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My Current Style Inspiration: The End of the Millennial Aesthetic

Last month New York Magazine’s The Cut published an article called, “Will The Millennial Aesthetic Ever End?” and let me say, it’s well worth the read. If it wasn’t already obvious from the title, the article covers the millennial aesthetic that we see almost everywhere: pastel colors, monstera leaves, marble tables, millennial pink, sans serif. But, it didn’t just list the design elements that make up the millennial aesthetic; it analyzed its history, its impact and its slow decline.

What made me appreciate this piece the most was that it brought together all the thoughts and observations I’d collected over the years about style and design and made sense of them. 

There are tons of interesting takeaways from this article: the millennial aesthetic design is the focus, not the product itself; it can turn an otherwise undesirable good/service into something more desirable and cute; the aesthetic can appeal to all consumers; it’s a reflection of social stratification, particularly the middle class; it’s soft, comforting and makes us feel safe; it’s universal. But, what I want to talk about is how these takeaways are going to influence my style and my purchasing decisions for years to come. 

When I think of the millennial aesthetic here’s what comes to mind: soft pinks, succulents, motivational phrases, Glossier, Instagram-worthiness, good vibes, white space, etc. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love soft colors, house plants and Glossier products! I’m a sucker for funky shaped mirrors and white sneakers. But, from my own observations and reading NY Mag’s article, the millennial aesthetic has become too safe and even a little annoying at times. For instance, I distinctly remember being at ShopRite and rolling my eyes when I noticed they rebranded their private-label products to fit a more millennial-like aesthetic and audience. Sigh…

Anyway, based on the takeaways and observations I’m even more compelled to improve upon my own personal style in ways that transcend my comfort zone. Of course, trends will always be a thing and I’ll always admire many of them. But, I think it’s important to refrain from buying things solely because they’re considered trendy. I’ve fallen into that trap before where you buy something that you’ve seen all over Instagram and then end up hating a few weeks later. I want to focus on buying things that I know I genuinely like and will last for a long period of time. Lastly, I don’t want to succumb to the societal and economic pressures of what I should and shouldn’t like.

Again, there’s nothing wrong with liking the millennial aesthetic, we can like whatever we want! It’s just important to be aware of what we’re being fed and surrounded by and to remember to be our unique selves. 

Kayla is a senior at Montclair State University, majoring in Communication and Media Arts. She is a beauty and fashion fanatic with hopes of working in the Beauty Industry after college. She has a knack for fine arts, enjoys writing, and is a dedicated yogi.
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