Goth style is a dark and mysterious way of dressing, reflecting the Gothic subculture’s aesthetic roots in themes of macabre and romanticism.
From the romantic whispers of Victorian Goth to the rebellious spirit of Punk Goth and the futuristic looks of Cybergoth, each look here screams Gothic darkness and unconventional.
@thevoumagazine Which type of Goth are you?!! 💀🥀#goth #gothgirl #gothic #gothtok #gothstyle ♬ original sound – The VOU Magazine
We’ll dissect the essential garments, footwear, and accessories and provide invaluable insights on perfecting each look.
Time to explore the world of Goth fashion by unveiling a treasure trove of 24 distinctive Goth-style outfits.
1. Trad Goth (Batcave)
Traditional Goth outfits are a unique canvas reflecting the 1980s Gothic scene.
The color palette is predominantly black, with occasional deep red or purple accents.
Women’s fashion centers on black velvet dresses with lace trim for a dark but romantic allure.
Brands like Killstar and Restyle are preferred for their intricate lace patterns that echo Gothic architecture.
Men’s fashion comprises black shirts and Victorian-style waistcoats or frock coats from Punk Rave and Devil Fashion brands.
Footwear-wise, Dr. Martens’ classic 1460 for men and Demonia’s Victorian-style ankle boots, ornated with buckles and lace for women.
Chokers, necklaces, silver ankhs, bat-shaped pendants, and accessories with religious or occult symbols from Alchemy Gothic work wonders with Banned Apparel’s Gothic motif bags.
Notable icons of the Trad Goth fashion style include Siouxsie Sioux, Robert Smith, The Banshees, The Damned, Joy Division, Bauhaus, The Cure, The Sisters Of Mercy, The Birthday Party, and Einstürzende Neubauten.
MallGoth emerged in the late 1990s in response to the commercialization of Goth culture by blending current fashion trends with traditional Goth garments.
The main color of the MallGoth style is black, complemented with touches of grey, blue, pink, and green.
MallGoth women wear band t-shirts, mesh tops, or corsets from Lip Service paired with miniskirts or Tripp NYC pants with chains, while men wear graphic tees and oversized cargos (or bondage pants) from Hot Topic, wristbands, and studded belts.
Chunky platform boots from Demonia and New Rock are matched with chokers, spiked bracelets, and band merchandise.
Korn, Kittie, Slipknot, Marilyn Manson, Lip Service, Tripp, JNCO, and Demonia are some of the most iconic brands repping the substyle.
Fictional characters like Emily the Strange and Jack Skellington are symbols of this subculture, contributing to its unique visual aesthetic.
3. Nu Goth
As a contemporary evolution of Goth trad, Nu Goth conveys a fresh, streamlined approach to Goth fashion by infusing traditional Gothic attire with current trends.
As showcased by Porcelain Black and Grimes – two renowned Nu Goth fashion style icons -the Nu Goth substyle revolves around traditional Goth aesthetics and modern minimalistic trends.
Nu Goth fashion for women comprises Killstar black dresses or tunics paired with leggings or skinny jeans from ASOS.
Male Nu Goths wear slim-fit jeans and black tees with gray and white accents from ASOS or H&M, Dr. Martens ankle boots, or Vans sneakers.
Nu Goth accessories are subtle and simple silver jewelry from Rogue + Wolf, black hats from Brixton, and minimalistic bags from Urban Outfitters.
4. Romantic Goth
Romantic Goth emerged as a distinct sub-subculture within the Goth scene in the ’90s as a way of dressing influenced by the dramatic flair of Victorian times.
With aesthetics rooted in Victorian and Gothic literature, the Romantic Goth style blends the dark looks of traditional Goth with the elegance of the Victorian era.
Romantic Goth colors are mostly black with accents of deep reds, purples, and midnight blues, evoking a sense of melancholy vintage refinement.
Inspired by 19th-century Romantic literature, particularly the works of Edgar Allan Poe, Bram Stoker, and Lord Byron, women’s Romantic Goth fashion comprises gowns with intricate lacework and velvet detailing, black lace dresses from brands like Dark in Love and Sinister, and historical style corsets from Corset Story.
Men’s Romantic Goth attire includes ruffled shirts, velvet jackets, and brocade waistcoats, capturing the Victorian influence from labels like Devil Fashion and Punk Rave.
Women wear Victorian-style ornate boots with lace and bow from brands like Funtasma, while men wear New Rock brogues for a dash of elegance and a touch of Gothic edge.
Accessories like vintage-inspired jewelry, lace gloves, and ornate headpieces from Alchemy Gothic complement the style’s refined and dark aesthetic.
5. Southern Goth
Rather than focusing on the supernatural or the fantastical, Southern Goth fashion is inspired by real-world events and societal issues like racism and sexism in the American South during the 1800s.
In a unique blend of traditional Gothic attire with aesthetic influences of the American South, the main color is black, accented with burgundy, brown, and dark green, reflecting the natural hues of the Southern landscape.
Women’s Southern Goth fashion comprises black dresses with antique lace, embodying a blend of Gothic and antebellum styles from brands like Dracula Clothing and Victorian Choice.
Men’s Southern Goth attire is characterized by dark, tailored suits and vintage-inspired shirts paired with vests from brands like Gentleman’s Emporium.
Women wear American Duchess’ lace-up boots with vintage designs, while men prefer Stacy Adams dress shoes matched with wide-brimmed hats, ornate accessories, and vintage-inspired rings from Restyle.
6. Soft Goth (Casual Goth)
Soft Goth, or Casual Goth, delivers a subdued approach to Gothic fashion by infusing the traditional Gothic style with grey and natural pastels, creating a less intense but still distinctly Gothic look.
Soft Goth fashion for women includes Rogue + Wolf black skirts and dresses mixed with light-colored tops from ASOS, while men’s look comprises black jeans, shirts, and tees with Gothic prints from brands like BlackCraft Cult or Disturbia.
Black sneakers and boots from T.U.K. Footwear and Demonia are popular with Soft Goths, and minimalistic silver jewelry completes the casual, everyday look.
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7. Vampire Goth
Drawing aesthetics from folklore and mythology, Vampire Goths identify with and imitate vampires.
Vampire Goths are influenced by iconic vampire-themed movies like Nosferatu and Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
The subculture occasionally uses blood-like makeup on Goth clothes and faces, particularly during Vampire Goth parties.
One of the most striking features of this subculture is the modification of teeth, as Vampire Goths sharpen their teeth to mirror the iconic vampire fangs.
Popular among Vampire Goths, dark and curly hairstyles, ghoulish teeth, and long, pointed nails intensify the eerie aesthetic for a dramatic, spooky effect.
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Intricate metallic accessories complement the mysterious look, while the pale complexion, ranging from white to a yellowish hue, enhances the vampiric appearance.
The Cybergoth subculture emerged in the late 1990s as a futuristic, vibrant offshoot of traditional Goth culture.
Compared to typical gothic looks in black and purple, Cybergoths prefer black leather garments and accessories in neon colors.
The style prefers glow-in-the-dark accessories and cybernetic enhancements, like goggles, gas masks, hair extensions in neon colors, platform boots, and piercings.
Prominent figures within the Cybergoth community include Dani Filth, Rei Ayanami, and Kerli.
9. Glam Goth
The Glam Goth look emerged during the late 80s by merging the somber undertones of the Gothic aesthetic with the opulence of Glam Rock of the 70s and the New Romantics movement of the 1980s.
Emphasizing dark, ecclesiastical imagery like crosses while incorporating studs and leather, the color palette extends beyond the typical dark by incorporating red, plum, chocolate brown, and Bordeaux.
Inspired by New Wave artists like Ultravox, Visage, Gary Numan, and Glam Rock artists like Alice Cooper and Lou Reed, the garments have a subtle androgynous feel, a distinctive trait of Glam Goth.
Jewelry is essential in nailing the Glam Goth: chokers with grommets, spikes, and amulets combined with black, platform, lace-up combat boots, heavy makeup, and frilly, dandyish outfits.
10. Pastel Goth (Kawaii Goth)
Pastel Goth, or Kawaii Goth, is a distinctive sub-genre that interweaves traditional gothic aesthetics with Japanese Kawaii in playful and colorful ways.
Central to Pastel Goth fashion is a contrasting color palette that combines black with soft pastel shades, such as baby pink, baby blue, lavender, mint green, and lilac.
The outfits feature a black top emblazoned with occult or religious prints, paired with a mini skirt in black and pink.
Over-the-knee socks and edgy leather high-heel boots or platform shoes complement this ensemble.
Pastel Goth borrows gothic motifs such as skull prints, cross necklaces, spikes, and chokers and integrates them into this candy-colored aesthetic.
A notable divergence from traditional Goths is the makeup; instead of the classic black and white gothic look, Pastel Goths feature pink and baby blue eyeshadows for a softer, youthful vibe.
Similarly, hair is dyed in shades of pink, blue, or purple, combined with black, enhancing the blend of darkness and pastel hues.
Prominent icons of the Pastel Goth include Melanie Martinez, Venus Angelic, Jazmin Bean, and Moriah Rose Pereira, also known as Poppy.
11. Hippie Goth
Hippie Goth marries two distinctive cultural ideologies – the carefree, peace-loving attitude of the hippies and the intense, mysterious vibe of the Goths, where bohemian freedom meets gothic darkness.
Fashion that leans towards Hippie Goth is characterized by the strategic juxtaposition of light, flowy bohemian apparel with sinister-looking black lace, leather, and metallic embellishments.
Imagine the visual of a long, airy skirt paired with robust combat boots or a tie-dyed t-shirt worn under a sleek black leather jacket.
In this unique look, there’s a harmonious balance between the light and the dark, mystical and grounded.
Accessories such as wide-brimmed hats, silver jewelry, and dark sunglasses are integral to the Hippie Goth look.
Hippie Goths prefer flowy hippy outfits with splashes of darker, gothic components and accessories like black bandanas and oversized rings.
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Moreover, the hair and skin color lean toward pale and dark tones, emphasizing the characteristic contrast inherent in the Hippie Goth aesthetic.
Hippie Gothic fashion icons like Brian Molko and Lorde have made the look famous.
12. Corp Goth
Corp Goth fashion style merges corporate attire’s prim and proper realm with the captivating allure of Goth fashion, offering a sophisticated look yet laced with a touch of dark intrigue.
Corporate Goth fashion is recognized by tailored black suits or dresses, conjuring a sleek, professional image infused with gothic elements like leather boots, chokers, and silver jewelry.
Makeup in the Corporate Goth realm is intense and dramatic: strong red lips and smoky, mesmerizing eyes.
The style allows individuals to express a unique persona within the confines of a professional environment while being professional yet non-conformist, corporate yet creative.
Hanako Arasaka, Dead Can Dance, and Alexander McQueen have influenced the Corporate Goth style by showcasing that one can wear corporate attire blended with gothic aesthetics and still create a professional impression.
13. Victorian Goth
The Victorian Goth style is an intriguing subculture that emanates an air of antique elegance, drawing inspiration from the black mourning attire prevalent during the Victorian era.
A distinctive Victorian Goth look involves long, elegant ballgowns that emulate Victorian aristocracy, wealth, status, and an aura of royalty.
The style features black dresses crafted from intricate brocade fabrics, complete with a fitted bodice and corset, accompanied by men’s black suits.
Adding a touch of mystery are the lace veils and the dark, smoky eye makeup, both integral to this vintage-infused aesthetic.
Accessories common to Victorian Goths, such as skull-themed rings, tees with wilted roses, and silver cross jewelry, mirror this fascination with death and the ethereal.
Corset belts cinched around the waist add to the vintage feel, while hats introduce mystery to their gothic appearance.
Jewelry is also crucial to this style, with pieces like choker necklaces adding an elegant touch to the ensemble.
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Much like traditional Goths, Victorian Goths sport pale skin and long hair, and their makeup involves smoky eyes paired with soft lips, lending a delicate balance between bold and subtle.
In homage to the elegance and aristocratic charm typical of the Victorian era, Helena Bonham Carter and Vanessa Ives stand out among the renowned figures embodying the Victorian Goth style.
14. Medieval Goth
Drawing inspiration from the Dark Ages, the Medieval Goth style is a captivating blend of somber aesthetics interwoven with historical.
This unique style adopts a palette of black or dark hues, accentuated with rich, textured fabrics such as velvet, lace, and leather that hark back to the era of knights and castles.
The quintessential Medieval Goth attire incorporates long, flowing dresses and robes, hugging corsets, tunics reminiscent of the Middle Ages, and dramatic capes accessorized with chokers, crowns, jewelry, and intricate headpieces.
Dead Can Dance, and Sharon den Adel are among the Medieval Goth fashion style icons.
15. Fairy Goth
Fairy Goth takes its inspiration from mystical and fantastical themes, showcasing an affinity for the mythical creatures of fairytales over the typical Goth influences of vampires, werewolves, and witches.
Garments that fall into the Fairy Goth style have a fluid and ethereal quality, resembling long, flowing robes that could be straight out of a mystical tale.
Loose, flowing, wavy hairstyles and accessories like chokers, crowns, staffs, and wands add a layer of fantastical charm.
Those identifying with the Fairy Goth style lean toward lighter hair colors, as they enhance the ethereal, magical aura.
Makeup choices for men and women involve a pale foundation paired with a smoky eye makeup style.
Adding a striking piece of jewelry that resembles an enchanted emblem or stone enhances the overall look, and of course, a pair of wings is the perfect final touch.
Artists like Cocteau Twins, Black Tape for a Blue Girl, and The Changelings are popular among Fairy Goths, providing a melodic backdrop to this enchanting Goth style.
16. Health Goth
One of the most intriguing offshoots of the Goth subculture is the advent of Health Goth during the 2010s.
The trio shared images depicting hi-tech, dystopian styles and artwork, where ‘health’ conjured up images of sterile environments, biomechanics, and transhumanism.
What began as an internet meme transformed into a real-life fashion phenomenon, with Health Goth fashion style showcasing black, futuristic sportswear that draws aesthetic inspiration from the realms of science fiction.
The designs are reminiscent of the costumes from iconic films like The Matrix and Blade Runner but not exclusive to Goth-rock fans; enthusiasts of hip-hop, grime, techno, and electronica genres are also sporting this trend.
Overall, the Health Goth is a contemporary interpretation of the goth look, designed for the 21st century and beyond, linked to the sports Goth look popularized by US metal bands like Korn in the late 90s.
Even mainstream sportswear brands such as Nike and Adidas have caught onto the trend, producing workout wear inspired by the Health Goth style.
17. Industrial Goth (Rivethead)
Emerging in the 80s in parallel to Goth in the US, the Rivethead (Industrial Goth) dressing style represents a unique marriage of a darker, grittier expression with the strictness of military aesthetics and industrial elements of metropolitan areas.
Aesthetics of punk fashion, such as mohawks dyed in striking colors and fetish wear featuring black leather and PVC, are typical in the Rivethead fashion style.
The style integrates modern primitive body modifications like tattoos and piercings to emphasize a post-apocalyptic, dystopian influence inspired by movies like Mad Max and Strange Days and novels like William Gibson’s Sprawl trilogy.
Rivethead fashion embodies a stripped-down, utilitarian aesthetic as “street survival wear.” The idea is to make a statement with as few fashion components as possible.
Male attire includes black, gray, or olive tank tops, cargo pants, combat boots, shaved heads, or with dreadlocks or mohawks.
Accessories incorporate industrial nails, screws, cogs, black PVC and leather corsets, miniskirts, and stiletto boots.
The style is popularized by the subculture’s icons like Marilyn Manson, Trent Reznor, and Emily Autumn.
18. Emo Goth
Introduced in the late ’90s and early 2000s, the Emo Goth fashion style is built on the fusion of Emo aesthetics and Goth music influences.
The Emo subculture, shorthand for Emotion or Emotive Hardcore, has roots in alternative rock, metal, and Grunge music and is very popular among teenagers.
Instead, Emo Goth fashion is casual and comfortable, with a staple wardrobe and skinny jeans, band t-shirts, and Converse sneakers or boots.
Still, Emo Goth fashion incorporates a darker, sleek Goth aesthetic.
It’s not uncommon to see dark eye makeup and dark hair, either styled sleek or voluminous.
Accessories feature symbols associated with Goth culture, such as skulls, bats, and coffins.
Leather accessories or jackets, along with studded bracelets and belts, may be included to infuse the look with a hint of punk edginess.
Piercings on the nose, eyebrows, lips, and ears are common, and in line with other Goth types, pale skin is a characteristic trait of Emo Goths.
19. Gothic Lolita
Gothic Lolita, or GothLoli, is a fashion style that merges the aesthetics of Western Goth fashion with the intricacies of the Japanese Lolita style.
Unlike other gothic styles, Gothic Lolita is characterized by a polished, cute, and conservative appearance. Makeup is applied in a soft and feminine style using natural shades of pink, red, and brown.
This eclectic fashion style uses a palette of dark colors and a substantial amount of black.
Platform boots are replaced with low to mid-height Mary Janes and Tea Party shoes, and lace umbrellas, wigs, and knee-high socks add to the overall aesthetic.
The attire has Victorian-era details such as lace and ribbons, which look vintage and nostalgic.
Gothic Lolita style incorporates petticoats, bloomers, bell-shaped skirts or dresses, and tailored blouses in black adorned with frills and buttons.
Accessories and prints are crucial in creating the Gothic Lolita look; bats, coffins, crosses, rosaries, top hats, headbands, bows, and parasols are critical. Footwear consists of black Lolita boots or Mary Jane shoes adorned with bows.
@_le_ciel @асока #gothiclolita #malicemizer #lolitafashon #lolitacoordinate #rozenmaiden #lolitacoord #dolly #paradisekiss #viviennewestwood #lolita #dollymakeup ♬ au revoir by malice mizer – ciel
Gothic Lolita was introduced by a Japanese musician and was adopted by prominent GothLoli icons such as Moon Kana, Caroline Charonplop Kyary, and Mana.
20. Pin-up Goth (Gothibility)
Pin-up Goth is an exotic and unusual amalgamation of different styles: Elvis Presley’s flair, the rock rhythms of The Cramps, the vintage feel of old horror movies, and a hint of lounge style.
Gothabilly has its roots in “Rockabilly,” a style derived from American 1950s rock n roll, and “Psychobilly,” a subgenre that emerged in the 1980s, combining punk rock with a strong rockabilly influence.
In a nutshell, Gothabilly is a fascinating blend of the playful and the macabre, incorporating bright colors, retro aesthetics, and a distinct rock and roll edge; think Dita Von Teese style.
Accessories are essential to the Gothabilly style, with platforms, garters, corsets, and cherry-themed jewelry being common choices.
The bright colors of the outfits contrast with the vivid tattoos, a key feature of the Gothabilly aesthetic.
This subculture is striking and diverse, standing out for its vibrant tattoos, cherry accessories, and ever-present polka dot clothes.
Drawing inspiration from the iconic 1950s fashion icon Bettie Mae Page, Gothabilly embraces the seductive aura of Page’s raven black hair, deep red lipstick, and colored outfits.
21. Cabaret Goth
Cabaret Goth style originated from burlesque shows, essentially the seductive striptease performances of earlier times when revealing anything other than an ankle was seen as risqué.
The attire of a Cabaret Goth is characterized by corsets, garters, fishnet stockings, feather accessories, and dresses that follow either a mermaid style or feature a mid-thigh length front with a trailing back piece.
Makeup leans towards the bold side, featuring smokey eyeshadow, a defined cat-eye liner, and a striking red lip.
Male Cabaret Goths don tiny bowler hats and suits featuring patterns like pinstripes paired with a bowtie.
The result is a unique blend reminiscent of Dracula, Charlie Chaplin, and a mime, but with a distinctive class.
One notable influencer of this style is Dita von Teese, the first wife of the metal musician Marilyn Manson, who was known for her burlesque fashion choices.
Artists like Siouxsie and the Banshees, Voltaire, Sex Gang Children, and the infamous Tiger Lilies have experimented with burlesque imagery and music.
Marilyn Manson has also dabbled in this style, mainly by associating with Dita Von Teese.
22. Tribal Goth
Tribal Goth emerged when Goths took an interest in belly dancing, creating a new and unique subculture. Its mysterious, sensual allure and association with goddess worship resonated with the Gothic aesthetic.
As Turkish and Egyptian belly dancing grew in popularity in the USA, it birthed a new style, “tribal.”
Tribal Goths share aesthetic similarities with Hippy Goths, sporting longer hair or dreadlocks, inspired by belly dancing costumes, modified with black dye, or adorned with gothic elements such as lace to add a darker touch.
Traditional tribal clothing, such as shirts and pants embellished with faux furs and bone or wood decorations, is also standard.
Hairstyles associated with Tribal Goth include dreadlocks and long, unkempt hair. Dark, smokey makeup complements the look, and tribal tattoos are favored.
The “tribal” aspect of the style is accentuated with accessories crafted from organic materials like shells, bone, and wood.
In the past, “Tribal” Goth was a term used to describe Goths who dabbled in primitivism, adopting elements like bone jewelry, dreadlocks, beads, braids, and heavy body modification.
This subculture mirrors the original Goth tribe, the Visigoths, who inspired the term for the goth scene.
23. Mopey Goth
Mopey Goths, seen as the archetypal representatives of the Goth subculture, are marked by a distinct sense of not fitting in with society, using symbolic use of black associated with mourning and melancholy.
Black eyeliner is applied on pale skin contrasting with dark clothing and makeup, to resemble tear streaks, as a symbolic representation of crying.
Mopey Goth blends black mourning clothes, corsets, chockers, and metallic accessories.
It is common to see a Mopey Goth carrying a symbolic dead black rose, adding a theatrical element to their persona.
24. White Goth
White Goth or Ice Goth flips the traditional Goth style by embracing white instead of black.
White aligns well with the Goths’ interests; is the color of ghosts, bones, cobwebs, and the symbol of death in many cultures.
White is also great under UV lights, a common feature of Goth clubs, for creating an ethereal appearance.
However, White Goths should avoid wearing black underwear as, in the rain or under specific lighting, it becomes visible under white clothing.
As for makeup, White Goths aim for a pale, almost ghostly complexion via powder or foundation that lightens the skin to match the ivory attire.
White Goth look is seen in The Matrix sported by the Switch characters or in music, with bands like Tones on Tail, Cocteau Twins, and Lacuna Coil adopting the look.
25. Bubble Goth
Bubble Goth is a new branch of the Goth subculture created by the Estonian pop singer Kerli Koiv by adding silver, white, black, and rhinestones to classic goth attire.
The look is completed with smoky makeup and neon hairstyles, to create the unique mixture of colors and accessories that Bubble Goth represents.
Compared to Bubble Goth, Pastel Goth uses pastel and black colors with a strong Japanese influence, whereas Bubble Goth includes Cybergoth elements.
What Defines a Goth Style
The Goth style is a distinctive and mysterious-looking way of dressing inspired by the ornaments of gothic architecture and literature, the Victorian, Elizabethan, and Medieval eras, and with aesthetics from the post-punk subculture.
A generic Goth look comprises corsets, lace, velvet gowns, combat boots, leather pants, silver jewelry with macabre symbols, dark lipstick and black eyeliners on pale foundation, black nails, and voluminous dyed black hair to confer an occult, ghostlike appearance.
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A University of Oxford graduate in Design History, Katherine Saxon is researching arising TikTok cultures from a consumer psychology perspective while covering emerging aesthetics in fashion and beauty for TheVOU, Forbes, Business Insider, and more.