Gothic Style Guide

Maybe you're 12, 13, 14 or even older and dreaming of how to express your feelings through a new lifestyle. If you want to be a gothic teenager, opt for outfits that consist mainly of black clothing with gothic details, like a studded belt or skull tights. Use art to express yourself, such as through fashion and makeup.

Research the background and subculture to understand what it means to be gothic. Read gothic novels and listen to gothic music to immerse yourself in gothic life. With a little research and a few simple steps, you can become a true gothic teenager.

If you already have some ideas and are just looking for a few accessories to go with your outfits, then check out our skull jewelry collection that will delight you!

1) Dress up as a Goth

A) Fill your closet with Black Clothing

The color black will be the foundation of your wardrobe. Choose several different styles and cuts of clothes, all in black, such as t-shirts, long-sleeved shirts, tank tops, jeans, leggings, pants, skirts and dresses.
You can also pair other dark colors with black clothing, such as dark burgundy instead of pastel pink and navy blue instead of sky blue.

2) Choose leather and lace items

Leather and lace are the ultimate gothic items. Tight leather pants, lace tops or dresses, leather vests or jackets, lace stockings, and even leather bags would work perfectly.

You can opt for black leather and lace, or choose other dark colors, like forest green, plum and charcoal gray.

3) Choose clothes with gothic designs

Your entire outfit doesn't have to be black every day. You can also wear clothes with colorful skulls, crosses, ravens, roses, angel wings.

Sometimes you can even find clothes with the look of a ouija board. Clothes decorated with real icons of the gothic movement, such as the Edward Scissorhands, The Cult, Marilyn Manson, the Misfits, Elvira, Killing Joke or the Addams Family, are also good choices.
For example, you can try wearing black pants with a red skull shirt or purple leggings with an angel top.

4) Choose gothic accessories

Belts, studded or spiked bracelets, skull jewelry and black hats are all great options. Chains and gloves cut at the fingertips are also popular for creating a strong gothic look. Victorian era jewelry, such as earrings or chokers, are also a good choice.

5) Wear black shoes

Choose between military combat boots (a staple of gothic style), high-heeled boots, lace-up boots or any other style of boots that you like and feel comfortable in.

If you prefer shoes, then choose black sneakers, flats, pumps, loafers or even sandals. Choose a few pairs of comfortable and durable shoes, so you have a shoe to match each outfit.

6) Add some gothic accents to your outfit

If your school requires you to wear a proper outfit, then you can still look gothic by adding little touches like rose tights or jewelry depicting skulls. Put gothic pins in your hair or hang a skull pin on your school bag.

You can also put black nail polish on your nails, choose a gothic makeup and hair style. Add black accessories, like combat boots and a trench coat.
Be careful to follow your school's dress code and avoid adding inappropriate words or images to your uniform.

B) Doing a Gothic Makeup and Hairstyle

1) Choose a light foundation

The iconic gothic look is characterized by pale skin and black eye makeup. Choose a foundation, with a few shades lighter than your natural skin tone. Use clean fingers to spread the foundation all over your face and neck. Use a brush or sponge to make sure the foundation is blended in.

If you're not allowed to wear makeup, or your skin is too dark to apply a light foundation, don't worry! You can still create a gothic look through your clothes and accessories.

If you have a dark skin tone and really want to go light but obviously can't, then try to dye your hair as dark as possible. Even if the contrast isn't significant, it will be enough to distract from your non-pale complexion.

2) Wear dramatic eye makeup

Choose a dark eye shadow, like black, gray or purple. You can use a pencil or liquid eyeliner to create a cat-eye look or just make dark circles with a black pencil. Swipe on several coats of black mascara, or choose a mascara in a fun color, like pink, blue or purple.

For school, you may want to minimize the amount of makeup you wear. Go for a gothic look, like black lipstick or eyeliner, and skip the rest.

3) Choose a dark color for your lips

A dark lipstick, like black, will contrast well with your pale face. You can also opt for a classic, dark red or mix and match by choosing a plum, magenta or navy lipstick. You can choose a signature color to wear every day, or choose the color to match your outfit or mood.

4) Choose the hairstyle you want

You don't have to have long, black hair to be gothic. Feel free to choose the cut and style you prefer, or leave your hair natural. Anything goes, from a shaved head to an Iroquois crest or stick straight hair.

5) Color your hair, if you want to

Choose a deep blue-black or go for a bolder color, like cherry red. Purple, green and blue are also popular colors for goths. You can dye all your hair, add highlights, create an ombre effect or just color the ends.

Choose a color and style that makes you feel good, but ask your parents for permission first!

6) Add some gothic hair accessories

Bandanas, headbands, wands, barrettes and clips can help keep your hair out of your face and add interest to your style. Choose lace or leather hair accessories, opt for solid black or pick a pattern like roses or skulls.

C) Adopt a Gothic Lifestyle

1) Research Gothic history and culture

If you really want to be goth, you need to learn about the history and subculture of goth. Do some research on the Internet or go to the library and pick up some books on the subject, like The Gothic Bible by Nancy Kilpatrick. Learn about goth icons, including musicians and movie characters, such as Alice Cooper, David Vanian and Theda Bara.

The gothic subculture emerged in the UK in the 1980s and was influenced by both punk rock and 19th century gothic literature.
So now, get inspired by the gothic characters you can find in TV shows and movies, like Lydia Deetz, John Blaylock, Lily Munster, Donnie Darko and Wednesday Addams.

2) Listen to gothic music

There are many different genres, such as gothic rock, deathrock, EBM, Darkwave and new wave. Some of the gothic artists include Siouxsie and the Banshees, Bauhaus, The Sisters of Mercy and The Cure. Choose music that you like to listen to and can relate to. Never feel like you have to stop listening to a band just because it's not goth, and don't listen to a band just because it's goth.

Goths generally agree that the music is the determining factor. You don't have to listen only to gothic music (or its subgenres), but you should at least be interested in it.
Start with Dead by Bauhaus by Bela Lugosi. It's the foundation of gothic music.

3) Read gothic books

Search your local library using a keyword like "gothic" to start.
The Tribulations of a Gothic Girl in Love by Cecile Guillot, Cassandra's Castle by Dodie Smith or The Hand of Night by Susan Hill are good options. You can choose books about vampires and the undead, as well as those that explore ideas like mortality and darkness.

Classical and romantic literature is very important. Most goths have a good knowledge of the culture.
Traditional gothic literature includes Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Bram Stoker's Dracula and Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

4) Get creative with gothic art

Goths are generally creative people with intense emotions. Express these emotions through art, such as drawing, journaling, singing, painting or dancing. We've even prepared a guide for you to learn how to draw a skull and crossbones easily. You can also write poetry, stories or songs. Use your creativity to improve your wardrobe or create new makeup or hair styles.

5) Don't go with the flow

Goth kids are not sheep, they don't follow trends or mainstream ideas, they are free thinkers who form their own opinions. Don't accept something just because other people do, even if those people are fellow goths.

Make your own decisions based on your personal preferences and values.

6) Attend gothic events

Join social media groups for goth teens to find out about different goth events. You can also search the internet for gothic festivals or clubs in your area. You can meet other gothic teens, learn about the gothic subculture and get ideas for your hair, makeup, wardrobe and life style.
Even if you don't find goth events in your area, you can still connect with other goth teens through online goth forums and groups.

If you want to become a true goth, all of our articles here will answer your questions.

D) The 12 Commandments of Becoming Gothic

To summarize everything we have just seen, here is a small summary of the most important points if you are wondering how to become a goth:

  • Dress as a goth
  • Choose gothic leather and lace accessories
  • Wear black shoes
  • Wear skull jewelry
  • Have a gothic makeup
  • Choose a dark eye shadow
  • Opt for a dark lip color
  • Choose a hairstyle you like
  • Adopt a gothic lifestyle
  • Listen to rock/metal music
  • Attend gothic events
  • Don't follow the crowd and don't listen to anyone but yourself!

Now you have all the keys to become the true version of yourself, free from all the constraints and pressures of the society we live in.