Updated: Jan 22, 2022
I'll start with an admission - the term 'gothcore' irks me a bit. Maybe it's because I was a 90s teen, and I still have the 'vintage' Docs, band t-shirts, and enduring love of Smashing Pumpkins and Nine Inch Nails to vouch for it. Maybe it's because my cabaret persona and stage stylings fell into the 'vintage goth' category, and still. Or maybe it's just the adding of '-core' to terms sits oddly with me. (Is that a sign of getting older? A whole different blog post I suspect!)
Anyway, regardless of my linguistic taste, gothic fashion is having a bit of a more mainstream moment. Something this goth-by-night, and always lover of things black with a splash of metal, is more than ok with!
So to give a few ideas of how you can add a touch of gothic to your wardrobe, here are a few of my personal favourite touches:
One look at my makeup draw will show adore a bold lipstick. Whilst red is a classic, I love the drama of something darker. Whilst a true black lip may not be the easiest to wear (though I love it for my burlesque alter ego and my dark angel act), swiping on a deep plum or rich dark berry shade instantly adds a bit of drama to your look, with the bonus that you can pair down your eyes or embrace it with liner too. Personally, I love a liquid matte lipstick for long wearability and avoidance of teeth smudges, with those by fellow small business VE Cosmetics being my personal favourites, and they have an amazing range of strong colours.
Clothing wise, lace, leather, and semi-sheer looks are your friends for fabric. You can find some amazing vintage gems out there, I found a long black dress with wonderfully sheer and voluminous sleeve in Bounce Vintage in Canterbury a little while back.
I’m also a life-long fan of a corset, and not just for stage. I love an over-bust corset as outerwear teamed with a pencil skirt for a bit of vampishness, and I’ve been known to wear an under-bust corset over a dress like a belt to cinch in my waist. In a dream world getting one custom made for the perfect fit is the dream, for that I can recommend the amazing Odelia Opium Costumes, she's made stage wear for me in the past and is a pro at both making (and teaching) corsetry. For ready-to-wear I can recommend What Katie Did, who make a beautiful range and are great at helping you find the right fit. I have a lot of their corsets in my wardrobe.
Shoe-wise, sadly my favourite brand Miss L Fire is no more. I have a couple of gorgeous pairs of black ankle boots which are my go to when I’m embracing my gothic fashion side. If you have any suggestions I’d love to hear them!
A fabulous piece of headwear will complete your outfit, and ever since I started Miss Ava’s Millinery I’ve been making pieces which are a nod to my dark side and are a perfect way to finish a gothic look.
This bespoke cobweb headpiece has to be one of my favourites, and it looked amazing with Tricia’s dark take on a 1950s look.
From my ready-to-wear range, this easy to wear black sequinned heart fascinator would be my current top pick for a nod to gothic with a bit of glam.
A skull pin is my favourite way to add a subtle hint of gothic to your outfit, I wear a short pin on the lapel of my jacket or in the band of my fedora, and have a longer pin decorating my beret. I also make them in a range of colours, so you can pick your favourite.
Or for a highly wearable everyday hair accessory, why not combine gothcore with the trend for headbands with my spider Alice band.
Here are a few of my other favourite pieces from over the years, showing there are a myriad of ways that a nod to the darker side of fashion can be incorporated into your headwear, be if for everyday, a special event, or even for stage.
And if you'd like to commission a piece for yourself, or view my ready-to-wear pieces, you can book an appointment to visit my millinery studio for a chat and we can make your dream headwear a reality.
*None of the brands mentioned are sponsored, they're just those that I personally adore.