The goth aesthetic has influenced countless fashion icons and spawned numerous subsets since it first emerged forty years ago. Versatile and brooding, this style is great at adding a dash of mystery to your outfit. So if you ever wanted to try going goth but didn't know where to start, this is the perfect article for you!
However, before we begin, let's look back on the origins of this enduring and fascinating aesthetic.
What Is Goth? Where Did it Come From?
This aesthetic originally surfaced as part of a music-driven movement derived from the UK punk scene in the late 1970s and early 80s. But instead of worrying with politics and nihilism like their punk counterparts, goths were fascinated by dark themes such as death and occultism.
The term ‘goth' was initially coined by music journalists to describe certain bands such as Bauhaus and Siouxie and the Banshees, whose lyrics discussed ‘creepy' subjects and whose fashion sense was a lot darker than their peers. Goths later reclaimed the label, thus solidifying one of the most long-lasting subcultures ever.
What Does the Goth Aesthetic Consist of?
The original goth aesthetic featured influences from classic literature and B-movies from the 1950s. For example, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and films such as 1958's Creature from the Black Lagoon. In addition, it's characterized by the use of dark hues such as black and red.
Traditional goth fashion features a mixture of Victorian-inspired items and modern day clothing, like corsets and mini skirts, which are almost always paired up with versatile items such as combat boots.
Regarding makeup, black winged eyeliner and black eyeshadow are staples of the classic goth aesthetic. Dark-colored lipstick is also used, mostly in dark red or purple. Another element is the use of light foundation, at least two shades lighter than your natural skin tone. This is done in order to add some paleness to the skin, providing a ghostly and ethereal vibe to the overall look. Disheveled hair with tons of hairspray is also a main element in this style.
Mall Goth Aesthetic
The goth aesthetic has morphed and birthed several subcategories in the last forty years, with Mall Goth, Pastel Goth and Nu Goth being the most popular. These two styles take the core elements from their predecessor and adapt it to current times.
Though similar, Pastel and Nu Goth take different approaches to the goth aesthetic.
Ok, so now you've learned the basis of the goth aesthetic. But how can you nail the look?
1. Wear Black!
This is pretty obvious, but it's worth mentioning nonetheless. Black is the most important color in this aesthetic, so make sure to incorporate it into your wardrobe.
2. Dye Your Hair
The goth aesthetic is all about expressing yourself through fashion, and a great way of doing so is experimenting with hair dye. You can go as colorful as you want or keep it dark —choice is yours!
3. Play Around with Makeup
Another staple of this style is makeup. There are virtually no rules to goth makeup, other than using a dark color scheme and light foundation. Check out these goth makeup ideas for some inspo!
4. Wear Leather
Leather is a super reliable material that will add the right amount of edge to your outfit and make you look badass. There are tons of clothing made from vegan leather in our store, so you might want to check that out.
5. Rock a Black Tee
If you want to start with something more casual, a simple black tee will do the trick. It's a super versatile item and a great way to begin experimenting with goth fashion.
6. Put on Tights
Tights are great at adding a feminine and sensual vibe to your outfit, which is super important in the goth aesthetic. There are countless designs that you can choose from, such as classic fishnets and even spiderweb pantyhoses.
7. Thrown in a Pair of Boots
A good pair of boots will make you look elegant and terrifying all at once. Plus, they're timeless items. A pair of combat boots is perfect for a more traditional goth look, though platform and ankle boots are amazing as well.
Accessories are hugely significant to both elevate and finish off your look. You can go for something BDSM-inspired and like a choker, or something more religious like inverted cross earrings or pentagrams.