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Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak is horror at its most visually lush.

Maximum Film / Alamy Stock Photo

Editor’s Obsession: Gothic Drama

Let's reclaim "ghosting."

October 21, 2022

Afriend once told me that, when faced with an awkward social situation, her preferred icebreaker is “Do you believe in ghosts?” While I fall quite firmly into the “no” camp, I will confess to a strong belief in an aesthetic that might be best described as “haunted.” Perhaps it’s due to having read a few too many Brontë sisters’ novels as a child, or growing up in a perpetually creaky Victorian house, or simply my own rather ghostly complexion (I’ve learned to lean into the Wednesday Addams comparison), but I’ve always found myself captivated by tales with a whiff of the occult. From classic books like Northanger Abbey and Rebecca to movies like Beetlejuice and Crimson Peak, stories about headstrong young women facing evil spirits (typically while wearing a floor-grazing nightgown, ominously flickering candle in hand) are more scintillating than scary—and, in my opinion, thrillingly stylish.

  • Wednesday Addams, style icon.

    Moviestore/Shutterstock
  • Who wouldn’t make a deal with the devil for that apartment?

    Album / Alamy Stock Photo

Get the Look

  • For checking on that mysterious noise down the hall.

    Pewter Reflecting Chamberstick, $120, salter.house

  • A classic campaign-style bed for a restless night’s sleep.

    Provence Four Poster Bed With Metal Frame, chelseatextiles.com

  • Be warned: This delicate necklace might draw attention from sharp-toothed types.

    14kt Gold Black Velvet Pearl Choker, $780, mateonewyork.com

  • Leave your guests wondering, “Am I being poisoned?”

    St. Louis Tommy Cordial Glass, $295, scullyandscully.com

  • A whiff of this pungent potion is said to reverse fainting spells.

    Aceto Aromatico Aromatic Vinegar, $18, us.smnovella.com

  • Just add a dash of blood-red lipstick.

    The Night Flight Floral Jacquard Maxi Dress by The Vampire’s Wife, $2,515, modaoperandi.com

  • The master of Gilded Age drama was equally adept at spinning thrilling tales.

    The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton, $15, amazon.com

  • Avoid catching a chill from drafty windows—or was that a visiting spirit?

    Grace Knit Sweater in Heather Black, $750, batsheva.com

  • Keep your beloved close at all times.

    Custom Victorian Seed Pearl Lover’s Eye Ring by Susannah Carson, $2,500, etsy.com

  • Doubles as a fall moodboard.

    Seance Decoupage Plate by John Derian, $90, johnderian.com

  • Make like Lady Macbeth and start sleepwalking.

    Esther Cotton Sateen Nightgown by Une Femme, $620, bergdorfgoodman.com

  • All that’s missing is a portrait of your dearly departed.

    Victorian Garnet Picture Frame by Catbird x Vito’s Gems, $1,500, catbirdnyc.com

  • Because the wi-fi isn’t great at your spinster aunt’s isolated country manor.

    Tea-Stained Writing Paper, $80, bernardmaisner.com

  • Don’t forget to say “Bloody Mary” three times as the clock strikes midnight.

    Petal Mirror, from $1,650, olystudio.com

  • Florals made moody.

    Midnight Garden Fringed Cushion by House of Hackney, $264, libertylondon.com

  • For tiptoeing quietly through long corridors.

    Round-Toe Velvet Mary Jane Flats by Le Monde Beryl, $440, matchesfashion.com

  • So much more interesting than a photograph.

    Hand-Cut Silhouette on Cardstock, from $40, silhouettesbyhand.com

  • Keep one in every room for clearing cobwebs.

    Small Tochigi Broom, $55, copperbeechbythesea.com