Of New York, Lip Service, And Answering Reader Questions!

Busy times, Snarklings! Busy busy times! So the Lady of the Manners is going to give you several updates in a bullet-point style, and then yes indeed, answer some questions from readers! And finish up with a reader question that she intends to address more fully, but needs your help to do so.

  • First things first: New York this weekend! The Lady of the Manners is doing a reading and signing at The Mysterious Bookshop at 6:30 P.M. on July 17th. The following day, from 1 – 4 P.M. is the Gothic Charm School picnic at the historic Green-Wood Cemetery! The event is located near the Gothic Chapel (ooh!) and Valley Water Lake.

    (An aside, but very important one. Yes, the picnic at Green-Wood Cemetery is being done with Green-Wood’s full support, and they’re just as excited as the Lady of the Manners is. For those who are worried about a picnic in a cemetery being disrespectful to those who are at rest there, the Lady of the Manners would like to gently remind them that not only were cemeteries the first sorts of park spaces open to the general public, not only is there a long and beautiful history of all sorts of people flocking to cemeteries for picnics, strolls, and weddings (which continues to this day across different cultures), but that one of the core ideas of the Goth world is finding beauty and joy in unexpected, possibly dark places. As one of the Lady of the Manners’ friends said when discussing this issue, ” Why should our places of remembrance and memorial be somber, shut-away places that we only go to for sorrow? They should be about celebrating life as much as remembering the dead.” The Lady of the Manners couldn’t agree more.)

  • Oooh, the US Amazon.com site now has the “Look Inside” feature running, so you can virtually browse through the Gothic Charm School book, or click “Surprise Me!” to view a random page. Also, the UK and Canada Amazon.com sites now list the book as in stock, rather than the 2 to 3 week delivery time that was listed previously.
  • Snarklings, this bit of news has had the Lady of the Manners bouncing around Gothic Charm School headquarters in a ridiculous amount of glee: the Lady of the Manners is going to be joining the ranks of bloggers at the Lip Service webzine! Yes, the Lady of the Manners will be writing a “tour diary” for the upcoming New York, San Diego Comic Con, and Portland stops of the Gothic Charm School book tour, and then will be writing about life as a Goth. (The Lady of the Manners will probably not be sticking quite so closely to her usual third-person affectations over at Lip Service, so don’t be surprised when she says “I”.) There will be updates every Wednesday, beginning today, July 15th, so be sure to scamper over there and check it out!

And now, Snarklings, on to some reader questions!

I am enjoying your videos, and learning a lot in the process. I want to know about
the music you play in the beginning though. I love it. Who is it? What genre is it?
Where can I find more?

Thanks so much and keep up the good work!

Laurel (one of those who love Goths and know very little about them)

Oh, thank you for the compliment, Laurel! The music used on the Gothic Charm School videos was created especially for the videos, by Celadon. While the Lady of the Manners would be thrilled to bits if her friend behind Celadon created more music like that, she wants him to follow wherever his musical muse leads him.

etheral jen wrote in to ask:

My whole life i have loved the style of goths. Right now i am considered emo but would love to make sure people understand that i love the beauty of black and i am not depressed. My question is simply how to make the change from emo to goth for my true heart is with goth.

Hmm. Well, the obvious starting point is to incorporate more stylistic signifiers of the Goth subculture, and abandon some of the more emo styles. The Lady of the Manners is aware that there is a cross-over between the punkier Goth styles and emo, but she suggests that you look for items that are more elegant and well-made. (The Lady of the Manners had a very long paragraph here going into raptures over long lace and velvet skirts, well-fitting blazers, ruffled blouses, and elegant skull jewelry, but realized that there is a difference between offering suggestions and trying to make everyone dress in her preferred style.)

Troopercat asks:

Dear Lady of Manners,
I have a couple of problems and was wondering if you could help. I love Victorian and Lolita clothing, and am working with a very small budget. Do you have any advice about sewing or know of anyplace on the Internet that might help? Also, I live in Tennessee, in a VERY small town. We have a thrift shop, but it is very small and I can’t find anything in it that I might alter. Do you know any other stores where I can find things for my wardrobe? Any advice would be appreciated.


Advice on sewing? Have you checked your local fabric store, community college, or town community center to see if any of them are offering classes on learning to sew? Taking a class when you are a beginner is extremely helpful, and well-worth the class fees.

Other stores to find things for your wardrobe? Everywhere, you silly Snarkling. Well, first you should gleefully study movies, photo shoots, and books that have pictures of clothing you admire, so you can learn to recognize what sort of shapes and styles make your heart sing. Then start browsing everywhere. While the Lady of the Manners accumulates a lot of her wardrobe from thrift stores (and then performs many alterations), she is equally as happy searching through mainstream stores at malls. Explore places like Dillards, Macy’s, Target, and other mainstream “basics” stores, and always be thinking “What twist can I put on this to personalize it and more in keeping with my personal style?

Try to keep an eye on what the current fashion trends are; that way, when the fashion industry has one of its recurring moments of fascination with Goth and Victoriana, you will know and be ready to scour the clearance racks in the future.

If all of that sounds like to much effort (and the Lady of the Manners wouldn’t blame you for thinking so; after all, while she views her wardrobe as a hobby, she understands that not everyone else wants to spend the same amount of time on such things), then here is a short list of shops the Lady of the Manners is fond of. Yes, the prices of these stores are not always bargain-basement steals, but if you want a closet full of gothy finery, you will need to spend either time or money.

Retroscope Fashions

Lip Service

Clockwork Couture

Also, be sure to browse Etsy and Ebay for interesting goodies!

And now, Snarklings, on to the reader question that the Lady of the Manners would very much like to answer. Unfortunately, she recognizes her extreme ignorance on this topic. Oni wrote the following letter:

Dear Lady of the Manners,

I’m new to your site and would like to say that this is a very reliable source for the Gothic lifestyle and for the onlookers. You don’t choose sides and its nice and equal. Although I face one MAJOR problem in the lifestyle. I’m of African-American descent and have noticed that I cannot find good makeup tips and fashion for us
goths of a darker shade, which makes me feel left out. Not only that but many other goths that I have encountered have tended to have a very “racist” attitude toward goths of a darker shade things like “Oh! I have never seen YOUR kind” or “I didn’t know there were black goths around”. There absolutely needs to be more diversity in the subculture and someone needs to break the mold in fashion.

Oni, you are absolutely right, there needs to be more diversity in the Goth subculture. The Lady of the Manners cannot stress that strongly enough, and is sad to read some of the attitudes and comments you’ve had to deal with.

However … the Lady of the Manners is a well-intentioned white girl, who wants to give helpful advice, but is operating from a position of cluelessness. Which is why, Snarklings, she is turning to you. Other Goths of color, please speak up! Please send any advice or suggestions (and they don’t have to be exclusively about fashion, you know) to Gothic Charm School. The Lady of the Manners will compile and post them.

With that, Snarklings, the Lady of the Manners is going to get back to the flurry of preparations she needs to be doing to get ready for going to New York! And as always, feel free to write!

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