Saturday, 1 January 2011

An overview of Goth fashion for gentlemen

I recieved a request on my old site to do a page specifically relating to guys' fashion and make-up, but to be entirely honest it took me quite a while to pluck up the courage! I hope you lads don't feel I've been excluding you - I haven't been intending to tailor my posts towards the ladies, but I suspect it turns out that way because I am, of course, female. Hence the following disclaimer: being female, I have limited experience of the blokey side of Goth fashion and beauty, but I will do my best. Just for you.

Source: YouTube
First, the good news: Goth looks for guys are as many, as varied and as individual as they are for the ladies. Everything from Gothabilly to Gothic Lolita (yes, really) can suit a man just as well as a woman. The bad news is that there are just as many fashion pitfalls and possible sartorial disasters facing the chaps, too. Usually I would disagree with the notion of a 'right' and a 'wrong' in fashion, but after asking around and checking out some Goth forums, I identified a few fashion... experiments which most would prefer not to see repeated.

These are the few definite no-gos that I feel compelled to mention - let's get them out of the way first:
  1. Crow make-up/corpse paint. Please, boys, please - let's leave the crazy clown make-up to the juggalos. Unless you're at a Kiss concert, in which case, knock yourself out.
  2. Skirts and facial hair. In the Goth scene, guys in skirts are a relatively normal sight. But, skirts and beards? Makes you look like a Hairy Highlander statuette. To quote the 'Real Goth FAQ': "Is it okay to wear a skirt and makeup if I have facial hair? Actually, that question is not frequently asked. We just wish it were, because we certainly see enough people who should have asked it. The answer is no, you should not wear a skirt or makeup with facial hair. It looks creepy, like a weird hillbilly drag queen or something."
  3. Jeans and a flowing velvet cloak. Casual or romantigoth? Pick one and stick with it, otherwise you run the risk of looking like a badly-dressed hobbit. Actually, this holds true for the ladies as well - some Goth styles don't combine well. Deathrock meets Victorian? Great! Cyber meets Ren Faire? If you are ESPECIALLY awesome and can pull this off. Trainers and a frilly shirt? Just go away.
Androgyny is common amongst Goth guys. Yes, you can have long and flowing hair. Yes, you can dress like a male Lolita. Yes, you can wear a skirt, wear lipstick (I know a rather good-looking Goth guy, who shall remain unnamed, whose long dark hair and leather trousers are usually perfectly complemented by eyeliner and a dash of lippie), bedeck yourself with lace. Just remember, there's a fine line between darkly elegant and vampire drag queen.

Of course, a more feminine look is NOT for everyone. Some styles of Goth fashion lend themselves well to the elegant, dandyish look such as vampire Goth and romantigoth, and the bright colours of perkygoth and cyber may suit the more flamboyant. But for those who don't want to dress like "fruity vampires" (thank you, Voltaire) styles such as Gothabilly (what's girly about hot rods, ripped-off sleeves and pin-up tattoos?), deathrock (minus tights and lipstick, obviously) are a tad more macho. For casual daywear, black jeans or camo-print trousers or shorts and black band T-shirts are probably the most common look.

(Warning: the big baggy trousers adorned with straps, chains, studs and other crap, e.g. Tripp pants? These can SCREAM mallgoth, particularly if you're a teenage guy. I'm not saying don't wear them - I have several pairs myself, and intend to wear them to death before I hit my twenties and start being a grown-up - just be aware that this may be the image you're presenting. Also, whilst I am certainly not well-dressed enough to warrant critiquing other's fashion choices, the guy I saw at the cinema a while ago made me wince. Trousers with more hardware than a DIY shop, long black leather trenchcoat (so far, so standard), long curly hair... and little black cat ears perched on top of his head. Now, it's not that I'm entirely unaware of the cat-ears trend - in fact, it can be quite cute when the fuzzy ears are sported by a cute Goth girl or guy. The key word here is cute. But when you're trying to be all macho with huge flapping trousers and your Matrix coat flaring oh-so-dramatically in the chilly English-summer wind, it doesn't quite work, somehow.)

Male Goth fashion may also borrow from other subcultures - long hair, beards and tribal tatts a la the metal scene, or a shaven-headed, trenchcoat-wearing, utilitarian rivet-head style may suit the burlier, stompier kind of Goth feller. If you're not a top hat and poet shirt kind of guy, then you're not.

Body mods are seen amongst both men and women, although men are perhaps likely to have greater tattoo coverage.

Make-up for guys can be tricky, and there are very few decent tutorials online. When in doubt, keep it simple - a smudge of black eyeliner can be smouldering and mysterious; and far more interesting than a badly-done attempt at heavy tradgoth cats' eyes and curliques. Practise, practise, practise, and for goodness' sake, don't leave the house with half-assed, sloppy make-up. Take your time you'll soon get the hang of it.

Hairstyles are an area where anything goes, although the most commonly seen styles are probably deathhawks or mohawks; or long, straight hair. Shaved heads or spiked hair are also popular. Don't be afraid to experiment with colour and styles.

Listening to: Aegis - Johnny Hollow

I feel like throwing a free download in here, since I haven't posted a link for ages. Here's Cowboy by Sarah June, a haunting dark folk song with beautiful, childlike vocals. Enjoy, Gothy girls and boys alike.


sydneysomething said...

That guy in the pic is super hawt :-p also I ADORE Victorian goth gents and steampunk lads. Man, you don't know what a waistcoat and top hat can do to me...

Laurence 'The Beard' Williams said...

On behalf of the men here, I herby award you with 1000 free internets in thanks. Spend them wisely =D

Julietslace said...

Omg that description of the guy you saw in the cinema made me LOL, oh those cat ears are so easy to get wrong. Specially on a frikin' guy.

Carmen LeBlanc said...

You forgot to add pinstripes. I always thought pinstripes were pretty essential to a goth man's wardrobe.

Though, I myself love pinstripes as well :D pinstripe pants, pinstripe vests, pinstripe shirts.

Tenebris In Lux said...

I love Goth dudes that have the courage to muster up something they can work with, not just pull off some Tripp pants like you said. Mmm .. androgyny ..

And yes, that picture is very yummy. Thanks, Amy!

Sam said...

is there something wrong with tripp pants, cus i own a pair and i like them alot

ultimategothguide said...

Sam - they're often seen as a bit stereotypical. But I have four pairs, so really, who cares?

Anonymous said...

I, a Goth gent myself, manage to pull of what can best be described as a mixture of casual and deathrock, with some victorian and steampunk elements.

Anonymous said...

While skirts and facial hair don't work (I agree), kilts and facial hair are another matter entirely. And, yes, there is a difference.

Also, another look that can work well for guys is corporate goth, especially for older gents. It can actually be quite versatile, combining elements from more romantic/victorian styles with modern styles while achieving something less androgynous then other goth styles.

Anonymous said...

"Facial hair + skirts don't work"? I think, at the contrary, that this could be great, only if well done. Same goes for dresses, after all. See also (though not Goth examples): • men wearing kilts and • Conchita Wurst.

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