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Skins, Arctic Monkeys and Kate Moss – The Return of the ‘Messy Girl’ Aesthetic

<p>Graphic by Hannah Potts</p>

Graphic by Hannah Potts

It’s no surprise that over the years, social media has evolved immensely. As Vine and Musical.ly turned into Tiktok, and as people flooded from Tumblr onto Instagram, trends have changed quite a bit. 

Gone were the days of knee socks and ripped tights, smudged eyeliner and the club scene. The past few years have been dominated by wellness and self care — athleisure, skincare and self love have been circulating the internet since COVID-19 hit.

Now, with a new Arctic Monkeys album set to release in October of this year, Skins (a popular British television series which ran from 2007-2013) audios trending on Tiktok and party culture are making a comeback, and it’s safe to say that the “Clean Girl” aesthetic is fading away. he 2014 inspired “Messy Girl” aesthetic is making its return.

Although brands like Brandy Melville and Zara have been slowly reintroducing low-rise jeans, plaid mini skirts and gauzy threads for years now, social media influencers and celebrities are reflecting this within their style now more than ever. 

Inspired by ’90s-2000s grunge, the “Messy Girl” aesthetic is pioneered by Kate Moss, Alexa Chung and Lana Del Rey, and is carried out through younger celebrities like Olivia Rodrigo and Lily-Rose Depp.

Chainmail, leather and animal print are widely popular within this trend, especially when it comes to party clothes. Leather pants, combat boots and tube tops are replacing the high waisted jeans and corsets that have been prevalent in social media. Oversized denim jackets, graphic baby tees and last night's makeup is becoming more socially acceptable. 

This is a major shift from the matching athletic sets, dewy “no makeup” makeup look and emphasis on looking put together. The “Clean Girl” aesthetic has been a staple around campus — what will this shift look like, and will it be as long lived?

Kendra Dawson, first year sports management student, was sporting denim shorts and a white crop top.

“I really like this new aesthetic,” Dawson said. “It’s so low maintenance and it doesn’t force me to look perfect.”

Several Tiktok influencers notorious for living this lifestyle post videos often showing people how to ‘look expensive,’ another huge aspect of the overall aesthetic.

 “A lot of [the ‘clean girl’] aesthetic was so materialistic, almost,” Dawson said. “It was all Lululemon and Altar’d State, but now the trends are becoming more accessible to people who maybe can’t afford that or can’t put in the amount of effort people are asking for.” 

The mention of mental health isn’t surprising; again, the “Clean Girl” aesthetic stemmed from the mental health renaissance. While the topic of well-being isn’t a stigma anymore, more people have opened up about the non-romanticized aspects of mental health, especially regarding Borderline personality disorder and Bipolar disorder. 

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Tiktok consistently has viral audios that stem from television shows such as Skins and Bojack Horseman. ‘Francis Forever’ by Mitski has also been trending, with the lyrics like “On sunny days I go out walking/ I end up on a tree lined street/ I look up at the gaps of sunlight/ I miss you more than anything”– so it’s no wonder that this rising aesthetic is making a comeback. 

Trends come and go all the time. From messy to clean, and now from clean to messy. 

With social media and Tiktok  dictating what’s in and what’s out, it’s hard to tell how long this grunge revival will last. It’s certainly hard to tell if it’ll take over Miami’s student body — will the Redhawks swap their tennis skirts and Golden Gooses for Doc Martens and pleated plaid? Only time– and Tiktok– will tell.

leeam8@miamioh.edu


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