Monday, 24 March 2014

Goth on a Budget

This post provides a list of cheap places to get goth / alt clothes.
But first a mandatory incoherent rant that you can skip if you'd like:
Okay . So.

The other night I was out at a bar doing my thing. And a girl came up to me and complimented me on my style and was very kind and then :

"I always wanted to be goth but I couldn't afford it."

Goth should not be expensive. And I think this is the one thing I hear most often from outsiders and young goths / alternative kids that want to get into the scene. And I don't know why this became the normal thing for people to think but it makes no sense to me. When I was a wee thing and first got into the alternative side of fashion I had no money to speak of. I just wore black. Black pants from what ever no-name box store my mom bought them at and a black t-shirt. I shopped at thrift stores and hunted for cheap mildly spooky clothing. And I put saftey pins on everything. And wore those cheap little black winter gloves with the fingers cut off. My style evolved from there (thank goodness), but it wasn't a bad place to start.
But my point is you don't have to have money to be apart of the scene:
  1. The alternative scene is not about fashion alone, there are lots of ways to enjoy the scene and the spooky side of life without buying clothes. (such as going out to goth clubs, familiarizing yourself with the music, finding out about activities in your area etc)
  2. I think the original ideals of punk and goth are sort of anarchist and "DIY or die", so spending money isn't a must
  3. Unless you are going for a very specific look (such as latex/PVC cyber goth, lolita or victorian goth) most goth and alternative looks can be achieved without expensive "goth-brands"
  4. Almost every store carries items in black. Wooot!

I think a lot of this myth comes from the issue that a lot of people think you have to buy clothes from specific stores (in Ottawa we have Trivium, else where there are stores like Hot Topic, or one of the many online stores) that carry brands like Lip-Service and Demonia. These brands might be pretty but the are far from the epitome of goth. You don't need shiny PVC and corsets to be goth.

( Personally, I like corsets. But I don't have a huge amount of them. and when I buy them, I buy them on sale. And I save up my money for a long time before buying one and don't buy anything else for a long time before or after and feel really guilty about spending money for a long time after. But that's just me though. )

So I'm gonna stop ranting now and point you in the direction of places to buy clothes that don't need to be wildly expensive:

Clothing & Brands

Thrift Stores, Goodwill, Salvation Army and Value Village
As I often had no money, I frequently shopped at these stores. I have found bodices, lace shirts, a black velvet dresses, SHOES/boots, a leather trench coat and more. Give it a go. I find Value Village doesn't have as many good deals as some other thrift stores, and frequently over charges, but you can still find many good deals. There is a men's section.

Consignment stores( In Ottawa there are lots such as Act II and Bella Boutique)
Consignment stores are great because they have usually high quality goods for okay prices. They aren't great because the decent prices are highly varied. A consignment store buys (often used) goods that are unique, have a good brand, designer etc. They then sell them to consumers for a profit. Usually the items have a "best before date", that is to say they will mark down the item if it doesn't sell within a certain amount of time. It doesn't hurt to wait, because the price WILL go down. These small stores usually have seasonal sales to make room for new stock. While you might have to do some searching to find good deals, it is possible. I have found goth dresses for under $25 and goth tops for $10. No men's section that I know of.

Digital from Giant Tiger
Giant Tiger is awesome, although I'm not sure if it's only in Canada...? Anyways, they carry really cheap clothing and have a store brand known as "Digital" which is kind of punk/goth at times. Check it out. There is a men's section.

I love this store. It has a lot of mainstream clubbing clothing but over the years I have found studded dresses, corset style bodices, uber-baggy rave-pants, mesh draped shirts etc. Recently I found a pair of pants for $10 that had 12mm spikes down the sides. Very good :) No men's section that I know of.

Another store that caters to the mainstream but carries lots of black clothes. I find its a good source of "base" clothing. Things like leggings, t-shirts, tank tops, (some) skirts range it price from $3-$15. Dresses, Skirts and jeans are normally between $10-$30, depending on the sale. and usually they have it in Black. There is a men's section.

Urban Behavior
Basically stiches, but aimed at an "older" audience. They have a lot of the same clothes and sales. There is a men's section.

Very similar to Stitches. I find the clothing here is a lot more preppy, but again, its not a bad source of cheap black jeans, t-shirts and tanks. No men's section that I'm aware of.

Walmart and other Big Box Stores like that
Calm down. If you are on a budget and can't afford to shop at other places, Walmart is not a terrible source of accessories and basic black clothes. There is a men's section.


Don't cringe, but this store is a gold mine for cheap accessories. Despite all of the pink, preppy and preteen fluff, this store does carry quite a few good deals; Studded bracelets and belts, Leggings in many patterns,  Socks, fishnets etc.

Like Ardene's, this store is aimed primarily aimed at tweenieboppers. But its a decent source of cheap accesories, rings, jewellery, hats etc. Especially when they have a "ten items for $10" sale.
1 dollar items?! yay!

Dollarama (and similar dollar stores)
I love this store. Craft supplies, hair accessories, food and candles. What more does one need?
Dollarama carries all kinds of awesome things such as leggings, tights, fishnet tights, beads, fabric paint, chains, etc. At halloween, there's always fishnet hand /wrist accessories. They've recently started carrying clothing such as t-shirts, which would be perfect for t-shirt surgery DIYs.

DIY supplies

Spikes and Studs
This website sells (you guessed it) spikes and studs at a really decent price in high volumes. DIY bliss

This place is great. Even if you don't sew, this place is a great source of bead, black lace, trims, and such. The ones in Ottawa often have little grab bags full of random trims and ribbons and buttons for a $1 each. Sales seem to be fairly frequent.

Michaels, De Serres, and any other craft stores in your area
A great source of DIY supplies are these craft stores. Stores like Michael's always have online coupons for 40-50% off, so grab one from online and go find some pretty things.

Dollarama and other Dollar Stores
As I stated before, it's a good place to look for ribbon, beads and such. Also, I've seen studded belts and wrist cuffs there before. The cuffs/Belts are shit, but the studs could easily be salvaged and re-purposed.

This list will be growing I think. Remember, there's usually a way to achieve your desired look without spending a fortune. You don't have to look like a model for Tripp to be alternative. Save up your money and treat yourself to something fancy on the odd occasion (a corset, PVC mini skirt, Monster goth boots, leather combat boots) but don't feel like your wardobe needs to be any more costly than an average person's just to fit into a style. After all, the best part about being alternative/punk/goth is being creative and expressing yourself. Not wearing a uniform.
Hopefully I can add to the DIY list and tutorials to give you a good idea of what you can do with minimal skill and budget.

Any suggestions about what to add to my list? Where is your favorite non-goth place to shop?

Listening to : "Ziggy Stardust" - Bauhaus

(Also here's a song that makes me giggle for good measure: Hot Topic by The Gothsicles)

I Can Tell You Shop at Hot(t) Topic by The Gothsicles on Grooveshark

1 comment:

  1. yeah i totally agree. sure if you buy "brand" goth stuff, you're going be paying premium. I diyed most of the stuff I got from the "urban" stores or from the dollar store. Also chain fast-fashion stores like forever 21 have sales and gothlike items like lace tops and pleather come and go in fashion all the time. One of my favorite corsets I got from forever 21 and I think I got it for $5 on sale.