Fast Fashion

(or What Your Goth Buckle Boots Say about You)

by Madelyn Boudreaux

Photo contributed by Kim Riley

If one observes a gaggle of goths for long enough, one will notice a subset of common, archetypal clothing items which are de rigeur - mandatory or close enough. (The jury is still out on whether a group of goths is properly referred to as a "gaggle," as in "gaggle of geese," or the more poetic but harder to remember "murder," as in "murder of crows.") Despite an almost Catholic insistence that dressing "gothic," by definition, requires a measure of originality not found in other subcultures, these particular items resurface often and across great distances. So, although these items might seem like arbitrary choices, common sense tells us they would not recur without reason. Careful observation suggests that there is a reason behind each item.

The following is an attempt to deconstruct these items, in a wholly unhealthy and postmodern way, leaving the gothic essence exposed -- if not completely naked. We'll leave that for another time, when we deconstruct the makeup.

Textiles / Materials

Leather (black - jacket, boots, belt, pants, shirt, gloves, etc.)

Velvet (black/dark colors - dress, skirt, pants, vest, shirt, gloves, etc.)

Vinyl (black, maybe red or clear, if you're really cheeky)


Corset (Black, or maybe brocade)

Ruffled/Poet Shirt (often white - gasp!)

Leggings (black)

Morticia Addams' skirt (any color as long as it's black)

Military Jacket (black, but maybe khaki)

Other Accouterment

Bondage Gear (Belts, collars, etc.)


As you can see, each of these items sends a serious message to the observer. Mix and match for more complex messages, and always remember: if it looks mean, wear it!

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