This article has been a long time in coming. I can remember years ago looking for something somewhere that had either a list or a store that compiled what I, at the time, believed Pagan fashion to be. For me, it was always a sort of semi-elegant, boho chic look.
Unfortunately, a lot of what I found back then was print t shirts and ritual robes. Off and on over the years, I’d asked different groups of folks what they wore. What was ‘Pagan Fashion’ to them?
The answers I got ranged from “whatever’s clean” to “t shirts/sweatshirts and jeans”. I guess Pagans aren’t the most fashion-centered folk out there. Which is not a bad thing. There are more important things than clothes.
Those who would represent Paganism in the news and on televsion seemed to tend towards either the goth look or a Machiavellian sort of mad hatter style (Steampunk meets Austin Powers?).
I can even remember a time when mainstream folks figured that if you didn’t have some description of goth attire in your wardrobe, then you’re weren’t really a Witch. However, some stereotypes tend to hold true. Who among us doesn’t have at least one pointy black hat squirrelled away in the closet?
Many of the Pagans I’ve met in person are of the jeans and t-shirt or classic hippie variety (complete with cloud of patchouli oil). Some might argue that since a lot of our history stems from that era, that hippie culture has always been mixed up with Paganism in one form or another. Growing up on the west coast, I can definitely see a big overlap there.
A person’s lifestyle definitely seems to have an impact on their fashion choices. For example, I grew up in a very poor town. There wasn’t money for expensive clothes or nice jewellery. If I wanted something that was outside of our budget, I had to make it myself.
As a result, I’ve always had a weakness for hand-crafted accessories and chunky knit sweaters. It just happens to be my good fortune that Fibre Arts became a pop culture trend. Now everyone is learning, for fun, the skills I developed out of necessity.
Any article on Pagan fashion would be remiss if it didn’t mention Fiona Horne. She’s got to be one of the only people you could spot from 30 yards away and think, “now that chick is Pagan!”
Admittedly, I’ve always kind of liked her look – even the white pentacle jumpsuit. It works for her. You wouldn’t catch me dead in it, but to each her own.
While we tend to spend a lot of time explaining that real Witches are not like the ones you see in movies and on TV, I have noticed a great appreciation for the Edwardian costumes of the Aunts in the movie Practical Magic.
Comfortable, luxurious fabrics, exquisitely detailed, and those big floppy hats are great for protecting your skin from the sun. These are important qualities when our bodies start to get a little more mature.
There have been times while wandering through the mall looking for a new outfit that I have longed to turn a corner and find a PaganMart or Witch Wear, where I could find these styles and more just waiting for me. Alas, fashion never seems to be that simple.
The Boho look isn’t that hard to put together, but you do have to catch it in the right season. The pieces can be found in most clothing store’s spring/summer collections. And there are always shops online that have those perfect bits and bobs to finish off your outfit.
Goth has a myriad of subset looks that are all unique in their own way (aside from the colouring, really). I would say that most major cities have at least one shop that caters to the goth/emo/punk/rave style. Online, one of my favourite shops to browse for Fae/Cyber/Goth styles is Alienskin from the UK.
For the classic hippie look, haunt your local vintage shops and the Sally Ann. Or, you might want to ravage a relative’s closet for some truly unique vintage finds. One of my favourite purses belonged to my mother when she was a teenager. It’s brown leather with little white daisy’s printed on it. I dig it out every spring.
The finishing touches for any look are often pieces that you’ve made yourself, be it a beaded necklace, a knit shawl, or a pair of fishnet gloves. Don’t be afraid to let your creative juices flow! And remember: If you have access to the internet, you can learn to do just about anything.
With a community as widely varied as the Pagan community is, I know that there are a lot of other looks I could cover – Afro-Carribean, Neo-Viking, headwraps from the Middle East – but those may best wait for another article. Assuming that there is an interest, of course.
This article I will end with a question to my fellow Pagan bloggers for my own edification: what’s your look?
19 thoughts on “Pagan Fashion”
This is such a fun read. I love the Aunt’s clothes in Pratical Magic. I have a penchant for Cuctorial, Edwardian, and peasant styles of clothing. Love big floppy hats My ‘witch’ hat has a large brim and is made of deep purple velvet. I am round and wish more of the cool pagan clothing came in my size. Again, a great read.
Victorian, not Curtourian. Bad Auto Correct.
I love big hats too! I am in need of a new witch hat this year. Mine finally bit the dust last fall. It was black velvet and all crinkled up like the Sorting Hat in Harry Potter. I’m hoping I can find another like it 🙂
Fabulous! I am a mix of high heel trendy fashion and boho with a little funky thrown in. But of course I have my “witch” hat in the closet lol.
Loved this! I am more of a hippie/fairy/gypsy type flair myself 🙂
I love the different styles of clothes out there today, great blog.
I was a ‘Goth Witch’ for a few years, since then, I have moved on to what I like to call “Sexy Bohemian”…
Hehe… loved the post 🙂 I’m definitely more in the airy-fairy boho raver camp.
But I am very versatile in what I wear. When I was younger I was completely raver-y and before that very Victorian-goth. Now I feel like I mix styles quite a bit. I doubt people look at me and think “now that chick’s pagan” but they might look at me and thing “I bet she drinks that organic fair-trade coffee.”
I don’t know if I really have a fashion lol. I tend to wear whatever fits my mood which can be jeans and a t-shirt, summer dresses or even what I refer to as “light” goth. I do love the steampunk look, I just don’t know that I can pull it off.
I have a friend who does steampunk. It’s a lot of work. I could never wear the shoes (too high) 😉
As much as I want to be one of those people who wears amazing clothes- I’m just so lazy and I think there’s a vital link missing in my brain that allows me to look any flavour of ‘cool’ whether it is pagan or otherwise! When I do put the effort in, it’s usually some flavour of urban faery- clomping boots, raggedy fabrics, and ridiculous head gear of some description.
Combat boots, combat trousers (often dyed purple because Celtic colours of war against the oppressor), black baggy hoody top (because the pretty ethnic shaman tops imported from third world sweatshops cost too damn much in this country), rbw rishi beads in my dreadlocks, occasional hat/scarf to keep dreadlocks out of my face, standard issue ‘me’ uniform :p
Thanks to everyone who has commented so far 🙂 I love reading about your own personal styles.
I don’t think my blog has ever gotten this much attention all at once. Maybe I will explore some other looks and religious attire as we go along. H is for Headscarves, maybe?
Jeans and a button up shirt with the sleaves rolled up. I don’t stand out in a crowd as particularily pagan unless I want too, then it’s all about the accessories. Rings, necklaces, and big, chunky bracelets. I actually carry a little medicine pouch or mojo bag with me pretty much everywhere, but it generally stays out of sight.
Love this post!!! Clothing is one of those things I wish I knew how to wear… I normally wear what ever is required for work…. my last job was khaki pants and a dark blue polo (no- not wally world… but close).. before that was casual professional… staying home I’m in sweats and t-shirts or shorts… out in town not working is jeans and t-shirts with a denim or flannel button up… or denim shorts in the summer…
I used to watch what not to wear and loved that show, but just can’t seem to find clothes that are flattering and that I like…
I would love to dress like the aunts in Practical Magic… too bad I am not a seamstress. Cuz you just can’t find that kinda cool shit anywhere…
I am really looking forward to more of this kind of post…
This is a great post! I love the various ‘flavors’ of Pagan that the community holds. My standard attire is what I’d call ‘mommy goth’ – black tee, jeans and big, clunky shoes. I don’t do the makeup anymore (though I do *buy* makeup in copious quantities). For ritual, I have recently begun to branch out into pretty sundresses and flow-y things for Spring. Once Lammas is over though, it will be back to dark colors and heavy fabrics. Thanks for sharing!
Jeans, long skirts, black leather coat (too long to be a jacket), black cardigan, crocheted shawls, camisoles, bell sleeves, leggings, t shirts, vintage, silk, chunky semi-precious stones, flip flops, boots, fancy sneakers (metallic gold at the moment… for magical reasons). Mostly the mom look with a semi-hippie, semi-goth influence with a quirk.