Ah, 2014. There hasn’t been anything quite like it, has there?
You’re a 2014 Tumblr girl. You’re in your room and you’re listening to The Neighbourhood. Nobody understands you; how could they? You’re different: you watch Skins UK (and you totally relate to Effy even though you still have a bedtime) and your favorite book is Looking For Alaska. You box-dyed your hair even though your mom said no. Your lockscreen is a still from The Perks of Being a Wallflower and, despite never doing anything adventurous ever, you’re feeling infinite. You are the main character, and you don’t even know it.
Forget belts, just tie a flannel around your waist. And fishnets? A must for every occasion. Just be sure to never leave the house without your giant over-the-ear headphones and The 1975 queued up.
You may have not been a Tumblr girl. But you’re lying if you say you didn’t want to be.
Now, it’s 2021. And we can be anything we want to be. And for a lot of us, that means all-black outfits, band t-shirts, and missing American Apparel.
That’s right. 2014 Tumblr is back, baby.
Over the past year, there has been a resurgence of the things we know and love from this golden era of pop culture: Wattpad, beanies, Doc Martens, oh my! You can find all of the things you used to love under #2014tumblr on TikTok (which currently has 79.2 million views), complete with girls putting on their lace chokers, winging their eyeliner, and side-parting their hair to a slowed-down Halsey song.
Skater skirts are out. Tennis skirts are in. But they’re basically the same thing, right?
It doesn’t just stop at the hashtag. Thanks to TikTok, so much of the music we know and love is coming back harder than ever. Tumblr kid anthems like “Take a Walk” and “What You Know” have their own dedicated “bop or flop” videos, where creators reminisce on how 2014 was a year filled with absolute bangers.
However, this 2014 Tumblr renaissance is about more than just 21- to 26-year-olds (or elder Gen Z) reliving their social media glory days. High schoolers and younger Gen Z creators are starting to form their own love for the greatest era ever created, and putting their own spin on it.
Annalise Elliot, a 16year-old TikToker, is essentially 2014 Tumblr incarnate. On their page, you can find them decked out in a wide-brimmed hat, skater skirt, and a cheeky graphic tee complete with the classic red-and-black flannel around the waist. Their room has string lights and One DIrection poster, and they frequently showcase their copy of The Fault in Our Stars in their videos — which have garnered over 3.9 million views in total so far.
Less blatant than Annalise is the “alt-girl” trope, which is basically Tumblr girls on steroids. Nessa Barrett, a popular TikToker, has become an icon for Gen Z style, transitioning from the sweet, freshed face “VSCO girl” to cutting and dying her hair black, wearing edgy, Tumblr-inspired grunge looks, and covering herself in tattoos.
Barrett and her boyfriend Jaden Hossler (better known by his stage name, jxdn) are partially responsible for the rise of alt-rock saturating the social media landscape. Following the popularity of Machine Gun Kelly’s pop-punk revival, Hossler and Barrett began working with emo kid legend Travis Barker to create their own music that mimics popular artists in the 2014 tumblr era: Hossler’s being an almost parallel to Blink-182 and All Time Low, and Barrett drawing similarities to Melanie Martinez with her pretty voice but eerie undertones.
So, what’s going on? Are we all in an emo phase now? Maybe.
Following the massive turmoil of 2020 that’s extended into 2021, perhaps 2014 Tumblr is coming back so we can reminisce on simpler times before everything started to suck. Being that most of us were in high school and late middle school back then, 2014 was a time where we didn’t have to worry about politics, student loans, graduation, and the ever-present threat of the Yellowstone volcanic explosion.
Or maybe, this is the resurgence of our emo phase: a way to let out our frustrations through angsty music and all black clothing. Or maybe, this was never a phase. This was a lifestyle.
So sign all the petitions you can to get American Apparel back in the mall, pair your Docs with some kneesocks, and get ready to return to the coolest era of the internet. And you can reblog that!