The past few years have been weird for fashion. When the pandemic first hit, we abandoned all sartorial norms in favor of 24/7 sweats, tie-dye everything and no pants. Then, once vaccines became more widely available, we swung hard in the opposite direction with revenge dressing, sporting all the suiting, sequins and stand-out colors we could find. Now we seem to be having some trouble finding a common ground with new trends, or “cores” as TikTok prefers to dub them, cropping up every other week. They oscillate wildly between comfy basics (like ‘90s minimalism) and highly specific aesthetics (like Horse Girl Equestrian), and social media has a catchy name for all of them. It’s a lot to keep track of, but don’t worry, we’ve pinned down the nine most popular styles you need to know for fall 2022, with all the deets on what they mean and how to wear them.
Hot pink has been the top color trend of the past few years, but has since become a whole movement unto itself thanks in large part to Gerta Gerwig’s new Barbie movie. A push for maximalist fashion and a return to nostalgia also helped put this flashy aesthetic on the map, as did Pierpaolo Piccioli’s decision to create and almost entirely monochromatic vivid fuchsia collection for Valentino’s Fall 2022 ready-to-wear runway show. The best thing about Barbiecore is that it really just comes down to color. So long as the pieces you’re wearing are a brilliant shade of hot pink, the silhouette or style doesn’t much matter—platform heels and bodycon minidresses are just as trendy as wide-leg silk pants and oversize button-up shirts. The world is your Barbie-tinted oyster.
2. Coastal Grandma
If you’ve ever wished you lived inside a Nancy Myers movie, this is the trend for you. Here’s how the trend’s originator, TikTok creator Lex Nicoleta, describes Coastal Grandmother: “It’s Hamptons, it’s ‘my garden is bigger than your first apartment,’ it’s a light white sweater even though it’s the middle of summer and it’s [a] five-carat diamond ring passed down from your great-great grandmother.” Think breezy linen pants, wide-brim bucket hats, fisherman sweaters, star market totes and garden clogs all in a color palette of pale blues, beige and shades of white.
Derived from the term “bad bitch,” the Baddie aesthetic is all about combining strong beauty looks with sexy, sporty clothing. Think Kylie Jenner makeup (thick eyebrows, long nails and pouty lips) worn with cargo pants and a cropped tank or spandex shorts and an oversize concert tee and finished off with some serious bling. It’s not entirely clear when the word “baddie” became the leading name for the trend, but the aesthetic has been around since at least the early ‘90s, with deep roots in hip hop, and was popularized by BIPOC artists like TLC, Missy Elliot, Destiny’s Child and more.
Also called Plaza Princess, this trend takes inspiration from our original favorite Upper East Side fashionista, Eloise. Yes, author Kay Thompson’s tiny tyrant who ruled over lived in the Plaza Hotel is currently all over TikTok. Of course, the trend also includes pieces pulled from the wardrobe of our next favorite Upper East Sider, Blair Waldorf, and combines preppy staples like hair bows and Peter Pan collars with touches of glam by way of rhinestone accessories and feather trims. And, of course, lots of headbands.
With touches of cottagecore and Regencycore, Fairycore is all about light, airy pieces and fairytale vibes. Think flowy maxi skirts, floral embroidery, wispy hair, ribbons, puffy dresses and lots of pastels. The term itself seems to have originated from Tumblr, and the movement is related to another growing trend, Goblincore (more defined by mushrooms, moss and earthy inspirations). The dreamy woodland vibes have even trickled over into wedding inspiration, especially for the Gen Z crowd.
6. ‘90s Whimsigoth
There are currently multiple ‘90s-inspired looks influencing our fall shopping lists, including Whimsigoth. Think Sabrina the Teenage Witch if she went a little darker. Heavy on eyeliner and light on fabric, this trend features a mix of black mesh lace, dainty florals and lots of mini slip dresses, velvet tees and chunky loafers or Dr. Martens. Other great points of inspiration are Stevie Nicks, Drew Barrymore, Phoebe Buffay (the early years) and the movie Practical Magic.
7. Weird Girl Aesthetic
This trend could alternatively be called “everything but the kitchen sink.” As creator @kaiageber laid out in a lengthy Twitter thread, the Weird Girl Aesthetic is a mish-mosh of just about every other trend on the market, combining fluffy bucket hats with mini skirts and DIY-looking crochet knitwear. It’s a lot, and while it may feel incredibly random, it actually has roots in Harajuku fashion, a Japanese subculture, named for the Harajuku district of Tokyo, that combines multiple different styles into one over-the-top aesthetic. TikTok’s take on the current trend however leans a bit more toward Western vintage or nostalgic pieces, like ‘90s graphic tees or ‘70s knitwear. Some folks have taken offense at using the term “weird” to describe this look, and we have to agree—if this style speaks to you, that isn’t weird at all. It’s just fun.
8. Mall Girl or Abercrombie-core
The Y2K craze is evolving, for better or for worse, and now encompasses all the most popular mall brand picks we shopped for at stores like Abercrombie, Hollister, Guess, Baby Phat and the GAP. Micro mini skirts (including raw-hem denim styles), UGG boots, cheeky graphic tees and chunky cable knit zip-up cardigans are all making a comeback, as are wired headphones and phone charms. Although this movement has definitely gained traction lately thanks to models like Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner, it’s been in the works for a long time—Abercrombie & Fitch has been on a mission to reinvent itself with extended sizing and more of a Reformation vibe, and fast fashion brand Dolls Kill brought everyone’s favorite catalog brand, dELia*s, back to life in 2018.
9. ‘70s Disco Glam
Time to break out the glitter and curling iron. Disco, in all its glitzy glory, is back for round two with big Farah Fawcett hair, satin platform shoes and lots of fabulous jumpsuits. This aesthetic started mostly in the beauty space, but has since grown to include fashion too. And we expect it will only grow in popularity after the release of Beyoncé’s seventh album, Renaissance, which took inspiration from both Disco and its successor House music. On the makeup front you’ll want to go all in on super-charged lashes, glossy lips and colorful eye shadow. As for your outfit, TikTok suggests mixing low-cut halter bodysuits with flared dark wash jeans or bra-style crop tops with low-rise pants. Channel your inner Diana Ross, Cher or even the BeeGees to get this aesthetic just right.