How to Look Emo

Emo is a deep and artistic subculture - as well as a genre of music. It's mostly about how you express your emotions - for example through poetry, art, music, dress, etc. Although there is a lot more to being emo than throwing on a few clothes and hair styles, this guide will show you how you can achieve the emo look.


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    Change your hair. Scene and emo hair can sometimes be similar, although scene hair tends to be more colorful while emo hair tends to sweep across your face and eyes more. Whether teased or straightened, most emos have it choppy and covering one eye. If you want to dye your hair, some good colors would be white-blond, black (streaked with purple or red), or dark brown. Alternatively, you can use clip-on extensions, which work almost as well but are better for scene, not emo.
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    Wear layers. The top half of your outfit should definitely be layered. For example, you might wear a checkered top over a plain top or a waistcoat over a white tee. Other tops to include among your layers are tanks, black slogan tees, ironic tees and hoodies. For the true emo effect, make sure tees are tight - but not so tight that it's uncomfortable or immodest. You should also wear a cheap hoodie over your shirt - it can be of any colour.
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    Wear emo band tees. Emo music (originally called Emotive hardcore or Emocore) is a huge part of the subculture and started in the 80's when hardcore punk bands began writing more emotional lyrics. Rites of Spring, Embrace (U.S), Moss Icon, Indian Summer (U.S), Twelve Hour Turn, Heroin, Cap'n Jazz, American Football, Drive Like Jehu, Sunny Day Real Estate, Senses Fail, and Texas Is The Reason, are all good examples of emo bands. If you’re a fan of emo music, be sure to dress accordingly.
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    Wear jeans - preferably tight.
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    Accessorize. Emo is about being emotive, so be sure to express yourself through accessories that show off your interests, feelings and tastes. Studded belts, pins and patches, band bracelets, messenger bags, charm necklaces (with emo-esque charms), and studded bracelets, or even piercings are all good places to start.
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    Wear emo shoes. Complete the outfit with Vans, Converse, Hot Topic shoes, plimsolls, flats or trainers. Break your shoes in to make them look well worn; having shiny new kicks isn’t very emo.
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    Wear makeup. To make your features more expressive, wear dramatic shades like charcoal eye shadow, dark mascara, black liquid eyeliner and a dark nail polish. Accentuate the darker tones with a red lipstick or stain. Many emo guys wear a little eyeliner as well.
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    Be yourself. The emo subculture is all about being emotive and the most important part of that is expressing who you really are. If that person happens to like emo styles and appreciate emo music, great! However, if not, trying to assimilate into the subculture will not bring you happiness.


  • Don’t worry about what your friends think. No true friends will dump you just because you’ve started dressing differently.
  • Don’t take anyone’s negativity to heart. Most people try to hurt each other simply to hide their own insecurities.
  • Contrary to popular belief, you don't need to engage in self-harm to be emo. So don't do it.
  • If your friends criticise you about your decision to be emo, consider the reasons. Are they worried you'll ditch them or that you'll self harm? Reassure them. If they have no good reason, and just hate the subculture, maybe it's time to part ways.
  • Don't over exaggerate your emotions though. No one likes a drama queen.
  • Don't go too crazy with anything, add the hair dye, maybe the odd piercing or color to your hair but don't put too many accessories on otherwise you will look more like Chris Motionless or Marilyn Manson.
  • Don't worry about the makeup. A bit of black pencil liner on your waterline and a bit of mascara should be fine.
  • Be creative with your style. Ignore what people say. Just keep your head up and surround yourself with positive people. You don't have to always wear black. Switch it up a bit.
  • Wear black a lot.
  • Don't get the idea that you're not emo if you don't do all of this. Many emos don't look the part! It's all about how you choose to express your "emo-ness", whether it be poetry, songwriting, art, or clothing. It's not just the clothes that make an emo! At the end of the day, you're you. Don't think that you have to follow some internet guide to being emo! Do whatever you feel expresses who you are. And don't listen to the people who criticize you for being yourself. They're just jealous that you're brave enough to break past society's rules.
  • Be your own kind of emo but remembering to loosely stick with the emo/scene culture. If you want to add clothes or different aspects to it, go for it. Emo isn't set in stone and is about expressing yourself.
  • Just because you dress Emo does not mean you have to act Emo. Many people dress Emo but do not act the part. If you wanna go out and have fun, do it! Just because you dress Emo does not mean you have to be "Anti-Social" or "Depressed" like many Emo stereotypes.


  • Don’t go around telling people "I'm emo.” Your actions should speak for themselves. Otherwise, you'll just be labeled a poser.
  • When someone asks if you're emo, shrug or say no. If they ask if you're goth, it can be offensive sometimes. So in that case say "Am I?"
  • Don't act depressed all the time, only if you really are. Be quiet and curious.
  • Avoid attention-seeking behavior. Instead of making you feel better, more important, more loved, more feared, or whatever it is you’re going for, it will just make you feel alone.
  • Do not let your peers pressure you into trying drugs or alcohol just because other emos are doing it. Be yourself and be safe.
  • It is important that if you do cut, to not only seek help or counselling, but keep in mind that they do leave unsightly scars which may hamper your future job seeking efforts as well as damage your skin.
  • Cutting yourself is not necessary and doing so might kill you! If you’ve been cutting yourself, seek emotional support from friends, family, and/or a therapist.

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Categories: Emo