Sunday, May 8, 2016

Happy Mother's Day!

The Gothic Optician would like to wish a Happy Mother's Day to all the wicked-awesome and totally kickass moms out there!

Special thanks to one of the most amazing, hard-working, and involved moms I know, Catie. <3

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Gothic Life Hacks 101: Dye it Black No. 1

Let's face it, on average we goths spend more on clothing than the typical consumer. While many of us utilize the magic of thrift stores and have become pros at finding the plain black basics at department stores, the bigger brands, such as Tripp, Kill Star, and Lip Service, tend to hit us hard in our bank accounts.. But come on..have you seen some of the stuff they offer? You can't find this at your local Walmart!

Due to practicality and expense, many of us tend to hold on to our beloved garments after years and YEARS of wear..even when they start to hit their golden years, and like the best of us, start to fade to grey.

And sadly, not all fading is as gorgeous as this.

Or as cute as this.

Therefore, it's never a bad idea to know the basics of extending the looks and life of your clothing. DIY can be both fun and challenging- you can always give your clothing a revamping with rivets, studs, zippers, and chains, but the most simple update goths from any and all walks of life can give their clothes is the gift of dying.
Click image for the perfect romantic gift for your spooky significant other. ;)
Bottles of dye are relatively inexpensive. I found Rit brand dye on Amazon for less than $3/8 oz bottle with free shipping for Prime Members. Gotta love a bargain!

I've tried this only once before on an old (but awesome) Etsy skirt that was losing its color after 5 years and a Torrid top I purchased in the last year but was never happy with the heather grey color. 

  I loved the sleeves and I loved the mesh detail, but I really didn't care for how light the grey was.

This time around I decided to document my adventures in dying because I'm still relatively new to this and realized that many people out there may not have even known that this is a cheap, effective method to give old clothes a new recharge. I don't know about you, but pitch black clothing always makes me feel like I'm looking my best. 

Initially I spent some time (okay, DAYS) researching on Pinterest and the Rit Dye website and message boards as to how to go about getting started. Dye is no joke and I didn't want to screw it up.
Across the board, all of my sources told me the absolute best option for dying clothing black was the stove top method. I decided to pass on this for a few reasons. 1. I was worried about permanently staining my largest pan. 2. I didn't want splatter in my clean kitchen. 3. I had far too much clothing to put in one pan at once, and didn't want to split it in to smaller batches.

I may revisit this option in the future, however, in another blog post, so stay tuned.

The second method that both Pinterest and the official Rit Website endorsed is the washing machine method. For me this was the best option- there's a large enough drum for the entire load, a lid to confine splatter, clean up is a breeze, the water gets relatively hot (though not as hot as stove top) and best of all, the washer does all the work so I can live my life.

The Washer Method:

1. Gather your materials, which surprising aren't many.

-an old towel
-your dye bottles (per the recommendation, I used the maximum of four)
-a cup of salt
-an old, unloved spoon that's okay if it stains
-gloves (I skipped this step because I like to live dangerously. Also because I forgot.)

2. Get your clothes gathered. I chose a variety- my two garments from last time (I want to see if they can get any darker), a pair of purple cargo pants, a pair of faded pinstripe pants made of jegging material, and of course the significant other's old cotton tees. Wet each garment. I used my washer for this just to keep my project contained to the laundry room.

 In the middle you can see my once light grey top, blackened, but still not quite as pitch as I wanted.

3. Set your washer to the hottest setting and add in your salt slowly. Mix with your unloved spoon. Enjoy the sterile smell of home made salt water.

4. Add your dye. Be sure to pour as close to the water as possible to avoid splatter, and remember to add water to the bottles to get every drop of dye out. Being wasteful is bad, mmmmmkay?

5. After thoroughly mixing around the salt/dye solution, begin adding your wet clothing one piece at a time, using your unloved spoon to submerge each piece. With or without gloves you really don't want to touch the water.

6. Once the water reaches a level where your clothing can have enough room to float and soak, stop the cycle. The recommended sitting time is 30 minutes to one hour. I wanted the clothes to soak up as much of the dye as possible, so I let it sit for an hour while I hit the treadmill.

Okay, like maybe 30 minutes on the treadmill, then I spent the remaining time watching Archer. Sue me.
7. After an hour mix around your clothes with the unloved spoon. If you're nosy like me you'll use the spoon to lift a few pieces and take a look..of course it's hard to tell what sticks before the dye has a chance to escape and the clothes are dry, but it's fun to watch the process. Resume the washer's cycle to further agitate the load and spin out all the dye solution. 

8. Next step is pretty simple, leave the clothes in the washer and run the hot cycle all over again, this time with detergent to get the dye out. (You may notice if you consult the Rit Website, there is instruction to rinse with cooler water after the dye soak- the washer takes care of this for you.)

9. Put the clothes in the dryer with a clean, old (preferably) black towel. While the clothes are drying, clean the washer by running a hot cycle once again, highest water level, with a capful of detergent and two cups of bleach. Be sure to splash some water on the top of the agitator and any other spots the dye may have landed- bleach is the goth's natural enemy, so be careful of splatter from this load, my friends. 

10. Assess your clothes. As you can see, some of mine didn't turn out quite as I'd hoped..which compels me to try it again in the near future, this time with vinegar instead of salt, and maybe even witchy style on the stove top. 

Until next time guys and ghouls,
Stay safe and stay spooky,
Sea, The Gothic Optician, A.B.O.C.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

The Gothic Optician's Spec Spotlight: Versace's √Čtoile De La Mer Sunglass

 Greetings and happy Saturday, my darklings!

It's been a while since I've featured a specific glasses model, so what better time than the present? This particular model is very near and dear to my heart, and although autumn is approaching (yay), we goths always find a way to wear our sunglasses.

 It is with great pleasure I introduce to you *drum roll*

Versace's  √Čtoile De La Mer

Semi-sci-fi, semi-cyber goth, completely unique. I fell in love with these the second I saw them at my clinic.
And why did I fall in love with them? Well here are a few pro's.

They come in a variety of colors- brown, black, blue, and pink:

They're completely unisex. They look just as smashing on the boys as they do on the girls:


There's a funky, space cadet vibe to them. These futuristic looking specs would be great for a comic con, Trekkie gathering, or just casual cosplay:

I'm going to be completely honest- this is where my mind went when I first saw these.

It would make the perfect finishing touch to any cyber goth ensemble:

My own rendition of a cyber goth in these specs.

It's got a nice piece of bling in the front that would look good with really any outfit or style:


And of course, every rose has its thorns. I did find a few cons about this item.

This is a pricey piece. They tend to begin around $270 retail.

These are *extremely delicate* sunglasses that are NOT intended for those who are careless and rough on their eyewear.

These are non-rx-able. Due to the design (and uh, the fact that it's just one "lens"), a prescription cannon be ground in.

It may fit awkwardly on some faces, especially for those of us with fuller cheeks. Worse yet, if the fit is poor, you may end up smudging your makeup on them around the cheek.

To get the best effect (in my opinion), the lighter colors (blue and pink) will work best, however, they won't block the sun as much as the more functional shades of brown and black.

In summary, while these may be considered by some as a pricey accessory, they are still quite fabulous and sure to get you no fewer than ten compliments per day. This isn't what I'd personally buy on a whim, but I am strongly entertaining the idea of spoiling myself with a pair this next tax season.

For now, I'll stick with my $10 ebay sunnies:

Until next time readers,
Stay safe, strange, and bespectacled.
Sea, the Gothic Optician, A.B.O.C.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Slaves of the Fashion Industry

 Happy Saturday and a Happy New Year to you all!

Let's start 2014 on a topic considered to be a great pillar of gothic culture- fashion!

Due to the grand amount of snow we had here, this last week at work has been exceptionally slow. No one wants to go look at glasses or get adjustments or even make their appointments in snow and subzero temperatures. Since all of my work was caught up, I decided to pass the time flipping through the most recently copy of InStyle that happened to be lying in my office.

Yikes. Just... yikes. I did not see style. I did not see fashion. I saw shapeless garments in clashing colors with celebrity endorsements. I saw slovenly, overpriced ensembles that absolutely no one would be able to pull off.. and yet, I know far too many people that buy into it all and mindlessly follow these gaudy trends.

Fashion is fun, yes, as it should be. It shouldn't have rigid rules.. but you still have to make judgement calls and just realize if something looks awful. No wonder there's an expiration on these fads, ie "those pants are so 2012!" because no  one really likes them to begin with!

The great thing about us goths is that our look overall is (more or less) timeless.. we borrow influence from beautiful eras of human history- Victorian times,  medieval era, ect.. fashions that have already stood the test of time and passed with flying colors... we stick to basic black and intricate details with subtle accents of varying shades of silvers, reds, and purples. Of course gothic fashion has its own internal trends every decade, but most of us still roll our eyes at the passing fads of stirrup pants and baggy sweaters.

But no matter what decade it is, there is one feature in gothic culture that stays constant-- we wear what we like, what makes us happy, what brings us back to golden times in our lives-- and we do not let the opinions of others dictate our wardrobes. We discover our fashion influences beyond the glossy, air brushed pages of Cosmo. In the music we listen to, in the museums we visit, the antique shops we browse, the funerals we attend.

 What amused me most about that particular issue was that it was the dress for 'your shape' issue. Now listen here, fashion industries, this lady knows a bit about dressing with generous curves, and your 'style tips' flatter NO ONE. Also, your 'diverse body shapes' all look the same, more or less.

 .. and anyone who falls beyond these 'diverse' body types is exiled to the land of frumpy granny muumuus.

 So one can only imagine my frustration with this magazine and their definition of fashion. I had a chat with two of my closest lady friends and we decided we could make a better magazine ourselves. If we ever did, I already know the summary of my article. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you:

DARQUE~FASHION! by The Gothic Optician

Want to conceal and flatter your hips?
 Fashion magazines suggest donning a tent made out of your least favorite bed sheets. Don't fall for this!

 The secret is balance. Emphasize your waist and balance your hips. Hiding is just lazy. Fishtail/Mermaid skirts are made for full hips! Plus, it looks quite fancy.

Image found on Pinterest
 Want to make your bust appear fuller?

 InStyle recommends covering yourself in an oversized sweater to convince others you're hiding something big.
 Yeah, because it's common to confuse Bill Cosby with Dolly Parton.

Instead, try a baby doll/ empire waist style. It shows off the bustline and flatters the tummy.

Ruffles also do this.

 Again, thick belts give the impression of a smaller waist, therefore, a larger bosom.
Belts are just awesome. They're my current favorite accessory. They have the torso-defining capabilities of a corset, but are a better choice for more casual settings.

Want to slim your arms?

Most fashion publications advise, yes, you guessed it- dressing yourself in bag lady fashion.

No one looks good in shapeless clothing-no one. Always accentuate your curves; always embrace the body you were blessed with. Once more, my personal advice, is balance. Both bell sleeves and bat wings sleeves trim your upper arms while putting off an air of enchantment.

 Want to make your look more exciting?

 Most fashion 'experts' say the best way to look exciting is to wear as many loud, obnoxious, gaudy colors as possible.


A more aesthetically pleasing way to spice up your style is with detail- detail, that is, that compliments the complete look rather than clashes with it.

And speaking of accessories and details....

I have found this to be rather helpful when picking out necklaces.

In closing, my dear friends...

People are going to look at you. Odds are, if you're reading this, you're different. People are going to stare, so give them plenty to stare at- chains or lace, fishnets or ribbons, studs or ruffles, velvet or vinyl- wear what you love and hold your head up high!Be you, because that's what makes you beautiful!

And don't over think it! Be like Marla Singer from Fight Club- just throw some things together. I guarantee you that if you wear it with confidence, it'll look 1000x's better than these outfits that overpaid wardrobe assistants have carefully planned and pieced together to look as though it was thrown together.


Think for yourselves- you don't need some uppity priss with a grey streak in her hair with her token gay friend in his mid-twenties tell you what you what to or..*ahem* what not to wear.

Stay fierce and stay spooky,
Sea, the Gothic Optician, A.B.O.C.