Cardigans are a staple in my wardrobe, and they should be in yours, too!
They’re very versatile and can be styled for work, going out, or for a lazy weekend. Suffice to say, you can wear a cardigan with pretty much anything! And due to the fact that they are varied and versatile, they’re great for all seasons, too. A lighter cardigan is lovely for summer evenings, and a heavy knit one is perfect to curl up in on a cold winter’s day.
But just because knitwear can be fluffy and cosy, doesn't mean it can't be edgy and gothic too! Whether you tend to go for a softer goth style, a more traditional gothic aesthetic - or something straight up nu-goth, there’s a cardigan for you.
Look 1 - Classic Goth
When styling a cardigan for a classic goth look, you have a few options. First, you could go for a lighter weight black lace cardigan as opposed to a big knit, as flowing fabrics are arguably more typical of the 'traditional' gothic style. Try a long duster style cardigan with black patterned leggings for a romantic look. You could also go for a shorter, more fitted lace cardigan to keep things looking a little less flamboyant - it’s up to you.
You could also do a longer, open cardigan with ruffle detail for an interesting neo-Victorian edge, and pair this with some black skinny jeans, a simple black shirt, and your favorite chunky heels for a modern gothic outfit. This is an interesting look for work, since the ruffles dress up the outfit, but you could wear a long ruffle skirt with a cropped cardigan instead for a more traditional gothic look.
Stick with blacks and darker colors for this look, but if you choose to add in some color, go for deep purples and reds. Traditional goth is all black, but if you like color, don’t be afraid to add it in. Keep color in either accent pieces or in just one part of your outfit so it isn’t overwhelming.
Look 2 - Gothic Grunge
For an edgy grunge look with gothic undertones, wear an oversized cardigan with distressed details, and pair it with some boyfriend jeans or cigarette jeans and some sneakers, but opt for a gothic printed t-shirt rather than the stereotypical band tee commonly seen in grunge outfits.
For grunge, it’s best to do an open knit cardigan as opposed to a fitted one with lots of buttons. You could go with a classic black cardigan, but you could also try one in olive, brown, or another muted color that is in-keeping with both gothic and grunge aesthetics
The key to a grunge style is laid back, oversized, and distressed clothing, so don’t be afraid to pull out that old cardigan that has a few holes in it. Work that to your advantage! Also think about layers - you could even do a muted plaid print cardigan and layer it up with a lightweight gothic sweater, for added warmth and a more textured gothic grunge style.
Look 3 - Gothic Pinup Style
For a gorgeous fusion of gothic and pinup styles, choose a fitted, classic cardigan, and pair it with a vintage style halter neck dress, preferably one with a cool gothic style print. A skull print rockabilly dress with a gothic headband and a pair of court shoes in a wild color (such as bright green) is a definite nod to the psychobilly style, and a nice mixture of pinup and gothic.
While the more 'classic' pinup colors are red, black, white, and blue - you can of course opt for other tones, and match the rest of your outfit with those colors. For example, you could do red skinny jeans, a white tank top, and a black gothic cardigan with red roses on the shoulders.
And don't be afraid to experiment with accessories! Rocking a 50s style cardigan with a vintage style gothic brooch and adding a pair of pumps and a bow with skull detail for your hair is a nice finishing touch.
Whether or not you include gothic elements with your outfit, remember that Pinup style is generally clean and fitted, so make sure you look polished and that your clothes fit you how they should!
Look 4 - Witchy Goth
Love spells and the occult? Pagan goth is a more spiritual type of goth, and the style reflects a pagan goth’s love of magick and nature, taking inspiration from wiccan fashion.
First of all, this look is all about the right patterns and embellishments. Look for cardigans with skulls, pentagrams, Ouija, and crosses on them. A longer cardigan with a skull cutout or a pentagram on the back looks great with this style. If you can’t find one you like, you can always make your own! Depending on the material of the cardigan, you can sew a gothic patch or two onto the back or embroider a design on the back if you’re especially crafty.
The great thing about a witchy styled cardigan is you can wear it with prettymuch anything. I recommend skinny jeans and platform boots with spiked details. Accessories will make this outfit. Look for moon and crystal chokers and statement rings, and stick with blacks and greys for a put-together witchy look.
Look 5 - Industrial Goth
These cardigans will probably be a bit more structured and less flowy than other styles. A military inspired cardigan goes well with an industrial goth look, too. Skinny jeans and combat boots are a must to complete this outfit. Spikes and studs are a must for industrial goth, so try to find a cardigan with spikes along the shoulders or around the edges. If you can’t find one, add some spikes or press-studs to a cardigan you already have!
You can also get creative with fabrics - cardigans don’t have to be knit. You could get one with leather detail or leather sleeves. Add in some metal jewelry and a mask and your industrial goth look is complete.
No matter what your style is, there’s a cardigan for you - and multiple ways to style a cardigan in a gothic fashion.
What’s your favorite way to style a gothic cardigan? Let us know in the comments!