|Goths at the Wave Gotik Treffen|
The most important tip I can give you is not to limit yourself - this is one thing that I learned the hard way. Don't say, "From now on, I'm not wearing anything that isn't black." Don't be the person staring in the window of New Look, Bay Trading or whatever mainstream store, thinking, 'I'd love to wear that outfit, if only I hadn't decided to be a Goth.' If you like it, and you'd wear it, damn well buy it! Wear it your own way: wear it with fishnets, wear it with spikes, wear it with ringlets, Mary-Janes and a parasol. But don't assume you can't wear it if it 'isn't Goth'. Be your own self and wear things that YOU like.
If you put restrictions on yourself and your look, you'll end up feeling like you're missing out on wearing the things that you would like to wear. This could lead to a resentment of Goth, and your time in the subculture could end up being 'just a phase'. After a year or so of wearing, quite literally, nothing but black, I had a bit of resenty-ness myself, and ended up 'rebelling' against my daft self-imposed limits by wearing rainbow gloves and blue jeans with my spiked wristbands and black strappy jacket. It took me a while to work out that that didn't mean I 'didn't want to be Goth any more' or was 'less Goth'; I was just doing my own thing - and I've never looked back since.
There are no rules to follow in Goth fashion. There is no right or wrong. There are things that look good and things that don't; I'm sure you can work these out on your own. Don't worry about what other people may be thinking about you.
This works in two ways - 1), don't worry about what your peers think about the way you choose to dress. They don't run your life: if it's not hurting anybody else, you should be able to look, dress, act and think however you want. And 2), don't worry about the opinions of other Goths. If you want to wear something pink - wear it. Blue jeans? Wear them. Do Goth your own way. All the fashion advice I or anyone else can give you can only ever be guidelines. Find out what works for YOU - what makes you look good, and, most importantly, makes you feel good. Never, ever, let other people put you down.
You can work with what you already have. Embracing Goth doesn't mean abandoning your old wardrobe favourites. You can update them with a little DIY, or simply leave them as-is and accessorise like a crazy beast (of the night). This also means that you don't have to run out and buy a whole new wardrobe - all you need to get started is a few key pieces - for example a black jacket, a pair of trousers, and some funky boots (I can't believe I just used the word 'funky'...) - and then you can mix, match and customise the rest of your 'normal' wardrobe until it works.
Pink My Little Pony T-shirt (yes, I have one of these hanging in my closet)? Pair it with black skinnies tucketdinto boots, a shredded skirt and fishnets, or a pair of bondage pants, and you have instant Goth Irony. Boring shirt or blouse? Add safety pins, rips and patches. Also bear in mind that the right accessories can change the whole look of an outfit - for example, spiked collar and leather gloves vs. lace choker and velvet armwarmers.
Keep your eyes open and check out what other people are wearing. If you like an outfit you see at a club, can you buy or make something slightly similar? What is it that you like about it - and how can you re-create that? Copy it if you must, then change it so that it's all yours. Using other people to inspire your look is one thing, but copying their outfit from head to foot is a little bit pointless.
If you really want a unique look, creativity and a hefty dose of imagination is the only way to get there. Using pics from the internet or from magazines as reference is a good start, but be sure to build on that look and make it your own. Keep in mind what you want from your style - do you want to look sexy? futuristic? elegant? like a dangerous but beautiful creature of the night? - and work with it. I have a theory that the best Goth looks = 4 parts creativity, 3 parts attention to detail, 2 parts attitude and 1 part actual items worn.
Listening to: Sleeping Sun - Nightwish