Well, there's a Gothtastic swimwear post over at Sincerely, Boots, which means that summer must be approaching fast. Judging from the fact that I can't actually remember the last time it rained, it's obviously time to dig out the parasol collection, slap suncream on my tatt, and go brave the Yellow Hurty Thing for yet another summer.
|Source: We Heart It|
Here are just a few of the common ailments afflicting we Gothy types during the hot season: sunscream smears on black clothing. Fishnet- or lace-patterned sunburn. Melting make-up (resulting in the Alice Cooper effect, and not in a good way. I've had to resort to going bare-faced for the last three days. Shocking, isn't it?). Boiling hot feet (New Rocks may look good, but they roast your tootsies like a couple of black-polished jacket potatoes). Black hair dye turning an (un)attractive shade of browny-red (a problem which I've previously solved by dying my locks a shade called Midnight Red, in attempt to make the red tint look a) nice and b) vaguely deliberate. But surely there must be another solution - after all, we can't ALL dye our hair Midnight Red...).
So all in all, it's no wonder many of us fall into the habit of lurking sullenly indoors as soon as the sun creeps into the sky. But cheer up, Gothlings, it's not all bad. There are many ways to keep your cool in all but the firiest of heatwaves...
Firstly, I hate to say this, but you're going to have to start with a little compromise. Unless you have a deathwish (which is very Goth of you... but even then, do you really want to depart this mortal coil with sweaty armpits?) you probably won't enjoy braving the sunshine in a leather trenchcoat and poloneck jumper.
So my first tip is to lose the layers. Elaborate Goth fashions are based upon layers and layers of texture and fabric, and in the middle of summer you'll need to strip this down to the bare essentials. Vest tops, light T-shirts, floaty skirts and dresses, even lightweight shorts and bloomers, are your friends. You're going to have to show at least a little bit of skin if you don't want to end up with a tomato-coloured face. Mesh, lace and fishnet are good for covering skin whilst keeping you reasonably cool.
Whatever you do, darklings, don't forget the suncream! Even if porcelain-pale skin isn't your thing, hopefully red'n'flaky isn't either. Do yourself a favour - don't burn! AND DON'T FORGET TO PUT HIGH-SPF SUNCREAM ON YOUR TATTOOS. Or just keep them covered.
Oh, and insect repellent is a wonderful invention. Spiders are cool (but kinda creepy). Mosquitos? Not even going there.
Replace your woolly tights and opaque stripey tights with something a bit more aerating. Fishnets, lace tights and sheer stockings look just as pretty but will allow more airflow to your skin. Just be sure to apply suncream underneath - yes, I know it's a pain trying to work tights up suncream-sticky legs (or arms; this is the Goth scene, after all), but you can still tan or burn through sheer or loosely-woven fabrics, and I for one wish to avoid the horror of a fishnet-patterned tan.
If it's REALLY, REALLY hot where you live, it may be necessary to re-think your look until the worst of the heatwave is over. No, I don't mean that you should start dressing like a cheerleader (unless you ARE a cheerleader - oh, yes, Goth cheerleaders exist...). Cream, white, ivory, sepia and pale grey (or even lavender - it's one of the Victorian colours of mourning) are all cooler options than basic black and will create a stunningly ethereal look.
Also, now is not the time to wear your flamingo-pink Cleopatra wig from Manic Panic. Yes, wigs (good quality ones, that is - babybats, please do not run down to your local fancy dress shop and buy crappy plastic wigs. I made this mistake, and regret it to this day...) are an exciting and easy way to give yourself a whole new look in an instant. But in a heatwave, they become hot, itchy, and horribly uncomfortable. If you feel half-naked without some form of hair adornment, opt for lightweight falls or clip-in extensions.
Speaking of hair - those of you with long, flowing manes may find it helpful to tie it back or twist it into an up-do to keep it off your neck. Shaven-headed and short-haired Gothlings have a slight advantage when it comes to beating the summer heat - just do try not to get a sunburned scalp!
Many staple Goth accessories come into their own at this time of year. Fans and parasols, obviously, are practically lifesavers - cheap, pretty fans can be picked up at fancy dress shops or (whisper it) sex shops (for the 18-plus darklings, obviously). Sunglasses are a must, whether you plump for aviator shades like Mr. Eldritch, simple black shades, or something kitsch like heart-shaped sunnies. Those of you with a cyber or steampunk bent should search online for UV-protective goggles - there are loads out there.
Of course, a sunhat is a marvellous thing to own - I have spent literally years looking for a perfect, Edward Gorey-esque broad-brimmed sunhat, and finally found one in a charity shop, complete with raven feather, earlier this month. Ethergoths, Victorian Goths and possibly romantigoths are probably already smirking with pride over their hat collections and are likely to have something on hand to suit the summer weather.
If a broad-brimmed sunhat doesn't fit with your style, you could try a western-style hat (very Fields of the Nephilim), a smart trilby, or even a baseball cap if your look is right for it. Just stay away from beanies and anything woolly.
Now - parasols are all-round fabulous and lovely things to own, but sometimes they can be just downright impractical to carry (and make your arms ache). I left mine at home on a recent date with The Boyfriend, and as we ate takeaway Chinese on the riverbank, I couldn't help but worry slightly about getting home and peeling off my tights only to discover that I had ACCIDENTALLY TANNED, losing my hard-earned lily-white pallor and turning a ghastly shade of... orange.
[Tangent: Yes, yes, not all Goths are concerned with maintaining an ethereal hue. Goths come in all colours and shades, from pale white to ebony black and every shade of pink, brown, gold and hell, even green, in between. But having a tan of any description really doesn't suit me, and I know I'm not alone in this...]
Should you slip up and gain an accidental suntan, don't panic - head over to my post on creating a ghostly pallor for a handy-dandy tan remover recipe.
Lastly, what about those broiling feet? Well, boots aren't the only available kind of Gothy footwear out there, y'know. Mary-Janes or even sandals (try your local Peacocks, UK readers) will keep your spooky tootsies a hell of a lot cooler whilst leaving your Goth cred intact.
But if you've given up trying to escape the Daystar and are hermiting indoors, you may like to check out Goths In Hot Weather... a v. funny blog chock full of sweltering darklings - send me a link if you decide to send them your own picture. And a song for you too... Goths of Summer, by Mark Aaron James.