I decided to write this essay because I have many friends who are my age and older who seem to be having trouble accepting the whole "aging thing". They become depressed and frustrated with every birthday that passes by. They obsess over wrinkles, lines, and cellulite. They worry about what sort of clothing is appropriate to wear and practically count down the days that they will have to leave alternative fashion behind and become...*gasp*…a grown-up.
I felt that maybe I could help them and others like them because my mind set is so drastically different when it comes to getting older. I hardly bat an eye at my birthday, I see wrinkles as a minor threat at best, and I never stress about the future and what it may mean for my thighs, breasts, and face.
My hope with this essay is to quell some of your fears and give you some useful fashion advice along with it.
It always goes back to that old saying "Age is just a number". You know what? Screw that saying! How about "Age is NOT just a number"? After all, we become so fixated on the number of years we've been around and really, does the number truly represent how we age? Did you wake up on your 30th birthday looking drastically different from the day before? (Hangover aside of course!) The best thing to do is to not think about the number at all. It is just a legality anyway. It is a number applied to our age simply because we decided to leave the womb on a certain day and the number increases periodically according to the length of time dictated by how long it takes our planet to get around a big ball of hot gas. Does any of that affect how many wrinkles you have or how saggy your boobs are? Nope.
True aging is just about genetics, time, luck, and health. You can take two babies born on the exact same day and let them age for maybe 30 years and at the end of that time, I bet they aren't going to look exactly the same age. One might look older than 30 and one might look younger. Concentrate on how you look and how you feel. The number that coincides doesn't really matter all that much.
Is there really a limit to how long one can dress "freaky"? Can one actually grow out of the "scene"? Well, it really depends on the person.
There is no rule that says you have to give up alternative fashion and join mainstream society at any point in your life. However, you do not want your style to be unchanging and stagnant either. To never adapt or recreate yourself as years go by is not only boring but gives others the impression that your life and successes are that uneventful as well.
Do not be afraid to evolve, even if it means letting go of things in your wardrobe that you used to love.
You can be stylishly eccentric and alternative looking your whole life if you do it wisely.
Do not see aging as a limit to your clothing and accessories choices; see it as a way to experiment with something new.
The first big change to your wardrobe usually occurs once you graduate from school/college and have to start a career. For many, this change is forced as they are required by their place of employment to tone down their hair, piercings, or make-up.
Do not resist this change. Choosing to leave a new job or change your career path due to the fact that they wouldn't let you have pink hair would be foolish. There are always other ways to express your self through fashion. We live in difficult times in which getting by and succeeding in life is harder than it ever has been. So worry about your career first, your hair second.
At this point, not too much is really going to have to change in your wardrobe. But your physical appearance may need some re-styling if your place of employment has dress codes . Opt for hair falls, clip-ins, and temporary hair pieces to sport an alternative look everywhere but at work. Or go to a good stylist and get a hair cut that looks good down but is easy to style into a "scene cut".
The next big change occurs when your life really starts to take direction and you get married, have kids, get promoted, get off drugs and/or alcohol, become a homeowner, or any number of those things. You are now a responsible adult and your fashion should somewhat reflect that. Why? Because if you don't make some changes or evolve your "look" many people subconsciously think that you are getting nowhere in life. Ever see someone at the club and think, "Wow, they haven't changed in over 10 years! How sad."
No one wants to be that person.
Even if your life has been a smashing success so far, it won't matter. If you look the way you did before you became successful or got your life under control, people will always see you as the "old you".
Take the best parts of your style and revamp them a little. If you used to like bright, colorful cyber fashion…take it to a more sophisticated level and opt for pieces with more neutral tones or pair crazy pieces with more stream-line clothing. If you liked cutesy, baby-doll tees…cut out the necklines so they sit lower and have a sexier look. Add some extra cuts in the back or DIY them a bit with bleach or netting. Do a closet overhaul and throw out anything that doesn't fit, is out of style, or you haven't worn in 6 months or more.
Bartenders have stopped carding you, everyone calls you "sir" or "ma'am", you're finding grey hairs, and even your tattoos seem to be faded and sagging. You are starting to show your age.
But don't panic! You knew this day would come and there is no hiding from it. Rather than act like nothing has changed or convince yourself that your life is over….suck it up and embrace it!
People who age gracefully are the ones who never complain, never worry, and stay flawlessly in fashion their whole lives. Accept the fact that you are older and you may not be able to wear a mini-skirt or platform boots anymore, but a new world of stunning stilettos, Victorian accessories, Chanel inspired jackets, and Parisian dresses awaits. Sophisticated clothing can be absolutely stunning and even fun to wear.
First off, get rid of anything too sexy, short, or sheer. Even if you've taken great care of your figure, wearing scantily clad outfits at this point is never received well. Though you may not care about the opinions of casual onlookers, do it for yourself. After all, you don't want to come off as being fashion-challenged.
When it comes to alternative fashion, you can still pull it off. Victorian inspired clothing works very well for this age group. You don't have to go head-to-toe with it…just pull in elements of the style. Steampunk looks are directly influenced by Victorian fashion and also work well for the older alternative group.
My how the time flies! One day you are raising pre-schoolers, the next thing you know…your kids want to go out clubbing! The younger generations are now the ones setting the trends and spending money on fleeting fads. At this point in ones life, it is important to still appreciate fashion even if you choose not to invest in it anymore.
So few people at this point in their lives worry about fashion. It is a sad fact that many women resign themselves to wearing outdated business clothes at work and baggy sweats and tees at home. Men tend to do a bit better in keeping up with work-place styles but also wear unflattering clothing at home.
Jut staying in fashion at all at this point in your life is impressive. But can you still pull off an "alternative" look?
Sort of. You may not be able to dress how you did back before you had kids but you can definitely still bring in elements of it to your wardrobe. Go with clothing and accessories that are subtle but effective. A beautiful beaded necklace with a cameo of a beetle or spider in it would create a Gothic Victorian edge to your look. An all white, well-tailored outfit with clear plastic wrist cuffs or sleek, stunning white hair would create a futuristic, Cyber look. A pair of neutral colored BDUs with tribal-style jewelry would be reminiscent of a post-apocalyptic, industrial look. No matter what, take care in finding clothing that fits you well and is flattering to your body type.
This is just my personal recommendation for staying alternative and chic throughout your life. Of course, there are exceptions to the rules and you may find that your life requires different steps in fashion. Just don't dwell so much on the number assigned to your age. Instead, concentrate on how you look, feel, and where you are in life. Find a style that suits you and reflects your lifestyle.
Essay By: Rachell Kraze
Hey guys! My friend Rachell wrote this awesome essay on alternative club dancing. I know a lot of you had questions about how to dance after reading the Goth For A Night essay. So it was a wonderful coincidence that Rachell had typed this essay up for us. Enjoy! - Squeak
Everyone has their own personal style of dancing. But in the goth/industrial subculture, there is one thing that everyone has in common…We all dance solo! And for some, that may be very frightening!
I'll admit…when I started going to clubs, I didn't really know how to dance. I bopped around in a circle with my friends like a lot of new clubbers do. It can take a very long time for someone to gather the courage to dance without the security of their friends around them, let alone stand up on a platform or stage where everyone can see them! And I know that for a lot of people shuffling nervously on the dance floor, they already feel as if all eyes are on them!
So how are you supposed to gain the confidence to dance on your own? Read on!
I can't believe how often I see people dancing, and they aren't even dancing at the beat of the music! For those who have had formal training in dance or music, or did some type of activity like cheerleading in high school or singing in the local church choir, staying in beat should come a lot easier for them. But for those who have trouble, take a couple moments to figure the tempo of the music. You may wanna practice at home first where you can be alone and work at a comfortable pace.
You know that "unce-unce-unce" sound people always associate with techno music? Well that is the beat of the song that you are going to dance to. You won't need to strain to hear it…it'll be blasting against your head. Quite often the tempo of a song is 4/4 or 120 BPM (beats per minute), which is 2 beats per second. So when you hear "unce-unce-unce-unce", think "1-2-3-4" over and over and get a feel for it. Rock back and forth and make sure you got the beat down and can eventually do it without thinking.
You don't always have to stay in the 1-2-3-4 tempo either! You can slow it down to 60BPM or speed it up to 240BPM sometimes, as long as you're still in the same general beat.
Dancing is a lot of fun! And when you get really into it, sometimes you don't even notice that you're moving many parts of your body. But when you're at a club with tons of people, you get self-conscious and don't let yourself get into the music so much. Don't worry about everyone else! Let your body flow! But don't go too crazy! Move all parts of your body, but keep it easy and keep control of your limbs. Swinging yourself around too much might make people duck for cover! Keep a balance, lift your legs, bend and stretch your arms, twirl those hips, tilt your head a little, move forward and backward and side to side…and keep in your personal little dancing bubble! Once you feel comfortable with your dance moves, you can go a little more wild, so long as there is enough room on the floor to do so!
One thing that can really help someone learn new moves or how to dance is to watch someone else who is good at dancing. Watch them (don't be creepy about it!) and take mental notes. Maybe imitate some moves they do to gain an understanding on HOW they get from one dance move to another. Don't just straight up imitate their moves so you can dance JUST like them! Imitation is flattering and all, but we all like to have something that we can call our own. Once your body gets used to moving and flowing, you can develop your own style.
Everyone has a different style. Some people will dance more aggressively with stomps and punches, while others may dance more delicately yet seem a bit intricate. You will figure out how you move to music, so don't worry! It won't be overnight, it'll take time and practice and getting used to your own body, but keep at it and it'll happen!
When you practice at home, don't watch yourself in the mirror the whole time! Close your eyes or move where there are no mirrors. There may not be an open mirror for you to watch yourself at the club, so you gotta get used to dancing without keeping an eye on yourself all the time. Practice at the club as well as at home. At home you can practice without feeling self-conscious, but remember that the club is not like home. There are tons of people, loud ear-blasting music, and colorful lights flashing in your eyes. Make sure you will be comfortable in that type of environment.
Don't think! Just do! One of the things that mess up someone's dancing is that they start THINKING about their dancing! Usually something like "What move am I gonna do next?" Don't do that! It'll throw you off! Just feel the music, and the moves will come to you naturally. When you get better at it, you can flow on the floor while thinking "What did I eat for breakfast this morning?" and not miss a beat.
It may seem silly, but yes, your outfit plays a part of your dancing. Think of it this way… Wouldn't it look a bit funny to see a buff guy in camo and combat boots dancing all femme? Or see a small girl in a Lolita outfit, dancing like she's stomping someone's head in? Besides, dancing aggressively in those frilly bell silhouettes would be quite restricting and difficult. When it comes to dancing, the outfit does play a part in the aesthetic appeal, as well as physical comfort. Keep feminine dancing with attire on the feminine side, and masculine dancing with masculine attire. If the dancing in somewhere in between, then you may be able to get away with either extreme for an outfit, or just go with an outfit that's somewhere in between as well. If you twirl your hips a lot, then a layered mini skirt would look cute. If you stomp, combat boots would be more suitable than high heels.
If you aren't sure, test out your outfit by dancing at home before heading out to the club. If your clothes move with you rather than against you and don't make you feel uncomfortable in any way, then you should be good to go!
See you on the dance floor!
Goth/Industrial clubs and events have a lot of appeal for people who are not part of the scene. Here in Philadelphia, Nocturne at the nightclub Shampoo has been widely acclaimed for being a successful club night, drawing in huge crowds all year long and offering a wide range of music on its 3-4 dance floors. With so much public exposure, it is bound to draw in more than just the typical social misfits.
It is not unusual to see a dozen or more G Fans in there each week, or at any other subculture event for that matter. What, pray tell, is a G Fan? Well, that is my slang for people who go there to be *G*oth *F*or *A* *N*ight. Also known as G Fads when referring to the fashion industries' attempts at adding subculture flair to modern day fashion to create a *G*oth *f*or *a* *D*ay look. G Fans are people who are considered mundane or ordinary by all fashion standards and dress up like a goth only to go out to a club night every so often.
I would just like to start off by saying that I have no problem with G Fans. I think that it is a vital part of the club scene to allow people to experience something new or have fun letting the more eccentric side of one's personality out, if only for a few hours. I don't know of anyone who hasn't wondered what it would be like to have the courage to stand out and be different; to dye your hair pink, to wear something crazy, or to paint your face with make-up normally only appropriate in magazines or at a MAC counter. An Alternative/Gothic/Industrial event offers the perfect opportunity for one to experiment with something different and totally fit in!
Unfortunately, more times than not, G Fans stick out like a sore thumb amongst the everyday alternative club goers. Most of us can spot one a mile away. Their lack of subculture fashion knowledge and alternative club etiquette are so painfully obvious, we almost find it to be abrasive to the scene.
But have no fear! I'm here to help. So before you step into your local goth club wearing last year's Halloween costume and a face full of black make-up, read this tutorial...
It is important to make an attempt. Much like how you might view a group of goth kids at school or at the mall...a bit stand offish...the tables have turned and now you are the outsider. As with any scene, there are always a few jerks that feel the need to point and laugh at anyone who is different. It is just not very often that the person sporting the Abercrombie hoodie and Guess jeans is viewed as the "freak". Truly, I wish I could tell you that the subculture club events were full of completely open-minded and friendly people who don't care about differences in fashion and appearances...but it simply isn't so. I would almost venture to say that the subculture scene is even more intolerant of "outsiders" than the normal club goers. Truth be told, going in regular clothes almost comes off as mocking or trying to be "above" the scene and is not taken well. Much like going to a new country, you will find that you will more easily be accepted if you just make a small attempt to fit in.
Besides, dressing up is fun!
Going to a goth/punk club allows one to experience something new; giving you the chance to break some of the more conservative fashion and make-up rules. How often do you get a chance to wear that blue lipstick by MAC or wear pink streaks in your hair? These types of clubs offer the chance to unleash your wild side and do something a little more creative for a change. Now hold on a second! That doesn't mean all sense of fashion goes out the window! So back away from that Halloween costume and cheap wig.
After all...we may be freaks...but we still have taste!
Don't go by what you've seen on TV as the stereotypical goth. Movies and TV shows rarely, if ever, have correctly portrayed subculture fashion. Hollywood still seems to be completely clueless when it comes to dressing an actor for a modern gothic or punk look. Many times, the characters end up looking like a bad caricature...or just completely outdated.
Also, don't go by what you saw some goth chick wearing in high school 5 years ago either. Trends change fast in the scene. Corsets, goggles, furry legwarmers, UV reactive clothing, Victorian jewelry...these are all things that have continued to go in and out of style in the club scene. And that is just off the top of my head! The scene is constantly evolving and so is its fashion.
Another thing, don't be surprised if you see very little "goth" in the scene. There really aren't that many that do that look anymore. So if you plan to show up in a corseted, all black ensemble, complete with black lipstick and a crucifix necklace...you may stand out even more than if you just wore jeans and a t-shirt!
Okay...I know what you are thinking..."So what do I wear?"
When in doubt...don't go all out! Simplistic is best. If you are unsure of the trends then just keep it chic and simple. Black pants, a nice lace cami or a printed tee, and some seriously smoky eyes will get you through the night. Or if you are a guy...black jeans or cargo pants, a printed tee, and a little extra product in your hair to give it an edgy look and you'll be fine.
Below is a quick list of do's and don'ts of commonly seen goth clothing items. This is very general and by no means a complete list. But it should prove helpful to G Fans as I tried to list things that I felt would remain constantly in style despite the odd twists and turns our fashion can take.
Just to be clear...some of the things on the "Don'ts" list are not necessarily out of style and may actually be very popular right now in the scene. I just don't recommend them to G Fans as they can be a bit too flashy, difficult to wear, or hard to put together with the correct outfit. Of course, once you've gone to a few events and observed the styles, you may feel comfortable enough to start experimenting with some of the more unusual and flamboyant subculture fashion.
Perhaps the only thing more obtrusive than a G Fan's outfit...is their behavior.
Here is a bit of advice for you:
Don't cling upon each other and move about like a frightened herd of cattle or huddle together giggling. I realize that you want to look cool in front of your friends and that you might be worried of their reaction if you tried to blend in. But I have news for you...your friends probably want to blend in too. Unless you are all complete assholes and have nothing better to do than waste your time going out to a goth club just to make fun of everyone, then I'm guessing that what you really got all dressed up to go out for was to have a good time.
Acting like an asshole will only invite a negative reaction, and keep in mind, you are out numbered now. So if you are going there to pick on people to feel better about yourself or show off to your girlfriend, you are going to have a very short night. These goths are not the easy targets they once were in high school. There is power in numbers and you will find they are not afraid to stand their ground when there are many of them and only a few of you.
Also, many times the club promoter for the night is there and you can bet that they themselves are usually involved in the "scene". They will not tolerate their regulars being unsettled by a group of mundane preps...so if you act up and cause problems, you will most likely be banned from that event.
Just be calm, be cool, and have a good time. You really have nothing to worry about. In general, the regulars at alternative club nights are very nice people and they tend to mind their own business. They aren't going to waste their energy picking on you or giving you a hard time unless you provoke them first. So just go in there with a positive attitude, chat with your friends, dance a bit, and be polite to the people around you.
Surprisingly, this may be the biggest culture shock of all.
If you are accustomed to the bump and grind moves that dominate a regular dance floor, you may be a bit surprised to see the ample amount of space club goers keep from each other at an alternative/goth event. Our styles of dancing couldn't be more dissimilar and it may take a bit of getting used to.
If it makes you feel any better, I've had a similar experience:
A friend of mine invited me to come out to Webster Hall in NYC with her one night. I donned my somewhat preppy apparel and headed out for a long night of clubbing. Upon paying the exuberant fee at the door (Goth clubs are, thankfully, never very expensive) I entered the club and got right out on the dance floor. I rather enjoy mainstream music and was having quite a good time dancing to it...that is...for all of ten seconds! In the blink of an eye I was surrounded from all angles by light colored, untucked work shirts and bad cologne. Rather than dance around me for a bit and get used to the rhythm I was working with, these guys just dived on in like horny jack rabbits and got to work grinding on me like a nervous porn star. As I looked around, I was shocked to find out that I was not alone in this assault...this was actually the standard! All around me I saw couples bumping and grinding so close I had to wonder if there were child support checks handed out at the end of the night.
It was then I realized why it always seems that male G Fans ask me silly questions like, "Do you want to dance with me?" To which I always responded with: "Huh?? You are joking right? Look around, buddy. We don't really dance with each other here."
I now realize that bumping and grinding is really just how "normal" people dance. So nowadays, when I am asked to dance at a goth event, I simply explain to the poor, clueless boy (as politely as possible), that we do not behave on the dance floor in the way that one would at an ordinary event.
Goth club dancing is predominantly a solo experience. Yes, some of the more traditional goth music is danced to with a partner but just like the "traditional goth' fashion, it has become outdated and is seldom played. Most of the time, expect that you will be dancing alone...and maybe in somewhat close proximity to others if you are there with friends or the floor is packed.
There is really no right or wrong way to dance. Just try not to bump into the people around you and don't grind like a horny teenager. Stand back and observe people on the floor for a little while and try your best to get into the music. If you aren't good, don't worry, it isn't a competition. Just have a good time and no one will even notice if you don't know what you are doing. It took me MONTHS to get up the courage to dance at a goth club. I admit it is a bit disconcerting to dance solo, as you sometimes feel that all the attention is all on you. But trust me, as long as you try your best and respect everyone around you, no one will care if your rhythm is a bit off.
One thing I feel I have to mention is of a frequent blunder I see G Fans making on the dance floor. Too often I see them standing around in a circle on the floor, hardly moving at all and just giggling or talking amongst each other. I realize that this is most likely because they are too nervous to split up and dance by themselves. Albeit, what you are really doing is taking up precious dance floor space and leaving yourselves open for embarrassment. One night, there was a group of five or six girls doing this. They stood in the middle of the floor in a big circle and chatted away with each other. Once in awhile, one or two of them would try to dance or mock some of the other dancers around them as their friends giggled. Soon, the dancers around them turned on them and began pushing into them and mocking them right back. Then up on the screen, for everyone to see, the lighting guy had programmed the message to say, "Girls in middle of floor, the dance floor is for dancing." With that, they finally got the message and wandered off. The moral of the story is: If you are not going to dance, get off the floor.
You made it through this very looong essay and, hopefully, you have taken some of my advice to heart. I think I can now trust you to make the proper fashion decisions and to conduct yourself in a respectful manner. There is only one thing left to do...Go out and have a good time! So get out there and show those goth kids that G Fans can rock the scene too!
I know that each one of you can look back on a time when fashion sense had somehow eluded you and your better judgment was shoved to the back of the closet. We have all made mistakes when it comes to our choice in clothing. It is life, it happens, and it is eventually (and thankfully!) forgotten.
However, there is one label that can not only damage one's reputation...but also go unforgotten for a very long time. That label is the "cheap" label...and I'm not talking about thriftiness. Words like "slut", "tramp", and "whore" seem to generally be applied young girls who may not morally deserve the title, but dress the part anyway. Why do they do it? Well, we could go into the whole self-esteem or confidence issues...but I think a big part of it is that they want to look sexy and get the attention they feel they deserve.
This brings us to the point of this essay...
What is sexy and what is slutty? How is it that one scantily clad girl looks cute and the other looks cheap??
It has to do a lot with how they present themselves and the type of clothing they wear. There are ways to look sexy without looking slutty if you know your body type, know the clothes, and know how to put the two together.
Go risqué with one or the other, not both. If you are going to wear a very revealing top, pair it with bottoms that don't show a whole lot of skin. Same thing with revealing bottoms; if you are gong to let your bum hang out, cover up your top half a bit more. You'll be surprised how much skin you can show and still look tasteful if you cover up other areas of the body.
There are times it works and many times it doesn't! Corsets are usually okay provided they are fitted correctly.I also think that giving everyone just a peek of a garter belt is also quite sexy. Just a peek though! They shouldn't be able to see the part that is fastened around your waist!
It is *never* acceptable to wear only a bra and booty shorts as an outfit. Bras go under clothing, not over. Even if you are following the "top to bottom" rule, don't just wear a bra! It looks like you got dressed in a hurry and forgot to put on a shirt. Or that you lack the fashion sense to find anything better to wear. The same thing goes with booty shorts; they are meant to be worn as underwear and should stay as such. When in doubt, just remember: If there is one layer of clothing separating everyone else from your naughty bits...you may want to throw on something else!
The whole post-apocalyptic look is one that is always popping up in the alternative scene. Clothing that looks torn, bleached, or "used and abused" is a staple of this look. It can look absolutely fabulous when done right. Just be sure your clothing looks intentionally beat up and abused...and not because it really is! Wearing old, dirty, worn-out clothing to the club is not acceptable...nor fair to those who stand around you!
Always make sure that clothes are well-fitted and sit nicely on your body. Be realistic about what you can and cannot wear. Clothing that is too loose can look sloppy. Clothing that is too tight is unflattering and a big fashion no-no. Girls always seem to think that the tighter something is, the better. But truth be told, if you wear a top that is too tight just to accentuate your chest, you may sad to know that people actually end up staring at your back fat the whole night!
Also, be mindful of your breasts. Flat chested girls have an advantage of being able to wear almost any top and still look chic...(even see-through and low-cut stuff). Girls with larger chests may find that tops that look cute on their A-Cup friends, barely contain their boobs or make them look just a bit too sexy. If you have a larger chest, try to go a bit more conservative with tops. Trust me, when you have big boobs, you don't need skimpy tops to look sexy!
Raunchy slogans or symbols on an already risqué outfit only invite trouble. Even if you are trying to be funny or ironical, others may take it as being literal! Yeah, the "real boobs" shirt may be funny on a fat guy, and the "Sluttin ain't Easy" tee is great for the skinny, nerdy kid...but on a hot, female body...it just comes off as being slutty.
Before you hit the club, take a moment to make sure your outfit is dance safe. Do some moves in front of the mirror for a minute or two and make sure nothing rides up, pops out, or falls off when dancing. People always check their outfits standing still with their arms down in front of the mirror...but in real life, you don't move around like zombie! So make sure you can bend over, sit down, and jump without flashing everyone.
I don't know how many times I've scoped out people at the club and thought to myself, "Now that is a cute outfit" and then BAM!, she bends over and bears her bare ass to the world! Yikes! Ladies, if you are going to wear a short skirt, skip the thong and put on a pair of booty shorts. A little decency goes a long way! Keep your butt cheeks covered!
So girls, before you start rummaging through your closet for something to wear, keep in mind these simple tips. Just using a bit of common sense and common decency can keep you out of trouble and keep you in fashion!