There are so many ways to dress as a goth girl while remaining true to yourself. While many think of goth culture in terms of black clothes, black eyeliner, and black boots, we know that the true scene is far more nuanced than that. Some goth girls lean traditional, while others embrace the more colorful or romantic aspects of the subculture. Which type of goth girl are you?

1. Trad Goth

Trad goth, or traditional goth, is the original goth fashion style that emerged in London in the 1980s. This style was closely tied to goth music (gothic rock) and popularized by English bands including The Cure, Bauhaus, Sisters of Mercy, and Siouxsie and the Banshees. Trad goth fashion was further developed over time at the Batcave Club in London, which had cobwebs on the ceiling and you had to walk through a real coffin with a cut-out bottom to enter.

Dress the Look

A traditional or classic goth look involves:

  • All things leather (or vegan faux leather) like our Liquid Vegan Leather Skater Skirt with Fishnet Hem and our Vegan Pleated Skirt with a black leather jacket
  • Fishnet stockings
  • Mesh outerwear and overlays
  • Torn and shredded black pants, like our Side-Shredded Legging
  • Backcombed, teased, and disheveled hair
  • Pale skin and dark eye makeup
  • Chains and other metal accessories
  • Dark nail polish
  • Black lipstick
  • Black hair

Are You a Trad Goth Girl?

Traditional goth outfits could be perfect for you if you:

  • Love wearing dark colors
  • Have an obsession with everything spooky and morbid
  • Love fishnets, mesh, and distressed fabric
  • Love 80s gothic rock music
  • Are obsessed with makeup and have a steady hand for liquid eyeliner

2. Romantic Goth

A romantic goth style draws heavily on the Victorian era for inspiration—in particular, Victorian mourning clothes. Along with the usual black makeup, this style features big dresses, elegant hairstyles, and fanciful details like ruffles and lace. Early examples of romantic goth fashion draw on the medieval settings referenced by the poet Edgar Allen Poe. Late-Victorian goth style is more similar to the costuming featured in Bram Stoker's Dracula

Dress the Look

A romantic-era gothic outfit has several distinctive features, starting with fabrics and ending with elegant embellishments like embroidery and lace. For any Victorian-inspired goth outfit, be sure to include:

  • Luxe fabrics like velvet and lace, as featured in our Victorian Velvet Dress
  • Fitted corsets, and big ruffled, layered skirts and lace-bordered petticoats
  • Beautiful embellishments such as puffed sleeves, lattice details, quilting, and lace
  • An elegant hat, parasol, or purse (dark-colored, of course)

While you can go all black, romantic goth outfits can also include purple and dark red. Think Dracula and you'll nail the style!

Are You a Romantic Goth Girl?

A neo-Victorian gothic look might be for you if:

  • You love flounces, ruffles, and lace
  • You wish you were Mina from Dracula
  • You enjoy drama 
  • You love the idea of a man with a top hat and a cane
  • You live as though you're in mourning

3. Pastel Goth

Pastel Goth emerged in the 2010s influenced from Japanese and Korean street style, as a mixture of goth and the pastel colors of the kawaii aesthetic. The result is a feminine combination of black together with bows, lace-up designs, and pastel colors like pink and lilac. 

Dress the Look

To dress in a pastel goth style, you can either buy specialty pastel goth clothing or combine black and pastel elements that you already have. In your goth outfit, be sure to include a few cute touches like ribbons, bows, corsets, and lace-up closures.

Are You a Pastel Goth Girl?

This cute gothic street style may be for you if:

  • You are soft as a kitty cat, but have a dark soul
  • Give gothic lolita vibes 
  • Willing to spend 8+ hours a month having your hair dyed pastel colors.

Other Gothic Subcultures

Here, we've explored four of the main goth fashion styles, but if you don't identify with any of the ones we've mentioned, there are a plethora of other subcultures to explore.

Cyber goth: A gothic fashion that was popular in the late 1990s. A defining feature of this style is bright neon hair and lots of vinyl.

Boho goth: Boho goth is a cross between bohemian and gothic fashion styles. Think Stevie Nicks but in dark maxi skirts, flowy outfits, witchy nature themes, and an appropriate amount of gothic darkness.

Punk goth: Punk goth is a darker version of punk… or perhaps a more colorful version of goth. Think dog collars with spikes, black-and-color stripe tops, and fishnet.

Witchy goth: Witchy goth is a curated gothic style that includes black clothing and hooded cloaks with occult symbols. Common animal motifs in witchy goth clothing include bats, cats, moths, and snakes.

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