Of Funeral Etiquette

17 June 2019

This installment of Gothic Charm School deals with a question that, at first glance, shouldn’t be a problem for those in the gothic subculture; our fashion sprang forth from dust, shrouds, and mossy graveyard soil. And yet …


Do you have any advice for goths on what to wear to a funeral? I’ve never been to one, and even though most of my wardrobe is black, I don’t really know what’s ”too much” (no massive skulls and bats, nothing cut too low, but beyond that), or even how to do my make up for it. Considering how much of my style and interest in art is based around Victorian mourning clothes and the abstract concept of Death I have no idea what I’m doing.

You see, Snarklings? There’s the instantaneous thought of “This is easy! Most goths have a closet overflowing with black, why is this even a question?”, and then a pause and the almost-instantaneous thought of “Wait, no. This is much trickier than it seems”.

The thing that must be kept in mind about a funeral is that while they’re about the deceased, they’re not for the deceased. Funerals are for the living, an occasion for people to remember and celebrate the life of the departed, and to support each other in a time of grief. Which means that when dressing for a funeral, goths (well, everyone) should dress as respectfully as they can possibly manage. This is the time to find the plainest and most subdued of your wardrobe; you don’t have to go buy a new outfit that will disguise your true self, but don’t forget that you’re not attending because the event is focused on you. As a matter of fact, how anyone looks should be the last thing people are thinking about, because the focus should be on everyone looking out for each other.

Allow the Lady of the Manners to break from her usual writing style for a moment: when my mom passed away, I wore the simplest outfit I owned that still looked like it came from my closets. My mom loved my sense of style, but I had no way of knowing if everyone attending the memorial would know that, so I wanted to be as respectful of others as possible. And to be honest, I didn’t have the emotional energy to dress up in an elaborate outfit, even though I knew it would have delighted my mom.

Plain and minimal should also be the plan for any makeup, and smudge- or waterproof are also a good plan. However, again speaking from personal experience, if you think you’re going to cry (NEVER be ashamed to cry), then forgoing makeup all together is a better plan. It may seem a frivolous comment, but the Lady of the Manners never did find an eyeliner or mascara that held up to grief. Again, if people are judging you for not wearing makeup to a funeral, they’re focusing on the wrong things.

Mind you, a memorial for someone from the goth community that was organized by others from the same community? There’s a bit more room for personal expression at those sorts of memorials. The ones the Lady of the Manners has attended had a subtly implied dress code of “Wear an outfit that you know the deceased would have loved”. (The Lady of the Manners’ outfit included a wide-brimmed hat with veils; other people were sporting 1950s little black dresses, suits and ties, and -memorably- someone in formal white tie and tails.)

Other kind things you can do* when you’re going to be attending a funeral or memorial:

  • Bring tissues. Go to the store and buy several of those “pocket size” packets of tissues. It doesn’t matter if everyone else had the same idea, because it’s better to have too many packets than run out.
  • If there are small children attending (and you’re someone who does well with small children), help with them. If they’re getting fidgety or overwrought, volunteer to take them into the hallway outside of the room and keep an eye on them while they run around. Even if their parents aren’t some of the strongly grief-stricken, they’ll appreciate the help, because funerals and memorials are taxing for everyone.
  • If you see someone who looks overwhelmed, quietly ask them if they need a breather, if they need a glass of water, if they need anything you can help them with.

In short, be as kind as possible to everyone there.

* If you are one of the people directly impacted by the loss (a family member, a significant other, and so on), don’t worry about any of these things. This is not the time for you to worry about looking after others’ emotional needs, this is the time for you to take care of yourself and get through the event step by step.

* * *

The Lady of the Manners wishes no one had to go through these sorts of events. Yes, death is a part of life, and celebrating the people who touched our lives is vitally important. But the freight of grief that can come with those things is staggering. May you all have people who will help support you when you need it.

Stereotype Technology: For Your Window Shopping Needs May 2019

22 May 2019

For this round of Stereotype Technology links, the Lady of the Manners actually did wander a little way away from her own aesthetic, just like she said she would (try to) do! Yes, Snarklings, marvel at the Lady of the Manners’ restraint in not including a red velvet coat in every installment of Stereotype Technology. 

* * *

For those who have an aesthetic that leans in a post apocalyptic necromancer direction, Roland Mode offers some very interesting designs: 

Shadow Hoodie
Amok Gloves

Exo Umbra is also more on the post-apocalyptic or NuGoth/witch side of the aesthetic spectrum than the Lady of the Manners personally is into, but she is very happy to see that they specialize in plus sizes! Perhaps you need a belt with multiple styling options? You might, you never know.

Malice Harness Belt

WolfTea is one of the artists that the Lady of the Manners has followed for ages and ages on Tumblr, because the idea of “vulture culture” artisans working with scavenged organic materials is fascinating to her.

Coyote Bone Necklace

The Lady of the Manners has had the good fortune to peruse the offerings from The Creeping Moon at a few conventions, and only a strict adherence to her budget has kept her from snapping up everything at their booth. However, she’s still seriously considering buying one of the Witches Herbs Mugs:

Witches Herbs Mugs

Moon Brat Studios is not only the artist who created one of the Lady of the Manners’ favorite lapel pins (Baba Yaga!), but also offer a ethereally lovely silver moth pin: 

Moth Pin

And for the final selection, an item that really is a piece of Stereotype Technology, because not only did the Lady of the Manners have this sort of ring Back In The Day, but so did just about every other even vaguely fancy goth type. Because if you have aspirations of becoming a creature of darkness, you probably covet jewelry with deadly potential. 

Silver and Garnet Poison Ring from Dead People’s Stuff

So where do all of you Snarklings wander to for insomnia-fueled window shopping? Leave a comment and give the Lady of the Manners suggestions for new places to sigh over shiny objects!

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Remember, all sorts of additional gothy content is over at my Patreon! 

Of “Friendly Goth” Fashion

8 May 2019

For this installment of Gothic Charm School, the Lady of the Manners is responding to a Snarkling who said the questions in her mail were “a bit all over the place”, but the Lady of the Manners quickly spotted a link between them: how to have a subtle Goth style that won’t worry or intimidate parents or kids?


Dear Headmistress,

My questions are a bit all over the place.

My family and I (17 y/o female) are Christian which I don’t have a problem with but I can’t tell my parents that I’m goth otherwise they might disown me due to stereotypes. My wardrobe is all neutral colors (leaning more towards the darker neutrals, of course). All the clicky links you have provided are very helpful, but my parents won’t let me order from them because they won’t allow me to order from any shop with any name related to something in a subculture or violent. What are some shops with names that aren’t dark that still sell gothic clothing/jewelry?

I’m starting a job (my first job, nonetheless) at a kid’s toy store (Creative Kidstuff) and I know I won’t be allowed to wear things like black/dark lipstick/makeup, dark band tees or anything of that because, well, it’s a kid’s store. The store’s signature color is dark purple so I could do something with that but I don’t own anything purple. I want to incorporate a bit of my gothic style to show kids that people who are part of a subculture aren’t bad or mean but I don’t want to seem scary wearing a sparkly red skull necklace and bat stud earrings in the middle of Spring. How can I weave a bit of gothy-ness into a kid-friendly outfit?

Soli deo gloria,
A very very grateful little Snarkling

There’s a simple way to find shops your parents (probably) won’t have problems with you buying from: don’t restrict yourself to looking for things that are labeled gothic or directly marketed to goths. All sorts of goth-friendly fashion can be found at “normal” mainstream stores. Target, Forever 21, Amazon, H+ M, Modcloth … all of these places have oodles of items that will work in a darker wardrobe. No matter the stylistic season, mainstream fashion always borrows at least a few stylistic touches from our spooky subculture, even if it’s just inky hues and black lace details. While the Lady of the Manners admits she hasn’t created a board (yet) showing some examples of what’s currently out there, her Everyday Goth Fashion board on Pinterest will give you an idea of what sort of things to look for. When you’re looking at those places, don’t forget to search through the accessories sections for jewelry, hosiery, and hair ornaments; again, mainstream fashion wants to collect as much money from as many people as possible, which means they’ll always have some “safely quirky” accessories for people to toss on.

(The Lady of the Manners is using safely quirky entirely approvingly. For one thing, not everyone wants to be a velvet and lace bedecked creature of the night (or not all of the time), and for another, safely quirky goth influenced items make it easy for friends and family to show stylistic support of the goths in their life by way of earrings or barrettes adorned with cute skulls.)

As to how you weave a bit of gothy-ness into a kid friendly outfit? The Lady of the Manners feels that a sparkly red skull necklace and bat stud earrings are a perfect way to start! Remember, most kids aren’t very scared of goths, especially when the goths don’t feel they have to embody the (incorrect and outdated) stereotype of glowering and glaring at everyone. The Lady of the Manners has witnessed kids gleefully smile and wave at goths dressed in the height of deathrock style, or assume that a person with blue hair is a friendly cartoon character. So don’t fret about scaring the kids; instead focus on your outfit and accessories being appropriate and comfortable for your job. As an example: an outfit of sturdy patterned leggings with a long black shirt and lightweight cardigan (and comfy shoes!) is practical, yet easy to dress up with your sparkly red skull necklace. Black jeans, a black t-shirt, gothy socks, and some red lipstick will subtly indicate where your interests  lie, but still be “family friendly”.

Congratulations on your job! May you not have to deal with any awful customers, and may you never hear the dreaded words of “I want to speak to the manager”.

***

Guess what? I’ve launched a Patreon! Never fear, regular posts will continue at Gothic Charm School. But if you become a Patreon backer, you get even more content! True Tales of Eldergoth Life, discussions of vintage gothic romances, short fiction, Ask Me Anything sessions, and even more are part of the Patreon-only content. Take a look!

Stereotype Technology: For Your Window Shopping Needs April 2019

10 April 2019

Guess what, Snarklings? It’s time for another round of Stereotype Technology! The Lady of the Manners promises she’ll wander away from her preferred aesthetic next time, but this round’s collection of goodies were all found during bouts of insomnia-fueled window shopping. To the surprise of none of you, the Lady of the Manners is sure. 

(The Lady of the Manners hopes with the entirety of her inky black heart that many of you have better sleep patterns than she does.)

***

Multichrome eyeshadow in Greed, from LarinaMakeup.

The Lady of the Manners has an overwhelming weakness for color-shifting eyeshadows. Does it mimic the shimmer and hues of a possibly poisonous beetle or squid? Then the Lady of the Manners probably wants to put it on her eyelids.

Lord Satan and The Jewels of Terror by Janet Louise Roberts, from OnceUponWilloughby.

Vintage gothic romances! And while this particular edition of Lord Satan isn’t from the legendary Avon Satanic Gothic imprint, it still has delightful cover art. The Lady of the Manners fervently hopes that one of you will buy these, as she needs to stop being tempted by them.

Crushed velvet dress with lace ruffle jabot, from TheLastKult.

Oh gracious, how precious is this dress? How perfectly an example of the 90s cute vampire aesthetic, but newly made? The Lady of the Manners is fairly sure that she saw a similar sort of dress in the stores in the 90s, but her memory may be playing tricks on her.

Vintage 90s Goth Long Men’s Vampire Coat from MrMisterVintage.

The Lady of the Manners absolutely remembers this item being in the shops (oh hi Hot Topic, but other alternative clothing stores also carried it). She also remembers there was a point in time where it was one of the three possible “standard” wardrobe items for goth guys; the other two being a motorcycle jacket, or a flight jacket if their preferences tended towards the more industrial side of the sonic spectrum.

Armor rings from nycwears.

Another item that the Lady of the Manners not only remembers, but owns! If you purchase these, allow the Lady of the Manners give you a word of caution: if these rings are the slightest bit big on your fingers, they will fly off if you gesture expansively, be it in conversation or on the dance floor. And apparently the impact can be a wee bit painful. But don’t let that deter you! They’re a delightful accessory. Just possibly a dangerous one.

Coyote teeth earrings from NecromanceHollywood.

Necromance is a legendary store in the goth world, and for good reason, as it’s full of medical and zoological curiosities, funereal antiques and mourning jewelry, and strange vintage oddities in general. Even though many cities (including the Lady of the Manners’ home base of Seattle!) now have these sorts of emporiums, Necromance was one of the very first. And now they have an Etsy shop! 

***

As always, if there’s a particular item or theme you’d like to see the Lady of the Manners help unearth, leave a comment! 

Why Do Guys Like Goth Girls?

26 March 2019

The Lady of the Manners will be honest, Snarklings: she’s been holding onto this reader question for a while, because there are many different things to address, and the Lady of the Manners felt a little overwhelmed and freely admits that she won’t be able to cover everything or delve very deeply into the parts she does cover.

I found your site interest [sic] and by mistake. Great site. Was looking up ‘why guys like goth girls.’ Maybe you can answer that question for me real quick like. Anyway thanks for all what you do.

(An aside: The Lady of the Manners is going to use “guys” as a shorthand for male-presenting folks, and “girls” for those who present as female.)

First things first: there are a lot of relationships where one of the people identify as goth, but their partner doesn’t. It has nothing to do with “liking goth girls/guys”, but is that the non-goth was attracted to the other person for many reasons. The Lady of the Manners’ dear husband isn’t a goth, and she knows his preliminary interest wasn’t about her being a spooky creature of the night, but about who she was as a person.

  • Aesthetics. Goth has a striking look, and many people are attracted to it. Many goths like to date other goths, and even people who don’t consider themselves aligned with the subculture are fascinated by the black clothes and darkly decadent look. (This is part of the reason why fashion designers and cosmetic companies are inspired by stylistic elements of the goth aesthetic season after season.)

  • Weirdness. This, in the Lady of the Manners’ experience, tends to apply to guys, and especially ones who aren’t part of the goth subculture or don’t know a lot about it. To them goth girls are “weird”, and therefore exciting. The guy may think that having a goth girlfriend makes him seem cooler or more interesting. “Look how open-minded I am”, he may think, “I’m dating a girl totally unlike me, and she’s so weird!

And in some cases the weirdness factor goes hand in hand with …

  • Perceived promiscuity and kinkiness. Goth fashion, especially on the feminine side, borrows a lot of stylistic notes from fetish fashion: Corsets, fishnets, bondage collars, perilously high stiletto heels, and so on. There’s nothing wrong with that. But guys, especially ones who aren’t part of the subculture, may associate those fashions with sex and sexual kinks, and automatically assume that any woman wearing those things will be easy to pick up for sex, and will probably be interested in doing “weird stuff”.

Let the Lady of the Manners be very clear: there is nothing wrong with having casual sex or sexual kinks as long as everything is consensual and safe. But there are guys out there who assume any goth girl is fair game, and deliberately go to goth clubs on this assumption. The mildest form of this is “just” objectifying any goth girl, but that assumption frequently leads to unwanted attention and the ignoring of boundaries.


Sadly, it’s not just guys outside of the goth community who do this; we have creepers inside the crypt, too. And in a way, the Lady of the Manners finds that even more disheartening. People who belong to the community and subculture should understand the social nuances and cues that are part of it and not tolerate any level of sexually predatory behavior.


You may think the Lady of the Manners is being a bit overbearing in using the term sexually predatory behavior. She’s not. Some people scoff at the idea of goth clubs and events being spaces where people feel safe, and declare that if you’re going to a club, you should expect to be propositioned and touched. No. That’s not appropriate anywhere, but especially in a community for people who feel outside of the “normal” world.

So while this is a bit of a tangent from the original “why do guys like goth girls” question, this is information the Lady of the Manners believes is vitally important. What should you do if you are the target of inappropriate attention while at a goth club?

  • If you go to the club with friends, decide on code words or gestures to use to signal that one of you needs backup. If the creeper tries to engage with you, one of your friends should step in and start a conversation with you that pointedly ignores the creeper, and/or walk you to another area in the club.

  • Tell one of the club employees, preferably a bouncer. At the least, the bouncer should keep an eye on the creeper. Hopefully the bouncer would go have a word with the creeper, or even remove them from the club.

  • A “whisper network”. While the Lady of the Manners is all for a public Name and Shame approach for predators, that can backfire and lead to a “he said/she said” storm of nonsense. Which means that private conversations and warnings about people to be wary of is invaluable. Back when the Lady of the Manners went to clubs regularly, she was part of a group of women who kept an eye out for new attendees – especially any younger ones! – and gave them a quick warning. “He’ll stare at you creepily all night. That one will try and have uncomfortably inappropriate conversations with you. That one is someone to be wary of in general.”

Creepers and sexual predators are a blight upon our subculture, and should not be tolerated even slightly. If someone attempts to defend this behavior, ask if the person they’re defending behaves in a manner that Morticia and Gomez Addams would approve of.

So in short: some guys like goth girls because they’re also part of the subculture. Some guys like goth girls because they’re “strange and unusual”. Some guys like goth girls because of sketchy assumptions about the behavior of goth girls in general.


What about you, Snarklings? Can you think of other reasons why guys may like goth girls? Additional advice on how to deal with creepers? The comments are open! (And moderated with an iron fist inside a velvet glove, to no one’s surprise.)

Show and Tell: Wet n Wild “Rebel Rose” Collection and North Star Glitters

28 February 2019

Makeup is a staple of goth fashion. It’s not by any means a requirement to be a goth, but it is very, very prevalent. (The Lady of the Manners doesn’t want to think about how many hours she spent practicing with liquid liner to be able to achieve pointy winged eyeliner.) And more and more cosmetic companies are producing items targeting those of us with a darker sense of style.

Well, some of us, in this case. As the Lady of the Manners has mentioned in other places, she’s become a fan of a floral goth aesthetic. Black flowing skirts with prints of overblown roses worn with black velvet jackets, hair accessories with layers of blooms, that sort of thing. When the retail theme for Halloween 2018 turned out to be blackened floral decor, the Lady of the Manners feared for her bank account. So when Wet n Wild announced the Rebel Rose collection, the Lady of the Manners both sighed and flailed, opened a new browser tab, and faced temptation.

There are three different box sets: one each for the skincare and makeup collections, and then one deluxe box set that has everything except the Rebel Rose -themed makeup brushes, which are sold individually. The Lady of the Manners was very tempted by the brushes, with their black handles that looked like rose stems and the black and pink bristles, but realized she didn’t actually need any more makeup brushes. Or skin care items.

However, floral goth eyeshadow and smoke-tinted creme blush and lip balm that were supposed to magically turn to a deep pink rose shade? Yes, those were needed.

(All Wet n Wild products in this review were purchased, not sent for review or promotional purposes.)

The photos on the WnW website made the Bed of Roses eyeshadow quad seem to be everything the Lady of the Manners has been looking for. A deep purple! A deep burgundy! A dark shimmery pink! A lighter shimmery pink! But alas, things were not as they seemed.

Those are lovely colors, but not the cool-toned shades the Lady of the Manners was hoping for. For someone who wears warmer-toned makeup, this is a great set of colors. As always, the pigment density in WnW eyeshadow is exceptional, especially with a price of $4.99 USD.



The Rose In Peace creme blush was much more satisfying in terms of the Lady of the Manners’ color preferences. It does indeed apply as sheer smoke with a hint of shimmer, and then turns into a sheer deep pink blush. It also layers well if you want a deeper color.

The Tint Of Corruption “Perfect Pout Jelly Balm” is a product that filled the Lady of the Manners with nostalgia, as color-changing “mood lipsticks” were a Big Deal in her youth. Those lipsticks were green or blue, but promised to magically turn into a color matching your mood. In reality, everyone’s mood was apparently signified by sheer fuchsia lips.

The Perfect Pout Jelly Balm does the exact same thing. Oh, it goes on as a sheer smoke color, but turns into sheer fuchsia. Which is fine with the Lady of the Manners, but may not be something others want.

However, it is moisturizing without feeling sticky, and works well to add a layer of moisture to refresh regular lipsticks. (But don’t use it over any liquid-to-matte lipsticks!) It has a mild rose scent which fades quickly, so you won’t spend the entire evening wondering why you’re being haunted by ghostly flowers.

So as always, Wet n’ Wild’s products are extremely good value, with excellent quality for the price and availability at most chain-type drug stores. Oh, and they’re cruelty-free!

– – –

As some of you know, the Lady of the Manners is fond of glitter. Very fond of glitter. The Lady of the Manners’ objection to the Cullens of the Twilight books wasn’t that they sparkled, but that they weren’t really vampires. (The Lady of the Manners will eventually inflict her Opinions about that series of books upon you, but now is not that time.)

The nice folks at North Star Glitters, knowing of the Lady of the Manners’ weakness, sent her a box of amazingness. (With a wonderful note!)

North Star Glitters’ claim to fame is that their One Step Glitters are premixed with an unscented cosmetic binder, which makes them a one-step glitter product. It also means that you won’t create a small cloud of glitter when you open the jars, thus saving other people in your living space from sparkly annoyance.

That claim to fame is completely true. The glitter has a dense, creamy texture, applies smoothly with a flat bristle brush, and doesn’t shed during wear. It hardly creases! (And that may simply be a case of the Lady of the Manners’ particular eye shape, not anything to do with the product. In fact, that probably is the case.)

And oh, the colors! North Star Glitters very kindly sent a box specifically tailored to the Lady of the Manners’ favorite colors, but they have all sorts of metallic, iridescent, and UV reactive (?!?!) shades.

In order from the smallest to the largest bat tattoos: Courtney, Cindy, and Cassandra.

Again, follow the smallest bat to the largest: Leslie, Yvette, and Allison.

Bats! Again! Always follow them! Reagan, Katie, and Jackie.

The glitter used by North Star Glitters are cosmetic grade, but are not environmentally friendly.

– – –

What colors would you like to see become readily available from mainstream cosmetic companies? Are you for or against glitter? Do you also remember mood lipstick? Talk about things in the comments!

Tutorial: The Ceremony of the Fangs!

14 February 2019

The Lady of the Manners is overwhelmingly fond of stuffed animals. Not only does she still have two of her cherished childhood bears, but she has a rather large collection of fuzzy monsters and bunnies. The most notorious of her bunnies being Clovis Devilbunny, fanged bunny extraordinaire, who has given the Lady of the Manners very good advice over the decades.

Clovis Devilbunny

Over the  years, people have asked how Clovis (and the other vampire bunnies in the Evil Bunny Alliance) gained their pointy pointy teeth. So the Lady of the Manners and Clovis Devilbunny now present: The Ceremony of the Fangs!

1. Gather the supplies: plastic vampire fangs, small scissors, white thread, a sharp sewing needle, a long pin with an easy-to-hold head, and a candle. Optional but not pictured: a pair of needle nose pliers.

(The cordial glass of rose liqueur and large black cat are also optional.)

2. Trim two teeth from the vampire fangs, making the edges as smooth as possible. An additional optional step: hold each tooth in the pliers, and carefully melt/smooth the edges over the candle flame. It’s not a good idea to breathe in the fumes from melting plastic, so work in a room with ventilation!

3. Heat the tip of the pin over the candle flame, then poke 3 to 4 holes through the top of each tooth. Again, this is why a ventilated room is important!

4. Thread the needle and make a small, sturdy knot at the end of the thread. Carefully start sewing the teeth to your fuzzy companion, using the holes you already made in the teeth. Make sure to tug the stitches tight, so they don’t show. It’s helpful to talk to your fuzzy companion during this step: assure them of their bravery, and tell them how fierce and dashing they’ll look when the teeth are secure.

5. Trim all of the loose or exposed ends of the thread, gently fluff the fur around their new pointy teeth, and perhaps give your fuzzy companion a new bow tie.

Merricat bunny was thrilled to be the tutorial model, and is quite pleased with her fangs.

Good luck! Clovis Devilbunny would like to remind you that the Evil Bunny Alliance is an equal-opportunity organization, and gleefully accepts recruits of all shapes, sizes, and fuzzy animal type. Also, Clovis Devilbunny and the Lady of the Manners would be delighted if you want to share photos of your own fuzzy companions in the comments!

Stereotype Technology: Deathrock

31 January 2019

This round of Stereotype Technology is about the spooky subgenre of goth that’s closer to crawling out of the grave than to romantically languishing on a fainting couch: Deathrock!

Deathrock started, according to the purists, around 1979 in Southern California. It was a theatrical and macabre mutation of punk and hardcore, and included bands such as 45 Grave, Christian Death, Kommunity FK, and TSOL.  According to Dinah Cancer, the singer of 45 Grave: “The first prowlings of deathrock came in the early ’80s before we were labeled as our other counterparts – the gothic movement. There were no Goths. The Deathrockers were splintered off from the punk/hardcore scene that was going on at the time. We played punk rock but we loved Halloween and we looked like vampires. So the phrase ‘deathrock’ was born.”

45 Grave – Pick Your Poison

Christian Death – Only Theatre of Pain

There was a similar scene creeping around the edges of the East Coast punk world, with bands such as The Cramps and The Misfits taking inspiration from b-movie horror. 

The Cramps – Songs the Lord Taught Us

Misfits – Collection

While some people feel that deathrock is a historical relic, there is a small but strong death rock scene still flourishing today. Especially where the style is concerned! Big teased hair (frequently with one or both sides of the head shaved), heavy eyeshadow and contour in dark colors and layers of ripped fishnets are some of the stylistic signifiers. With that in mind, the Lady of the Manners presents some building blocks of deathrock style!

Back when the Lady of the Manners had Big Hair (while she wasn’t a deathrocker, Big Goth Hair is the same thing), her lacquer poison of choice was AquaNet Unscented Extra Super Hold, in the original pink and white can. In fact, one memorable Christmas, the Lady of the Manners’ parents gave her a case of AquaNet. (It was gone by May of that year.)

Nowadays if the Lady of the Manners wants Big Hair, she uses What a Tease – Backcomb In a Bottle by the brand Sexy Big Hair. 

It’s some sort of strange aerosol fiber; hold a section of hair straight up, spray this around the roots, let it dry for a few seconds, then gently pull apart that section (“like peeling a banana” say a few reviews, which is accurate but weird). Ta-da! Volume! Unnatural volume!

But not quite enough unnatural volume for true Big Hair, so tease those sections with a backcomb brush, and add layers of a super-hold hairspray, such as Sexy Big Hair Spray and Stay until your hair is enormous and immobile.

When you need to flatten your hair again, get yourself a bottle or two of really cheap conditioner and a wide tooth comb; hop in the shower, get your hair wet, pour one of the bottles of conditioner over your head, and start detangling your mop. Be warned, this will take approximately forever; the excuse “I can’t, I have to wash my hair” is undead and well in Big Hair Life

Of course, if you don’t want to spend hours teasing, spraying, and washing out your hair, apparently there’s such a thing as a “deathrock half wig”?! Who knew! We live in an age of stylistic shortcut wonders. Deathrock half wig from Penny Wigs.

Fishnets to rip and layer to your black heart’s content! Cut out the crotch and wear them as a shirt! Wear multiple layers of fishnets as a shirt! On your arms! On your legs! Then weep at the end of the (probably late) night because taking off all those layers of ripped fishnets is an intricate puzzle you can’t solve when you’re too tired! Available in 50+ colors at We Love Colors.

The punk rock DIY aesthetic is also undead in deathrock, so get yourself a basic black blazer and black jeans or miniskirt to shred and decorate with paint or bleach, patches, safety pins, and spikes and studs. If you want to be extra over-the-top, track down an animal print jacket, like this zebra print one, and then customize it.

Accessories for the deathrock look can feature skulls, crosses, bats, rosaries, coffin nails, bondage belts … layers of them. So. Many. Layers. Do you think you’re wearing enough bangle bracelets? You may be wrong. Put on more until you’re not sure you’ll be able to lift your arms, then maybe take two or three off. Maybe.

Black bangle bracelets.

Rubber o-rings to wear as bracelets, but they’re actually plumbing supplies!

Also layer on the necklaces and rosaries. Yes, they will tangle with your Big Hair. Yes, they will get caught in your layers of fishnets. But since you want torn fishnets anyway, just consider this a shortcut. 

Glow in the dark rosary beads.

Long plastic bead necklace.

O-ring belt.

Finally, the best way to get yourself some deathrock fashion is to hit the local thrift stores, buy bags of cheap shiny jewelry and inexpensive black clothes (but probably not flowy, flouncy ones – leave those for the romantigoths), then layer and customize them until your dead heart lurches into (un)life.  

Suggestions about other key deathrock pieces? Deathrock bands more people need to know about? Deathrock-focused club nights in your city? The comments are open!

No Tolerance for White Supremacists. Ever.

17 January 2019

For this installment of Gothic Charm School, dear Snarklings, the Lady of the Manners is going to get political. Wait, no, that’s the wrong word, because treating people with respect and not being a horrible excuse for a human isn’t, and shouldn’t be political.

This particular version of the question came from the inbox of the Gothic Charm School Tumblr, but is also something that has been asked in other goth spaces:

Dearest Aunt Jillian, is it advisable to tell the club management when other patrons who are part of their biweekly Goth Night are bothering you? I don’t want to give the club any reason to discontinue Goth Night but there’s this small four person cluster of swastika-wearing metalhead-Goths who are making myself and a lot of my friends uncomfortable with behaviors such as commenting on ‘Jewish’ facial features, insulting POC Goths in attendance and ‘jokingly’ doing the Hitler salute. Advice?

YES, IT IS ADVISABLE TO TELL THE CLUB MANAGEMENT. 

N*zis are NOT WELCOME in the goth community. They should be removed, including any edgelord types who are “jokingly” aligning themselves with those fascist scum. Their behavior must not be tolerated.  There is no such thing as “jokingly” viewing other people as lesser or subhuman. There is no such thing as “jokingly” supporting a stance that espouses genocide. Any support or even tolerance of hate speech and hate groups helps normalize them. People who “jokingly” support such things aren’t really joking; they’re testing the waters, and their behavior will escalate to threats and violence.

The goth subculture is no place for hate groups. For that matter, no subculture — punk, metal, pagan, and so on — should include hate groups. Every subculture has had to enforce their boundaries and chase out the N*zis. Hold that line, and make it clear through actions that the hate groups aren’t tolerated. What actions? Sticking up for the people being targeted. Letting the “jokers” know their behavior is not acceptable, through direct confrontation, or things like creating and passing out fliers and stickers stating directly that the scene won’t tolerate them. And if necessary, forcibly removing them. If you or someone else decides to forcibly remove them, keep in mind that the police may get involved; organizing bail and transportation from the station for the folks who clashed with the hate group is especially helpful.      

The club management must be told. Organize a group complaint, or make sure that the folks who are concerned commits to voicing their problems as individuals, and as soon as possible. They shouldn’t be willing to have patrons like that; if the management ignores your concerns, then stop attending, because that’s a clear sign the management doesn’t care about the safety of their patrons who aren’t horrible people.

The Lady of the Manners understands your concern about the club possibly discontinuing the night, but there will be other goth nights, and if there aren’t, then you and your friends should approach other clubs about hosting a goth night. Be sure to discuss the club policies toward hate speech and hate groups <b>before</b> the goth night is agreed upon.

In case the Lady of the Manners hasn’t made this clear enough to anyone reading this: N*ZIS ARE NOT WELCOME IN THE GOTH COMMUNITY. EVER.

And now, a classic punk musical interlude:

Stereotype Technology – For Your Window Shopping Needs – January 4, 2019

3 January 2019

Snarklings, remember in the previous installment of Stereotype Technology, when the Lady of the Manners said she was going to include more than just her aesthetic? Let’s just assume that she meant sometimes include, shall we?

(All images are property of their respective creators and owners.)

The Lady of the Manners has a terrible weakness for vintage gothic romance paperbacks. You know the ones: the covers feature a young lady in a flowing white nightgown or a beautiful dress, running from a foreboding mansion. Sometimes she’s standing warily in a graveyard, on a cliff, or in another ominous location. (The Lady of the Manners has opinions about how many of these paperbacks are subversively feminist, despite the formulaic nature of the stories, and will eventually subject all of you to those opinions.)

Did you know that Avon publishing had a subset of gothic romances that were “Satanic”? All that really meant was that there was more of an occult horror thread to the plots, but in addition to the fabulous cover art, there was a tiny goat head design on each cover to show which line they belonged to. Needless to say, the Avon Satanic Gothics are some of the Lady of the Manners’ favorite examples of the genre, and as she has accrued a complete set, she’s willing to share some links.

Red Wine of Rapture

The Twisted Tree

This Mortal Coil was one of the leading lights of the early dream pop / romantigoth music genre. Coming from the 4AD record label, This Mortal Coil was a collective of guest musicians and vocalists. Their best known single, Song To The Siren is probably one of the top songs of longing and heartbreak for the goth subculture. 4AD released remastered versions of the albums on CD and vinyl, and are breathtaking. The Lady of the Manners has owned their three albums in one form or another for decades, and the remastered versions have a clarity of detail she’s never heard before.

A one-of-a-kind doll of Mina Murray! Of course, if the Lady of the Manners were to own this, she would be compelled to commission a Dracula doll from the artist, and then madness would take hold. But still! A Mina Murray doll!

Long after midnight one night (which is a perfectly normal time to be awake) the Lady of the Manners made the discovery that there are sellers on eBay that use the terms “strict governess” or “Victorian governess” to describe clothing items. This is a wonderful discovery. This is a dangerous discovery.

Strict Governess blouse

Victorian Governess skirt

Rituel de Fille is one of the Lady of the Manners’ favorite cosmetic companies. Their products are high-quality, and the owners are charming and delightful. Eclipse cream pigment, a wonderful eggplant color, is one of the things the Lady of the Manners uses one way or another whenever she does her makeup; while the Lady of the Manners has used it as an eyeshadow base and lip color, the main thing she uses it for is contouring. You see, Snarklings, shadows are not brown. If you want a more accurate shade to create shadows on your face, avoid brown-based contour palettes. With Eclipse, you can apply a tiny bit and blend, blend, blend for a natural shadow effect. If you’re very invested in a deathrock and/or creature of the night aesthetic, you can apply it in layers for as dramatic an effect as you want.

Bat cufflinks! Who doesn’t need bat cufflinks?

If you don’t need bat cufflinks, perhaps you need a black silk jabot?

And finally, to adorn your walls, perhaps an Edward Gorey vampire bat poster.

For the next round of Stereotype Technology, the Lady of the Manners will try very hard to find items that appeal to a wider range of aesthetics; perhaps some industrial or deathrock goodies? Unless her fevered binging of vintage gothic romances lead her to finding items to outfit the assorted characters found within them.

Do you have Stereotype Technology items you’d like help finding? Is there a style of gothic fashion you’d like to see explored? Do you just want to shake your fist at the Lady of the Manners for leading you into temptation? Then leave a comment!