Maturing the alternative style you loved in high school, without losing your edge
By Brittney MacDonald, Columnist
So you’ve graduated from high school—what now? Those multi-buckled boots and torn up fishnets aren’t going to win you any points in a job interview to help pay for that post-secondary education, or help you look scholarly while defending your PhD thesis. As a recovering punk child, I understand the need to hold onto your style as a means of retaining your identity. You love your dark side, and you want others to love it too. So the question isn’t about when you should give up the pyramid spikes and Doc Martens; it’s about how you should revamp yourself to be appropriate.
One key is simplifying. Instead of the four chains, eight necklaces, and 10 cuff bracelets you wore to Math 11, tone it down a bit. Pick a favourite of each. This also goes for studs and pyramid spikes—you can get away with wearing them as long as they’re accent pieces. A little metallic detail on the shoulder or around the collar looks far more professional than that spiked bustier, which you can always wear to the bar later.
Speaking of studs, make your metals neutral! Chrome, silver, and gold can look cheap and cheesy, so go for a brass or gunmetal stud/spike. These, along with onyx, are considered neutral metals and will flatter any colouring. They can also coexist on an outfit without clashing, making you look like a fashion-forward expert at mixed metallics, when really you just wanted to feel like a badass.
It’s impossible to write any article on fashion advice without mentioning structure. Though it’s something teenagers like to ignore, you’re not a teenager anymore! You’re a young adult, and as such, structured items like jackets and skirts go a long way in providing a mature, professional feel to your goth or punk style. Gothic favourites—like a corset or that beautiful bodice top you got at Venus & Mars—can look incredible under a nice structured jacket, and still retain a professional and mature air. Similarly, your Sex Pistols band tee can be worn with a sports coat to achieve the same effect. Just don’t go overboard—save it for semi-formal or casual events.
Colours are something I struggled with. I have always been pale, and I always delighted in it, but the choices I made in high school to accentuate it were all wrong. Wearing bright reds and stark whites to show off your deathly pallor might be awesome for that A Perfect Circle concert, but at work it only serves to convince your new boss that you’re terminally ill. Instead, look into what colours are recommended for your skin tone, and then try to find pieces that express your style. If you’re pale, this could mean going for a cream or ivory instead of a white. But don’t worry, you’ll never have to give up your black. That looks good on everybody.
The biggest thing is to invest in quality pieces that last. Nothing looks more professional than someone dressed in quality fabrics. So take your time finding statement pieces worth having, like that leather jacket that makes you look just like Wanda in Cry-Baby, or that beautiful trench that seems like an updated version of Brandon Lee’s in The Crow.
The most important part is for you to feel awesome in what you wear. Never give up your style; just mature it!