I will be the first one to admit that in the last months I have been spending an insane amount of time  on my phone. While scrolling through all my social media platforms, I began to pay close attention to  the trends that were jumping before my eyes – everything relating to clothing, hair, accessories,  makeup. I noticed just how relevant fashion aesthetics had become on social media. Everywhere I  looked, I saw beautiful outfits of varying styles, accessorised perfectly with hair and makeup to  match. While having followed them for years, they have never been this prominent on my social  media, nor have I seen as many creators gaining huge followings for their chosen styles. Fashion  aesthetics are truly something to look out for.  

We could call aesthetic fashion an artistic approach to how one dresses, a method of self-expression  through all the different aspects of fashion. It is pleasing and inviting to look at – it draws your eye to  it. There are even whole lifestyles connected to aesthetics that are, if we are being realistic, often  unachievable but all the more alluring. Some looks that continuously pop up on my social media  timelines have been dark academia, cottagecore, Y2K and grunge, but those are only a scratch on the  surface of the extensive list of fashion aesthetics.  

People become interested in them sometimes purely based on the clothes and the way they look. But  fashion aesthetics and fashion in itself have a lot more to offer than just clothing, namely the lifestyle  connected to them. The lifestyle can be something you want to attain for yourself, something that  makes you feel more confident and inspired in your day to day life. On the other hand, the lifestyle  can be something you want other people to think you have achieved as they see the way you dress. An  aesthetic can function as an indication of status, similarly to luxury brands which not only advertise  their clothing but also a certain type of lifestyle that appeals to consumers – a lifestyle that is gained  when wearing their brand clothing. Fashion aesthetics can help you gain confidence and carry  yourself better. By making yourself dress and look a certain way, you almost gain a new personality.  Ideally, they make life seem more beautiful and can help us make our everyday life seem more  exciting and romantic.  

While there is nothing wrong with following and endorsing fashion aesthetics, we have to  acknowledge some issues connected to them. The issues are mainly rooted in how they are  represented on social media. The people on social media platforms who get famous because of their  aesthetics and are circulated as the ‘faces’ of that particular style are too often white cisgender  women. The lack of diversity in racial, gender and size representation can make it seem exclusive and  push certain groups of people away from experimenting with their style. Nonetheless, there is credit  to be given to some creators and followers of fashion aesthetics when it comes to inclusiveness of the  LGBTQ+ community and encouraging positive representation on social media.  

With certain fashion aesthetics becoming more popular in the mainstream media, some have become  highly commercialised making them not exactly budget friendly. Especially after vintage fashion  began to gain popularity, the prices of vintage clothing pieces have greatly deviated from the more  affordable prices they were once sold at. Moreover, many retailers sell vintage looking clothing that  are actually brand new, which defeats the purpose of vintage fashion, which at least used to be about  second-hand shopping and recycling. But even though some fashion aesthetics remain highly  commercialised, many creators on social media continue to encourage second-hand shopping and  thrifting of clothes, and share their tips and tricks for finding affordable pieces. Importantly, they  continue to increase awareness of the harms of fast fashion and share their ways in making the  enjoyment of fashion more environmentally friendly and sustainable.  

Following fashion aesthetics can be a fun and inspiring thing to do but it is not required in order to be  fashionable, no matter how trendy it currently is. Ultimately, fashion boils down to self-expression  and is a great tool for it. Aspects of fashion aesthetics can be used to spice up your style, strengthen  the strongest points of it and make them stand out. Why should someone have to define their aesthetic  and limit their personal sense of style? People are constantly growing and developing – we should  allow our style and fashion to grow with us.