Goths are almost always associated with morbidity and darkness. Yet, there is one subculture that idyllically pairs the macabre with elegance - and it’s called romantic goth.
Romantic goths look as if they were taken straight out of a romance novel - one slightly spookier than your average “hallmark moment,” of course. With a heavy emphasis on the early 1800s romantic era, romantic goths feature glorious aesthetics that play heavily on the Victorian scene.
If you’re curious about the beauty, enchantment, and somewhat creepy romantic goth movement, you’ve come to the right place. Below, we’re diving into the romantic goths and what this subculture is about.
What is a Romantic Goth?
Romantic goths were originally “born” in the 1990s, with a sudden spike in popularity in the early 2000s. This type of goth is known to be a bit lighter and happier compared to other kinds of goths, especially traditional goths.
The romantic goth focuses heavily on romance, as the name suggests. Their wardrobe is based on the romantic era of the early 1800s, including many long, lacy dresses and other formal attire.
As far as lifestyle is concerned, a romantic goth focuses on a particular trio of music: neoclassical darkwave, dark cabaret, and ethereal wave. They’re often seen in deep thought while listening to these tunes.
When romantic goths aren’t enjoying music, they’re likely watching romantic movies or diving deep into passionate literature. For some, this evokes tears. For others, it inspires majestic artwork that perfectly combines frightening and beautiful.
What Do Romantic Goths Wear?
Romantic goths have a unique style that is different from other goth styles. That said, it isn’t hard to spot a romantic goth within a sea of other goth subcultures.
Here are some of the typical items you’ll find a romantic goth wearing:
One of the trademark items in every romantic goth’s closet is none other than lace dresses.
Now, there are a few different ways you can wear a lace dress as a romantic goth.
Some women prefer to wear shorter lace dresses paired with tights and a few goth-friendly accessories. However, the more common option is to wear a long, lacey dress - so long that it sweeps the floor. This is because most romantic goths focus on Victorian-era clothing, which equates to impressively gorgeous long dresses.
Regardless of the length, the key is to wear lace to emphasize the delicate nature and soul of the romantic goth.
Remaining faithful to their love of the romantic era, romantic goths will typically be seen wearing corsets.
All types of corsets are welcome - including those that cover the entire bust or those that are strictly worn around the waist.
Corsets are commonly paired with long dresses or skirts.
As romantic goths are big fans of long, lacy dresses, it’s unsurprising that they’re also often seen wearing long skirts. And the longer, the better. Remember - the goal is to look like a darker version of a Victorian romance novel, so sweeping the floor with your garments is essential.
Lace dresses are typically paired with other pieces, such as a lace top with Victorian influences. They tend to choose flowier shirts with lace bat wings that play with the lengthy skirts beautifully.
It would be difficult - if not impossible - to complete a romantic goth aesthetic without some type of choker.
Romantic goth chokers differ from “traditional goth” chokers. They’re a bit lighter and less obnoxious, adding to the overall allure of their appearance.
Romantic goths will reach for lace chokers or those with subtle gothic motifs. They typically won’t wear spikes, chains, or other larger-than-life motifs that could detract from their stunning garments below.
To finish off a romantic goth aesthetic, a pair of Victorian-inspired boots is a must.
Put simply, lace-up boots with plenty of lacey detailing, a pointed toe, and a subtle heel are the ideal “romantic goth” footwear.
Romantic Goth Hair and Makeup
Aside from their Victorian-inspired clothing that’s majestic and dark, romantic goths also set themselves apart with their hair and makeup choices.
Let’s dive in:
Like other goths, romantic goths enjoy wearing dark makeup around the eyes.
However, most of the time, it isn’t as dark as some other subcultures.
They keep things a bit tamer, opting for smokey eyes with a subtle line of black eyeliner.
Smokey eyes are a definite “must” for romantic goth makeup.
But if you want to kick your style up a notch, you can include patterns and designs around the eyes.
There isn’t really a right or wrong way to go about this, but many romantic goth gals opt for swirly patterns around the eyes or black lines streaming down the face to make it look like they’re crying.
Sticking true to their gothic roots, romantic goths usually wear dark lipstick.
They can choose to go with the more common jet-black lips or wear other dark hues. Red wine is a particularly popular choice for romantic goths!
Long, flowy hair is typically the top choice for any romantic goth. And, as in most other goth subcultures, the hair is black. However, romantic goths are known to add some color to their hair, namely red.
Their lengthy strands look elegant when situated next to their Victorian-inspired formalwear, creating a delightfully regal look with just the right amount of Gothic inspiration.
If a romantic goth’s not wearing her hair down and letting her tresses blow in the wind of the cemetery, she will likely showcase her locks in an extraordinary updo.
For a romantic goth, the more dramatic the updo, the better.
The Allure of Romantic Goth: A Subculture of Elegance and Dark Romance
For those passionate about romance novels, neoclassical music, and Victorian-era clothing, romantic goth may be your perfect goth subculture. Just don’t forget to adorn yourself in lacy pieces from head to toe and keep your makeup softer and more delicate.