Goth Business Casual Is the Strange New Hybrid Trend You'll Want to Try

Bring the dark side to your work space.

Fashion trends are always changing. What's "in" today could very well be "out" tomorrow, and oftentimes the most popular aesthetics are recycled and reimagined throughout the years. Some subgenres might even see a shift only months after their initial renaissance. For example, right now, gothcore seems to be transitioning into, uh, goth business casual.

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For the record, as far as celebrity stylist Ebony Brown is concerned, gothic fashion has always been in style, noting that celebrities such as FKA Twigs and Zoe Kravitz have been serving us inspiration for this aesthetic for years. However, there are different variations of goth fashion, and today's most popular interpretation — dubbed "gothcore" — channels all the dark and spooky elements of gothic fashion, but puts an emphasis on sex appeal.

"Instead of black jeans, we're seeing plaid, distressed trousers over fishnet tights, and black sheer or lace tops under a black blazer," Brown tells InStyle via email. "Goth was originally intended as a protest against extravagance, [but] designers like Rick Owens are bringing goth to the runway."

We also have Kourtney Kardashian and Megan Fox to thank for bringing gothcore to the mainstream over the past two years. The Poosh founder and actress quickly adopted their respective boyfriends' punk-rock uniforms and remixed them to appeal to the red carpet crowd. The trend eventually caught on, and pieces like chunky platform boots, fishnet tights, and even black gloves are slowly becoming wardrobe staples.

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However, according to the Pinterest annual trend report, forecasters are predicting goth fashion in 2022 will focus less on sexy date night attire and more on office-appropriate outfits. The search term "goth business casual" has increased by a whopping 90% on the platform.

"Like all good aesthetics, [goth] will extend into the digital realm with searches like cybergoth on the rise," the report's authors stated. "As for Gen Z? They'll channel their '90s not-stalgia through searches like mall goth."

So what does goth business casual look like? Celebrity stylist, Mickey Freeman envisions it borrowing elements from the "inceptual gothic creations" of the '90s, except in silhouettes more appropriate for the office.

"The trend redefines business casual dressing, with free-flowing pieces paired with structured garments," he tells InStyle. "A black leather harness over a white dress shirt paired with a wide leg pant will do the trick. To add some color to the look, replace the white shirt with a blood-red balloon-sleeve chiffon blouse."

Incorporating color into the mix will definitely be a key element in today's goth aesthetic. Brown explains that traditional goth fashion is "dark and mysterious," but goth fashion in 2022 involves colors other than black, like oxblood red and pops of grey or silver. Prints will also be a prominent component to this contemporary take on goth fashion, as well as contrasting materials like ruffles, velvet, silk, lace, and leather, notes celebrity stylist and The Chrysalis Lab founder, Emma Trask.

Trask also cites celebs like Taylor Momsen, Angelina Jolie, Winona Ryder, and Willow Smith as sources of inspiration for how to nail the goth business casual look, but for further instruction, here are some more tips for how to embrace the modernized look.

Leather On Leather

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Celebrity stylist JenniLee says leather pieces (either real or faux) are an imperative part of the goth aesthetic. Her take on the trend? "Pair an oversized black blazer with leather pants and soft fuzzy mohair sweater to play into the hard/soft aspect of goth, but keep it work appropriate with classic stilettos. And go for a glossy patent leather for that extra edge," she tells InStyle. "If one can push it further, then try a chunkier lug sole boot."

Spikes and Studs

Goth Business Casual
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If you're leaning into the fiercer side of the gothic style, accessories with subtle spikes and studs will help you hone the look. JenniLee recommends jewelry designers like Bijules, Eddie Borgo, or Pamela Love "for luxurious pieces that can be layered."

Experiment with Nylon Elements

Goth Business Casual
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Personal stylist Andie Sobrato says nylon pieces printed with things like polka dots, flowers, or even designer logos will give off gothic vibes without showing skin at the office. "These look particularly cool when paired with a leather skirt or short," she tells us.

Distressed and Destroyed

Goth Business Casual
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Like grunge, goth loves anything tattered and distressed. To get the look, JenniLee says it can be as simple as breaking out the vintage NIN or Siouxsie and the Banshees T-shirts, then elevating that destroyed tee by pairing it with a slouchy dark suit. "Pair with platform sock boots or those patent leather stilettos."

Metal and Silver Are a Must

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Delicate gold chains can sit this one out. Rather, JenniLee recommends putting dainty accessories on hold for one thick, silver chain necklace that sits right at your collarbone. "It's a strong, sexy, and sophisticated addition that is a quick touch of goth."

Break Out the Velvet

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A '90s fashion trend void of velvet? Never. Velvet has a place in goth fashion, too, and JenniLee's favorite way to style the material is to take a slinky stretch velvet midi skirt and pair it with a dark sweater or top and oversized blazer. "Balance out with Dr. Martens or platforms and voilà — casual goth aesthetic achieved."

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