Everyone loves elements of the macabre, whether it be vampires and zombies, Edgar Allan Poe stories, or even a meager fascination with scary slasher movies. The typical way to tell if someone is a fan of this genre is stereotypically black lipstick, a spiked choker, and five inch platform buckle boots. Sometimes, this isn’t doable for multiple reasons: cost, inappropriate aesthetic for your setting (a job or school with an imposed dress code), or you don’t want all those heavy accessories and want to simplify. That’s perfect! Here are my personal suggestions at how to go about bringing some creepy into your chic.
Let’s start with shoes; shoes say a lot about a person. Into the more Victorian Gothic look? Go for the “combat” boots which are becoming progressively more popular, and they are dually ever reminiscent of “Little House on the Prairie”; look for these at thrift stores to find them for cheap. I found a great pair of boots that would look right proper on any Victorian floozy for $3.00; laced up the front with a small thin heel. I suggest looking at John Fluevog’s shoes for inspiration there. On the other hand, any vampire or zombie hunter needs something more flexible and allows for movement, such as Converse sneakers, that now come in a wide variety of prints and colours and designs, as well as actual combat boots, which can be found at thrift stores and army surplus stores. Actual military boots are made more comfortably and for longer wear than most fashion boots, plus it gives you more of an official “badass” look.
Accessories are also highly important, including every detail from bags to earrings to hair ties. The Victorian aesthetic would go for more elegant pieces out of higher quality materials, such as velvets and satins. A velvet clutch purse is a lovely, rich looking piece which makes you look refined and sophisticated. Lace stockings or other lacy accessories, like scarves or an undershirt, can “vamp” (excuse the pun) up a skirt or dress. Cameos and teardrop jewels also make great statement jewelry, or in some cases, hair accessories that can create a great sense of elegance. Even for a cuter look, skeleton cameo hairbows are just too adorable to pass up.
On the other hand, for the post-apocalyptic zombie ridden wasteland look, go for coarser materials with more utilitarian use, such as a backpack. Pro-tip! Get a basic white or other light coloured backpack and distress and bloody it at home! Stain it badly, then run it through the wash (so it’s not actually gross) then take it outside and spatter it with blood! You can make blood at home with the right amount of clear corn syrup, chocolate syrup, and food colouring! With a couple of drops of dish soap, it becomes washable, and less edible. Anyway, the blood can be your best friend! Spatter a beanie or your favourite scrunchie or even a jean jacket if you want to really sell the look. To add more spice (with less blood), try a big belt with a pattern or a design. If you’re wearing a skirt, go for leggings beneath with some nice heavy knit socks that peek above your shoes. While normally in a utilitarian situation i wouldn’t suggest earrings and other jewelry, but there are some really cute options out there now, such as butcher knife earrings, rib cage necklace, or a skull studded cuff.
For the final touch, makeup always finishes a look. For a soft, macabre Victorian look, Abigail Larson, a fantastic horror/gothic artist, is your ideal inspiration. She uses a thick, dark black line for her cat eye and blends darker reds or greys for a lovely and mysterious smoky eye. Often times she pairs it with deep red lipstick or other deep, saturated colours. I also definitely suggest filling in your brows for a super polished and defined look to your face. Blending your eyeshadow as well also will help to avoid your look from being too dark and obscuring your eye as opposed to making it pop. On the hunter side of things, I will still suggest lipstick, but going for more of a burgundy or even mahogany colour to avoid looking too perfect and polished. Thicker, less precise eyeliner is good, but black isn’t always the answer. For lighter coloured folks, I suggest a dark brown or purple or even grey to avoid looking like a zombie yourself (unless you want to, friends). Neutral eyeshadows are also your friends as you want to keep your look more neutral and unpolished.
While I really only give two sides to this look, I hope that it at least helps that the Halloween season and all it’s fun is now quickly approaching. Feel free to blend some and find your own personal aesthetic and the look you really want. Go find your local zombie run and go nuts! Go lurk about your local haunted house and feel like a part of the horror! Go to a H.P. Lovecraft reading and look like his long lost lover! Or just look fab haunting your usual locales and love your darker new look!