Corporate Goth has been on my mind lately, probably since I'm losing a little size and am looking for some new clothes - including work clothes. My work situation is pretty relaxed, but I know that other people generally have to meet certain dress standards for work. With that being said, I am thinking about putting a little more effort into my daily work appearance.
What is Corporate Goth?
Corporate Goth is a style that is based around general office attire and corporate office attire.
3 Rules of Corporate Goth
Nothing that is in-your-face goth. Subtle is key for the office.
No single-use articles of clothing. Mix and match is key.
Don't wear your club gear to the office.
Your general color palette can be whatever you prefer it to be. Black, grey, and white are always acceptable. Purple, red, green, and blue are acceptable as well - probably jewel-tones right?
Textures & Fabrics
With this particular style, you might want to consider textures and fabrics. Be aware of winter and summer fabrics. Velvet might be your favorite thing, but if its 98F you may decide to opt for something else like linen or cotton. On the flip side, if it's -30F you should probably avoid the lace or satin and opt for velvet, corduroy, or something warmer.
Textures can be fun to play around with. Depending on your office, you might be able to get away with some frills without people questioning you. You might decide to avoid anything frilly or overtly goth, instead choosing interesting textures and fabrics. Fabrics to consider: lace, velvet, corduroy, linen, chiffon, and fabrics with subtle prints.
Subtle is Key
Avoid clothing with verbiage, for the most part. Work isn't a place to wear that shirt from Lip Service that has Fuck printed all over it. What is acceptable is an interesting scarf or a little lapel pin. You should also avoid prints that come off as a teenager trying to show just how goth they are. These are mainly done on t-shirts, tanks, and sweatshirts - easily avoided by the corporate goth.
Mix and Match Clothing
You may just need trousers and some tops or you may need some different suits. You should be able to mix and match whatever is in your closet, at least a little bit. It's understandable to not really mix and match suits with other suits.
Here are some clothing articles you may want to consider (regardless of sex).
2 or 3 (minimum) Suit Bottoms (trousers, skirts, or kilts)
Suit Blazer (matching trousers or something)
Unmatched Blazer (a showy blazer)
Oxford Shirt (colors, prints, black, white)
Sweater (lightweight, v-neck to show off tie)
Sweater Vest (optional)
Office Shoes (loafers, oxfords, boots, heels, etc)
Accent pieces will allow you to really express yourself. This can be done with ties, bowties, collar pins, limited jewelry (don't wear a ring on every fucking finger), lapel pins/tie tacks, and other accessories.
How To Increase Your Gothiness At Work
If you are interested in pushing the fashionable envelope at work, without getting reprimanded or fired, then work hard. If you can show the big wigs that you are a top notch employee, which usually means a pay raise and/or promotion, then you can subtly increase your goth fashion at work. It doesn't always work, but you can try it.
Common Fashion Issues
Trying too hard. Some people try so hard to be goth at work that they come off as trying too hard. Corsets, ill-fitting clothing, and clothing that screams "hey, I'm goth" will do this. Remember that keeping it simple and comfortable at work is a good way to go. You can still be edgy.
Underdressed for your job. Looking middle-management or like a secretary is another common issue. It might help to set up a pinterest board of corporate goth (or just corporate) fashion that you like to help you figure out what to wear. You don't want to be the boss or upper management and come off looking like the new hire secretary.
Strictly shopping at goth stores. Corporate goth looks aren't always available through goth clothing stores and that is okay. You are allowed to step into J Crew for a sweater or Banana Republic for a suit. I find that Calvin Klein trousers fit me really well, so that's my go-to shop for a nice pair of black trousers.
Unfit and Unhealthy. This is my inner health goth coming out. Some people put zero effort into being fit and healthy. It requires a little effort, yes. Corporate work is often sedentary and can lead to poor health. It doesn't take too much time and effort to run 3 times a week or hit the gym after work or take aerobics classes. It can help increase your immunity, improve heart health, prevent sciatica, and it can increase brain function (focus, mood, processing daily information, etc).
Gallery of Corporate Goth Fashion - for inspiration