Dressing Goth on a Budget

  Goth Basics by boundinbone featuring a black motorcycle jacket We all know that dressing in awesome labels all the time is expensive. The likes […]

February 8, 2016
4 min read
Goth Basics
Goth Basics


We all know that dressing in awesome labels all the time is expensive. The likes of Killstar, Iron Fist, Dolls Kill, and Lip Service don’t come cheap, and if you want to look goth but you don’t have the budget for it, then it can make you sadder than a really sad thing.

It’s all very well lusting after the wardrobes of the Instagram famous, bloggers and models, but it pays to remember that they do get given stuff from the PR people of these companies.

So, we regular folk have to make do with what we can find on the high street.

The High Street

Just like everyone else who has a style that’s not mainstream, you might have to work a bit harder to find something to wear that complements your goth aesthetic.

However, if you’re into high fashion and what the designers are doing on the catwalk, then you may have a better idea of what to look for. If there are gothic influences going on the runway, this will then trickle down into high street, and you’ll be able to pick things up that have a bit of an edge to them.


H&M – they often have ranges that are a little bit goth/grunge/punk. In 2011, they had a range inspired by Lisbeth Salander of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and regularly stock items like black and white striped jumpers and trousers, black fluffy jumpers, cheap biker jackets and leather trousers. They also have a great Halloween selection, so keep an eye out when that rolls around!

New Look – good for basics, like vest tops, tube skirts, cardigans, etc, as well as the odd dress or jumper that might pop up as being a bit more interesting than the regular fare that they stock.

All That Glitters is Not Gold… or Black

First rule of high street goth shopping: just because it’s black doesn’t mean that it will look goth. Basics are fine – you can pair it with something else to amp up the goth.

However, leather, velvet and sheer fabrics will instantly look more goth than simple cotton (though of course this has it’s place in your wardrobe too).

Look for skulls, crosses, moons and stars and other motifs that nod to the occult. Patterns wise, look for wide black and white stripes, red tartan, and lace. When it comes to embellishments, studs, hardware or embroidery work well.

All About the Accessories

Really, all you need is a few basics, and then you can ham the rest up. Accessories are really important. Things like great jewellery, hair and shoes make ALL the difference. So, you can get away with not buying from the big alt brands if you know how to accessorise. You might have to spend a little bit more on accessories, but if they’re an investment piece, then they will serve you well for a long time.

You can make pretty much any outfit look more edgy with a good pair of tights. Something like these can make a plain black dress look more goth instantly. On the same note, knee high socks and a garter like this studded heart one works the same way.

Jewellery is easily done if you know where to look. There are a great number of witchy jewellery shops out there online, such as Black Moon, Regal Rose and Empty Casket , who are all reasonably priced and have lots of gorgeous jewellery to transform outfits that are verging on black normcore.

Shoes. Glorious shoes. There are a number of ways that you can go for shoes. From rounded toe, platform styles to pointy, buckle laden ankle boots to big black lace up boots, it’s up to you with regards to how much you can afford, and what your style is. For high quality, goth-style shoes, then you may have to save up and spend a bit more. For instance, Underground and TUK do great creeper shoes in a range of styles, but they do tend to be a bit pricey. You can find shoes on the high street, but you may have to do some hunting.

The Basic Wardrobe

The Tee – over sized and black. They’re the only two things that you absolutely need of a black tee. It could have anything from my little pony on it, a la pastel goth, to the artwork of your favourite band, but it needs to be oversized and black. Rinse and repeat as necessary. New Look has a perfect one, right here.

Collar and Cuffs – white shirt, black dress/top and you’re done. It can read as smart, too, which is great for corporate goths (the struggle is real, I know, I’m one too), but you can also goth it up very, very easily. Feel free to mix up the colours (as long as it’s black) and materials.

Skinny Jeans – no more needs to be said, any type will do. You can find them pretty much anywhere.

Skirts – whatever your shape, you need a few black skirts. Long, flowy ones, or short, body con styles, skirts are a must. Find them in the basic sections of any high street shops and get buying!

Biker Jacket – adds instant edge to every outfit, even if you’re wearing pink or a tutu… or something. This is a piece that you can find quite cheaply, but you can also see it as an investment piece and spend much more, and you’ll end up with a jacket that will last longer, and perhaps look more expensive.

Fishnet Top – wear under layers to add a hint of something darker to your outfit.

Dresses – again, choose according to your body type, and what you feel good in. You can get away with shopping in the basic section and simply adding accessories to goth it up. A simple black dress can be turned up with a spiky choker, a biker jacket and a pair of creepers or big boots.

How do you keep costs down when it comes to shopping?


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