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Elegant Goth Outfits | Gothic Costumes

Updated on June 21, 2015

Goth outfit as a way to express yourself

Goth outfit or costume is a big part of the goth subculture which started in England in the late 1970s to early 1980s. The movement spread to other parts of Europe, especially Germany, and to the US. It was influenced to a large degree by Gothic novels and horror movies, especially those that involved vampires. Gothic rock and goth bands gained popularity among young people.

The Goth attire, hairdo, and make up of those rock groups had a great influence on the fans. Black, purple, and occasionally deep red were the most popular colors. Guys and girls had black hair, white make up with black lipstick and nail polish.

Although there were no hard and fast rules regarding goth costumes, the most common gothic attire consisted of long, velvet dresses and fishnet stockings for women, and frilly shirts for men. In addition to goth clothing, silver jewelry, silver buckles, and studded dog collars were typical accessories.

The goth look was unique in a dark and perhaps even morbid and macabre way that some young guys and girls wearing goth outfits became objects of mockery and even bullying. Sadly, this still happens today as there are misconceptions about Goths like they commit violence, self mutilation, do drugs, and worship Satan. While there may be Goths that do those things, so are there people from all walks of life.

Being a Goth is about individuality, freedom of expression, rejecting the norm (nothing wrong with that), and making friends with like-minded people. Some may wonder why you are wearing a goth costume when it's not Halloween, and you need to explain that it's not exactly a costume but an outfit that you wear as a unique way to express yourself.

Picture source: Wikimedia Commons.

Gothic outfit style varieties

Romantic goth

This is the typical or traditional Gothic outfit which includes Victorian and renaissance, and consists of black apparel (sometimes mixed with white) such as corsets, elaborate gowns, skirts, veils and fishnet stockings. Velvet and lace are also very common. The traditional goth attire is commonly accessorized with silver jewelry and fetish items (i.e. talisman or amulet) to create a romantic and mysterious look.

Gothic Lolita

This style originates in Japan and is quite similar to the Romantic but the designs tend to be more modest. The goth apparel such as a Victorian blouse is commonly decorated with ribbons and lace trims. Black and white are the typical colors. Additional items can include mini top hats and lace headdresses.

Cyber goth

This is the contemporary or futuristic goth look. Many of the outfits have anime or science fiction themes. They would wear goggles and neon colors in addition to black. Body piercings, wild hairdos, and large footwear are also common in this gothic fashion which is popular in the club scene.

Industrial goth or rivethead

This gothic fashion typically consists of cargo pants with metal hardware and pleating, combat or steal-toe boots, leather gloves which are sometimes fingerless, spiked or studded belts and chokers. They want to create the tough and macho look.

The rise of Goth and vampire subcultures

Classic horror movies like Dracula are a favorite of the Goths. They have a very large yearly gathering in the seaside resort of Whitby, England where Bram Stoker created his original Dracula story.

The women model their Goth costume after the female vampire actresses. Winona Ryder played a Goth in Tim Burton's "Beetlejuice." More recent films like "Interview with a Vampire" and modern day vampire series such as "moonlight" and "Twilight" help popularize the vampire subculture.

Goth Costumes

While gothic outfits are worn by Goths regularly, goth costumes are worn on Halloween and other special occasions by goths and non-goths alike.

Featured Item - Twilight Vamp Costume

Twilight Vamp Costume includes a black dress with red metallic ribbon accents for a corset type look, sheer Victorian sleeves with red metallic flower d├ęcor and matching attached vampire collar. Please note that Fishnet Thigh Highs and shoes are not included.

Video about being goth

Goth outfit poll

Why are you looking for a goth outfit?

See results

I love to hear from my readers. Share your experiences and thoughts on goth attire, goth fashion in general, or just let me know you dropped by :)

Your comments about goth outfits or gothic costumes

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    • nickirc lm profile image

      nickirc lm 

      7 years ago


    • profile image


      8 years ago

      A beautiful lens!! Very well written :)

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Goth outfit costume is a perfect way of expressing yours personality. I'm not sure whether I needed one.

    • ArdenBaird LM profile image

      ArdenBaird LM 

      8 years ago

      Love the Goth Charm School! Very cool.

    • CoolFoto profile image


      8 years ago

      good job!

    • Paula Atwell profile image

      Paula Atwell 

      8 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      Love the way you laid out this lens, and show off the goth look.

    • Bradshaw LM profile image

      Bradshaw LM 

      8 years ago

      Interesting look. A little too dour for myself, but some girls look quite fetching in this look.

    • Kailua-KonaGirl profile image

      June Parker 

      8 years ago from New York

      I love this lens! The Gothic Charm School video was especially cool. I'll be back to see what else you add!

    • smange lm profile image

      smange lm 

      9 years ago

      I love the classy goth look. :)

    • aidenw profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from USA

      @Sylvestermouse: Thank you so much, Sylvestermouse! :)

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 

      9 years ago from United States

      Since I am drawn to elaborate costumes, it naturally follows that I would be intrigued by the gothic style. Black is also my favorite color to wear so that aspect of the goth culture also appeals to me. I suppose my love of Halloween only fuels my interest. The outfit in the intro is stunning! I would love to make that costume! Angel Blessed and added to my Squid Angel Mouse Tracks lens.


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