Getting Started

Now that you've been drawn to 'goth'... for whatever reason... you're going to have to find a look that's right for you. If you are lucky enough to know other goths, then get help from your friends, but don't let them talk you into anything you aren't comfortable with. The whole point of gothic fashion is to be able to express yourself through your outward appearance. That means you have to be you. Start simple and work your way up. Not only is going out to Hot Topic and buying everything that fits not necessary... it's not advisable. You are more likely to get the dreaded label "poseur" by showing up at the club one week in casual gear and then having a whole outfit from a place like this the next. Trendies tend to go for the 'just add water' look... you don't want that.

You also don't want to copy anyone's look either. It's fine to take inspiration from someone, but don't do a costume of them. For most goths who have been at it for a while their look is as personal as their name. While there are similarities, everyone seems to have some trademark to their look that is uniquely them. That is the secret... don't just wear the black as a uniform... make it your own.

Don't be in any great rush either. It's better to take your time and find out what fits who you are than to buy a bunch of stuff you'll never wear. Don't be afraid to try new looks; at the same time, don't wear something you feel foolish in. You won't be able to enjoy yourself if you don't feel that you look good... and it really helps to have an honest, experienced friend to help you through that awkward "but does a skirt/black lipstick/cloak really suit me?" phase.

Another thing to remember, and this is true in any sort of fashion, is to get clothes that flatter you. Heftier types tend to look better in Antiquity, or period, style clothing. The skimpier fetish stuff like fishnet body suits and ultra tight PVC are best suited to slimmer goths. Personally I adore flapper dresses... but they don't seem to care for me too much. The same goes for empire waists, which make me look pregnant in the most unflattering way. I am very curvy. My hips and shoulders are really wide and my waist is rather small regardless of how fit I happen to be at the moment. One has to work with what one has.

There are a few basics that you will find in almost every goth's closet, if you have no idea what to do first... start getting these and build on that. Most of these things can be found at a thrift store, department store, or a place like Walmart or Target {actually Iíve found some of my favourite stuff at those places!}. The secret to finding good and unusual stuff is to sometimes look in 'odd' places, like dance stores, yard sales, flea markets, clothing stores that you wouldn't usually think of as gothable.

         Everybody needs
Black Jeans/Trousers and or Skirts for the ladies {skirts are a more advanced option for guys}
I personally don't wear jeans, as I find them uncomfortable and unflattering... but the most basic look you can go for is Jeans and T-shirt.
Black T-shirt
Comfy, versatile and necessary for the Jeans and T-shirt look.
You have to have a pair of boots, or something besides sneakers. Even black sneakers only go so far, and if you venture into anything beyond Jeans and T-shirt, they just don't really look right. You don't have to spend a small fortune on these either. You can find them at thrift stores, army surplus, on Ebay... they don't have to be fantastic or unusual to work.

Especially for Guys

Black Dress Shirt
Again, these are easy to find. They look great layered with a vest or a nice black jacket, {which you also want to look for}.
Other Things to Try
Black turtle neck, for that beatnik/artfag look.
Long black coats.
Studded and interesting belts.

Especially for Femgoths

Skirts are your Friends
Long, short, slim or full you can never have enough. Experiment with layering them. You can probably find lace and velvet ones while thrifting, and on the sale racks of department stores. Gauzy ones are good for summer and are easily tattered at the bottom for that trashy graveyard look.
Tights and Leggings
They don't have to be spider web lace, anything pretty will do. I've found some great lacy ones at Walmart.
Body Suits
Whether you prefer long or short sleeved, these are really great to wear under skirts. I have tons of them in cotton, velvet, lace. My favourite one is actually a black velvet swin suit I got at Walmart years ago.
Little Black Dress
Everyone needs a little black dress... goths need several. It doesn't matter if yours happens to be floor length lace.

Don't forget that you aren't limited to black; jewel tones, greys, and even white can very very gothy. It's all in how you wear them, your attitude and how you carry yourself. Don't be limited by anything but your imagination and your budget.