Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Keeping Cool in Goth Fashion

We've been having a bit of a heatwave in the UK, with days reaching up to 30 degrees at some points. Some people have complained that that's nothing compared to where they live but we hardly ever have to face very hot weather. In comparison to what we're used to dealing with, 30 degrees in the UK is like having to deal with 45 degrees in Arizona or Texas.

A lot of people have been complaining in the UK about the heat and its effect on productivity but who needs an excuse to be lazy?! Lots of people have worn what keeps them coolest instead of bothering about what looks good or their personal style, which is fine. Myself, however? I've worn what I wear usually but with a few tweaks to keep myself a bit cooler in the weather. As I've been out and about, the amount of times I've heard 'I bet you're boiling!' and 'Why don't you wear something more summery?' is ridiculous, to which I reply 'Goths don't have summer'. They do really, but the term 'summery' doesn't have to mean 'not black'. If you have a personal style, you'll know how important it is to maintain it whilst dressing best for the climate so here are my top tips on keeping cool in Gothic fashion!

Everyone knows basic summer wear to keep cool - sun hats, sunglasses, sandals, hand fans, etc. Don't you think you can get Goth versions of these? You might not have been able to find much 5 or 10 years ago but as people have realised there's a market for almost anything online, individuality and novelty items have come on in leaps and bounds.

Summer Goth Hair Accessories

Rose headbands are in at the moment, not just for Goth. Lolita, Gyaru, Fairy Kei and more mainstream fashions are loving rose headbands because they're cute, easy to wear and versatile. A black rose headband is perfect for summer goth and you can add charms, spiderwebs, veils and other items to it to match your personal style. Mix it up a bit by adding purple or red roses, or have a totally purple or red rose headband instead of black, whichever floats your boat. I know I couldn't have a black rose headband because I have black hair so the point is null and void; I'd much rather have a purple or red, or even white rose headband to break things up a bit.

I would love a Gothy sun hat, personally! It's hard to find ones with darker decorations and aesthetic to it without it costing the earth from somewhere like Etsy but customising your own sun hat has to be one of the easiest things in the world. Add a ribbon band or sash, some roses, a cross, tulle or a veil, maybe even larger things like bats or candles! It doesn't have to be a black sun hat either; a straw coloured one would look super cute with a black sash, black and/or red roses, a tulle veil, some bats hanging from it - the world is your oyster. Go for a slightly batty 40s or 80s feel for best results.

Fascinators are a lot lighter to wear than hats and the lightness of tulle, veils and other items means that the breeze can pass through it more easily, keeping your head cooler than if you were to wear a hat. Fascinators are a commonplace Goth hair accessory so you don't need me to tell you which ones to go for - whichever colours and themes you like best and will wear often with your outfits.

Summer Goth Essentials

Sunglasses will prevent you from unattractively squinting and possibly creating wrinkles around your eyes, as well as making you look super cool and sleek. Either go for big, mysterious celebrity sunglasses, vintage statement ones or smaller, cooler ones a la old-school Lace Croft or Morpheus, whichever suits you best. Again, they don't have to be black; red, purple or green ones provide a pop of colour and turn heads.

For me, handheld fans are way better than battery operated ones because, well, your hand never runs out of batteries! If it does, I think you're doing something wrong... You can get big, lacy fans to complete your opulent Goth outfit as well as smaller, more classic-looking ones and those cutesy round shaped ones in cute motifs like Hello Kitty and Doraemon to throw people off. I wouldn't go for a feathery burlesque style one however, as the feathers will go everywhere when you fan it, they can get stuck in zips, bag closures, etc. and they're just a bit over the top and pretentious in my opinion. I've just bought a round shaped one from eBay that has a 3D cutesy ball-jointed doll image on it that opens and closes its eyes when you fan it! Suitably wacky and creepy for Goth fashion! I want to put a cute charm on the end of it but they fly everywhere when you wave it so I know it will only get in the way.

Parasols are definitely well known in the Goth world but to be honest, I don't really like them. I feel silly using them and even though I stand out because of the way I dress, I get noticed way more if I have a parasol, it just draws attention to you so much more. They can be very cute in Goth and Lolita fashion and the girl above rocks a parasol so much but I feel a bit conspicuous with a parasol. Moving on from my personal issues with them, you can get them relatively easily on places like eBay or Etsy for super fancy, customised one and you can customise your own easily. You can find also find them in bridal shops (perhaps only in white or ivory), prom and evening wear shops. If you're like me and aren't a fan of using parasols personally, just stick to the shade under a tree or failing that, a bus shelter.

Summer Goth Clothing

Chiffon blouses are amazing at keeping you cooler in summer. I feel exposed if the tops of my arms show so I love wearing blouses and boleros. In this heat it's not often possible to wear full long sleeves in heavier fabrics like cotton or silk but chiffon is just so...light. You can feel the breeze go around your arms and neck much more than regular blouses and they look so pretty and feminine. Details like pintucks and ruffles can weigh blouses down and make you feel stuffy in cottons and synthetic fabrics but are pretty much weightless when on chiffon blouses.

Layers rock. The lighter the material, the better. Long lacy skirts and Cult Party Kei style peignoirs are great for layering, keeping the air flowing underneath your clothes and not weighing you down. Take some inspiration from Dark Mori Girl, Dolly Kei and Dark Cult Party Kei, I swear they are the queens at layering. I just bought a floor length sheer lace dress from the 1930s that feels so good to wear on hot days! I wear a vest top and mid-thigh high skirt underneath but feeling the swishy fabric, breeze and bare legs is awesome! Other items to layer are lace shawls, boleros and those skirts that are short at the front and slope down longer at the back.

Goth flip-flops?! Is there such a thing?! Apparently, yes. Only would Demonia create Gothy platform flip-flops as well as other summer-suitable Goth footwear. I would like to try and make my own pair by simply buying regular sized black flip-flops, taking the toe bit out of all but one pair and gluing the soles together! Platflops? I've still been wearing my boots all summer and although I haven't suffered too badly in them, the tongues of the boots get really wet and sweaty after a while which is unpleasant. XD So it's up to you whether you don't mind that and can keep on wearing boots during summer!

Personally I feel naked if I don't wear tights. I feel exposed and that my unsightly, pale blotchy pins will scare off small children. Just because it's summer doesn't mean you have to tuck away tights, just wear sheerer ones for more breathing space! Lots of shops have cutely designed tights nowadays, including faux stockings, crosses, bows, hearts, pin-up style lines down the back and much more. You can get them from Primark, New Look, H&M and other high street stores but I always pack my newly bought ones away for a few months so there aren't as many people wearing the same pair as me. XD *so pretentious*

In this heat and inevitable sweating, it's important to keep ourselves cool and as sweat free as possible. Sweat can lead to blocked pores, spots and can even cause infections, especially in susceptible places like the back of your neck. Yuko, the director of Atelier Pierrot, had a super cute updo on both the Saturday and Sunday of Austen & the Abbey. It looked so cute, slightly messy and nonchalant - I can bet it kept her cool as well as looking cool too! Goth fashion can get away with slightly messier or 'out there' updos; think Helena Bonham Carter in pretty much anything. A messy updo can be the perfect, slightly unhinged finishing touch to an outfit, especially a Victorian or Edwardian inspired one.

Along with these hints and tips, there is the obvious drink lots of water, stay in the shade as often as possible, wear sunscreen, etc. Try keeping windows open slightly in each room to circulate the air around, sipping ice water frequently and apply cold compresses if the heat gets too much. I'd love to hear if you have any other tips and tricks for staying cool in the summer and looking awesome! Are there any Goth essentials you can't live without, even in summer? I say if you can stand summer in a corset, go for it!


  1. Good tips! In South Carolina (US) it's been about 30 to 35 degrees Celsius and I have some goth friends who wear the exact same style of clothes, only they find everything in white. It's quite striking to see gothic style in a completely different color, and I'm sure is much cooler, too!

    1. Wow, that's such a good idea! I think gothic fashion can look so amazing and as you say, striking in white. It reminds me of romantic ghosts. I bet it does feel a lot better than black too!

  2. Cute tips. Hehe. I hate how people are like 'it's summer, you shouldn't wear black!'. >~<

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