(Lack of) Vision Thing

The Lady of the Manners is going to say, right up front, that she very much wants there to be reader comments on this particular post. Because, to be perfectly honest, she’s not sure how much useful advice she has to give to this Snarkling! The following question is one that has never fluttered into the Gothic Charm School mailbox before, and is a situation the Lady of the Manners has no experience with.

Greetings Mistress,
My name is Sarah, and I have, for many years, been struggling with a rather unique problem regarding my gothiness, and I’ve come to the exhausting conclusion that I can’t solve it on my own. I hoped you’d be able to offer me some guidance because I fear I have nowhere else to turn. The crux of my dilemma, mistress, is that I am blind. I have been so since birth, and although that has not prevented me from living and experiencing life to its fullest, it certainly presents a plethora of challenges.

For starters, I don’t dare apply my own makeup. I couldn’t, even if I wanted to. I’d end up looking like I engaged in finger painting on my face. And I admit, I am a fiercely prideful person. I won’t ask someone else to do my makeup for me. If I can’t do something for myself at my own convenience, I’d rather not do it at all. Not that I’d consider asking my friends to assist me in attempting goth makeup. They’re all, to some extreme, redneck. They’d be as lost as I would be.

Another issue is clothing. I’m a starving college student with bills, rent, and a guide dog to feed. I can’t afford a whole new wardrobe. Luckily, a majority of the clothes I do own are black or in the darker color schemes. Black is quite frankly the only thing I’ve seen, so don’t bother trying to explain to me what periwinkle is; I won’t comprehend it. But how do goths dress? None of my friends or family are goth, I can’t stalk around my college campus and scan one out of the crowd, I can’t search the web for pictures or Youtube for instructional videos to help me muddle through it all. It’s embarrassing to say, but I need a personal demonstrator to take me by the hand and escort me into Hot Topic to tell me this is this and that is that. I find myself asking, is it even worth it? Are there any seasoned blind bats out there who can give suggestions, or does are blindness completely exclude us? Is it enough to say that we are goth on the inside, even if we have no one to teach us how to display it on the outside for the visual community to see? It’s a stupid irony, when you stop and think about it. The people in the world who actually understand the true meaning of perpetual darkness are isolated from dabbling in a culture that revolves around it.

The Lady of the Manners immediate, knee-jerk response is that you don’t need to display your gothness on the outside for the visual community to see. Goth is so much more than the fashion and makeup, and someone doesn’t (shouldn’t!) need to be visually identified by those things.

With that said, the Lady of the Manners also understands why you’d be interested in having things that signal your involvement with the subculture. How to go about doing that? The Lady of the Manners has a few well-intentioned, possibly of no help at all ideas, with the emphasis on WELL-INTENTIONED.

  • Makeup. It isn’t a requirement to be a goth! But if you want to explore makeup, contact the cosmetics section of your local department store and explain your situation. Ask questions of makeup artists at the store until you find one who will do a simple makeup application on you while explaining everything they’re doing. A light dusting of powder over your face, a sweep of a darker color across your eyelid, and a dark lip stain or glittery gloss could be something you could do with practice, perhaps?

    The Lady of the Manners asked one of her makeup artist friends, and they had these suggestions: “Using makeup which can be applied using fingers, like cream shadows, can be super handy for anyone who is doing makeup without seeing what they are doing. For lipstick- practice getting used to where your lipline is with clear lipgloss or lip balm. With time, you learn the feel and motion and then applying color without seeing what you’re doing is much easier.”

    Elsewhere on the Internet, popsugar.com has an article about tips from an aesthetician who teaches makeup application to the visually impaired. Vlogger Christine Ha is visually impaired, and has a video about makeup application. There’s also Breaking Blind, who does a lot of videos for the seeing community that help answer questions of “How does a blind person ”¦?”, and she has a couple of makeup videos, including trying on makeup from an Ipsy subscription.

  • Clothing. Perhaps you could (again) go to a local department store with a friend, and have them tell you the names for different textures of fabric? Then you could decide if you want to expand your wardrobe to encompass goth standbys such as lush stretch velvet, airy lace, or slippery silks. Are you able to shop online at all, using a text-to-speech interface? If so, knowing what textures of material you prefer would give you more options when searching for things.

    Of course, there’s the other goth standby: band t-shirts. Pick a few of your favorite spooky bands and search for t-shirts! A quick search around Amazon turned up shirts for The Cure, Siouxsie, Bauhaus, Joy Division, The Damned, and Depeche Mode. For that matter, do you have a favorite spooky animal, such at bats or spiders? Search for t-shirts featuring those! The same goes for favorite authors, quotes, and so on.

    Another possible option are fashion subscription places, where you answer a questionaire about your fashion preferences, and a stylist selects things for you and mails them out. One of the Lady of the Manners’ friends has been using Stitch Fix, and has been pleased with what they send her, saying that they get it when she says “edgy goth” and other descriptive phrases. While these sorts of services can be pricy, there are options for price point settings and frequency of delivery.

    Can you, and do you want to, dye your hair? Mainstream drugstores now carry “unnatural” color hair dyes, so you could grab a box of blue or purple or stop-sign red, then ask a friend to help you apply the color and rinse afterward.

    Pins and badges are another simple way you could add a goth touch to your wardrobe. Places like Etsy have shops that sell buttons for bands, cartoons, movies, books, quotes ”¦ just about anything, really. You could have a friend help you put specific shapes of tape on the back of them for identification purposes, so you could identify them when you want to change them around.

    For that matter, think about accessories! You could expand your style with velvet and lace arm warmers, black and white striped socks or tights, studded bracelets, necklaces with gothy talismans such as spiders, bats, skulls, or ankhs, or charm bracelets that include those things and make a nice jingling noise!

  • Scent! There’s a host of independent perfume companies out there that cater to those with darker sensibilities. The Lady of the Manners’ very favorite is Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, and they have a dizzying array of fragrances for every possible mood.
  • Finding other goths and like-minded weirdos: are there any meetups or social groups at your school that would be goth-friendly? You might be able to find people there who share your interests, would be able to help you decide if you want to show more of your goth nature, and help you do so.

Now, should you bother with doing this? Should you go to the effort of having visual signifiers when you yourself won’t be able to see them? The Lady of the Manners can only shrug and say “Maybe?” The visual presentation of goth is time and labor -intensive for people who aren’t visually impaired, and it would be even more so for those who are. You’re a college student, which means your time is already at a premium. How important is it to you to sport gothy plumage? Will it bring shadowy joy to your life, will it make you happy? If the answer to that is “Yes”, then you absolutely should. But if it will add more stress to your life, then skip it.

If you’re worried that you’re not “goth enough” if you don’t adorn yourself in black velvet and smoky eyeliner, let the Lady of the Manners reassure you: you are. Goth enfolds more senses than just sight. Music! Literature! Thunderstorms! The smell of incense and the feel of velvet! Enjoying the funhouse shiver up your spine as you indulge in something that unsettles you to a delightful degree!

Goth is not about who has the sharpest eyeliner or the most elaborate outfit, no matter what an appearance-obsessed society (or subculture!) seems to say. Anyone who tells you that you must “look goth” to be a goth doesn’t know the subculture very well, and can be ignored. Or they’re being an elitist gatekeeper, and can also be very pointedly ignored.

And now, the Lady of the Manners is going to turn to the Gothic Charm School readers! Are there any other blind bats out there, who can offer Sarah words of support and advice? Do any of you have suggestions for things she can do if she wants to have external representation of her spooky mindset? Comments are open! (And moderated, of course.)

Having a gothy-related problem? Curious about something spooky? Ask the Lady of the Manners! This link should help you reach the Gothic Charm School inbox!

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22 Responses to (Lack of) Vision Thing

  1. HouseCat says:

    I’m a sighted person, so again, am throwing suggestions in from the perspective of trying to help, but not being personally familiar with this young Goth’s problem.

    Goth, perhaps because of its monochrome aesthetic, is very rich in textures, which might be helpful in identifying items to wear. I would suggest she decides what sort of Gothic image she wishes to project (does she want to be fierce, spiky trad-Goth? Does she want to be an opulently vampiric Goth dressing in a variety of anachronisms with baroque details, does she want to be a minimalistic, androgynous nu-Goth in sharp lines and modern clothes, does she want to a medieval-inspired Goth in long droopy sleeves and floaty dresses, etc.) and then to go through with someone who knows that style what sort of things to look for. Without knowing what specific style she wants to choose, beyond Goth, it’s hard to get a handle for exactly how to help her with suggestions on what sorts of clothes.

    Perhaps she should get some online Goths to describe outfits from Goth OOTD pictures and photo-shoots in great detail. It’s one thing to say, for example ‘a floaty black skirt’ and another entirely to say a ‘floaty semi-sheer black skirt with embroidery at the hem, ankle-length in a loose maxi-skirt style, with a fabric light enough to catch in the breeze.’. That would give her an idea for what other Goths are wearing, and perhaps she can take inspiration from those.

    Another idea might be to go on a Goth-specific website with a friend (preferably one who knows a bit about Goth fashion), and get a friend to talk through what sorts of garments are available, describe them, etc. I know it’s more expensive than eBay or thrift-shopping, but at least pretty much everything on the website is likely to be Goth.

    Getting acquainted with terms for fabric types is definitely important to this.

    I also volunteer to help her out via e-mail if she’s comfortable e-mailing a stranger (I understand that there are many reasons why someone might not want to do that) to help her with this if she’s interested, however I’m mostly familiar with Romantic Goth fashion, with hints of Gothic Lolita, fantasy-Medieval and Victoriana, etc. so if she’s after another style, I might not be able to help so much.

    It would be so wonderful if Goth had fashion mentoring communities the same way Lolita has, advising newbies on reputable shopping sites, giving constructive criticism on outfits, linking to relevant tutorials etc.

  2. Autumn says:

    Merry meet, Sarah.
    I would pose to you that goth aesthetic does, delightfully, rely heavily on the other 4 major senses. Smell and sound especially so. Depending on what your personal aesthetic is, goth can be a relatively easy thing for you as you are. Perfumes and music will be your ally here. Also, thrift store clothing and some Halloween clearance shopping with help from friends can cheaply goth up your wardrobe (my day after Halloween shirts are some of my favorites). Many goths chose not to use makeup at all, and it can have a rather lovely affect. Pair a clean face with loose hair and long, draping black garb with perhaps a sun hat or parasol, and you get a classic and beatific gothic look with no makeup or hair styling at all. You can also use simple accessories, like bracelets, earnings, and spooky headbands.

    If you really want to do makeup, the simplest and easiest type I can suggest, which requires no sight to do, is to have a friend help you pick up a smoky eye shadow pallet in sepia/brown tones. You can use almost any shade from that pallet, and you get some on your thumb and just circle it about on your upper and lower lid. It is effortless and it doesn’t much matter if it isn’t cleanly done. It gives a tired, vampiric look. You can use the same colors and wipe some just on the inner part of your lips, smoothing it with clear lip balm if you want. It also gives off that freshly dead look so many of us crave.

  3. Cgirl says:

    I don’t consider myself goth, but I DO have the problem that I can’t see my eyes enough to put eye makeup on. I make sure to use an eyeliner pencil, after a bit of practice you can feel on your eyelid where the pencil is. And I find a thick top line looks close enough to mascara for me. Another tip I’ve picked up is if you want to do a dramatic eye you can place a bit of scotch tape from the outer corner of your eyelid to the outer corner of your brow. That gives you a place to feel to draw the line, then you can apply eyeshadow from your eyelashes to where the bone of your skull is. Remove the tape and you’ve got clean lines.

  4. Rhias Hall says:

    My advice is to go simple – black pants, or a black skirt and a goth themed t-shirt. Goth themed t-shirts usually feature either a goth band, or a spooky theme (skulls, bats, coffins, vampires, cemeteries, or other dark things).

    Add an ankh or skull necklace, and perhaps a bracelet or two. This is a perfectly acceptable gothic look which will alert other goths to your presence and interests without causing your non-goth friends to worry that you have joined a cult.

    If you lived in the Seattle area I would be happy to take you to Hot Topic and the local thrift stores. I am always looking for shopping buddies.

  5. Sarah says:

    To the mistress, I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to assist me. I realize I may have thrown you a curve ball with my enquiries and chances were you wouldn’t have a ready solution. Nevertheless, I will most certainly listen to those YouTube videos and explore the Websites you suggested. They sound promising. I’m treading on unusual territory. I’ve never devoted much attention to fashion growing up (it simply wasn’t relevant), but I’m in a new town, about to enter a new university, and I figured, why not explore something new. It could work out; it could not. But how will I ever know unless I put in a little extra effort? And, I’m finding that I’m learning things, too.

    To HouseCat: Rest assured, you’re suggestions are invaluable. Only 14% of the world’s population is afflicted with visual impairments, and only 3% of them are blind as I am. We’d lead unproductive lives if we didn’t accept assistance from the sighted community from time to time.

    And, yes, online goth friends to describe photos would be exponentially helpful. Unfortunately, as you have recognized, blind people are word whores. We love words, thrive on words, our entire perception of the world around us is built on a foundation of words. We’re extremely tedious in the sense that we turn everyone we come into contact with into authors. The more detail, the better. That’s probably why my roommates fly the coop when I mention shopping, online or otherwise, but mostly online. They know they’ll be painting verbal pictures, and so they flee. That’s the main reason why I’ve turned to cyber interfacing. I’m literally on my own out here, and spirits, I’ve forgotten how difficult it can be to uproot.

    I also strongly second you’re idea for a Going Goth Committee. it would be a safe haven for budding gothlings to congregate and express their cluelessness together. So helpful, so convenient, so pointedly nonexistent.
    If possible, I would like to exchange email addresses with you. Do we just write out the addresses here in the comments, because I’m not entirely sure if I’m comfortable with that.

    And last, but certainly not least, highest praise to both Autumn and Cgirl. Both of you had wonderful pointers. I particularly enjoyed the scotch tape. How interesting. A prime example of why it’s good to pick people’s brains. I never would have thought of that one. Clever.

  6. I would suggest getting together with a local seamstress who can pick the fabrics for you. If you describe exactly what you are looking for and have some pictures to show her (perhaps a friend can help with choosing the photos) she can make it custom for you. These days a seamstress can be around the same price as those expensive websites and the quality and fit will be better. A good seamstress can make anything even if it’s not their usual style. And since you are in college, you might even find someone on campus that can sew.

    Another suggestion is thrift shopping with a trusted friend. You may have to have some items altered or changed but you can save money buying second hand. And loads of accessories make a huge difference. People always notice my jewelry first.

    As for makeup, I think lipstick can go a long way. A simple hairstyle maybe in a different colour and some dark lipstick will say loads. And what about a funky new pair of eyeglasses instead of eye make up? A nice cat eye will spice things up and make you look alternative without having to apply make up.

  7. Skie says:

    If you are shopping by yourself or with un-gothy friends I’d suggest trying to shop by shape as a starting point, it’s easy to describe (or perhaps more relevantly, easy on sales assistants to describe to you if they’re floundering and at a loss) and mainstream stores can yield really gothy results with the right silhouette. Skirt-centric ideas since I don’t do pants, but a long, ankle-length a-line or flared skirt with a fitted top (even just a long sleeve tee), or a full, knee-length skirt (gathered or pleated or ruffled) and a cute blouse both come off very gothy if in black or black and deep jewel tones. Places which sell ‘nice’ corporate ware or evening/formal wear might be good, as being a little over dressed can also be very goth (smiley face).

    If you’re doing no/minimal make up you could make earrings a feature – from dangling, drippy evening statement pieces to simple ankhs or bats. A choker necklace or piece of ribbon tied round the neck is a classic goth look too.

    If you can afford it, you could get your eyelashes dyed black (or if you have a friend you trust enough you can buy do-it-at-home kits). If you’re fair skinned dyed black lashes can look almost as impressive as mascara and light eyeliner, without the worry of stabbing yourself in the eye or cleaning up if you blink while applying. A light dab of shimmery white or pearly silver eye shadow could add to the ‘done’-ness of your look. I apply eye shadow for everyday just with my fingertip. Light/pale shades are forgiving of being a bit messy with application, if you get it more on the corner of your eye or onto your brow bone it just looks like you meant it as a highlight. But on the other hand, totally seconding the scotchtape method for dark/bold colours – that’s often how I do clubbing make up with really dark sparkly eye shadow and the sharp line means no need for eyeliner. Just be careful to wipe away any shadow you might have got below the tape via accidental contact or falling dust. If your shadow is really dust-prone, you can hang a tissue from the bottom edge of the tape to protect your cheeks (looks stupid, but who cares).

  8. Sarah says:

    To the lady, I realize that I probably threw you a pretty nasty curve ball with my enquiries, but thank you so very much for going through the trouble to assist me. Your advice was, indeed, helpful. I will most definitely listen to the YouTube videos and check out the websites you suggested. It will be a good place to start. You wouldn’t believe how many times I tried to ask my peers what steps I might take to accommodate certain tasks to meet my needs and all I’ve been met with were prolonged silences, in which I envisioned them rolling their eyes or staring at me blankly while shrugging before they tell me that they had no clue and promptly continued to carry out their business. Not helpful. Not that I ever expected them to possess the solutions to all my problems, but they didn’t even try. Or they made feel as though I didn’t have any business in wondering about such things. What does a blind girl want to learn about fashion for, and goth fashion, nonetheless? It was terribly frustrating…and offensive…and somewhat hurtful. So thank you to you and your friends for the advice.

    To HouseCat: I strongly second your opinion that their should be a mentoring community. That way I wouldn’t be feel so bothersome for hounding goth-inclined individuals for advice. It’d be their job, after all. And if there were goths, or at least people familiar with the styles, who were interested in describing photos, I would worship them as gods. Emailing the lady was my desperate, last-ditch effort for direction. I’m quite literally on my own in figuring all this stuff out. I’m in a new town, in the process of moving into a new apartment, and transferring to a new university. I’ll take help wherever I can get it.
    If it’s possible, HouseCat, I wouldn’t mind exchanging email addresses. Not sure how to do that, though. Do I just drop my email here in the comments, because I’m not sure I’m entirely comfortable with that.

    To Autumn: I never knew sepia was a color. I always new it as the fluid secreted from cuddle fish when they are threatened. See, I’m learning things already. But in all seriousness, is the eye shadow a cream? I always assumed brushes were involved. That would certainly make my life easier. I also thank you for the tips. When one thinks goth, one typically thinks makeup. It’s good to know forgoing it altogether is an acceptable option.

    To Cgirl; Scotch tape, I never would have thought of that. I’m intrigued. Very clever.

  9. Sarah says:

    I’m stupid. My Voice Over for my laptop missed the notification about my reply being moderated after I submitted it. So, I thought it didn’t take and tried again. That’s why I’ve basically restated everything I just said.
    I live in Fresno, California, by the way. After this August, I’ll be in Clovis, California. If any of you guys are in the general vicinity, give me heads up.

  10. Lady of the Manners says:

    Don’t worry yourself about the vaguely-duplicate comment! It was different enough from your first one that I was fine with approving both of them. 🙂

  11. Sarah says:

    To Rhia’s Hall: I also think it’s best to keep it simple for the time being. No need to dive headlong into these things. I’m also on the lookout for shopping companions. Alas, I’m stuck in deadland Fresno. It’s hot, desolate, dry and–did I mention hot? Maybe that’s my issue. It’s too damn hot to be goth. The opulent, multilayered, vampires and leather-clad treads suffered heat stroke and died somewhere along the way to Save Mart or Costco.

    To Mary Mourning: A seamstress… Not sure if those exist in Fresno, but it’s definitely worth checking out. Custom made clothing sure does sound nice. That’s always my greatest fear shopping online. You spend a month’s worth of grocery money on something expensive, and then when it’s delivered, you find it doesn’t fit right or it’s uncomfortable or doesn’t quite flatter you.
    Trusted friend, still working on that. Know of any reputable websites I could purchase one of those from?
    Accessories are the funnest part of an outfit, in my opinion. I absolutely love tactile jewelry that I can feel and play around with.

    To Skie: Terribly sorry, but I’m not positive what you mean by ‘shape’. Are we talking about shapes or pictures on shirts or the shapes of shirts? And this is my blind bat showing, but what sort of colors are jeweled tones? Jewels come in a wide array of colors and shades.
    I’ve been debating for a long while whether or not to get my ears pierced. Several people have told me that it isn’t a big deal, but, oh, the needles. I’m tempted, but the needles. Shooting through my sensitive cartilage.
    You mentioned that dying my eye lashes would only really work if I was fare skinned. Many of my relatives and high school friends described my skin as being more olive hued. Not dark, but not especially fare either. Perhaps that wouldn’t be a good option then.

  12. Kara says:

    Such an interesting question, that most of us never think about. You have already received some great advice, and I would second trying to find a goth community online. Most goths are very friendly and willing to help.

    For me, one of the great appeals of gothic clothing is how it feels when wearing it, in addition to how it looks. Wearing a corset feels like a constant hug. I love the feel of soft, cool satin against my skin. The swooshing sound huge skirts make. I can’t help running my fingers up and down velvet to feel the different textures in different directions, and so on.

    So my recommendation is to focus on how the different clothes make you feel. Do you prefer the feel of velvet or PVC? Do you like swooshing about in big skirts and flowing sleeves, or is something more tight fitting more to your liking? Bell sleeves have a bad habit of falling in your food, so I don’t recommend them for dinner parties at least.

    A good starting point for any goth is to get a few basics, and then focus on accessories until you really get the feel for what you like. Since you live in a hot area, how about a long, loose black skirt, and a lacey top? Many goths love big jewellery, or lots of smaller ones. Silver tones are a lot more popular than gold. Lace gloves and decorated purses are also common staples.

    Jewel tones are dark colours. Dark red, dark purple and dark green are often used among goths, in addition to black.

  13. LamiaBats says:

    Hello Sarah!
    I am vaguely in your vicinity. Lol. I live in the Bay area and I would love to be of any assistance I could possibly be. Feel free to drop me an email – lamiabats@gmail.com.

  14. HouseCat says:

    My e-mail address is on my blog ‘Domesticated Goth’ under the contacts section, and if you have Facebook, I have a page there called Domesticated Goth, too, and can be contacted through the messages section.

  15. Anwaar says:

    I’m twelve years old and I’m going into 7th grade. Is it wrong to be gothic at this age and when it’s you character? In school I lie that I’m not gothic, I dress like other ordinary people and I also have only one outfit that suits my gothic side. Well this is only because if my parents find out that I want to be gothic and I respect The goth subculture, I’m afraid they won’t except it, I know it’s because it’s not their taste and my parents are professional like. So I always tell others that I’m 50% gothic in the inside and 50% ordinary on the outside. Is that a right thing to say as a ‘gothic’ person?

  16. Victoria says:

    Unfortunately, there’s nothing I can add to help the young lady’s plight. Everyone else has stated what I would have recommended (feeling texture, having people describe) and I am completely unfamiliar with the matter.

    To Rhias Hall: I was scrolling through the comments when I noticed you had stated you lived near the Seattle area, which shocked me a little as I also live in the Seattle area but can’t quite seem to find fellow Goths very well. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong because apparently they exist.

  17. Chicky says:

    Hi Sarah,

    I’m not Goth, and I’m sighted, but I do enjoy the Lady’s site, and so I visit regularly. I did notice your question about “shape.” I think what Skie meant was the shape of skirts, in particular. Not all skirts are created equal. Some hug the hips and fit at the knees (sometimes called “pencil” skirts), some fit at the waist and then come out from the waist and hips at an angle called an “A-line,” which means it’s roughly the shape of a capital “A.” These skirts are usually flattering on every body type. I’d recommend starting with those.
    “Jewel” tones. While jewels certainly do come in an array of shades, the general meaning of “jewel tones” is that it refers to colors that are in the ruby, sapphire, or emerald family. They are the darker, usually cool shades. By “Cool,” I mean they don’t have much yellow or orange mixed in, since these are considered warmer colors. Fire, for instance, is orange and yellow. Blue might be the side of a glass with a cold liquid in it.
    Someone with olive skin such as yours would probably shine in the warmer colors, though. Choose what’s called a “winter white,” since it has a warm undertone that would compliment your complexion. Not every color looks nice on every person. I can’t wear peach or yellow, for instance. My skin has a very pink undertone, and those colors just don’t suit me. Also ask for help with blacks that have a brown undertone, to flatter your olive skin.
    I’m sure there’s a seamstress in Fresno. Search places that do alterations. That’s where the professional seamstresses usually work.
    Maybe you know about the Valley Center for the Blind (http://www.valleycenterfortheblind.org/), but in case you don’t, I’m sure they could be a valuable resource for you. It’s a certainty they’ve run into persons with your circumstances, and could probably help you.
    And Sarah, it’s not a sin to ask for help. I know you live independently, and don’t like asking for help, and I understand and respect you for that. I think you can surmise from the replies you’ve received here, that people don’t mind giving an assist when possible. After all, I believe we were put here to help one another, whether that’s providing fashion advice, or the proverbial shoulder to cry on. In allowing someone to help you, you’ve become a conduit for them receiving a blessing, as well as you getting a blessing.
    I hope something I’ve said is useful in some way. Take care, and please let the Lady know how you’re getting along. I’m sure she will want to know and can pass it on to the rest of us. God bless you.

  18. Sarah, I am humbled that I never thought of your situation (and that of others who are blind) before you pointed it out. Thank you for the whack with the clue stick.

    You stated “I absolutely love tactile jewelry that I can feel and play around with.” so I agree with those who suggested texture. Perhaps, you can use other factors that you can sense: weight, temperature, sound.

  19. Shishimai says:

    Hello Sarah,
    As someone with one set of earlobe piercings and one set of cartilage piercings: earlobes are very quick to do and also quick to heal, along the lines of weeks rather than months. Cartilage piercings are slower to do and much slower to heal, and it’s worth thinking about your sleep posture – a fresh cartilage piercing is painful to lay on.

    I don’t know if you have lobe piercings, but if not, I recommend them – dangly earrings are a whole new set of tactile fun, and the right material will chime or clatter as you move, too.

    Depending on the weight and textures you like, it can be fun to wear them just to let them brush and swing against your neck. I have a set made with shed tarantula fangs. While they’re beautiful and delightfully odd, they swing and poke me every time I move my head. They’re still quite sharp! I have to really be in the right mood to wear those.

  20. Sorrow says:

    I’m arriving to the party late – my apologies.

    There’s some solid advice in the comments already, so I’ll try to keep to things that haven’t been said yet. For the record, I’m not blind, so I’m not sure how good this will be, but I’ll give it a go.

    For choosing clothes, loose, flowing clothes are great for hot weather, as you will already know. Big and long jewelry goes perfectly with light, loose fabrics.

    One possible look:
    If you get a plain black maxi dress (not sure if they are called that in America, but it’s a floor-length dress designed for summer, usually made of cotton), it can be made goth with accessories such as bat, skull and coffin jewelry. Make them large, silver and showy, and add rings, necklaces, bracelets… the lot. Add a broad-brim black hat, and a black veil hanging from the brim if you want to go all out (you don’t need to worry about seeing where you are going, so you can go all out with the funerary veil). A veil also removes the question of makeup, while giving a delightful creepy vibe. If you can’t find a veil anywhere, you could find something like a light-weight table cloth with a lace or cemetery-patterned embroidery on the edges (try online goth stores), this could be adapted easily by someone with a little sewing skills. Ballet flats (the shoes with very thin soles) go quite nicely with this look and are also cheap. Finish with a black handbag, either shaped like a bat or with a skull on it or something like that, and your summer outfit is complete.

    On a side note: Other commenters / Lady of Manners, does the above actually count as a Goth look? I’ve had to get creative due to poverty, so I personally think it counts, but I’ve never offered myself for internet scrutiny before.

    I also wanted to share something I read recently about blindness and color. I saw an article about the meaninglessness of red and blue to a blind person, and how colors could instead be described as experiences. I thought of it when Sarah mentioned the color periwinkle.

    So I’m going to give it a go here for the following colors: periwinkle (just because), the jewel colors of ruby red, emerald green, and sapphire blue, and a dark purple, which is another common goth color. Everyone experiences things slightly differently, so my descriptions will be subjective, but it may help you choose which, if any, colors you might want to add to your wardrobe.

    Periwinkle is the feeling of a feather gently brushing the back of your hand in the cool air of predawn on a summer’s day. It is soft and gentle, with a light, airy freshness.

    Ruby red is dark and rich, like the taste of expensive chocolate. It is a kiss from a cherished lover, slow and close. The rub of velvet over skin, moving with the pile of the fabric. It is warm, and speaks of hidden secrets and passionate emotions. It is also a close color to freshly spilled blood, which is part of its appeal to some goth folks.

    Sapphire blue is submerging yourself in a deep pool. It is cool satin flowing between your fingers. It is a metallic smell, but not strong enough to burn your nose, just enough for you to know there is metal there. It is a light wind in midwinter, refreshing but not cutting, waking you up and making you feel alert.

    Emerald green feels like life. It is standing in the dappled shade of large trees as spring turns to summer, with your face turned up and birds chirping around you. It is the rustle of these leaves on their branches, different to the rustle of autumn leaves. It is light, tinkling laughter, made after hearing an intelligent joke. It is also the feeling of a hug of friendship, of sharing warmth or comfort.

    Dark purple is cool, like water, but also carries a close comfort, like sliding into a bed with cool satin sheets, with many blankets weighing down on you in a comforting blanket hug, growing warmer until the satin is a temperature that is just right. It is a floral smell, like lavender or roses. It has hidden depths and feels dependable, like any secrets it has will always be held close and safe.

    Disclaimer: dark purple is my favorite color. I am naturally biased towards it and had a lot of trouble describing it just now.

    Anyway, enough of my going on. I welcome any thoughts anyone might have.

  21. Morticia says:

    My husband and I are visually impaired so hopefully we can be of some help here. He sees better than I, but not by much and I only have light and shadow perception. I would not do make up for some of the same reasons listed by Sarah in her query, but really, the stark white vampire look is the most old school/classic anyway and I’m already very light skinned so my only necessary make up is sunblock to keep me that way. As for clothing and accessories and how blind people find them in a Gothic/spooky style, we have a youtube channel called jekyllhydeclub where we, for the most part, review items we find, share where we found them, ETC, so this could be of help to many people, blind or otherwise. We pride ourselves on finding the best deals at the best quality. I do have a good imagination so put it to work dreaming up neat things I’d like to have, wondering if they exist, searching them out online and adding them to my must have collection if/when I find them.Please don’t take this as a channel plug. Of course everyone wants to get themselves out there, but I’d not use someone else’s forum for that. It’s merely the answer to something asked, and I do hope it helps. Sarah, you’re more than welcome to contact us there and we’d be glad to help in any way we can as well. Spookily yours,

  22. Britpoptarts says:

    Hopefully better late than never, and I am sighted, so this may not be as helpful as I’d like, but I have seen these “rub on an entire eyeshadow LEWK” kits all over Amazon and Wish and other places. If you think you can position them similarly enough on each eye, they do the entire lid/crease/highlight eyeshadow look for you AND come in darks, lights, holographics, neutrals, brights, shinies, shimmeries, glitters, mattes, fantasy prints like leopard and butterfly, and all combinations imaginable. The brand I am linking to below calls itself “Eye Majic,” with a J in Magic instead of a G, but it isn’t the only one selling these.


    Also, I am an older adult, working in a law firm, and often in a hurry. I have Korean makeup sticks which are quick, with the eyeshadow cream sticks being particularly easy to apply in a swipe. Tony Moly and Etude House are two brands that make nice inexpensive things. Caveat: I tend to wear neutrals and golds (the more metallic the better) on my eyes as a daily look, because it is forgiving if (when) I touch it or it smears. I pretty much don’t ever look in a mirror when I am not brushing my teeth and putting makeup on in the morning or when I am brushing my teeth and washing and moisturizing my face at night. I might catch a glimpse if I use the restroom, but I’m too tired to keep checking my makeup all day, so I pick neutrals and satisfy my magpie tendencies by also liking holographics, metallics, and GOLD (FWIW, this is the only gold allowed on my body, as I love white metals and silver makeup just blends into my sun-deprived hide). This dependence on neutral shades isn’t stereotypically gothy per se, but you can adapt the rules (and colors you choose) to suit you.

    IMVHO, Goth is really, and most importantly, a state of mind, not a dress code. I have never deliberately dressed as a goth person (except for the Halloween I got to rend an authentic burgundy and red velvet Victorian riding gown with little fancy top hat and jacket and button-up boots, which is when I was truly in my glory and LOVED IT), but I have always had a lot of gothy wardrobe items, from skull necklaces to spider rings and LOTS OF VELVET (jackets and dresses and skirts and jeans and boots, yum).

    Also, the older you get, the less you worry about what other people might say or do about how you choose to present yourself. I know this is not helpful when you are young and trying on different social cultures (e.g., prep, goth, rocker, artsy person, sporty person, etc.) and identities (which often have their own special costuming elements that act as short-hand signals to attract like-minded others in your personal urban tribe) to see what feels most authentic and “right,” but I promise you will care less and less about what other people want to demand you do to please them as you get older and more mature and more wise. 🙂

    Just know that you are perfect as you are, and any ornamentation or fashion or decoration you CHOOSE to wear does not make you more or less perfect. You need to do what makes you happy, because life is so short. The good news is that goth fashion is often very tactile, which is a secret bonus just for you and others in a similar situation (velvet is amazing, amirite?), so I vote that you wear whatever will please you the most. If you’re not hurting anyone, and if you’re being the same kind person you always have been, nothing you ear or do not wear will make you less of a person, nor will anything you wear (or not wear, or feel you are unable to wear) can make you less of a goth if you identify as a goth.

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