An Old's Guide to #aesthetic
Wipe down your reading glasses and let's get to work. (Did you know cleaning stuff is #aesthetic?)
Welcome to the second installment of “An Old’s Guide.” Previously, this 36-year-old Oldsplained TikTok fashion. Now that that we all have a cursory understanding of that concept, we can “go deeper,” as they say in yoga class, like we’ve been in pigeon pose for 45 seconds and can now put our elbows on the floor. Well, hopefully we can. After all, we are old.
As previously established, TikTok is probably on its way to becoming the dominant social network in the world, which means that it is also the future of fashion, an industry which I do not believe can exist today without social media. The good news is that we fashion-interested people may soon be loosened from Instagram’s evil, talon-like clutches. After all, you probably used to be on Facebook and Twitter a lot more than you are now, right? A future without the thing currently gluing us to our phones is possible! Even likely.
The bad news is that we’ll have to submit to the reptilian squeeze of the perhaps even more evil TikTok. Can you feel it hissing in your ear now, telling you to film yourself making scrambled eggs in a mug in your microwave? Because that’s how I feel most of the time #helpme.
Now, if we want to start posting to TikTok like true Gen Zs, we’ll have to re-orient our understanding of “like”-able content. Hashtags matter here, but they can be minx-like — you think you know them, but DO YOU? Do you really? Let’s go deeper on the fascinating #aesthetic.
Oh, I know this one. It’s something I used to try to have on Instagram before I gave up because my partner can’t take a fucking photo of me.
Right, we used to have aesthetics on Instagram, but on TikTok something can be both #aesthetic and have an #aesthetic. This important hashtag can be used both as a noun and an adjective. A hashective, perhaps?
No, not happening.
What kinds of content is #aesthetic?
All kinds of things! Scroll the #aesthetic hashtag on TikTok and a world opens up to you. This hashtag can apply to something as simple as wiping down your iPad screen so it no longer looks like it was handled by a baby who had just eaten yogurt. As in, “A clean screen. How #aesthetic!”
It can also be used to describe a specific aesthetic, say a certain style of dress, like #cabincore or #oldmoney.
Wait — #oldmoney? Doesn’t Gen Z hate wealth that exists partly because the government doesn’t tax millionaires and billionaires enough?
Yup! It’s both an #aesthetic you’ll see on TikTok and, when done prettily enough, #aesthetic. If you want to go deeper check out the #oldmoneyaesthetic hashtag and feast your eyes on horses, argyle, Chanel bags, Newport estates, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, pussybows, pearls, shift dresses, and pools decorated with statues. It’s kind of like a watered down Blair Waldorf (that’s old Gossip Girl, not the reboot which we’re all too old to have seen). It’s a lifestyle that young people on TikTok, curiously, have no problem openly coveting.
Well I just don’t get how that can be #aesthetic if Gen Z loves AOC and hates economic inequity.
Well, maybe we partly hate it because we kind of actually want it? Imagine if you were so rich you never had to spend a second of your time on Slack or even know what it is.
Here’s another way to think about #aesthetic: Pinterest but in motion. Check this out as an example. It’s got a great lawn, pressed clothes, twinkle lights above the bed, beauty products, a blue slushie in a glass with a handle, a chair hanging from the ceiling.
I feel like you’re telling me to get throw pillows with words on them.
Or just like, closed eyelashes. Do you.
OK, what else is #aesthetic?
A #cottagecore mug with a snail in the bottom so that when your mug is full you can see its eyes but when you finish your coffee you can see the whole snail.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a good cat in the snow, but I thought this was a fashion thing.
It is. Fashion examples of #aesthetic include:
Bestie rings that “don’t have to be cringe.”
This video flat lay of an adorable pleated skirt outfit.
So it’s kind of like a video version of the shit I used to see in magazines when I was the same age as these kids?
Bingo! You can practically picture those flat lays in Ye Olde Mags, right? “Five Ways to Wear This Leopard Trench” or “Day to Night: Liquid Leggings.” Now kids just film it on their phones and add music and other fun stuff to the footage. Brands can do it too as ads and the ads probably perform pretty well.
So fashion magazines really have no use case in this world, do they?
That’s basically the vibe. (Which a Young authority tells me is a very Gen Z word.)
Well I guess that’s good? Chopping down trees isn’t #aesthetic.
Look at you! That’s right, it’s not. But speaking of plants, I bet you have some succulents lying around that you could incorporate into your first #aesthetic TikTok. In fact, maybe just film those. Maybe just become a succulent TikToker because, if we’re being honest with ourselves, those other fashion/latte/marker videos look way too hard.
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