The term aesthetic describes a collection of physical and visual elements and patterns belonging to a community or subculture.
As such, aesthetic outfits are clothes, shoes, and accessories with visual prints, patterns, and colors characteristic of a culture or social movement.
Over time, collections of outfits (clothes, shoes, and accessories) that follow a particular aesthetic form a fashion style.
From Barbiecore’s feminine vibe, Y2K’s nostalgia, and Goth’s mysterious allure to the Korean’s sophisticated minimalism, these are the 20 coolest aesthetic outfits you should try in 2023.
Barbiecore Aesthetic Outfits
A defining fashion look of 2023, the Barbiecore aesthetic outfits exude a doll-like charm evocative of the 2000s fashion era while capturing the essence of the iconic unapologetically feminine doll.
The resurgence of the Barbiecore aesthetic is attributed to the release of the Barbie movie and celebs like Bella Poarch, Margot Robbie, Hailey Bieber, and Dua Lipa, who propelled Barbiecore aesthetic outfits further into the media spotlight.
Popular clothes and shoes in Barbiecore aesthetic outfits are a pink standout designer dress, pink satin cropped tops, faux fur coats in pastel hues, high-waist pink denim shorts, pink platform heels, glitter jelly sandals, and white knee-high boots.
The Barbiecore aesthetic outfits are accessorized with hot pink crystal chokers, oversized sunglasses, heart-shaped handbags, headbands, and rhinestone hoop earrings.
High-fashion designer brands like Maison Valentino and Miu Miu have adopted the Barbiecore aesthetic, infusing their collections with Barbie-like charm and femininity, thus broadening the aesthetic’s reach in the haute couture world.
Grunge Aesthetic Outfits
Inspired by Seattle’s angst-filled grunge music scene of the late 80s and early 90s and seeped into the high fashion world by Marc Jacobs and Alexander Wang, Grunge aesthetic outfits are trending in 2023.
Grunge’s unapologetic anti-fashion and anti-consumerism sentiment allowed the youth to protest against societal norms and the ‘excess’ that characterized the 80s.
Fashion icons like Gigi Hadid and Kristen Stewart keep the Grunge fashion style alive with unique outfits that showcase Grunge’s signature loose and layered clothing.
Essential clothes and shoes in Grunge aesthetic outfits are oversized flannel shirts, distressed jeans, black leather jackets, baggy sweaters, band tees, combat boots, and Converse sneakers.
Choker necklaces, beanies, slouchy knit hats, and round sunglasses are required to complete the grunge outfit.
Preppy Aesthetic Outfits
Steeped in the traditional aesthetics of the British countryside and elite American educational institutions of the early 1900s, the Preppy aesthetic outfits are trendy in 2023 due to an increased interest in polished, timeless preppy dressing styles.
The Preppy aesthetic features patterns such as tartan, argyle, and gingham, countryside colors, and natural materials like cotton, wool, and leather.
Clothes like Navy blazers, polo shirts, chinos, button-down shirts, pleated skirts, argyle socks, and loafers are critical to the Preppy aesthetic outfits.
Accessories like pearl necklaces, silk scarves, and stripy leather belts from brands like Ralph Lauren, Brooks Brothers, and Tommy Hilfiger are mandatory for any Preppy aesthetic outfits.
While it may seem old-fashioned to some, the Preppy way of dressing remains relevant thanks to high-profile celebs like Kate Middleton and Emma Watson.
Emo Aesthetic Outfits
The Emo aesthetic originates in the Emo subculture, where “Emo” is short for “emotional hardcore” or “emocore,” hence the emphasis on emotional expression, both lyrically in the music and visually through fashion.
The aesthetic draws on the darker elements of punk fashion while adding a layer of emotional intensity and introspection, hence the focus on black clothing, heavy makeup, and personal grooming that reflects a sense of angst and inner turmoil.
The dressing style became popular among teenagers thanks to bands like Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Cure, Panic! at The Disco, Fallout Boy, Paramore, and My Chemical Romance.
In 2023, Emo aesthetic outfits include black skinny jeans, striped tops, fishnets, Converse or checkered Vans, heavy eyeliner, piercings, choppy bangs in dark or colorful shades, wristbands, and fingerless gloves.
The emo aesthetic’s resurgence is tied to the return of emo and pop-punk music, with musicians like Machine Gun Kelly and YUNGBLUD leading the revival.
Cyberpunk Aesthetic Outfits
The Cyberpunk aesthetic outfits originate from the Cyberpunk science fiction subgenre of the 1980s, known for portraying a futuristic dystopian society where technology, artificial intelligence, and cybernetics meld with a degraded social order.
The Cyberpunk aesthetic resurgence in 2023 aligns with the growing popularity of futuristic and dystopian media, including “Altered Carbon” and the video game “Cyberpunk 2077.”
Cyberpunk aesthetic outfits embody the dark and dystopian roots of the Cyberpunk styles; main clothes and accessories include high-tech tops with LED lights, neon-accented leather jackets, black multi-pocketed and strapped cargo pants, holographic skirts, tech combat boots, LED visor glasses, and fingerless gloves.
With collections that merge high-tech elements with urban streetwear, brands like ACRONYM, Alexander Wang, and Yohji Yamamoto’s Y-3 demonstrate an affinity for the Cyberpunk aesthetic.
Kawaii Aesthetic Outfits
The Kawaii aesthetic has Japanese origins and embodies a world of childlike charm and cuteness, emphasizing soft pink hues, glimmers of glitter, radiant rainbows, and adorable fluffy animals.
Most Kawaii aesthetic outfits comprise clothes, shoes, and accessories like checked mini tennis skirts, oversized sweaters with adorable cartoon prints, white or striped knee-high socks, stockings, and chunky sneakers.
Brands like WC and Angelic Pretty and celebs like Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande popularize Kawaii styles on the global stage, making it a major fashion trend in 2023.
Goth Aesthetic Outfits
Dark, edgy, and filled with intrigue, the Goth fashion style originated from the late 70s and early 80s gothic rock scene, particularly from bands like Bauhaus, Joy Division, and Sisters of Mercy.
Essential clothes, shoes, and accessories in Goth aesthetic outfits include black velvet dresses, corset tops, high-waist fishnet tights, platform boots, Victorian-era-inspired lace gloves, silver piercings, and hair extensions.
Variants of the Goth aesthetic include Pastel Goth, Lolita Goth, Victorian Goth, and Deathrockers, each exemplified by a blend of aesthetic outfits and cultural and historical influences.
Dark Academia Aesthetic Outfits
Dark Academia emerged in 2021 as one of the prominent aesthetic clothing trends, especially on internet platforms.
Dark Academia aesthetic outfits are rooted in the styles of 1900s British prep schools, the works of the Brontë sisters, Oscar Wilde, and Jane Austen, Gothic architecture, and Baroque, Renaissance, and Greek arts.
A typical Dark Academia aesthetic outfit comprises vintage cardigans, tweed blazers, turtlenecks, checked trousers, brogues, or loafers in black, dark brown, charcoal, and forest green shades.
Light Academia Aesthetic Outfits
The Light Academia aesthetic is an optimistic variant of the Dark Academia aesthetic, focusing on the European intellectual heritage and classical arts.
The Light Academia aesthetic outfits reflect a preppy, university-inspired style, enhanced by lighter hues like white, cream, beige, and soft pastels.
Staple clothes, shoes, and accessories for a Light Academia aesthetic outfit include button-down shirts, pleated skirts, vintage-inspired cardigans, brogues, or ballet flats, paired with ruffle socks, hair ribbons, and classic watches.
Indie Aesthetic Outfits
The term “Indie” in the Indie aesthetic is short for “Independent,” hence the style’s aim to depict freedom, non-conformity, and independence.
The Indie dressing style rose in the late 90s alongside the Indie rock music scene and bands like The Strokes, Arctic Monkeys, and Vampire Weekend.
Indie aesthetic outfits are built around band tee and cropped tops, flower embroidered knits, crochets, baggy pants, skater jeans, striped dungarees, Vans or Converse shoes, bucket hats, clay jewelry, and sunglasses with a vintage touch.
Thanks to influencers like Alexa Chung and Florence Welch, Indie aesthetic outfits are trending again in 2023.
Y2K Aesthetic Outfits
Emerging in the late 1990s and early 2000s – an era of techno-optimism and futuristic fascination – the Y2K aesthetic draws from the allure of the digital world and cyberspace.
Films like Hackers, Jawbreaker, Legally Blonde, and Mean Girls and celebs like Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, Christina Aguilera, and Lindsay Lohan showcase quintessential Y2K fashion.
With edgeless clothes made of iridescent materials emulating the rainbow sheen of CDs and in colors like Bondi blue, silver, and pastel pink, the Y2K styles depict a utopian future and fascination with the digital realm.
Essential clothes, shoes, and accessories in Y2K aesthetic outfits include camisoles, cropped tops, low-rise flared jeans, high-rise cargo pants, platform or pointed-toe heels, and baguette shoulder bags.
Boyish Aesthetic Outfits
With roots in the Tomboy movement, the Boyish aesthetic defies conventional gender norms by embodying the idea of nonchalant, sassy, tough, wild girls.
Sported by celebrities such as Kristen Stewart, Ruby Rose, and Jaden Smith, famous for their gender-fluid androgynous fashion styles, the Boyish look is built with essentials from men’s wardrobes.
Key clothes and accessories for any Boyish aesthetic outfits include oversized shirts, boyfriend jeans, camo clothing, leather or denim jackets, flannel shirts, combat boots, and baseball caps.
Cottagecore Aesthetic Outfits
Cottagecore, or Farmcore or Countrycore, draws aesthetics from the Regency and Edwardian eras and showcases a romanticized interpretation of rural life.
Depicted in films like Little Women, Sense And Sensibility, and Sound Of Music, Cottagecore aesthetics permeate media.
Cottagecore aesthetic outfits consist of high-waisted, flowy maxi dresses with wide necklines and floral patterns, gingham or silk headwear, and handmade wooden accessories.
By featuring Victorian-era silhouettes, puff sleeves, and delicate lace trims, designers like Batsheva Hay and Lirika Matoshi highlight the Cottagecore way of dressing in their latest collections.
Baddie Aesthetic Outfits
The Baddie aesthetic emerged around the 2010s as a Streetwear style variation popularized by African-American female hip-hop artists like Rihanna, Niki Minaj, Iggy Azalea, Cardi B, Doja Cat, and Megan Thee Stallion.
Popular Baddie aesthetic clothes and shoes include tube and cropped tops, bodysuits, camo pants, sweatpants, street-style hoodies, puffer jackets, tight, ripped jeans, high-top Nike Air 1, and Old Skool Vans.
Accessories like hoop earrings, gold chains, sunglasses, and large logo designer bags are central to the Baddie look.
In recent years, the style was revived by influencers like Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian and their collaborations with brands like Gucci, Prada, Supreme, and Fashion Nova.
Coquette Aesthetic Outfits
The Coquette aesthetic originates in 18th-century France – ‘Coquette’ means ‘a woman who flirts’ – and displays flirtatious behavior and feminine charm through clothing and accessories.
The aesthetic is defined by patterns such as florals, lace detailing, satin or silk fabrics, ribbons, and bows in powder blue, blush pink, and creamy white, evoking the innocent, soft, and romantic but flirtatious appeal of a coquette.
Nowadays, the coquette fashion style is popularized by celebs like Alexa Chung and Zooey Deschanel and brands like Anthropologie, Free People, and Reformation with their feminine, romantic, and whimsical clothes.
80s Aesthetic Outfits
The 80s outfits draw aesthetic roots from the fashion styles of the 1980s, where maximalism patterns reigned supreme, like jackets with oversized shoulder pads, high-waisted jeans, and windbreakers in neon colors.
With outfits often mimicked by the masses, celebrities like Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, and Michael Jackson and TV shows like Miami Vice and The Golden Girls impacted the decade’s aesthetic.
Thanks to designer brands like Balmain, Marc Jacobs, and Saint Laurent, we see the 80s aesthetic outfits experiencing a resurgence.
90s Aesthetic Outfits
The 90s aesthetic originates from diverse influences that marked the 90s fashion, including African American Hip-hop, Grunge, Preppy, and Y2K subcultures and their styles.
Characteristic clothes, shoes, and accessories of the 90s aesthetic outfits include body-hugging tops, baggy cargo jeans, heels, and matrix-like sunglasses, as sported by Kim Kardashian and Darrel Hunter but in a modern spin.
Vintage Aesthetic Outfits
In an embodiment of nostalgia, the vintage aesthetic borrows patterns and styles from bygone eras as vintage clothes range from 20 to 100 years ago.
Vintage aesthetic outfits combine band T-shirts from the 60s with the flared silhouettes of 70s bellbottom jeans in the 80s neon colors and shoes and accessories from the 90s.
Korean Aesthetic Outfits
The Korean aesthetic, which lies at the heart of the K-Fashion style, has gained global attention thanks to the popularity of Korean pop subculture, particularly K-pop music and K-dramas.
Korean aesthetic outfits combine traditional clothes, like the Hanbok, with eclectic garments from the Korean streetwear fashion style, like high-waist wide-leg pants, oversized blazers, and chunky sneakers.
By sporting Korean aesthetic outfits from STYLENANDA and Chuu, members of BTS and BLACKPINK are iconic figures of this unique dressing style.
Soft Girl Aesthetic Outfits
Rooted in Japanese Kawaii and Western Y2K subcultures, the Soft Girl aesthetic reflects the wearer’s love for cute patterns and pastel colors.
Popular Soft Girl aesthetic outfits incorporate A-line skirts, oversized sweaters, cropped tops, schoolgirl uniforms in pastel colors, layered jewelry, hair clips, and scrunchies.
Public figures like the K-pop star Sana from Twice and fashion influencer Emma Chamberlain have been spotted in Soft Girl outfits, encouraging the trend’s popularity.
Clothing brands like UNIF and Brandy Melville often feature pieces that align with the Soft Girl aesthetic, making them go-to brands for those wanting to embrace this style.
Aesthetics and their use in making garments and accessories of unique fashion styles will continue to evolve, reflecting changing times, values, influences, and trends.
What remains constant is each aesthetic’s capacity to encapsulate the spirit of the times and the wearer’s individuality.
So, whether you gravitate towards the classic Preppy aesthetic or the vibrant Y2K style, remember that the outfits you wear are an extension of who you are and, thus, powerful tools for self-expression.
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Now it’s your turn…
Which one of these aesthetic outfits is your favorite and why?
Are there any other aesthetic outfit ideas you’ve tried and want to add to this list?
Comments below, please!
A University of Oxford graduate in Design History, Katherine Saxon is researching arising TikTok cultures from a consumer psychology perspective while covering emerging aesthetics in fashion and beauty for TheVOU, Forbes, Business Insider, and more.