Emo Clothes

A group of emos in their natural environment. Photo by x212.

Photo by x212.

Emo clothes are easy to find. Born from 1990s punk, skater culture, the indie music scene and the "mall goth" aesthetic, emo fashion combines some of the best (and some of the worst) elements of all of these subcultures. This makes it easy for young people, all across the world, to find emo clothing of whatever type they wish.

Although emo music has been criticized for being guy-centric, there are more than enough female emos to make finding emo clothing easy for both sexes.

Basic Emo Clothes

There are a few basic items every emo should have in their closet: hoodies, skinny jeans, tight band t-shirts and Converse sneakers. (We'll cover accessories in the next section) These items are essential to broadcasting your subcultural affilliation.

1. Hoodies

Unless you live in central Australia, hoodies are a must, even in the summertime. Emo hoodies are worn snug or tight. Striped, black, deep purple or dark-grey hoodies are favored by most emos.

2. Skinny Jeans

Photo by Jason Rogers.

Photo by Jason Rogers.

Emos of both sexes favor skinny jeans, usually in black, dark blue or a bright color like pink, purple, or white.

3. Tight T-Shirts

As with hipsters, many emos enjoy wearing tight, short-sleeved t-shirts with band names, nostalgic prints and quotes on them. Unlike hipster fashion, emo clothes tend to stick to a more limited color palette: black, white, red, pink and purple are the primary colors worn by most emos.

Emos also stick to easily recognizable emblems, such as emo bands (Dashboard Confessional, The Alkaline Trio, etc) and popular tv shows and films, such as Sesame Street (see above).

5. Chuck Taylors

Chuck Taylors have long been popular in related subcultures, such as punk rock and straight edge. It's therefore unsurprising that these Converse sneakers would be popular. Young emos often adorn these shoes using sharpies, sparkly pens, stickers and textile paints.

A circle of converse shoes. Photo by mickey van der stap.

Photo by mickey van der stap.

Although Converse was bought out by Nike a few years ago, they remain popular in the emo scene. Some prefer shoes by related but more independent companies such as Keen.

Common Emo Accessories

These simple accessories complete an emo outfit, and distinguish it from related subcultures.

1. Studded/Spiked Belts and Bracelets.

Bracelets are worn for a variety of reasons. One of the most obvious is to hide any signs of self-injury, or cutting. Another is to rebel against traditional gender norms; for all its purported androcentrism, many emo fans dress very androgynously. These bracelets are also worn to complement a similarly studded belt.

Studded belts owe their presence in emo to the 1990s punk scene, where it was one of the few sartorial flourishes adopted by punk men. Now it's worn not only by punks, but people from all walks of life, including *gasp* preps.

2. Patterned Socks

Patterned socks, usually striped or with some insignia (such as the skulls above) are favored by many emos as a further expression of themselves. If working a job with a dress code, this is a good and subtle way to express yourself without arousing the boss's ire.

3. Safety Pins - Everywhere

This accessory, pioneered by Vivienne Westwood and the Sex Pistols, has been adopted by emos, not so much as facial piercings, but as piercings on the shirt, handbag or jeans. Safety pin bracelets are also made, by running two threads of elastic through the top and bottoms of a row of safety pins.

Related Reading:

Goth Makeup

Girl's Punk Hairstyles

Johnny the Homicidal Maniac

Riot Grrrl Style, Fashion and Self-Expression

Kornelia Interview

All Hipster Articles


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