A Guide To The 8 Core Style Aesthetics
Finding your own unique style is often easier said than done. Opening your wardrobe to a collection of garments you’re less than enthusiastic about is one surefire way to ruin your day before it’s even begun.
The first step towards establishing a solid sense of personal style is to consider the classic archetypes. Many fashion gurus have pinpointed eight separate style aesthetics that can be tweaked and customised to suit the wearer’s individuality. Although not everybody agrees on the specific terminology, you can get a basic idea of what categorises each aesthetic.
A casual wardrobe consists of comfortable, functional pieces without unnecessary fuss and flare. The perfect example being the classic jeans and t-shirt combo - low maintenance, understated and uncomplicated. That’s not to say a casual aesthetic is synonymous with scruffiness - indeed, it takes a keen eye to make such a simple outfit appear so effortlessly chic. Cosy activewear co-ords and high-waisted joggers styled with crisp white sneakers can look exceptionally feminine and put-together.
On the opposite end of the spectrum from Casual lies Glam. Lending itself to all things feminine, luxurious and eccentric, the Glam aesthetic is reminiscent of silver-screen movie stars and high-status celebrities. If you enjoy bold, colourful fabrics, statement accessories, and a ‘more is more’ approach; Glam may be the aesthetic for you. Some may consider glam style unnecessarily ‘extra’, but for those who love to turn heads, it couldn’t be more perfect.
This style is derived from private, university-preparatory schools, worn as a symbol of status among upper-middle-class American teens. The Preppy aesthetic borrows elements from classic contemporary style, giving it a feminine twist to create something instantly recognisable - the building blocks of which are pastel colours and structured silhouettes made up of basic, high-quality garments. Plaid skirts and knee-high socks are also common pieces found in a Preppy wardrobe, comparable with nautical, equestrian and scholastic attire.
For those who prefer to be a little rougher around the edges, the Grunge aesthetic is perfect. Grunge emerged as a subculture and music genre in the late 1980s with pioneering bands like Soundgarden and Nirvana, later becoming wildly popular worldwide during the 90s. At the time, Grunge fashion was characterised by flannel shirts, ripped jeans and slip dresses - all items that repeatedly circle back into contemporary fashion. These days, the Grunge aesthetic encapsulates edgy, laid-back ensembles and de-emphasised silhouettes.
A classic aesthetic is ideal for those who desire a simple yet chic capsule wardrobe consisting of durable, timeless pieces that repeatedly circulate back onto red carpets worldwide. If you feel as though you’ll soon tire of a strongly themed aesthetic, a classic wardrobe will ensure your looks are perpetually fresh, fashionable and contemporary. Relatively plain ensembles can be dressed up with designer bags and statement accessories to define your personality.
Minimalism embraces simple, functional pieces that speak for themselves. A popular form of contemporary interior design, many have adopted a minimalist approach to both their homes and their wardrobes - a la Marie Kondo. Chic, streamlined pieces made from high-quality, durable materials are key for a Minimalist aesthetic. Minimalist capsule wardrobes consist of classic interchangeable pieces with a specific colour palette to form multiple outfits, ideal when you have to get ready in a hurry.
The Boho aesthetic draws influence from the carefree, hippy fashions of the 1960s and 70s, with flowing fabrics, natural prints and ethnic-inspired pieces. That said, the true origin of Boho can be traced back to the post-French Revolution Bohemian counterculture. Boho saw a significant resurgence in the early 2000s, with celebrities such as Kate Moss and Sienna Miller regularly flaunting their Boho stylings for the paparazzi. A typical Boho wardrobe consists of garments such as flared pants, bell-sleeve blouses and maxi dresses with relaxed, artistic energy.
The Romantic aesthetic is about embracing femininity - this elegant, vintage-inspired style archetype predominantly consists of dreamy ensembles with plenty of ornamentation, such as ruffles and lace. A Romantic wardrobe lends itself to wistful summer picnics, garden parties and classic literature, with a pale, muted colour palette that perpetuates a soft, hazy charm. In plain terms, the Romantic aesthetic walked so contemporary styles like Cottagecore and Coquette could run.