Thursday, 11 June 2015

Style Confusion

Since drifting away from the Goth scene, I have been dabbling in a variety of fashions and subcultures, and still I have found myself at a loss. The trouble is, I love so many different styles and have so many inspirations, and I find them so conflicting that I can't even think how to combine them (for example, Scandinavian-inspired sleek minimalism, vs. faerie-esque bohemian).

I would rather be inspired by these things and use that inspiration to create my own style, than attempt to tick all the boxes and fit myself into one category or another, but where I was deeply involved in a specific subculture for a long period of time, I find it very strange still not to 'belong'. In some ways I found it easier to be a cookie-cutter stereotype, whether it really fits you or not, than to try and figure out who you really are.

Post-Goth, my first move was to fling myself onto the interwebs and try to find another subculture that spoke to me in the same way, and essentially I have been doing variations on this same behaviour ever since. In some ways it has taught me a lot. For example, I spent some time as a dreadheaded faux-hippie-wannabe and I did commit myself fairly whole-heartedly (went vegan, stopped shaving, quit make-up), which, whilst long-term turned out not to be for me, did teach me a lot of things about the way I relate to my body, and how ingrained beauty standards can be.

But I digress.

I'm sure I can't be the only person out there who has difficulty finding how best to express themselves visually through fashion. I thought I would continue minimising my social media use (helps avoid further confusion) and attempt to try to glean some sense of what it is from each of these styles that 'speaks' to me; and in the meantime, if anyone in a similar situation has any tips (or woes!) to share, that would be most helpful - welcome aboard!

My awkward journey through style
Gothing it up - where it all began!
I have always loved the Goth look, but I gave up on being a Goth (after seven years immersing myself in all things spooky) because there were more and more elements of the scene that were no longer appealing to me. Plus I was finding that my image and appearance dominated my every waking thought, and I wanted a break from spending each and every moment trying to be the Queen of Darkness.

The wannabe-hippie phase.



I cut my dreads off for two reasons. 1) they were full of fluff. 2 ) I received several messages on Blogger and Tumblr expressing disappointment in my cultural appropriation. This was not something I was aware of so I read up on it, it made me feel pretty shitty, and I came to the conclusion that a hairstyle wasn't worth offending people over. I have never regretted cutting them off. It did also stop people stopping me in the street and asking if I could sell them marijuana, which was a bonus.

The year or so I spent exploring this style/lifestyle did help me in many ways. It gave me a break from fixating on my appearance and I rediscovered meditation, exercise and art; things which I had shoved to the side to focus on maintaining my blog. I had become the worst stereotype - like Jhonen Vasquez's Anne Gwish - 'being herself, as long as it looks good and people are watching.'
A mori/witchy/faerie/strega-inspired interlude. 
I enjoyed this, but felt like I was wearing a costume all the time, which got old fast. It did, however, gel with my interest in fae and folklore (and when I say 'interest' I mean 'obsession'), and satisfied the lingering Gothstalgia.
Attempted normality.
Most recently I've been experimenting with a simple, casual kind of style, inspired by books like How To Be Parisian and fashion bloggers that I'm following on Instagram. It's more natural, and once I got the hang of mainstream fashion proportions ('mom jeans'!), it's much easier and quicker to choose an outfit and get dressed in the mornings. I feel confident. The only problem is that I don't feel a pared-down, mainstream style says much about my interests, or about me as a person. I tell myself it gives people the chance to notice my personality before my clothes, but when I follow perennial inspirations such as my everlasting fave Von Monsta, I feel... well... boring. 

Which brings us to the present day, where I remain confused, overwhelmed, and wishing I didn't make things quite so difficult for myself (overthinking... it's not fun)..................

40 comments:

  1. damn this indeed sounds difficult but i am sure you will find your new you one day soon without feeling boring :-D had to laugh on the marijuana thing since i currently follow the dread-hair-journeys of two fellow darklings on their blogs, wondering if they have / will have those problems ^^

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahaha! Perhaps it's the town I live in? Who knows?! XD

      Delete
  2. So in my 40+ years of experience, you'll just get the style thing all figured out and then you'll hit a 'milestone' birthday and think, "Well, I can't wear that anymore ... it doesn't look appropriate at this age." and you'll have to start all over again. It's a journey. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh goodie :-s hopefully I will learn to chill out at some point and actually ENJOY the journey instead of flailing around stressing about it. Sometimes I just look in my wardrobe and scream, honestly. >.<

      Delete
  3. I love all the outfits! It is always good to have a range of things you like around so you can wear whatever you feel like! It is ok to want to be a million things at once!

    I felt exactly the same about my faery style stage, I was getting more stares than in Goth clothes, I looked like I was going to a party the whole time and it was hard to keep up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad it's not just me who had that trouble. I never used to mind stares and whatnot but I've become super-sensitive to people's reactions lately. :-s

      Delete
  4. I know how you feel about style confusion. On one hand I do love all out Goth outfits but I know I'd get bored wearing dark colours all the time, Steampunk is kind of a compromise but it takes a lot of work, I struggle to see how it can be worn more casually and then there's the Faerie, Hippie stuff which I think fits best because it has the flow and the texture but more colourful. Lately I've also found myself drawn to vintage styled dresses but to be paired with clompy boots a la me (I don't do heels.) And of course there's the bog standard mainstream fashion which is mostly where I'm stuck now being plus size but sometimes I don't mind because you can do a very basic Goth or Hippie wardrobe from plus size sites like Simply Be, the most annoying thing is the cost! A skirt will cost £30 where you could get for £20 maximum elsewhere.

    The dreadlocks and cultural appropriation thing is a tricky one. I did a fair bit of research a while back as it's something I plan on doing when my hair is longer and I took that there's no right answer. Some people will think that it is, some people will think that it isn't. It's such an ancient hairstyle that I think people of all races wore them but of course they have been popularised by POC and the Rastafarian movement.

    The main thing that concerns me is the assumption that you do do drugs. I never have and I never will and I'm totally confused as to how a hairstyle means you do...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Honestly the drug assumption might just be the area I live in. Drugs are pretty commonplace here, it is actually more unusual to meet someone who DOESN'T smoke weed...

      I have also been having vintage clothing hankerings, I'm hoping that if I go rooting around in more out-of-the-way, unusual vintagey shops I might stand a better chance of finding something that 'speaks' to me rather than on the high street or in subculture-specific alt shops.

      Regarding the bog standard stuff, I do find at the moment that it's preferable to just pile on a shirt and jeans and feel a bit meh than it is to go all-out faerie or something and then halfway through the day decide I don't feel comfortable and start feeling a need to put a bag over my head... D-:

      Delete
  5. I agree. I was in the goth subculture for a long time until one day I just got sick of wearing black all the time an needed some color you know? Plus the black made my dark skin look washed out but with reds/pinks/yellow and white it pops and makes me feel alive haha. Life is all about trying new stuff since being the same would be boring tbh.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh, man, I've had this exact issue since I was like 14-15. I've always been really good at recognizing and pulling together looks for a specific subculture, but I normally only last about a season in one look before I sort of naturally shift into something else, whether it's caused by boredom or a completely opposite interest. It's always made me feel ridiculously unaccepted in any alternative community because generally that kind of thing is frowned upon in them as being "posuer-ish" or whatever. It's really annoying and a part of being alternative that I wish wasn't considered an issue.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ughhh that sounds so much like me! So glad I'm not the only one with ever-changing interests. I have been trying to focus on the aspects of my style/interests that have remained the same (folklore, otherworldliness, etc) and kind of create my own style from those inspirations but it's hard going off-piste after spending years trying to fit in (somewhere, anywhere!).

      Delete
  7. Hey Amy, I'm a long time follower of yours, it's so good to discover your new blog! I loved all your style journeys so far, and I was curious to find out if your hippie phase would last, because it shared so few elements with your previous goth style. Guess you're still on your way to wardrobe clarity and learning to enjoy it as well!

    I've been attempting to find my "new" style as well, after my high school metal phase (which was wonderful but a bit restrictive and I've grown to love so many other things - sounds familiar?) and I've been trying that pared-down, slightly mainstream, bookish girl aesthetic, but there's just something about having a strongly alternative, distinctive personal style that makes me look and feel my best. Guess I'll just have to feel my way between Modcloth coffee shop hipster and ethereal goth (my favorite style article on Stripey Tights/The Ultimate Goth Guide) and crystal pendants and band tees and sooooo many more :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello you :) whoaaaa your aesthetic tastes sound a lot like mine! Gotta love a bit of bookish style ;) although I guess my current style falls into the nerd-girl bracket, as I've found I start majorly overthinking and get stressed out if I try to be out-and-out alternative at the moment. So it's lazy fandom and band tees with skinny jeans at the moment >.< Let me know how you get on with feeling your way, as I'll be over here doing the same thing... :-p

      Delete
    2. If only an almighty witch lit a candle to show us the way, right? :) it's gonna happen for us, inspiration will strike and we'll wonder how come we never thought of that before. At least I hope :p

      It's not so bad being "that bookish girl" with loads of shifting interests. It's what I actually am, and authenticity is key sartorially.

      Delete
    3. EXACTLY. Exactly. I have been trying not to think too much about it; stop worrying about whether other people think I look good or interesting or whatever and just pick out things that I like (even if I can't define why) and it seems to be working. Not trying to look 'cool' or anything has also given me the freedom to be a huuuuuge geek which I am enjoying thoroughly. Self-acceptance smites overthinking.

      Delete
  8. Well, I'm still goth after some years, but I don't dress the same way. If on the beggining I was more shirt-and-trousers kind of goth, now I'm more like what's called boho-goth (and sometimes more victorian, but still). I think your true style will come with the time. And who knows, maybe you'll be confortable with your old style again. Or a new one. Or a mix of both. Time will tell. And don't think you have to be on your best image all the time. If there's a thing that I've learned on my youth interchange in Romania is that you can't always be on your best image. For instance it was TOO hot in there, and I was on a youth interchange about dancing, sooo...you get the point. People used to say "dress with some color, it will be easier to deal with the heat". Oh, I've tried...but naaah! lol. It's definetely not for me. But if you like medieval, faerie and mytological stuff, maybe some stregha or mori mixed with medieval ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the advice :) I'm suuuper lazy at the moment, just loving slogan tees and cozy jumpers. It's nice to kind of relax into myself. :)

      Delete
    2. Have a good relaxation moment :D just a question: if everything goes smoothly, I may be able to do a trip to England next month. Can you tell me how is normal English weather in September? And since I remember you have a SOPHIE t-shirt, do you any place in Camden who sells them (since I might be able to go to Camden and I really wanted one)?

      Delete
    3. Thank you! Hmm usually pretty chilly, grey, damp, but with random bursts of sunshine just to confuse everyone >.< I don't know anywhere in Camden selling them, I got mine at a music festival, sorry :(

      Delete
    4. Thanks anyway :D I'll chech in Camden, maybe I can find one. I'm algo going to search for a Living Dead Doll, since I collect them :D

      Delete
    5. Good luck :) Haha I had to sell my LDD it freaked me out too much :-s *big wuss* I still have some Bleeding Edge dolls though :)

      Delete
    6. I remember you had Little Red Riding Hood, I have her as well as other 14 normal-size and 4 minis :D some of my friends get freaked out by them but oh well :) BE dolls are awesome, I never saw them in Portugal though :/

      Delete
    7. Oh and by the way, can you recommend us (me and my bf) a cheap place to stay? We will arrive at the Heathrow Airport at night, is there any cheap place near there?

      Delete
    8. I can't I'm afraid, I don't live close to London, I live in the countryside. :-/

      Delete
  9. I feel you! I've tried so many alternative styles, hip hop, rocker, emo, goth (trad, corp ,romantic), rockabilly, psychobilly, and I don't feel like I belong to a certain subculture. I usually mix and match between them and mainstream style (except hip hop, which I don't like anymore). Those days I dress in a rockabilly and a rocker mix, even though I don't wanna dye my hair, hit tattoos and do piercings. I'm guilty about spending a lot of time in the internet, reading about body types and searching for inspiration to old hollywood stars, instead of finding new outfits from the clothes I own. I also throwed out a ton of clothes because with my style changes and a heap of weight I lost since last summer, it got to the point I spent hours to find a nice looking outfit.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha yes I know these feels well >.< honestly in my early teens I feel like I latched on to a different subculture every week... I'm pretty happy just being myself now. And the happier I get the less time I spend online looking at other people's clothes in the hopes of finding my 'missing piece'. Congratulations to you on knowing who you are and just being you. ^^ (ugh I also had the stage of 'wtf is in my wardrobe where are the clothes I actually want to wear what is this what is that what am i?' I had to clear out a load of things as well... it was hard.)

      Delete
    2. I can understand your feelings. Actually, I'm fed up with this boxes, stereotypes, obligations etc and also that I should fit into these criterions all the time if I want to belong to somewhere. The goths don't accept me because I’m not "enough goth" and I didn’t know the subculture when I was a teenager. I was deeply involved in the "vampire culture", the witchcraft and all this mysterious things but I never has felt that I would be a goth or anything else. I was just me.
      When I went to the university I started to listen to rock music but basically, I didn't wanted to fit in any box. I liked to wear colorful clothes, jeans and I hated the skirts. Few years later, I met some hippies and my style/behavior changed a lot, although I couldn't find myself in this lifestyle. So, I felt a bit lost and confused.
      Now, I am a goth (for 2 years) but they don't accept me due to my wired personality (ok, not every goth but the "very” goth girls). I spent all my life trying to figure out who I am.
      Actually, my biggest problem was and is the reaction of my relatives, friends (generally everybody who doesn’t know my feeling or doesn’t know me quiet well). The issue is, that everyone who see me comes with prejudices cos of my black clothes and make-up and they questions my feelings, thoughts and behavior without asking me about it or inform about the subculture (or about my life anyway). They ask me if I am in mourning or I am depressed. I often must be explaining that I’m good, I am okay, I have no problems and I don’t want to kill anybody. They tend to convince me that I might feel poorly, sad because a normal person doesn’t wear black always and actually, I must confess that I start to be fed up with them. I’m very content, I’m happy and I have a positive, glad personality. I don’t understand the reactions of the people… the Hungarians always complain, cry and blame the others for their complications (being “normal” humans) and me - being a dark-goth-rocker- or whatever else – try to help others, have a positive attitude, don’t use drugs, don’t drink and basically they wants make me feel evil because I am different than they are, and like different music, stuffs etc.
      So, I decided to ignore anyone and be happy in my own world. 
      Uf, sorry for the large comment, I just wanted to tell you that you must be yourself whatever happens. Wear clothes which you like, listen to your own music, mix the styles or whatever you want and makes you feel happy, comfortable.
      (I must apologize for my English writing, I’m a Hungarian girl and I practicing the use of this language yet.)

      Hugs :)

      Delete
    3. Thank you for this comment, I am so sorry for the late reply but I only just saw this. I totally agree about choosing to be happy in your own world and just being yourself - it sounds so simple but sometimes it can be very difficult (especially when you feel like no one else around you really 'gets' what you're into and where you're coming from). But being true to yourself is such an important thing; it's very liberating to decide not to be held back or limited by the opinions of other people. Best wishes to you :)

      Delete
  10. I can totally get where you are coming from..I was goth back in the eighties and after going through various style transitions I am now going back to it. however this time around I am adding colours to the mix for a more candy goth style. I think this will stop me getting bored as I will have more variety. I so loved goth and have flirted with the look a lot since the eighties so I think I will be happier this way..time will tell..

    ReplyDelete
  11. Good luck :) I do wonder if I might come back to Goth in the future... I can't imagine it as I do make an effort to incorporate the Goth-related things I still enjoy so I don't feel deprived (although I sometimes get nostalgic). But never say never!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I'm in a similar situation. As for tips I recommend keeping this pared down thing you have going on. Keeping it simple has helped me a lot. But then use things like jewelry to express your interests. That's how I view accessories now, as a way to say a little something about myself.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! Speaking as someone who just purchased a pair of TARDIS earrings, haha! Thank you for the advice. Every time I try and 'style up' I end up feeling awkward and over-the-top so I think simple is definitely the way to go.

      Delete
  13. I feel like this is me at the moment, I've lost my style direction! I'm heavily into goth, but also glam rock and feel like I've become a weird goth/glam mashup. Which seems to have resulted in me having mountains of clothes, none of which seem to fit together into a cohesive style.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I know those feels :( I had to clear out and start again - I hope you find an easier way. Good luck!

      Delete
  14. I'm on the same path.. goth past,got into steampunk, adore witches; yet typically too poor, too big, and live around too many judgemental people. I do my best to mix them all together or do what feels right that day. Hopefully we'll all get sorted out or create our own eccentric genre!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha I hope so! Or at least not feel constantly conflicted... I think I'm getting there.

      Delete
  15. If your style feels boring to you, then it probably is. I hope you find your comfort zone, it's a hard journey.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Dreadlocks don't belong to any race. People that get offended over a hairstyle aren't even worth listening to.

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...