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TikTok’s Aesthetic Niches

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With the global spread of the coronavirus in the first half of 2020, millions of people around the world all of a sudden found themselves stuck at home with plenty of leisure time. In order to keep busy during the lockdown, people decided to challenge themselves with baking, painting, dancing, and various other hobbies they didn’t have time for in the pre-Corona (or p.C.) period. Many chose to film themselves while doing all of these activities, and began posting these clips on a video-based social media which had now skyrocketed to global fame: TikTok.

The app, originally from China, was first released in 2016 but had its boom in 2020, when Gen Zs from all around the globe discovered it. The video-editing social media has content to cater many audiences: some creators post humorous videos similar to Vine, others upload dance or lip-sync videos, makeup tutorials, anyone-is-a-chef cooking clips… there is one for every bunch!

Thanks to its striking popularity, TikTok has been influencing many aspects of our daily life. For starters, it has shifted the balance amongst different social media platforms, as it has been reported that more and more users have been leaving the overcrowded band of Instagram influencers for TikTok.

The main evidence of the app’s influence is fashion. Many makeup and aesthetic trends have started on TikTok, which have now spread to all other social media and have been welcomed with open arms by the present generation of teenagers. In this article, I will list the main ones for you and explain how you can become an Aesthetic TikToker too.

 

E-girl/E-boy

E-girls/E-boys were one of the first fashion trends that come to mind when people mention TikTok. This popular style is heavily influenced by Asian culture, especially by anime and K-pop with their flashy hair colors and particular clothing. 

In fact, e-girls/e-boys can be easily spotted by their hair, which usually comes in all the colors of the rainbow, or with the so-called e-girl hair (i.e. hair dyed black but with two blonde or colored streaks of hair in the front). The e-makeup usually covers both ends of the spectrum – either it’s really simple and natural with just some heavy blush on the cheeks and nose, or it’s really creative and experimental with colored eye looks and winged eyeliner.

The clothes most commonly come from alternative-ish online fashion stores like Dolls Kill and are inspired by skate culture, hip-hop, anime, cosplay and goth. For girls, the style includes mesh and layered T-shirts, colorful hair accessories, A-line skirts and over-the-knee socks. On the other hand, e-boys wear middle-parted hair, chains, and high-waisted pants. However, both styles transcend gender, since being an e-boy does not require identifying as male.

 

Cottagecore

Doing a full 180 from e-girls/e-boys, you meet cottagecore.

The aesthetic, characterized by a fetishization of the countryside, is more a way of life than a simple fashion statement. True cottagecore fanatics must not only dress according to the trend, but behave in a certain way. These people adopt a frugal lifestyle in harmony with nature, focusing particularly on being environmentally sustainable. This includes weekly trips to the farmer’s market to buy some fresh fruit and veggies, baking soft home-made pastry delights, and trying new crafts, such as candle-making or embroidering.

The aesthetic’s core is a romanticized interpretation of western farm life, as well as Romanticism itself, the 19th century cultural movement marked by the idolization of nature and nostalgia for the past.

Moreover, they obviously have a characteristic fashion style that set them aside from other aesthetic trends. Cottagecore staples include longer loose-fitting dresses in naturally occurring or faded colors, overalls, cardigans, hand-crafted accessories, and bare-minimum makeup to only improve skin texture.

The aesthetic’s core is a romanticized interpretation of western farm life, as well as Romanticism itself, the 19th century cultural movement marked by the idolization of nature and nostalgia for the past.

 

Soft Girl

The third main fashion style born on TikTok is the Soft Girl. The soft girl aesthetic looks just like how it sounds: everything is pastel – especially pink – and ultra-girly.

The clothes are usually oversized, with lots of super-sized sweatshirts, baggy jeans and trucker jackets, with cute and sparkly accessories. The hair is kept simple and natural-looking, with blonde and soft brown being the preferred colors. Nevertheless, it can also be styled in playful hairdos, usually with cute scrunchies or glittery hairpins.  

The soft girl’s makeup is also kept to a bare minimum, with non-existent eye looks, bushy eyebrows and glossy lips. However, the skin is really cared for, with a no-makeup makeup look that includes pink blush and bronzer to mimic that ‘golden hour’ glow.

After all, aesthetic and fashion trends are inspired by one another: if soft girls are the new VSCO girls, e-girls are the new emo girls, and cottagecore is just a more stylish version of farmland hippies.

In some way, the soft girl is the chirpy middle ground between VSCO girls (the biggest aesthetic trend of 2019) and e-girls. The preference for oversized and baggy clothes resembles VSCO girls, however the makeup’s emphasis on the blush and the use of accessories reminds more of e-girls.

After all, aesthetic and fashion trends are inspired by one another: if soft girls are the new VSCO girls, e-girls are the new emo girls, and cottagecore is just a more stylish version of farmland hippies. Who knows what the next aesthetic trend will be… will we go back to grunge? Y2K? Or will we start dressing again like Disney Channel’s stars in 2004? No one knows, but one thing is for sure: it will probably come from TikTok. 

Cover: Pixabay

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