How To Dress Like A Victorian Goth (Without Looking Frumpy)

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I have dressing Goth for (eeeek) a long time. Ok, so I will let you into a secret – Los Lobos were about to become number one with a song about a little goat…

Something like that.

In fact, it might have been Los Lobos’s fault that I turned to black, painted my nails black, gave up smiling the following Lent and started panting after Robert Smith from The Cure.

Today, I am a little more conservative my approach to Victorian dressing. I guess it’s the corporate world that did that to me. Although I have to admit, on particularly difficult days (and there can be few) I will go out and out Victorian (minus the bustle of course.)

Thanks to more recent years of secretly sourcing stuff online, finding that unique look has never been so easy. (So, why do normal people look so, normal then?) Now, I can find the cheapest, fanciest, gothic-ist and Victorian clobber anywhere and have it delivered to my door (ah! Christmas!) Even Primark (cough) is one of my favourite shops for tights, gloves and just about anything black.

Ahem.

Ok, so here today, I am going to share with you some of my favourite things in my wardrobe. Yes, I am going to let you take a peak inside!

 

Blouses:

Perhaps the first stop in my wardrobe in the morning when I want to make a bit of an impact at work is this beautiful blouse. High necks, lace frills and tight cuffs and puff sleeves on any blouse or shirt will put you straight back into 1891. Perfect!

blouse

Women’s Gothic Victorian by Scarlette Darkness

 

Boots:

Boots were the staple diet of the Victorians – everything was lace up. If you couldnt’ do up your laces during the 19th Century, you were probably in trouble – or you didn’t have any shoes.

Gibson style was all the age for both men and women but it was the well dressed ladies in this era who lived for their boots. I have to admit, calf length styles were the most popular. Despite the fact that most of the time, you couldn’t see what was on their feet for layers of bustle and crinoline, boots and shoes were vital – especially if there were in the same colour as your dress.

These days, I think knee-high lace up boots look more stylish that something only half crawling up your leg. As I tend to wear knee-length skirts (popular for Victorian girls up to the age of 12) simply because they are more practical for the 20th century, showing off a cool pair of long boots makes the outfit not look so well, frumpy.

how to look victorian without looking frumpy

Joe Brown ladies lace up boots

 

Coats:

You can’t possibly step out in the world in a Victorian outfit without finishing the look with dark frock coat. This has to be my favourite, but I will let you in on something. I took the sewing machine to it. I simply couldn’t stand the up down hem going on around it. So I turned it into a flared riding coat and raised the hem to an equal length at the front. Now it sits to my knee comfortably draping down to mid calf at the back. Much better. Even so, this is a beautiful coat which looks great with A line frilly skirt and of course, all the trimmings above!

frock coat

Corduroy frock coat in black – yest black. It’s not brown, although it looks as though it is

Skirts:

So, we get to the bottom half at last. So, the dilemma I have each day is do I go for a skirt or trousers? The thing about trousers is that I suddenly feel like a bloke and that I should be slapping my thigh at every avaliable opportunity like I am Anita Harris in panto. Still, with a long pair of riding boots, they are idea for being heavily practical. For preference, it has to be a skirt and the following has been my favourite for a few years now. It even comes with a giant ribbon at the back.

High waisted and with a zip, it might look like you won’t be able to breathe but it is comfortable. Just make sure you get a bigger size than you think you need. Click on the link to find out more if you want to find out more about this skirt featured below. (By the way, you might think that this skirt is knee length, it’s not, just above actually. So the image is a little confusing!)

 

how to look victorian without looking frumpy

 

 

 

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How To Be A Goth At Work Or How To Survive The Office

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At now my mid to late 40’s, I can safely say I have had a lot of jobs.

Back in the early 1990’s I joined the emergency services and took up driving ambulances for a living. A lot of dark blue involved (which was ok, it was a uniform so I couldn’t really complain.)

On my days off (which were few, irregular and usually bed ridden) being a Goth almost went out the of the window.

Well, sometimes, it does. Being a Goth for me is a state of mind. I can be all pastels but yet my mind is still in anguish over watching the latest Penny Dreadful (when it was on) or figuring out what the last Cure album was all about… It’s about being true to yourself inside. That, of course, is the ultimate juggle in this world. In life.

My jobs got worse over the years there after. I went from uniform to a suit. Traditional, old-fashioned and proud of my pen pushing years in county council. Black was creeping in with subtlety. Pull up my suit sleeves and glaring back at you would be a long line of Aha-esque leather thongs trailing up my wrists.

My roles in my recent years have become more and more corporate. As a PR Manager and (even worse) a high-profile Publicist, being Goth has become more of an occupational concern. I spend most of my time with my back against a wall juggling this and promoting that. Vision, image is everything. I work in the highest, most elitist of circles where everyone around me is young enough to by my son or daughter, where I am now an elder Goth, or just bloody old.

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Yet, I have to admit, I am probably more the person who I truly am than I have ever been. The years which have piled up onto my face and energy have given me a ‘couldn’t give a toss’ attitude. Over recent years, I have embraced my Victorian obsession.

Now, I walk along the corridors of PR agencies and I can almost hear the 20 somethings recoil on horror at my Dickensian outfit. The more I have embraced my wardrobe, the more confident I feel, the better I think I look and the more influential I find myself being.

So, what’s the lesson here today? Wait until you’re in your 40’s before you can feel good? No, that’s not what I am saying. You don’t have to wait until your ‘passed it’ before you can become true to who you are. You can fast track yourself and do it much earlier than that. Confidence, for me has come from saying ‘this is me, I look different, that’s because I am different.’ In the world I work in, I am somewhere near the top, yet alone.

I seek out other Goths in my press circles but I can’t see any (must wear my glasses more often.) Most of the young PR-ettes these days are more Karen Millen than Helena Bonham Carter.

More chick flick than film noir.

More Bella Hadid than Bela Lugosi.

But that’s ok.

I know fashion wise, I don’t fit in, But then again I don’t think I was ever meant to. That’s why I sit in my corporate media world full of work pods, funky musak and coffee hubs and look like an extra from Northanger Abbey. I am there to cause ripples, create oceans of destruction and generally worry the middle class minded. It causes amusement, but I have to say, the laugh is usually from me.

Be the same. Cause shifts in your world. It’s your job to.

 

Love and Absinthe

 

BB x

Goth Day’s Out: Feathered Flying Machines in The New Forest

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There are a great many things I love doing at the weekend. Most of which have deep historic backgrounds and usually Victorian somewhere along the line. Used for hunting relentlessly during the Victorian era when they weren’t being shot and stuffed, it wasn’t until more recent times that birds of prey became appreciated for their skill, grace and beauty.

Thankfully we tend to, on the whole, look after them a bit better, thanks to the RSPB and other conversation groups. The desire to have them shoved in glass cabinets with weird-looking eyes has died out.

For today’s post, I am in the mood for sharing some of my own beautiful images of these magnificent flying machines. The following pictures were taken at a recent visit to the Liberty’s Birds of Prey at their Owl, Reptile and Raptor centre in Ringwood, New Forest. A place I certainly recommend visiting, especially for their displays (but the tea room could do with a revamp….)

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