Hello Snarklings! Yes, the Lady of the Manners has dragged herself away from playing with dolls and reading vampire books to answer reader letters! A letter asking for some fashion advice, and two different letters touching on the trans* and genderqueer communities. This is one of the posts at Gothic Charm School where the Lady of the Manners is going to open up the comments in order to get (she hopes!) even more advice and support for the dilemmas being addressed here. However, as always, the comments will be moderated. (Does the Lady of the Manners have to point out that flaming, trolling, and hateful speech are not tolerated here? She would assume not, but better safe than sorry.)
The first letter is from Jhim, who like many Goths, is thrown into a bit of a wardrobe quandary with the approach of summer:
My dearest Lady of the Manners,
I come to you yet again, humbly beseeching you for assistance. I am a large chap, and have a devil of a time finding decent summer-wear. Winter? No problem, the “big guy” stores are full of dark suits and coats and the like, but in the summer, especially here in Las Vegas, everything is light, pastel, and/or horrible. Do you, with your vast knowledge and large network, know where a big guy can find decent goth-wear? Black t-shirts and jeans just isn’t cutting it with me anymore.
P.S. I know I ask this every summer-season, but I am hoping that maybe now your Ladyship will have some information?
Oh gracious, summer in Las Vegas? The Lady of the Manners quails at the thought. There are reasons why the Lady of the Manners doesn’t stray too far from the Pacific Northwest, and avoiding high temperatures would be one of them. (As a matter of fact, the Lady of the Manners has been known to get rather petulant and whiny once the thermometer goes above 80 degrees.)
First things first: you are, of course, taking care of yourself by slathering on sunblock and drinking plenty of water, yes? There is a dizzying array of choices for sunblock; the Lady of the Manners tends to opt for a high SPF with a finish that won’t do strange things to her makeup, but still has not found her One True Sunblock, so she’s not going to list any brands. Not to mention that there’s some very solid research showing that chemical sunblocks over SPF 30 aren’t as effective as we would like to believe and can become carcinogenic themselves. (Aaaugh!) However, if any of you Snarklings reading this have a favorite sunblock, please mention it in the comments!
As to men’s gothwear in larger sizes: the Lady of the Manners spent some time exploring what the internet had to offer, and was rather disappointed. If you’re interested in Victorian Gothic or Steampunk styles, then Gentleman’s Emporium has a nice selection of shirts, waistcoats, and trousers up to size 3X. Another good store for reproduction 19th century clothing is Jas Townsend and Son, but they are of a much more Serious Historical Re-Enactment sort of place than Gentleman’s Emporium.
But if you’re looking for stylish menswear that isn’t historically-inspired, there doesn’t seem to be a one-stop-shop answer. It should be possible to find comfortable summer clothing to appeal to your darker tastes, but you’ll need to be clever about it and read a lot of labels. Look at what offerings are at the mainstream stores that carry your size range, and look for clothing made from natural fibers. Cotton, linen, rayon; these are fabrics that breathe, and will help keep you cool even if you wear all black. Of course, the down side to those natural fibers is that they require a bit more care (usually ironing) to look their best. But take a look at places such as the Rochester Big and Tall store, which has a good-sized selection of trousers, shirts, shorts, and suits that all come in the Goth-approved black color range.
Also, don’t feel that you absolutely must have a year-round wardrobe of inky hue to maintain your Goth Points! The Lady of the Manners is a big fan of gothy fashion, but believes that it isn’t worth suffering heat stroke over. White, ivory, pale gray, or black and white patterns such as stripes are all part of the Goth Color Palette, and will absorb less heat than the black-as-our-hearts fashion choices we spooky types usually favor. Pale, ghostly spirits are just as darkly fashionable as black-clad creatures of the night, and probably less prone to swooning under the dreaded orb of light.
Kilts are a wonderful summer option (well, year-round option, really), and come in a wide range of styles, sizes, colors, and fabrics. The Lady of the Manners has been told good things about Stumptown Kilts and Utilikilts.
Another thing you can do to keep cool is to carry a parasol and a fan with you when you are outside. Yes, you may get some startled looks from other people, but you will be carrying your own shade and cooling breeze with you, which is far more important than the reactions of passers-by.
”¦ And this is where the Lady of the Manners runs out of clever ideas for Jhim and other larger gentleman, and so she turns to you readers! Do any of you have clicky-links of usefulness for men’s summer gothwear? Please post a comment with them!
The next two questions are getting answered together, as they both concern the Goth community and transgender issues. A darling creature named blankies wrote in asking:
dear darling momma goth,
i have recently arrived at the conclusion that i am not a binary gender, but rather a lovely and much more complicated mix of dapper and glitter and a lotta other things. However, it is extremely difficult for me to find any recognition of gendermessy people or andron clothing in the goth community (i am speaking mostly about online ones right now, i am 15 and living in a heavily conservative town, i do not expect any sort of goth community here, much less one that is inclusive of my gender. I was wondering if you could provide any sort of validation for me, or point me in the direction of some other non-binary goths or fashion. unfortunately, i am too small to wear menswear, and i don’t want to spend a lot of money on clothing, no matter how lovely, that would not fit me. thank you so much!
And Zoey wrote with these concerns:
Hello Lady of the Manners!
I wanted to write to you asking for a bit of advice. I’m a socially awkward transgendered gothic woman living in a small town in the middle of nowhere, Canada. I suppose my questions are: Do you think there is any hope for me finding and making some friends with similar interests out here? I’ve look online everywhere from local groups and clubs to social sites. It seems there is absolutely no one anywhere near me. I would move, but unfortunately due to my current circumstances I cannot. I also feel like I’ll have an even harder time developing a social circle being transgendered. I would hope the the gothic community would be tolerate and maybe even supportive of LGBT peoples, but I’m not sure and scared to find out.
I hope that all made sense and that you can help clear some things up for me. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this!
Darling creatures, the Lady of the Manners most devoutly hopes the Gothic community would not merely tolerate LGBT people, but embrace and support them! If someone has decided that the Goth subculture is where they belong, then they are choosing to embrace eccentricity and glamorous strangeness, and a very large part of that should be accepting people for who they are.
The Lady of the Manners admits that she herself hadn’t been aware there was a name for the genderqueer or genderfluid until quite recently; when various friends over the years said things like “I’m a boy and a girl”, or “My gender is Batman”, the Lady of the Manners just tried to remember to ask her friends which pronouns they preferred to be addressed by.
Where to find information? Tumblr is a fabulous resource for anyone of alternative gender or on the transgender spectrum who may be looking for validation, support, or community! The Lady of the Manners asked Madz(wonderful sparkly creature that they are) for some Helpful Links, and madz was very helpful, indeed!
http://fuckyeahhardfemme.tumblr.com/ (Madz points out that this is a rather specific place in the genderqueer spectrum, but that there is lots of gothy inspiration to be found here.)
According to trusted sources, almost any sufficiently large social networking site is going to have something for people of alternative gender. However, do some research to check on how well-moderated a place is, and how safe it might be for people who aren’t out yet.
The Lady of the Manners wishes she had more helpful information to give all of the non-binary, genderfluid, genderqueer, and trans folks out there. However, coming as she does from a space of cis privilege, she acknowledges that this is an area where, like anyone who desires to be a good ally, she needs to call on her army of Snarklings for help.. Which is why the comments are open (and moderated!), Snarklings! Advice? Resources? Words of support?
On a very serious note, the Lady of the Manners wants to stress the part about being an ally. Goths face enough scorn and derision from external sources as it is, so we need to draw together and support each other. The Lady of the Manners isn’t asking you to agree with everyone else in the worldwide Goth community, because that would be a mite hypocritical of her. But she IS asking all of you to, oh, agree to disagree, and to be supportive of other’s rights to their opinions. Yes, “treat others the way you want to be treated” is a timeworn cliche, but that’s because it’s such a basic, important truth that sometimes it gets overlooked or dismissed. Treat everyone as kindly as you yourself want to be treated.
So! The Lady of the Manners is going to go
play with write the review of the dolls from Tonner Dolls and Wilde Imagination, and then dive into her teetering stack of to-be-read vampire books in order to write up more installments of the Nocturnal House. But while she’s off doing those things, feel free to write!
LBGT is very much accepted in the Gothic scene and a fairly large and prominent percentage of Goths are LBGT… and all the other politically correct letters for Queer.
I’m a member and Organiser of the London Gothic Meetup Group http://www.londongothic.co.uk and we have now had a place in LBGT Pride London since 2010. This year we have expanded our group to encompass all Alternatives (Metalers, Punks etc etc.)
So yes – The Gothic scene – very much in solidarity with LBGT!
Also, if any Snarklee-darlings have specific questions (beyond basic vocabulary and such), or are looking for other kinds of related resources, or just need an internet cuddle, you can always contact me directly via the Tumbl0rz and I’ll do my best!!
Just a note for blankies on the menswear — try boys’ sizes, if men’s are too big. They make suits for all sizes and shapes of male people, somewhere!
For Blankies try the boys’ department at stores like Kohls or JC Penny. They have some delightfully sarcastic t-shirts and they usually fit pretty well. I myself am a 20 year old “tomboy” and I’m pretty small for my age. In the boys’ section a large usually fits and in the young men’s section a small works. May not exactly be goth fashion but it’s easy to come by especially in a small conservative town.
I am a gender-neutral being, myself.
I think that goth -and other alternative fashions, as I dabble in many- are actually much better than the more ‘mainstream’ fashions when it comes to not being binary.
For one thing, male bodies with long hair and skirts is not all that odd. Neither is female bodies in trousers and shirts.
Modern day street fashions seem to be very sexual -and this can be difficult for trans* folk, especially if they are not in the position to ‘fully transition’.
But in all, I have found that being an alternative dresser doesn’t make being gender-ly unusual any more difficult, but easier, if anything. People in public are usually (in this small town, at least) too focused on the strange clothes to comment about the sex or gender of the person wearing them -this is not to say, though, that you will not be called rude things (as I am) by small minded people. But that could happen no matter what you’re wearing, or perhaps what you’re wearing just drew their attention.
The goth community at large seem to be accepting, too, which is lovely. There are more than a few gender-queer people that I know from Tumblr alone, all spooky.
Be safe, be spooky, and have fun!
For Jhim: Something that will require a bit of work, but that’s what Goth fashion is partially about! Modifying! If possible, I recommend that you go ahead and purchase some linen jackets (preferably unlined, if you can find them) and dye them black. Cold water dye is your friend, it’s cheap and easy to find. Use a plastic bucket in the shower stall to minimize the mess. You may find you need to run a few extra runs in the dye bath to take a pale cream to a true black, but even if you only end up in a deep grey, it’s better than nothing.
I recommend unlined linen jackets, because while the linen will breathe, the lining is usually poly and will hold in the dreaded heat. Lighten the load by removing the lining all-together. You may lose an interior pocket, but it’s a small loss and worth it if it makes the jacket more comfortable.
A possible option for communities is http://www.reddit.com/r/transgender and http://www.reddit.com/r/asktransgender The people there are pretty helpful and friendly (and if they can’t help you, can refer you to somewhere that can oftentimes). There are a few idiots lurking around, but the mods usually catch them.
I think Kodono fashion might be worth looking at for something cute but not Ã¼ber-ultra-girly. It’s basically the boy-version of lolita. Maybe you could find something nice in the ‘teenage boys’ section, when the time for festivities (prom, christmas, who knows what) rolls around.
for the gentleman looking for summer wear: may i suggest a seersucker suit? seersucker comes in many colors and is known for its summer durability.
Avon’s Skin-So-Soft sunscreen is great, plus it has insect repellant, which is great if you’re mosquito bait like me. It’s quite effective, too- we have a huge garden this year, and despite working long hours in it, I still have a nice Victorian pallor. Also, Target has a great generic version of the Neutrogena sheer SPF 100, although the Lady’s mention of carcinogens now has me eying the container warily.
Jhim, I don’t know if you like the military look, but I’ve found that surplus military gear made for hot climates are a nice, dark look for summer. Just a thought. Good luck in your search!
I live in New England, and the best place around here to find both the goth and trans*/genderqueer community is at scifi/anime conventions. I know that sort of thing isn’t for everyone, but if you are geeky and goth/queer it is a wonderful place to meet new people. My local cons are populated with many alt lifestyle folks and it is refreshing to see such vibrant communities come together.
For summer wear, I don’t want people to overlook the value of a hat to shade the eyes and protect the top of the head from sunburn and other discomforts.
Also, water is excellent, but don’t forget those electrolytes, so eat some pickles or drink some juice too. I had heat exhaustion once as a kid, not the best way to spend a summer day.
As for the other concerns, all my suggestions have been given, so hopefully the letter-writers will find them helpful.
Well… I’m often kind of bummed out that the goth ideal for men is to be skinny and tall, a slim pixie thin and forlorn, to quote Bauhaus. I’m short and chubby, and look rather like a hobbit. Advice, anyone? I can’t really say anything about being genderqueer considering I’m binary, but… you could try to mix it up a bit? A men’s suit with band patches sewn onto it, a nice lacy skirt over the legs and the usual big stompy boots, maybe? And maybe the tried-but-true formula of big hair, layers of fishnets/leather/whatever, painted-on cheekbones and black holes for eye makeup?
Jhim, I usually wear army surplus shorts in summer, along with band tees. My footwear is pretty un-goth (practical utalitarian sandals), but goth summer shoes are not easy to find. You could go with the classic stripes, a white pinstriped shirt would look nice, for instance. Or glam it up big-time with frilly baroque shirts, since looser clothes tend to be cooler than tighter-fitting ones. You could always accessorize or modify existing clothes, if you’re into that type of fashion. Paint some lyrics onto your clothes, put rivets everywhere, embroider little smiling skulls, whatever have you.
Blankies…as a fellow gender-fabulous person, I’ll tell you that your best friend is sewing skills. If you’re a petite person (as is Yours Truly), you can look at larger boy’s sizes in clothes, then modify them as needed. Personally, I also think 19th and 18th-century menswear is a great source of inspiration for us gender-gifted, because it opens up opportunities to create a whole mix of masculine and frilly/sparkly/fabulous.
Another option, which was what my BFF and I did at my annoyingly repressive high school (I lived in the USA at the time), is to go for dark, fitted trousers, stompy boots, t-shirts or button-down shirts, and a dark jacket, which I found didn’t send a strong gendered signal, which was more comfortable for me. It’s also a conservative enough look that no one can make a legit fuss, since some teachers etc. can get very prickly about people who fail to perform a binary gender.
Greetings Jhim! I too am a Goth In Hot Weather, hailing from south Georgia. We’ve already hit the 90-degree mark for the summer and it’s going to stay that way until October. Joy. Sunblock is a must, of course. My personal favorite is Nutrogena Clear Skin. I’m an oily sort of person and that stuff goes on like I’m not wearing anything and it won’t leave a mess on my clothes (because sunblock goes on first, fishnet goes on second). As far as clothes go, if you’re a stompy sort of Goth, may I suggest Biker outlets (should be all over Nevada) and Western wear places (a la Fields of the Nephilim). Also, gothabilly is popular in hot places for a good reason. If you’re swirly, I suggest layering jewelry instead of fabric or makeup to make a statement. I wear black even on the hottest days because color won’t make enough of a difference to be worth it. 100 degrees is 100 degrees no matter what color your shirt is. Finally, fans do not lower your body temperature. The action of fanning yourself actually makes you hotter. I say skip the fan, but yes on the hat/parasol. Backcombing over a burned scalp is just as miserable as it sounds. Enjoy your summer! I mean that as non-sarcastically as possible.
So far I’ve liked Neutrogena the best, SPF 30 – 45. Above that, you don’t get much more protection (blocking maybe an extra 1 – 2% of UV) and the lotion is thicker/greasier. All the generics I’ve tried are more greasy than Neutrogena, or have that horrible chemical smell some people seem to love.
On proper sunscreen use: you need to use an ounce (1 shot-glass full) for your entire body. Slather it on like it’s icing and you’re a cupcake. The way most people apply, they get maybe half the protection they could. Reapply at least every two hours. I reapply every hour because I have been cursed with uber-pale skin.
Being neither Goth nor Transgender just my 2 cents:
Kodona, or Ouji what it is called in Japan, might be an option as it is boyish yet androgynous.
Especially in the west where the Lolitacommunity is dominated by girls a lot of girls dress this style at least without being picked on by other Lolis Unlike for westerner “Brolitas”.
I do not have any sizecharts but I know a lot of taller guys have problems fitting in japanese brand wear so you might find something fitting.
Moi meme Moitie has in my opinion the prettiest “gothy” Design but is really pricey(together with me not fitting in their Lolitastuff the reason I don’t own something from them).
There are also Moitie-inspired things out there and many other brands.
Make sure to check out reviews and do not purchase from Milanoo!
A nice german languaged list of shops:
Also check out the Egl community on Livejournal and FilleDePorcelaine on Youtube, she has a video on Onlineshops where she also mentions this Moitie-inspired brand.
I believe it was Qutieland but I do not know if they make Kodona clothing, too and the only Computer I have access to atm is to slow to play videos >.<
I hope that was a little helpful! Please excuse weird expressions or mistakes, I am still learning english.
With all the best wishes
Having a fiance who prefers dark colours and is from a place that is rather warm(Guangzhou), his suggestion to deal with the heat is linen. Linen breathes very well and is light. Trousers and dress shirts in this material can be found often at the most basic of stores, such as H&M and any men’s store that sales dress slacks and button up shirts. From there, these clothes can be modified to one’s personal tastes.
I, of course, can’t speak for the entire subculture, but in my experience darkly inclined people seem to be far more welcoming than the average folks. Probably because we’re “weirdos” of a sort ourselves! Just the other day, my friends grouped up to go to Bubbles (a local gay club), because our friend Tim was too nervous to go alone. We watched the drag performances, applauded for everyone, and mingled.
People are people, darlings 🙂 Love for everyone!
About these boys having a hard time shopping let me bring up my fave place to look that if they dont have your size check later and they might. Second Hand. gotta love those stores cheap! sometimes great quality! and a great selection thanks to people trveling and then emptying their closets i come from a small town in manitoba canada myself were i think our gothy community numbers as 3 ish and the best place to shop here is second hand stores (sadly our local goth store shut down) so i suggest pop into the local second hand and look carefully in the isles i found a nice frilly top and some strap,buckle metal covered black jeans (as the dear lady of the manners says “mall goths” and that i am). So look around i figure you guys can find something 🙂
All I have to say on sunblock is that the best way to avoid nasty goop is to get the kind that sprays on, thin and clear. I don’t remember what brand it was, unfortunately, but it works like a charm for me. Mind you, I live in NH, which doesn’t get very hot for very long. A parasol also sounds like a great idea, or a nice wide-brimmed hat to keep your hands free. Good luck!
Can I just say that I am both chubby and non-binary, so if Jhim, blankies or Zoey needs a friend, I’m the one (victorian-witch.tumblr.com)!
By the way, I’m a big fan of all the aforementioned tumblr sites and all the suggestions for androgynous and plus-sized wear.
I would also like to recommend chubstr.com and fyeahchubbyguys.tumblr.com/ to Jhim for some big boy solidarity.
I’m a genderfluid goth. In my experience, I’ve met more LGBTQ+ goths than I have heterosexual goths, but that may just be because the events I go to tend to be fetish events (18+) or LGBTQ+ geared events. My best suggestion for finding other gothy LGBTQ+ people is to just focus on LGBTQ+ events and people and you will likely find some who are darkly inclined. If you’re not as concerned about LGBTQ+ people and just want gothy friends, then go to goth events and clubs.
There are always going to be jerks in the community who will look down on you for being differently gendered. But, that is not something that is more or less prevalent in the goth community. *Every* group is going to have some people who are just… awful.
For the youngling looking for boyish and androgynous clothing but can’t wear men’s wear: LITTLE BOYS SECTION! I cannot stress this enough to petite (I’m assuming female-bodied) genderqueers. The young boy’s section at any store will be your best friend. Like most retailers, you may have to do a little altering and DIY. You can also look into the Lolita communities for Dandy and Aristocrat for more petite clothing with a boyish look. Plus a lot of those things tend to run small anyway. You can check ebay for items or there are a few shopping sites that you can go through to buy directly from Japan (but I don’t know much about that because I’m not into Lolita/Dandy).
It’s a pity the writer didn’t indicate *which* small town in Canada. Most are near big towns in Canada and getting to them is a reasonable possibility. However if the author is somewhere like Smithers, BC or Red Lake, ON then it is less like than there will be a current active community there.
Lucky i swing by the dear Lady Of the Manners site regularly.
Jeff to answer your question i live a hour away from Winnipeg in a small community of non goth christans. I have no goth friends and i have not had the chance to meet any the nearest town is majority Scene/Rock and few goths that dont think their goths and being 18 im not allowed in the youth hang out anymore and going to city daily is not a possible and would be rather silly considering i have very little friends there and ive yet to see a goth my age im sure there is plenty i just never see them:/
Jhim – as a goth living (temporarily stranded) in the Caribbean, I have to say that the “sometimes you gotta be hot to be hot” thing, while tempting, may be your downfall. Heat stroke doesn’t look good on anyone. For the summer months, try investing in various jewel tones rather than the usual shades of black. I’ve also found that wearing shirts – the kind with buttons, either short-sleeved or with long sleeves rolled up – is a LOT more cooling and comfortable than wearing t-shirts, odd though it may seem. Those help you look dapper without slow-cooking throughout the day. 100% cotton is your friend.
Don’t shy away from using an umbrella as a parasol, either! In the scorching heat, any looks you get will be those of envy. Portable shade is a godsend some days.
I’m still very much a neophyte in the goth scene, at 28 I’m only just coming out as both gothically inclined and somewhere off the gender binary so I feel like I’ve got a lot to learn. I’ve only been to one club so far (last Friday actually) and went dressed in a ‘gendermessy’ way and felt totally at home, far more than I would in a gay club, for instance. Many people there were dressed so flamboyantly that I hardly stood out. Much of the goth look seems to be based around androgeny anyway that it doesn’t seem too difficult to push it a bit further and I’ve always heard that in general goths are very accepting and open-minded, I’ve always found them to be anyway. I even chatted to a transvestite who’s a regular, so I don’t think that you’d be rejected. Hope this helps.
Afraid I can’t help with finding people though as I’m still learning too. Good luck.
Perhaps Second Life might be helpful. I have dear transgender friends (of various sartorial & subcultural stripes) who have found acceptance & a club home at Fracture, a club in Second Life.
Know that you are not alone, all you dear queerlings! I believe that binary is a trap and that all sane people should identify as queer. I certainly do. Sending you love from a pretty beautifully inclusive goth scene in Chicago US: mwah!!
I hate how LGBTQ people are treated! They are treated wit such hatered and scorn. I especealy hate whe people say “that’s gay” when they don’t like something. I honestly feel that humanity isn’t ready to accept those who are diffrent. 🙁
I agree with GothLoliManda. It is amazingly horrifying how people can never exept differences. A person is a person, and deserves to live a happy life.
TrevorSpace is an excellent way to meet other LGBTQ people. I’m sure you’ll find someone with similar interests.
My dear Lady of the Manners, when it comes to Jhim I have a bit of advice for him. I, living in Flordia where it will be only 60-70 at winter and in the summer it is 80 and up. So as of that I have some understandable that I have a few tricks.
Always remember that mass produced is not bad, in all actuallity I am not afraid to admit that some of my favioret black shorts are bought from Wal Mart. It is often quiet cheap and from what I’ve heard is that they do have plenty of big clothing.
Also it is more than anything to remember no matter what you are comftorable, even the most beautiful outfits are not worth wearing if your sweating a storm out of your pours. (And in my case making make up run.)
Another thing to do is customation! If, say, you can find a nice fitting shirt in grey or even white you have a possibly perfect custom shirt. By using paint (I like fabric paint best) you can put your own sayings on. (‘I am wearing white because it’s too hot for fishnets’) <–Did I make you laugh? (Or perhaps 'I love *insert something you love here such as a show, comic, book, or band*) One of my favioret shirts I made is actually a shirt that says "the only reason you are not unconcious is because I don't feel like carrying you."
Adding to that if you have any artistic powers you may buy even more paints and paint your favioret charaters (I have painted Gaz from Invader Zim seeing as I can't find a shirt for just her.) And this also makes a great gift idea, I have actually given my little brother a Halo shirt this way and my father a shirt of Honor Harrignton from David Weber.
Another is customizing pants. If you have some jeans you could cut them at the knees and you now have shorts. (I honestly think you should put them on and use a sharpie to put on just where you want to cut.)
Okay, I believe that is all I can tell you on surviving summer (or for some of us year round heat) while keeping your macrabe wardrobe.
I am a large Goth – always have been. While I have a few “Goth Sundresses”, that may be open to interpretation by some and, honestly, most are not black. If it’s that hot out I will actually avoid black at times. I’d rather be comfortable than to strictly conform.
As a large person I finally came to the realization that learning to sew my own garments was the best way to ensure I can be a well dressed goth – particularly since I have the shoulders of a linebacker. I’ve had sewing groups with friends and I may have to pony up for a lesson or two at a local store as well. I have a male friend who has learned to sew (sometimes better than his girlfriend – much to her frustration) for similar reasons. Mind you, sewing does not necessarily mean cheaper clothes so much as it means getting the outfit you really want.
If machine sewing seems a bit much then basic hand sewing will still help you out. Seriously, it’s not that difficult – it just takes practice. I’ve managed to do a fair bit of costuming work just having been shown to thread a needle and tie the ends together by my mother year ago. You can find Goth themed buttons on-line and at fabric stores (starting as early a August for Halloween items) that can be used to add some flare to an otherwise plain outfit.
Short sleeve shirts with a dandy vest over them can give you cooler style in the summer. I can guarantee that the Utilikilts come (or can be made) into quite large sizes and I know some larger men who swear by them – particularly in the summer. If that’s not your thing – just remember that looser fitting clothing is cooler. Sometimes I’ve layered light things over wide leg Rayon pants or Yoga pants. I’m shy about my legs but I found out, when I got a job in a bakery last august, that mid-calf length pants are quite a bit cooler than full length ones. I bought some cotton blend pants on clearance, had a friend help me mark the mid length with pins, cut off the bottoms and hand sewed them up again (remember to leave a bit of length for hemming). Not the nicest sewing job ever but mostly no one is looking that close. You could maybe do a mens long shorts version…
A word about being large and wearing Rayon: hang dry. The sooner you get it out of the wash, shake it out, and hang it up the better it will be and the less ironing is needed. Rayon/poly blends can often be very comfortable and easier to care for (wrinkle wise) than linens.
Thrift stores. It’s not impossible to find things for large folks in thrift stores but you need to plan to do a lot of looking. If you need something immediately, this is not your best best. That said, I did find a black tuxedo in a small thrift store for $10 – just in time for my Blues Brothers costume. 😀
I found a black straw hat at a local summer vending event (Folklife) here in Seattle that I call my “Goth Sun Hat.” It’s amazing how much cooler it can make life. Look around local craft fairs and events while you’re there. I found a pirate themed parasol at another local event (a Renfaire) that I enjoy as well.
My best advice for the larger in summer: Gold Bond Lotion & Powder. It really helps reduce the heat rash issue and helps one feel more cool and comfortable in general.
It is my understanding that “Gender Outlaws: the next generation” by Kate Bornstein is a very popular book (practically a classic) for the trans community. I suspect this is because: “Gender Outlaws includes essays, commentary, comic art, and conversations from a diverse group of trans-spectrum people who live and believe in barrier-breaking lives” (quoted from Amazon.com description).
As far as I’m concerned, whether cisgendered or somewhere on the spectrum, darklings are darklings and thus community members to be accepted with open arms.
As a goth and a lesbian myself, I have to say that I’m my personal experience, the goth community has been very accepting and laid-back in regards to my “deviant sexuality”. I would say that in this case, you probably have little to fear, though please believe me when I say that I understand.
In terms of the clothing … blazers are your friends. They can be dressed up, dressed down, decorated with chains, glitter, sequins, ribbons, or even slashed up. It all depends on how you want to wear them. Poet shirts as well are your friends, as they are completely gender-neutral (and EXTREMELY comfortable! I own a few myself). I would also suggest wide-legged trousers, they also suggest gender-neutrality, and are capable of being masculinized/feminized at will.
In terms of accessories … well, there goths definitely have the lead when it comes to stomping all over defined gender roles. There is lots of gothic jewellery that works well for btoh genders, such as spiky collars and bracelets, and chain-based items. Additionally, hats. Top hats, mini top hats, tricorns, fascinators, feathers, and ribbons are all things that you can experiment with.
I hope some of this helped!
Love to all the other “weirdos” out there!
For sunscreen I’m in love with the Anthelios by La Roche-Posay for my face, and Neutrogena ultrasheer spray for everything else. Neither are greasy or upset my skin, and I have super sensitive skin.
i just wanted to inform to you all there is also a type called agender or nongender where they may have the physical parts of either gender, but mentally and spiritually they identify of neither gender. the proper pronouns to address us with are “Z” and “err” (used in context: Z went to err friends house to study)
He or she still looks like he’s 20. Amazing.