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Corporate Goth: Sacrificing Alternative Fashion for the World of Work

Updated on June 21, 2014

Finding a Job Can Be Difficult for Alternative People

As a goth of 14 years, I know the battle of finding a decent job. No matter how open minded society tries to be these days, about matters such as religion, race and politics – looking different or out of place at work can still raise an eyebrow or two.

As controversial as it seems, sometimes you have to compromise individuality in the workplace, in exchange for a career of your dreams. So what can you do to look more professional, without sacrificing your individuality outside of the workplace??

Products like Dermablend offer heavy coverage and can be used to cover tattoos and scars


If tattoos are not acceptable in your field of work, you don't have to get them permanently removed if you don't want to. There are other methods to cover them up so that people don't notice.

Quite often, the skin can be covered with appropriate clothing and jewellery. If for instance you have an arm sleeve tattoo, wear shirts with long sleeves to keep it covered. Just, whatever you do, make sure the fabric is not see through.

Some tattoos are harder to disguise, for instance on the neck, wrists or face. To get around this problem, buy some tattoo concealer – it will hide your tattoos completely; much more effective than ordinary makeup. This is great if you want to wear sleeveless tops for corporate events etc.


Piercings are generally quite easy to take out – sometimes it is necessary to remove them for health and safety purposes (if you work in a hospital or on a building site for instance). If this is not an issue though, and you wish to keep your piercings in, camouflaged retainers could be your new best friend.

Retainers basically keep the wound open whilst concealing it at the same time. You can even buy flesh coloured ones that blend with your natural skin tone. Nobody will even realise you have them in (great for pierced tongues and flesh tunnels).


The clothes you wear, without a doubt reflects how professional and approachable you are in the workplace. Wearing black is smart (thank goodness) but best accompanied by an accent of colour to ‘tone down’ the overall look.

If you don’t have a professional wardrobe, you should seriously consider one. If you find it hard to choose mainstream clothing, (or simply hate it) take another person shopping with you – preferably an honest person who wears high street clothes on a regular basis. They should be able to guide you in the right direction.

If you can’t bear to wear boring, conventional clothes, it is worth visiting high-end designer boutiques and bespoke shops for cutting edge, professional outfits. A lot of designers take inspiration from Goth culture anyway; take trend setting fashion designers, Viktor and Rolf for example – if you haven’t heard of them, definitely look them up for inspiration!

Viktor & Rolf lead the way in high-end alternative fashion
Viktor & Rolf lead the way in high-end alternative fashion

Hair chalk is a great way to temporarily dye your hair



The alternative scene is well known for its elaborate hair! Asymmetric hair styles …intricately designed undercuts, shades in all different colours of the spectrum and adorned with hair accessories.

Unfortunately, many employers have a big issue with alternative attire in the workplace. It is true that some companies are very open minded and forward thinking but most would just show you the door, let alone give you a job.

That’s why I keep mine plain black and save the fake hair pieces for when I go out.

If you like to have bright coloured hair, I urge you to get some hair chalk - it colours the hair amazingly well and washes right out.

Men with long hair are faced with an even bigger challenge – other than tying it back in a ponytail, or hiding it under a hat, there is very little you can do to disguise it. In my opinion, a man shouldn’t have to cut off all his hair to be employable. We are living in the 21st century after all.

Another Example of How Effective Hair Chalk Is



Definitely keep makeup as light and fresh as possible *shudder* – if you have super pale skin like I do, I highly recommend ‘By Terry’ foundations. The cosmetic line carry super pale shades whilst still looking extremely sheer and natural. With a small amount of blusher on the apples of your cheeks, you will be amazed just how ‘normal’ you will look – Nars blush is fabulous due to the extensive colour selection.

Sexy, smokey eyes are always a favourite of mine in the workplace, especially using soft shades like brown, taupe and grey. The key is to find a look that is right for you and then just mute it down a tad.

If You Shave off Your Eyebrows...

If you shave off your eyebrows, fear not! You can buy natural eyebrow stencils to make your life that little bit easier when getting ready in the morning!

If you are feeling super lazy, you can even purchase professional stick on eyebrows. Don’t worry; they won’t make you look like a Mr potato head…much.

In Conclusion

If you want to work in a conservative type job role, chances are, you will need a corporate appearance to match. That is, if you want to make a good impression.

No matter how lovely or intelligent you are on the inside, if you give the wrong impression to the outside world, you could damage your chance of success. If somebody wearing jeans and a t shirt knocked on your front door trying to sell you something, how would you react? It’s the same kind of thing.

If you are naturally drawn to creative type jobs, you definitely have more scope in terms of appearance. The video game industry for instance is very relaxed and open minded – it’s one of the reasons I love it so much. In fact, if you don’t have tattoos and piercings, they will probably regard you as a bit of an oddball.

The bottom line is, follow your dream – don’t downgrade your career just because you think you have to. There are ways around it, whilst saving your individuality for the precious out of hours...


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