Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Brand of Choice 2016: RESTYLE

My Brand of Choice for 2016

Restyle is one of those brands that I've had an interest in for some time. Most people remember them for their highly popularized cameo purses. They've dabbled in a little Lolita, a little Trad Goth, but it seems that they've found their niche in the Nu Goth scene. I have been increasingly impressed with their emerging designs. They continuously refine their aesthetic with each new collection. Their jewelry is to die for. Take a look at their latest releases and you'll be left asking, "Alchemy who?" They are easily the best name as far as Gothic jewelry goes. Killstar can't hold a candle to them. Restyle's most recent clothing designs are leaning heavily into the bondage trend which I quite fancy. While body harnesses have been done to death, I'm taken with Restyle's ability to implement bondage in subtle and sophisticated ways. It's evident that they have a keen understanding of the female form. This is what earns them my title of brand of choice for 2016. They mix materials in ways that I cannot comprehend. If someone could teach me how to knock off their leggings, please do so, because I am freaking stumped! How do they do it without affecting the stretch of the fabric?! HOW? It's almost worth forking over the $50 USD to find out...

Restyle's most recent releases are largely influenced by geometry and occult symbolism. I'm a little over the occult thing, there are a few pieces I'm drawn to but I would hesitate to sport the pentagram when I'm not walking the pagan path. What I'm most attracted to is their latest hoodies and jackets with their unique use of construction lines to compliment the figure. They have a sort of Industrial Goth feel to them but are more simplified and feminine than the 90's trends we came to associate with that scene.

Restyle is one of those brands that is rethinking Gothic style (perhaps that's how the brand chose its name?). They are pushing the limits of design through experimentation. This is very encouraging. A brand that takes risks is exactly what we need for the future of Gothic fashion.

Unfortunately, because it's a European brand, there's little hope for Canadians to afford these pieces unless our dollar improves. Not to forget, according to their size chart I'm a large (?); this is especially confusing when American sites sell Restyle products without adjusting their size chart or making note of the differences. If you're wondering, I'm not a large, in Canadian sizes I'm a size 4/5 or small. Are girls in the EU especially petite? My hope is that in time these garments and accessories will be more accessible to North American buyers.

I'm really interested to see what new products they release in 2017 and if the brand will continue to steadily improve over time.

What do you think of Restyle?


Sunday, 11 December 2016

Too Different to Make Friends Part 2

Finding your path out of the darkness
(or into, depending on how you look at it)

I'd like to discuss my last post where I said we should negate the effect of self defeating thoughts by using positive affirmations. I recently read a book about emotional regulation. It talked about studies that revealed simply stating affirmations like "things will get better for me," are not sufficient enough. Instead, a person should draw upon memories of positive things that have happened in their life. The author encourages that you draw upon the past because it's grounded in fact.

I liked this because it expanded upon what I was going for. In my post, positive affirmations were more about developing a plan of action to overcome a negative thought.

A: "I can never think of what to say. I'm stupid."
B: "I can listen and encourage conversation by asking questions. I can read to expand my knowledge or seek experience."

In almost every example I provided the affirmation is that you can overcome the obstacle. I want my readers to believe that improvement is within your control. You are capable! You can choose to seek knowledge and experience, you can choose to surround yourself with loving and supportive people (and get rid of those that bring negativity into your life). What I neglected to address is the emotional aspect of negative thinking. 

While none of my examples were this simplified, if someone were to think "I will never find love" they might counter it with the affirmation "I'm worthy of love." ← I've actually seen this example repeatedly in my studies. I know that my kind of affirmation would look more like this: "I can find love, but first I have to determine why I think I'm so undeserving of it." Again, I guess my affirmations are largely centered around taking control and action but that's the kind of personality I have. If something is broken, I want to fix it. I seek answers. You might not be inclined to do the same. Perhaps you're stumped and you couldn't get past the "I'm worthy of love" affirmation - and considering how many self-help/health and wellness websites push that phrase, it wouldn't surprise me to learn that that's where most people get stuck. 

Why are these simplified affirmations so ineffective? It's because deep down inside a depressed person doesn't believe any of it. You can go around telling people you're beautiful and hate yourself on the inside. Just because we state something doesn't make it true to us. There has to be a degree of belief involved and in many instances our emotions (like sadness) will inhibit that belief from taking hold. In the case of "I'm worthy of love" you have to find evidence that you have been loved in the past. Once you have your memory you can draw upon it in your time of need. If you've been through a bad breakup and believe "I'll never find love," you could remember a friend who loves you unconditionally and assert that if they love you then there must be more people in the world who are willing to show you that same degree of affection.

But there is a major flaw with this approach - some of us may not recall or have not experienced a positive event. I think this is why my method is a bit better because instead of dwelling on the past or the uncertainty of the future, you're just taking the bull by the horns and committing to action. I have read articles which posit that imagining positive outcomes can also be a good tool to overcoming emotional barriers, but it's a band-aid solution. While studies have shown that a positive attitude will boost your prospects, I can't help but worry that you could get your hopes up and feel twice as hurt if you failed. It's like seeing the world in rose colored glasses. Simply imagining that a guy will date you is limiting your receptiveness to the various, unknown possibilities. He might be gay or he might not see you that way. When you've been hoping it goes well (especially for a long period of time) it can be unbearable when it fails to meet your expectations. If you happen to be the kind of person who does not handle rejection well and can easily get caught up in a whirlwind fantasy, you might be emotionally dependent and I really don't believe that just "thinking positively" is an appropriate technique for you.

Read onward.

The other day, I learned that I'm emotionally dependent. I should stop for a moment and clarify, as I stated in my recent post I'm "fiercely independent, emotionally" - these are not the same things! To be emotionally dependent is to require validation and self worth from others, whereas to be emotionally independent (and not in the clinical sense, but in the context of my self image) means that I don't share my feelings with others. Now that that's out of the way... I apparently seek validation from other people. I don't have much self love...or self esteem...or much of anything. I had been struck by the realization that I get hung up on rejection very easily, like scary easily. So I decided to investigate. The concept of emotional dependency seemed to fit and once I began reading about it I saw startling similarities in the "profile" of an emotionally dependent person with my own personality. It was embarrassing to say the least.

After reading countless psychological papers, I came to the conclusion that it all stems from my childhood, living with a narcissistic mother. But I digress, we'll explore this further in depth in another post. The point I'm getting at is that I found the suggested self help treatment tips for emotionally dependent people mirrored that of those presented in the emotional regulation book, as well as the other articles that I read. You can draw upon memory to base your beliefs in fact, or you can think positively and visualize positive outcomes. However, in the emotional dependency article, it warned that people who are emotionally dependent will take positive thinking to a negative extreme. Instead, you should visualize all possible outcomes. This way you're better prepared for rejection. 

We all feel hurt when we're rejected. Researchers have discovered that the brain registers rejection in the same manner as physical injury. Despite what the anti-socialist wants to believe, social support and community are integral to our survival. We were dependent upon it in our most primitive form and the instinct to connect with others is hardwired into our brains. If you feel like you could die because you're so lonely, it's not unwarranted, the reality is that we aren't meant to be alone. How do we manage rejection? I'd like to explore that in depth in the next segment, but for now the easiest way is to visualize all possible outcomes and remember that everybody has their reasons for not wanting companionship. Maybe the individual(s) you're pursuing are too caught up in work life or family, have no need for more friends, or have a different religious background than you. It's not always black and white, they might have a good reason for rejecting your companionship. Or they're an asshole, and all we can do when it comes to assholes is assert that they are the product of their environment. We take pity on them.

Apparently there is an app or game that you can play which purposely exposes you to rejection so you can develop a buffer against it? I might have to check it out. 

In conclusion, the best way to defeat negative thoughts are as follows:

Step 1: Identify and analyze the problem. 
Step 2. Develop the plan to rectify the problem.
Step 3. Remember a time when things went well OR visualize the possibility of a desired outcome.

For emotionally dependent people:
If you can't find a memory to assert yourself, instead focus on the plan. Don't imagine a possible desired outcome, imagine ALL possible outcomes. You will do better if you focus on taking action instead of day dreaming.

Let's apply these new techniques to a few personal examples of mine.


A: "I'm too different to make friends."
B: "I can learn to value my uniqueness and that which makes me different. I can seek out more social opportunities to afford me a greater chance of meeting someone who does accept my differences. I remember that I once had a friend who adored me because I was just like her, a weirdo! And even still, I have another friend unlike me who accepts me regardless of my eccentricities. I'm sure there are others out there like her."

A: "I will never be happy."
B: "I can commit myself to finding happiness through personal development. I can research what might be preventing me from attaining happiness, mentally or otherwise. While I have no recollection of being truly happy, I can imagine that it's possible so long as I try."

A: "I'm seeing my new 'friend' in a few weeks. I don't think he really likes me."
B: "I don't know whether or not he does like me, I can't assume what's going on inside his head. I don't want to believe he doesn't like me but I realize I need to prepare myself for that possibility. It could go either way and I need to remember that it's not a life or death situation, the thrill is always in the experience."


While I am expanding upon a lesson from the previous post, I think it's an important one. Our negative, self defeating thoughts pose as barriers to entering into healthy, social relationships. We have to maintain a degree of optimism, and for some being realistic is of the utmost importance. If you catch yourself daydreaming try picking up an engaging activity, like reading or something that requires manual dexterity, to draw your focus away from fantasy. If you find you're brooding and thinking negatively, I encourage you to keep a small diary in which you can jot down your negative thoughts, then revisit them when you're more calm to analyze them and create new affirmations. Search for memories that contradict your thoughts and record them in your diary as well, this way you can revisit them when you're lacking confidence or feeling blue. Don't be afraid to share your examples or experiences in the comments below.


Saturday, 10 December 2016

La Virgen de Guadalupe

I ♥ Jesus!

I wasn't exactly brought up in a religious household. Sure I went to church a handful of times in my childhood, made some palm crosses, sang songs, but I hardly remember any of it! Can I quote the bible? Hell no. Yet a part of me has always retained a fascination with religious iconography. Especially that of Christian iconography. Spanish Catholicism (in particular of Mexico) has yielded some of the prettiest depictions of La Virgen de Guadalupe. In high school I hoarded up altar candles with stickers of Jesus on them. What can I say? They look cool. My best friend shared in this fascination and at times we would teasingly tell people that we thought Jesus was sexy because he had a beard. She bought me a lanyard that says "I ♥ Jesus" on it, which I still own. Given this brief history of my adoration, you can imagine how blown away I was when Dolce & Gabbana released a sacred heart inspired spring collection last year. It was so religious. It was so fucking hot!

I gushed over the shoes with the secret cabinets hidden in the heel, the beautifully ornate clutches, the crowns and rose covered gowns. I have never seen anything so awesome in all my life, and I could hardly give a shit about D&G. The collection wasn't as well received as I had hoped, and only a few alternative shops began carrying designs that mimicked the style. I haven't seen any amazing knock offs of the shoes or clutches featured in the collection, and in my heart I'm hoping someone will someday endeavor to make a more affordable copy of them. At a few thousand dollars US a piece, it's just too far out of my budget. That being said, I did find a few items that could make an adequate knock off. What do you guys think?

Rock n Rose 
- Jesus Vintage Cameo Ring
- Beatrice Rose Crown Headband
- Eve Vintage Cross Ring
- Cara Metal Crown
- Valentina Oversized Mosaic Cross Necklace.

Gasoline Glamor 
-Baroque Cross Earrings (right)

I Still Love You NYC
-Luxe Cross Earrings (left)

Nasty Gal
-Sworn to Secrecy Embroidered Skirt & Top (right)

Dolls Kill
-Sacred Heart Top

For Love & Lemons
-Desert Rose Maxi Skirt (left)

Current Moo
-Muerte Rose Platforms (left)

Iron Fist
-Like a Virgin Boots (right)
-Like a Virgin Sweater.

- Luxury Rose Evening Clutch


Thursday, 8 December 2016

Trends for the New Year?

Goth Fashion in 2017

As the Soft Grunge movement fizzles out, the 70's Boho girl takes a much needed break, and black and white prints hit their plateau, what can we expect to see in the near future of our Alt and Goth scenes? Rather than intuit what could happen this year, I'd like to state what I'd like to see happen.

We have seen a lot of prints, we have seen a lot of chiffon, bondage, maxi dresses and Pastel Goth stuff, and after awhile it gets old. I decided to visit Attitude Clothing's website recently to skim over their catalog - and I should note, they used to host a separate site called "Extreme Attitude" for Goths but have amalgamated it all into one website, so any of my former links to them are probably dead. As far as clothing goes, it's much of the same. I have literally seen the same dress just in various printed fabrics. Can you imagine going to a party where every girl is wearing a Wednesday Addams dress but one is in tartan, one has skulls, one maybe has bats or coffins? Would you feel a bit bored by that? I know I would. I think we need to see more range this year.

You know what I'd like to see? Black denim. Texture. Fabrics that have structure to them. Modesty - freaking hell give us some damn modesty! We literally went full swing into baring it all, right down to the g-string knickers, and I think in order to recover from that it should go to the complete opposite. I would love to see something tasteful, modest and professional. More Corp Goth friendly outfits. I think that's what gets me, if you're a Corp Goth, you of all people must agree with how difficult it is to dress yourself with today's fashions. You're not allowed to show up to the office in a bralette. Likewise chiffon shows just a wee bit more than your boss would like to see. You know you can't get away with the prints because they're too bold and "out there". The exposed midriff is a bit...much. If anything, Corp Goths have been getting the short end of the stick during the entire Nu Goth/Soft Grunge fad. And I'm a bit biased, a lot of this stems from my feminist viewpoint, but I feel like a lot of young women are dressing like slobs anymore. 

I don't mind a bit of cleavage in the right setting, but parading around in your fucking underwear is utter nonsense. 

Perhaps I'm drawn to more modest and professional clothing because I'm aging. I'm getting older and I need to bare in mind that I can't get away with crop tops for much longer. That being said, however, we're in need of a cultural shift. We've gone through this mess with young women combating the male gaze by defiantly wearing whatever the hell they want (and I don't agree with this whole "objectification" thing, because many women are denying men their right to their sexuality. Boobs are hot, okay, guys will look at them and should not be made to feel ashamed for it. Fuck, I LOOK AT THEM). We've gone too far into this sexual liberation shit that it's become more like a spectacle. Girls are upholding Miley Cyrus as a pioneer for their sexuality when they should in fact be taking a good long look at Dita Von Teese - aside from her burlesque work, when she's not pouring champagne over her ass she is a well dressed, sexy and powerful woman (I prefer her as a blonde, but you get the point). That's how you fucking dress! I mean, people are reclaiming the word "slut" like it's a good thing. It isn't. There is a huge difference between being sexually empowered and being a whore.
Please, let's show the world what real sexy is.

When I look to the high fashion couture designers I'm seeing a lot of Elizabethan/Renaissance inspired clothing. We are seeing the return of puff, cap sleeves, court necklines, empire waistlines (babydolls), and some things with a cultural Scandinavian flavor to them. There are mandarin collars everywhere. There's no shortage of lace, even in the high fashion scene they just rehash shit all the time. Fendi's 2016 Couture collection is channeling my needs for texture, albeit in ugly manifestations lol. Fur, sculptural ornamentation, I need that shit this year! Silhouettes are leaning towards a-line, straight and slender with higher collars or long sleeves. There's some 70's revival still occurring, particularly in Elie Saab collections. While I often reject the mainstream fashions, especially those of fashion house designers, I can't help but acknowledge that they greatly influence Goth and Alt ready to wear trends. It's how all fashion works. Some Parisian asshole designer thinks AstroTurf would make a good jacket and suddenly we find it the next month in Forever21. 

It'll be interesting to see if the big sleeves and high collars catch on, perhaps in a more watered down form. 

What are your thoughts for 2017 fashion?


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