Some goths, like yours truly, are blessed with employment that doesn't regulate clothing. For instance, I'm not wearing pants as I type this. Others go into real work that involves clipboards and stuff, and places with clipboards are notoriously hard on those of us who like a little dark flamboyance to our look.
How do you deal with the Man when he tells you that last night's eyeliner simply isn't acceptable if you want to rise in your career? Do you blend it, or do you just spend your life as Office Goth. To answer that burning query, oh how it burns, I summoned the Gothic Council!
Joining us this week is Age of Decay co-founder Alethea Carr, DJs Martin Oldgoth and Regen Robinson, Toby Rider from Ending the Vicious Cycle, Jvstin Whitney of Church of Melkarth, blogger Drusilla Grey, and webmistress of Morticia's Morgue, Becky Plexco.
Alethea Carr: I have seen my husband deal with this issue over the years, sometimes successfully and sometimes not. Black polos with black slacks or jeans seem to work well, and at his current office, he has even had the freedom to wear his earrings and shave the sides of his head a bit.
However, he was once let go from a company for coming out of the goth closet, even though he did it gently and slowly and always maintained the corporate goth look, leaving the earrings at home and styling his hair and wardrobe as the regular management type, except dark.
At home, he looks much more natural and comfortable in his gothiness, and at club, of course, he grabs the opportunity to go all out!
He doesn't mind it much, and doesn't resist what he needs to do to stylistically in order to serve his clients effectively; but the bad incident I mentioned really stung him for a while. It has made him more aware and more grateful for tolerant and friendly treatment from anyone mainstream, not just his employers.
Martin Oldgoth: By day I'm a finance assistant for an insurance company, and have to be honest and say I've never found it an issue. I have to wear "normal" shirts and trousers Monday to Thursday and only ever wear black, Friday is a dress-down day, so out come the skinny jeans and big boots and either a band tee or yet another black shirt.
People know me as being a bit odd, and have got used to that, but at first I guess I was always "that guy who lives in black" since from day one I dressed this way. I think if you're like it from the beginning people forget you're any different, not that we are of course, but you know what I mean.
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I have obviously dyed black hair with shaved sides that are currently bleached white, no point trying to hide what I am, far better I feel to give them time to get used to you. In my own way, I feel I'm making goths seems more human to those that don't "get it." Of course I get questions, mostly about music and what is and isn't goth, but again it's all education for the greater good!
Regen Robinson: I worked in retail in the past when I was in my most gothic phase. One would think that field would be a little more flexible but not so. But I was always trying to sneak gothic details into my look for the day. In the end it resulted in more than once the district leader calling to make sure what I was wearing was store appropriate.
Toby Rider: I am an IT Project Manager for a mufti-national financial services megacorporation. I wear a lot of black dress shirts, and since they are a pretty common item of clothing nowadays, no one really notices or cares.
Technically, employees are allowed to wear jeans, but because I am in a position of leadership and I look young for my age, I've found that wearing well-tailored dark gray pinstriped wool trousers seems to help me to be taken more seriously by leadership in the other lines-of-business that we create services and solutions for. Black leather shoes, highly shined.
I only have to wear a suit on very special occasions, and so far that occasion hasn't arisen yet. Maybe when the CEO comes to visit the second floor I might have to. However, that could be a long time, because my floor is entirely occupied by people in IT management and strategy roles. Executive leadership is usually perfectly content to leave us alone as long as they feel they are getting what they need from us.
Jvstin Whitney: Fox gives me lots of free shirts with their logos to wear, so I just do that. Many of them are black. I'll put on a suit if people are coming out from LA or I know we have a tour, but I usually work nights, so that's not much of an issue.
My taste in music is harangued by people who care about the Lamb of God singer being in jail, so much like religion and politics, I just try not to talk about music that isn't Milli Vanilli or Huey Lewis and the News at work.
Drusilla Grey: It is sometimes a challenge for me. I work in IT Project Management for the government as a contractor. I wear black and white dresses, skirts and shirts and suits. I always dress appropriately for work. However, I have had arguments with a higher up where I was told advancing me career would be hard because "well, you are just too... you."
Apparently he took issue with my black hair with white streak, and my always wearing black. We went back and forth for a bit over this and ultimately he backed down. I keep things pretty tame for work because I already struggle with prejudice for being female and younger, I don't need more for being goth.
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Becky Plexco: My last job was as an operator for the sheriff's office, so we had to wear uniforms but I would do my crazy hair colors (bright red and black or blue and black), and the deputies would tease me (one used to call me "rooster") but I was never called in for it.
That might have been because I worked graveyards, or because they were just glad to have people show up to work. And on World Goth Day I just wore a bunch of eyeliner and some spooky jewelry.