Sunday, 24 July 2011

Why Goth doesn't have to be girly

This was not today's intended topic, but I have one or two persistent readers who are concerned about getting involved with Goth whilst retaining their preferred tomboy image. Dear anonymous reader(s?), you can relax, I had not forgotten about you! :-)

It seems that there may be two main images that come to mind when people think of Goth girls (yes, this will be a post specifically for the girls - some of my fashion posts are 'unisex' but I'm sure that you male Goths don't need any help retaining a less feminine image if that's your style!) - either a PVC-clad, sultry strumpet rocking her high heels and tight-laced basque or a melancholy romantic type in long swishy skirts and lace gloves.

But this is far from the be-all and end-all of Goth fashion for ladies, and if your preferred style is leather jackets rather than lacy capes, or black band tees rather than beribboned corsets, you are NOT alone.

Some Goth styles such as punk/old-school Goth and deathrock are based on a more punk image, featuring ripped clothing, combat boots, and safety-pins galore; whilst this look doesn't have to be unfeminine it may appeal to some Goths of a more tomboy-ish persuasion. However, the above-mentioned styles often involve a lot of jewellery, make-up and elaborate big hairstyles, which may not be ideal for Goths who'd feel more at home in jeans and a T-shirt.

The styles I would recommend most to Goths who don't want to be girly are those associated with Industrial subculture (baggy trousers, camo print, heavy boots, little or no make-up, spiked wristbands and a plain black T-shirt or tank top would create an Industrial Goth look for a tomboy type to be proud of. Rivethead girls have been described on Wikipedia thusly: "Industrial women, who were fewer in number, tended to wear waist-cinching corsets, small tank tops or 'wife-beaters,' trousers, and sometimes suspenders hanging down off the pants. They also wore goggles and sometimes shaved their heads.") and casual Goth (for example, skinny or ripped jeans, boots and a black T-shirt of any design - a very simple, pared-down look easily tailored to your personal preference).

The falls and make-up? Girly.
Spikes, shorts, and stompy boots? A perfect template for a more tomboyish look.
Source: VampireFreaks
Do Goth girls have to wear make-up? No. Do they have to wiggle about in high heels and frilly skirts? No. The best thing about Goth fashion is how versatile it is and how easily you can create your own style based on exactly what YOU like. If your day-to-day attire is a pair of jeans or shorts, a hoodie, and a T-shirt, dye it black and pop on  a pair of fishnet gloves, and voila, you have Tomboy Goth. Think zombies, skulls, flames and check prints rather than faeries, sparkly bats, hearts and polka dots and you're already on the right track.

Accessories for the tomboy Goth might include fingerless gloves, wristbands, studded belts, and striped or skull-patterned ties and socks. If you're comfortable in trainers (sneakers) or skate shoes and don't want to buy boots, that's absolutely fine and not the end of the world, a pair of black Vans, Converse or Sketchers will not get you shunned from the Goth subculture. If you do want a pair of boots, try army surplus stores or thrift stores for some plain black boots that can withstand a battering. Also, Bondage pants may be a mallgoth staple, but they're a good way of incorporating Goth into your style without being particularly feminine.

A tomboy reader also noted that she was interested in Medieval Goth style, but found it too girly to feel comfortable wearing it. My advice to this reader would be to take her cues from the male 'version' of Medieval Goth fashion; loose-fitting Medieval-style breeches, boots, and a pirate shirt, perhaps?

If you're not a girly-girl, don't worry about it - grab some skull-patterned T-shirts and your favouite jeans and make Goth work for YOU.

Oh, and here's an outfit of mine from Friday:
Necklace: Claire's, £4
T-shirt: The Sophie Lancaster Foundation at DV8 Fest, £15
Belt: random alt store, £25
Skirt: Sai Sai, Camden, £20
Green wristband: Riverside Gifts, Salisbury, can't remember price
Thin black wristband: gift
Black NBC wristband: charity shop, £2
Glittery spiked wristband: exchanged with a friend for a plain black one when I was about 12...
Tights: Marks and Spencer, £8.50 (not seen)
Boots: Peacocks sale, £20 (not seen)


Allison Paige Eckfeldt said...

That skirt in your outfit post, such a epic win. omigod. I love it.

Yeah, tomboy and goth always went hand in hand in my mind for whatever reason. even with the lace and all.

Maybe it's because I always combine combat boots into all my outfits. =p

Nina @ Death Books and Tea said...

Love that skirt like you wouldn't believe. And while I prefer my goth look to be girly, I liked this post. Helping for when I have to dress to do do practical things.
Enjoy life ^__^
Nina @ Death Books and Tea

Julia Sunderland said...

Great advice! Not just for less girly, but for a more everyday look as well. I always get stuck if I'm in a black mood but lace and ribbons feel far too formal. Context is so important, and it's nice to be more laidback and casual while everyone else is.

Claire said...

Awesome! Reminds me of my outfit post that I just did. My style is sometimes punkish and less feminine, but I usually prefer to dress girly.

ultimategothguide said...

@ Claire - what a coincidence! I immediately thought of this when I checked out your outfit post just now! Loving the Buffy tee ^^

@ Allison - thanks! It's my favourite :-)

Teresa said...


Funny, just a few days ago someone said I was too girly to be goth...

ultimategothguide said...

@ Teresa - NO. :-P

I'm definitely in the girly category too. Although I do have the occasional androgynous day. In fact, I own a bow tie.

Teresa said...

Bow ties are cool.

*Squeeing at actual use of Doctor Who quote without sounding insane for not relating to conversation*

Mike Piasta said...

I have to say, I've been following your guide for a few months now and I just love seeing your outfits. I adore that dress, so pretty.

I'm wanting to start building up a wardrobe myself but there is just some sort of mental block when it comes to doing things for myself. (I wear clothes, not outfits. If they happen to go together it's dumb luck)

Sometimes I get quite jealous seeing all the beautiful clothes available for women and feeling quite left out as a guy.

Cali said...

Oh amy i'm in love with your skirt in your outfit picture. It's adorable!

Angel of Darkness said...

I'm more of a tomboy and it does seem that most goth fashion for females is well, girly. I usually take inspiratoin from male outfits more or less.

I. Love. Your. Outfit!!!!! Beautiful!

Tenebris In Lux said...

Yes yes yes! I've also been looking forward to this post.

One of the larger posts on my blog was about androgynous looks: that's what I do now. I used to be 24/7 tomboy but now I'm letting both genders seep into the whole Tenebris In Lux look ;-)

I would love to see more DIY posts, or maybe just a post in general about how Goths/alternative types prefer to do DIY crafts and whatnot. Maybe a GLBT post would be appreciated, too.

Angel of Darkness said...

By the way, if you'll have me, i would love to do the Darkside International. (My email is:

Rora Monroe said...

omg I want that skirt o_o. This is a nice post most goth girls I know think they cant be goth unless they frilly girly wonderness

The Green Fairy said...

Umm, yeah so I have to have that shirt. :p

Lov'n the green n' black vibe my lovely ;)

p.s. Tomboy goths ftw

amanda said...

heya amy i need some advice what can one do about copy-cats who insist on stealing ones style?


Kitty Lovett; The Unadulterated Cat said...

>la la la
>"oh, Amy has another lovely outfit!"
>look at all the bits and pieces closely
>"so cu-"
>"eyebrows are slightly uneven."


Anonymous said...

I was thinking about gothic tomboy today as I was walking to catch the bus to school. I didn't think you'd write about it. But I love the idea about it. I'm more into the tomboy look. But I wouldn't mind wearing a skirt or dress as long as I wore like tights underneath or something.

ultimategothguide said...

@ Kitty Lovett - no, they are not! I measured them with my eyebrow pencil. Hmph. The camera lies, I tell you! :-P

ultimategothguide said...

Did you ever think maybe my FACE is slightly uneven?! Hmm?!

ultimategothguide said...

@ Amanda - I will do a post on this question asap. No worries!

@ Angel of Darkness - you are on the list o'doom. ^^

@ Mike - I am trying to do some more guy stuff but not sure where to begin! I guess we can muddle through together >.<

Kitty Lovett; The Unadulterated Cat said...

You're such a dick, amy. x3 <3

ultimategothguide said...

Tell me about it.

But loveable.

Carmen.the.Catastrophy said...

That's a beautiful skirt.

Mack-Attack said...


InfiltratorN7 said...

Nice to see an article about the other side of goth female fashion. This is definatly the side I'm on. I've never been particularly girly. You wouldn't catch me dead in high heels, I'm more at home with stompy boots and Doc Martens. I find industrial goth indeed inspiring and I love looking at how characters dress in sci-fi films set in the future for ideas. However, I don't mind dressing a bit feminine every now and then such as going for a more medieval inspired look.

Anonymous said...

*Sigh* I am most definitely more of a tomboy than a girly girl, and it is the source of endless arguments with my mum. I love my Docs to bits (think I'm a bit too attached to them!), and a pair of stompy boots would be my dream, but mum would have a fit if she saw I'd bought some, because I'm supposed to be a ~lady~ and wear dresses and heels all the time... I'll only ever own one pair of heels, because they were the cutest things ever; but they hurt so much, and I can barely walk in them and I don't intend to learn just to appease my family :/ ok, rant over! :p

Anonymous said...

Here's a question/thought/questioning thought. I am a babybat an like multiple goth styles (military, victorian, tomboyish.) Is it possible to mix these types and or toggle when I feel like it? Something like adding a Victorian touch to a t-shirt and jeans outfit?

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