The 2022 comeback of the Tumblr girl
If you ever went clothes shopping with your parents as a teen, the following may be familiar to you. You are browsing through the racks and you hear your parents’ mystified chuckle, “We used to wear this when we were young.” You probably roll your eyes and ignore them. What they’re experiencing is the 20-year trend cycle, a concept in the fashion industry that states that whatever is in style now will make a comeback in approximately 20 years. You’ll have lived through this phenomenon yourself: the bootcut jeans of the late 90s, for instance, were a reinterpretation of 70s bell-bottoms and the past few years have seen Y2K styles making a comeback. In recent times, however, it seems like trend cycles are moving faster and faster. A large part of this can be attributed to fast fashion but, more interestingly, TikTok also seems to be playing a role.
@doofenshmirtz48 POV: it’s 2014 ft. The girls❤️#workdistractions#fyp#foryou#tumblr#egirl#friends#girls#2014#indie#xyzbca#indiegirl#styleinspo#aesthetic#articmonkeys#fy ♬ 2014 tingz – 🤧
Everything moves a little faster on TikTok, from memes to sounds and trends. On this social media platform, however, the talk isn’t so much about what is in style, it’s about your aesthetic, the most famous example being cottagecore, which has Taylor Swift’s Folklore and Evermore as its soundtrack and is inspired by a romanticised interpretation of Western agricultural life. But in the past few years, we’ve seen the arrival of more looks, such as e-girl, soft girl, coconut girl, light academia, dark academia and a slew of other even more niche fashion types (goblincore, we salute you). Switching from style to style is not uncommon, so the trend cycle has sped up, meaning that in 2021 we saw the return of late noughties fashion in the form of Twilightcore (dressing like Bella Swan or Elena Gilbert), only ten years after their initial popularity. And now, to the shock of us millennials and some older Gen Z, we are seeing the return of the Tumblr girl.
@lonelyheartles #pov ur a teen in the #2014tumblr era getting ready to go out+other things #5sos #calumhood #ashtonirwin #lukehemmings #onedirection #fyp #foryou #1d ♬ dont stop plus no control – alex <3
Tumblr was once the preferred social medium for outsiders: teens with an unhealthy obsession with the supernatural and BBC’s Sherlock; those who took their Hogwarts house very seriously; a place to unleash all your teen angst while at the same time reblogging Doctor Who memes. It was basically inevitable that from this social outcast refuge there would spring a broody, rebel, cool-girl aesthetic. The Tumblr girl was gloomy and grungy (following the 20-year trend cycle). She was black converse with song lyrics written on them, band tees and jean jackets, dip-dyed hair and an eyeliner heart on her cheek. For reference, think Kylie Jenner at Coachella in 2014, or Kylie Jenner arriving at the airport in 2014. Or Kylie Jenner at a petrol station in 2014. You either aspired to be the Tumblr girl or you envisioned yourself growing up to become the Tumblr girl.
@rxneexx This is mainly 2014 grunge tumblr.(cred: @gracebritt)#fyp#foryou#2014#aesthetic#2014tumblr ♬ original sound – Renee
Even though only eight years have passed since the height of the Tumblr girl era, there is a certain sense of nostalgia attached to it. So much has changed on a global scale since that time and, for many, this phase came right at the end of their childhood. It’s not that strange then – considering that we are living through a pandemic – that we are turning back to Tumblr, or at least its aesthetic – a place that was a source of comfort during those angsty teen years. A place of innocence.
@melaniesrose ib: @ava:) is #pov #fypシ #5sos #2014tumblr #2015 #pastelgrunge #softgrunge #halsey #5sos #aesthetic #grunge #the1975 ♬ Colors – Halsey
So we’ve slipped back into our Doc Martens as we go on our daily walks, wearing oversized flannels that would never fly at the office but function perfect as a work-from-home uniform. We’ve retreated into a place of safety, reading about Megan Fox and Machine Gun Kelly and listening to Olivia Rodrigo. If you want to refresh your Tumblr style for 2022, leave the skinny jeans behind (maybe give those another ten years) and go for straight-leg ankle jeans. Choose tennis skirts over skater skirts and pick combat boots or sneakers with a platform. And if the grunge Tumblr girl look wasn’t your thing… well the twee aesthetic isn’t far behind, so dust off your brogues and get ready. Just as long as all the Tumblr styles can agree: the moustaches are never coming back.