of any actual Goth Princess title. So teaching you how to be one is a mite impossible. Not to mention that the only way one can become a real princess (as in titled royalty, not, say, some sort of beauty contest winner) is to be born to or marry into a royal family.

So what can you do? First of all, write down all of these ideas you have about what it means to be The Goth Princess as stories. Write about the sort of world you’d like to live in, if being The Goth Princess were something that you could do. But while it’s fun to daydream and visit a fantasy where you are The Goth Princess, do keep in mind that it is just a daydream. The Lady of the Manners is very strongly in favor of having a sense of wonder and whimsy, but also very strongly believes that one must live in the real world. Goth has a strong thread of escapism and fantasy, but it isn’t about avoiding reality.

Next, decide if you want to find a place for yourself in the Goth subculture even if you can’t be The Goth Princess. Is the notion of being a mysterious and darkly alluring princess of the night the only thing that has attracted you to Goth? Or do you feel a pull toward the macabre, the spooky, and the quirky? If you are interested in Goth, then start talking to your parents about your interests and see if they can be won over to the idea of you having more say in the sort of clothing you wear.

Coming soon to Gothic Charm School, a reviews section! Yes, the Lady of the Manners has finally been persuaded to have a section on Gothic Charm School where all of the reviews will live. The tone of that area will be not as formal in tone as the advice section here; if any of you have read parts of the Lady of the Manners LiveJournal, you have a good idea of what to expect. (In other words, less referring to herself in the third person, and more squeeing and flaily-hands of glee.)

As always, Snarklings, you can send your questions to Gothic Charm School with just a few clicks!

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