Fairycore: Shop the TikTok aesthetic
Plus, check out our top picks for an enchanted summer wardrobe.
Who didn’t want to be a fairy when they were a kid? Thanks to their whimsical imagery and mischievous reputation, enchanting creatures have brought excitement to all of our favorite fairy tales. So it’s perhaps no surprise that on TikTok, fascination with fairies has found its way into fairy aesthetics.
The trend, which first gained popularity on the app in 2020, is ideal for warm weather and is inspired by the elements of nature. Think butterfly and flower patterns, earth tones and flowing materials. The fairytale aesthetic often includes a blurry pastel color palette and unconventional fabrics like silk, crochet and tulle combined to create puffy silhouettes. The goal is, literally, to look like a fairy.
Originating in European folklore, fairies (or fae) live on in mythology. Although often associated with witchcraft and magic, the fairy remains something of an enigma. Indeed, throughout history, depictions of fairies have been both ethereal and monstrous. Today, the term fairy conjures up images of ultra-feminine beings, clad in wings, frolicking in the forest among flower gardens, mushroom rings and trees.
Fairycore should not be confused with the viral “cottagecore” aesthetic, which encompasses sustainable living, cozy dresses and DIY projects. Although they have similar nature-related aspects, the fairy aesthetic takes this trend to the next level by adding some magic to the mix.
With its playful mix of fabrics and patterns reminiscent of nature, Fairycore encourages us to lean into childlike wonder and style exploration. For this reason, there are many imaginative interpretations of Fairycore. Exhibit A: The campy, theatrical take on the trend, which includes designers cosplaying as fairies with wings, elf ears, and layered sets of corsets. There’s also fairycore grunge, a decidedly darker style that draws inspiration from ’90s media like Charmwith style elements such as cuffs and leggings, jewel tones and platform shoes.
But Fairycore goes beyond fashion. In fact, there’s a whole side of TikTok dedicated to pixies. It includes creators living as fairies, fairy-themed photoshoots, and a general fascination with fairy and witch mythology. In these online spaces, there is a growing desire to learn more about fairies – whether that’s simply by dressing up like them or researching fae communities. It seems like we always wanted to be fairies, and it’s not hard to guess why.
Fantasy is at the heart of fairy aesthetics. It taps into our collective childhood nostalgia and serves as an escape from mythological traditions. Much like couture, style channels otherworldly fashion by taking us out of our current reality. But unlike the ultra-exclusive of designer collections, fairycore is relatively easy to make. With an intentionally mismatched layered look, many elements of this Gen Z trend can be recycled or saved. Fairycore brings fantasy fashion to everyone.
Interested in starring in your own fairy tale? Here are some pieces to build your dream fairy wardrobe this summer.