For the last decade, New York City street style has been characterized by neutral color palettes and tailored silhouettes with a minimalist edge. Think the Olsen twins along with their brand, The Row – meant for all-black-wearing, cigarette-smoking cool girls. But there’s a new girl in town, and she’s here to stay. She’s the “weird girl,” an unconventional, eccentric parallel that embraces effortless maximalism and pops of color.
With trend cycles evolving so rapidly, it feels like there’s a new aesthetic dominating the fashion scene every week. Fast fashion has been mainstream for years, and as a result, the constant demand for the new and the next in production has encouraged a proliferation of micro-trends. These short-term trends, driven by marketers and social media users, rise to popularity seemingly overnight and are decidedly outdated not even a month later. So, when the so-called “weird-girl” aesthetic came to fruition in the summer of 2022, it felt safe to assume it would fade from the spotlight in a few weeks’ time.
And yet nearly a year has passed, and the aesthetic has showed no signs of backing down. Its reign is emphasized by a distinct shift in influencer and street style trends that take an edgier approach, celebrating gender-neutral accessories and one-of-a-kind vintage pieces. While the weird girl aesthetic may come across as a clashing mismatch with no rhyme or reason, styling an outfit of this genre is deceptively intentional. It requires an eye for exuberant color palettes (popular favorites being chartreuse, bubblegum, and lavender), as well as an understanding of how to combine different layers and fabrics to create dazzling textures.
Where It Came From
With roots in FRUiTS Magazine-esque Harajuku street style, this style rose to popularity alongside the internet’s obsession with Y2K nostalgia. The term was coined by Twitter user @kaiageber (not to be confused with Cindy Crawford’s supermodel daughter) when they questioned the rise of this atypical style: “Is it anti-fashion? Are people trying too hard to look ugly?” But the reality is, the rise of the weird girl aesthetic marks a shift in the minds of fashionistas everywhere who want to break away from conformity and instead embrace individuality – even at the risk of looking a little wacky.
While models like Bella Hadid and Iris Law are often seen sporting this style, it doesn’t mean the everyday person can’t rock it as well. In fact, it’s one of the most accessible aesthetics to take part in, as it doesn’t require designer labels, expensive staple pieces, or a specific body type. What sets the weird girl aesthetic apart is that it originated from quirky people experimenting with their own style before it became cool. This means you don’t have to look strictly to celebrities for weird-girl inspiration. Just take a stroll down any downtown NYC street and you’re more than likely to see an abundance of inventiveness and creativity.
Where It’s Going
If you kept up with the most recent run of New York Fashion Week, you’d know that the weird girl aesthetic was one of Fall/Winter 2023’s greatest muses. Along with the rise of a new generation of young designers like Puppets and Puppets and Batsheva came the widespread presence of off-kilter knitwear, camp accessories, and surrealist motifs ranging from fried egg bralettes to crystal-encrusted cookie bags. Balaclavas and chunky knits continued to dominate the runway, indicating that the dwindling less-is-more ethos is being edged out.
What emerged as a TikTok “core” trend has transcended into an essence that proliferates high fashion circles. More importantly, the aesthetic has returned to its street-style origins in a magnified way, making it socially acceptable to be weird – if anything, the weirder the better. People are more willing to throw away arbitrary and outdated fashion rules that have governed our dressing habits for far too long. And the implications seem to be the adoption of a widespread attitude of caring less about the opinions of others, opting instead for fashion choices that generate happiness. For this reason, the weird girl aesthetic will be having a long-term, warmly welcomed stay in the consciousness of fashionmongers everywhere.
How to Wear It
If you want to take part in the weird girl aesthetic, look no further than your local thrift store. There, you’re bound to find an abundance of nostalgic styles and contrasting silhouettes on a budget. Online consignment platforms like Depop are perfect for searching for more specific, Y2K-inspired pieces. And to create a perfectly meshed outfit with some new elements, look to quintessential brands like Marc Jacobs’ Heaven line or anything carried at NYC’s Café Forgot.
Everyone who was once made fun of in school for having unique taste can now rejoice in the fact that “weird” is this year’s most sought-after label. If celebrities and models embracing the descriptor makes it more acceptable to the mainstream public, then all the better for those who have waited for an opportunity to feel comfortable expressing themselves. And while there will always undoubtedly be those who scoff at the younger generations’ outfits in favor of tradition, let them stay on the sidelines. After all, the aesthetic can’t truly be weird without a few dissenters.
If there’s one thing the weird girl aesthetic emphasizes, it’s that there’s no strict confines for what makes someone fashionable. Wear the motifs, colors, and silhouettes you like – and wear them all at once. This embrace of maximalist individualism defies all the boundaries of fashion that proliferated the last two decades of style culture, like the Cosmo magazines and E! talk shows that told us black and blue can’t go together or that there’s only one way to dress your body type. Because of that, weird-girl style transcends trendiness – it’s a lifestyle and a mindset; one that we should all bring with us into a new era of confidence and self-acceptance.
the weird girl aesthetic. is it anti-fashion? are people trying too hard just to look ugly? does it only work on bella hadid? let's discuss pic.twitter.com/lRZZJ0JoAK
— ً (@KAlAGEBER) May 7, 2022