Have you ever longed for simpler times? A quiet home in the country, perhaps, where you can tend a small garden, pet fuzzy piglets, and nap in a field of wildflowers? You’re not alone. It’s a yearning that transcends time, from the ancient Greeks’ obsession with shepherds to Marie Antoinette’s pink, perfumed sheep. The fashion-forward French queen would have loved #cottagecore, an idyllic and romanticized daydream of a bygone pastoral era. It’s the antithesis of today’s highly complex, industrialized society—and a satisfying escape. Cozy #cottagecore is rustic and calm with a dose of whimsy: frilly floral dresses, home-baked pies, natural, dewy makeup, and braided hair with bows. Connected to its roots and respectful of nature, this wholesome subculture values femininity, sustainability, and DIY.
Confident, outspoken, and beautiful, highly-styled #Baddies always look their best. Their eyebrows are flawless and their cheekbones are contoured. They’ve got that gorgeous dewy glow. Kylie Jenner could be their captain. Did #Baddies wake up like this? Probably not. But don’t let their glossy appearances fool you. At its core, this subculture is all about self-confidence—a magic elixir that most of us could use a swig of. Because of this confidence, #Baddies can start trends with ease.
Witches have always fascinated humans. Our long-standing obsession has merged with modern holistic philosophy and female empowerment (plus a dash of Hogwarts) to fuel the rise of #WitchTok. This fantasy-inspired subculture taps into our deep-seated need for a little control over our lives, a need that increased greatly in the COVID era. Empowerment is its key value, accomplished through tarot cards, astrology, herbal potions and spellcasting tutorials. #WitchTok has a Stevie Nicks-style aesthetic that’s big on crystals, candles, and Mother Earth energy—and don’t forget the faeries.
We've said it before: parents are a growing community on TikTok, and moms especially are a force to be reckoned with. Motherhood gets real with these fun-loving moms, who aren’t afraid to share an authentic slice of parent life—and laugh about it. These aren’t the picture-perfect families you’ll see on other platforms. #MomsofTikTok is for playing, not posing. The community thrives on funny skits and hilarious conversations with knee-high humans. Family is their focus; they also share helpful parenting tips and hacks. It’s a welcoming world where moms are free to be themselves and to unleash their essential, one-of-a-kind momness. The aesthetic: corny-but-confident, messy ponytails, and adorable little tots.
Perhaps the most salient of all subcultures on TikTok, the #egirl/eboy aesthetic has spread off the platform and trickled up to influence high fashion houses. Cosplay, anime, goth, hip hop and skateboard culture smash together in this rebellious crew. These anti-influencers eschew existing beauty standards for unusual makeup and fashion—and their own definition of cool. #Egirls often have candy-colored hair, cat-eye makeup and plenty of bright pink blush. Fake freckles and heart stamps complete the flirty, free-spirited style. #Eboys embrace androgyny with an edgy twist on the sensitive, soft boy aesthetic. Like #MomsofTikTok, this eye-rolling tribe is a counterforce to the charade of perfect-looking people splashed across other platforms. As an #Egirl or #Eboy, you don’t have to be polished—you just have to be yourself.
TikTok’s short-form videos and come-as-you-are vibe makes fitness seem more accessible and more fun. Fitness lovers and the fitness curious will find action-packed posts that encourage participation through challenges and trends. Professionals and everyday users discuss elements of the active lifestyle, from gym etiquette to unusual new supersets. They post amazing athletic feats and give exercise tutorials—and they look good doing it, styled in body-conscious sportswear. Health and self-improvement are key values. Most of all, #FitnessTok inspires people to get out there and do something.
Welcome to a realm of tweed blazers and leather-bound books, brooding poets and handwritten letters. Oscar Wilde and Edgar Allen Poe would be members of this nostalgic subculture, which values learning and literature above all. #DarkAcademia’s romantic aesthetic touches on goth but trades all-black-everything for a little argyle and plaid (second-hand, please). Prep-school cardigans and turtlenecks abound. This gender-fluid fashion reflects the inclusive vibe of the community, which has a large LGBTQ+ following. #DarkAcademia drinks tea, listens to Wagner, and fills its bookshelves with beatniks and transcendentalists. Favorite movie: Dead Poets Society.
#LightAcademia embraces many of the same fashions and inspirations as their dark cousins: classicism, androgyny and knowledge. But they skip the Greek tragedies in favor of happy endings, and they prefer gentle optimism to the macabre. Softer and much less intense, this group showcases its positive outlook with lighter fabrics and a color palette dominated by beige.