1980's Goth Fashion

Written by greg fish
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1980's Goth Fashion
The Goth look has been influencing fashion for more than 30 years. (Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Goth fashion was born in England in the late 1970s and grew in popularity in the early 1980s, thanks in large part to punk rock musicians embracing the Goth look. Goth fashion remains popular today, with many elements from those early days still contributing to its distinctive style.

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Black Clothes

Goth fashion spawned numerous fashion variations during the 1980s, but there was one common thread across all of them -- Goth clothing was dark in colour, with black being the most common. Grays, deep blues and darker reds were also popular colour choices in Goth fashion in the 1980s.

Medieval Influence

Early Goth fashion drew heavily on clothing styles worn during medieval times, such as corsets, peasant blouses and poet shirts. Popular fabrics include leather and lace, and clothing accessories included spikes, studs and ringlets. Religious crosses and fingerless gloves also were marks of Goth fashion with medieval influences.


Many Goths wanted their skin to be pale, and they often wore make-up to achieve that effect. The light skin contrasted sharply with the dark colours they used for lipstick, eyeliner and mascara, such as black, blue, deep purple and burgundy.


While many Goths in the 1980s dyed their hair jet black, they often also dyed streaks of bright colours into their hair, or dyed all of it. Haircuts varied from styles that looked quite ordinary to wild, dishevelled manes. Some Goths of the day shaved their heads -- or if they really wanted to stand out, just part of their heads.

Piercing and tattoos

Tattoos were common in some Goth subcultures, but piercing was more popular. Many Goths had multiple piercings -- in the tongue, belly buttons, eyebrows and nose.

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