“The Devil be works hard, but God works harder!!!” my friend stated as she revealed her “The Quencher H2.0 Flowstate Tumbler 40 oz” dubbed the Stanley Cup on our weekly bible study zoom meeting. We were asked to go around and share something good that happened that week, and she started off with the retrieval of the beloved cup that she complained about being sold out a couple days prior. Others in the meeting went on the laugh and cheer her on for successfully obtaining the cup. I smiled in confusion as I assumed earlier in the week, she was making a hockey playoff reference and thus ignored it as I do not know anything about the sport. It wasn’t until 30 minutes into the meeting I noticed two more girls with the same cup sitting somewhere in their background and another casually bringing into the frame to take a sip once every couple of minutes. Then it dawned on me that earlier that week at the orthodontist’s office, I saw one of the admins with the same cup sitting on her desk.
I have never had a TikTok account and have been off of Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat for almost 3 years. I googled the cup to see what all the fuss was about and found it to be sold out on almost every website that offered it and being sold on amazon for over $70. Now I would not be making such a big deal about this if it wasn’t for the fact that I have seen so many cups like it at Marshalls, Target, and on Amazon for much cheaper yet everywhere I now looked, it seemed as though everyone had this cup. The Stanley Cup.
But this cup is just the latest victim in the trends that have captivated our closets and our wallets. Just in the last year, we have seen the rise of flare yoga pants, The Ugg Tasman slipper, tiny sunglasses, and the lululemon belt bag. It’s like everywhere you look, someone has one or all of these items on full display. But it does not just stop at what you wear it has now branched into our entire conception of beauty as a whole. Certain types of aesthetics themselves have been on the rise as trends that have popped up lately on my Pinterest and YouTube feed with outfits and lifestyle habits one should follow to fit into these trends. Take the “cottage core” aesthetic for example that centers on a slow lifestyle preferably in a cottage or remote area that comes with wearing flowy pattern dresses, Disney princess-like hairstyles, and a daily routine focused on rest or restoration. Or what about the “clean girl” aesthetic that consists of sleek low buns, gold hoops, and a minimalistic approach to clothing? My favorite ones are “Pink Pilates Princess” and “Soft Girl”. These “aesthetic” trends not only dictate what you wear, but also what you do like your hobbies and morning routines, and even what you should be eating.
The trends we follow can also be seen in how we style our homes. Recently I stumbled upon a YouTube video titled “why is everything so ugly: the curse of modernism”. The YouTuber went on to talk about backlash surrounding the interior design of Kim Kardashian’s home that she gave a tour of during a vogue interview in February 2022. The backlash focused on how dull and minimalistic Kardashian’s home was and how it fed into the current trend of modernism for interior design, which many people seem to follow when decorating their apartments and homes. The YouTuber introduces a term dubbed greige which is defined as the blend of grey and beige and points out how many people. The point of the video was not to judge how ugly the theme of modernism might be but how so many people retreat to this modern, greige type of décor leaving very little room in their homes for self-expressive items that are not on par with the trend. A home should be a space where, just like your wardrobe, it reflects your personality, personal aesthetic, and individualism. Yet instead of it being a reflection of who you already are, trends like modernism are being used to define us with no authenticity or personal input involved.
No more are the days where your personality and character mold your aesthetic and how you express yourself, but now are the times we are seeing it happen in reverse. Let’s pick an aesthetic, preferably whatever is trending, and then let that define who you are and what you do. But who are you really in all of this? What we wear is a method of self-expression and personality. Trends centered around fashion, art, and decoration threaten that individuality and self-expression which is the core of what makes you….you. The danger of trends in fashion, decoration, or aesthetics is that it keeps people from exploring their own taste in art pieces, clothes, music, and accessories because of a need to stay relevant, in the know, and essentially in a box. Social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram make this worse. Now these trends alone are not bad. I would be amiss if I pretended like I did not participate in some of these myself I own about five pairs of flare yoga pants and wear them almost every day. I love them along with the handy short tan Uggs that I can pop on and run out of the house with. But by participating in some of these trends am I allowing myself to still express who I am? Is making a whole “aesthetic” a trend taking it too far? Is letting this aesthetic dictate how you dress, what you buy, and what you do silencing the true you?