The TikTok aesthetic and trends that dominated 2023

THE Tic Tac the community has an affinity for aesthetics. The more niche the better. The more nostalgic the trend, the longer it will last. There isn’t really a set formula and it’s hard to say which trends stand the test of time. 2023 showed that clearly.

This year, raised on TikTok beauty And fashion trends were abundant: some seasonal, some celebrating certain notable filmsand others are the product of major cultural moments that have fascinated the Internet (read: Gwyneth Paltrow’s ski test). The terms to describe these trends are increasingly specific, known only to those who find themselves on an endless FYP scroll. From ubiquitous “-girl” trends – coastal cowgirl and tomato girl, to name a few – to the visual aesthetic that rules the zeitgeist – Barbiecore And mermaidcore are excellent examples – this phenomenon has not been lacking.

But it’s also the year when these trends, and their connotations, have also come under scrutiny. Culture writers have questioned the nature of trend culture with the different terms put forward by TikTok and then by the media. On microtrends and their representation in the media, Rebecca Jennings wrote for Voice, “Reading them all in a row, you would be forgiven for thinking that these terms are at best silly and meaningless, and at worst obnoxious and insidious.” Delia Cai, correspondent at Vanity Fairspeculated that TikTok’s “girl” trends unduly emphasize femininity and whiteness: “It’s this specific idea of ​​youth that consumes us right now, everywhere we see: exuberant and hyperfeminine, playful and innocent – and therefore, almost always white.”

There has also been tangible resistance from consumers and TikTokkers themselves. Questions of individuality and mass consumption have punctuated the discourse on trends. The adoption of “nails with blueberry milk” — the microtrend of wearing a light blue manicure — sparked much of this conversation. Creators have suggested that TikTok’s trend trap has induced overconsumption and endless repackaging of existing trends. Earlier in the year, disinfluence has become something of a tongue-in-cheek reaction to the pervasive cycle of a) influencing and b) buying creator-approved products. Instead, creators claimed to review the materials in a more honest way, with some pushing their followers to avoid unnecessarily consuming the materials that TikTok presents as essential.

Despite tangible weariness, these trends continue to germinate and fuel lifestyle content on TikTok. Brands have also played a large role in this phenomenon and show no signs of slowing down. The discourse, however, feels necessary: ​​a way to pause and consider the intentions behind influence and TikTok as a whole, both of which increasingly serve commercial purposes. And yet, at a basic level, microtrends can be fun to observe, and even interact with. Trends come and go, and no one knows that better than TikTok. For some, each new aesthetic is just a way to have a little fun.

Tomato girl

A TikToker trying on makeup

Credit: TikTok / @aysha_harun

A TikToker trying on makeup

Credit: TikTok / @atosaaghakhani

Summer is the perfect time for trends to take off, and that’s exactly what “tomato girl” did. This aesthetic is inspired by Mediterranean locations, adding a romantic touch to the summer palettes associated with them. Think pops of red, orange and warm hues, with some added florals. The wardrobe you would associate with guests of The White Lotus (with its Sicilian base in season 2) is a good point of reference: summer dresses, scarves and sunny cheeks. The TikTokkers were quick to attack tomato girl makeupespecially, paint on cream blush and red-stained lips.


A TikTokker modeling a pink Barbiecore-type outfit.

Credit: TikTok / @kelseyohcriner.

A TikTokker modeling a pink Barbiecore-type outfit.

Credit: TikTok / @rashellechanel.

Barbiecore It may not need much explanation, but it has a special story. Sub-aesthetics made a comeback in 2022, when the buzz of Greta Gerwig barbie first access the Internet. As the buzz around the film has reached unprecedented levels, so has the trend. Shards of magentasequins, bows and tulle have invaded the catwalks, red carpets and our FYPs.

Coastal cowgirl

A TikTokker explaining the coastal cowgirl aesthetic.

Credit: TikTok / @abbeysadlei.

Beige linen pants, sky blue crochet tops, plaid and frilly dresses, a pair of cowboy boots and maybe a hat for good measure. This extremely specialized cocktail of items features a coastal cowgirl, an aesthetic that has garnered huge success on TikTok and is intended to be a dreamlike interpretation of summer by the sea. hashtag has over 217.2 million views and counting.

Quiet luxury

A TikTok creator wearing a white dress and sunglasses.

Credit: TikTok / @zozosfits.

A TikTokker wearing a “quiet luxury” outfit.

Credit: TikTok / @oliviaamcdowell.

The presence of “quiet luxury” is controversial. At its core, quiet luxury is about timelessness: neutral blazers and cardigansmoccasins and articles largely without logo (which probably costs a lot more). On TikTok, many have used this trend to discuss more affordable options for luxury products, while others just outwardly present “old silver style” like a coveted look.

But its exclusive nature has also been revealed. The videos titled “The Problem with Quiet Luxury” have been viewed more than 29 million times. A few underlines that the term is in fact a placeholder for “old money” aesthetics, and is inherently equated with class, race, and elitism. Sofia Richie and Gwyneth Paltrow are considered leading figures of this aesthetic, while shows like Succession outwardly reflect the emphasis on “stealth wealth.”


A TikTokker displaying the mermaidcore makeup look.

Credit: TikTok / @nazliayunus.

A TikTokker displaying the mermaidcore aesthetic.

Credit: TikTok / @glossygurl.

As for Barbiecore, #mermaidcore found its place via a major film release. The liberation of The little Mermaid, Disney’s live-action adaptation of the classic, sparked a fascination with mythical creatures and their sartorial distinctions. On TikTok, creators showed maximum creativity with this trend: pearl encrusted eyeshadow looks and fishtail braids were paired with ethereal cream-toned dresses and aqua-toned skirts. Halle Bailey’s Red Carpet Looks, Combined With Gen Z’s propensity for nostalgiadid the trick here.

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