Where my Style evolved from.

I want to talk some about things that have shaped my style, representation and stuff.

This is fashion, but shit is deep.

From a really early age, my aesthetic love has been the Alt folks. I remember very vividly the first time I saw punks, I was about 6 or so and they were on the sidewalk. My parents sort of laughed and I was in love. I loved their spikey hair and tattered clothes, their somewhat androgynous bodies really appealed to me. That was it.

When I saw Black folks street style in movies in the 80s and later on rappers on MTV I loved their style too. Dookie chains, beautiful Black girls with doorknockers and amazing geometric haircuts.

Those were the seeds of my style.

As I got older, especially in my teens I understood one thing.

I may have loved fashion and beauty, but it was not for me. Fat Black little me.

I couldn’t have put those words on it exactly, but, that’s what it was. When I first got into makeup in middle school, my friends could buy their Covergirl foundation at the drug store and back then there was nothing for me. I figured out how to use CG tan powder lightly on my face and I bought eyeliners but, I saw the lack.

When I saw glammed up Black women, there weren’t references to companies or brands I had access to. I didn’t even know that Black women wore foundation until I was about 17. I thought I was just an ugly Black person so I wanted coverage and concealer and stuff.

Around the same time I was starting to have an interest in Goth specifically. I knew some Goths, I saw Goths in various places and it was equally if not more inaccessible to me. I loved the fancy Goths and the punky goths. I also saw that again, it was probably not for me because I was not pale, not thin etc.

My early Goth experiences were eh. I remember going to the first Hot Topic in the area and the employees didn’t question me being there, but, I was too shy to ask for a dress I wanted in a larger size. I figured that a larger size wasn’t available, because every other bit of art, clothing etc I’d had an interest in, did not come in larger sizes.

I remember getting things like the Retail Slut catalog and a couple of other ones, but if I did save up money for things, I was outside their size range for what I wanted.

Let’s stop there for a second.

Remember, I’m an Old Goth. I didn’t have social media, I had to special order my weirdo magazines. The only images of the things I was into, were thin to super thin White cis people. There was zero representation. When I ventured into spaces with other ALT people, mostly they were decent if sometimes cluelessly racist, but I always had that pressure of being The One.

For me at the time, I felt too seen. Too visible to engage in the weirdo clothes I loved so much. As a young potato I was too shy to enjoy the visibility on a regular basis.

Cut to my early 20s and my first phase of giving zero fucks. I wore vinyl in the daytime. I got into very Fetishy schoolgirl type outfits. I liked adding a rock star item to a drab outfit. I had velvet platform high heeled boots like Stevie Nicks and I wore the fuck out of them. I dyed my hair colors and remember getting disapproval from older Black folks and white folks and everyone.

Looking back, I realize that a lot of my bravado, then was coming from a place of pain. I felt rejected from say Alt modeling (this is when I discovered that the Alt only applied to outer decoration and that underneath it was still thin white and cis) and from clothing lines and everything Alt.

I really wish baby potato me had been able to process enjoying the aesthetics while rejecting the Thin Whiteness of it without so much pain.

I would have told you that what I was doing, feeling etc was empowerment. It wasn’t. It was a fuck you born of terror. I remember buying clothes from like Jeannie Nitro or some of the more available goth labels and I’d rip them up to make them fit. Wear them anyway.

I remember back then Lip Service had bigger sizes that weren’t outside their general milieu and I wore the fuck out of them.

This is stuff I think about. I’m pretty excited about the fact that as I get closer to 40 my ideas about how to express my aesthetics and wearing my feelings and decorating my temple as I see fit has come to be a joyful thing for me rather than a padding from pain.

One of the reasons for this post is because I’m going to do an influences post and while I was collecting photos earlier, I saw just how White and Thin it was and I felt disheartened but I’m not gonna lie. So this is where I’m coming from.

Also later this week I’m going to do a how yours truly would dress if neither money nor size was an issue. I’m probably going to need separate entries for clothes, accessories, shoes and art. Y’all….

I’m also looking for stuff to show y’all that I want to have in order to embody myself when I feel more Butch or Masculine but shit is hard.

AND I’ll likely have the how to buy leggings on the internet post ready soon.

 

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About Shannon Barber

I am a strange little woman who likes pie.
This entry was posted in body politics, fashion, fatness, goth, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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