Monday, December 7, 2015

The Gothic Art of Breastfeeding

Okay... the title may be a little bit of a stretch. It’s not necessarily gothic to breastfeed, unless where you are from choosing to do so puts you squarely in the realm of the counter culture. However, finding fashion that works while you’re breastfeeding and trying to dress goth is a challenge.

I breastfed my eldest, my son, until he was two. For the last nine months of that I was also pregnant, with the dual challenge of trying to find gothic maternity and breastfeeding wear. This is partly what propelled me into the realm of the normal I think. I gave up trying to cope with depression and finding clothes that fit my ever changing shape. And let’s face it- your body does an awful lot of shaming with two pregnancies and breastfeeding in the span of two years.

First things first: People are going to stare. That’s just a fact. People stare when you breastfeed in public, whether you choose to cover or not. People stare when you’re a goth. Expect double the staring and double the eye boggles. I’ve found the best response when people stare whilst I breastfeed is to smile and wave. Occasionally, this opens the window for conversations and new friends, and other times they get the hint and stop rubbernecking long enough to focus on their own business.

I'm not going to go into a lengthy discussion on breastfeeding technique or anything, though I'm open to questions if you have them. I will link to some excellent resources at the bottom of the article for your researching pleasure.

There are a few things that can make breastfeeding and nursing in public a little easier on yourself.

Monday, November 30, 2015

On Foundation Garments

I’m focusing on the ladies in this piece, as my blog is geared towards women, but I might do a piece on men’s foundation garments at some point.

Foundation garments are a subject not often addressed in the fashion blogs (both Goth and non-goth) that I read, but something that is quintessentially important for your outfit. Without a proper fitting foundation, clothes will not sit properly and will not hold their shape. This is especially true of more shapeless pieces, those that do not have tailored fit or that are not cut for specific body types.

Technically speaking, foundation garments are meant to alter your shape so it looks more fashionable, but I say it goes beyond this. Foundation garments are the base upon which you build your outfit, even if you aren’t substantially altering your shape. Foundation garments do not technically include push up bras and the like, but for purposes of this piece I’m including them in this post.

Foundation garments include (but are not limited to): bras, stockings, garter belts, control top stockings, tummy control or shaping garments (like spanx, tummy smoothers, etc), underwear, or slips. For more vintage or Victorian designs, you can add things like proper bloomers, corsets meant to be worn as underwear, crinolines, panniers, etc. There is a reason professional costumers focus on correct under garments! They can really make or break an outfit. Corsets additionally require liners or camisoles underneath to protect them from your body sweat and oils as well as protect you from chaffing.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

A Goth Anthropologist On Cemeteries, Shrines, and Veneration of the Dead

Cemeteries are incredible places, filled with sorrows and works of art. I've always enjoyed them, but haven't been able to make myself visit ours much since my brother died. His ashes are buried near a family of four that passed away late last year from carbon monoxide poisoning. (Please people, get a CO sensor. It could literally save your life.) Their graves are stunningly personal: the eleven year old's grave is a toy train set, the fourteen year old's a Rubix cube on it's axis.

I visit my relatives buried here and often leave gifts of small stones (I don't know where I heard to do this, only that if you visit a grave put a stone there and watch the stones pile up overtime), candles, mourning cakes on Halloween, and offerings to the spirits that watch over cemeteries and gravestones. 

Even those who are not Pagan find themselves leaving offerings of flowers, vases, pictures, and trinkets. There is a child's grave I cry over every time I pass, as visitors still leave baby toys there for him or her to play with. I can't stay long with child graves- having children of my own makes me internalize and empathize far too much. (Frankly it's the same reason I don't pay attention to the news; I'm still f****d up over a few stories about children I came across.) 

I like to think this is where the process of deification began, of how mortals became demigods and then gods overtime. The catharsis was less heroic deeds and more the remembering. My brother's grave is covered with trinkets from friend and family and strangers who never knew him personally but felt his impact nonetheless. You can't see everything in this pic, as more has been added since it was taken including peacock feathers, chewing tobacco cans, and other stuff a 17 year old should probably not have been doing.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Health and Fitness: Goth Workout Wear

(Disclaimer: I am in no way endorsing the companies I've linked to. I do not profit at all from you clicking the links or buying. This is just some google fu for my own entertainment, and hopefully yours. All pictures belong to the websites linked. None are mine.)

Let's be honest, working out kinda feels…. less than goth. It feels like something soccer moms or people like Maria Kang do, not something people who usually dress like this do.

Picture via Tumblr's Facebook page
Exercise has been proven to liven mood, decrease symptoms of depression, and coupled with a healthy diet can really improve your health and quality of life. In part of my efforts to lose weight, I've adopted a quick at home workout routine. I immediately set out to find gothic workout attire. Being on a budget  not sure if actually going to stick with working out, I didn't want to spend a fortune. Oh the things I'd buy if I could though. As I was researching for this piece, I came across an actual movement called Health Goth, to which I've linked some relevant articles below.

Enjoy some links below for some ideas to find your own goth workout gear.

First things first. You need to stay hydrated. 

Why not try this Skull Water Bottle?

Or maybe this one.

Or maybe this Nightmare Before Christmas one?

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

On Why I don’t Intentionally Dress My Kids Goth

I admit to a certain satisfaction when my Mormon inlaws first beheld my then 2 month old son in skull and crossbones black feetie pajamas from Halloween when he was a few months old. I chose them because they were cute, they were on sale, and I knew they’d offend people who hated me and for whom I felt nearly equally about.

The occasional rocker style baby outfit (flaming guitars with skulls? Yes thanks!) or Halloween outfit suitable to year-round (like the skeleton hoodie that’s been used by each of my kids) is pretty much the extent of it. I should note we get most of their clothes secondhand- kids grow so fast, it’s usually not worth it to buy everything first hand. Unless it’s something really unique or in a print or style I (or my kid) can’t live without, then I’ll buy it firsthand. I re-donate most of my kids’ clothes when they grow out of them, either to thrift shops, the women’s shelter, or friends with kids smaller than mine. Most of the cool Halloween feetie pajamas and rocker style stuff was purchased firsthand- it seems when people find cool pieces suitable for year-round fashion they hold onto them!

When my kids were younger, I could put them in whatever I felt like. As they grow older, they make their preferences known, very known. Take for example my almost 3-year old son.

We had this green long-sleeved shirt with a Bigfoot body printed on the front. The idea is you put the shirt on and the kids head looks like the Bigfoot's head because it matches up with the body. My kid HATED that shirt. He cried when he wore it. My husband thought it was funny (but traumatizing) to chase him with it on occasion. Last month, I found it in the trash. I figured my son made his point clear, and I left it there. He does the same with his Viking warrior shirt. There’s just something about it he doesn’t like, so I don’t force him to wear it.

Even now, he picks his own shirts out. He always wants to wear shorts, but given its winter here that’s not an option. It doesn’t mean we don’t fight everyday about why we can’t wear shorts. He picks his own underpants. It’s always a tough choice between Ninja Turtles and the Robot Boxers. He’s currently begging for Jake and the Neverland Pirates underwear because dad vetoed MLP.

Usually though, he’s just running around naked. It is, apparently, extremely hard to keep clothes on a 3 year old. I turn my back for five seconds, turn back around, and like a reverse quick change artist he’s in the nude and flopped lazily across the couch watching cartoons. (Last month he had to have a lesson on public indecency. He tried to strip his clothes off in a McDonald's, because, according to him, he had to pee. I don't know why that necessitated stripping down to his skivvies, but that's a toddler for you. Thank the gods we were the only ones in the playland at that moment.)

My son has particular taste in clothing, and I like to watch him express himself. That is why I no longer dress him solely gothic attire. If he wants to wear the black tutu he found, he can wear it. If he wants to wear skulls, he can wear it. If he wants to wear dinosaurs or aliens or football shirts, he can wear them. I don’t want to push my particular views or styles on him, and I want him to explore and embrace all the different parts of himself and learn about his own likes and dislikes. I want to him confident and happy. Whatever he chooses as he gets older, I’m more than fine with that. We often joke his “rebellious” phase will be joining the football team and wearing polo shirts. We’ll tease him, but ultimately I like to think we will accept him.

My daughter will be a year old next month. I dress her, admittedly, like a baby doll. Vintage dresses, as many tutus and floofy layered skirts as I can, perfect little boots, bows on her head. She has a velvet jacket and the cutest little pea coat from Baby Gap (thrifted for $3 I might add). When she gets older and tells me what she’d rather wear, I’ll indulge. But for now she’s a little baby doll.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Dissenting Voice: On Modern Babybats, the Internet, and You-Kids-Get-Offa-My-Cemetery

I’ve been reading a lot more Goth blogs of late as I’ve begun diving back into the subculture. One thing that seems to be repeated often by my fellow Elder Goths is how “easy” modern babybats have it. I read how the internet makes them lazy, that the internet propagates only one correct way to be Goth.

I humbly disagree.

First, let’s address the One True Goth Way ™ statement. If this were true, why would we have the likes of this awesome artist with her tongue-in-cheek Goth stereotypes?


How would we have the hundreds of derivations of Goth fashion? They don’t just pop up out of thin air. They are created by Goths, new and old, to create their own personal vision of what Goth is. Look at Dark Mori. Look at Gothic Lolita. These are very, very recent interpretations of Goth, spread in part by the proliferation of manga and anime and graphic novels. Even these art forms expanded and grew to give us some seriously great gothic imagery and seriously creepy horror stories. Look at Cybergoth. Look at Health Goth—None of these existed in the 80s or even the 90s. (Maybe Cybergoth, technically, I suppose.)

Second, let’s talk about the internet. The internet is a strange place. It’s full of trolls, keyboard warriors, anonymous assholes, pictures of cats, pictures of food, awesome DIYers, awesome support networks, and young people trying to find themselves. I discovered Goth was a thing back in junior high when I admired the older black clad “early” Goths and their attire. I began to buy a few pieces in 2000, the year I became a freshman in high school. (I see you doing the math. I’m 29, graduating class of 2004.) Many of these pieces came from Hot Topic. In my small, conservative town, it was the only place to go. Even then, I had to drive to the next town over to get to Hot Topic. I learned how to customize and refine these pieces so I’d be less cookie cutter. Because heaven forbid I walk around in something that clearly came from a store in the mall.

Friday, November 13, 2015

How I wore Tripp

Okay, I'm very nervous to post these pics for a couple reasons. 1. I never post pics of myself unless it's a particularly angled phone selfie and everything looks right. 2. I am very, very body conscious, so I'm afraid of being judged by that. 3. This is my first time working with taking self portraits with this camera. I don't really know much about it (my Rebel is ruined so I'm borrowing someone's DSLR, a Canon 20D, and it's a whooooole new world). So please be gentle and pardon the awkwardness and grainy pics. 

I'm used to doll photography, haha.  I'm also 149lbs and a measly 5'2" tall in shoes. I guess that's why we short, stocky girls aren't professional models, lol. There's a certain awkwardness here to work with.

The other day I came across a green Tripp miniskirt at Goodwill. It was half price day so I got it for $2.00..... even though Tripp isn't my thing, I thought, "Why not?" and snagged it. I also got the skirt with all the ruffles underneath for another $2.00.

I like layering! Layering is my very best friend and makes me feel comfortable, especially knowing I'm not going to accidentally flash things that ought not be flashed. I have a rather large *ahem* derriere, so Tripp miniskirts ride even higher on me than others. My ass literally cannot be covered by a Tripp miniskirt. So, I layered the skirt over the ruffles and voila! Not too bad. Not something I'd wear a lot, as it's a little young for me I think, but I might consider it with a biker jacket for a weekend of doing something fun that doesn't require a ton of bending over.

I'd also probably pair it with leggings or dark colored nylons. A colored corset could be cute too actually.. *brainstorming*
Then I remembered I still have a skirt from before I had my kids that I was never confident enough to wear. I admit I can barely fit into it and relied on some shapewear to make me feel a little smoother, but the effect is nice enough too. 

So I suppose this is a decent way to wear Tripp or miniskirts if you don't like super, super short skirts. (Or you have enormous bottom that refuses to be covered by them.)

So there you have it, a post I feel pretty brave putting out there, and my first actual fashion post. Hopefully my self portraiture will improve and my modeling skills.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Family Criticisms: The Good Mother (TM)

It sounds like the typical baby bat cliché, "My parents don't understand me," you cry into your black satin pillow, mascara running down your chalk-white face.

There is this assumption, at least in the conservative part of the world from which I hail, that as you grow up you're to leave the trappings of your youth behind. Make that double time if you have kids. In my state, it is normal to be married by 18 and have multiple children by the time you're 26. Heaven forbid you have an interest in something other than your children or stamp collecting. You know, only safe, mature, normal interests.

I lived (shock and horror) with my boyfriend for four years before we decided to get married, Wiccan-style, at age 25. I had my first child at 26, and I was still sporting a nose ring and combat boots. I was hit hard with baby weight and postpartum depression, and quickly dumped my gothic attire behind me. Why?

  • Spit up does not sit well on velvet.
  • If it takes more effort to put on than yoga pants, it wasn't worth it.
  • Postpartum depression sucks; it makes you hate everything and makes even the simplest tasks so much harder.
  • Weight gain also sucks. It meant I couldn't fit into most of my beautiful clothes anyway.
  • Society told me I was someone's mother now. Mother's don't sport pink hair, nose piercings, and corsets, now do they?

After my husband and I nearly divorced, after a year and a half of therapy, I'm finally feeling like myself again. I've lost some of the weight I gained after the birth of my daughter, and while I'm nowhere near where I want to be, I can finally begin fitting into my favorite pieces again.

I gave away so much of my stuff to my younger, thinner, childfree friends, that I get to rebuild my wardrobe. I can't say I have any more money than I did in my early 20s, but I've certainly got more fiscal sense and can approach this new endeavor with long forgotten enthusiasm, much to the chagrin of my family.

My father is a judgmental person. He's racist. He's homophobic. He's bigoted. I didn't realize this until we became estranged. He and most of my family, save my brother and my mother, would mock, deride, and criticize everything I chose to wear. Most of my husband's family is the same way. They began to target my parenting, criticizing each choice I would make. I was told often that a Good Mother TM wouldn't wear black eyeshadow. A Good Mother TM wouldn't wear stompy boots. A Good Mother TM wouldn't wear that enormous skirt around town.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Introduction and First Fashion Post

I'm just another blog in the sea of gothic blogs, just another goth, just another parent, just another person who is almost 30 and feels like I have no idea what the hell I'm doing. I've been inspired by one of my favorite blogs to begin my own. I run another blog pertaining to my doll hobby, so I am by no means a stranger to blogging. I'll be posting a list on the sidebar of my favorite goth blogs, the ones I found most inspiring as I began to rediscover myself and rekindle my confidence.

My youngest brother, probably my biggest supporter, passed away this summer a few weeks after turning 17. His death shook what little I thought I understood of the world up,  and left me finding myself and my old hobbies and interests again- he'd always supported and believed in me, no matter how "weird" the rest of the family thought I was. So in some ways, this is my homage to him. I won't ever give up on myself. I'll be strong, for him....

Anyways, I'm a little shy, lacking a bit in confidence. I have a degree in anthropology, but I work as a secretary. Thus, I get to incorporate a little corp goth into my wardrobe. I have two toddlers, a husband who has embraced the steampunk culture and his own darker side (Jack the Ripper being his main style inspiration). I have a flair for the dramatic and the flamboyant (what can I say... I'm a libra). I ramble and curse a lot more than a proper lady ought. I'm a part-time mermaid saving for a silicone tail of my own, among other things.

My style can best be described as "recovering American Eagle devotee with a secret stash of romantigoth frills and petticoats". On non-fancy days, something along the lines of rocker chick or corp goth. I dabble a bit in dark mori/witchy goth.

Why I thought my perspective was worth sharing:

I found myself searching for a few specific things over and over again--
  • "How should I dress at 30?"
  • "30 year old goths"
  • "Goth Parents"
  • "Too old to dress goth?"

I admit to a certain weakness-- I put far too much stock in the opinions of others and always have. I felt compelled to act a certain way, dress a certain way, that the old me was gone because I put on a few pounds since my early 20s and became a wife and mother (twice over!). One blog in particular popped up on my search. I read her post over, over again. She summed it up perfectly: I'm over my normal phase, and I'm coming back to my gothy home, society be damned (paraphrased of course). Find her post here.

I'm exploring my style, how to make a mom of toddlers on the go work the goth look without feeling like I'm looking like I'm trying too hard.

What I plan to blog about:
  • My style exploration
  • Confidence issues as I journey towards my 30s 
  • Grief and loss (I'll try to keep this to a minimum, though I think as we age, we find more and more people around us dying.)
  • My weight loss journey (I've lost 25 lbs since my daughter was born last December, with about 30 more to go!)
  • Relationship, Parenting, and Family Issues of the non-baby bat variety (not that baby bat issues are bad or irrelevant, just that there are plenty of other blogs which do that very thing).
  • Societal pressures unique to the aging or Elder Goth tribe. 

Sorry for this terribly long, ranty post. I hope you'll join my on my journey, and maybe find something of interest to you. Thank you for reading, and happy haunting. ;)

And for a first time picture, have one of my husband and I on Halloween this year.

Outfit Info: