Saturday, October 5, 2013

Interview Chic

Happy Saturday, readers!

Today's post is about a cold hard truth.

There comes a time in every goth's life when he or she must make the decision to negotiate his or her personal style (or forsake it completely, stuffing every last bit of fishnet, eyeliner, lace, and corsetry into a dusty old chest tucked away in a forgotten attic nook) and "grow up" and "join the real world" by getting a normal job and dressing like everyone else... lest he or she will be very unsuccessful and starving, with no monies to even browse the clearance section of Target on November 1st.

Nope. That's not true. Not an iota. Though you do have to compromise your style whilst in your workplace, most people do- few professions are okay with leggings being worn as pants, or, I don't know, North Face hoodies or whatever it is that the 'normals' wear these days.

Although in my own professional life, this is cut out for me, since I'm restricted to scrubs. It's great because there's no question as to whether or not it's appropriate, but the downside is you really can only dress up scrubs so much.... plus, combat boots just don't work with them. :/

However, I did have to interview to get my job, and I did have to work in a few clinics as a student where dress code was key. I've learned a few tips along the way, with quite a bit of help from fantastic blogs like This Is CorpGoth and Sophistique Noir-- which both cater to a more mature and professional gothic palate. I recommend checking them both out.


They're both such gorgeous ladies who know how to dress sharply!

Now all bosses are different and some workplaces are more lax than others. I'm going to try to keep tips as conservative as possible without repressing individuality. The following tips can be applied to professional workplaces as well as interviews.

Less is more. 
First rule, avoid excess. Subtly different trumps blatantly different.  I know, I know, the signature of goth fashion is all of the tiny detail and accents. You can still do this, as long as it's in moderation. Rest assured, basic black is always fashionable and welcomed in professional settings. Try to limit your jewelry, especially during the interview or the first few days when you're trying to pick up the vibe of how casual your office is or is not. Non-lobe piercings in the ear are more socially acceptable these days than they were even ten years ago for ladies.  Unfortunately gentlemen, many workplaces still frown upon even one lobe piercing. Hopefully this social attitude will change over time, but it's best to play it safe.Absolutely no spikes or dog chains.. unless your place of work calls for it, then by all means, yes! As far as facial jewelry goes, keep it safe and wear a clear piercing retainer (a tip I wish someone would've told me before I accidentally let my eyebrow piercing close in on itself).

And as much as it kills me to say it, try to stick to traditional gender norms as much as you can. If your gender identity is male (be it trans or cis male) try to avoid heavy jewelry, eyeliner, and nail polish. If your gender identity is female (again, I'm speaking about both trans and cis female), light makeup is key. When the time comes that you discover that your workplace doesn't care if you're a guy with a smidge of eyeliner or an earring, or they don't pressure you to wear heels, hosiery, and full-face makeup everyday if you're a woman, then ease on into your comfort zone.

Casual Friday
 Fishnet panty hose are fine *only* if you've limited yourself already on how many 'alternative' things you are wearing and *only* if you are wearing a skirt knee length or longer. I'm going to say vinyl and patent are no-no's anywhere other than your shoes. 

Sometimes the best work outfits are made by taking a typical non-work ensemble and just tweaking a few pieces. Do you love how a corset defines your waist and holds you in? Swap it for a thick belt.

Instead of overly dramatic black eyeshadow, try a dark brown, or a lighter color with black eyeshadow along the inner or outer corners of your eyes.
Still bold and striking, but less harsh than stark black.

You can also swap black hosiery with wine colored hosiery; although both are acceptable, red is a good offset to an all black ensemble.


Many employers have a knee-jerk reaction to pentacles; once more, an unfortunate social stigma. If you want to accessorize with religious imagery that isn't the typical (but still very attractive) cross, try an ankh. Although it's a non-Christian symbol, more people associate it with ancient Egypt rather than spirituality. Other pagan alternatives that will cause less of an uproar are triquetras and triple moons. Again, the common association is ancient Celtic culture and not modern day religious significance. Of course, most of you reading this blog know better. ;)


Have an idea in mind. Browse through some magazines, or even Pinterest for some inspiration. Just like interior decorating (another blog for another day, trust me), thinking of a theme can put a great image in your head of what is it you want. 

Here's some examples I came up with in the last five minutes:



Corporate dominatrix
  • vinyl pumps
  • wine hosiery
  • red lipstick
  • blazer with just a hint of a shoulderpad
  • knee-length pencil skirt

Funeral Chic 
  • modest apparel
  • long, old fashioned necklaces
  • loads of lace
  • lots of dark with pops of toned down colors
  • Victorian prints

All credit to:

Mad Men Seance
  • tons of pinstripe
  • a wallet chain
  • high quality brief case
  • crisp collar
  • pocket watch optional

  Better yet- if you decide to participate in Movember, you could go full-on Gomez Addams.
John Astin was/is one handsome devil.
In fact, retro fashion is coming back in both gothic and mainstream fashions, making it easier to find, for those of you who are fans of the nostalgic styles of yesteryear.

Be honest and up front during your interviews.
Modest and professional dress is imperative for interviews; it's best to cover your tattoos for the sake of first impressions- sleeves and collared dress shirts, or even a scarf or a turtle neck can do the job. A heavily tattooed and very dear friend of mine always wears sleeves to his interviews; but, because honesty is the very best policy, he is always open and direct in his interviews and shows his potential employer that he does have tattoos covering his arm. It's a good way to show that you can dress professionally and presentably, but you aren't hiding anything. Deceptiveness is never good in the eyes of a potential employer, no matter how much you want the job. There is, however an exception to that. If you have something that rarely sees the light of day, or that there is no risk of it ever being shown in the workplace- a lower back butterfly or "Thug Life" across your belly- then there isn't a need to even talk about it.

Use your rockin' specs to make a statement.
Glasses are by far your most useful accessory, so if you've kept it simple this far (kudos if you have) celebrate with some frames that sport kooky personality.

In closing...

When you interview, remember a few common sense (but easy to overlook) tips.
  • Practice thorough hygiene. Be sure to not smell of smoke or B.O.
  • Use proper grammar, complete sentences, and relevant information.
  • Have a firm handshake and sit up straight. Body language can make or break an interview.
  • Keep eye contact both when speaking and when being spoken to.
  • Use your manners and show the utmost respect.
  • Leave your phone (on silent) and your gum in your pocket or purse.
Best of luck to you in your climb to the top. Make me proud! ;)

Keep Calm and Enjoy the Best Month of the Year,
Sea, the Gothic Optician, A.B.O.C.


  1. I wish I had something like this 12 years ago!
    Thankfully, my current workplace is quite laid back and accommodating of my "unique" style and they don't mind the bright red hair or excess jewellery.
    (Loved the trans* inclusion by the way) :)

    1. That's awesome about your workplace. A good work environment actually improves the overall quality of your life.

      Thanks for reading, Gwen. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. :)

  2. Thank you for this great article! Unfortunately my workplace is quite conservative but posts like these are really reassuring to those of us still hiding in our weird, dark closets! PS I am going to try and get my boyfriend to do a "full-on" Gomez for Movember!

    1. Thanks for taking the time to read. :)
      That'd be pretty rad if your boyfriend recreates a Gozmez Addams look.

  3. Great post, but I would have never been hired or would probably be getting fired if I wore anything in this post. I am forced to stick to a much more conservative wardrobe, unfortunately. Sometimes I sneak in a little cameo necklace or a bit of lace or something, but that's about all I can get away with :(

    1. That's a shame. Do they even frown upon just basic black?