I dressed like an emo kid for the week and it was appropriately painful

Throwback to when nobody understood your teenage angst


I never had an emo phase as a teenager. I never had a tortured blog. I never drew stars on everything. I never listened to Dashboard Confessional. And I’ve always wondered if I was missing out.

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Me normally

So I decided to dress the part for a week and see what happened. Fortunately, my wardrobe contains quite a few things left over from my “dressing like Brett Michaels” phase, and a lot of those fit pretty well into the emo thing. So I dusted off my old band tees and stocked up on heat-protect spray and set to it.

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Day one

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To kick things off, I loaded up Youtube and got some Falling in Reverse playing for inspiration. I also pulled out my fancy dress boxes, because you never know. In those I found some lace gloves that I cut the fingers off. I straightened my hair to hell, which the wind promptly fucked up entirely, and pulled the whole look together with a giant yellow leopard print scarf that I sort of love and sort of hate. All together, it felt a lot like I was wearing a Halloween costume.

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Then I went for an extremely emo afternoon tea with my grandmother. The looks of disgust from the other patrons as I walked in were well worth dressing up for. That said, my grandmother insists that she thinks I looked lovely and it’s her favourite outfit she’s seen me in in ages. Which is not what I expected at all.

Day two

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Today I went with an old band tee and wore almost the exact same outfit as I did the first time I ever wore that shirt. I backcombed my hair, because I couldn’t be arsed straightening it again and it looked ridiculous. Fortunately, no matter how much hairspray threw at it, it deflated within about 10 minutes of taking the picture.

I also threw in a dark lip to balance the headband and amp up the emo factor. Except I used a Kylie Lip Kit, so that probably negates any emo-points I would have got for going dark.

I’ve noticed that dressing this way, I look about 14, which I am not happy about. I already look younger than I am, but this is taking it way too far.

Day three

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I’m starting to run out of ideas and emo-worthy clothes, so I read a helpful Wiki-how article on ‘how to be emo’ that explains that clothes with holes in are even better than clothes that aren’t broken, and that the main idea is to mix cute with hardcore. Inspired, I grabbed my beautiful Cinderella hairband and paired it with unblended block neon eyeshadow and lots of fishnet (with a couple of rips).

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OK, so I still hate this look, but it’s still my favourite yet. I like most of the pieces separately, like the shirt, whereas all the other shirts I’ve worn so far would only normally be worn for working out.

I have noticed something strange every time I go out. Wherever I go and whatever I do, I’m getting all these appraising looks and double takes from grungy and kind of gross-looking guys. I’m really not sure how to feel about this, but I’m not ecstatic.

Day four

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I had work today, and I have to wear a uniform (including tragic hat), so I decided to concentrate my emo look on the makeup. Since it’s cooler today I risked foundation, which so far I’ve been skipping because it’s been literally a billion degrees out lately.

I went for graphic liner, neon colours and the all-important foundation coloured lips (although I used a nude lipstick). This is my new favourite look of the week, because it involved no awful checked skirt and no attempts to destroy my hair. Not a makeup look I would repeat though.

Day five

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Today was a schlubbing around the house kind of day, but I kept to the emo theme in faded jean and another band tee. Fortunately, my taste in music is sufficiently close to emo that it still works. I feel the slippers are what really brought the emo vibes to the outfit, and whilst they look ridiculous, they are super comfy and I love them. So a win all-round.

Day six

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I’m running out of emo clothes and I think this look is more goth, but on the upside, I actually love it. Would wear it again.

To amp up the emo, I had another dig through my fancy dress kit and found these bizzare Hello Kitty x Kiss temporary tattoos. They are literally the epitome of emo.  Hello Kitty dressed as Gene Simmons is also one of the funniest things I’ve seen ever. So I stuck a spray of stars across my hand, a wonky, Gene-topped logo on my forearm and for max effect, a star on my face. Which paired nicely with some more emo makeup.

My dad liked this look and thinks it suits me, which I think is a compliment. My brother, after seeing this outfit, has taken to calling me “tablecloth” (because it rhymes with goth. No I’m not kidding).

I had work this afternoon, so I changed into my uniform, but kept the tattoos, the makeup, the choker and the straightened hair (and the resulting burn on my face, which is fortunately hidden by the hair). Concerningly, I’ve turned up to work in heavy, super emo makeup twice now, and no-one’s said a thing. One of my coworkers told me the temporary tattoo on my arm was cute today, but that’s the only reaction I’ve had from them. My dad did not think that this outfit was appropriate for work. He’s probably right.

The tattoos are gone by the way, because they are so temporary that they didn’t even last until I got home from work.

Day seven

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The final day. I wore the crop shirt again, with black skinnies and then threw a huge flannel shirt over the top and leopard platform boots, because honestly I just don’t have enough occasions to wear those shoes. I then spent half an hour outside the house trying to get the perfect emo selfie. The wind was working against me and my painstakingly straightened hair. And I’m pretty certain the postman thinks I’m mental now. He did not look impressed by it all.

Overall, I have to say, the reactions were unexpected. There were few comments made, but my family liked it, old people out and about in town really did not, and creepy grungy dudes really liked it. My friends loved it, but not in a “you look so good” way, in a “hahaha you look so stupid” way. Cheers guys.

But most importantly, I didn’t like it. I mean, these are my clothes, but I wouldn’t necessarily wear them like this (except day six – that outfit was on point). I would never, ever do my makeup like this again, unless it was for a costume party, and honestly most of the week I felt like I was in fancy dress. The good news is that should the need ever arise for me to pass for 14, I can throw on an emo outfit and become eight years younger. I guess that’s useful.

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