Of Being Compared To Pop Stars, And Of Finding Plus-Size Goth Fashion

Hello oh patient Snarklings! Yes, it’s time for another Gothic Charm School post with reader questions! This time there are two fashion-related questions: where to find plus-sized Goth clothes, and what to do when well-meaning family members have no real frame of reference for your personal style.


question: Dear Lady of the Manners,
I would like your opinion on a certain problem I have. I get to see my extended family maybe once or twice a year [around Christmas and sometimes for other events] and while I love them dearly there’s something both sides do that I would love for them to stop…One side likes to call me Katy Perry and the other Lady Gaga. Now I understand why they’d compare me to these two as I have a more out there style and I do like both of these musicians but…I can’t stand being compared to them. When I look at pictures of their outfits they seem very revealing and colorful, which isn’t really my style at all. I feel like I’m being compared to them purely because they’re known for their over the top clothing. I want to tell them I dislike being compared to them but I can’t think of a way that doesn’t sound rude. I’d like to ask them to stop and maybe tell them the names of some of my fashion idols so they’d have a better understanding of my style but I’m drawing a blank on it. I’d really appreciate it if you could give me some advice on this matter.
Sincerely,
Alice

P.S. In case you’re curious, my fashion idols are Emilie Autumn, Mana-sama from Moi dix Mois, Kanon Wakeshima, Kanon from An Cafe, and [of course] the Lady of the Manners.

Firstly, the Lady of the Manners wants to say thank you for listing her as one of your fashion idols, and alongside such distinctive and elegant company, too!

On to your question: the age-old problem of being compared to whomever the current Very Visible Eccentric Style person is almost a Goth rite of passage. Yes, it can be frustrating to have well-meaning people look at you, nod knowingly, and say “Oh yes, just like that [insert name of some pop star here]“. The Lady of the Manners has, over the years, had people tell her that she’s “just like that one Goth girl, on NCIS?”, or “those cute weird people with the pink hair from Amazing Race!”. It’s very similar to the people who apparently feel compelled to say things like “Your hair is purple” or “You have a lot of tattoos” to the person with the purple hair or tattoos. The Lady of the Manners suspects that the people who make those sorts of comments aren’t actually dim or clueless, it’s just that when they see someone dressed extravagantly, their minds freeze up, and then flounder for a connection so they can say something to help their brains process what they’re seeing. They’re stating the obvious for their own comfort and peace of mind, not to try and hold a conversation.

Of course, none of that really helps you deal with your extended relations and their comparing you to Katy Perry or Lady Gaga! The next time that happens, try smiling at whichever family member made the comment and say (in as a gently-humorous tone as you can manage), “Oh no, I don’t look anything like them! I’m dressed far too modestly!” If you think it will help, practice saying this in a light-hearted, friendly tone until you are certain you will respond to ridiculous comparisons with this tone, and not some sort of exasperated growl.

Then yes, do follow that sort of statement with telling them who some of your stylistic idols are, and don’t be surprised if they have no idea who you’re talking about. Who knows, maybe your relative will ask you to tell them all about Mana-sama or Emilie Autumn!

If your family sticks with their well-intentioned-but-clueless commentary (and the Lady of the Manners suspects they will, because many relatives like to take “funny” statements and repeat them every chance they get), just grit your teeth, smile, and reply with, “Ha ha ha. No”. Don’t get mad, don’t start an argument, just make it clear you’re humoring, not agreeing with them.

Next, Mery asked for help with finding plus-sized Goth fashion:

question: Lady Of The Manners,
First of all, I love your site I’m on it pretty much everyday:) BUT!!!! I need your help!!! And it is about fashion and what not (sorry if those are getting annoying but id love to hear what way you can help) soo… i love fashion and all things goth i cant get enough of it but.. i am a bit bigger, which i think is so much harder for girls, soo it is hard to find stuff and im really insecure which makes it even worse. i cant buy things off the internet and it is so very hard to find something in my size i would actually like to wear and feel good in and is of my taste, and something that i dont look disgusting in…I’ve read many of your letters and responses and i know how you talk about thrift stores and all those other stuff but as i said its harder to find things in a bigger size and i always end up in tears going shopping:”( It would be so amazing if i get a response to this letter!! and i very much hope i do. Thank you for taking the time to read this i absolutely adore you lady of the manners! And i’m sorry for lack of punctuation and sucky grammar…

Ending up in tears when you’re clothes shopping? Oh, you poor love, the Lady of the Manners knows how you feel, and has also had far too many friends suffer the same sort of plight.

Firstly, the Lady of the Manners wants to point you at a LiveJournal community: Fatshionista! This is a wonderful community and resource for finding larger-sized fashions, full of recommendations, reviews, and Outfit of the Day posts from community members. Keep in mind that Fatshionista is not a Goth or alternative fashion community, but there’s a lot of good information there.

You said that you can’t buy things online. The Lady of the Manners is going to be honest with you: that’s going to limit your options for finding interesting clothes. So hit the mainstream stores (especially during the autumn and winter seasons) and look for some basic black blazers, skirts, and blouses, and then load on the accessories.
Check stores like Torrid (who used to be far more alternative-fashion focused, alas), Lane Bryant, Target, Macy’s, JC Penny’s, and Sears, who all carry larger sizes.

What to do once you’ve got those basic garments? Change the buttons, add lace trim, decorate lapels with a collection of gothy pins and brooches, wear a tangle of necklaces, or drape layers of lace scarves around your neck and your hips. Accessorize with lace or interestingly-colored tights or socks, which can be found at Torrid, Lane Bryant, Nordstrom, and Macy’s.

Secondly, learn to sew. Check your local fabric stores and see if they offer sewing classes; some cities have craft stores where you can “rent” time on a sewing machine. (Which the Lady of the Manners thinks is very clever, because not everyone can or wants to own a sewing machine, but having access to one can be incredibly useful.) Take a look at sewing blogs: Tilly and the Buttons has an archive of great posts for people who want to learn how to sew, and the ever-helpful Instructables site has all sorts of tutorials. Just be warned: while sewing your own clothing allows you to control the fit and the fabric choices, it’s not an inexpensive option. In addition to the cost of the supplies, there’s also the cost of the time and effort you put into a piece. While being able to say, “Oh, I made this skirt” is a wonderful feeling, it sometimes doesn’t counterbalance the frustration you went through during the hours you spent sewing it.

The rest of the answers aren’t directly aimed at Mery and her question, because she said that she can’t buy things off the internet. But for you other Snarklings who are looking for larger-sized Goth fashion, some other suggestions:

If you have the budget for it, get some custom-made items. For example, the fabulously-talented Kambriel has always offered custom-sizing for the garments she creates, as does Somnia Romantica on Etsy. Most independant designers should offer custom-size options, and if you don’t see mention of it on their store/website, be sure to ask them about it.

If your budget won’t stretch to custom-made pretties, don’t fret! Retroscope Fashions offers plus-sized options for Victorian-inspired tops and bottoms. (If any of you place an order with the nice folks at Retroscope Fashions, please tell them that Gothic Charm School sent you!)

ChicStar has a fabulous selection of skirts, tops, dresses, and jackets, and offers up to size 28. Yes, they’re located in China, but the Lady of the Manners has been very impressed with not only the quality of the items she’s ordered, but with the speed of delivery, too! (One week from placing an order to it arriving on the doorstep.)

You can get plus-sized stripey tights in 51 different colors from We Love Colors, and Sock Dreams offers sizing and fit information on almost every style of socks, stockings, and tights they sell!

Finally, the Lady of the Manners is going to throw open the comments on this post and see what suggestions the Gothic Charm School readers have for finding larger-sized Goth clothing! (The comments will be, as always, moderated. No bullying, hate speech, or spam will be tolerated.)

With that, Snarklings, the Lady of the Manners is going to go have a cup of tea and attempt to reorganize her wardrobe. If she’s not devoured by feral petticoats, then she’ll finally finish the Tonner doll reviews and writing about some more vampire books for the Nocturnal House side of Gothic Charm School. And as always, going through the letters people send in …

36 Responses to “Of Being Compared To Pop Stars, And Of Finding Plus-Size Goth Fashion”

  1. Wynn Says:

    I’ve had success with getting tops from the men’s department. Many men’s dress shirts have the room to fit a robust gal and can lend themselves to feminine adaptation. They do tend toward the cotton/must be ironed . . .

  2. Áine Says:

    Mery,

    One of the things I learned from the Lady of the Manners for thrifting: Prom dresses (or wedding dresses!) with full skirts are your friends.

    Doesn’t matter if it’s a size 3, if the skirt is *full* you can cut it off the body of the dress just a bit below the waistline, attach a new waistband out of binding tape and make it either a drawstring or elastic waist. Some wedding dresses can be dyed in interesting ways, too. Add a dressy, lace-cuffed blouse from a plus-size store like Lane Bryant, Avenue, or even Catherine’s (very popular style nearing the holiday season), maybe a jacket from Torrid, finish with some Nice Boots™ and jewelry and it’s a very easy way to expand your wardrobe in a hurry.

  3. Bethany the Martian Says:

    This post was very timely, as I have been looking to expand my wardrobe. It’s very frustrating to see something incredibly cute and know there is NO WAY it will ever come in your size.

  4. Trystan (the CorpGoth) Says:

    I second all of these tips & add one: tailoring. You don’t necessarily need to sew new clothes, but you can make off-the-rack clothes fit better & look spectacular with a little bit of tailoring, either done by yourself or (better yet!) done by a professional. This is especially helpful for us plus-size ladies (& if you’re petite & plus, oi, super duper helpful).

    When you get frustrated shopping for clothes, remember, it’s not *you* that’s the problem, it’s the clothes. Things are manufactured in generic sizes, but people aren’t generic. A little tuck here & there will make a dress or shirt look fabulous on you. Buy a garment that fits the largest part of you (such as your bust or hip), & take it to a tailor to have the rest fitted. It usually doesn’t cost much, & when the original garment is good quality, you’ll end up with something wonderful you can use for years.

  5. Javagoth Says:

    I’ve been an x-large Goth for more years than I care to mention. The Lady of Manners is quite correct in her advice! Accessorizing is key.

    I will also recommend, if you have one in your area, Ross Dress For Less. The secret to my success there is I go down all the plus size isles to check out clothes because things often get moved around into the wrong size area. I have found some of my favorite items there.

    Fall and Winter are the best time of year to shop color wise. January is a particularly good time for sales on velvety or lacy items. I will sometimes get on email lists so that I know when the sales are happening.

    Don’t laugh but I’ve even found cute items at Target – particularly around Halloween. Fabric & Craft stores often have skull buttons and Gothy patches this time of year.

    Pro Tip: If those plus size tights didn’t turn out to be as plus size as they advertised, cut the panty part off and make sleeves/gauntlets out of them – or garter hose.

    Western shops and places that sell Square Dancing clothes sometimes have inexpensive petticoats. The one I got I ended up cutting the elastic it came with and replacing it with a longer piece of elastic. My hips are far bigger than my waist so I’ve learned that if it fits over my shoulders (rather than stepping into it) and around my waist it’s usually do-able for wearing.

    Finally, I have been learning to sew. My lessons are stalled lately but I managed to get a couple outfits out of it first. I did simple skirts and peasant style tops and there are some overskirts that can be used with any outfit. Yeah, it took a lot of time and was a pain but that’s pretty much the only way I’ve found to get outfits in the colors I want at my size.

    Good Luck!

  6. Ara Says:

    Ah, the “joys” of plus-size gothing! This is a matter very, very close to my dear heart. So I shall do my best to help. (Note, I’m on the other side of the pond and it shows)

    First, a few retailer links with comments:
    http://www.katesclothing.co.uk/ – Good selection and qiuality, but the sizes only run up to UK24. Great customer service
    http://www.alienskin.co.uk/index.php?cPath=120 – I have coveted their cat-eared hoodies for a long time but I have not yet ordered anything.. but soooon….
    http://www.phazeclothing.com/products.php?showwhat=plussizes Phaze clothing; the quality is not the best all the time, but the prices are very decent and they’re pretty good about sizes

    Overall, howrever, most of my wardrobe comes from “normal” stores – accessorizing and creativity is the key. Granted, I tend to wander about in jeans and band-shirts but when I do not.. For example, New Look’s inspire line goes up to a UK26 and has a lot of things a gothic-minded individual can play around. Black lace dresses – http://www.newlook.com/shop/inspire-plus-sizes/shop-department/praslin-black-lace-dress_266253901 , http://www.newlook.com/shop/inspire-plus-sizes/shop-department/praslin-black-embellished-neck-lace-dress_266250401 , http://www.newlook.com/shop/inspire-plus-sizes/shop-department/inspire-black-lace-back-sleeveless-dress_257204501 , http://www.newlook.com/shop/inspire-plus-sizes/shop-department/koko-black-lace-skater-dress_266141401 or burgundy skinny jeans http://www.newlook.com/shop/inspire-plus-sizes/shop-department/inspire-burgundy-supersoft-skinny-jeans-_254861067 , or sheer white shirts http://www.newlook.com/shop/inspire-plus-sizes/shop-department/inspire-white-collar-tip-sleeveless-shirt_258877512 are just some examples. It’s cheap but decent quality.

    Forever 21′s plus section sometimes also gives you good finds, but beware of their sizing.

    Evans.co.uk and http://www.bonmarche.co.uk/ are heaven on earth in wintertime – all that velvet and lace! Christmas party season has all the best fabrics, and in january they will also be cheaptastic. My favorite black velvet skirts have been acquired in this manner. To be honest, Evans is only worth shopping at during sales – the quality does not match the price. Workwear section is good all year round, though – Never too many white blouses! And they have waistcoats. Bonmarche’s quality is better, imho, and so are the prices – and they have things like prety satin blouses with ruffles http://www.bonmarche.co.uk/3-5-blouses/5554-short-sleeve-satin-stripe-blouse/65-purple

    I hope this is helpful in some small way!

  7. Alexandria Says:

    I’ve been dressing outwardly goth for about eight years now and i have to say that I’ve never once bought anything online or from custom stores. My entire wardrobe is bade from thrift, consignment, and regular retail finds. It was taken me several years to get a nice wardrobe and my style is more unadorned and “mild goth”, but you can find stuff. Being larger myself finding things like button up blouses and dresses are nearly impossible, skirts with elastic waists and stretchy-er tops are great for the busty, but with a defined waist people, nothing looks baggy when it stretches!

  8. anachronistique Says:

    OOH OOH I know this one!

    Domino Dollhouse just put up its Halloween line, which has some great options – and they’re garment quality rather than cheap costumes. Their regular line also has some stuff that work really well for gothy types, and don’t forget their accessories! Also: petticoats in rainbow colors.

    Mystic Crypt also has plus-size options, and the owner is super sweet. I think they may carry ChicStar things, but I haven’t looked recently.

    I am also a really big fan (pun semi-intended) of Asos Curve, which has some great fall offerings – it tends to skew young/trendy, but careful sifting reveals treasures. And honestly if you’re plus sized you get used to sifting for needles in haystacks anyway.

  9. Rachel Says:

    Holy Clothing
    http://holyclothing.com/

    Holy Clothing is a great site for plus sized goth women. Their style is more directed towards the “Stevie Nicks-Arwen from Lord of the Rings-Romantic Goth” styled fashions. They range in sizes from small all the way up to a 5X and come in an array of colors. The prices are very reasonable too.

    Eternal Love Clothing (Sold at MysticCrypt.com)
    http://www.mysticcrypt.com/gothic-clothing-eternal-love-c-67_152.html

    Eternal Love is pretty well known (or at least it used to be). Although, I don’t think the company is still active much these days stores online still sell some of their merchandise. MysticCrypt.com sells an array of Eternal Love items. However, the largest size they sell is an XL. Eternal Love can get pretty expensive. But, this site offers a number of pieces for a very reasonable price.

  10. BlackRose Says:

    Another site that I like that has a large plus sized section is Mystic Crypt http://www.mysticcrypt.com/plus-size-gothic-clothing-c-68.html They’re also the only website I’ve found in the US that carries the British brand Dark Star, which I really love. I haven’t ordered anything from them yet, so I can’t say how they’re service is.

  11. Heidi Says:

    MIght I suggest Holy Clothing as well? Their look tends to lean a little more Ren Faire, but they do have lovely individual pieces and their sizes go up to 7X, though they tend to have more options in the 5X on down. They sell skirts, tops, dresses, etc. I’ve got several things from them and they’re well made and fit well, with a flattering line.
    http://holyclothing.com/

    And I agree with the Lady of Manners on Torrid. They used to have many, many more options for the alternative/ Goth inclined. Alas.

  12. Gabrielle Young Says:

    I double checked which online stores I go to offer a better range of sizes for clothing and found that Gloomth(which offers items in above XXL), Pyretta’s Layer, and The Mystic Crypt(which carries both plus sized clothing and hosiery) all offer clothing at least up to an XXL. Otherwise like the Lady of the Manners said, there are often a lot of options you can find at stores like Macy’s, Torrid, Target, JC Penny that you can always make more interesting with a few alterations(which is what I myself do more often than not, as I’m a poor college student! ^^;). Keep your eye out, oftentimes you can find so many hidden treasures when you least expect it.

    xoxo

  13. Heather Says:

    I recently found a site called PersephonePlus.com and though they are limited to mostly dresses, they are quite nice. I also recomment going the way of custom of DIY. Custom is truly worth the money and in some cases you can work out a payment plan with the person in question. And Ditto on SockDreams being awesome! Oh, also, Dark Star by Jordash is usually fairly plus-size friendly…they try to make most of their items freesize, adjustable.

  14. Twilight2000 Says:

    Two others – tho not particularly “goth”, offer wonderful pieces that can be incorporated into a Gothic outfit – Both offer something to the Corp Goth as well.

    Roamans http://www.roamans.com/
    Woman Within http://www.womanwithin.com/

  15. Amber Says:

    Perfect timing with this post! Although I’m not a plus-size myself, I do have several plus-sized friends who I simply must pass these links on to! These wonderful girls are always asking me for sewing tips but none of them know how to sew and I’m a terrible teacher! Thanks for saving us!

  16. joshua Says:

    Oh my…..at least you were not compared to michael jackson!! i wear stripey fingerless gloves…do not go out in the sun, so im whiteish, and sometimes wear a bowlerish style hat!! people think i am bleaching my skin, and copying mr.jacksons glove and hat style….urrg! also….. no offense as i know some goth’s think “thriller” is goth,haha! and as for the plus size, have you every tried goodwill? they get so much, not always from this era…but they get like size 16 + velvet designer, and i mean really nice dresses for lke 2$$$$ yes, go there and customize your finds!! but it takes a while to find things…..so dont get bored!

  17. LJ Says:

    It depends greatly on where you live and what end of ‘plus-size’ you’re on. Bluebanana will occasionally go up to a 16-18, but I wouldn’t bother with them for plus sized. Rowfers go up to a 16/18/20 fairly consistently, but it doesn’t seem like they’ll be around too much longer and the website always seems pretty limited in what they have(my local Rowfers shop was closed down some years ago, and there aren’t many of them left about). Pulp will go up to XL in most things and I’m pretty sure I’ve seen larger than that in there, but again it’s a question of whether you have one nearby. Also, though this may seem a little odd, TKMax are pretty good as long as you’re willing to sift through the entire store (though that goes for any style and size, that place is a nightmare) and do go into pretty much any size and style.
    Also, try local, non-chain-stores or any nearby markets. You’d be surprised what you can find in places you’d otherwise overlook.

  18. Izzy Says:

    Long time reader first time commenter. First off I adore the blog, and have been reading for many many years. In responce to the Athena goth, there is a FABULOUS blog I read that is all about Fashion and body acceptance for plus sized gals. http://www.nearsightedowl.com/ check out some of Rachel’s links of sellers who specialize in custom fashion. Thanks!

    PS Lady of Manners, your one of my heros :)

  19. Ashbet Says:

    I’ve had oddly good luck with the Newport News catalogue — most items go up to 18 (my size), and others go up into larger plus sizes. Their XL capri leggings are a staple of my wardrobe, because they have just enough stretch/compression to comfortably stay in place under skirts and dresses.

    I’ve also had good luck with the Coldwater Creek catalogue (hint: more items in catalogue than in-store, and I’ve found that many of the catalogue items are more to my taste.) Can be a little pricey, but their clothes hold up forever.

    http://www.pyramidcollection.com/ can be a little costume-y, but they have some FANTASTIC basics, and some great uber-goth dresses that would be fun for special occasions. Almost everything comes in “Goddess” (plus) sizes, which is a nice change from the usual “Oh, only one or two things in here is going to fit me, blah” experience.

    I also buy a ton of stuff at stores like Target or Macy’s, especially around/just after the holidays — I can stock up on black lace and velvet, and then wear it for the rest of the year.

    http://www.sighco.com is great for t-shirts and tank tops — they go up to 2XL in girly-fit shirts, and I can say that they’ll fit my 40H chest (as well as my daughter’s less-busty, softer figure — we wear the same size but are differently-shaped), so I recommend them highly. (The owners are also lovely people!)

    I’ll chip in a third rec for Holy Clothing — their black skirts have been a wardrobe basic for me FOREVER.

    I do get various items custom-made, from Original Sin Design, Kambriel, Somnia Romantica (and other Etsy sellers), and I highly recommend asking independent designers who make their own clothes if they’re willing to make a pattern to your measurements. Some aren’t, but many are, and I’ve had good experiences in that regard!

    I can’t sew a stitch and I’ve never had great luck thrifting, so for me, it’s all about combining outfit items in creative ways, accessorizing, and being willing to search through store racks to find one or two items that are Just Right, amidst the Christmas sweaters and tracksuits.

    Good luck!

  20. Rosie Says:

    I have a pretty awesome vest that came from a uniform store – it went from uniform to awesome just by replacing the black buttons with fancy brass buttons. I feel the plus size fashion angst – I’m US 28.

    Also, do remember that smaller girls have a hard time finding things that fit properly as well – it might go on their bodies, but that’s no guarantee that it’s going to do their unique figures any favors. If you can somehow manage to accept that maybe nothing in a store is going to work for you, and place the blame where it belongs (Your body is not wrong – it’s your body. The *clothes* are wrong.) you’ll be much happier in your search. And remember, when in doubt, try it on. I’ve found lots of things I loved on me that I didn’t think I was going to love when I saw it on the hanger.

  21. Delorian Jones Says:

    Well, I’m more of a deathrocker fashion-wise, but I am a large woman (in height and frame as well as weight), so maybe some of my techniques could still be helpful.

    I am on a very strict budget, so I probably couldn’t afford larger sized “goth clothes” even if I fit them. Instead, I buy the majority of my clothing (shirts, pants, skirts) from places like H+M and Target. It can be frustrating finding larger sizes at any store, but those two tend to have a good selection of stretchy things that make a good base. Then I tend to layer over that base with accessories– tights, scarves, hats, gloves, boots and jewelry all add up to make a properly gothy look even over a tunic top and some leggings from the most mainstream store. Thrift stores or second hand stores (the Garment District in Cambridge, MA is my favorite) are good for finding gothy layers like jackets, sweaters and over-sized vintage band t-shirts. I also see a lot of free sized flowy skirts, which aren’t really my thing, but would be great for all you classy Victoriana folks.

    I do have a background in theatrical costuming, so I also have a few pieces that I’ve made– usually related to my favorite hockey teams (A goth sports fan? Gasp!), but overall, making your own clothing sounds like a great idea until you’re in the middle of a project and it’s costing more than you’d planned and isn’t looking at all like you wanted it to and you’ve lost all motivation to continue no matter how many times you take a step back and clean your house while listening to David Bowie trying to get motivated, but that’s a risk worth taking when you have something you want that you absolutely can’t get any other way.

    Ooh, this is getting long! Lastly, my main advice is to know what looks good to you and what feels comfortable. I tend to wear cardigans, jackets, vests, cut up t-shirts or looser fitting over-things over the tanks/dresses that make me look bulgy. I also tend to avoid more fitted things like tailored tops/dresses or skinny jeans because they tend to not fit my curves right and get uncomfortable, which in turn makes me start thinking I look bloated and gross. But that’s just me!

    Sometimes there are certain looks and certain articles of clothing that are just plain unattainable because of size– and that’s sad and sucky, it’s true, but having to work around an obstacle like clothing sizing can also force you to really get involved in your look and end up getting something really unique and singular out of it.

    Good luck!

  22. raven Says:

    If there’s a Dress Barn near you, go there. Some of my most complimented outfits I have gotten from dress barn and accesorized with intersting jewelry and gloves. And, and least for the Dress Barn near where I live, they have an entire half of the store devoted to plus sizes.

  23. Ashbet Says:

    @Delorian — between Donna (of Original Sin) and Trystan (the CorpGoth), I’m VERY used to Goth sports fans . . . watching them root for their favorite hockey teams can get hilarious!! ^___^

  24. HouseCat Says:

    I have straight across bangs and pigtails – LOADS of NCIS comments for me! Not that I mind too much as she’s a lovely “perky-Goth” character, but it does get annoying after a while.

    My advice is like lots of people have suggested; buy plainer things from mainstream shops and charity shops/good will, and then go to town customising and accessorising. You can do a huge amount by just swapping dull plastic black buttons for shiny silver ones, and corsages, brooches, chokers, etc. can instantly add class and (with the right accessories) instant Goth-iness! Learn to apply lace to things; once you’ve got the hang of it it’s such a useful way of making clothes fancier. I rarely buy anything new (can’t afford to, these days!), so I’m not really any help with that!

    The problem isn’t you, it’s the fact that people vary considerably, but clothes are made in very ‘regular’ sizes. Lots of people find it hard to fit into a lot of ‘off-the-rack’ clothes. I’m taller than most ladies (and a few guys…), and find it hard to find clothes that fit due to that; it’s generally a case that narrower sizes are also shorter sizes, but I’m a tall lanky bean-pole, and I especially find it hard to find trousers and skirts that are actually long enough. I hate going through catalogues of gorgeous Gothic dresses and skirts knowing that all those lovely ‘floor-length’ garments are going to be calf or ankle length on me, and that mini-skirts are going to be micro-mini and far too revealing for my tastes, that shirts that fit my waist rarely get as far as my wrists, etc.

  25. fallconsmate Says:

    as i was pointed towards this lovely site to give out a couple of links, these two bellydance sites carry bigger sizes. plus, bellydance skirts are sized to fit *hips*, not *waist*, so those of us with less-petite bellies can fit into them! plus yummy wonderful yards and yards of fabric swirling around, yay!

    http://www.moondancebellydance.com/catalog/Shop_Products/Plus_Size.aspx they also have plus size models showing their wares

    http://www.flyingskirts.com/index.shtml long swirly-swirly skirts!

  26. Kassandra Says:

    For custom made sizes, I am a big fan of Rose Mortem:
    http://www.rosemortem.com/

    Rose is on Etsy too, and she makes custom sizes without charging extra for them. I have bought from her twice, and got amazing service and great clothing. Her designs are maybe not everyday wear, but definitely for a special day or just as an special gift to oneself.

    Cheers!

  27. Carol Says:

    Recollections and sister-biz Steampunk Threads are mainly aimed at Victorian/Edwardian re-enactors, but their clothes are available to 4X, and they have sales regularly. You can buy separates or complete outfits, many with choice of fabric and color. The quality of fabric and workmanship is very good. I’ve bought a number of items from them, and have been very pleased.

  28. Miss Miskatonic Says:

    One of my fave designers for curvy girls:
    https://www.bettiepageclothing.com/
    Goes up to 4x and has great options for summer.

  29. Mana Says:

    You might also look into Nordstrom especially as they’ve just opened their Topshop pop up stores. You’ll find a lot of good studded and Lacy items as they’re really on trend right now nearly anywhere. Leather is also a big trend this season, and great places to pick up cheap accessories are places like forever 21 and Charlotte Russe. You’d really be surprised at what you can find at stores like that. It all depends on what you pair it with, nearly anything can work. Zara also tends to have some lovely gothy items, and you can often find singular items at places like urban expressions. A big thing is following the oversized trend, a size large oversized top can often fit up to 2 or 3 sizes bigger as a more fitted shirt.

    If you can shop online Asos usually has some lovely things especially in the River Island Range they carry. And don’t shoot the messenger but there’s always Hot Topic for little bits like hair dye and jewelry. I know they’re a bit of a insta-goth/prefab-punk store, but so long as you’re not walking out completely ready made there’s nothing wrong with picking up a necklace or two.

  30. Lynn Says:

    There is an Australian-based company called “noXceptions” (http://www.noxceptions.com.au/) that has some lovely plus-size items.

  31. Amy Says:

    I’m not Goth, but I do love the Lady’s excellent etiquette advice, and the site.
    I am, however, plus-sized, and learning to sew is a skill that, IMHO, everyone should learn. Maybe you’ll be like me and will never be able to tackle those gorgeous (but hideously difficult) Vogue and Butterick patterns, but most of the Simplicity and McCall’s stuff should be within reach with some practice.
    And you don’t have to buy some fiendishly expensive machine, either. Brother makes a very nice model available at Wal-Mart for about $90. It does all the basic things you want a machine to do, and it’s a nice table-top size.
    However, if you do find yourself with a knack for sewing, by all means check out the Halloween books from Simplicity. There are a couple of designers, (one called Arkivestry) who have some very elegant patterns. Check them out on the Simplicity website under the costumes heading. I was really impressed with the patterns, and if you sew, then you can get the largest pattern available, and just add on to it until you get the correct size.
    Catherine’s is a plus-size store that carries good clothes. Not goth, but good basic pieces like slacks in dark colors that could be dressed up. The “art” tops have beautiful patterns and with winter coming, are in darker colors that could be “gothed” up. They carry a lot of their tops in black, brown, burgundy, etc., so you might just take a look around, poke around in the clearance racks and see if something jumps out at you. Good luck!

  32. VJ Says:

    I think part of Mery’s problem is that she doesn’t feel that what fits her looks very good on her. I know that feeling. It’s especially painful when that message comes from someone you trust.

    Try to remember, Mery, that being attractive is largely being confident. Once I learned to let me just be myself (which is an art that gets easier with experience) I found that I have no problem making friends and attracting gentlemen. (I’m sure the same would go for ladies if they’re your preference.)

    I also find that a few select garments can help make anything more wearable. Control undergarments (like Spanx, but far less expensive brands are available) keep the midsection (and almost any other problem area you might be concerned about) under control. Get the right bra, flattering with full coverage and support. And I’m sensitive about my upper arms, so one of my most indispensable pieces is a lightweight black shrug (with elbow-length sleeves) that I wear over anything that I feel doesn’t have enough sleeve.

    The most important thing is that what you wear makes you feel good, so that you can shine!

  33. Natalie Says:

    As a plus size Goth I’ve definitely spent quite a bit of time looking for good clothing sites. I’m not sure how many people this will help, but clothing stores that cater to african american women tend to go up to bigger sizes. The one near me has plenty of black lace, and lace-accented clothing that’s great for goth. Also, I found this site a while ago called One Stop Plus that basically pulls from all the big online plus size retailers. Its good for basics, especially because you can narrow search results by size and color. And if anything check ebay, they have a size filtering thing for their search results too.

  34. Pwassonne Says:

    Fanplusfriend.com has some Victorian-style items and outfits, and they will make them in custom sizes, sometimes with small additional fees. Most of what they have is good quality, but you may still want to look carefully at the pictures before buying. ^^”

  35. Clara Rose Says:

    You may also get some inspiration from the Curves to Kill blog / facebook page: http://www.curvestokill.com/

    This isn’t specifically gothic clothing but there are some gorgeous ideas and clothes, plus lots of info on retailers.

    As a rather girly goth I love Hellbunny who have started doing a great deal more for the plus size market: https://www.facebook.com/hellbunnyclothing?fref=ts

    They are moving away a bot from the gothic market and leaving it up to sister company Spin Doctor more, but their dresses are amazingly flattering to those of us with hips and bosoms!

  36. Anima Says:

    Being in a lower income bracket, I’ve had to get creative.

    Keep at it with the thrift store, you *can* and *will* find something awesome, trust me. I’ve found:

    Two long, flowing black skirts with goth-y ruffles at the bottom

    A ruffly black bolero that, according to my mother, has a very Lydia Deetz vibe

    Pointy black leather heels

    I sometimes wonder if a thrift-store goth is the diametrical opposite of a mall goth.

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