In the days of Edgar Allen Poe and Count Dracula, there was no such thing as corporate America or the related quandary of how to dress goth at work. As years have passed, ideas about what constitutes “work” and a working environment have changed, cycling through everything from overalls to power suits. In today’s day and age, a corporate goth style allows you to weave both innovation and imagination into your daily attire.
Adapting the goth aesthetic for a corporate setting can be a creative challenge, as corporate wear often leans towards more conservative and professional styles. However, with some subtle adaptations, it is possible to maintain elements of the goth lifestyle while adhering to the expectations of corporate America.
So, how do you dress goth at work?
Begin With a Strong Corporate Goth Color Palette
There is nothing more classic than the color black, and whether it's a black dress, suit, or other combination, this hue communicates power, mystery, and timelessness. If you don’t want to go all black in your take on corporate goth fashion, opt for a primarily monochromatic color scheme, focusing on dark shades like charcoal gray and deep colors such as purple and navy. These colors are still formal, blend easily into a corporate setting, and are more subtle than the lighter colors that are associated with the pastel goth aesthetic.
Create Dark but Stylish Silhouettes
A boned corset on the outside of a work ensemble may not be the right fit for a stakeholder meeting, but no one says that it can’t be worn where the naked eye can’t see. Embracing well-tailored silhouettes in your corporate goth wardrobe brings an air of sophistication to your outfit while highlighting your most important assets.
To create a tailored silhouette for work, look for well-fitted black blazers, pants, skirts, and dresses that are appropriate for the workplace. Aim for sleek and sophisticated cuts while maintaining a touch of personal style with patterns and accessories.
- A Creepy Cottage Shirt layered beneath a structured blazer screams professionalism while still allowing you to hold on to your uniqueness.
- A Bat Collar Top, black blazer and black jeans, or a leather skirt or pair of leather pants can be used for a formal or edgy casual-corp goth look.
- An oversized black blazer with black lipstick can add the right blend of goth elements to your work wear.
- A Scorpion Wrap Dress or Dark Forest Split Skirt can be an elegant choice for everything from daily wear to casual Fridays.
Layer Intriguing Fabrics and Textures
In addition to your choice of color, you can incorporate goth elements through your choice of fabrics and textures. Consider garments made from luxurious materials like velvet, lace, and leather (or faux leather). These materials can add a subtle edge to your outfit without being overly provocative. Our Skull Button Cardigan with a fringe detail down the back is a great example of an intriguing and yet subtle use of texture.
Express Your Fetish for Goth Fashion With Footwear
Footwear can turn even the simplest outfit into a goth ensemble. Choose elegant, closed-toe shoes that are polished and formal when dressing for the work environment, such as black leather or patent pumps, ankle boots, or chunky loafers.
Think about the shape of the shoe and how a curve or an edge can add mystery and intrigue to an otherwise simple style. Doc Marten boots may not be the right fit, but Mary Janes or even a classic pair of John Fluevog shoes can dress up your corporate attire. Pair them with patterned or fishnet tights to add just the right amount of sex appeal and drama to your 9-to-5 look.
Add the Final Touches With Accessories
Accessories that align with the goth aesthetic can still work for a professional look. Consider these unique and exotic additions:
- Try wearing a Bat Moon Phases Kimono on casual Fridays to replace the usual tailored jacket.
- Add subtle touches like a thick leather belt with silver eyes or a black diamond brooch to dress up a lapel.
Tip: When selecting the final touches for your work outfit, be mindful of the size and number of accessories that you add. You want them to heighten the drama without overpowering your look.
Turn Heads With Gothic-Style Makeup
There are endless possibilities for using makeup to capture your individuality. For work, keep makeup subtle and refined. Consider opting for a natural or neutral base with a focus on dark, smoky eyes or bold lipstick shades.
In your makeup choices, it’s important to maintain a balance between professionalism and gothic elements. A little drama goes a long way, and a neatly colored blood-red lip can function as a classic corporate calling card for an edgy executive.
Choose Hairstyles That Are Professional and Stylish
Experiment with alternative hairstyles that are polished and neat. Think Lisa Gerard from Dead Can Dance at work, and channel Siouxie Sioux on the weekend.
- Opt for sleek, straight hair, a chic updo, or a classic bob. For example, Morticia Adams-inspired long sleek locks will give you a vampiric edge. Alternatively, create a Mad Men look with a Kate Pierson-inspired updo.
- Add subtle goth touches like colored streaks, braids, or hair accessories that complement your overall look while showing that you’re a consummate professional with unquestionable style.
Gothic Fashion Is About Living on the Edge
Every workplace has a culture and a code, and yet every person is an individual. Curate your corporate goth workwear to blend effortlessly into the work environment without compromising your rebellious inner spirit.
By combining elements of goth fashion with corporate attire, you can create a unique and professional goth outfit that showcases your individuality. Adapting the goth style for a work setting requires balancing personal expression with professionalism.
While it might be different from your weekend wear, you don’t need to feel like you’re making compromises when you dress “corporate goth.” Rather, you’re learning to walk the fine line that teeters on the edge of mainstream and rebellious.
For generations, fashions and personal aesthetics have been defining features of the rich, the powerful, the innovative, and the creative. No one ever told Andy Warhol to wear a tweed jacket; he made the black turtleneck part of his own signature look and is still remembered for it today.