The eclecticism of soft goth might have been popularised by the gloomy chic of Wednesday Addams, but its staying power is, undoubtedly, credited to its versatile and timeless quality. Dominating our social media feeds and vanity tables, this trailblazing look is unlike the more intense goth that’s synonymous with the colour black; think dramatic sweeps of jet-black eyeliner, an ebony pout and a smattering of charcoal hues to top it all off. A subtler, softer nod to its rebellious counterpart, the beauty of soft goth is derived from its nuanced colour palettes and the hauntingly ethereal effect it produces. Offering more room for colour experimentation and blending techniques, the runways have certainly taken a page out of the goth book this season.
Essentially an amalgamation of distinct musical subcultures (think grunge, punk and emo), the visceral make-up of the nineties (aka bleached brows) and current-day beauty trends, it’s no surprise that elements of this distinctive visage strike a chord of familiarity in many of us. As we approach the fall/winter season, autumnal palettes like golden bronze, rust reds and olive green are also increasingly incorporated in our quest for a pumpkin-spice coded mien. Combining our affinity for the seasons and a touch of exquisite vampy glamour, perhaps the appeal of soft goth lies in the fact that it’ll always be reflective of our zeitgeist—an enduring and endlessly stylish visage that transcends any fad or subculture.
From skillfully applied ombres to geometric-esque patterns, here’s a spectrum of soft goth looks we spotted on the runways earlier in the year for fall/winter 2023.
1 / 8
A flirty variation of the smokey eye, a metallic champagne sheen accentuates the upper lids while a darker bronze hue lends some dimension to the under eyes. Paired with a ruby-coloured pout, this one’s for the red lip devotees.
2 / 8
Charles Jeffrey Loverboy
If “go big or go home” could be condensed into a look, this thrilling visage is it. Whilst monotone looks can be tricky to pull off, let hues of purple be your starting point. Sporting vibrant magenta eyeshadow and a vivid plum lip, switch up your appearance with this refreshingly bold look.
3 / 8
With champagne hues that gradually darken into an elegant smoky eye towards the outer corners, this skillfully applied ombré creates an effortless illusion of upturned eyes. Neutralised with a peachy nude lip, this makes for a sultry date night look.
4 / 8
Elongating the outer corners of the eyes with a subtle hint of black eyeshadow at the canthus, this unconventional take on the cat eye is equal parts risqué and arresting.
5 / 8
This is classic soft goth, encapsulated. With black eyeliner starkly outlining the eyes, the glistening sheen of taupe eyeshadow lends a subtle illuminating effect. And for that gothic cherry on top, a burgundy lip to intensify the overall visage.
6 / 8
The line between soft goth and goth is a fine one, and this certified 90s favourite effectively straddles it. Make an eye-catching statement with this ubiquitous combination of bleached brows and strategically smudged eyeliner.
7 / 8
Who said soft goth was only reserved for the off-days? With neutral smokey eyes partially concealed behind a pair of razor-thin shades and a statement berry lip, this is a nod to exude executive chicness whenever and wherever.
8 / 8
Strong pigments and dramatic gradients aren’t the only way to make a statement. Tune into your artsy side by skillfully creating geometric patterns and blocky shapes that accentuate your eyes in a different light. And when in doubt, a generous coating of mascara always helps.