Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Goth fashion basics - the colour scheme

The most instantly recogniseable facet of Goth culture is, of course, the fashion. Black, black, and more black, often accessorised with ripped tights, chunky boots, spikes, piercings, tattoos and heavy, dramatic make-up.

I've mentioned before that Goth fashion, just like the music, has many different subsets and offshoots, which we'll talk more about later. But there are a few key points that tend to be universal to the Goth 'look'.

The Colour Scheme

But wait, there's more, honest. OK, so not all Goths wear all-black-all-the-time, but it's a good place to start. Black clothes are simple to find, suit nearly everyone, and form a great basis for all kinds of looks, from day-to-day casual to aristocratic elegance to down'n'dirty rips, pins and spikes.

White is seen in many Goth outfits and seems to be gaining popularity; being seen far more often at clubs, festivals, and other Gothy events. White can be used as an accent, or as the main colour (wearing head-to-toe white creates a strong contrast to everyday black, and can look either starkly futuristic or elegant and a little mournful). Goths who regularly wear all white ensembles have garnered the nickname 'ice Goths' or 'negative Goths'.

Grey is not seen as often as white, but is tasteful, elegant, and delightfully dreary. Would also work well for occasions when all black is not quite the thing, such as attending church.

Jewel tones, e.g. emerald green, ruby red, sapphire blue, are often used to accent an outfit, and are also a practical choice for occasions such as job interviews and weddings. Less gloomy than grey but certainly more suitable than black or white.

Neon colours are most often seen in cybergoth fashions (something else that will crop up later - stay tuned, sports fans), although many deathrock outfits have bright accents. My advice would be to use neon sparingly to begin with, or else you run the risk of looking as though a Hot Topic store exploded on you. Handle with care.

Tertiary colours - that is, shades of orange and brown - are rarely seen outside steampunk fashion, as most Goths tend to steer away from warmer colours. Pastels are occasionally used as accents, or worn ironically (why yes, I do have a baby pink My Little Pony T-shirt...). In more traditional Goth outfits, when pastels appear it is rare, and they are usually cool shades such as mint green, icy blue, or pale lavender. Metallic colours are sometimes worn by rivet-heads, steampunks or cybergoths, or used to compliment an outfit.

(Apologies to any Goth newbies who are confused by some of the terms used in this post - all will be explained in future posts, I promise.)


Cassandra said...

Hello, I'm new to the world of goth. I've been surveying it from afar for a while now, and I've decided it's time to take a closer look.

The "goth palette" is currently one of my biggest obstacles to exploring the goth look. Don't get me wrong; I think it's gorgeous, it just seems custom-made to be exactly wrong for me.

My skin has a kind of ivory caste to it that you would think would be great for goth. But whenever I wear really cool colors, the ivory turns downright yellow. I have the same problem with wearing silver, which is even more unfortunate.

I've been toying with the idea of accessorizing with enameled metal to get around the silver problem. And black isn't a problem for me, especially if it's a sable/sepia kind of black. But if I'm going to experiment with the goth look it would be nice if I had some other options to play with besides black.

Does anyone have any ideas?

Maybe I should forge my own subgenre: "Autumn Goth" ...

ultimategothguide said...

@ Cassandra - I wonder if Steampunk Goth has any appeal for you? It uses a lot of golds, browns and creams as well as black which might work for you.

Scarlet Sutcliff said...

Amy, this may sound silly, but I need help. I wore black for a long time, and often said it was my favorite color, but (with the help of the Black Butler anime), I woke up one morning and decided to wear red. This wouldn't have been strange, but I felt the same urge the next day. And the next. And the next. At first, I thought that it wasn't a big deal, but now my friends are starting to question the constant presence of my red trench coat and red hair extensions. People seem to think that I am slipping out of goth. I am, in fact, not, I just really like red now, but no one believes me! How do I explain the both friends and strangers that I am a goth, I just really love red?

Anonymous said...

I myself have been looking for a nice Red coat.
You must be a fan of lady red ;3 I thought her so elegant A very creative character. I think being a red goth is a interesting and unique idea, A nice twist on the seemingly only dark color skeem. Red is so ribrant and beautiful but also dark and lovely. and I think you should embrace it, being goth isn't just about
wearing black, it's goth is more a state of mind..., not my words but I agree to a T :3

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