Goth Ilk: The Three Goth Styles

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Three Goth Styles

Gothic fashion relates to three major categories: Renaissance, Elizabethan, and Victorian. (Fashions listed from oldest to newest, not in relation to how many Goths prefer a style.) Renaissance Fashion a is blocks of color with textural contrast. Elizabethan Fashion is ornate design with dramatic color contrast. Victorian Fashion is clean line with subtle details.

The Renaissance covers a greater level of religious fashion originating in Italy in 1400 AD and across all of Europe by 1600 AD. The Crusades were over and it was a time of peace, yet the Black Plague killed everyone regardless of wealth or class. A sense of accomplishment was overshadowed by sense of punishment as people reemerged to rebuild society.

Outerwear features fabrics like burlap, canvas and wool. Underclothes are soft because technology made it possible to create finely woven fabrics. Theses fabrics assist in protecting the skin from abrasion for the rough textures of outerwear.

Tones are earthy. Pigments were organic. Keeping fabrics white was difficult. Only royalty is known to wear white or off-white. Cleaning the fabric was extremely expensive. Creating black fabrics was almost impossible. Wearing black became a signifier of wealth because of rarity.

There is a gender orientation in clothing. Men wear caviler boots. Women wear maiden boots. Men wear smocks. Women wear peasant blouses. There are few differences in the designs. Caviler boots tie around the upper thigh. They are similar to wading boots. Maiden boots tie around the knee. Smocks and peasant blouses are essentially draping fabric hanging off the shoulder, yet smocks are durable. Peasant blouses feature a lighter fabric with feminine details, such as: flowers, embroidery and trinkets. Peasant blouse are essentially a man's undergarment with feminine decorations.

The most unique part of this fashion is the emphasis on religious symbols. Currently, Renaissance Styles can be described as dull colors with few gender differences and religious symbolism. This assists in identifying a Renaissance Goth. The actually clothing is modern conceptualizing Renaissance Fashion and no longer reflects the original style.

Modern concepts include all religions. Usually emphasis stems from Catholic Culture, yet Goths extend trinket and religious items to include occult, multiple nationalities and symbols after the seventeenth century. The Americas were discovered recently; ergo, symbols of Indigenous Americans were discovered after the Renaissance ended. Native American symbols are prominent in Goth Culture.

The Elizabethan and Renaissance influences are similar. Queen Elizabeth lived from 1533 to 1603; however, the emphasis on sheer royal dominance and detail replaced the holistic textural contrasts of the Renaissance.

Queen Elizabeth did not want to wear the less regal clothes for women and sought a feminine appearance through military styles of Soldiers. Soldiers wore heavy fabrics with masculine details of gold, silver and cord. Her gowns reflect her position as a Monarch. Lace and intricate design reflect the wealth of England to display dominance. Dressing to express wealth and power Queen was intelligent to utilize similar tactics when speaking to people from foreign nations.

Patterns are extremely ornate with latices works of black cord over white linen. Dramatic color contrasts and overwhelming details describe Elizabethan Style. This is important in understanding selecting modern clothing to exhibit the primary concept.

Queen Elizabeth also wore makeup and wigs. Wigs display wealth with ribbons, cords and beads. Corsets emphasize her feminine figure to emphasize women of power and ultimate resources.

Victorian fashion is the most recent. Queen Victoria lived from 1819 to 1901. She was a celebrated Monarch, yet she remained wife of the King. Her fashion reflects a desire to emphasize femininity through subtle details as an extension of demure. Feeling the equalizing of gender roles was caustic she was proactive in redefining fashions to exult feminine characteristics and create contrast between masculine and feminine details. Though not the intention of Queen Victoria clothing for men also shares this nuance of comfortable clothing with subtle masculine details.

Some details making the style unique involve fewer patterns, one ribbon to decorate sleeves, decorations in the same color as the cloth and natural hair. There is also a preference of yellow and light blue. The basic idea is to avoid bold contrasts in color and textures to emphasize a humble approach to express wealth and power.

Clothing is still influenced by Contemporary Victorian Fashion. Difficult to distinguish it from regular clothing I rarely appear drastically different from most people though most are able to recognize I am Goth. Goths might choose to relay Victorian Styles with men in military jackets and women in plain clothes like cotton with small decorations throughout the outfit. Men and women frequently choose the basic outline of the style which is clean lines and subtle decoration. Men choose masculine details, while women chose feminine details.

There is no reason to dress in costumes to be a Goth. Understanding the elements of each style makes it possible to wear any of these three styles daily without much inconvenience. Goths also blend the styles. I usually stay within the guidelines of Victorian Fashion. Sometimes I will purchase clothes with a Renaissance or Elizabethan quality.

There is no reason to be authentic. Renaissance is textural contrast. Elizabethan is ornate. Victorian is subtle. People frequently think I do not dress Goth, yet when going to clubs or other events the style becomes far more apparent. One person stated, "If she is able to ever look like that she is a Goth."

I prefer subtle detail and comfort. Queen Victoria did not wear corsets. Remember to modernize the fashion meaningfully. I rarely accentuate the original style. Even in videos, I wear the makeup and typical clothing; however, the basic interpretation of the style it is present.

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