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.