Why Adam Sandler is TikTok's unlikely fashion muse

Adam Sandler's fashion choices are taking over TikTok. (Photo: Getty Images/Montessa_Taylor via TikTok
Adam Sandler's fashion choices are taking over TikTok. (Photo:Getty Images/Montessa_Taylor via TikTok)

TikTok, known for spearheading some of the most aspirational trends in fashion, has found an unlikely hero in one Adam Sandler.

For You Pages everywhere have been flooded with videos of millennial and Gen Z women rocking their frumpiest fits inspired by Sandler's signature mismatched loungewear.

Unlike stylistic predecessors such as the "clean girl" aesthetic or the itsy bitsy micro miniskirt comeback trend, "Adam Sandler Core" embraces a mixed-matched, sloppy, whatever-is-closest spirit not typically associated with the fashionably inclined. But a TikTok sound from an Adam Sandler cameo on Jessie is the audio backdrop to nearly 40,000 videos — many of them style videos that usually feature some version of sneakers or slides, baggy lounge shorts and an oversized T-shirt or hoodie.

The trend, which sprouted from ironic origins, has taken on a new life as participants earnestly embrace Sandler's carefree attitude toward fashion.

"I usually like to wear nice clothes and so I thought that it was funny that when I'm at home, I'm wearing more 'Adam Sandler' like clothes," Nikki Kent, an Ontario, Canada resident, artist and fashion enthusiast, tells Yahoo Life.

Adds Montessa Taylor, an 18-year-old TikToker from southern California, "The reason why this is so attractive and comical is because he is so successful and could afford to dress like most celebrities, but instead just neglects that whole part and sticks to what he's good at."

Taylor got into Adam Sandler Core as a joke but now finds herself unironically rocking the comfy fits.

"It's totally a different genre when it comes to seeing a celebrity dressing more like an average human," says Taylor.

The embracement of comfort is evident in consumer trends, as well, with sneakers, hoodies and shorts being among the hottest trends of 2022, according to global fashion shopping app, Lyst's Q2 index.

The adaptation of the quirky style by young women also serves as a counterpoint to the "hot girl summer" trope, with many TikTokers proclaiming they are instead having an "Adam Sandler Summer."

Fashion historian and archivist Doris Domoszlai-Lantner tells Yahoo Life that she sees the trend as one related to both politics and the never-ending pandemic."Hot girl summer was about people embracing their sexuality and the way that they deem themselves attractive," she says. "Now, maybe, because we've seen that this pandemic is kind of lagging, and we have this Roe decision, we see a lot of conservatism happening."

She adds that, regarding the pandemic, "As much as people are tired of talking about it, it is really going to have a very long ripple effect on clothing and fashion, and we are just seeing the immediate effects of it right now."

Taylor adds, "People don't want to have to appeal to anything, especially women," and supports the trend. "If we all collectively agree that dressing like Adam Sandler is cool, then let's just do it. It makes us feel more liberated — and careless and comfortable — in our clothes, which is definitely something I shoot for personally."

When trends prioritizing perfection, such as "clean girls," rise to prominence, it's common for a counter-trend to arise shortly thereafter, psychologist and The Psychology of Fashion author Carolyn Mair tells Yahoo Life.

"We have the people who want to follow fashion, so they're going to wear pink [or] the 'clean, hot girl' look … to promote this girly look. And then you have the others who want to look like the 'grunge' look, like in the ’90s, the baggy clothes, you know, 'don't look at me as a sex object,'" says Mair.

Like many trends launched on the interweb, Adam Sandler Core has transcended into its own subgenre, perfectly nestled between the confines of mockery and ingenuity.

"It's definitely a satirical, ironic thing now, but it's almost like, taken on this arc where it's so satirical that it's not even ironic anymore, and people just want to dress like that because it's comfortable and not restricting," says Taylor, who runs a secondhand clothing business focused on Y2K fashion. "Adam Sandler Core doesn't fit into that genre, but nevertheless, I'm probably still gonna wear it," she says, noting that the star inspired her.

Functionality is a common driving factor for the trend's traction.

"I personally just really like to wear really comfortable clothes around the house. I shop a lot in the male section at the thrift stores," says Kent, who is not rocking her Adam Sandler best 24/7, but does feel comfortable enough in the outfits to wear them in public. It's something she thinks should be just as normalized as getting dolled up.

"If you're comfortable, then that's the most important thing, and if you feel like it's a way that you express yourself, I think it's awesome," she says.

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