Let's start of with the basics of Goth. First off, I believe someone needs a basic understanding and respect for Goth culture. Everyone should know the Batcave, Joy Division, big hair, Robert Smith, winklepickers, Siouxsie Sioux and how they inspired this strange mutated creature we call Goth. Then consider yourself a Goth. You needn't tell anyone else if it makes you feel unsafe or uncomfortable. Of course, that sentence does not apply to the original forefathers and foremothers; they have reached a level of Goth that is now unattainable.
When someone starts out in this subculture, they slowly start to integrate whatever vaguely Gothy items they can into their wardrobe. It doesn't always turn out well. I would like to bring up a personal example. There is a group at my school self-titled as The Black Cloud. They wear those baggy, chained Tripp pants, Slipknot shirts, and thrift store leather jackets with odd patterns. The clog up the middle of the second floor's main hallway and the teachers are always yelling at them to disperse. I was in English a week ago and the word "gothic" was brought up. My teacher asked "Do you even use that word to describe people anymore?"
The word gothic used as a label for people aside, I would like to point out that someone can wear ankhs and stompy boots and have teased up black hair and go to Goth clubs and listen to The Dresden Dolls and Siouxsie Sioux, but if they don't want to be labelled Goth, they aren't. No one can label anyone else.
Then, surprise of all surprises, a football player raises his hand and says "Yeah, we use it on the Black Cloud". The Black Cloud is half emo kids and half BabyBats who aren't interested in learning about the culture whatsoever. I've asked some of them; they do not give a damn.
Some garments you should avoid under certain circumstances. They CAN be made Goth, but you would be hard-pressed and it wouldn't always look as good as you think.
- Trilbies- These hats are marketed towards a 'Goth' market, with skull emblems, pinstripes, and morose colors. However, they are usually mislabeled as fedoras. They aren't. However, they should be worn with the same things. Hoodies aren't very complimentary. Maybe a classic button-down, tie, and skinny jeans a la My Chemical Romance?
- Phat Pants- I dislike Tripp pants. I think it takes a very special person to pull off enormous pants with an inordinate amount of chains, like LeahMouse. They're almost always on BabyBats and they're seen as immature.
- Blue Jeans- There is nothing particularly Goth about grungy old blue jeans that don't fit. I don't think they're attractive on anyone, but some people really don't have anything else. Patches, Otter wax, artful shredding and stitching, painting, and laces can be interesting on any pants, blue or otherwise.
- Halloween Accessories- The Black Cloud has a penchant for wearing fishnet gloves and plastic vampire fangs. It takes a very special outfit to pull of fishnet gloves. I prefer the pantyhose with the ripped out crotch look myself, but if no one will give you any, wear them with something that matches. Plastic vampire fangs aren't really acceptable unless it is Halloween.
- Leather Jackets- Leather (or PVC or vegan-friendly material) jackets are an amazing addition to anyone's wardrobe. They are very expensive and very hard to find in good quality on ebay or a thrift store. If they come cheap, they most likely are cheap. It's hard to be a spooky creature of the night with quilted fake leather. If you insist on wearing a trench coat length jacket, MAKE SURE YOUR SHOES MATCH. There is a part of the Black Cloud that wears one with white Reeboks. They don't match.
Things to Wear Very Carefully
- Armwarmers- Match them with your outfit. Band shirts and lace-up lace do not mix. AVOID PLASTIC. There was another Black Cloud member who wear plastic Batman gauntlets over the sleeves of his jacket. Plastic is just not comfortable, practical, and really not attractive. I never thought I would have to say that.
- Knit Fingerless Gloves- If it is too hot to wear a knit sweater, it is too hot to wear knit gloves.
- Extensions- Extensions are best as expensive, glue ins or wefts. Clip-ins are cheaper and much easier to find, so they're a fine option. Make sure to hide the clip under your hair.