How to Be Gothic in 6 Steps

For outsiders and newcomers, understanding Goth fashion and the attitude of Goths can be a real challenge. The transition to being Goth can also present many difficulties, from the cost of building a wardrobe to the opposition of parents or loss of friends. Take small steps and instead of getting frustrated by these hurdles, enjoy the journey and your growth as a Goth.

1. Learn the History

Modern Goth culture came into the form we know today only in the late 70s when British Goth music, an extension of the post-Punk scene, had acquired a characteristically melancholy feel. The word "goth" itself was applied to this genre of music because it echoed the dark pathos of Gothic literature of the 19th century like Dracula. Goths draw from these twin influences (among others like Wicca) to give form to a truly one-of-a-kind culture.

2. Listen to the Music

Goth music is an indelible feature of the community, though Goths aren't required to like it. Explore the many genres that have emerged, from 80s Goth rock to California death rock, ethereal, darkwave, EBM, neoclassical, ambient, New Wave, punk rock, and industrial, among others.

3. Tell Friends and Family

Most Goths begin in their teens and often encounter concern and outright opposition to becoming Goth from their parents. Listen to your parents patiently and respond maturely; being Goth doesn't give you license to act out. If they are truly against your becoming Goth, take only small steps while you're still living at home.

Friends may also react negatively to your desire to become Goth. Anticipate this and seek out people who like you for who you are--no matter how you look.

4. Sort Through Your Wardrobe

You don't have to overhaul your wardrobe to become a Goth. Keep anything you own that is black, gray or red; white may also work. Also hold on to dark-colored clothes. Other items you may already own that are considered Goth include cross or pentagram necklaces, combat boots, fishnet tights or gloves, fingerless gloves and band t-shirts.

5. Make a Slow Transition

If you become gothic all at once, you may shock your family and cause your friends to think you're faking. Change over the summer to soften the blow at school and introduce new items slowly to family. Being with simple touches like a cross necklace or fingerless gloves and add on every couple of weeks.

6. Join the Community

Keeping a support network of Goths and other friends is an important part of being and becoming Goth. If you have trouble finding other Goths in your area, seek them out online in forums or on Facebook. Read some Goth magazines to stay connected, and if you have a gothic social club in your area, stop by to meet some more seasoned Goths who can give you guidance.

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