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Emo outfits are highly variable, but they are very closely associated with emo music. As such, the styles worn by emo bands can be used as an indicator of what is currently acceptable in emo fashion. More generally, emo outfits borrow stylistically from goth and punk subcultures, and often include black and tight clothing. Much of what appears emo is determined not by clothing but by hairstyle, makeup, and posture, making it more difficult to determine what clothes will look emo in a finished ensemble.
Commonly, emo outfits will consist of tight or skinny pants, a t-shirt, and a hoodie of some sort. The pants can be in any color, although black and neon are extremely popular. T-shirts can be plain or patterned, and displaying the name of a popular band is common. Hoodies may bear patterns all over or may be in a plain color, but they are typically tight. Sometimes, clothes with long sleeves will have thumb holes cut in the cuff of the item.
Unlike goth clothes, emo outfits can incorporate any number of colors, although it is typical to pair these colors with black and white. Neon colors are more popular than pastels, but there are no restrictions on colors in emo clothing. In fact, what makes an outfit look emo is much more the fit of the items than the design. Happy, child-oriented designs can be subverted into moody emo outfits with very little effort.
One feature of emo clothing that is highly unique is the use of emo slogans on items of clothing. Phrases glorifying moodiness, suicide, and loneliness are all popular in emo subcultures. Some people who identify themselves as emo may accuse others wearing these slogans of being posers, but it depends on the environment.
Emo shoes can take many different forms, but shoes worn by skateboarders are popular. Women have many shoe options, and many elect to simply wear black or neon shoes. Typically, accessories need only match the clothing. Fine jewelry is usually shunned in favor of plastic and cheap items.
It is hard to define what constitutes emo clothing because emo is more of an attitude than a fashion style. People who carry themselves in a certain way, style their hair in a specific fashion, and talk about certain topics are likely to be identified as emo no matter what clothing they wear. When selecting an emo outfit, the best strategy is to look at what people who are popular in the emo movement are wearing. This way an observer will always get an impression of what is currently acceptable in the movement.
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