'Corporate goths' are wearing their fishnets and eyeliner to work — and they're not apologizing for expressing themselves
- The '"corporate goth" tag on TikTok has over 25 million views.
- Gen Z workers are reaching for all-black clothing and white face paint when dressing for the office.
Some Gen Z professionals are saying they're not afraid to express themselves at work — and the "corporate goths" of TikTok are a prime example.
The tag "corporate goth" has more than 25 million views on TikTok, and it's filled with get-ready-with-me videos featuring fishnet stockings and a lot of black.
Office dress codes have become blurred in the wake of the pandemic, and the door has opened for Gen Z to put their own personal touch on business casual. For some, the ability to express themselves may even be a higher priority than salary.
"A lot of Gen Zers feel more drawn by the mission of a company and what their goal is, as opposed to things like salary," Michael Yan, a founder of the job-search platform Simplify, told Insider in November.
Insider spoke to three workers participating in the corporate goth tag on TikTok, and they all agree on how important it is for them to be true to themselves — even in the office.
Hannah Rose, 26
Rose, a Nevada-based secretary at a university, considers herself a traditional goth with a signature look of teased-up hair and white face paint.
She sports a blazer in her photo, which fits her office's business-casual dress code, but she finishes the look with silver jewelry and a painted face for "a more intense professional look."
And her boss has a strong opinion about Rose's choice — she loves it.
"My boss has been a huge fan from day one," Rose said. "She stops by my office every shift she can to see my outfits and has continuously fought for my freedom of expression at work."
Ariam Guerrero, 24
Guerrero, a Los Angeles-based styling assistant, draws style inspiration from dark and horror cinema and alternative music genres. She told Insider that she also finds ways to infuse her Mexican heritage into her outfits.
And dressing how she wants, which sometimes means wearing all black, brings Guerrero "immense joy," she said. Especially, she said, because not everyone has the same freedom to express their chosen style.
"In my current workplace, there isn't a rigid dress code in place; rather, they encourage us to 'align with the aesthetic of the brand,' which can be difficult as I don't necessarily fit the 'aesthetic,'" Guerrero told Insider.
While her coworkers embody a minimalist aesthetic, Guerrero said she goes for a more gothic alternative style. The juxtaposition makes it "challenging to fully express myself without drawing excessive attention to my unique fashion choices," she told Insider.
Madison Stone, 20
Stone, a Southern California-based beauty adviser, told Insider her music taste heavily influences how she decides what to wear.
"Artists like Evanescence, Amy Winehouse, and Lady Gaga practically raised me through their music and style," Stone said.
As a retail worker, her dress code prohibits leggings, crop tops, and sneakers. Stone said she chooses to dress alternatively because it's "creative and bold," and it makes her happy.
Her coworkers are supportive of her fashion sense — a relief because Stone said she was unsure how she'd be received.
"I was honestly really nervous going into a beauty field with a set of unconventional beauty standards, but everyone has been more than accepting to me," Stone told Insider.
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