After an amazing Christmas and blinding New Years (literally!), I’m finally back to blogging, and I thought I’d start the New Year with the second part of my ‘Come to the Dark Side’ series, featuring aspects of the gothic lifestyle that many ‘newbies’ will be concerned/confuzzled with.
So last time I went into the core and most basic elements of goth philosophy, now we come to the material side. Now, the dress codes, music and literature aspect of this subculture has been covered dozens of thousands of billions of times, so instead of listing these, I will instead take this as an opportunity to dive beard-first into the many different kinds of goths there are and highlight their unique sense of dress. As I said last time, being a goth is more a state of mind than something that can be dictated by what you wear or do. There are many subcultures within the gothic subculture, each with its own unique dress sense and philosophies that link back to the main mode of thinking.
Before I start though is that the following guide is by no means 100% accurate, and only covers the basics. But I will say this, no person who goes goth is one of these to begin with. Black or camouflage trousers, band t-shirts, jewellery with skulls and pentangles and black coats are going to be your jumping-off point, but many goths tend to stay with these basic elements and develop them in the styles mentioned below. Goths are creative by nature, so don’t be afraid to mix your style up a bit once you gain confidence.
Remember the old Henry Ford saying, ‘I can be any colour you like, so long as it’s black’? Many newbie goths, as well as parents wanting designer babies, seems to believe this. The stereotypical opinion of a goth is that everything he or she owns has to be some shade of black. NOT NESSECARILY SO! It is possible to wear bright pink and still be called goth, which people do. The most colourful of the latter are known as ‘Perky Goths’. They tend to dress in brighter colours than your average rivethead, but still retain the gothic look through theme. They represent the cute and cheesy side of goth, yes, there IS such as a thing as that, and enforce this with an upbeat attitude that is sure to put may chavs in a coma through sheer mindfuck.
Returning again to the theme of colours, ‘Cyber Goth’ is a breed developed from ‘Cyber Punk’, which combines elements of dystopia with futuristic settings. They are similar in terms of appearance to Perky Goths, only with greater variety of colour, and minus the attitude. They tend to share the same accessories as their punk counterparts. They also prefer to listen to industrial/techno music than the rock and metal bands the majority of the scene swears by. Their appearance, and indeed philosophies, contrast from much that is considered goth, but the core elements remain the same, and they count since a lot of their ideologies sprang from the main gothic movement of the 80s.
Whereas Cyber Goths look to the future, there’s a whole culture of goths that draw inspiration from the past. Gothabilly is a form that derives from the elements of youthful rebellion of the 1950s. Biker jackets and shades, combined with ‘retro’ elements forms this fascinating outfit, as well as tattoos featuring quite heavily. ‘Victorian Goth’ speaks mainly for itself. The Victorian era was a huge influence for the ‘goth’ movement that emerged during the 80s, with development in art, literature and fashion being a mine of inspiration for many fledgling goths, and those who call themselves Victorian Goths will rarely be seen without parasols, top hats, corsets, ball gowns or walking canes of a dark variety.
There are plenty of goths however for whom the rocking 50’s or the soot-ridden 1800s just isn’t far enough. Many goths derive their sense of fashion from later periods in time, such as the medieval era (which makes sense seeing as how the original Goths were a Germanic tribe from the pre-mediaeval ages). These guys will incorporate elements of fantasy into their outfits, as well as heraldic patterns from coats of arms, as well as be fond of poetry of the time, such as the Arthurian legends and similar.
Steampunk goths combine the regal and intricacy of the Victorian era (Or Victorian style technology) with the dystopia and overall conceptual philosophies of the Cybergoth. Many steampunk goths can be seen adorned with self-made goggles, military jackets and other relics of the Victorian era, as well as patterns of cogs wherever possible. The steampunk subculture is fast growing into something quite amazing through clothing, literature and crafts. Many steampunks I know were goths at one point, and like to combine elements of steampunk with their costumes (plus steampunk as a subculture is generally awesome and I hereby swear to include as many mentions of it as I can in each post).
And then of course there the Uber Goths. Those who dress in capes, tall boots, spiked hair, pure white face make-up, shaven heads, elaborate piercings. These are the most dedicated goths you can possibly find, and chances are would remove their fangs for a parent-teacher conference. Not that these guys will wear this stuff all the time. Any sensible goth knows that self-expression is perfectly fine, but there’s a time and a place for bondage trousers and trenchcoats. But when it comes down to it, they are the kings and queens of the subculture through their sheer devotion and creativity.
Anywho this is it for another entry. I’ve gone into the main types that exist within this subculture, but there’s many many more kinds out there, each with their own unique style of awesome. For more information, I’d seriously recommend taking a look at the below website link to help you decide which direction you want to go in:
Next time I will go over the more sensitive issues of becoming a goth, i.e. coming out and acceptance. Any feedback as usual is welcomed, and I look forward to heard what you lovely lot think. But the most important thing for anyone out there is ultimately to dress in what makes you comfortable. Don’t worry about stereotypes, or ‘Is this goth enough?’. That kind of thinking will get you nowhere, take this from someone with personal experience. Experience you will also gain through time and observation ;D
A huge thank you to Vicky for helping me with some of the more difficult parts. Rock on your glittery legend you!
Regards, the Beard