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Goth’s Guide to Summer Survival

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UWindsor chapter.

As the temperature climbs, so does the anxiety of every black-clad cave-dweller who’s happily spent the last six months inside, swaddled in layers of leather and velvet, watching The Addams Family on repeat. No longer is it socially acceptable to dramatically waste away on your antique settee using the excuse that it’s super gross outside. No, now that the accursed sun has returned, all your friends suddenly want to go outside and experience things in the broad daylight.

Well, as Morticia Addams once said, “We must accept our friends for what they are.” Therefore, you’ll probably find yourself out in the world this summer, shuffling along like a shadow and thanking higher powers that black doesn’t show sweat stains. But never fear! I’m here to slide along those extra tricks and tips to make the sunny months more bearable or–perish the thought–even enjoyable for goths everywhere.


The obvious one. Your mother was right all along! If you’ve spent the winter months cultivating a pallour that a Victorian widow would admire, than I know you’re dreading staying out too long and ending up with a farmer’s tan, or a peeling, aching sunburn. Even if your complexion isn’t prone to pallour, you should still be slicking up for the day. Nobody wants skin cancer, after all. When picking a sunscreen, remember that everything over SPF 50 is a lie, since the difference in UV protection becomes negligible.

Portable Shade

You’ve got a few options for this one. Sunscreen is all well and good, but that won’t prevent the hot sun beating down on you for hours on end. Luckily, the popularity of nu-goth fashion means there’s a hundred different places to get wide-brimmed black hats to keep the rays out of your eyes. If you prefer something a little more ostentatious, pick up a lacy parasol or suitably spooky umbrella to carry around. On top of being even easier to spot in a crowd, you’ll also feel delicate and refined. And if feeling delicate and refined isn’t your wheelhouse, might I recommend one of these?

Lighter Fabrics

Those who stop wearing black in the summer are weak, and nobody’s suggesting you go that far. However, if your wardrobe consists mostly of leather, PVC, or layers of velvet, you might need to adjust. Sometimes (sometimes) it’s worth sacrificing the aesthetic for the sake of your health. In this heat, try to stick to natural fabrics like cotton or linen, which breathe well, or make sure what you are wearing is loose, flowing, and covering. While tempting, bearing more skin can actually make you hotter, so embrace the season for full-length lace skirts and druidic tunics.

After Dark Entertainment

Even all the sunblock, flowing tunics, and lacy parasols in the world can’t keep you completely safe from the summer atmosphere. If you’re still dreading months of picnics, beach days, and sports games, take the initiative and suggest some after-dark activities for your nearests and dearests. If the old classics of clubbing and concerts aren’t your thing (or if you live out in the middle of nowhere, like me), you could always go for midnight movies, bonfires, seances — anything that happens after sunset is fair game! And besides, then there’s no need to wake up early.

So there you have it! A slight shift in wardrobe and applying some sunscreen, nothing too crazy. If you’re feeling up to it, let the heat inspire a new goth aesthetic: one that embraces gauzy robes and looking like some sort of fantasy necromancer. It’s a vibe and you know it. Heat, sweat, and breathlessness aside (because all that’s nothing new), the biggest challenge for summer goths is dealing with how sunny it is. All. The. Time. If it helps, you can think of the sun as an ancient, eldritch being which demands our worship, blinds you if you look at it, and will one day die and take all traces of us with it. And there’s nothing more goth than that.

Happy summer!

Sarah Pickard is a senior at the University of Windsor, majoring in English and Creative Writing. She has a minor in Latin, because she was already there, so it was a sort of buy-one/get-one deal. She hopes to go onto become a novelist and editor after graduation. Her niche interests include taxidermy, bone preparation, tarot card reading, and dungeons and dragons. Amazingly, she's still single.