Gothic Outfit Ideas! The Apiologist sustainable fashion, Sapphire Studios Goth earrings & rings, Skandinavik gloves.

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Middle-parted hair and face-framing highlights… Here we are back to the future. (Although I never did the side part hairstyle or skinny jeans; I stayed in the 1990s and remain there today!)

Today, I’ll share some of my favorite ways to style and accessorise Goth outfits in 2021. Featuring this funereal dress by The Apiologist, dark jewelry from Sapphire Studios, and other garments by indie Goth, alternative and sustainable designers. From the start of La Carmina Blog, this has been my focus — and so it shall remain to the grave.

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I’ve been fashion blogging since 2007, so it’s no surprise that my Gothic styling has shifted over the years. But some things never change: I love to play around with hair colors, and discover fresh underground designers.

And Miffy remains my favorite cute character for life! I’m squeezing two Miffies from the new Douglas Cuddle Toy collection, available from Maisonette. Keep reading for more kawaii photos. 

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It’s interesting to reflect on how social media has changed over time. I started out on MySpace… and now, I’ve been active on Clubhouse, the new audio chat app.

In fact, I founded the first Goth-themed club on Clubhouse — and you’ve invited into my lair! Search for “Goth Talk” — or click here to join my Gothic club. Please add @lacarmina on Clubhouse as well. Looking forward to discussing dark matters with all of you.

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Let me show you several ways to coordinate a witchy outfit with striking accessories.

I’m wearing a leather visor by Jennifer Ouellette, and slinging an “I am a Friend of Satan” over my shoulder. It’s from The Satanic Temple Shop (all proceeds go to their campaigns for pluralism and reproductive rights), and designed by co-founder and spokesperson Lucien Greaves. (More devilish TST clothing features to come soon). 

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Dancing with the dead, in my Funeral March dress by sustainable designer The Apiologist. The design is one-of-a-kind, and made for movement. Those sheer sleeves and skirt layers, and abstract flowers embroidered in red! 

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An apiologist is someone who studies the science of bees. The London-based independent brand takes inspiration from the bee, which “represents both fragile beauty and strength. The bringer of the sweetest nectar, and yet able to slay those foolish enough to interfere.”

This dichotomy perfectly describes their clothing line, which has Goth / occult / witch vibes along with delicate detailing. Notice the neck ribbon tie, and the glove-like sheer sleeves with a floral hem.

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The Apiologist has a wide selection of women’s clothing, from cardigans to cuddle coats and berets. I had fun styling one of their spooky scarves in different ways. 

(You can also catch a sneak peak of my gorgeous ring by Kipkalinka. I’ll be featuring their jewelry in depth soon.)

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In the first photos, I tied the skull and cobweb scarf like a headband. It can also be worn as a head or neck scarf, face covering, or something to sob into! 

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I’m a longtime supporter of Gothic jewelry designers Sapphire Studios. As you can see from these close-ups, they’re famous for their dark and alternative fine accessories. 

Putting on their Down the Rabbit Hole necklace made me feel like Alice in Wonderland. The pendant is inspired by Lewis Carroll’s classic story: the silver and red garnet design includes a rabbit, a garden maze, a cut-out heart fit for a Queen. (It’s available in 14k gold as well.)  

I paired it with their Shadows ring, which looks like three black bats! The rhodium and black stones add texture and a touch of glitter to the vampiric ring, which is adjustable to any size.

Sapphire Studios is known for its beautifully crafted skull rings. The St Noir lets you express ‘until death do us part’ — with two black skulls sitting beneath a 1 carat round cut stone, and smaller stones cascading down in the shape of an X.

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“Take thee to a nunnery!” The spiderweb detail at the edges of my The Apiologist scarf is to die for.

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Switch around your headgear, and the same outfit takes on a different vibe. I’m wearing a leather visor by Jennifer Ouellette, who crafts environmentally friendly hats, headbands, and fascinators.

My black leather ankle boots are Jeffrey Campbell Mexique shoes –– click to get them.

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My leather cap contrasts with the sheer overlay and embroidery of my witchy dress. The Apiologist’s clothing reflects their passion for dark subcultures, and everything is made locally with ethical practices. 

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Details of the hand-finished embroidery — an abstract red floral motif, on one side near the skirt hem.  

My Goth styling may shift over the years, but fishnets and these platform leather boots are eternal. 

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How would you describe this occult look — witchcore? Wearing a Skulls and Webs ‘N That scarf and Funeral March dress from The Apiologist. 

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I’m ready to celebrate sakura season with Sapphire Studios’ eye-catching three-tone Earrings from their Cherry Blossom Collection, Inspired by Japanese spring blossoms, these dangle earrings are silver with yellow and rose gold accents, set with 0.28ct Swarovski stones.  

Sapphire Studios Design also makes this Down the Rabbit Hole Key necklace, from the ‘Two Worlds’ Alice in Wonderland Collection.

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The scarf and my Jennifer Ouellette black leather visor have an added bonus: they keep this vampire shaded from the sun. 

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My hair has never been this long! Thank you BlameChad for keeping it healthy and vibrant purple, with pink front highlight strips.

All photos by Joey Wong. He quarantined alone for two weeks, and then we took photos outside with this Sony A7 camera.

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Here are some additional photos we took, at Vancouver’s Mountain View Cemetery. Been haunting graveyards since 1666! It was windy that day, but my hands were snug thanks to these black leather gloves by Skandinavik Fur.

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A cemetery is a fitting place to take my Shadows bat ring and St Noir double skull ring, by Sapphire Studios. 

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Sapphire Studios is all about elegant Gothic jewelry that stands out, as you can see. The Down the Rabbit Hole necklace contrasts nicely against a black and sheer top. The three tone floral earrings from the Cherry Blossom Collection match the pink in my hair.  

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Their jewelry comes packaged beautifully, and includes velvet boxes for the rings — ideal for a Gothic engagement. 

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I haven’t been able to see many friends over the past year, due to the lockdown…. Good thing my ghost-buddies are always here for me.  

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And Miffy the Dutch Bunny is always ready with a cuddle or two. I think the whole world knows that Dick Bruna’s cute character is my animal spirit.

These new plush toys are beautifully made by Douglas Toys, and available via Maisonette. 

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As you can see, the stuffed rabbit detailing is fantastic, from the rounded shapes to the embroidered eyes. I can’t stop hugging the larger classic deluxe Miffy. She is so plump and fuzzy, and I am all about that minimalist aesthetic.

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The smaller Miffy has a modern palette that matches my apartment’s color scheme (including this Eames chair). She wears an aqua dress that says It’s Cool To Be Kind. 

Maisonette has more Miffy toy variations including bunnies in full pink and yellow, or wearing different colored dresses.

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I’ve been staying cozy in my Snow Bunny shirt from Truffle Shuffle. They carry a range of Miffy clothing items and home accessories, starring the X-mouthed rabbit. I also have their Japanese Miffy t-shirt and more. 

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This is what happens if you try to take away my Miffy bunny rabbits! Get your own designer plush toys on Maisonette. 

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Bonus: a fourth look! I went for a sort of hippie-Goth aesthetic. I’m wearing a black and gold stars headband by Jennifer Ouellette.

Skandinavik’s soft gloves are masterfully made, with a handy opening so I can show my nails. The side has a Gothic lace-up adjustable tie. 

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And I am wearing Chloe Rosie Heart sunglasses — get them here. I always wanted heart-shaped glasses, and love Chloe’s brown-tinted designer ones with gold detail. 

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Another look at my headband, and dress by Ains & Elke StyleHaus. They create vintage and antique-inspired clothing, with a focus on inclusivity. 

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Their Gemma Sarong dress has a sweetheart neckline and elastic straps that can be worn off-the-shoulder. 

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With a subtle vertical polka dots, a tapered waist, and layered fabric detail on one side, this Ains & Elke dress will make you feel like a million bucks. 

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Jennifer Ouellette also made this charming blue headband with a floral twist detail. It fits well with my hair, which I’ve been curling using the “heatless bathrobe curls” method that went viral on TikTok! As you can see, it really does work. 

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I hope these Goth styling tips inspired you to play around with your wardrobe, and create a variety of occult / alternative / witch looks. For more of my outfit photos, find me on @lacarmina Instagram, Twitter and Tik Tok.

PS: I was featured in the Globe and Mail newspaper, in an interview about travel and lucid dreams. I share how “I dream of Tokyo and Hong Kong. I’m walking through busy cities, looking at people… it’s as vivid as if I were actually there.”

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Finally, are any of you on the Clubhouse app? I founded the first Gothic-themed club there, and you’re invited to come and chat with me. Simply add @lacarmina, or use this direct link to join my Goth Talk club on Clubhouse.

If you follow me on @lacarmina Instagram / Twitter, you’ll know that I’ve been moderating a Sunday Scaries event for Come chat with me and sleep doctors about ways to maximise sleep health – you can ask me questions about traveling in lucid dreams, or anything! I hope you’ll join our next chat about debunking sleep myths (Sunday, 6-7pm PT). See you on Clubhouse!



Joshua Tree Park’s most photographic locations! Best Instagram spots: Skull Rock, Hall of Horrors, Cholla Cactus

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Oh Palm Springs… You turned out to be one of my final and happiest trips in the before-times!

I’ve been saving these Joshua Tree photos from January 2020, as they remind me of how carefree things were before the world locked down. Look at where we are now, coming up on a year of being shut in (for me, the date was March 14)…

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It’s hard to know what to expect and timelines are always shifting. But I hope we’ll soon be able to get back in the saddle again, be together with friends, and embark on new adventures worldwide. 

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When that time comes, Joshua Tree is a destination that you must consider. To help you prepare, I’ll share my Gothic guide to the Californian national park — including how to see Skull Rock (above), and Hall of Horrors!  

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I’m quite pleased with how my outfit turned out for a desert fashion shoot.

My cutaway waist black long-sleeved top is by Forest Ink, and my black hat is from Tenth Street Hats. My sunglasses are by Oliver Goldsmith.

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Auxiliary Magazine published these images as well, in a “Flowers in the Desert” fashion editorial. Photography by Joey Wong, hair color by Chad Evans at BlameChad.

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From Palm Springs, Joshua Tree is an easy drive — less than an hour northeast, and you’re there. We went in January 2020, so the weather was warm yet comfortable. I suggest avoiding Palm Desert in the summer, when temperatures reach boiling levels.

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We rented a car from Palm Springs airport, and found it easy to get around — the roads are wide and empty. Our hot tip: be sure to listen to the KGAY 106.5 FM radio station! Known as “the pride of the valley,” KGAY provided us with the perfect roadtrip soundtrack of disco, dance and 80s.

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To avoid crowds, I encourage you to visit Joshua Tree park on weekdays, and to arrive early. Start at the visitor center: the staff gave us a map, and circled sites of interest. Here, you can pay the entrance fee of $30 per vehicle, or $15 for individuals.

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It’s impossible to see all of Joshua Tree’s natural attractions, as the national park spans 790,636 acres. As you can see, the desert landscape is out of this world. You’ll encounter giant rounded boulders, bizarre rock formations, cacti and desert shrubs…

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… and of course, the namesake Joshua trees, also known as the yucca palm. I’m standing next to a large one; the species is easy to spot with its distinctive upturned branches.

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Joey and I were keen to do fashion photography in Joshua Tree. If you’re looking to take modeling / portrait photos, I advise you to stay away from the landmarks, which attract lots of visitors. Instead, look for interesting backdrops in obscure spots. (This set was taken at Belle Campground.)

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We loved the Flintstones vibe of Joshua Tree. With alien rocks and blue skies like these, it’s no wonder the park is popular with Instagrammers and content creators.

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You’ll be out in the open grasslands, with no shade… so wear a hat, multiple layers of sunscreen, and SPF protective clothing like I did!

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I found the sheer floral maxi skirt at Burcu’s Angels, my favorite vintage store in Vancouver BC. The sweeping drama of the fabric worked nicely in the shots.

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Westworld vibes… Of course, I’d be wearing a black hat.

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Next, we had to traverse the Hall of Horrors, based on the name alone! I’m standing in front of what is known as the Exorcist Area.

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I’m not sure why this area of Joshua Tree has such a frightful name, but it works for my Gothic style. The Hall of Horrors is a terrific spot for bouldering, and creeping through narrow rock passages

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OOTD: Wearing a black cutaway shirt by Forest Ink, black sunhat by Tenth Street Hats, and Oliver Goldsmith sunglasses.

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Joey and I focused on enjoying the sights and taking photos during our Joshua Tree day trip. Hardier types might partake in activities like hiking, bouldering, and camping overnight.

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“In the name of the Moon, I will punish you!” I adore this shot – you can see the moon next to the precariously perched round boulder.

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Then, I had to make a pilgrimage to Skull Rock. Believe it or not, this isn’t a skeleton head carved out of stone – it’s a natural formation! (Doesn’t it remind you of the Citadel in “Mad Max: Fury Road”?)

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The granite rock eroded over time, creating what looks like two eye sockets in a cone-shaped skull.

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Be sure to visit Skull Rock and give it a Hail! You can also go a little further northeast to Spooky Hollow, which looks like two eyes cut out of a rock are glaring at you.

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Although I’m often in LA, I never made it out to Joshua Tree National Park until this trip. It’s just over a two hour drive east from Los Angeles.

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I’m glad I was able to come here under such perfect conditions, before traveling came to a halt. I think you can sense how inspired and happy we felt in Palm Springs!

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Mother Nature is quite the architect. There are endless spots for shooting interesting pictures, whether you’re using a DSLR or a smartphone camera.

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When travel ramps up again, it’s a great idea to start by visiting a national park and spending time outdoors.

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I enjoy adapting my Gothic aesthetic to my surroundings. This “dark desert rose” maxi skirt was made for Joshua Tree.

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The enormous park includes a variety of ecosystems. The western and northern areas include the Mojave Desert, where Joshua trees are concentrated. The southern end is part of the Sonoran Desert, which is drier and more barren.

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Travel Tips: You won’t find food stands around the park, so bring lots of water and snacks. Also, use the restrooms at the Visitor Center when you arrive and leave.

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We stayed in Palm Springs and made Joshua Tree a day trip. We arrived in the morning, and left as the sun was setting.

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I am drawn to places that look like alien planets, and Joshua Tree stirred my imagination.

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Look out for the wildlife, which includes birds, lizards, and squirrels. At night, you may come face-to-face with coyotes, lynxes, and jackrabbits.

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One of the most fascinating areas: Cholla Cactus Garden. Take care as you walk, or you’ll get pricked by the sea of cacti!

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Bang-bang, I shot you down…

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The main species is known as the teddy bear cholla — but you don’t want to give these spiked cacti a hug! When the plant dies, it exposes a spooky woody skeleton underneath.

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Doing a cactus pose in the Cholla Cactus Garden. (I didn’t wear the maxi skirt layer, lest it get caught in the spikes.)

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We also saw cacti of all shapes and sizes at the Moorten Botanical Garden in Palm Springs. (See the photos and story here.)

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After you leave Joshua Tree Park, it’s worth swinging by the Noah Purifoy Outdoor Desert Art Museum, which is a short drive away. This free open-air art space contains a whimsical collection of folk art by the artist.

Noah Purifoy Outdoor Desert Art Museum train

Noah Purifoy makes assemblage sculptures out of discarded materials such as burnt wood, children’s toys, and computer keyboards.

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He turns unexpected materials – like pants – into large-scale works, which look especially compelling against the desert horizon.

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What looks like an elegant abstract sculpture… is actually made out of toilets! Everything was made on-site between 1989 and 2004.

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Ah… those were the days, when we could explore freely…

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When it’s safe again, I hope this post inspires you to visit Joshua Tree’s most Gothic and bizarre spots.

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When you plan your trip, look back at all my Palm Springs travel articles. These include tips about restaurants, design hotels, and the LGBT nightlife in Palm Springs.

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I’ll end with a quick press and journalism round-up. The New York Times interviewed me about fashion, for a Wirecutter style story! The NY Times wrote: “I learned about unique ways to style white shoes from La Carmina, an alternative fashion blogger who specializes in subculture styles.”

I also took part in a Dark Beauty Magazine interview; I was on the cover of their alternative fashion magazine years ago.

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I’m continuing to write for a variety of publications. I’m now a journalist for The Daily Beast! I wrote about Satanic destinations worldwide – including the Baphomet statue at The Satanic Temple, a Devil museum in Lithuania, and a Thai Buddhist Hell park. My aticle about hellish places was also published by Yahoo and MSN.

For Fodor’s, I wrote about the world’s most bizarre beauty pageants. Did you know there are beauty contests for Barbie dolls, attractive camels, Klingon women, and ugly faces?

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More of my writing will be released soon, as well as new photoshoots and local stories. You can keep up with La Carmina on @lacarmina Twitter and Instagram.

One year in… it’s challenging, but we’ll make it through. Please take care of yourselves, everyone!