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Why Do Goths Like To Wear Crosses? What Does It Symbolize?

Why Do Goths Like To Wear Crosses? What Does It Symbolize?

It’s pretty common to see goths wearing a variety of different jewelry such as crosses, ankh’s and even prayer beads. So why do goths like to wear crosses and other religious jewelry?

Many goths wear crosses because they are Christian and wear them to represent the resurrection of Christ and eternal life. Others will wear crosses and other religious jewelry simply because they like the visual aesthetics. Whereas only a few goths are anti-religion and will wear jewelry with an upside down cross.

It really depends on what a person is trying to achieve with their specific gothic look. Let’s delve into some of the reasons why crosses are so popular within the gothic subculture, and some differences between subcultures like emo.

What Does A Gothic Cross Symbolize To The Wearer

There are several reasons why Goth’s wear a variety of jewelry and more specifically why they wear crosses. Here are the top reasons crosses are worn:

1. They are Christians - A large majority of goths are Christians so just like any other Christian they will wear a cross to represent Jesus, their faith, and Christianity

2. Looks Cool – many goths just like the look of a cross and its purely as a fashion symbol. It’s commonly worn with other dark clothing and black leather boots. The silver shines nicely on top of black clothing and looks good.

Most fashion trends begin with someone discovering something which is attractive. Then many people adopt it because they like how it looks. This appears to be the case with some goths who wear crosses.

3. Gothic Architecture and literature - The Goth look is derived from a variety of ancient gothic symbols that originated in Europe around 1100. Goths were known to play instruments and the subculture is deeply represented through ornate architecture often featuring tall columns, high ceilings and stained-glass windows.

Cologne Cathedral in Germany. 

4. Upside Down Cross - This symbol is less prominent and was made famous by the artist Marilyn Manson. One of his albums is a modification of the upside down cross. He often used satanic symbolism in his album work, and music videos.

Satanic symbols often contained upside down crosses paired with more devil and goat symbolism. Some goths wear the upside down cross as a rebellion against religion because they believe that religion is both dull and oppressive.

What's The Difference Between A Goth And An Emo

When most people think of gothic fashion and clothing its usually more of a Deathgoth look. There are several distinct differences between a Goth and Emo which I’ve highlighted in the chart below.





Punk rock

Punk Rock, and historic culture


Emotional Hardcore

Gothic Rock


USA, Europe, Australia, NZ

USA, Europe, Australia, NZ

Famous Bands

My Chemical Romance

Marilyn Manson


Skinny jeans, band t shirts, vans, converse

Black, gothic jewelry such as crosses and ankhs


Long straightened fringes, random bright colors are common.



Emo, punk, subgenres of punk

Punk, gothic rock, and industrial rock like Rammstein

Why Do Goths Wear Ankhs

Ankhs are worn because it’s considered a mysterious symbol and it has been popular since the 1960’s. The Ankh has been worn so often it is considered a staple of gothic fashion. The Ankh symbol is an Egyptian hieroglyph that means life or breath of life. It was used to symbolize both mortal existence and the afterlife.

Some goths were this symbol because of an interest in vampires. The connotations between vampires who are immortal and the Ankh symbol representing mortal existence.

Why Do Goths Only Wear Black

Some common reasons are because they like it, or that they are in mourning. It can be a fashion statement where they are mourning the loss of something ideological.

They normally don’t just wear black and often wear accessories with colors like dark red, purple, and white lace. Since gothic subculture is a dark theme it makes sense to wear black to convey what they represent.

Do Goths Have To Wear Black

There is no rule that goths only must wear black clothing. However, they would not look goth if they didn’t wear a lot of black. There are some goth subcultures which include many other colors, some even only wear white.

The subculture that would wear the most black clothing would be Deathrock goths. There is more about what the different types of goths wear below.

What Is The Most Common Clothing That Goths Wear

Here are the most common subcultures within the gothic culture and what they most commonly wear:

Cybergoth - This began in the late 1990s and includes neon dreadlocks, tight leather, platform boots, goggles, sleeve tattoos, and corsets.

Deathrock – originated from undead characters in classic films. Torn fishnets, black or dark eye makeup, combat boots, or Doc martens are typically worn. It would be the closest thing to a combination of a horror film and a punk look.

Traditional Goth - typically referred to as trad goth. This style is best shown by bands such as Bauhaus, and Siouxsie Sioux. The clothing worn is similar to the punk rock style.

Aristocrat- this subculture of goth originated in Japan. It was popularised by the musician Mana. It includes pirate shirts, corsets, tight pants, and top hats. The aristocrat fashion is similar to Steampunk or Victorian age clothing.

Haute Goth - this was where a famous designer took gothic elements and included them in high end fashion. Some famous designers were Alexander McQueen, Rock Owens, and Yohji Yamamoto. It got termed Haute Goth in a New York Times article. There are also famous jewelry designers who create pieces for this subculture.

Gothic Lolita - is a combination of Gothic and Lolita. Lolita is a style which is Victorian influenced and originated in Japan. The difference between it and traditional Victorian is that it has a ‘cuteness style’. Typically using pink and white colors, knee high socks, and knee length puffy dresses. It was very prominent from the 1990s to 2010. In 2010 it became mainstream and became less popular.

There are a range of gothic styles, but trad goth and horror goth are what most people believe are gothic fashion. This is because they stand out because of the dark eye make-up, leather boots, long black hair, and different colored contact lenses. This style is controversial and continues to be represented by artists such as Marilyn Manson.