Left to right: Gareth Pugh S/S 2012 (Marcus Tondo/Gorunway.com), Richard Chai S/S 2012 Love (Yannis Vlamos/ Gorunway.com)

Goth and Prep together? Surely not!

When it comes to mixing different styles of clothing, gothic and preppy style isn’t the first combination that comes to mind. Each style has defining elements that seem to be on different ends of the style spectrum.  This is precisely why when paired together, it really does work.

Classic elements of Gothic style include hints of punk rock and its various subcultures, Victorian influences and is most identifiable thanks to head-to-toe black ensembles.

Preppy style, on the other hand, is composed of clean and classic elements. Think crisp oxford shirts, tailored trousers, cardigans paired with full skirts and so on.

Why it Works: The key is to take one element of a particular style to use as the foundation for an outfit. Here, we’ve used preppy classics as the base for our looks. From there, take elements from the contrasting style to build a balanced and eye-catching look.

If you are doubtful about how to make this pairing work for you throughout the summer, we’ve put together a few looks to help you pull off this unexpected combination without a faux pas in sight!

This look is a fun take on the classic preppy combination of cardigans and full skirts.  An Ann Demeulemeester top reminiscent of corsets, which is a stand-out element in gothic style, is paired with a full skirt and boucle knit cardigan. The bright pink and mustard provides the perfect backdrop for all-black accessories.

A ribbon choker and cross stud earrings gives a nod to classic, gothic accessories.  Nicholas Kirkwood fringed platform sandals and a studded Alexander Wang bag complete this fun take on a sophisticated, lady-like look.

get this look!

Knitted Crop Boucle Cardi

Lanvin Snake Chain & Ribbon Choker

Ann Demeulemeester sleeveless wrap top

Chibi Faceted Gold Plated Cross Stud Earrings

Alexander Wang / Mini Rocco Bag

Nicholas Kirkwood Fringed suede sandals

Roksanda Ilincic Hot Pink and Mustard Silk Organza Full Skirt

What could be more iconic to preppy style than a crisp oxford shirt paired with pearls? We’ve infused Gothic elements into this look for a fresh take on the basic collared shirt.

Laser-cut leather shorts are perfect for summer and when paired with studded booties, spikes and skulls, you have just enough Gothic style.  Sunglasses reminiscent of Steampunk goggles round out this edgy look.

get this look!

Boy by Band of Outsiders/Contrast Collar Shirt

ALICE by Temperley Libre laser-cut leather shorts

ASOS Pearl & Spike Collar Necklace

BCBGeneration Handbag, Linnea Crossbody

Push By Pushmataaha Skull Ring

Linda Farrow – Agent Provocateur Ride Me Sunglasses

Fame of Mind Bootie


Polka-dot print pants are the foundation of this outfit, and sure they’d look great with a bright colored t-shirt but why not amp up the wow factor?

A Helmut Lang knit sweater, in black of course, adds a dose of cool to this look. Accessories with even more Gothic elements (think booties with harness detailing, spiked crystal jewelry and tons of black with silver.)  A skinny belt adds a fun preppy twist and a bright dose of color.

get this look!

Helmut Lang/Open Knit Marled Pullover

nOir Highlight Neon Tube and Spike Dangling Earrings

Fallon Exclusive Multi Drop Crystal Link Necklace

J.Crew Café polka-dot stretch-cotton Capri pants

Alexander Wang Adriel ostrich-effect leather clutch


Michael Kors Open-Toe Bootie