Arguably one of the most well known and outstanding styles to date is goth. This style has a deep historical background and the sub-subcultures that come from this style are truly engaging!
For some historical context, in the late 1700s Horace Walpole coined the term gothic to describe many works of literature. This would then go on to describe famous classics such as “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley and "The Fall of the House of Usher” by Edgar Allan Poe. This term came to life when the state of the world was in severe turmoil and flourished to become a lifestyle of romanticizing that turmoil of life. However the goth that we think of today is the subculture that formed from the punk movement in the late 70s and early 80s. Modern day goth is a music based subculture that influences the different sub-subcultures of goth fashion and here are just a few to get you introduced into that goth culture.
To start off we need to go over “Traditional Goth” or rather “Trad Goth”. This style is what generally comes to mind when you think about goth fashion as it was the style that emerged from the late 70s and early 80s. The individuals who grew with the rise of Trad Goth were later referred to as “Elder Goths” by the later generations of gothics. This style is influenced by bands such as Bauhaus, The Cure, and Siouxsie and the Banshees. Fun fact the lead singer of Siouxsie and the Banshees was one of the first people to refer to their style of music as goth! A Trad Goth has elements of big, black hair, exaggerated pale skin, dark makeup, ripped fishnets, leather, and boots.
Another one of the most famous styles is “Romantic Goth”. This style heavily focuses on the beautiful and of course the dark things in life. These individuals often like dead roses, moonlight graveyards and ravens. The bands that influence this style tend to be Dark Sanctuary and Nightwish. With this style the elements tend to focus on the lace and flowy dress styles, lace chokers, black jewelry or jewelry with deep colored stones, the colors of this style aren’t limited to black! It can have colors such as dark blue, green, purple, red but that doesn’t mean the colors just have to be darker ones. The makeup is usually a little softer, a smoky effect that brings out the eyes with very pale skin vs. a traditional heavy eye. Dark lips or eye patterns such as swirls are also common. The hairstyle will typically be long, either straight or in soft waves, to look more elegant or dramatic but it’s never limited to this.
If you slapped some fangs on a romantic goth you’d get the vampire goth! Vampires have been a fascination of the Goth subculture for a long time, and some will even say it's a “cliché element.” Alternatively the inspiration behind this style generally stemmed from gothic literature. Not surprisingly the books that are the main focus are the vampire chronicles by Anne Rice, and Dracula by Bram Stoker. The elements that consist of this style are lavious fabrics like silk, velvet and of course lace, and has a vibe of elegance and aristocracy. And as expected skulls, bats and coffins tend to be included in the styling pieces.
An anonymous senior at Freedom High School whose style is similar to that of goth answered a few questions on the subject. They were able to develop their style to be that of romantic goth although they're heavily influenced by trad goth. The heavy metal music and electric guitar is what really got them into gothic styles and they truly appreciated the style of the artists and even that of the fans! Their color palette tends to be pretty dark and they often like to wear items that stand out from others as in revealing or deemed “too formal” for the setting. They tend to wear thrifted pieces and platform demonias. They aspire to get a big and fluffy coat and maybe even corsets but as for their favorite piece it consists of a dark brown jacket with a fur outline.
The term and fashion behind gothic is extensive but very interesting and versatile to delve into. The research conducted left me with a curious mind as to what else could be considered goth and the differences in each fashion type.