manufactured aesthetics, trends, and finding a personal style

This post is about why I don't like how media pushes aesthetics and what I've noticed about finding my own personal style. These are almost entirely opinions.

It's been about a year since I deleted tiktok, and in that time I've been struggling to figure out MY personal style. Tiktok has this issue where it seems like every week or so there's a new stylistic trend that everyone has to try and then within a week it's gone. I am not hating on "cores" as an aesthetic descriptor. Having words to describe a style is amazing, and can make shopping (if you choose to do so) much much easier. But when everything has a "core", it makes it difficult to actually find a personal aesthetic.

It's like having an array of rooms in front of you. Some are large, some are small. You can fit into the large ones just fine, but they seem much too big for you. Some are small, but feel restricting. This is how having an array of aesthetics feels to me. Having all of these labels can make it difficult to find not only the right one, but just one may never feel fully right. Many people describe having multiple aesthetics that overlap, each one having it's own label. This may work for other people, but this is not something that worked for me.

There is also the pressure to "have it all together" once you have actually figured out your style, whether it fits into a label or not. When I had tiktok, I often had trouble feeling good about my style because I couldn't just fit into a perfect box, but I also had a shifting style. Often, these styles were being popularized on apps like tiktok, which in turn gave them even more attention especially once fashion companies and magazines noticed the trends. When the trends "died" (fashion can never really die) and the media moved on, my style generally changed with it.

(This may also contribute to the overconsumption of clothes, makeup, and jewelry but that is a post for another time.)

Some trends also feel like they're being pushed onto us as consumers instead of happening organically. Many of these trends have been around for a long time, just being rebranded over and over and over again. This is especially true for makeup. Looks like "latte makeup" have been around since the 90s, "clean girl" is just a no-makeup makeup look, etc. They generally follow the cycle of fashion trends though, so I'm not exactly surprised. However when you get things like "blueberry milk nails", which is just light blue nails, that's when the issue comes into play. Blue nails are repackaged as a new thing every few months by larger companies and brands. They're not new, they're using the new shiny name to sell more blue nail polish. This is far from the only example from it, but it's something I just found out about that really kind of made me think about this subject.

I do want to make it clear that I am not referring to things like scenecore or y2k here, since those styles are revivals. Y2k is more "trendy" than scenecore but much like latte makeup, it's just the cycle of fashion repeating and reinventing itself. These are not the same as trends being rebranded and pushed out again in order to make money.

Now that I have mostly stopped paying attention to style trends, and especially now that I have begun making most of my clothes, I have found it significantly easier to figure out what I actually like. I have prioritized figuring out what silhouettes I like the most, what type of fit I prefer my clothes to have, what colors I like the most on me, and what types of fabric I like the most to wear. This creates the most basic formula for my personal style. I like earth tones, I like softer fabrics, I like crochet and knitted textures, I like unique and interesting and fun elements, etc etc.

Actually figuring these things out has made me a lot more confident and comfortable in my style, more so than when I was following trends and what other people wore.

Figuring out what YOU like and what YOU want to wear instead of having aesthetics and styles pushed onto you (whether you know it or not) is so important for creating your own identity as a person in my opinion. What you wear should be what you like, no matter what other people may think or say.

Cringe is dead, wear what you want.

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furbyz0ntheRADi0_'s profile picture

EXACTLY MY THOUGHTS!! it's been about 2 years since deleting tiktok for me and my style has evolved slowly and naturally since then. I really love fashion and wearing what *I* want. I like a couple different styles that sort of contradict each other, namely cottagecore/fairycore/1920s-50s vintage and scene/kandi kid/rainbowcore, and instead of picking one I just wear whatever I want on that day. Yesterday I had a ton of kandi bracelets and rainbows and today I have a cloche hat and maroon sweater and dress. I get a lot of compliments on my outfits. restricting yourself to whatever's trendy that week sounds so exhausting! I like to call my style 'time traveler' because I like mixing a lot of clothing and style elements from different time periods!

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