I Have Aesthetic Fatigue—Here's What I'm Wearing This Year Instead

Remember when fashion trends lasted an entire season rather than an impulsive, short-lived week? I miss those days.

By Anna Hartman7 min read
Pexels/Created Stories

At the risk of aging myself here, when I first dipped my pointed kitten heel into the fashion world, social media did not exist. Crazy, right? It was simply me going rogue in my older sister’s closet, “borrowing” tops that certainly weren’t mine to pair with bedazzled denim we found at the local Goodwill on thrift store Thursday. There were no TikTok girls telling me what was “in” and what was “out.” There were no shopping hauls to feel envious of, no “checkout” button to press for an instant dopamine hit. Fashion in those days was an experiment that, more often than not, led to me ringing my mom in the middle of the school day while choking back tears, telling her that I was sick and definitely not that I just wanted to go home because I took too much of a risk and felt like an absolute freak. By the time I entered high school, those days began to disappear as I took fewer risks and instead leaned into what the “it girls” were wearing in the latest issue of People Magazine, even if it looked totally awkward on my still-developing body. As with many teenage girls, it was a time of major insecurity in my life. 

However, I distinctly remember the moment early on in my influencing career when I felt as if I had discovered my very own aesthetic that would surely stick with me for the rest of my life. Before that realization, as was the style among the OG bloggers I followed at the time, I was wearing a ton of black, chokers were back in style, and I loved a low-cut top or a bodycon dress. To be frank, I looked like I was ready to throw down at a club any time of day, every day of the week. I remember having a coaching call with one blogger in particular that I had been following for years which left me at a crossroads. She took a long, painfully quiet look at my Instagram feed as we were video calling and said something so shocking to me that I’ll never forget it. She said, “Your public persona does not match your personality at all. You are so bubbly and sweet and happy, but all I see online are pictures where you’re not smiling and you’re wearing all black. What’s going on there?” 

The answer was that after so many years of blindly following the trends, I had lost myself. I was trying so hard to fit into this mold that I had no idea who I actually was or what I genuinely liked wearing. I was simply wearing what I thought other people (namely, my followers) would like to see. After that day, I went on a journey to construct my wardrobe again from the ground up. A few months later, I found that I had purged every last black piece of clothing in sight. Color had found its way back to my hangers, radiating femininity and joy. I finally felt like myself again! The girl who threw together creative, custom outfits in her mom’s basement had returned. The clothes I saw hanging in my closet, the items I proudly wore on my body, all reflected my personality so well. It brought me immense joy. 

What I didn’t realize was that after two kids and about five years, my style would need to evolve once again. “What gives?” I thought. I was an adult, I was surely done with this whole “figuring things out” phase in my life. Apparently not, it turns out. What I’ve learned is that, just like everything else in life, curating your personal style is a learning process and something you have to work at every single day. I get sucked into fleeting trends just as easily as the next fashion-obsessed girl and lose my personality in favor of the newest aesthetic or -core. A few months ago, I opened my closet door and really, genuinely looked for the first time in a while, taking inventory of what had accumulated over the last couple of years. The reservoir of things can be best described as a mix of coastal cowgirl, quiet luxury, coquette, Parisian, and colors I could never even imagine myself wearing, like burgundy red or burnt orange. It was chaotic and messy, to say the least. 

One thing that has been immensely helpful in allowing me to clear my mind from the noise of what I should be wearing is that I quit social media about five months ago. Now, that’s not to say that I don’t still see the trends (I am the Managing Editor at a women’s magazine, after all). But there’s a massive difference between subconsciously consuming other people’s style or personalities for hours each day online and reading or researching them intentionally in specific time slots throughout my working day. In many ways, it feels like my pre-internet brain is back. I can see things more clearly than I have in years, and that’s especially true when it comes to my style. Recently, the biggest trend that has taken the TikTok girlies by storm has been the mob wife aesthetic, which, when I tell you it couldn’t be further from what I genuinely want to wear, I’m not exaggerating. It’s dark, it’s over the top, and it just feels heavy to me. Not to mention that the focus of the trend is on faux fur coats, leather pants, and smokey eyes, all of which are only really ideal for the winter, which we’re currently exiting, by the way. Convenient for those marketing departments trying to push their last winter inventory off the shelves, no? My point of bringing this up is that if I had not removed myself from the revolving door of aesthetics TikTok is churning out weekly, there would be a gray mink coat hanging on my door next to a pair of black leather pants, a combination I surely would have felt alien wearing. 

When I log onto Instagram now as needed for work, and I see what used to be some of my favorite style icons to follow wearing the same thing – copy, paste, repeat – all the way down my feed, I’m sad. Not only that, but I am extraordinarily bored. I have major aesthetic fatigue, and I have a sneaking suspicion that I’m not the only one. Want to hear a crazy prediction? I think that in 2024, we’re going to see super niche aesthetics and -cores, food-themed hair, makeup, and nail trends make their grand exit. Our culture has been so obsessed with labeling everything and placing ourselves into hyper-specific boxes, and I think it’s taken its toll on people – women, especially. When a pendulum swings so hard in one direction, it’s bound to swing back, and I think that’s what we’re getting ready to see. Fashion trends are fun, sure. I love a pretty bow or nap dress as much as the next girl, but these things don't need to become our entire personalities. Changing our lifestyles to fit a certain aesthetic is beyond ridiculous and it's a waste of our precious time on this earth to pretend to be someone we're not for clicks or follows. It’s time we start dressing according to what we genuinely like, feel amazing in, and what flatters our own unique bodies. 

Here’s what I’m wearing this year instead of whatever -core is trending at the moment. 

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Dressing According to My Body Type

Ever wonder why that exact same midi dress looks frumpy on you, but totally chic on someone else? Honestly, it could be due to many different reasons, but one of them is certainly that you likely have a different body type than the girl you saw it on. I’m a very petite girl who hardly reaches 5’1 in a cushioned flat. The low-rise baggy jeans that look incredible on Tezza are not going to look the same on me, there’s just no way around that. This year, I’m not buying anything that doesn’t work for my specific body type. My outfit needs to look flattering on me, no matter if Gen Z has dubbed it “cheugy” or if millennials have labeled it “try-hard.” As a petite girl, that means high-waisted jeans that don’t drag on, dresses that hug my feminine curves rather than drown my figure, and shoes and skirts that elongate my legs and feet rather than cutting them off abruptly. If it doesn’t pass that test, it’s simply a no.

Choosing Colors That Align with My Contrast Level and Season

One thing that TikTok brought me this year that has been a net positive? Finding out what my contrast level is. Although not directly through TikTok, one of our amazing writers brought this trick to my attention, and I swear to you, I haven’t looked at my outfits the same since. With light brownish blonde hair, brown eyes, and fair to medium skin, I have a medium to low contrast level. My features tend to blend in with each other. This means that what is generally going to look the most flattering on me is soft matching tones like a monochromatic outfit with a tiny bit of contrast thrown in. For example: for school drop-offs and morning errands, most often, you can find me throwing on a cream matching loungewear set with a brown crossbody bag and brown mules. This is an outfit I naturally gravitate toward, especially in the fall and winter months, and now I know why. It’s science, duh. That doesn’t mean that I can’t wear color, however. What it does mean is that the colors that are going to look most flattering on me are soft and coordinated, like a blush pink dress with nude heels, rather than a vibrant neon pink and white heels. This tracks as well. 

Again, introduced to me by one of our amazing Evie writers, I am determined to put my knowledge of my color season to use this year. You’ve likely heard about color season analysis over the past few years, but have you really dug into it and utilized its powers yet? I finally sat down and evaluated myself to find out which colors bring out the best in my natural features, disregarding what’s trending as this year’s “must-have color.” What I found is that as someone who falls into the light, cool, and clear/bright categories, my personal color season is summer. More specifically, after looking at the examples of each category under summer, I relate most to the light summer celebrities. According to The Concept Wardrobe, “Light summer is the color season reminiscent of milk summer mornings full of coolness and gentleness. But there is also a hint of freshness. The sun’s rays only touch the dew drops on the awakened foliage and flowers. The sky is of the most muted tones with floating, fluffy clouds.” Sounds like a dream, right? It also makes sense with my contrast level, as discussed above, given that Light Summer palettes are light and soft overall, containing light pinks and delicate, almost pastel blue-greens. 

“There are no harsh contrasts between the colors, only nuances,” says The Concept Wardrobe. To put it plainly, my least flattering colors are dark shades like black and very bright, vibrant colors. My most flattering colors are light, muted beige, soft pinks and blue/greens, and light, cool browns. Essentially, my urge to become a vanilla girl through and through is in my DNA. 

Given this information, I’m really only investing in clothing that fits these color palettes that will make me look as naturally radiant as possible. Choosing three colors total (for me this is off white/cream, baby blue, and soft pink) also helps me mix and match effortlessly for each season, especially considering my low contrast level. Here are a few things I have my eye on right now: 

Peppermayo For Bordeaux Linen Vest White, $60

Banana Republic Ariella Poplin Midi Skirt, $130

Reformation Edda Silk Skirt, $128

House of CB Tallulah Pink Floral Puff Sleeve Midi Dress, $209

Ariat Casanova Western Boot Powder Pink, $270

Curating a Pinterest Feed That Fits My Own Vibe

The only non-business related app I have left on my phone is Pinterest. I’ve decided not to group it into the category of “social media,” and I’ll tell you why. For me, at least, I don’t give two thoughts to who I’m following or who is following me or how many likes or pins my content gets on Pinterest. In fact, I haven’t even added my own content to my boards for nearly a year now. This little slice of internet heaven is my creative fuel, devoid of outside interference, competition, and insecurity. 

The thing that I’ve found that’s so wonderful about Pinterest is that an outfit from a decade ago could take a spot on my home feed just as easily as an outfit trending right now. It’s all about how you curate it based on your searches and pins. Sure, you could fill your feed with the mob wife aesthetic if you so choose, but you would certainly have to go out of your way to do so. I created a secret Pinterest board for my 2024 style, and it, like my feed, is overflowing with timeless, feminine, elegant outfits in my own colors, as discussed above. The images are even women with my body type and contrast level. It’s like my own custom styling app, and it makes blocking out the noise of the latest trend so much easier. 

Investing in Timeless Silhouettes and High-Quality Fabrics

On the topic of my wishlist above, I know that each of those items falls between $60 and $270 each, which is certainly considered an investment to me in this economy. Am I buying them all at once? Absolutely not. I’ve been carefully curating a list of “wants” for a few months now, and I’m essentially cyber-stalking them in the hopes that they will either go on sale, get listed pre-owned for a steal on Poshmark (more on that below), or that I can send one to my husband or family for holidays or my birthday as a gift idea. 

TikTok has normalized impulse purchases and overconsumption in such a destructive way, not only for women’s mental health, but for our wallets and the environment as well. This year, I’ve resolved not to hit “check out” on any fashion item in a day's notice, and I have a feeling that I’m going to really, genuinely appreciate the few pieces I do decide to splurge on when the time comes. 

Using your curated Pinterest feed, you can search for very specific items you find yourself saving over and over again in outfits you love. Plus, when you know what stores or designers to search for, you can find great quality pieces at a fraction of the price on Poshmark. Recently, I scored a cream ribbed collared sweater vest that still had the tag on it for $7. It fits like a glove and will mix and match with endless neutral bottoms in my wardrobe for the spring and summer. It’s like thrift shopping with a very niche goal in mind, and it works like a charm for me nearly every time. 

Closing Thoughts

Rejecting the revolving door of TikTok aesthetics and instead leaning into my personal style, knowing my body type, and what colors look most flattering on me is a conscious choice that I’ll have to continue to make over and over again. Rather than feeling like I’m missing out on the latest trend or like someone who doesn’t fit in with the “it girls” of the moment, I’m reminding myself of the beauty of standing out and staying true to myself. Besides, even the science agrees that cream makes me look way prettier than black, so who’s really winning here?

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