My wardrobe has undergone some changes over the past year or so. It used to be populated by T-shirts, tank tops and jeans for the week and corsets and pvc for the weekends. Now that I have a job in admin, I’ve had to start buying clothes that are multi-functional and can work both for the office and for weekends.
Contrary to what one might think, you don’t have to disregard your style completely and look like someone else. Different offices and workplaces will have different levels of strictness when it comes to work dress codes. If you work with customers/clients on a daily basis then the rules will probably be more strict than if you never see clients. I played around on http://www.polyvore.com to give you some examples of what I’m talking about. Many gothic items are formal enough to use for work. The romantic goth style is very neat and formal in itself, so many of those items can be worn for work. Examples of such items are:
– long black skirts (without high slits)
– some shorter black skirts
– lacy tops that are not too revealing
– black boots
– long coats
Depending on the workplace you can even get away with cute gothic jewellery like small bat stud earrings or hairclips. I’ve worn stripy stockings, tentacle earrings, silver bat hairclips, and octopus rings to work (not all at once). The thing is to keep it neat and understated, don’t go too wild.
You cannot go wrong with black trousers. They are the staple of my work wardrobe. You can wear them with different tops for different looks. In the winter I like to wear them with button-up shirts and a waistcoat for a more unisex Victorian look. For a more feminine look you can wear a top with mesh, lace, or ruffles. They work great for winter and summer and you can wear boots, creepers or heels with them.
With the current season’s fashion containing many items in black pleather, there are many nice items that can be used for the office and otherwise. Pleather pencil skirts are popular.
You can also experiment with some colours. I have a really nice dark blue men’s shirt that goes so well with my blue streaks in my hair. White shirts work well and other colours like dark purple and red can also look good for a corporate gothic outfit.
I am one of those women who cannot wear heels, so I usually wear black boots, like my Doc Martens or army boots. Other shoes that work well are black Mary Janes, for a more feminine outfit. I have a pair of Doc Martens that have a slight heel and they work so well with trousers.
I am lucky that my workplace is fine with my blue streaks. Most offices won’t be as lenient, though. If you cannot have weird colour hair, then you can still try colours like black, plum, radiant red, and white. Make sure your hair goes with your natural skin tone and that it doesn’t bother you while you’re working.
For the office I go a bit lighter with my makeup. I still wear mostly black eyeliner with a dark eye shadow, but toned down a bit. A smokey eye always looks good. I’ve also started experimenting a bit more with colour, e.g. purple eye shadow, dark green eyeliner, dark blues, etc. You can still do dark nails (think dark purple, wine red, dark blue). I don’t wear lipstick to work, but a nice plum or deep red would work for the office.
This is one of the tough ones. Most places would ask you to remove piercings and cover up tattoos. For work I only remove my labrette, but keep in my eyebrow piercing and six earlobe piercings. I decided to take out my labrette for work and see what they say about the rest and that worked well for me. If I had to take it all out I would’ve, because I’m not in a position to be picky about work.
Clean and neat are two key ideas for any outfit for work. Iron the things that need ironing and make sure your clothes get enough fresh air so they don’t smell musty (especially if you smoke). Make sure your hair is clean and neat, your clothes fit well and your underwear doesn’t show. These are basic things that should be common sense.