I'm a Former Goth—Now, 2022 Wants Me to Be One Again

A leather dog collar complete with a dangling silver heart, studded belt, black puddle trousers and kohl eyeliner—lots and lots of kohl eyeliner. This was my uniform between the ages of 12 and 16, which I look back on fondly as my goth phase, when Winona Ryder in Beetlejuice served as my muse. Though I perhaps wasn't as invested in it as others in the goth community, I could best describe my style as falling under that sartorial umbrella. It might also surprise you to learn that many of my fellow fashion editors also embraced the goth aesthetic in their youth.

Back then—I'm talking the early to mid-noughties—trends were more singular and didn't tend to overlap quite so freely as they do now. As such, you were more likely to embrace a specific look. On one side of the spectrum, you had OG Y2K, which featured low-slung jeans, halter tops from Kookaï and Von Dutch caps. The other? Its antithesis, goth. I put my energy into the latter, as it felt less conforming and more expressive—fashion editors are creatives at heart, after all. 

Photo:

@fongminliao

What I always loved, and still love, about the goth aesthetic was just how inclusive it could be. There are so many facets to being goth—from those who take the more traditional approach to those who subscribe to the romantic Victoriana vibe. And these offshoots only keep expanding. 

For its annual Pinterest Predicts report, Pinterest revealed that all things goth have been spiking over the last year. It read, "Welcome to the goth-aissance. Goth will make its way into the mainstream this year across all age groups—just not in the ways that you might expect. Goth business casual, goth baby clothes, and even goth kitchen décor are all rising trends." I was particularly intrigued by the term "goth cowboy," which is up 70% in searches on the platform. 

Now, I know there's a lot more to the goth aesthetic than just wearing black, but I wanted to see which gothic outfits I could assemble from my existing wardrobe to see if I could tap back into it. And you know what, it was pretty empowering. Scroll below to see my makeshift gothic outfits. Then continue on to see how some of my favourite influencers are also channelling the goth aesthetic in 2022

SHOPPING THE GOTH AESTHETIC FROM MY WARDROBE

1. MESH TOP + BRA TOP + TROUSERS

Style Notes: Okay, so I know this doesn’t look intrinsically gothic, but I used the mesh long-sleeve top as a nod to the fishnet ones I previously wore underneath printed tees and vest tops. I don’t often wear top-to-toe black, but I felt incredibly confident in this. 

Shop the Look

My all-time favourite pair of black trousers. 

My Mango heels are sold out, but the Prada originals are the dream.

2. VICTORIANA DRESS

Style Notes: I’ve always loved Victoriana-style dresses—show me a pie-crust collar, and I’m sold—and I love how many black velvet options there are out there that tap into the goth aesthetic. Although this & Other Stories number has since sold out, the brand often creates similar styles to shop. In the meantime, why not make your own with a detachable ruffled collar?

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Pop this on with everything from knitwear to dresses. 

I’ve had my eye on this velvet mini for the longest time. 

3. VINYL COAT + PLEATED MINI + PLATFORM MARY-JANES

Style Notes: The inspiration for this ensemble started with the Dark Academic trend that swirled in 2020, pulling out a pleated skirt and wearing it my stacked Mary Janes to create the school-girl look. In the process, I came across this coat, which I snagged from Alexa Chung’s first-ever collection for M&S. (How great were they?) Admittedly, it’s a little tight these days, but the contrast of textures adds a fashionable spin to this gothic-inspired look. 

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I’m obsessed with the slightly oversized shape of this coat. 

I own this knit in black and cream and can confirm it’s already perfectly oversized. 

Hands down, one of my most-worn purchases from the past year. 

My Mary Janes are old, but I’m really into this Musier Paris pair. 

HOW TO DO THE GOTH AESTHETIC NOW

1. LEATHER BIKER

The nipped-in waist feels more goth than rock. 

2. VAMPY DRESS

It’s the gloves for me. 

Key Buy

Find a dress with gloves or cut-out sleeves to achieve Imani’s look. 

3. FITTED LONG-SLEEVE TOP

Goth Aesthetic: @fongminliao wears a fitted long-sleeve top

Photo:

@fongminliao

This is the goth equilivant to a plain white tee. 

Key Buy

The flared sleeves and raw seams add to the goth aesthetic of this top. 

4. WIDE-LEG TROUSERS

Goth Aesthetic: @lisafolawiyo wears black tailored trousers

Photo:

@lisafolawiyo

Jeans can often feel more skater than goth, so black trousers are where it’s at. 

Key Buy

A staple in any wardrobe. 

5. TARTAN SKIRT

Goth Aesthetic: @maria_bernad wears a tartan mini skirt

Photo:

@maria_bernad

Blur the lines of goth and punk with a tartan miniskirt. 

Key Buy

If you told me this skirt was from Next, I don’t know if I would have believed you. 

6. TRACK-SOLE BOOTS

Goth Aesthetic: @kerrypieri wears a pair of track-sole boots

Photo:

@kerrypieri

Goth, but make it high-fashion. 

Key Buy

These over-the-knee boots would look great with minidresses and skirts.

7. SOMETHING FEATHERED

Feathers might not feel like an obvious part of the goth aesthetic, but the addition of the romantic texture certainly fits with some gothic subcultures.  

8. LEATHER TROUSERS

Leather is a good starting point for anyone looking to explore their inner goth. 

Key Buy

Leather trousers are incredibly versatile but look so cool worn with even more leather. 

9. MESH TOP

Goth Aesthetic: @majawyh wears a black mesh top

Photo:

@majawyh

Like me, Maja experiments with wearing a black mesh top. 

Key Buy

Once you own one, you’ll think up a multitude of ways to wear it. 

10. COLLARED DRESS

Goth Aesthetic: @oliviamarcus wears a collared dress

Photo:

@oliviamarcus

Looks like I’m not the only one who favours the Victoriana goth aesthetic. 

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