It's a generally-accepted truth that someone claiming to be Goth without any enjoyment or appreciation of dark, Goth, or Goth-friendly music (including Industrial, Classical, etc) makes other Gothy types get a bit squirmy and frowny. But what about a Goth who doesn't dress Goth?
|Source: Goth Style, via Violet Love|
Ditto colour. I wear lots of colour and I have blonde hair, I don't think it makes me any 'less Goth'.
But there are those who consider themselves Goth who simply don't appreciate the black-on-black aesthetic of Goth fashion rather than relinquishing it out of necessity. Whether or not these people are considered Goth by the scene at large is up for debate; whilst we're all aware that fashion is not the only facet of this subculture, it is a rather large and obvious one.
However, these non-blackclad Gothy types, I feel it is fair to mention, don't generally attire themselves in Juicy Couture tracksuits and fake tan (I DO try not to stereotype, but even if such a person had Bauhaus blaring out of their iPod, I would find it very, very difficult to see them as 'one of us'. I know I'm sounding like a South Park Goth kid now, sorry about that) but tend to either dress in casual 'normal' clothing (T-shirts and jeans) or be inspired by other styles of alternative fashion.
Personally, I feel that there should be nothing wrong with dressing in cyberpop or Sweet Lolita fashion and classing oneself as a Goth. But this then begs the question of where the metaphorical line is drawn - I'm comfortable with, for example, a DJ Sisen mini-me kicking it at the local Goth club, but not someone in flip-flops and a pink polo shirt - WHY?
Perhaps because someone clad in alternative clothing, whatever the style or subgenre, is more likely to know what it's like to be treated differently or badly because of their attire and therefore less likely to do the same? But by saying such, am I not then being equally judgemental towards the person in the pink polo shirt?
All this aside, it's possibly harder for someone to be accepted by their local Goth commmunity if they are not recogniseably Goth, as others may assume they are a club tourist there to make eyes at the spooky chicks. Goth fashion is an easy way to recognise someone with similar interests and possibly values as you, and therefore is one of the things that binds our subculture together. A shared love of dark or unusual fashion also provides common in-jokes ("Nice boots...") and a handy conversational topic (all those embarrassing moments when you caught your fishnets on assorted projections (not THAT sort of projection, you pervert)).
I suppose whether or not you would be accepted by other Goths if you didn't wear dark fashion depends on what Goth means to that person. For me Goth is about alternative fashions AND dark music, hence my unfortunate prejudices about what I am and am not happy to come across on the dance floor at Goth night. For somebody else, Goth might be more about the music, so they won't mind what you wear. And yet another person might hold fashion as their greatest Goth priority and therefore might consider you a poseur.
Goth is very much about being untypical, and therefore it seems strange for Goths to hold to any sort of fashion 'rules', which make me think that, really, anything should go.
This parody vid, whilst hardly subtle, perhaps serves to illustrate how looking Goth doesn't necessarily make a person 'more Goth'.
Like many of the finer details of Goth culture (fashion vs. music being the most obvious example), this topic is mired in vagiaries and very much open to personal interpretation based on preference. Speaking of which, what does everyone else think about this?