Friday, 18 April 2014

What is Goth?

As you apply your dark eyeshadow and eyeliner in the mirror, do you ever wonder where goth all began? So what is goth? If you're a goth, you've probably been asked this question a thousand times! Goth as we know it today started life in the late 1970s early 1980s post-punk era. While the mainstream were bopping around to Wham! and Bananarama, an underground subculture was emerging. Leading the way were musicians including Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Damned, The Cure, The Cult, Sisters of Mercy, Bauhaus, to name but a few. Undeniably, of these, Siouxsie Sioux holds the crown as the Godmother of goths. Back then, her style still bore the edginess of punk and she has remained true to her unique rocking style to this day, sometimes goth, sometimes, well.....just Siouxsie! But always original.

Since those early days, goth has evolved and continues to evolve. There are now so many different sub-categories of goth (we'll be covering these another time) and there's often a crossover with other alternative styles. For some, goth is just a fashion. For others, it embraces a lifestyle. Focusing on fashion for now, black is almost always the base colour. However, lots of other colours can and are incorporated into the mix, in particular purple, red, forest green, royal blue and yes, even white! There are no set rules to dressing goth so any colour can be worn. Classic items in the gothic wardrobe are long black skirts, corsets (of course!), dramatic dresses, tops with long floaty sleeve extensions (think Hammer House of Horror) in fabrics such as lace, velvet, satin, fishnet, silk and pvc or leather. Here we're describing the more romantic Victorian goth, also known as Romantigoths, but as you will discover, this is but one gothic style. The Gothic Catwalk specialises in this particular genre.

Accessorising your outfit cannot be emphasised strongly enough as this is what creates a unique look for you. Gothic jewellery often includes religious and symbolic necklaces and chokers with earrings ranging from tiny studs to dramatic art pieces. Gloves are a fabulous way to gothify an outfit as well as belts and hair accessories.

Again there are no set rules but classically gothic hair tends to be long and dark. This is not to say that you can't have blonde, red or any other colour hair, but we're talking tradition here. Hair can be worn long and loose or partially up with soft hanging tendrils. Make-up usually mostly emphasisies the eyes with dark eye shadow and eyeliner. Eyebrows often are plucked and shaped to a dramatic arch and this is a fairly important component to achieving the gothic look facially. It's a little misleading to say that goths wear white foundation but some do. The make-up can either be left with just the dramatisation of the eyes or for a vampy look, finish it all off with bright red lipstick. Black lipstick can be worn but it's a little stereotypical.

The most important element about being alternative or gothic is that you make it your own. There should be no hard and fast rules and you should be aiming for individuality.

So there you have the basics of what goth means today. We'll be covering some of the subjects above in more detail in future posts.

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