Gothy DIY Tools – the Essentials!

27 January 2020

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.)
  • FABRIC DYE. 
  • 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!

Of Goth Fashion for Accessibility and Chronic Health Issues

15 November 2019

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.

or shorter skirts, 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!  

Of “Grown-up” and Corporate Goth

10 October 2019

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!

Stereotype Technology: Pen and Paper

21 July 2019

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!

Ten! Years! Old!

24 June 2019

HOLY BATS, GOTHIC CHARM SCHOOL: AN ESSENTIAL GUIDE FOR GOTHS AND THOSE WHO LOVE THEM HAS BEEN IN PRINT FOR TEN YEARS!!

:: 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,

Jillian

Of Funeral Etiquette

17 June 2019

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.

Stereotype Technology: For Your Window Shopping Needs May 2019

22 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! 

Of “Friendly Goth” Fashion

8 May 2019

For this installment of Gothic Charm School, the Lady of the Manners is responding to a Snarkling who said the questions in her mail were “a bit all over the place”, but the Lady of the Manners quickly spotted a link between them: how to have a subtle Goth style that won’t worry or intimidate parents or kids?


Dear Headmistress,

My questions are a bit all over the place.

My family and I (17 y/o female) are Christian which I don’t have a problem with but I can’t tell my parents that I’m goth otherwise they might disown me due to stereotypes. My wardrobe is all neutral colors (leaning more towards the darker neutrals, of course). All the clicky links you have provided are very helpful, but my parents won’t let me order from them because they won’t allow me to order from any shop with any name related to something in a subculture or violent. What are some shops with names that aren’t dark that still sell gothic clothing/jewelry?

I’m starting a job (my first job, nonetheless) at a kid’s toy store (Creative Kidstuff) and I know I won’t be allowed to wear things like black/dark lipstick/makeup, dark band tees or anything of that because, well, it’s a kid’s store. The store’s signature color is dark purple so I could do something with that but I don’t own anything purple. I want to incorporate a bit of my gothic style to show kids that people who are part of a subculture aren’t bad or mean but I don’t want to seem scary wearing a sparkly red skull necklace and bat stud earrings in the middle of Spring. How can I weave a bit of gothy-ness into a kid-friendly outfit?

Soli deo gloria,
A very very grateful little Snarkling

There’s a simple way to find shops your parents (probably) won’t have problems with you buying from: don’t restrict yourself to looking for things that are labeled gothic or directly marketed to goths. All sorts of goth-friendly fashion can be found at “normal” mainstream stores. Target, Forever 21, Amazon, H+ M, Modcloth … all of these places have oodles of items that will work in a darker wardrobe. No matter the stylistic season, mainstream fashion always borrows at least a few stylistic touches from our spooky subculture, even if it’s just inky hues and black lace details. While the Lady of the Manners admits she hasn’t created a board (yet) showing some examples of what’s currently out there, her Everyday Goth Fashion board on Pinterest will give you an idea of what sort of things to look for. When you’re looking at those places, don’t forget to search through the accessories sections for jewelry, hosiery, and hair ornaments; again, mainstream fashion wants to collect as much money from as many people as possible, which means they’ll always have some “safely quirky” accessories for people to toss on.

(The Lady of the Manners is using safely quirky entirely approvingly. For one thing, not everyone wants to be a velvet and lace bedecked creature of the night (or not all of the time), and for another, safely quirky goth influenced items make it easy for friends and family to show stylistic support of the goths in their life by way of earrings or barrettes adorned with cute skulls.)

As to how you weave a bit of gothy-ness into a kid friendly outfit? The Lady of the Manners feels that a sparkly red skull necklace and bat stud earrings are a perfect way to start! Remember, most kids aren’t very scared of goths, especially when the goths don’t feel they have to embody the (incorrect and outdated) stereotype of glowering and glaring at everyone. The Lady of the Manners has witnessed kids gleefully smile and wave at goths dressed in the height of deathrock style, or assume that a person with blue hair is a friendly cartoon character. So don’t fret about scaring the kids; instead focus on your outfit and accessories being appropriate and comfortable for your job. As an example: an outfit of sturdy patterned leggings with a long black shirt and lightweight cardigan (and comfy shoes!) is practical, yet easy to dress up with your sparkly red skull necklace. Black jeans, a black t-shirt, gothy socks, and some red lipstick will subtly indicate where your interests  lie, but still be “family friendly”.

Congratulations on your job! May you not have to deal with any awful customers, and may you never hear the dreaded words of “I want to speak to the manager”.

***

Guess what? I’ve launched a Patreon! Never fear, regular posts will continue at Gothic Charm School. But if you become a Patreon backer, you get even more content! True Tales of Eldergoth Life, discussions of vintage gothic romances, short fiction, Ask Me Anything sessions, and even more are part of the Patreon-only content. Take a look!

Stereotype Technology: For Your Window Shopping Needs April 2019

10 April 2019

Guess what, Snarklings? It’s time for another round of Stereotype Technology! The Lady of the Manners promises she’ll wander away from her preferred aesthetic next time, but this round’s collection of goodies were all found during bouts of insomnia-fueled window shopping. To the surprise of none of you, the Lady of the Manners is sure. 

(The Lady of the Manners hopes with the entirety of her inky black heart that many of you have better sleep patterns than she does.)

***

Multichrome eyeshadow in Greed, from LarinaMakeup.

The Lady of the Manners has an overwhelming weakness for color-shifting eyeshadows. Does it mimic the shimmer and hues of a possibly poisonous beetle or squid? Then the Lady of the Manners probably wants to put it on her eyelids.

Lord Satan and The Jewels of Terror by Janet Louise Roberts, from OnceUponWilloughby.

Vintage gothic romances! And while this particular edition of Lord Satan isn’t from the legendary Avon Satanic Gothic imprint, it still has delightful cover art. The Lady of the Manners fervently hopes that one of you will buy these, as she needs to stop being tempted by them.

Crushed velvet dress with lace ruffle jabot, from TheLastKult.

Oh gracious, how precious is this dress? How perfectly an example of the 90s cute vampire aesthetic, but newly made? The Lady of the Manners is fairly sure that she saw a similar sort of dress in the stores in the 90s, but her memory may be playing tricks on her.

Vintage 90s Goth Long Men’s Vampire Coat from MrMisterVintage.

The Lady of the Manners absolutely remembers this item being in the shops (oh hi Hot Topic, but other alternative clothing stores also carried it). She also remembers there was a point in time where it was one of the three possible “standard” wardrobe items for goth guys; the other two being a motorcycle jacket, or a flight jacket if their preferences tended towards the more industrial side of the sonic spectrum.

Armor rings from nycwears.

Another item that the Lady of the Manners not only remembers, but owns! If you purchase these, allow the Lady of the Manners give you a word of caution: if these rings are the slightest bit big on your fingers, they will fly off if you gesture expansively, be it in conversation or on the dance floor. And apparently the impact can be a wee bit painful. But don’t let that deter you! They’re a delightful accessory. Just possibly a dangerous one.

Coyote teeth earrings from NecromanceHollywood.

Necromance is a legendary store in the goth world, and for good reason, as it’s full of medical and zoological curiosities, funereal antiques and mourning jewelry, and strange vintage oddities in general. Even though many cities (including the Lady of the Manners’ home base of Seattle!) now have these sorts of emporiums, Necromance was one of the very first. And now they have an Etsy shop! 

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As always, if there’s a particular item or theme you’d like to see the Lady of the Manners help unearth, leave a comment! 

Why Do Guys Like Goth Girls?

26 March 2019

The Lady of the Manners will be honest, Snarklings: she’s been holding onto this reader question for a while, because there are many different things to address, and the Lady of the Manners felt a little overwhelmed and freely admits that she won’t be able to cover everything or delve very deeply into the parts she does cover.

I found your site interest [sic] and by mistake. Great site. Was looking up ‘why guys like goth girls.’ Maybe you can answer that question for me real quick like. Anyway thanks for all what you do.

(An aside: The Lady of the Manners is going to use “guys” as a shorthand for male-presenting folks, and “girls” for those who present as female.)

First things first: there are a lot of relationships where one of the people identify as goth, but their partner doesn’t. It has nothing to do with “liking goth girls/guys”, but is that the non-goth was attracted to the other person for many reasons. The Lady of the Manners’ dear husband isn’t a goth, and she knows his preliminary interest wasn’t about her being a spooky creature of the night, but about who she was as a person.

  • Aesthetics. Goth has a striking look, and many people are attracted to it. Many goths like to date other goths, and even people who don’t consider themselves aligned with the subculture are fascinated by the black clothes and darkly decadent look. (This is part of the reason why fashion designers and cosmetic companies are inspired by stylistic elements of the goth aesthetic season after season.)

  • Weirdness. This, in the Lady of the Manners’ experience, tends to apply to guys, and especially ones who aren’t part of the goth subculture or don’t know a lot about it. To them goth girls are “weird”, and therefore exciting. The guy may think that having a goth girlfriend makes him seem cooler or more interesting. “Look how open-minded I am”, he may think, “I’m dating a girl totally unlike me, and she’s so weird!

And in some cases the weirdness factor goes hand in hand with …

  • Perceived promiscuity and kinkiness. Goth fashion, especially on the feminine side, borrows a lot of stylistic notes from fetish fashion: Corsets, fishnets, bondage collars, perilously high stiletto heels, and so on. There’s nothing wrong with that. But guys, especially ones who aren’t part of the subculture, may associate those fashions with sex and sexual kinks, and automatically assume that any woman wearing those things will be easy to pick up for sex, and will probably be interested in doing “weird stuff”.

Let the Lady of the Manners be very clear: there is nothing wrong with having casual sex or sexual kinks as long as everything is consensual and safe. But there are guys out there who assume any goth girl is fair game, and deliberately go to goth clubs on this assumption. The mildest form of this is “just” objectifying any goth girl, but that assumption frequently leads to unwanted attention and the ignoring of boundaries.


Sadly, it’s not just guys outside of the goth community who do this; we have creepers inside the crypt, too. And in a way, the Lady of the Manners finds that even more disheartening. People who belong to the community and subculture should understand the social nuances and cues that are part of it and not tolerate any level of sexually predatory behavior.


You may think the Lady of the Manners is being a bit overbearing in using the term sexually predatory behavior. She’s not. Some people scoff at the idea of goth clubs and events being spaces where people feel safe, and declare that if you’re going to a club, you should expect to be propositioned and touched. No. That’s not appropriate anywhere, but especially in a community for people who feel outside of the “normal” world.

So while this is a bit of a tangent from the original “why do guys like goth girls” question, this is information the Lady of the Manners believes is vitally important. What should you do if you are the target of inappropriate attention while at a goth club?

  • If you go to the club with friends, decide on code words or gestures to use to signal that one of you needs backup. If the creeper tries to engage with you, one of your friends should step in and start a conversation with you that pointedly ignores the creeper, and/or walk you to another area in the club.

  • Tell one of the club employees, preferably a bouncer. At the least, the bouncer should keep an eye on the creeper. Hopefully the bouncer would go have a word with the creeper, or even remove them from the club.

  • A “whisper network”. While the Lady of the Manners is all for a public Name and Shame approach for predators, that can backfire and lead to a “he said/she said” storm of nonsense. Which means that private conversations and warnings about people to be wary of is invaluable. Back when the Lady of the Manners went to clubs regularly, she was part of a group of women who kept an eye out for new attendees – especially any younger ones! – and gave them a quick warning. “He’ll stare at you creepily all night. That one will try and have uncomfortably inappropriate conversations with you. That one is someone to be wary of in general.”

Creepers and sexual predators are a blight upon our subculture, and should not be tolerated even slightly. If someone attempts to defend this behavior, ask if the person they’re defending behaves in a manner that Morticia and Gomez Addams would approve of.

So in short: some guys like goth girls because they’re also part of the subculture. Some guys like goth girls because they’re “strange and unusual”. Some guys like goth girls because of sketchy assumptions about the behavior of goth girls in general.


What about you, Snarklings? Can you think of other reasons why guys may like goth girls? Additional advice on how to deal with creepers? The comments are open! (And moderated with an iron fist inside a velvet glove, to no one’s surprise.)