ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Be Gothic: A Beginner’s Guide

Updated on May 11, 2013

Goths are now worldwide and their fashion, music, and literature are some of the most sophisticated and bewitching around. If you find yourself drawn to this movement, spend some time exploring and familiarizing yourself with the basics of Goth history and culture. Then, dive in and express yourself as a Goth in a way that makes sense to you. There is no one right way to be Goth; in fact, individual expression is the foundation of Gothic culture.

A Brief History of the Goth Subculture

Modern Goths emerged out of the post-punk music scene in London in the late 70s and early 80s. The term “Goth” was borrowed from the genre of 19th century literature that includes Dracula and Frankenstein, itself borrowed from a style of Medieval architecture that was, finally, taken from the name of an ancient Germanic tribe. Since the beginnings of Goth rock in the late 70s, the Goth movement has continuously evolved musically and stylistically and grown more diverse in the process.


Goth Fashion

Goths wear a range of period styles, including Victorian, Elizabethan, and Medieval. Black is the preferred color, and outfits may be elaborate, confining or revealing. Staples of women’s Gothic clothing include fishnet tights, corsets and frilly skirts, while men frequently wear combat boots, torn t-shirts and studded belts. Goths commonly wear necklaces with cross or pentacle pendants.

If you want to get started as a Goth, make slow changes so you don’t overwhelm people you know. Also, don’t feel you have to wear some pricey hand-made outfit to be Goth. Check around thrift stores and online Goth stores to find a few key pieces.

Goth Hair and Makeup

Goth makeup is generally pale, though this is by no means a requirement for being Goth; people of all colors are Goth. If you love makeup, you can go for dramatic eyes with a lot of eyeliner. For those who can’t or don’t want to go that route, simple touches like painting your nails with a dark-colored nail polish go a long way.

Goths may dye their hair black. Period hairstyles are elegant, if tricky; letting your hair hang naturally can also be considered Gothic. To add a little easy shock to your style, find clip-on hair in strong colors.

Goth Music

The Gothic music scene was fueled from two sources simultaneously: at the Batcave club in London where pioneering Goth rock bands like Joy Division and The Cure played, and in California, where death rock has its roots. These genres have since morphed into others, including darkwave, Ethereal, and neoclassical, while the 90s saw the inclusion of new genres like industrial, ambient, EBM, experimental, punk and New Wave as Goth. While death metal is not considered Gothic, it has a look and sound that may appeal to Goths.

Listen around online to find what you enjoy, or listen to any genre you like the most; you don’t have to follow Gothic music to identify as a Goth.

The Goth Lifestyle

There’s no doubt about it: Goths are still seen as outsiders and sometimes even as sick or hostile people. Goths face misunderstanding from people around them and persevere through their commitment to Goth ways. If you’re drawn to being Goth, expect difficult reactions from friends and parents and try your best to respond patiently to their concerns. Acting violently is by no means acceptable for a Goth. Seek out friends who are open to your appearance and interests, and take small steps toward being Goth if your parents are against it.

Goths are typically very sensitive and thoughtful and need to express themselves creatively. Find people, books and movies that inspire you and try writing poetry or drawing to let your creativity flow. For more support in leading life as a Goth, check out my site, How to Be Gothic, and look below for books that get being Goth right.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 

      4 years ago from London England

      Police Forces in England now treat uncalled for attacks on Goths as a hate crime. I've never witnessed violence at Goth venues unlike the 'illegal raves' by gate crashing punks.

    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 

      4 years ago from London England

      Police Forces in England now treat uncalled for attacks on Goths as a hate crime. I've never witnessed violence at Goth venues unlike the 'illegal raves' by gate crashing punks.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      i am a feitish goth i live in baltimore were rap and hip hop is cool but if you come to baltimore exspect hell when go out my house people stare at me like i am a sycokiller and satanist i hate it

    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 

      5 years ago from London England

      I commented on another 'Goth' site 24 hours ago but my posting got lost in cyber space. Looks like i can make here 'home base'.

    • Chisa Tatum profile image

      Chisa Tatum 

      5 years ago from Naturita, Colorado

      I'm a natural goth. I'm also natural Celtic Wiccan and i dress how i feel. What pisses me off the most is some people i have met assume that all goths (even vintage goths like me) are always angry,depressed or suicidal. that is bull! it depends on the individual themselves. not what they wear. People also assume that we worship Satan. I donnot and refuse to worship evil. I don't even practice dark magic. I'm what they call a unique goth. i follow nature, i wear whatever the hell i feel. I even like some pale colors. The #1 thing that really makes my blood boil are idiots who are uneducated in the goth lifestyle assume that we are all Emo. Honestly, Emos creep me out (though, I except people who except me for me) I chance for no one. My advice if you choose to be goth, Let it be for you to decide. not your family or friends. If your parents don't except you, then they are not true parents. If other people judge you then they are not worth your breath. I had a goth mother but me and her don't talk because she turned her back on me for other reasons. not because I'm goth. The choose is yours. Always be yourself no matter what. Never copy others. Remember, you are you. not them.

    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 

      5 years ago from London England

      i hazard to guess it is never too old to begin. I noticed an elderly goth couple at the goth convention in Whitby last weekend and myself living in the spooky Shoreditch part of London with so much bohemian underground venues about. Even the name Shoreditch derives from an outrageous Femme Fatale. Every time i buy new clothes it will be Gothique.

    • phoenixarizona profile image


      6 years ago from Australia

      As a goth I am so impressed with this article. Goths don't worship the devil they have a new wave of self expression and refuse to sit in the handcuffs of conformity.

      This was an awesome hub. Keep them coming!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)