You might not call yourself an emo kid — not everyone does — but you know the subculture when you see it. When it comes to music, heartfelt, emotionally complex punk rock moves you, and your predilection for dark, tearful romance, androgyny and just a bit of horror may spill over into your fashion choices. If this sounds like you, get ready to rage against traditional gender presentation — all while still swinging with the trends.
Step into the same clothing your male compatriots — not to mention most of your peers — are rocking. Skinny jeans or pants are paramount — never wear anything baggy. Pick dark colors or unusual, brilliant neon shades, not standard jean-blue. Throw on the tight-fitting band, logo or slogan T-shirt or hoodie of your choice in bold, dark or patterned colors. If it’s cold, toss on a black moto jacket, and finish with a pair of skater sneakers.
If you’re a little more femme than the boyish version of emo allows, toss on a 1950s-style dress, tons of fun jewelry and heels in busy colors and patterns — more Monster High than Donna Reed. There are no color restrictions in emo wear — go all out with neons, darks and even pastels. For a fancy occasion, make your dress a belted strapless A-line in multi-colored tulle, or just plain black. A more casual version calls for a short tulle skirt, patterned tights, punky high-tops and your favorite band tee.
Without the extras, you might just be mistaken for an average trendy girl. Dress up your emo style with studs or spikes on cuffs, belts and jackets, and pile them on thickly. Pick out jewelry that doesn’t look like it cost a fortune — like cheap bangles, bold necklaces with large pendants, lots of leather and brightly colored plastic materials. For purses or backpacks, go for bold prints in stripes and plaids, or pick items with dynamic graphic artwork on them. Finish your outfits with fingerless gloves, big sunglasses and barrettes or ribbons in your hair.
Complete the overall emo look with exaggerated hair and makeup. Get soulful with an emphasis on your eyes — that means dark, winged liner, and a lot of it. Put on your foundation, concealer, powder and a pale lip color before you begin on your eyes, then pat an eyelid primer or neutral eyeshadow onto your eyelids before adding the winged liner. For your hair, embrace a shaggy, unkempt style with a lot of layers — no matter your hair length — and long, side-swept bangs. For color, go two-tone with platinum blonde or black with a vibrant highlight shade.
References and ResourcesGlamour Paris: Le Look Emo
MTV: The Rise and Fall of Emo
Today: What Exactly Is Emo, Anyway?
Cosmopolitan Magazine: How to Apply Winged Eyeliner
Good Housekeeping: Six Mistakes You Make With Your Flat Iron
Oprah: How to Do Clip-In Extensions Yourself