The saying goes that it takes about twenty years for fashion to come back around. While this has held true for decades, fast moving microtrends and personal style has moved trends along in the blink of an eye. We've seen Y2K, twee, and indie sleaze styles rise within the last few years but in recent months there's been an influx of celestial imagery, velvet, and talks of the whimsigoth aesthetic.
The Whimsigoth aesthetic is the style everyone knows and or relates to but has failed to put a label on. The style originated in the mid 1980s and saw its peak into the mid to late 1990s. It coincided at the same time as gothic culture; from pop/rock music (think The Cranberries and the Cure), decor, dark style of filmmaking akin to Tim Burton, and the graphic design work of Margo Chase who created the Buffy the Vampire Slayer logo.
The style itself can be described as an amalgamation of boho, witchy, and mystical styles. While the look was centered around the end of the century it's clear that it takes inspiration from 20 years prior. We're definitely seeing 90s does 70s. Silhouettes are flowing, there are an abundance of earth and jewel tones, and plenty of crochet elements. But of course whimsigoth keeps to its roots with a mix of velvet chokers and grungy pieces.
Whether it be fictional witches or an eclectic individual the whimsigoth aesthetic has clear inspirations from film, television, and public figures. What immediately comes to mind is Stevie Nicks. For as long as anyone can remember it's been a theory that Nicks actually possesses magical abilities. Her enchanting voice and onstage style has only emphasized the lore; sheer shawls, flowing maxi dresses, and tassels give the allusion that a spell is about to be cast. Her contemporary counterparts include Hope Sandoval, Lisa Bonet, and Florence Welch.
When it comes to onscreen characters there's an abundance of material to draw from. We have
the powerful witchy sisters from Practical Magic and Charmed. When you're done binging Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Buffy the Vampire Slayer turn to the star studded film The Witches of Eastwick. The cult classic The Craft is another perfect example of whimsigoth. When the girls shed their school uniforms we see their true style shine through, equipped with chiffon dresses, chokers, and dark layers. In all of this material we see how their characters take the aesthetic and make it their own. In Charmed we see Phoebe wear revealing pieces while her sister Piper stays conservative with cardigans. It's all about taking the style and adding your own personal touch. More media inspiration includes Twitches and Phoebe Buffay in the early seasons of Friends.
Get the Look
Out of all the recent trends whimsigoth seems easily attainable. From head to toe elements in the outfits crafted could be worn well after the trend ends and hold a space in your closet for years to come. Here's what you'll need: maxi dresses and skirts to give a flowy silhouette (bell bottoms for a pants option), stacked jewelry, cardigans and shawls for layering, tops with texture and or bell sleeves, and finally chunky or platform boots. Whimsigoth is all about texture so focus on velvet, crochet, chiffon, satin, and tattered pieces. Mix and match patterns like paisley and florals add dimension. Jewel and earth tones will give the witchy vibe you're looking for and lets you play with a wide color palette. Celestial imagery is a bonus; moon, stars, and sun details give the outfit a special touch.
I'd have to say that the whimsigoth trend is one of my favorites, and it seems to be a hit among the general public and TikTok spaces. It seems as though the trend is in style in part because of the nostalgia it brings. Memories of the 90s, it's witchy media, and the simplicity of it all recall a time of happiness for many. It was the last time we saw a glimmer of magic, even if it was fictional. Many within the aesthetic are elated to put a name to their look; it conjures up a sense of unity and belonging that was previously absent.
It's no surprise that whimsigoth is following closely behind the fairycore aesthetic, the trend is simply expanding upon the whimsy and supernatural elements we've come to know. As for its future, its uncertain. The aesthetic may be just another micro trend, only time will tell.
Illustration by Inci Sahin