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Wednesday, 26 February 2014

February Blog Round Up

I'm convinced that February has conspired against me to be shorter than ever. Partially because the month has flown by, and partially because I realised how close it is to exams (one month, it turns out). Auuurghhh. Here to distract you all from my impending break down is my pick of the best posts from this month -

  • Retro Rack featured three beaded black gowns in a recent 'then and now' post, and oh my. I want all of them.
  • Nebel Violet suggests a cheap way to decorate your notebooks with industrial tape and flyers on her blog, Deus Ex Machina - she also put a really good post up about her experience with henna hair, which I would suggest to hair dye fiends and natural hair advocates alike.
  • Haute Macabre, purveyor of catwalk couture to the dark masses, wrote about the Chinese dragon inspired XuMing Couture designs at the Chinese Fashion week, and they are gorgeous.
  •  Ben of The Pop Culture Cynic blogged earlier on in the month about one of his favourite films, About Time - I'm not really a Richard Curtis fan, but after watching it I couldn't stop breaking into tears at unexpected intervals for the next two days and had to call my rather bewildered dad. Apparently this is pretty standard.
  • For those of you who love their tattooed men (by which I mean me), Style Bizarre recently featured their favourite inked male models. I call dibs on Johnny Q.
  • Also published on Style Bizarre recently was an excellent piece on dealing with your feelings - somewhat offbeat for them, but very good advice nonetheless.
  • Finally, to finish the month off, why don't you do a bit of research into the (her)story of Riot Grrl? Sary Walrus published a documentary on this politically driven music genre, which is one that personally inspires me a lot.

I might be taking the next month easy as I prepare for the nightmare of my exams, but I will hopefully be publishing ready written posts for this, and will let you know should I decide to take a break. Until the first, when I publish my monthly wardrobe feature!


Friday, 21 February 2014

Music versus Fashion: The Eternal Goth Debate

Fields of the Nephilim, collar, spiked, goth, music, fashion

Egads. Here we go again. Music or fashion? Is it more important that you wear a Bauhaus t shirt, or know all their B sides?

Since goth music started branching out from post punk, we've been having the debate over whether the clothing or the crooning is more important to the scene. Varying opinions are seen, from Jillian Venters belief that it must be fashion, as turning your wardrobe over to the dark side takes a lot of effort (whilst this is true, I could argue that collecting my gothic rock LPs has taken just as much time and money to amass) to the oft repeated assertion that music is 'the backbone' of the subculture and came first. Every goth is expected to have an opinion on it, even if it's just to say that it's a dumb dichotomy and holding one over the other isn't going to make any difference to goth as a whole.

Just because I like feeling self important, I'm going to buck the trend and say that not only can one be held over the other, but for me they are intrinsically linked.

I mentioned the issue to a friend of mine jokingly sometime ago, and what came out was a quite heated discussion. He asserted that goth wasn't equal to other genres such as punk or rock, because fashion was such an integral part of it. To this I replied by hitting him around the back of the head with a pair of my Dr Martens and pointing out that the fashion evolved naturally from the music scene (and it did, according to the original post punkers), and to look down on something because it focused more on fashion was ridiculous (also, extreme amusement for holding rock above goth or punk, when one of the reasons punk came about was because rock became too self important).

I don't like this kind of fashion phobia. It's the kind of belief that is rooted in centuries of sexism, which says taking an interest in what you wear is frivolous and womanly. I can understand some people just aren't interested in fashion as much as others and music takes precedence when picking your favourite bands, but to criticize something or someone as vapid or self obsessed because they like coordinating their shoes with their bag? That's just playing 'my values are better than your values'. There's also a lot of snobbiness in the music side of the debate, as if it makes you 'greater' or more sophisticated in your enjoyment of the scene. I don't believe that because something came first that it's automatically worth more. Equally, though I wouldn't ever tell people not to take part in the subculture, I do find it odd that some can only enjoy the fashion and not listen to the music, and it's undeniable that goth is a music based subculture.

I find the music/fashion debate irrelevant to me, because not only do I love both parts (it's like asking me do I prefer breathing or pumping my heart more) but, for me, you cannot have one without the other. I mentioned it briefly in a previous post, describing why goth fashion is such an important thing to me -

"I could relate it to dressing for the occasion, but it's more central than that; it's dressing for how you feel."

As someone who likes fashion, I enjoy dressing to match how I feel. This applies to everything for me; if I'm dancing swing, I will pull out the pearls and the seamed stockings. If I'm feeling lazy, it will be jogging bottoms and a t shirt. Goth has heavily influenced my world view - not only that, but the music itself is incredibly moving; you can't help but get into the dissonance and the morbid romanticism of the whole thing. I can't express how strongly the music resonates with me. It takes you up in it.

And because I dress for how I feel, this is expressed through my clothing. This is the reason, I believe, that goth encompasses so many styles - from the winklepickers and the back combing of the early post punkers, to the hair falls and the leg warmers of the cyber goths. Obviously outside influences do play a part (e.g. the lifestyle and availability of clothing, the eighties fashion trend for mahoosive hair), but for me this is the core concept.

For goth, I don't believe in a music fashion dichotomy. I feel that people should have a choice in the matter, and they don't have to like one over the other or even either. It's a personal decision to each and everyone of us, and we shouldn't be telling one another which we feel is more important to the subculture as a whole, because whatever the answer it's not true for everyone.


Sunday, 16 February 2014

Music: Kuudes Tunti

I really need to listen to more Scandanavian Post Punk. This is currently my favourite song, as it has so much energy and just makes you want to get up and go; I plan on pursuing the rest of Kuudes Tunti's album (and more Finnish goth!) to see if it's just as good.


Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Goth Valentine's Day Cards

Valentine's day is fast approaching, folks. Make sure you have a card for the grumpy spookster in your life with these macro ones from the gothic humour tumblr Lolgoths.

The cap has barely aged a day, looking at this photo.

Lots of in-jokes, occasionally terrifying declarations of love, and lots of old school goth. What's not to love?

My most sincere apologies for the mental image.

You can find all of the valentine's day cards on the lolgoths' tumblr under the tag 'goths in love'. They just keep getting funnier.

Much love to all my followers! I hope you have a good day, regardless of your relationship status. :)


P.S. if nerdy valentines are more to your taste, Ben of The Pop Culture Cynic has made some fabulous geek oriented ones for use as proper cards.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Sophistique Noir's Monthly Theme: Outerwear

Since I first listened to Bauhaus and considered wearing all black, I've been drawn to the style of the eighties goth. Even before that (since I was thirteen, perhaps), I've loved the confrontational and angry punk spirit, and though I do indulge in the occasional ruffle or mutton blouse (as you can see in some of my outfit photos, such as this), my heart has always belonged to the DIY, rough and ready roots of goth.

goth, goth jacket, patch, bauhaus, badges, diy, punk

Considering for the past few sophistique noir monthly themes I've focused on the vintage half of my wardrobe (which I tend to wear to swing events and when dressing smart is required), I wanted to look at my everyday/going out goth wear which hasn't featured nearly as much on this blog, and so for this month's theme of outerwear I decided to feature my long term project - my post punk jacket. 

goth, studs, jacket, patches, DIY

It's still a work in progress - I've only got three patches on it thus far, all hand painted (the most recent being my Siouxsie eyes, seen below), but I don't want to put too many more on as I value simplicity. Maybe a March Violets patch?

goth, jacket, patches, blazer, badges
The joy division patch is affectionately called my 'volume control' by a friend.

Ben was my photographer for the day, and the poor thing struggled to get the hang of using my camera, resulting in many blurry photos. He eventually got used to it, though. Photos were taken behind the Dundee Record Shop Groucho's, where it's a veritable post-apocalyptic wasteland.

goth, punk, jacket,
Hello - yes, I would like my punk card punched, please. 
It's nice finally getting to post more recent outfit photos; despite this being a fashion blog it doesn't really feature my current personal style that much, which just feels inaccurate. I also like getting an opportunity to take photos in different locations - this was going to be done underneath the Tay Road Bridge, but construction at the waterfront hindered that plan. Exploring will have to be done.

goth, punk, winklepickers

Stay safe. :)


Saturday, 1 February 2014

Wardrobe Feature: Studded leather cuff

wardrobe feature, jewellery, goth

"Don't buy clothes from costume shops."

This is the mantra we're told when Halloween comes round and vampire costumes start appearing in fancy dress shops. And usually, it holds true; Halloween costumes tend to be badly fitted and badly made, and don't have a place in anyone's wardrobe.

bracelet, cuff, studs, studded, goth

I was originally thinking about featuring my studded collar for this post and discussing the role of key wardrobe features for goths and what it means to accessorise the same item differently, but I decided that something equally innocuous but with a different history behind it would be more interesting.

Studded, cuff, bracelet, goth

This cuff was pinched borrowed from my brother, who originally got it as an accessory for a Halloween outfit (he went as a punk). It's probably the oldest thing of mine in my daily wardrobe, actually. I wore it nearly every day in my later years at high school as my tiny rebellion, and it's held fast. I wear it with another cuff (pictured with it) I've had since I was small and don't remember getting, and while it's not as good quality as a proper studded cuff designed for wearing outside of fancy dress, I don't particularly want to swap it for another, as it makes me smile.