Monday, June 29, 2015

Five CorpGoth Interview Tips

In the past few years, I've gone on dozens of interviews as I've searched for my ideal job. What to wear to an interview is always a consideration -- not as crucial as writing the perfect resume and cover letter or making a great impression during the phonescreen and in the interview itself, but how you look will be part of that first impression, so it does matter, there's no denying it.

For goths and others with non-mainstream appearances, we have to ride the line between self-expression and fitting in to the desired job's requirements and company culture. The potential employer has to be able to see you as someone who already works there, and anything that distracts, whether in your CV or your fashion, is not a helpful.

You'll probably want to tone down the overall goth effect, but you shouldn't have to hide your true self entirely either. How you balance this will depend on what kind of job you're applying for, what industry you're working in, and how advanced you are in your career. But in my experience, these few tips may help...

1. Research the employer to find out what's appropriate. In Silicon Valley, most companies are business casual, but industries like finance and law will tend to be more conservative and (literally) buttoned-up. Retail jobs will vary wildly, and academic positions can have their own very specific cultures. Big corporations may have information on their websites that give ideas about what it's like to work there, and you get a lot of insider info about tech companies on Ask around, online and off. Be prepared! You don't want to be wearing suits when nobody wears suits or vice versa.

2. Reconsider all black. Yes, wearing all black is often a safe bet for goths, but it can appear too goth, too dark, too morbid for first appearances. Remember the Gothic Color Theory, and break up black with one other dark color or white. Or try a pattern like stripes. Mixing it up and avoiding all black can make you look more approachable and friendly in an interview.

3. Have one (but just one) personal trademark. Is your hair hot pink? Do you have full sleeve tattoos? If you have something permanent and visible, that's going to be your trademark, the visual cue people will remember from your interview. Try not to clutter up your style with anything else. Otherwise, pick one thing -- such as a great piece of jewelry or killer boots -- and let that be your trademark.

4. Dress one notch more formally for casual workplaces. Particularly with places like retail and high-tech, where it looks like everyone is dressed super casually, you may want to start off by interviewing just a smidge more dressy than what is standard on the job. Don't go super-formal, just a touch more. So if everyone is wearing jeans, wear trousers or a skirt, for example.

5. Remember that shoes and bags matter. You don't need to spit-polish your boots or carry a designer bag, just pay attention to your accessories. Having a cohesive, polished head-to-toe look will help give a professional first impression, gothic or not. Shine up an nasty scuffs on those pointy-toe boots, and swap out a simple tote bag instead of a backpack. You'll inevitably need to grab a copy of your CV out of that bag, so it should look as presentable as the rest of you.

In interviews for jobs I've gotten, I've talked about sewing historical costumes, and interviewers have complimented me on my bat necklace and skull earrings. I do let my freak flag fly, but subtly, and after I've gotten my foot in the door. Besides, if any potential employer Googles me, they'll find this blog and my costume website, so it's not like I can hide anyway!

What I'm wearing: Black cardigan, Macy's | Purple T-shirt, Target | Grey striped skirt, Nordstroms | Black tights, Calvin Klein | Black flats, Aerosoles | Grey beaded necklace, gift from a friend | Onyx skull earrings, local artist

Monday, June 22, 2015

Sponsorship Woes and Wishes

While I currently run Google ads on this site*, I haven't done much in the way of monetization or sponsorships. But I do get contacted by companies every so often asking to do promotions of some kind. The problem I have with this is usually that they're the wrong kind of business. They just don't fit.

Mostly, businesses see the "Goth" part of "CorpGoth" and seem to think that I'd be up promoting the same old, traditional gothic-punk clothing on my blog. Clothes similar to what Hot Topic would sell.  Everything is far too tight, short, and bondage-y for any office I'd ever work in! Hello, have these businesses looked at the photos on my blog? I don't wear spandex skull-printed dresses, ever! Even in my casual weekend wear. Nope, not my thing, not even when I was a lot younger and actually went to nightclubs.

I'd be interested if some high-end, sophisticated gothic businesses selling unique accessories, jewelry, and shoes contacted me, even Etsy artists and designers making custom CorpGoth clothing. But there has to be a corporate edge, not just goth-in-a-box. People can find that anywhere, and that's not what I'm interested in. My blog and my fashion is all about making goth from the ordinary and putting a gothic touch on mainstream office style. Any sponsor has to fit within this aesthetic as well.

That's why the one sponsored post I've done so far worked well. eShakti contacted me and offered a free dress, and that was fantastic because their designs are very goth-able. I'm happy to recommend their products.

One company I really wish would contact me is White House | Black Market -- omg, that store IS CorpGoth! I've mentioned it before because several of my very favourite wardrobe pieces are from there. Everything at White House | Black Market is, as the name implies, white or black, and every season (or more often), another color is added.  Oh, and frequently used patterns include stripes and damask. So it's custom-made for goths. The clothing styles are tailored and a little bit feminine, which makes it an excellent base for going either sleek and sophisticated or extra fancy. Garments are pricey but well made -- they're lined, made of thick fabrics, and have substantial buttons and trims. My only complaint is that sizes stop at 14, and there are no plus sizes. Still, if anyone at White House | Black Market happens to read this, contact me!

(Other brands I'd be happy to sponsor include Calvin Klein for their tights, which I wear almost every freakin' day, and shoes and boots from Aldo, Aerosoles, or Clarks, because I can walk miles in them! Anyone out there listening?)

What I'm wearing: Black velveteen jacket, White House Black Market | White & black damask-print knit sleeveless top, White House Black Market | Burgundy skirt, NY & Company | Black strappy flats, Macy's | Black tights, Calvin Klein | Onyx skull earrings, local artist | Beaded bat necklace, gift from friends

*I'll probably take them down soon. The content is stupid, they don't make any money, they're ugly, it was just a random shot in the dark. But it's almost as much of a PITA to remove them as it was to put them up; that's probably why so many sites have Google ads even tho' they don't earn much.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Thank You, eBay

I've been shopping on eBay forever. Really, since eBay first became a thing. I've bought everything from furniture to wigs to computer equipment on eBay, and I've sold a fair amount of my junk too (tho' not as much recently as in the early days).

My latest find was this stripey skirt, which I'd first seen at one of my very favorite stores, White House | Black Market, but my size was out of stock. I forgot about it, until a few weeks ago, when my saved eBay search on this label in my size turned up the very same skirt. And at a third the original price. The skirt arrived in perfect condition.

What's your best eBay score?

What I'm wearing: Black piped jacket, Speigel | Black T-shirt, Target | Black, white, & purple stripe skirt, White House Black Market (via eBay) | Black tights, Calvin Klein | Purple velvet pumps, Rocket Dog | Purple crystal necklace, gift from Lisa | Purple dangly bat-painted earrings, local artist | Purple lipstick, Sephora house brand

Monday, June 15, 2015

In Lieu of Red & Black Week

Don't know if Sophistique Noir is running a Red & Black Week this year, but I couldn't hold back with this skirt. I bought it on a wee shopping binge because I started a new job (yay!).

Of course, this job, like most everything else here in Silicon Valley, is business casual, but this is how CorpGoth goes business casual, LOL. I love my pencil skirts and fitted jackets, even if I'm surrounded by everyone else in jeans and tees.

Thus, red and black stripes. I bought the same skirt in white and black stripes because, well, stripes, duh. Wouldn't you?

What I'm wearing: Black knit top with dimensional roses, Newport News | Red & black stripe lace skirt, Limited | Black tights, Calvin Klein | Black lace-up heeled boots, Aerosoles | Onxy skull earrings, local artist