Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at FSU chapter.

I love a trend as much as any other girl. I put bows in my hair and I say that I’m so coquette. I wear off-the-shoulder tops and I rejoice in the fact that the ‘80s are trendy again. I love aesthetics and the sense of community that they provide.

It’s coming to a point, though, where we’re so lost in the internet realm that we’re losing our senses of personal taste. There’s a sense of belonging that exists when we follow trends. It’s human nature to crave acceptance, but lately “acceptance” feels more like “conformity.”  

Microtrends and Fast Fashion  

Liking trendy things is not the problem. Being a trend is. It’s especially harmful because microtrends are taking the main stage. A certain pattern or piece of clothing becomes popular for a few weeks and then fades out of view. Sustainable clothing brands can’t keep up with the quick turnover rate, but fast fashion can. This popularizes brands like SHEIN, Zara, and Forever 21.  

In 2022, SHEIN was releasing 700 to 1,000 new items per day. Per. Day. People buy the new items to follow a trend or film a haul video, then throw the clothes away after only wearing them a couple of times. Popular microtrends from a few months ago already have remnants in thrift stores and dumpsters as people quickly move on to the next big thing. 

Social media is targeting tweens on the internet whose goals are to look like the influencers they see on TikTok. They see $1000 SHEIN hauls and want to follow suit. Or they see a fancy dress or aesthetic that they can’t afford, so they buy the dupe. 

This isn’t purely social media’s fault, as it can be used positively. Some influencers use their platforms to discuss sustainable clothing brands. It’s also important to note that consumers aren’t necessarily the main issue here. We shouldn’t fault people for buying fast fashion when it’s an affordable option. There’s also little education about the harmful nature of these brands, especially for today’s consumers. 

Fast fashion clothes are made of cheap synthetics that tend to degrade quickly, a fact not known if you’re buying because of the price tag. This affects the lifetime of the clothes that we buy. If we’re going to buy clothes, especially more pricey ones, we would want to keep them for a while. People whose styles follow trends are constantly recycling their clothes, making it hard to justify purchasing from the more expensive, sustainable brands.

Labels, Aesthetics, and Overconsumption

People on TikTok are raving about how they’re finally out of their “indie” phase and moving onto their “clean girl” era. What does that even mean? At its core, it shows that we’re trading out one overbearing aesthetic for another.

I don’t mean to sound down on aesthetics. I think they can be very useful for inspiration purposes. Liking a certain aesthetic can aid in your internet search and discovery of what you like and what you don’t. Aesthetics can, however, trap your style in a box if you’re not careful about them.  

Aesthetics also seem to negatively influence other aesthetics. We’re not doing “clean girl” anymore because we’re in our “mob wife” eras. You’re encouraged to keep following the new thing because it makes you hotter, causes glow-ups, etc. Then, people who like dressing a certain way begin to feel bad about the clothes that they do have, forcing them to buy a whole new wardrobe following the new trend.  

Establishing a Personal Style

Buying from SHEIN or other fast fashion brands is also a result of not having a personal style. Buying based on the trend instead of what we like sets us up to get rid of those clothes as soon as the influencers do because we don’t feel like we can wear them anymore. 

This also correlates to purchases based on an aesthetic. If you love the way “American Pie” girls look and alter your entire wardrobe to that, are you dressing according to your personality? Or is it one the internet curated for you?  

I’m not saying finding a personal style is easy, and I think it comes naturally over time. By dressing in things that you like, which can be inspired by the internet, you slowly start to curate your perfect wardrobe. It’s so endearing seeing someone dressed up with elements from aesthetics, but their core outfit is simply them.  

Fashion shouldn’t feel stressful. There should never be pressure to wear (or not wear) certain patterns or types of clothes, especially if doing so makes you feel uncomfortable. We should dress in what makes us feel good, even if that trend has already sailed. If the granola girl aesthetic makes you feel great, keep wearing it even when the internet moves on to something else that’s new. At the end of the day, fashion is for you only. 

Want to see more HCFSU? Be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and Pinterest! 

Mikaela Georgi is a freshman at FSU. She is an editor for Her Campus. Currently, she is seeking a BA in Theatre with a double major in English. Though this is her first year working with Her Campus, she loves the newspaper. She had a satire column that gave dating advice. She was also the Copy Editor, and she ensured that each article was up to the newspaper’s standards. When she’s not writing an article, you can most likely find her on a stage somewhere or fueling her caffeine addiction: two activities she deems equal in importance. She loves acting, directing, and playwriting. She’s also made it a goal to find all the best parks and greenery for reading YA romance in Tallahassee. It’s going well so far. She’s determined to make every song she loves a karaoke song, and right now she's probably petting a cat somewhere.