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How to Dress Goth: A Guide to Gothic Style

Unlock your inner goth with our comprehensive guide on how to dress.

October 8, 2023
6 min read

Tired of blending in with the normies? Yearning to unleash your inner darkness? Fear not, for this comprehensive guide will show you how to dress goth and embrace your macabre side with style and flair. Prepare to dive headfirst into the abyss of the goth aesthetic and take your wardrobe to the depths of darkness.

Understanding the Goth Aesthetic

Before we embark on this journey to Gothdom, it is crucial to understand the roots of goth fashion. The origins of goth can be traced back to the late 1970s and early 1980s, emerging from the punk scene. Goth fashion arose as a rebellion against societal norms, embracing dark and melancholic themes.

There’s no one way to dress goth, but if there’s one thing that every darkling has in common, it’s a love of black. From head to toe, your attire should be immersed in obsidian hues. Leather, lace, and velvet are the fabrics of choice, adding a touch of elegance to your dark ensemble.

But the gothic subculture is not just about wearing black; it’s a way of expressing oneself through clothing and accessories. The goth aesthetic is often associated with a sense of mystery and romanticism, drawing inspiration from various sources such as Victorian fashion, horror literature, and medieval architecture.

Accessories play a crucial role in completing the goth ensemble, and they often turn a plain black fit into something that reads as ‘goth’. Chokers, adorned with spikes or delicate pendants, add edginess and elegance. Other accessories such as fingerless gloves, fishnet stockings, and platform boots are also commonly seen in the goth subculture.

Hairstyles in the goth community are often characterized by their boldness and uniqueness. Jet-black hair, styled in elaborate updos or cascading curls, is a common sight. Some goths also experiment with vibrant hair colours such as deep purple or blood red, adding a striking contrast to their overall appearance.

Makeup is another essential aspect of the goth aesthetic. Dark, smoky eyes are a staple, achieved through the use of black eyeshadow and eyeliner. Deep, rich lipstick shades such as burgundy or black are commonly worn to complete the dramatic look.

Note: Traditionally, pale as death skin is seen as the ideal for gothic and alternative looks – but we don’t subscribe to that. You do not have to have pale skin to be goth, emo or alternative!

Goth fashion is not limited to a specific gender either; it’s a style that can be embraced by anyone who resonates with its dark allure. The goth subculture encourages individuality and self-expression, allowing individuals to explore their creativity through fashion.

Now that you have a deeper understanding of the goth aesthetic, it’s time to embrace your dark side and express yourself through this captivating fashion style. Remember, goth fashion is not just about the clothes you wear – it’s about embracing a mindset and immersing yourself in a world of darkness and beauty.

Building Your Goth Wardrobe

Now that you comprehend the essence of goth fashion, it’s time to build your wardrobe accordingly. If you have strong sense of style, then you may already know what ‘style’ of goth appeals to you most, but if not, then it’s always good to start with the basics. Building a goth wardrobe doesn’t have to be an expensive affair either, as we discuss in Dressing Goth on a Budget.

And basics for dressing goth always starts with the question – “does it come in black?” Start with black, and you can’t go far wrong.

When you’ve mastered the art of a black wardrobe, then you can take a foray into other colours. Always opt for deep shades like crimson, purple, or forest green to evoke the darkness within. Add elements of lace, stripes, and even floral patterns to bring a touch of Victorian elegance to your ensemble.

When it comes to tops, consider investing in a variety of styles that reflect the goth aesthetic. A black velvet blouse with intricate lace detailing can add a touch of romance to your look, while a leather jacket with metal studs can give you a rebellious edge. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different textures and fabrics to create a unique and visually captivating outfit.

Accessories are key to completing your goth wardrobe. Think beyond the usual jewelry and consider adding statement pieces like a wide-brimmed hat or a choker adorned with spikes. These accessories not only add an extra layer of style but also help to enhance the overall gothic vibe.

When it comes to bottoms, you have a range of options to choose from. A pair of black skinny jeans is a versatile staple that can be paired with almost anything in your wardrobe. For a more dramatic look, consider investing in a floor-length black skirt with layers of tulle or a pair of leather pants that exude confidence and attitude.

Footwear is another crucial aspect of a goth wardrobe (indeed, any wardrobe). While combat boots are a must-have, don’t limit yourself to just one style. Explore different options like platform boots with chunky heels or Victorian-inspired lace-up boots. These shoes not only provide comfort and durability but also add an extra touch of gothic flair to your overall look.

Lastly, don’t forget to pay attention to your hair and makeup. Experiment with dark and bold colours, such as deep red lipstick or smoky eye shadow, to enhance your gothic appearance. Consider styling your hair in intricate braids, elegant updos, or even adding colourful extensions to further express your individuality.

Building a goth wardrobe is an ongoing process of self-expression and exploration. Embrace your creativity and don’t be afraid to mix and match different elements to create a style that is uniquely yours. Remember, goth fashion is all about embracing the darkness within and celebrating your individuality in a world that often tries to conform.

Accessorizing Like a Goth

No goth outfit is complete without the perfect accessories to accentuate your dark allure. When it comes to jewelry, think silver, spikes, and all things occult. Adorn yourself with statement necklaces featuring moon pendants or pentagrams to showcase your mystical side.

But let’s delve deeper into the world of gothic jewelry. Beyond just moon pendants and pentagrams, there are so many other symbols that can add an extra layer of mystery to your ensemble. Consider adding a delicate anklet with a tiny coffin charm, or perhaps a ring adorned with a miniature bat. These small details can make a big impact and truly elevate your goth look.

And don’t forget about the power of rings. Gothic rings are not just accessories, they are statements of your individuality and style. From intricate designs featuring skulls and roses to elegant black gemstones, there is a wide range of options to choose from.

Footwear and bags play a pivotal role in goth fashion. Embrace the darkness with chunky black boots, both sleek and terrifying. But let’s not limit ourselves to just boots. There are so many other styles to explore. Consider lace-up platform shoes, adorned with spikes and chains, or perhaps velvet ballet flats with skull-shaped buckles. The possibilities are endless, and each choice will add a unique touch to your overall goth aesthetic.

As for bags, choose dark and brooding designs, embracing the fusion of style and functionality, ensuring you always have space for your secret spell book. Look for bags with intricate patterns, such as spiderwebs or bats, to truly capture the essence of gothic fashion.

More often than not, more is more when it comes to goth fashion. So why not add a wide-brimmed hat? Or a veil, perfect for creating an air of mystique and intrigue. Perhaps a pair of fingerless gloves, adorned with lace and ribbons, to add a touch of elegance to your ensemble. The key is to experiment and find the accessories that resonate with your personal style and enhance your gothic look.

Different Goth Subcultures

Within the broad realm of goth fashion, various subcultures exist, each with their unique twist on the macabre. Victorian Goth harkens back to the romantic era of lace, corsets, and dark elegance. Cyber Goth adds a futuristic touch with neon accents and industrial accessories. And then there’s Pastel Goth, a lighter and softer take on Goth fashion infused with pastel colours and a sprinkle of whimsy.

In need of a bit of inspo to help you construct some incredible outfits? Check out our 10 Goth Girl Instagrammers post!

Embrace the subculture that resonates, mix and match elements from different subcultures to create your own unique blend of dark beauty, or just swap from one day to the next!

So, darklings, armed with this comprehensive guide, you are now prepared to dress goth and make a statement that screams, “I may be dark, but I do it with style!” Embrace your dark side, experiment with different looks, and most importantly, have fun summoning your inner goth fashionista. The world is your gothic runway, strut with confidence and let the world know that you are here to rock your darkness in the most fabulous way possible!

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Hi, I’m Darcie.

Bound in Bone is my goth fashion and lifestyle blog. I like to write about dark outfits, spooky interiors and the goth lifestyle in general. You’ll find everything from alternative markets to what to wear to the gym, and more!

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