The Summer of Goth

This time around, Gothic Charm School isn’t going to be about etiquette questions. No, this month the Lady of the Manner is going to talk about a seasonal sort of topic: how to survive the summer as a Goth.

Firstly, the basics: apply sun block every day (including your ears and the back of your neck), drink plenty of water, and try to not to wear head-to-toe PVC or polyester (you *can*, if you really want to, but then you probably shouldn’t complain about being too warm. You brought it on yourself).

There are plenty of summer-temperature –friendly gothy wardrobe options (though there are fewer for goth boys than there are for the female of the species, the Lady of the Manners is sad to say). Look for items made of cotton, rayon, linen, or silk. (The Lady of the Manners herself is very fond of those black cotton/rayon “twist lace” dresses for summer; of course, she adds yards and yards of lace trim and ribbons, because *everything* is better with yards and yards of lace trim and ribbons, but that’s merely a personal preference.) Flowing gauzy skirts, cotton bloomers and lace-trimmed camisoles, and slip dresses are all comfortable options, while the gentlemen can opt for shorts (did you apply sun block to your legs?) and light-weight, natural fiber shirts. And though the Lady of the Manners knows it’s a hardship, you really should try to forgo stompy boots, and instead find sandals or black canvas sneakers.

Also, if it gets *really* hot where you are, don’t feel your GothCard will be revoked if you don’t wear head-to-toe black. An all-white or pale gray ensemble accented with black trim or accessories is quite striking, and also has the advantage of being just a smidge cooler than all black, no matter what fabrics you’re wearing.

Summer does give the Lady of the Manners a perfect excuse for two of her favorite gothy-goth accessories: parasols and wide-brimmed hats. Parasols can be as simple as a Chinese-style paper parasol (easily found at various on-line retailers), to a lace-frilled vintage confection. However, the easiest way to add a parasol to your wardrobe is to find an umbrella you like (thrift stores are wonderful for this), then decorate it to your heart’s content. You can paint designs on it, sew (or hot-glue) lace ruffles, silk roses, or feathers on to the edge, or wrap the handle in ribbons and tassels. Those same things can be done to any wide-brimmed hat you may happen to find on your thrifting expeditions, turning a plain (black) hat into something worthy of an Edward Gorey illustration.

Now, on to makeup. Summer can do terrible things to most gothy makeup styles. Foundation gets caked and streaky, carefully-applied eyeliner can smudge and run, and mascara can melt right off into unbecoming spots. The obvious solution is to take a ‘less is more’ approach; instead of a full face of foundation, only apply concealer where it’s needed, and use a light dusting of translucent powder. Try to switch to waterproof formulas of eyeliner and mascara, or find a cosmetic sealer to apply over your usual brands, which will hopefully render them smudge-proof.

When the Lady of the Manners rules the universe, she fully intends to make sure that while summer weather will still have gloriously sunny days (all the better for picnics, tea parties, and croquet games), the temperature will never rise above 70 degrees. Until then, the Lady of the Manners hopes all of you in GothyLand will find the above tips useful. As for now, the Lady of the Manners is going to go sit in a shady spot in her yard with a large glass of iced lavender tea and wait for the arrival of autumn.

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