The idea of girlhood and the glamorisation of being a woman has been prevalent on all social media platforms, especially TikTok. With trends ranging from “hot girl walks”, “girl dinner”, “girl math” and “get ready with me” videos to “girl core” being thrown around as a term that encapsulates the shared experiences many girls have growing up to simple edits of moments with girlfriends, the rise of womanhood has created a huge wave on the internet throughout 2023. Two of the year’s biggest pop culture moments – Taylor Swift’s Eras tour and the Barbie film – only added fuel (and friendship bracelets) to the fire.
i “i’m just a girl” my way out of everything
— ST☆RGIRL (@brijpgg) December 22, 2023
In that case, you’ve most probably come across the various iterations of girlish garments that have been dominating the fashion space. While styles of the 2010s were focused on being “not like other girls” through dressing indie sleaze, this year’s trends have been doing just the opposite: embracing girliness with all of its pink, ruffles and lace.
Style trends like “coquette” and “ballet core” have been sensationalised on the internet and inspired many, from celebrities to fashion influencers. We witnessed big and niche designers interpret girlhood through romantic, whimsical and enchanting collections. Fashion luminaries such as Simone Rocha, Shushu/Tong and Sandy Liang painted their visions of femininity, youth and nostalgia, with the bow, ballet flats and Mary Janes anchoring the narrative of girlhood in fashion.
Mother of bows and New York-based designer, Liang, particularly has become a beacon for girlhood fashion. Her designs have garnered her a significant following, with girls flocking to her online storefront in hopes of securing babydoll dresses, a satin blossom scrunchie or most recently, the Sandy Liang x Baggu bow bag. Liang embraces kookiness and dreamy romance, where skirts are cropped, shirts are sheer and everything’s painted in pastel, neutral hues. The debut of her SS24 collection was nothing short of Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides (1999) meets club-worthy ballet attire.
We can’t forget about Miu Miu’s AW22 runway show in which the brand’s bow-adorned ballet flats in delicate satin quickly became the cult shoe of the season. In Lyst’s Year in Fashion 2023 report, Miu Miu took the Brand of the Year spot for the second year in a row, no doubt owing to the flats, micro mini skirt and crop top set that had the girls tightly wound.
For some, returning to the sensationalisation of the girly-girl style is a way of reconnecting with the past version of themselves. Their girlhood may be taken from them too early by societal expectations hence it makes sense to reclaim the joy, whimsy and self-expression of being just a girl. As Liang told The New York Times backstage before her SS24 runway show, “I’m obsessing over something I can no longer return to.”
A token of innate femininity, the bow can be used by one and all to channel their inner Sofia Coppola character, the outgoing style they wished they could have worn when they were younger and therefore, most importantly, their girlhood.
Featured image: Sandy Liang SS24