Mixing gothic fashion with non-gothic fashion.
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That's the kind of place that makes being a "semi-gothic" necessary! living in a small town or rural area, is almost impossible to dress full on gothic fashion and be in business. So go into it slowly- start dressing all in black, but in 'regular' fashion styles. (black jeans, tees, turtle necks) Then add the boots, accessories.
People, even conservative ones, will get used to slow gothic fashion changes, and they will realize that you are still the you that they know and trust. well, most of them will. Some will turn wrong side out and decide you are the gothic devil. There is nothing you can do about these people.
Will you be able, as a guy, to wear makeup in a conservative small town? No, no more than I can dye my hair vivid purple. But gothic people can still do a lot! In today`s society the most outrageous looking gothic fashion can work against you, depending on what your goals are. Looking bizzare isn't so important to me that I am willing to limit my choices in life anymore. For others, what they want to do in life isn't affected at all by their choice of attire. I am comfortable in what I wear, be it more conservative, or whatever, I like the way I look.
For example, You can be happy with pairing black business clothes with tall, pointy boots, But the best is to develop your own sense of gothic fashion style, and that will assure that you are comfortable. Plus, you will probably gravitate more towards gothic fashion styles that suit you, rather than trying to fit yourself into a formula that may flatter very few gothic people, but is all the rage. This may sound odd, but gothic people will start to associate you as much with your personal sense of taste as the fact that you seem comfortable in your own skin.
I think looking "right" comes from inside. It can be seen in other fashions besides gothic. Something that some people might have viewed as "outlandish" or "undesirable" can be transformed into "wow! who'd have thought" or "you look great" just from having the confidence to carry it off and the conviction that it suits. Many, many people are much more gothic that that.
Dressing with gothic fashion is not specifically the opposite of "dressing nice" (ie: "Dyed hair, while dressing nice"). Perhaps you can chose looks that could resemble romanti-gothic or "gucci gothic", but I think Cybergoths are also among others that would say their chosen aesthetics are meant to "look nice", Meaning that gothic clothing and accessories that are well selected, matched according to that person's taste and in good condition. Its all a matter of opinion anf gothic fashion choices.