Goth on a budget: Tips for cash-strapped children of the night.
Hello all! This is my first article for Other Clothing, and it’s a slightly reworked version of something I did for my Tumblr account ages back. I resurrected it because I decided that it would be handy if I shared some of my knowledge on cheap and cheerful (but still pretty) Gothic fashion with you all. I remember when I was 14 and starting to get into the subculture, and I often had kids my age say to me, ‘I’d love to be a Goth but it’s too expensive’ (Goth was very prominent amongst young teens back in my day- since then it seems to have gone back underground).
This is simply not true. I mean you CAN spend your life savings on corsets and massively expensive shoes if you really want, but you don’t have to. It’s perfectly possible to get the Gothic look without breaking the bank, and here’s how:
1. You don’t HAVE to wear the top Gothic brands. Only elitist idiots who will probably ‘grow out of it’ in six months will think any less of you for not being dressed head-to-toe in Necessary Evil/Hell Bunny/whatever. Mind you, that’s not saying that these brands don’t do some lovely stuff; and I would at this point heartily recommend Kate’s Clothing, a UK-based website that features the most popular Gothic and Punk brands being sold well under their RRPs (and a lot of it is from the current lines!). Be sure to check out the Sale Section; there are some real gems there just waiting to be snapped up! Even better, the customer service is excellent; they even offer advice if certain brand’s sizing’s are a bit smaller/larger than average.
For even cheaper gear that still looks awesome, try these:
2. eBay. I actually cannot express how great eBay is. Especially seeing as there are a wealth of specialist Gothic/Alternative eBay stores. You’d be amazed at the stuff you find! The only thing is that on eBay, it’s hard to find something specific, i.e. a specific garment from a specific brand in a specific size. You’re much better typing in a general term like ‘corset’ or ‘goth top’ and seeing what comes up. And be patient– keep checking every few days and someone is bound to sell what you want eventually! Also some days are better than others- don’t lose faith after one search on one day. Sites like Etsy can also turn up some great finds, especially in the jewellery department. It’s also possible to get brand-new makeup quite cheap (please don’t get used- I’ll discuss why in more detail later).
3. Charity shops. I got a Cyberdog shirt from one for a mere £2.00 once. Need I say more?! Well, I will anyway. There’s a lot of prejudice against charity shops; they’re seen as dirty, unhygienic, full of old people/trampy clothes, etc. A lot of the time, the latter part is admittedly true, but they only accept clean clothes and if you look, you shall most certainly find. The charity shops at Whitby during the Goth Weekend(s) are particularly fruitful. Even broken things can be mended and made beautiful again, if you have even basic sewing skills- and for a fraction of the price of a new item.
But BEWARE! – Whenever you buy used clothes, be aware that not everyone may be being entirely honest when they say ‘I only wore it like once’. However, the photos will soon show you how true that is! And if there are no photos, don’t bother- it’s not worth the risk, especially when a much nicer item could be selling cheaper!
And DON’T BUY USED FOOTWEAR OR MAKEUP. I know people do, but seriously, makeup can pick up LOADS of bacteria, and shoes are NOT easy to clean inside- the latter is especially important as people can have a lot of things going on with their feet. Basically, don’t risk picking up athlete’s foot or a nasty skin/eye infection! Be patient and wait for shiny new stuff to be listed! There’s also the fact that used shoes WILL NOT be comfortable- they will have moulded to the original owner’s feet! Further to this, lots of the time people sell off unwanted presents or unworn items that are the wrong size- such finds are more common than you might think.
On to the next source of cheap Gothy goodness….
4. Sale racks in shops. Your local Goth shop is bound to have a sale on from time to time, to clear out old stock. Yes, most of it will be in stupid sizes, but have faith and have a goosey; you might just hit (black) gold. And keep an eye out for one-off sale items; faulty stock does come in from time to time. Generally it’s faulty for a silly reason, like a patch being put on upside-down (which happened to a Necessary Evil skirt my friend got on the cheap), or a button being in the wrong place; things that, like I said, can be fixed with basic sewing skills. Even if the item has a broken zip or a rip in it, it shouldn’t be too hard to fix it (or ask a talented friend to fix it for you). A rip can even be made fashionable with safety pins or chunky thread sewn in zigzags across it! You can fix a broken catch/link on a necklace or bracelet surprisingly easily too. And that leads me to…
5. DIY. (Kicking it old school!) If you’re a dab hand with sewing, why not get cheap, plain clothes, or beaten up items, and breathe new life into them with some imaginative haberdashery? Patches, studs, safety pins (as mentioned), ribbons, extra zips (everyone loves random zips), extra pockets, funky stitching… all of these things can make a sad-looking item that was destined for the bin into an awesome, unique piece. Everyone did this when the scene started out; there were hardly any specialist shops then. You can also make your own jewellery if you’re really talented!
6. The High Street. No, really! You’re not a dirty conformist for getting black jeans from Primark, especially if you’re going to be wearing them with your prized Goff boots. There are actually some really nice items lurking around, and remember that Gothic style (well, not quite as we know it, but it is quite pretty) comes in around Autumn/Winter- lots of lacey dark colours floating about. Even then you can pick up black blouses, corset-style tops, biker jackets, studded skirts, etc. etc. throughout the year. You just have to know where to look!
Well, I hoped that helped people. Remember that Goth isn’t about how expensive your clothes are; it’s about expressing yourself and wearing what you want to wear!
Written by Ravenix