Friday, August 31, 2012


I thought the best way to kick off this blog would be with some makeup Q&A. I've asked a few friends to email me questions, however, if you yourself have questions, please leave it in the comments section. It's not exclusive to makeup, I just ask that it stay within the realms of optics and Gothic culture. I apologize in advanced, this is a rather winded entry, but there was just too much good information not to share with you all.


Q: I'm a newbie Goth. Still playing around with the makeup and style. I wear glasses as well. What kind of Gothic inspired makeup would look good with black framed glasses like I wear and what other kinds of frames would you recommend to go with over-the-top Gothic style makeup?

A: A while back I came across a superb makeup tutorial on youtube concerning eyeshadow techniques that go well with glasses.The biggest point that was stressed was to use light makeup *underneath* your eyes to offset the shadow of the rim of your glasses. This is definitely worth sharing on my part and definitely worth watching on your part if you have a few minutes.

                                             Michelle Phan's Makeup Tips for Glasses

Also, a good anti-reflective coating is a wise investment to cosmetically enhance your look. At my clinic the least expensive AR coating starts around $75, and the more high-end coating is around $130. We pride ourselves on using "premium" anti-reflective coatings by Crizal(R), though I'm sure you can find similar coatings for less at chain optical retail shops like LensCrapp-erm, LensCrafters and Walmart Optical. Vanity aside, anti-reflective coatings also help soften the glare from street lights and computer screens, and many brands come with a super-tough scratch-resistant coating.


 As far as selecting your frame with gothic style, sassy cat eyes are a grand option.

If funky and unique is more your speed, might I recommend checking out the ECO line of frames by Modo Eyewear. Keep in mind, I am a bit biased, but this is actually my all-time favorite brand for a few reasons. ECO, or Earth Friendly Optics, prides itself in giving back to the earth. All frames are made from recycled materials, and a tree is planted for every frame that's sold. You also get a tiny cardboard box to mail back your old frames for recycling. It goes without saying, though, that I love ECO's because they carry an array of unique frames in some rather striking colors- and yes, I said colors.

 ECO 1087 comes in a stunning candy apple red color. This is my favorite frame and if paired with a high index lens material actually looks rather decent with high minus prescriptions.This model comes in three colors: basic black, the red color shown below, and a matte purple. It took me FOREVER to decide on a color.



I've fallen in love with 1096, and am dead set on getting it eventually. This style is still rather new, so it was a bit of a challenge finding an image.

You should also consider how your makeup will look *behind* your prescription. If you are near sighted your eyes will appear smaller, especially if you have a strong minus prescription. If you are far-sighted, the opposite will happen- plus lenses causes your eyes to be magnified. The stronger the prescription, the more magnification.

"Excuse me, I believe you have my stapler."
As far as what makeup will look best, I think that really *any* makeup style will look good, though make sure your makeup is relatively even on both eyes. Try to keep your eyeshadow coverage in unison with the top of your frame. It's fine to be a little below the top of the rim, and it's fine to be a bit over the rim. But beware- any asymmetry will be even more obvious when wearing glasses.

Q: At what point do the glasses become the “makeup” of a Goth inspired look?  When is enough enough?

A: Anything bold can make you an insta-goth and give you over 9000 gawth-points. {Kidding!}I'm actually a firm believer of all things being in balance. I think your look should balance itself out. Counteract 50% makeup with 50% glasses, or give attention to 40% glasses, 60% makeup, or vice versa and etcetera. Of course, these are my own recommendations; there are times where a simple look is appropriate and other occasions where you want to up your flare a little bit (or a lot!).
In my opinion, "enough is enough" whenever the wearer thinks it is. Goth is about expression and individuality, so each person has their own tastes and preferences. Eyewear is very closely related to clothing and accessories when it comes to presentation. There is a wide spectrum of style that can be considered "gothic." Goth can be subtle and muted with just a whiff of macabre, but it can also be dramatic and bold. It really just depends on the look you're going for.

Yves Saint Laurent


Rimless styles are a great option if you just cannot see yourself doing muted makeup. When paired up with a good anti-reflective coating, these glasses can look so subtle that many people won't realize you're even wearing any glasses at first glance.

Q:In Goth inspired fashion, what colors of glasses and makeup are acceptable?  When does it become the “emo punk” look instead of Gothic?

First and foremost, I must point out that emo=/=punk. Two very different things, indeed. I would say anything neon colored would be "emo," though I think the stereotypical "emo" black rectangle plastic frames can be used for a basic and simple goth look.

As far as punk glasses? I think a punk would wear whatever they could get their hands on and do some DIY work and make some sort of edgy Frankenglasses; sadly however, I'm basically guessing at that. You don't often hear about punk glasses, probably because truly punk glasses can not be mass produced by a corporation. It's not very punk to worry about brand names. Now, I do notice that there are many hipsters who imitate the punk look, and we all know what hipster glasses are. If not, you may possibly be living under a rock. For those of you living the lifestyle of Patrick Star, the hipster look (at least as far as spectacles are concerned can be summed up as what we in the business call "geek chic." Thick, 80's style glasses are the perfect accessories to flannel, gauges, and any ironic vintage tees.

Hipster-Patrick. Your argument is invalid.

Basically, anything in a classic black color could nicely compliment a gothic ensemble. Also, muted tones, like burgundy and navy blue, would work just fine. Frame can be fancy or plain. Again, it's really up to the wearer and whatever look they're trying to accomplish.

My purple and black Candies

My steampunk style semi-rimless glasses last Christmas. If I'm not mistaken, this Guess model is discontinued.

Borderlining on hipster, I admit.

I would stay away from mainstream brands that feel it so very necessary to slap their logo on the temple in the most obvious way possible. As a patient once told me, "I don't want to pay big money, just to wear their name. I don't want to advertise for them." Now, if you are a goth who happens to love Versace or Gucci and you don't mind sporting their logo, then by all means go for it- it's your personal look after all! (And nothing against either of these brands. I have a bottle of Versace perfume that I adore.)

Q: When wearing animal print contacts (snow leopard, tiger, cat’s eye), how should you design the makeup so that it matches all aspects of Goth and flowing together? 

Now here is where I have to be a responsible optician/optometric technician and excercise my "duty to warn." I cannot condone using costume lenses, at least not without a proper contact lens fitting from your optometrist. Although it's not legal, many places will supply you with prescription costume contacts without requiring a valid contact lens prescription (that is, dated and signed by your doctor). Some of these places will even let buyers try on lenses then put them back in the vial without even disinfecting. I am not making this up, I have seen it first hand at Halloween costume stores. Of course, it can be more sanitary to buy these lenses online, however, there are still risks. If a lens does not properly fit the curve of your eyeball, the results can be rather painful. Also, there is less oxygen permeability in costume lenses than there is in normal prescription soft contact lenses. This means that the tiny pores in the material are fewer and smaller, and lets significantly less air flow to your cornea. This can cause pain, redness, and even ulcers in more extreme cases. I know this personally- OUCH!

Of course, safety restrictions are much, much tighter in the United States in the rest of the world. Websites like Dracula Clothing (an excellent website nevertheless) will not sell contact lenses to buyers in the U.S. This seems to be typical for us Yanks. We also have limits on how thin lenses can be, and we're phasing out glass lenses for safety reasons. I know of a few other countries where you can get your lashes and eyebrows dyed. That's not here. I'm sure we look very clumsy to the rest of the world, or maybe we're just a bunch of weenies. Personally, I think it's because we're so sue-happy here than anyone will find any reason to sue if they think it'll make them a quick buck, and sometimes the judicial system does not rule in favor of common sense.

 Now, if you do choose to get yourself costume lenses, than I hope for your sake that you do see an optometrist first. Onto the aesthetics of the marriage of costume lenses and makeup. Black is a staple. Black eyeliner and eyeshadow can and WILL go with any contact lens. For an effect that's sure to shock and awe, I recommend putting lighter makeup around your two nasal canthi (the corner of each eye nearer the nose) and gradually darken your shadow, putting your darkest color on the outermost edges. The lighter color will draw more attention to your lenses.

I also recommend coordinating your colors. For instance, gold cat eyes will look good with other gold tones, dark blues, and browns. Green lenses, on the other hand, will look much richer against berry tones and purples. As stated above, black is always a good color to go to as well.

I personally do not incorporate contacts into my every day look, not often anyway, though I do have a few colored lenses which I will share later in the blog. Due to issues with oxygen permeability, the fact that many colored lenses don't look quite right with my shade of hazel eyes, the fact that I have a rather high prescription and cannot find a lot of fancy lenses I like, and frankly because I like the natural look of my eyes behind regular prescription contacts, I tend to shy away from costume and cosmetic lenses. Also, it's all too easy to look cheesy. Some people pull of the freaky contact lens look well, but most people bring to mind mall goths, Manson fans, and last minute Halloween costumes when they wear them.

And let us not even start debating whether or not Marilyn Manson is goth.
All this having been said, however, I do plan to elaborate (and use pictures) on how to coordinate eye makeup with colored contacts, so sit tight! ^.^

Thanks for reading and have a safe weekend,
Sea, the Gothic Optician, A.B.O.C.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

My Job: A Love/Hate Relationship

Ah, the workplace- the place where it seems we as adults living in the cold yet hectic work world spend most of our waking hours. Many of us even spend countless time on our job mentally, though physically we may have come hours ago.

I started working at my current clinic May of 2011. In January of 2011, I was first introduced as a student, finishing up required clinical time, my very last semester of college (or university to non-American readers). As many college seniors, I was spastic. Rather than being eager to no longer have to go to class, my mind was preoccupied with finding a job, getting my own place, doing something with my life that wouldn't make the last few years a complete waste of time. {Even though I believe everything happens for a reason, I still detest failed efforts and wasted time.}

As fate would have it, this same clinic, located in my hometown, had an opening. To sweeten the deal, this clinic was my absolute favorite of the three in which I worked as a student- organized and orderly, casual yet structured, with a couple of sassy coworkers with 40 years of combined experience in the optical field. To skip over the boring parts, and to spare you all the torture of having to relive the suspense (more like anxiety) with me, I'll cut to the chase. I put on the charm, emphasized how well trained I've been, with both clinical experience and book knowledge, and reminded my soon-to-be boss that I was going to become certified with the American Board of Opticianry. Obviously, it worked.

I've been there for a while now (I'll leave the math to you) and have really come a long way. I want to say I've seen everything, but then I listen to some of the stories from my coworkers. I've been scared almost to the point of laughter, I've been cursed at and screamed at, I've been hugged by children, I've been sneezed on by homeless people, I've been given candy by adorable little old ladies (my absolute favorite patients!!), I've been given home made candles, I've practiced my substandard Spanish, and I've had a holy woman lay hands upon me and bless me. I've also met one elder goth, which is one more than I knew existed in this city!

Some days my body feels broken, some days my spirits feel broken. Once I came home and drank an entire bottle of champagne.. okay, I'm making that up. I actually chugged a bottle of champagne when I came home. Other days I feel uplifted, I get a compliment from a patient (my favorite was "beautiful gothic goddess"), we get free food (what can I say- I'm easy to please!). Most days my goal is to come home feeling like I accomplished all of my work and fixed any mistakes made by myself and others.

I do enjoy my work, and so please forgive me, because I often find myself rambling about the science behind how your pair of spectacles (or even contacts) work. I even have dreams about fixing glasses and adjusting them to patients. I just assumed the final frontier was to blog about it.

Sea, The Gothic Optician, A.B.O.C.