The Summer Solstice has passed in the Northern hemisphere, which means summer has arrived. The Lady of the Manners wishes she could be more enthusiastic about the whole thing.
The Lady of the Manners is completely accepting of the fact that many other goths don’t share her biases about the seasons and their attendant weather. There are people she’s very fond of who adore sunny days and high temperatures, and who become listless and dispirited once autumn comes around. But, as the Lady of the Manners often says over on Tumblr, she is a delicate moss flower. Which brings the Lady of the Manners to what is becoming a summer tradition at Gothic Charm School: advice on how to deal with the burning orb.
As the Lady of the Manners stresses time and time again, you don’t have to be pale to be a goth. However, avoiding the sun isn’t just a gothy affectation; there are people (the Lady of the Manners included) who thanks to genetics, illnesses, medications, or who knows what else, don’t deal well with prolonged exposure to sunlight. (As the Lady of the Manners has said before, eventually she’ll develop the fun symptoms of vampirism, like immortality and being able to turn into a flock of bats.) While the idea of not going outside until after sunset has its attractions, it’s not entirely feasible, which means knowing how to cope with sunlight.
- Sunscreen! This is absolutely the most important thing you can do. Apply sunscreen to every bit of skin that isn’t covered by opaque fabric. No, Snarklings, lace or fishnet clothing will not protect you from the sun. Also, reapply the sunscreen every 60 to 80 minutes if you’re going to be outside for an extended length of time. (The Lady of the Manners realizes this may be a problem if you’re wearing makeup, but has a suggestion for that shortly.)
The Lady of the Manners relies on matte finish sunscreens that are made for the Asian skin care markets. They don’t feel sticky, and they double as primer for under makeup. The two the Lady of the Manners keeps on hand are: MISSHA All Around Safe Block Essence (SPF 50) and Biore Watery Essence Sunscreen (SPF 50). The Lady of the Manners has also seen good reviews of La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL Ultra Light Fluid SPF 50, FrezyDerm Sun Screen Velvet Face SPF 30, and Nivea Sun Anti Age Face Cream SPF 50. And of course, there’s the (usually) easy-to-find Neutrogena Ultra-Sheer Dry Touch SPF 100. (Which used to be the Lady of the Manners’ go-to sunscreen, and she doesn’t remember why she stopped using it.)
How to deal with the problem of reapplying sunscreen to your face if you’re wearing makeup? Snarklings, did you know there’s such a thing as powder sunscreen? There is, and it’s amazing. You use it just like any other powder to touch up makeup throughout the day, but it adds an additional layer of SPF. The Lady of the Manners has tried a bunch of them, and keeps coming back to Jane Iredale Powder Me. Yes, it’s almost $50 a container, but one container has lasted the Lady of the Manners through almost three summers. It actually is translucent (unlike many other powder sunscreens which are ”¦ orange), has the same sort of effect as any of the “HD” makeup setting powders, and can be used on any exposed skin. This product is what the Lady of the Manners and her loved ones use when visiting Disneyland for Bats Day. In other words, this is the product the Lady of the Manners enthusiastically recommends.
- Physical blocks – a giant hat! They can be left plain for a Lydia Deetz look, or festooned with tulle, ribbons, flowers, or anything else that strikes your fancy that can be somehow attached to the hat. Some of the things the Lady of the Manners has used to decorate her giant sun hats:
- A (large) length of tulle, scrunched, crumpled, and stitched around the crown of the hat, for a gauzy, cloudy effect. Tulle can also be used to make a veil around the brim of the hat.
- Lengths of lace or ribbons tied around the crown with a big bow, and the ends left to flutter.
- Fake flowers from the craft store. The blossoms are easily pulled off the plastic stems, and then can be pinned or sewn on.
(The Lady of the Manners strongly suggests sewing any decorations on, instead of using hot glue, because what if you decide you want to change the ornamentation? Prying anything off a hat that has been affixed with hot glue is tedious in the extreme, and no amount of silly vampire movies on in the background will change that.)
Remember, if you have long hair and decide to wear a giant hat, you probably want to pull your hair up and off your neck. The giant hat, while protecting you from the sun, will sadly trap heat against your head. Don’t make that worse if you can help it.
- Physical blocks – a parasol! Which, let the Lady of the Manners stress, can be used by ANY gender. Parasols are not just for femme -presenting folks.
Back In The DayTM, goths had to hope they found a vintage parasol at a thrift store or yard sale, or found an umbrella they liked and decorated it themselves. But now there are parasols everywhere, from plain and unadorned umbrellas to frilly confections that would make any gothic lolita swoon with envy. The only caveat the Lady of the Manners has with regard to parasols is that while sheer or lacy parasols are lovely, they don’t actually provide any protection from the sun. Always look for one that has at least an opaque center to the canopy.
- Physical blocks – clothing! Wearing long sleeves or long trousers seems counter-intuitive in the summer, and a recipe for overheating. The key is to look for garments made with natural fibers, such as cotton or rayon. Lace and fishnet are oh-so-gothy, but are usually some sort of poly-blend, and thus don’t actually breathe; they trap heat and sweat against your skin, leading to suffering for your fashion. While the Lady of the Manners is all for over-the-top looks, she also doesn’t approve of any of you giving yourselves heat stroke.
The color doesn’t matter – while “common sense” says that black clothes will make you warmer in the summer, it turns out that isn’t really true.
- Physical blocks – wash it in! Sun Guard lets you add SPF 30 protection to your laundry. Using this doesn’t mean you can skip applying sunscreen, but it is a nice additional boost. And in the Lady of the Manners’ experience, it doesn’t do anything odd to black garments.
- Stay cool! Drink lots of water and make sure you have some electrolytes (be it through juice, sports drinks, pickles, or delicious salty food). Carry a folding fan to create your own breeze. Stick lightweight scarves or shawls in the freezer, then drape them around you; once they lose their chill, dampen them with cool water and let the evaporation do its work. You can also dampen any fishnet or lace garments you’re wearing for the same effect.
Finally, the Lady of the Manners made a
Pinterest board for summer goth style! While all of the clothing is modeled by women (grrr), the Lady of the Manners strongly feels that almost all of it could be styled in a more gender-neutral way, depending on what other garments or accessories are added, when in doubt, add big belts and boots. (The Lady of the Manners offers her sympathies to the masculine-leaning Snarklings; male fashion is pretty much the same year ”˜round, with the length of the sleeves being the only element of change.)
Do you have tips for dealing with the sun or avoiding heatstroke? Or just want to commiserate with other delicate, nocturnal moss flowers? Leave a comment!