Thursday, 20 September 2012

The evolution of style

Following on from my previous post about walking the alternative/metal/goth line being 'just a phase', I thought I'd take up the subject of style evolution, inspired by this post by Gala Darling for xojane.

Whilst being alternative/metal/goth may not be a passing phase, there may come a point when you have to make some changes in your look. The hair falls and dark eye/lip combos may have been OK when you were a student in a classroom, but they probably aren't going to cut it in the workplace (unless you have a really really awesome boss). When I was working in the UK I was lucky enough to work for an organisation that didn't have a problem with my brightly coloured hair, and even though I was the public representative for a community, they didn't have a problem with it either (it was quite a handy election tool - no one was likely to forget me!).

Finding work appropriate clothing isn't as difficult as you might think. Clothes and accessories don't have to be boring, and it is relatively easy to work an alternative/metal/goth style into even the most sober of outfits. Assuming you don't have to wear a uniform of course, or adhere to strict rules. In that case it is even easier, you just have to decide whether to take that job or not! For some it will be easier than others. For example, if in your personal style you favour a 1950's sillouhette with pencil skirts and shirts, then that is perfect office wear. You might have to make small adjustments to make it fit with the office, but nothing major. If you spend your leisure time wearing cut off shorts and faded band t-shirts then that might be trickier, but all will depend on the workplace dress code.

While this sort of outfit won't set the world on fire, it will probably make even the most conservative boss happy. via polyvore

But what if you are feeling like your style needs to evolve, and that the time has come, as Gala found, when the attention you get from your crazy coloured hair is not something that you want anymore, a decision that I too came to last year, oddly enough, also shortly before my 29th birthday. Or it may be that you feel that the Victoriana inspired skirts and dresses you've so proudly worn before are not really what you want to wear. Ditto bondage pants and ripped jeans.

So where do you go from there?

It doesn't have to be mainstream! You probably already realise this, but just because you don't really think that shredded Fields of the Nephilim t-shirt really suits you anymore/is suitable for the school run, that doesn't mean that your only path is beige. On the contrary, there are many options of more subtle dressing that do not involve spending all your hard earned cash in Marks and Spencers.

Just remember these three things:
1. Black is always flattering
2. Texture is key
3. Accessorise, accessorise, accessorise (and no I don't mean the relatively beige shop).

Why change a habit of a lifetime? Black is easy. It all matches (actually it doesn't but I'm not going to go there, and most of the time people can't tell) well enough. It is very flattering. Beloved of fashionistas, stylish French and Italian women and goths alike, black is a beautiful colour. Or absence of colour. Whatever. Ignore anyone who says "you'd look lovely if you just wore a bit of colour". Maybe tell them they'd look lovely if they didn't talk so much, or some other witty retort. Probably best not to do that to your Gran though. Maybe just humour her. But just in case you feel the need for some contrast, throw in a bit of beige or dark grey.

via polyvore

Texture is really important in an all black outfit. A lace t-shirt paired with a leather jacket and a denim skirt creates a contrast of textures that provide interest to an otherwise plain outfit. Think about the movement of a garment as well as the texture of the fabric. A full skirt with layers of lace looks marvellous with a pair of Doc Martens, the movement and softness of the skirt contrasting wonderfully with the stiffness of the boots.

via pinterest

Finally accessories maketh your outfit. If Victoriana inspired clothing doesn't really float your boat for everyday life anymore, just wear the jewellery. A plain outfit will be completely transformed by the addition of a cameo or momento mori. Striking necklaces will create interest in an outfit and I personally think they look best with a plain t-shirt or shirt, as it provides a plain background with no distractions or competition.

via pinterest

Above all else, have fun with your look, and be yourself.

Do you have any style evolution tips?


  1. Good post! Actually I find suits very appropriate for goth style, like in my favourite video of all times, Dominion by The Sisters of Mercy. That was goth in a very very good taste.

  2. As I get older, my style gets more and more elaborate. Where once a tulle skirt would have made me happy, I'm most happy in steampunk outfits and feel pretty bleh in a plain everyday outfit. My problem would be toning down the frilliness but still feeling like me.

    I've always noticed that old women look lovely when they dress up, and I always feel prettier when I dress up. There's this old lady I see around sometimes that dresses like an aging film star from the 1940s, and i would say she looks way better than most of the young people around. I hope to be one of those delightfully dressed old ladies on Advanced Style one day.

    1. I suppose that one thing that happens as you get older is that you stop really caring what others think, therefore you have more confidence to wear more elaborate clothing. Which is a good thing!

      My style has definitely got more 'dressy' I think, or maybe the world has just got more casual? I very rarely wear jeans anymore, and unless I'm ill I usually wear make up and have my hair done nicely. Going out without my nails done is also a big no no for me! Such a turn around from 5/6 years ago when I was basically a mess!


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