03 July 2024

"Dressing pretty" is over

"...I'm a messy eater,” admits Isaiah Lat, a 20-year-old student, DJ and stylist from Chicago, “I used to wipe away stains but now I don’t mind a little oil or a little spaghetti on my shorts. I think it’s chic.”

He does not believe that a term has yet been coined for the way he likes to dress. “It’s probably this dystopian, Mad Max, pirate, Steam Punk, mythological vibe,” he says, big on thrift and DIY; he likes skinny jeans, Capri pants and visor-like sunglasses. He doesn’t pile on the pasta sauce before he leaves the house but says he does like his clothes to be “somewhat stained”.

There’s a new mood in fashion: aesthetically varied, but its disparate elements – camouflage, combat shorts and grungey plaid; goth-inspired make-up and stomper boots; silhouettes and garments inspired by 2010s indie sleaze; T-shirts emblazoned with slogans inspired by nihilistic internet humour – project a common mood. Daniel Rodgers, digital fashion writer at British Vogue, says that much of it stems from the rebellious energy of kids “born in 2000 trying to reclaim the things millennials wrote off as loserish”. It is often a bit grotty, a bit greasy and crumpled and raw.

It’s a big leap away from the homogeneous looks that have dominated visual culture for a decade, including sleek, mass-produced athleisure and the ubiquitous “clean girl” trend, which problematically centres influencers who either are – or look like – Hailey Bieber, with white, gently blushing skin and huge fluffy eyebrows...

It is an intentional rejection of the mainstream. “We are sick of late-stage capitalist fashion,” he says. “In the aftermath of Trump’s presidency, with the conservative supreme court and our rights being stripped away, we want to dance and look hot – and this is our way of showing the government and corporations that we don’t need them.” [you might consider voting...]

Still, there is something particularly nihilistic about what is happening now, says Rodgers. The way people are “dipping into looks from the past 15 years of mainstream culture and putting them all together in a wild bonfire heap” and sampling from subcultures without the “lifestyle obligations” that used to be part of wearing those clothes. He says that when micro-trends come into style at the moment, they stay in: “So everything is trending at once. Everything is porous and blurred; it’s kind of a free for all.”..

Even Hailey Bieber, the ultimate icon for the “clean girl” look, is dressing a bit more chaotically, points out Rodgers, and is “in some way mirroring what’s happening on the street. She’ll wear a football shirt with some tailored trousers and cowboy boots or a poet sleeved shirt with Fila shorts and a Mary Jane, like someone’s kind of sifted through a lost property box on sports day.
More (with photos) at The Guardian.


  1. Bad link.

  2. Grotty, greasy, crumpled and raw? Apparently I'm fashionable now.

  3. Reminds me of when patched jeans and peasant shirts were considered rebellious in the 60's. Fashion is like that, the more it changes the more it stays the same.

  4. If it is functional, wear it.

  5. "Dressing pretty" is over

    Meh. The meaning of pretty is just changing. As it always does.

    However, instead of adapting to the new trend, the author prefers to judge it. It is perhaps relevant that she is the FORMER fashion editor of the Guardian.

  6. When I see a woman wearing ripped pants, I am tempted to give her a quarter and say it to help her buy herself a new and unripped pair of pants. :-) :-)


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