Today's reader question comes from a gentleman who asks, "When I first seen goth, I did not understand it. I have come to see my misperception of goth. The more I understand of it the more it appeals to me. I still don't completely understand gothic style. I want to implement gothic style into my daily life, but I'm 37 years old and I don't want to look like an old man trying to look young. I want to look natural. I'm hoping you will advise me."
I previously did a brief post, Grown-Up Goth Style Resources, in response to this email, but thought I would return to the query with a more in-depth reply.
There are many pitfalls for anyone wanting to dip their toe into the dark-hued waters of Goth fashion for the first time, and it's rare that anyone ever gets by without making a few mistakes they look back and cringe at in later life. The gentlemen among us do suffer from a lack of resources available to help guide them past such sartorial errors, but I shall do the best I can. ;-)
My first piece of advice for you would be to avoid like the plague certain stereotypical staples of beginner-Goth fashion - whilst bondage pants, cheap skull-patterned gloves and besmeared black lipstick are forgiveable and possibly even fetching in a slightly clueless way on the younger Gothling, on a grown man the overall effect would likely be somewhat startling.
Instead, ease into the style through simple pieces like black and jewel-toned dress shirts and elegant, but adult, accessories such as a smart jabot, darkly patterned tie, black fedora or even skull or coffin cufflinks. A well-cut black suit may feel dressy, depending on your job and lifestyle, but is a far better asset than a baggy Slipknot hoodie.
Goth fashion is quite unique in that you don't have to be in your teens and twenties to look stunning and decadent; it is adaptable for any age group with just a little forethought. Victorian and historically-inspired styles have plenty to offer the male Gothling in search of a more 'adult' look. I personally am a sucker for any ensemble featuring a waistcoat and pocket watch, but that's just me. This said, if your tastes lie more with the hard-edged sub-styles such as Industrial, fear not. Sites like The Morbid Fashion showcase plenty of outfits and garments with a sleeker, more futuristic feel.
In fact, Zellain at The Morbid Fashion has a new project! You may have already heard about Subtle Goth TV (hint: the clue is in the name), which provides advice for those among you who prefer their dark style to be elegant, minimalist and, well, subtle. Here below is episode one; you can catch up with all the episodes so far at this link.
Luckily, the resources for gentlemen's Goth style finally seem to be on the increase, so I can cheerfully point you in the direction of well-dressed dandy The Sinister Sartorialist, and yes, this provided a good excuse for me to spend an hour or so this morning on Tumblr finding some suitably spooky outfits for the grown-up Goth gentleman. Here are my favourites:
- Simple styling and sombre hues
- A charming suit
- Much less subtle is this silver ensemble, photographed at Whitby Goth Weekend. Subtle style is a great way to break into Goth fashion but don't ever think you can't dress it up if you want to!
- Not one but two very dapper gents in this photo from the Wave Gotik Treffen (and a mini-gent too, d'aww!).
- You can't go wrong with a beautiful jacket.