What are Goth Clothes?

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  • Written By: Tara Barnett
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 09 January 2020
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Goth clothes, in their most common incarnation, are black clothes paired with goth-style accessories and makeup. The clothing itself is typically made in one of several gothic styles, but black is almost always the most common and dominant color. Women's clothing may include vintage and highly feminine skirts, or it may be as modern as other styles of clothing. For men, both historical and modern styles are also popular. Thematically, death and dark icons are often a large part of what makes goth clothes appear gothic.

Almost any primarily black outfit can be considered goth clothing if a person who is part of the goth subculture is wearing it. Features that make goth clothes more strikingly gothic are not shared across all sects of the goth subculture. For example, some members of this culture wear goth clothes that are designed to resemble period pieces from a Victorian era, sometimes with modified macabre accessories or anachronistic fabrics. On the opposite end of the spectrum, goth clothes can be made entirely out of synthetic fabrics and zippers.

Usually, black and silver are the most common colors for goth clothes and jewelry. Highlight colors may be used in an ensemble, but what makes an outfit look goth is a primarily monochrome clothing arrangement with silver or black jewelry. Straps and belts are common parts of goth outfits, even when these items are non-functional.


Often, goth clothes express an interest in certain goth ideals and philosophies. Death, for example, is a common theme in gothic subcultures, so coffins and other death-related imagery are often seen on shirts and jewelry. Spiders, bones, and spikes are often part of goth clothing as well. Clothing related to goth bands or artists is also considered acceptable in most goth subcultures.

Women's clothing is often more elaborate than clothing for men, but this is not always the case regarding Victorian goth clothing and some other sects. Fishnet, lace, and other otherwise feminized materials are often worn by men. Some gothic men wear skirts or utility kilts, and many wear leggings and tight shirts. These clothing choices do not reflect sexual orientation in this case.

Men and women who are members of goth subcultures often work to coordinate outfits to express a relationship. Chains connecting partners, for example, are common in some sects. Otherwise, matching fabrics or themes may be used to make a pair seem more like a couple. These dressing habits are somewhat unique among fashion movements and may be disturbing to onlookers.


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Post 3

I wish that cool punk and goth clothing was available at places other than stereotypical goth clothing stores. I am someone who likes looking for things that are a little different, and the things that are "goth" seem to me to be just as fake as "preppy" or any other clothing type. Sometimes I can find cool things at thrift shops, but I think if I really want to keep experimenting with my style, I might have to even start making my own clothes.

Post 2

@elizabeth23- I can relate. Especially when I started dyeing my hair from brown to black a few years ago, my mom and some of my friends thought I was trying too hard to be "different" in some way. While I do like some "goth" clothing for women, that was never my intention. I think black clothes can look chic and timeless, for me it's not at all about being cool or alternative.

I think that especially for teenagers, and even for adults sometimes, we're so used to thinking black is a sad color that people are turned off from wearing it.

Post 1

Not everyone who wears a lot of black wants to fit into the goth culture. I have always worn a lot of black, but mostly because I just think it's a good color for me. It goes well with my skin and brings out my blue eyes.

When I was in high school, though, which is when I started wearing a lot of black, some of this was seen as me trying to "be a goth" and I was criticized by some people.

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