Barbiecore, plazacore, indie sleaze, weird girl and coastal grandma were just some of the fashion “aesthetics” to go viral in 2022.
Slapping a punchy name on thematic fashion styles has become a Gen Z hallmark. However, the cohort’s use of the word “aesthetic” to describe style widens the discussion about trends beyond single items. The term encompasses key pieces, colors, brands and influencers that are setting the direction.
“While aesthetics and cores may be new to the mainstream, they’ve been a staple in the world of forecasting as the go-to way to ‘storytell’ what’s going on in the fashion industry and our culture as a whole,” Trendalytics said.
A report by the data analytics firm dives into the aesthetics shaping fashion in 2023. From fantasy to a new interpretation of normcore, here’s a look at the seven aesthetics every brand and retailer needs to know.
Indie sleaze—the Tumblr-inspired aesthetic that fueled last year’s rise of miniskirts, ballet flats and tank tops—matures into Elevated Indie in 2023.
Led by designers like Khaite and Saint Laurent, the downtown-cool aesthetic appeals to a broader demographic that appreciates timeless denim and leather pieces.
The Elevated Indie wardrobe includes “viral basics” like denim maxi skirts, cargo pants, acid-wash denim and moto jackets. Oxblood, black, olive and charcoal make up the Elevated Indie palette, while plaid and herringbone nod to the classics.
Metallic hardware and chain-link details give accessories a punk edge that “can easily be elevated for a more serious dress code,” Trendalytics said.
More is more in Sartorial Sensibility, a next-level version of Regencycore that encourages more individual style.
The imaginative styles of Moschino, Giambattista Valli and Christian Cowan set the template for Sartorial Sensibility’s ultra-feminine, colorful aesthetic.
This modern day Marie Antoinette look calls for floral and jacquard prints, bubble hems and circle skirts. Frocks embellished with bows, rosettes, feathers, and high-shine details make a sartorial statement, while gemstone jewelry adds decadence, Trendalytics said.
Sartorial Sensibility’s color palette of pink, ice blue and buttercream yellow culls inspiration from patisseries.
Escapism and a touch of Y2K glitz collide in Mermaidcore, an aesthetic that Trendalytics said will influence vacation wear in 2023.
Driven by collections from 16Arlington, Baobab and Nensi Dojaka, key items include column dresses, sheer maxi skirts and bra tops. Fresh takes on sequins—like disc chainmail and iridescent paillettes—and freshwater pearl earrings elevate the aesthetic for party and evening looks.
With a color palette grounded in sunset shades, cerulean blue and liquid-like metallics, the aesthetic meshes with swimwear style.
“This transforms beachwear into trends that feel equally sultry and effortless to be worn in the warmer months as well as the fall/winter season,” the report said.
“While there’s certainly an ethos of over-the-top styling cues at play, we’re also seeing a resurgence of basics as consumers lean into sustainability, second-hand staples, and revamping their wardrobes for a (semi) post-Covid world,” Trendalytics stated.
Enter Classiccore, an aesthetic that is one-part normcore and one-part coastal grandma.
Influenced by minimalism and prep (imagine a Prada-meets-Tommy-Hilfiger hackathon), Classiccore calls for refined denim and new approaches to suiting.
Key items include sailor jeans, varsity sweaters, leather loafers, blazers, trench coats and “white staple tops” like tanks and tees.
Cargo pants were deemed one of 2022’s viral basics , and that focus on utility will continue in the new year with suped-up functional and glam details.
“The utilitarian aesthetic has been a staple at influential runways like Balmain, Coperni, and Dion Lee across categories––and you can expect it to be taken a step further as technological influences continue to infiltrate the industry,” Trendalytics stated.
The theme includes hybrid shoes (think sneaker-meets-hiker boots) and sartorial pieces outfitted with cargo pockets, belts, modular accessories and hardware.
Puffer vests, bomber jackets and cargo pants are core, but fabrications like satin, nylon and other iridescent fabrications elevate the traditional staples with a nod to futurism.
Decades blur in Retro Remix, a hodge-podge of ’60s, ’70s and ’90s references that “satisfies the craving for novelty, comfort, playfulness, and simpler times,” Trendalytics stated.
Gucci’s eclecticism captures the essence of this aesthetic, however, brands driving denim trends like Diesel’s low rises and Blumarine’s yellow-tinted washes and butterfly motifs have impact as well.
Key items include A-line dresses, skorts, varsity jackets and bootcut jeans. The theme also calls for the return of knee-high boots after several seasons of chunky Chelseas. Prints like stripes, geometric shapes and “wallpaper florals” amplify the trend’s nostalgic vibe.
Marine Serre and Collina Strada, two of fashion’s rising stars known for using upcycled and sustainable components, help set the tone for Next-Gen Lens.
Influenced by digital-first platforms like TikTok and the metaverse, this Gen Z-oriented aesthetic encourages out-of-the-box thinking. Off-kilter fabric mixing, asymmetrical hems, reconstructed garments, mesh and abstract prints deliver a “glitch in the matrix” look and feel.
“The next generation of consumers and designers know that creativity is key––making the only rule that there really is none,” Trendalytics stated.