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Working Goth



"Do you wear black everyday?" "What's that cross-thing for?"

"Is your hair....purple?"

Often you can get away with wearing your regular clothes to work if you're still a student or if you work in a clothing store or bookstore where people expect you to be "eccentric." But what if your college days are long past and you're expected to get a "real" and/or professional job and arrive at work in "business" attire?

I know, I know. "Why should I have to change myself for a job?" I ask it, too, but I also like the benefits of working like $$ to buy more clothes and shoes and hair dye. Also, I think that if I'm a goth, I'm always a goth. Putting on a work uniform (suit) doesn't alter my chemical makeup. Being a bit different in different situations doesn't make me fake.

Until the working world becomes that utopia where people are judged solely by the quality of their work, you're going to have to think before you wear that corset to work. Maybe by sneaking into that job and slowly revealing our true nature, we can let the world know that goths and and suits do mix.

Here are some of the tricks I use:

see what others have suggested

1. Live for casual days and days with extreme weather.

Dress code requirements are loosened a bit on casual days, but that still doesn't mean you can put in your fangs. On days when the temperature is extreme -- 3 feet of snow, 102 degrees in the shade -- you can often get away with veering from suit-and-tie dress.

2. Cut the 3 hour prep time down to 45 minutes.

45 minutes is the time the "average" person takes to get ready for work (whoever that person is). I know that once I've been making myself up for a while, I can start to get caught up in it and end up looking some way that is not good for work. If I stop before I hit that point, I usually look okay for work while still expressing enough of my personality. Have a plan and go for "underdone." If necessary, you can always apply more after you get to work.

3. Get dressed, then take off one or two accessories.

This is one of those classic pieces of advice. Less is more.

4. Wear a sweater or a jacket.

Excellent for covering up on those days that your top is a little too low cut or revealing. Besides, when most people look at you, they look toward your face. If your top part looks okay, they usually overlook the bottom.

5. Wear long skirts.

Of course, this applies to women. It's easy to convince yourself that your skirt isn't too short, then when you get to work and have to reach for something or drop something on the floor, you find out otherwise. Long skirts also keep striped and ripped stockings and boots from being so noticeable.

6. Get a pair of Mary Janes.

I love these shoes and they come in many different styles (my fave pair have 2 buckles and witchy-squared off toes). At this point in time, they're trendy, and they go with everything and are generally comfortable.

7. Ponytail.

For some reason, your haircolor won't get noticed as much when you have your hair pulled back. Ponytails are a must for guys with long hair; for some reason, it suggests that you're "trying to fit into the business culture." Whatever.....

8. Don't talk about it.

Don't acknowledge it. I don't mean deny it if someone insists that "there's something about you;" that just causes people to look for reasons to justify their assumptions. Refuse to be drawn into conversations about what a freak you are. Trying to explain usually results in someone telling you that you're "going through a phase," telling you about their own "freaky" youth, giving you one of those "kids today"/"in my day" lectures, or (my favorite) someone deciding that the whole problem is your lack of religion (God, don't go there). Some people may genuinely want to know about you and your style, but most people are just trying to find something to focus on other than what's going wrong in their own lives.

9. Make this your mantra: "I can be confronted for wearing inappropriate attire, but not for having 'bad taste.'"

Think about that woman in the cubicle next to yours. She wears those hideous flowered mumus. People shake their heads when they see the pattern, but no one ever says, "she could at least cover her ___."

10. CYA

Usually when people use this expression, they refer to making sure that they've done everything they can to prevent being blamed for something. In this case I mean it literally. It's okay to wear a shirt that's cut low enough for someone to say, "I guess there are breasts down there." Your shirt is too low if someone can see their reflection in your nipple ring.

11. Think "uniform"

If you can start to think of work as an activity that requires a certain uniform, it won't be so hard to put on that blazer and sensable shoes for those 8 hours.


thee Corporate Goth website

Corporate Goth message board at Yahoo

Corporate Goth mailing list at egroups

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Corporate Goth Survey

(Do not hit return)

Your name:

Your Email:

1) Suggest some helpful hints for Corporate Goths

2) When I work, I dress/wear

3) I've been given a "talking to" about my attire

4) Comments/Webpage Suggestions

pics coming someday

Copyright Jennifer Wilson 1997-2000