Tutorial: Gothy Sunhats!

The season of the Burning Orb is approaching for many of us. Which means that it is time to be extra diligent with sunblock, parasols, and sun hats. While you could stick with any plain wide-brimmed hat and go for the classic Lydia Deetz look, you could also decorate it and make it elaborately fancy! And you know what that means, Snarklings: It’s tutorial time here at Gothic Charm School!

(A caveat: the Lady of the Manners used long quilter’s pins to secure the decor to the hat for each tutorial, as she was using the same hat for each variation.)

(Another caveat: while you can use a glue gun and hot glue to attach things to your hat, if you change your mind about things you will have to pry those things off and hope you don’t cause any damage. The Lady of the Manners feels a needle and thread is the superior hat decor attachment option.)


– A wide brimmed hat. While certain big name goth fashion retailers all offer extra-wide black sun hats, you can find them other places for much more reasonable prices. The Lady of the Manners has seen the exact same type of sun hat at H+M, Forever XX1, Walmart, Amazon.com, and Wish.com
– Scissors, black thread, a sharp needle.

Anything you want to stick on a hat. Things that the Lady of the Manners generally uses:

  • Black tulle
  • Black ribbons
  • Faux flowers, especially the giant black and red roses that are available in craft stores during our beloved THREAT LEVEL: PUMPKIN season.
  • Enormous bows. You can make them yourself (make a tube of fabric, pinch it in the center, sew a piece of ribbon or other fabric to hold the center), or you can scavenge them off of amazingly 80s prom or wedding dresses. Butt bows can go on hats!
  • Fishnet tights. Yes, really, and the Lady of the Manners will explain in a bit.

Hat Decor: Veiled Gaze

1. Cut a leg off of the fishnet tights, cut off the toe, and then slice the fishnet tube down the length. Why look! You now have a lovely length of interestingly spooky hat veiling!

2. Drape the long edge of the fishnet along the outer edge of the hat brim, and then sew tiny sections of it to the brim.

Behold! A veil to shade you from the Burning Orb and add a touch of mystery to your gaze.

Hat Decor: Ribbon and Tulle

1.Take a length of ribbon that is long enough to go around the crown of the hat and be tied in a large bow with trailing ends. Fold the ribbon in half.

2. Cut a length of tulle ”” approximately 12” or 31cm ”” and tie it in a fluffy bow around the center point of the ribbon.

3. Tie the ribbon around the crown of the hat, double-knotting the ribbon for additional security, and then tie it in a bow.

Optional: Adorn the knots of the bow with safety pins for punk/Deathrock flair!

Hat Decor: Tulle Cloud and Giant Bow

1. Cut a huge length of tulle ”” the Lady of the Manners uses at least 1.5 yards or 45cm.

2. Take one end of the tulle and secure it to the crown of the hat with a few stitches.

3. Turning the hat slightly, pinch a section of the tulle and secure it to a different point on the crown. Keep scrunching, twisting, fluffing, and stitching the tulle until you are pleased with the voluminous effect. You are aiming for a “storm cloud following you” effect around the crown.

4. Place the giant bow in your desired position on the hat and stitch the points of each bow to the hat.

Optional: add a pin, brooch, or any other sparkly thing to the center of the bow!

Hat Decor: Flowers

Perhaps you aren’t a giant bow type of person, and prefer more of a decaying garden aesthetic. While it takes a bit more work, this is still a thing you can do to a hat!

1. Take your faux flowers or leaves and remove them from the stems by gripping the flower in one hand, and yanking it off of the stem. (You can do the same to leaves by forcefully yanking them off the smaller branches that protrude from the stems.)

2. Most faux flowers have little plastic baskets in between layers of petals. These make the flowers more difficult to sew through, so get rid of them! Peel the petals down and pull them off. When you reach one of the plastic baskets, pull it off and discard it.

3. Stitch the layers of petals together to reconstruct the flower.

(The Lady of the Manners realizes this seems like a lot of work for some flowers, but this will save you tears and frustration in the long run. And if you want extra-voluminous flowers, you can sew multiple flowers into one monster blossom.)

4. Place the reconstructed flowers wherever they please you on the hat (they look wonderful nestled in clouds of tulle), and secure the petals down with a few stitches. Do this for a few petals around the edge of the flower to avoid the flower flopping around. 


Remember, you can use almost anything as hat decor: scarves, sashes, decorative hair combs, little bats or crows from the Halloween decor aisles, brooches, necklaces ”¦ anything. As long as you can sew it to the crown or brim of the hat, the night sky is the limit.

Talk about your hat decor ideas in the comments! Or send photos of your decorated hats to headmistress@gothic-charm-school.com so the Lady of the Manners can have a post displaying everyone’s creativity!

Posted in Being Fashionable, General, Tutorials | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Stereotype Technology: Gothic Romance!

Hello Snarklings. Things are weird right now. “Weird”, in this case, meaning unsettling, upsetting, and honestly? Terrifying for everyone right now. There’s no sugar-coating that truth, and the Lady of the Manners won’t do you the disservice of even trying. Things are scary, and we need to support each other as much as we can without draining ourselves.

What the Lady of the Manners can do right now is offer distractions. In this new reality where many of us are living in our pajamas and other “comfy” clothes, the Lady of the Manners went straight to Gothic Romance loungewear. Why wear leggings and t-shirts when you can swoop around in ruffled nightgowns and billowing caftans? (There is nothing wrong with leggings and t-shirts. In fact, the Lady of the Manners is wearing leggings and a Bauhaus shirt as she is writing this article.)

The Lady of the Manners feels that Gothic Romance loungewear, including ruffled nightgowns, are for all genders. Beautiful, comfortable, dramatic clothing should belong to everyone, to hell with societal norms and expectations. Besides, if ruffled shirts are good enough for pirates, vampires, and brooding characters  based on Lord Byron, they’re good enough for any other masculine type.

With that statement, permit the Lady of the Manners to show off the nocturnal fruits of her window shopping! As many of these links are from Poshmark, eBay, and Etsy, the specific items may no longer be available, but they’ll give you an idea of the types of garments to look for.

Ruffled nightgowns, the cornerstone of a Gothic Romance wardrobe:

The brand The 1 for U makes incredible cotton nightgowns for shockingly reasonable prices. The Lady of the Manners has several different styles from this company, and they’re all pretty, sturdy, and easy to care for. Plus they’re 100% cotton, which means they won’t make you overheat when sweltering weather descends.

When browsing Poshmark, eBay, Etsy, and other 2nd hand clothing resellers, the Lady of the Manners has had success with the following keywords:

  • Ruffle or ruffled nightgown
  • Modest nightgown
  • Victorian nightgown
  • Prairie nightgown

Vintage 1970s Ellissia White Ruffle Hem Nightgown

Vintage 70s Pale Blush & Lace Button Up Nightgown

Val Mode Nightgown Pajamas Modest White Long

VTG Barade Nightgown Ruffle Prairie Bride Satin (Those of you who follow the Lady of the Manners on Twitter may remember her posting about coming across this listing and misreading it as “Prairie Bride Satan”.)

Caftans! (Also called kaftans!) Lounge on a pile of pillows and dream of having a butler bring you a tray of tasty snacks and drinks. In addition to using the keyword “caftan”, search for:

  • Beach cover up
  • Kimono
  • Duster
  • Poncho
  • Maxi dress

Vintage Turkish Robe Cotton Velour Caftan

NWT Soft Surroundings Beach Caftan Coverup

Staring at Stars Shami Applique Caftan

Vintage Mexican caftan poncho dress

Vintage Mexican caftan poncho dress

Dressing gowns! Another foundation piece of the Gothic Romance wardrobe. In fact, Back In The Day [tm], gothy types scoured thrift and vintage stores for dressing gowns to use in their everyday wardrobe. Many were the goths who would flounce into Ye Olde Goth Club adorned in leggings and a tank top with a dressing gown or peignoir over it, cinched with a wide belt. Useful keywords to find these sorts of things:

  • Velvet robe
  • Brocade robe
  • Chiffon robe
  • Sheer robe
  • Bridal robe (Especially good if you want flowing white ruffles for that ghostly aesthetic!)
  • Peignoir
  • Burlesque robe (Be warned, anything using the “burlesque” description will probably be toward the upper end of prices.)
  • Smoking jacket

Betsy [sic] Johnson velvet robe

Oscar de la Renta Robe Black Velvet Ruffle Neck

Victoria Secret Floral Velvet Robe

Vintage Barbizon Pegniar [sic] Floral Lace Evening Robe

Flora lace applique floor length robe

2 Piece 1960s Vintage Gown Robe

50s Vintage Smoking Jacket

Blue and Black 1950s Vintage Tuxedo/Smoking Jacket

Poet shirts! Long poet shirts were all the rage for sleepwear in the 90s, especially from companies like Victoria’s Secret and, strangely, from Frederick’s of Hollywood. Savvy goths snapped them up from wherever they could find them to wear as sleepwear, daywear, clubwear ”¦ whatever we wanted, really. A billowy poet shirt over velvet leggings was practically a goth uniform in the 90s, and the Lady of the Manners would dearly love to see that come back. Useful keywords to search:

  • Poet shirt
  • Poet blouse
  • Pirate shirt
  • Pirate blouse
  • Ruffled sleep shirt
  • Victoria’s Secret sleep shirt

Salua Ruffled Nightshirt NWT

Gorgeous vintage Victoria’s Secret poet gown

Victoria’s Secret Black Sheer Nightgown

Vintage Victoria’s Secret Sheer Nightgown


In this era of social distancing, creating your own goth and industrial playlists to listen to is good, but doesn’t provide the same sense of community.  But many clever DJs and club owners have turned to creating virtual club nights via Twitch channels, Zoom “meetings”, IG Live, FB events, and so on, and also include PayPal, Venmo, CashApp, and other payment options for people to tip the hardworking creatures of the night who help provide the backbone (or backbeat) of our community. Here are some of the links the Lady of the Manners has collected:

  • mixcloud.com/mickmercerradio/
  • https://www.mixcloud.com/CountessVonOontzenjaeger/last-one-in-the-club-turn-out-the-lights/
  • https://twitch.tv/mechangel
  • https://twitch.tv/daemonchadeau
  • https://twitch.tv/mechanismusofficial
  • https://twitch.tv/dj_synnik
  • https://twitch.tv/mercuryjq
  • https://twitch.tv/skinlayers
  • https://twitch.tv/causticmf
  • https://twitch.tv/mercuryatmachinewerks
  • https://twitch.tv/djwudi
  • https://www.twitch.tv/djdonlevi
  • https://www.twitch.tv/thejulianblack
  • https://www.twitch.tv/djslave1
  • https://www.twitch.tv/djniqv
  • https://www.twitch.tv/djbloodline
  • https://www.twitch.tv/djnitrogen
  • https://www.twitch.tv/djredvamp
  • https://www.twitch.tv/joevirus
  • https://www.twitch.tv/evilyn13

Be sure to check whatever social media presence your favorite local clubs and DJs have to see if they’re also hosting virtual events!


Finally, another distraction: the Lady of the Manners has begun writing “Today’s advice from your Goth Auntie” tweets Monday – Friday. Some of it may be helpful, some of it is spooky silly, and all of it is in the spirit of support and kindness. https://twitter.com/CupcakeGoth

(They’re also being posted over on Tumblr.)


With that, Snarklings, the Lady of the Manners is going to toss her latest batch of ruffled nightgowns in the washer, then pick out a comfort movie to watch this evening. Stay safe and stay kind.

Posted in Being Fashionable, Clicky-links, Clubbing & Concerts, Fashion, General, Music, Stereotype Technology | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

Tutorial: Red Velvet Lines the Black Box

Sometimes, Snarklings, you find a lovely box: a jewelry box, a lunchbox, perhaps the Holy Grail of a vintage metal coffin purse ”¦ Or, almost perfect, if it was only lined in a different fabric. (In the Lady of the Manners world, this is always pink or dark red crushed velvet.) Never fear, the Lady of the Manners is here to show you how to fix that!


  • The box or purse in need of lining.
  • Poster board or thin cardboard.
  • 3/4 – 1 yard (65 – 90 cm) of velvet. Don’t bother going to the fabric store for this, but head to your local thrift store! And don’t just look for fabric yardage (though you may get lucky and find some); skirts and scarves are excellent sources of nice velvet to use for projects. (Want that velvet crushed? Take a look at the Crushed Velvet tutorial!)
  • Scissors – 1 pair for cardboard, 1 pair for the fabric. Only cut fabric with the fabric scissors. 
  • Ruler, pencil, and a metallic Sharpie.

1. On the cardboard, trace the outline of the sides of the box in need of lining.  Be sure to trace an outline of every surface that you want lined, not just the bottom.

Note: Or you can measure the height, length, and width of each side and draw the pattern pieces. The Lady of the Manners and geometry are not good friends, so she traces the sides.

2. Cut out the pattern pieces so they are approximately 1/4” (6.35 mm) smaller than the original outlines.

3. Fit check! Put all of the cardboard pieces into the box to make sure everything fits (loosely!), and that none of the edges stick up outside of the box.

4. Take the pattern pieces out of the box, then trace them onto the non-fuzzy side of the velvet with the metallic Sharpie, adding approximately 1” (25.4 mm) to the size of the pieces.

(Behold the Lady of the Manners’ terrible photo editing to show you what sort of lines she means! You can tell she’s not the illustrator in the household.)

5. Cut out the pieces of velvet. Make a small snip into each corner of the velvet so you can make tighter and tidier folds against the cardboard.

6. Set one of the pattern pieces on the corresponding piece of velvet (again, fuzzy side down). Fold an edge of the velvet over the edge of the cardboard, and tape that edge down with a piece of duct tape!

Keep doing that until all of the edges are taped, making sure all of the overlapping folds at the corners are secured with multiple pieces of tape.

7. Do another test fit of the pieces in the box. The Lady of the Manners usually places the side pieces first, then squishes the bottom piece in last, which helps press the side pieces against the box. If pieces are now too large for the box to close, remove the tape and velvet, trim the pieces in question, and re-tape everything. Possibly while crying in frustration.

Optional Step! Take a few scraps of leftover velvet, place a drop of perfume on them, then tape them to the cardboard. The Lady of the Manners doesn’t usually do this when lining purses, as you never know if anyone around you has fragrance sensitivities, but she couldn’t resist adding the faintest faintest trace of “Clove Cigarette” perfume oil – a collaboration between Thorns Clothing and Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab. Lining a vintage metal coffin purse seemed to cry out for the faintest touch of olfactory Eldergoth Nostalgia.

8. Once everything fits, take the pieces out one more time, then put loops of duct tape on the cardboard side.

9. Put all the pieces back into the box, in order, and press each piece against the sides to ensure the tape loops securely stick to the box interior.

Success! A sumptuous velvet lining!


With that, the Lady of the Manners is going to window shop the usual sites to see if any more vintage metal coffin purses pop up for sale. She’s not going to buy them, as she’s pretty much completed her collection (no really, you can believe her), but she tends to post those sorts of shopping links over on Twitter so others can pounce upon them.

Questions? Comments? Photos to share of your beautiful projects? Why yes, the comments are open!

Posted in General, Tutorials | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Gothy DIY Tools – the Essentials!

The Lady of the Manners has recently seen an uptick in posts (mostly on Tumblr) about gothy fashion: bemoaning the cost of the “name brand” fashions, bemoaning the lack of plus-size clothing, and assorted other “how do I put together a fabulous goth wardrobe?” things.

The Lady of the Manners’ answers:

  • Thrift stores. Always, always check your local thrift stores. 
  • eBay, Poshmark, Etsy, Threadup, and depop are treasure troves. You don’t necessarily have to look for name brands – look for the sorts of styles and fabrics you want. (The Lady of the Manners searches for “fit and flare stretch velvet dress” and “vintage crushed velvet dress” every few days, but she admits she’s a bit obsessive about the whole thing.)
  • Mainstream stores. 

Because once you find garments that fit, you can ”¦CUSTOMIZE EVERYTHING!! Some things you can do:

  • Add trim! Lace, ribbons, grommet tape, fringe, whatever strikes your fancy.
  • Appliqués and patches! Cut apart t-shirts and add the pieces to the back of jackets or the front of skirts. Find lace or sequined appliqués you like. 
  • Fabric paint, bleach pens, and metallic Sharpies. You can write and draw on almost every fabric. There’s even fabric medium that you can add to existing paint. (Just be sure to follow the instructions for those to the letter.)
  • Replace the existing buttons with new, more interesting ones.
  • Rows of safety pins.

Some of you may be asking “But where do I find this stuff? What do I need to use it?”  

Tools for basic DIY sewing:

  • Sharp scissors, preferably a pair for cutting fabric, and a small pair for snipping threads. Do not, for the love of the shadows, ever cut paper with these.
  • Fabric pins and sewing needles.
  • Thread in whatever colors you need. The Lady of the Manners always has a stockpile of thread in black, white, burgundy, and pink.

Good places to find these things: Amazon, Joann, and Michael’s. If you go for Joann’s or Michael’s, remember that they have coupons on their websites, you can get even more coupons if you download their respective apps, and if you go to the physical stores, they both will accept competitor coupons. Also be sure to check the craft section of your local thrift stores for hidden craft tool treasures. 

Tools for basic DIY of a non-sewing nature:

  • You still need those scissors.
  • You will probably still need fabric pins to place things before affixing them.
  • Fabric glue. 
  • Stitch Witchery or something similar, because then you can attach trim or fabric to other fabric by using an iron instead of sewing.
  • Safety pins.
  • Needle-nose pliers.
  • Hot glue gun. (A warning: Hot glue is hot, and always give it at least a minute longer than you think is necessary before touching anything you just glued in place. You’d think this is obvious, but every crafty person the Lady of the Manners knows regularly burns their fingertips because we forget this basic fact.)

And again, all of those things are easily found at Amazon, Joann’s, and Michael’s. 

An Assortment of places to find DIY supplies

  • Yet again, Amazon, Joann’s, and Michael’s. You can find damn near everything on Amazon now: lace trim, ribbon, safety pins, buttons (including metal ones with skulls!), rhinestones, grommet tape, D-ring tape made from satin ribbons, fabric dye, etc. 
  • Also yet again, Ebay. You can find damn near every craft supply under the moon on eBay.
  • Aliexpress. If you don’t need your supplies right away, Alibaba is where a lot of those Amazon and eBay sellers get their merchandise. Always read the reviews of the Alibaba sellers and understand that you’ll  be waiting 2-3 weeks for your purchase.
  • Studs & Spikes! In addition to the aforementioned sharp adornments, they carry patches, pins and badges, and the tools you need to attach studs and spikes to your clothing.
  • M&J Trimming. Ribbons, rhinestones, trims, buttons, all sorts of things. 
  • Cheeptrims. Exactly what it sounds like!


Speak, oh sibling crafty goths, of your must-have DIY supplies or of additional places to find them. The comments are open!

Posted in Tutorials | Tagged , | 9 Comments

Of Goth Fashion for Accessibility and Chronic Health Issues

As a preface to this month’s question, the Lady of the Manners is going to make a statement that shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, and yet even the Lady of the Manners herself is occasionally tripped up (literally) by the realization:

Goth fashion isn’t really practical. Especially the more elaborate aspects of it.

A stunningly obvious statement, yes? But until one really thinks about the day-to-day logistics of it all, it’s easy to shunt aside with a wave of a hand. The Lady of the Manners even joked about it a few months ago on one of her social media accounts, that she was having to relearn the muscle memory of wearing long ruffled skirts while using wheeled office chairs. 

And then Violet Webb wrote in with her question of logistics: 

Dear Lady of Manners
My question is less one about etiquette, and more about logistics. I have my own mix of Victorian goth and punky style that I was perfectly happy with until fairly recently. 

The problem is that around 3 years ago, my chronic health conditions deteriorated, and I had to start using a wheelchair full time. I can no longer stand or walk, and a large portion of my clothing is not suitable for wearing in a powered wheelchair. 

Most of my skirts are long enough to get caught in the wheels, I can’t wear jeans because the seams and studs on the back can give me pressure sores, and anything shorter than knee length will be a problem because everyone can see up it all the time.

I can’t seem to consistently find clothing that works for my practical needs and fits my style, and it’s getting really depressing. I would certainly prefer to keep my style rather than lose that part of my identity in addition to the other things that have had to change in the past years. I’m relatively happy and comfortable being a disabled woman now, but it is still frustrating that certain clothing is not wearable for me.

Strangely the first thing that popped into the Lady of the Manners head was a tag she’s seen being tossed around Tumblr: cripplepunk. While the Lady of the Manners wavers back and forth on how she feels about the tag itself, there are some interesting  Outfit of the Day posts that pop up with that tag. Many of those outfits are similar to a “dark mori” style: loosely fitting clothes made of flowing or drape-y fabrics, usually with layers of slips, dresses, cardigans, and skirts with asymmetrical hemlines. (Lagenlook is a similar style, but with less witchy drama.)

Here, a description of the sort of outfit the Lady of the Manners is envisioning: 

  • A lightweight blouse with some sort of high ruffled collar.
  • A drape-y textured cardigan with some sort of interesting buttons.
  • Leggings or long bloomers.
  • A knee- or calf-length skirt with ruffles.
  • Comfortable slip-on shoes
  • Interesting goth/punk accessories or jewelry.

And of course, because the Lady of the Manners is nothing if not predictable in this, here’s a quick Pinterest board she put together! (Who knows how often it’ll be updated, but it at least gives a bit of visual reference for what she’s talking about.)  

Speaking of skirts and wrangling ones that are too long for your wheels: Dress hitches! You need dress hitches! They’re essentially the same thing as a dress clip that all of us used in the 80s and 90s to give more of a nipped-in waist to jackets, blazers, and dresses. They’re a short length of elastic, ribbon, or other fabric with a clip on each end. Attach one clip at the top of your skirt, clip the other to a pinch of the skirt around knee-height, and ta-da! A skirt that is up out of the danger zone, but still looks quasi-Victorian! It looks like the Steampunk folks ran with the idea, so there are a plethora of them on Etsy.

Another very practical solution is to find a seamstress or tailor to shorten your skirts to an appropriate length. Even if you have sewing skills, because while skirt shortening can be a simple and straightforward project, it’s also a time and energy -consuming one.

Longer bloomers are an option instead of tights or leggings. Places like April Cornell always seems to have at least one style in their catalog, as does Holy Clothing. The Lady of the Manners has also found that pirate -focused retailers (Pirate Fashion, Dress Like a Pirate, and so on) carry bloomer-y type garments. If you do search for bloomers, other keywords to use are: pettipants, pantaloons, and culotte half-slips.

And now is the time when the Lady of the Manners hopes other Gothic Charm School readers have helpful comments for Violet Webb! Suggestions? Clicky-links? Other Pinterest boards? Leave a comment!  

Posted in Being Fashionable, Fashion, Serious Matters | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

Of “Grown-up” and Corporate Goth

It falls to the Lady of the Manners to inform you, Snarklings, that a cycle is repeating itself. Apparently the fashion industry has yet again discovered us. As reported by the Wall Street Journal, no less.

Can a Grown Woman Wear Goth Fashion?

The short and obvious answer: YES.

The longer and crankier answer: YES, and the Eldergoth Cabal (there is no cabal) are collectively raising their eyebrows and grimacing tiredly at this clickbait nonsense. (Which sadly worked on the Lady of the Manners, because she is weak in the face of that sort of annoying headline link.)

Behold the lead quote:

“This season, luxury labels including Prada and Valentino are proposing dark, gothic looks. Though it’s long been a style reserved for angsty teens, now adults ””with jobs””are getting in on the goth action.

This, of course, is nothing new. The fashion industry, at all levels, has borrowed from our gloomy subculture ever since it first crept out of the moss-bedecked crypt. And as the Lady of the Manners and others have pointed out time and time again, the fashion industry turning to us for dark-tinged inspiration has its benefits: What is shown by the luxury and couture fashion houses has a ripple effect on the rest of fashion retail, which means that if budget-conscious goths can hang on until late December / early January, all that goth-flavored fashion will hit the clearance racks. The Lady of the Manners is all for that, and will probably spend a few hours browsing fashion blogs so she can see what particular flavor of goth will eventually be fluttering into the stores.

No, what’s bothering the Lady of the Manners is the disingenuousness of it all. Why does the entire industry, from designers to press to retailers, feel the need to act as if this is all a new and daring take on fashion?

When Michelle Duncan showed her first collection at New York fashion week in February, she didn’t anticipate being in the vanguard of one of the season’s dark-horse trends. A beauty-industry executive by day, she drew on her own personal style for the line, creating an aesthetic she christened “goth girl gone corporate.”

Corporate. Goth. You don’t say. How revolutionary. How shocking and original. The clickbait-y article even alludes to this:

“Fashion’s cyclical nature partly explains this turn to goth [ ”¦ ]”

Art by Pete Venters

Yes, cyclical! This has happened before, regular as clockwork. There are entire networks of goths who alert each other as soon as the teasers for fall makeup collections appear in inboxes, because whatever the “dark and vampy” color family of the year is, there is a goth out there who will mutter “Finally! My time has come!” and clear the local drug store out of the entire stock of purple lipstick.

“[ ”¦ ] and the urge to reclaim it from glum suburban teenagers.”

Apparently the fashion industry’s being influenced by goth comes at a terrible price: they forget what has gone before and believe that no one over the age of 21 drapes themselves in an eclectic and inky wardrobe. Who, exactly, do they think might have the spending money and self-confidence to wear this sort of look and (possibly) the money to spend on it?

And finally, the quote that made the Lady of the Manners flounce into the depths of the internet:

“Namely, leather corsets and harnesses [”¦] pairs with more conservative pieces like button-down shirts from J.Crew.”

Now, the Lady of the Manners is self-aware, and realizes that as someone who dresses as a governess-who-is-not-so-secretly-a-vampire from a gothic romance, she probably shouldn’t clutch her jet beads in shock at those sorts of style suggestions. Mostly because she firmly believes that leather corsets and harnesses are undergarments or clubwear. If you do not have the time, energy, or life situation that enables you to dress in as cliched a manner as you dream of, then a useful guideline is to strive for a very polished, deliberate look. Even if that look is really “black tights + black dress + dark lipstick + interesting scarf”  or “black slacks + jewel-toned button-up shirt + interesting tie”, that’s still more put together than most other folks.

(An aside: The Lady of the Manners’ delightful husband’s everyday wardrobe is black slacks and dark jewel-toned shirts with a black blazer. Which leads people to assume he’s Dressed Up. [And is a goth, but that’s a different matter.])

And because the Lady of the Manners needed to take a break from ranting at her delightful husband and fuzzy cats, she window-shopped and created a Pinterest board for this whole thing: Corporate and Grown-Up Goth.

There are a few sections: items found on Amazon, some items from other online fashion retailers, and items (vintage and custom) from sellers on Etsy. However, the main reason the Lady of the Manners created the board is as a lookbook for people to use as a starting point.

Finally, the Lady of the Manners would like to remind you of the motto from the alt.gothic and alt.goth.fashion Usenet days of yore:

Corp Goth: Because Nice Boots are Expensive.

~ ~ ~

Do you have links to other interesting corporate or grown-up goth clothing? Or snarky comments about the cyclical nature of the fashion industry? Leave a comment!

Posted in Fashion, Growing Pains | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

Stereotype Technology: Pen and Paper

Try to forget your PayPal passwords, Snarklings, because it’s time for another installment of Stereotype Technology! This is a theme that the Lady of the Manners absolutely should not have been window-shopping for in the dead of night.

Many, many goths like writing supplies. Blank books, fancy pens, notecards, stickers – all of these things can set goth hearts aflutter like little bat wings. The Lady of the Manners knows very well that she’ll never use up her entire stash of fancy writing goodies, but that doesn’t stop her from coveting more.

A necklace that’s a tiny usable book, from PegandAwl.

Leather coffin blank book, from the Victorian Vampire Society UK.

The Lady of the Manners can give you a personal recommendation for this book, as it’s the one she’s currently using to document the tarot readings she does for herself. It’s beautifully constructed, and the paper is smooth and a delight to write on.

The Rekonect magnetic paper notebook, from Rekonect.

Combining science and blank book coveting, the individual pages in a Rekonect notebook can be removed and replaced in any order that works for you. The Lady of the Manners can give you a personal recommendation for this one too, because she has absconded with the one that belonged to her husband in order to try her hand at organizing her life via that whole bullet journal thing. 

(The whole bullet journal / DIY organizer thing is not an elaborate excuse for the Lady of the Manners to need to acquire more gothy stickers, no really, but she will admit to looking at goodies like the Gothic Love Story sticker kit from TheGingerCatCo.)

(She’s also not hoping that Michael’s doesn’t reissue the entire line of floral/romantic goth -themed planner stickers and washi tape for the 2019 Halloween season. Not at all.)

A Victorian Mourning note card set, from Bedlam Supply Co. Just the thing for your elegantly menacing correspondence.

Mini Vampire Love gothic writing/notelet set, from BewitchingCraftz.

Oh no, BewitchingCraftz also makes a pink and black gothic writing/notelet set. Drat this being a target market!  

But what will you write with? Your fancy books and notepapers deserve fancy pens, right? Of course they do; don’t argue with the Lady of the Manners about this, you won’t win.

Glass dip pens are certainly fancy, if not very portable. Just look at the ones from GlassDipPen!

Feather quill dip pens are equally as fancy, and also not terribly portable. It can be done, but the logistics are a nightmare, even if one reverts to 90s goth fashion and carries a metal lunchbox for a purse. But imagine how elegant you’d look when you pulled out this pen set from LuciferothicaCrafts

Actual fountain pens are much more portable, but still lure you into temptation with the dizzying array of different types available, with more temptation piled on in the form of endless ink colors to choose from. Which is why the Lady of the Manners is so very fond of Goulet Pens; not only do they sell samples of different inks (and offer a samples-of-the-month subscription, oh dear oh dear), but they sell pens for almost every budget.

Jet Pens also has a sprawling selection of pens, ink, and oodles of other writing supplies and accessories, as does the UK-based Cult Pens.

Finally, one of the Lady of the Manners’ friends sent her a link to a site that is dangerously enticing: Pendemonium, which carries all sorts of writing collectables, including antique and vintage pens, pen holders, nibs for dip pens, ink blotters, and so on. (Ink blotters! Quick, someone leave a comment persuading the Lady of the Manners that she doesn’t need an ink blotter.) 

The Lady of the Manners probably shouldn’t ask this, but she’ll just throw caution to the wind: do you have any favorite shops to buy paper goods and writing implements from? Or a particular style of pen or color of ink you simply must geeble about? Leave a comment!

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Ten! Years! Old!


:: runs around waving sparklers ::

Thank you, from the depths of my heart. Gothic Charm School: An Essential Guide for Goths and Those Who Love Them wouldn’t have been possible without you lovely creatures, the readers. Thank you for reading this site, thank you for sending in questions, and thank you SO MUCH for purchasing the book.

With much love and glittery bats,


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Of Funeral Etiquette

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * *

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

Posted in Serious Matters | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Stereotype Technology: For Your Window Shopping Needs May 2019

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

* * *

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

Shadow Hoodie
Amok Gloves

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

Malice Harness Belt

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

Coyote Bone Necklace

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

Witches Herbs Mugs

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

Moth Pin

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

Silver and Garnet Poison Ring from Dead People’s Stuff

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


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

Posted in Clicky-links, General, Stereotype Technology | Tagged , , | 3 Comments