"The particular way in which the Goth subculture dresses itself and uses make-up to give the appearance of death is a physical representation of the belief that modern society has sucked the life out of humanity. By appearing in such a way the members of the Goth subculture are making a general declaration to the rest of society and in particular to the dominant culture that they are to blame for creating these monsters, these walking dead."-Andrew Fereday
There are many different types of Goths and many different types of Goth clothing. The outfits can be quite intricate and quite pricey. The materials, colours, influences and styles of the various fashions differ greatly from one another. Gothic music and fashion are symbiotic. For example Cyber fashions usually reflect the themes of Industrial music. I will attempt to give a brief description of most of the Gothic fashions along with some links that correspond to that fashion.
"The origins of contemporary goth style are found in the Victorian cult of mourning." -Cintra Wilson
The Romantic fashions are full of elegance. Some are Ethereal and flowy while others are bound and restrained with tight corsets and chokers. Inspirations for the Romantic styles are taken from the Medieval, Renaissance, Victorian, and Edwardian eras. The fabrics can consist of velvets, silks, chiffon or lace. Jewellery can be pearls, chokers, crosses, ankhs, silver and precious stones. For make up smoky eyes and dark lips are typical of the look.
Goth is no stranger to the world of high fashion. Designers such as Alexander McQueen, h.NAOTO, Marko Mitanovski, Gareth Pugh, Ann Demeulemeester, Rei Kawakubo, Rodarte, John Galliano of Christian Dior, Rick Owens, Olivier Theyskens, Alice Auaa, Yohji Yamamoto and Philipp Plein have dark angels walking down their runways.
Think of the jilted bride gone mad (Miss Havisham from Dicken's Great Expectations), the brides of Dracula in their ghostly white gowns, the bride of Frankenstein, ice queens and those white aristocratic blouses worn by the vampires in Interview with the Vampire. This look can consist of white lace, veils, pearls accented with blood red, ice blue or dark eye makeup. But the white look can work with any of the other Goth fashions such as a futuristic Cyber Goth look with white dreads and transculenct tubing. White is the colour of innocence, purity and brides in Western culture but in Asian countries white symbolizes death, mourning and bad luck and is traditionally worn at funerals.
Pastel Goth aka Creepy Cute is all about mixing cute and innocent with very disturbing. This look features pastels, glitter, decay, blood, tears and bandages. 80s pastel T-shirts, Japanese manga, kids jewellery and striking eye contacts are often worn. It's a fashion that is related to Gothic Lolita.
Think of a futuristic post-apocalyptic world where you have to watch your back. Think of movies like Mad Max, Aeon Flux, The Matrix, Blade Runner and Minority Report. This fashion typically consists of bright fluorescent colours combined with darker more muted greys, silvers, black or even white. It can also be dusty and torn with faded colours and have a militaristic look. Or as in the picture of the singer from Angelspit above..it can even be mixed with Victorian or Edwardian aesthetics. Another look is that of something out of a futuristic medical horror movie with evil nurses. This clothing style is usually made up of synthetic materials such as rubbers and plastics and often includes accessories necessary to survive such as masks and goggles. It is said that David Bowie’s look in the 70s was influential on this style. In Fact, the Shrine clothing model above looks a bit like David Bowie in the movie Labyrinth.
“It is often assumed that girls who dress in Lolita follow a Lolita 'lifestyle' in which they seek to emulate the mannerisms, etiquette and the aesthetic of historical time periods, specifically that of the Victorian era.” - Wikipedia
Gothic Lolita fashion is a dark baby-doll look. Think of the tragic undead life of Claudia in the movie Interview with the Vampire and how she is trapped in a childs body for eternity looking like a perfect doll and you began to understand what Gothic Lolita is about. This style first appeared in Japan in the 1980s and is still very popular. It was influenced by Victorian and Rococo fashions. The look is varied as there are many different styles of Lolita fashion. The look generally consists of short (knee length) frilly dresses or skirts, headdresses, platform shoes, blouses and petticoats, which are often accessorized with a lace umbrella or a purse. The Japanese musician and fashion designer, Mana of the band Malice Mizer, is widely considered the figurehead of this fashion as he helped to popularize it.
There are many sub-categories of Lolita fashion: Sweet Lolita, Classic Lolita, Wa (Japanese) Lolita, Qi (Chinese) Lolita, Ōji (Boystyle) Lolita, Hime (princess) Lolita, Guro Lolita (Gore Lolita) and Sailor Lolita.
"Many who have adopted Neo-Victorian style have also adopted Victorian behavioural affectations, seeking to imitate standards of Victorian conduct, pronunciation, interpersonal interaction. Some even go so far as to embrace certain Victorian habits such as shaving with straight razors, riding penny farthings, exchanging calling cards, and using fountain pens to write letters in florid prose sealed by wax." -Wikipedia
Neo-Victorian is an aesthetic movement which combines Victorian and Edwardian aesthetic sensibilities with modern principles and technologies. This fashion consists of gowns, corsets, petticoats and bustles; suits with vests, coats and spats; or military-inspired garments. Steampunk-influenced outfits will often be accented with a mixture of technological and period accessories: timepieces, parasols, goggles and ray guns. Modern accessories like cell phones or music players can be found in steampunk outfits, after being modified to give them the appearance of Victorian-made objects. Aspects of steampunk fashion have been anticipated by mainstream high fashion, the Lolita fashion and aristocrat styles, neo-Victorianism, and the romantic goth subculture.
Gothabilly is a sub-genre of Rockabilly, which was born out of the 1950s rhythm & blues and country stylings. Think about a mix of Betty Page, Dita Von Tease, Gwen Stefani and Guns & Roses and you get the idea. It’s a mixture of Rock and Roll and sometimes Spaghetti Westerns. A dark ghost town look with studs. The look is Cowboy hats, boots, tight fitting leather or PVC pants and dresses. In the mid-1980s Fields of the Nephilim and The Gothic Cowboys wore dusty western wear while delivering haunting and melodic songs inspired by spaghetti westerns. Men with this fashion sense often have long hair and wear eyeliner. This look minus the Western style and plus the 50’s Rock N Roll look includes elements such as 50's tattoo imagery, animal prints, creeper shoes, cherry accessories, polka dot clothes, pencil skirts, fishnet stockings and high heels.
In about the early 70s, modern Goth music and clothing came about. Goths liked the Punk look and so they borrowed from it but gave it a darker edge. Think Mohawks or big hair, band shirts, studded chokers and bondage pants.