As 2023 draws to a close, TikTok undoubtedly drove the cultural zeitgeist across music, film, television, and fashion. From the clean girl aesthetic’s case study on diversity in the fashion space to Pedro Pascal sampling a sandwich, here is a roundup of some of the year’s biggest TikTok trends, for internet lovers and the chronically offline alike.
The varying aesthetics of “vanilla girl” “coquette girl” “caramel girl” “downtown girl and more all stemmed from one place–the “clean girl” aesthetic. The “clean girl” refers to a style adopted by predominantly young women, consisting of matching workout sets, stylish loungewear, glowing skin, and simple yet effective makeup. The clean girl makeup style drove the cosmetics injury to turn towards predominantly naturally derived products and makeup packed with skincare ingredients. The trend originated in 2021, but reached a new level in the glossary of the internet this year.
Beauty product development executives the Lipstick Lesbians (@thelipsticklesbians) often offer product ingredient breakdowns on their TikTok page, calling fact or myth on some of the biggest makeup trends, regardless of what the court of popular opinion has to say.
Love to explore Paris beauty boutiques! And @Oh My Cream ! felt like @Credo to me from the second I saw it, and I was so excited to to explore the brands in store and get my hands on @Violette, which is a brand I’ve only seen online. The founder of the namesake brand, V, is a lifelong beauty lover, makeup artist and product developer in her own right. She has lived in both Paris and USA, which was something so evident to me when exploring where the products were made. The collection felt like the two cities collided—there was that effortless French girl essence in the bisou balms and the Petal Bouche, with the wild nature of New York in the eye paints named Yeux paint. This is brand I’ve only ever seen online, and never in person so it was so awesome to see it and explore in person! #makeup #beautytok #ohmycream #violettefr #parisian #thelipsticklesbians
Cosmetic chemistry aside, the trends led to a larger cultural conversation. The slicked back buns and ponytails, dark lip liner and lighter lip gloss, and Aquaphor coated lashes were all trends associated with the Black and Latine communities often not included in a white, upper class dominated beauty industry. Some creators of color pointed out that the trend was only deemed palatable when white women chose to participate. The trend led to a greater understanding and education within the online beauty community at large.
not to mention getting called smelly for using hair oils💀 so happy so many of y’all are calling out the duality of “aesthetics”
This new understanding in mind, the newest varying aesthetic trends offer places in the beauty and fashion industry for creators from a wide array of backgrounds.
My version of latte makeup ☕️ i loveee these colors 🥰
A TikTok creator named Cynthia Mmasi (@cynthiammasi) went on the platform’s live streaming service narrating “Side eye, SIDE EYE!” A glance to the side is an image frozen in internet culture in a number of reaction memes meant to serve as a user’s reaction to a questionable situation, and the audio representation went on to soundtrack thousands of videos across the platform.
The phrase inspired an even more impassioned iteration of it as well, in which the narrator says “bombastic side eye, criminal, offensive side eye,” with the sound serving as a backdrop for stories and takes even more absurd than its predecessor.
The videos ranged from discussions on music taste to a number of other personal preferences. Some even showcased their pet’s best side eye.
Yooooo this is the side eye anthem
Pedro Pascal Eating A Sandwich
The original video of actor Pedro Pascal eating a sandwich came from an interview with LadBible TV’s video series “Snack Wars” on YouTube. The interview aired following Pascal’s major mainstream breakthrough for his role as Joel Miller in HBO’s post-apocalyptic drama “The Last Of Us.” Pascal sat down with fellow actor Jon Favreau to compare Chilean and American snacks. The clip that TikTok users picked up on features Pascal trying one of Favreau’s favorite American snacks, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
The clip initially began making the rounds when a TikTok user named Goose (@fiendish.goose) shared the clip and captioned it “Pedro Pascal’s mouse moment.” A “mouse moment” refers to another viral TikTok meme that features a clip of a mouse eating alone from the popular U.K. animated series “Creature Comforts,” which initially premiered in 2003. The show was made by the creators of another popular cartoon, “Wallace and Gromit.” The “Creature” scene and the Pedro sandwich moment are both dubbed over a slowed piano version of Austin Farwell’s track “New Home.”
A “mouse moment” often refers to a moment of loneliness or feeling small in the world, though some have turned the phenomenon into a satirical look at internet culture. The sandwich crunch heard around the world soundtracked by Farwell’s “New Home” has been dubbed over thousands of scenarios, from failed eyeliner attempts to small business marketing and getting secret tattoos.
“The Eras Tour” Outfits
Taylor Swift’s ten-album encompassing “The Eras Tour” was recently declared the highest grossing music tour of all time by Guinness World Records. After a Ticketmaster debacle that led to parent company Live Nation to testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, fans were ready to go all out for their hard-earned tickets. From lyrical references to music video recreations, countless fans have been sharing their creative costumes and outfits on TikTok.
One fan dressed up as a key-lime green dog for night two of the tour. The costume is a reference to Swift’s track “The Last Great American Dynasty” from her pandemic era “Folklore” album. A TikTok user named Eleanor (@eleanor..37) showcased her costume ahead of the show. The song tells the story of real life socialite turned composer Rebekah Harkness, who once lived in Swift’s home in Rhode Island. The house is affectionately referred to as “Holiday House,” and has been home to some of Swift’s famous Fourth of July celebrations since she initially purchased the property in 2013.
opening night outfit reveal!!! 🐾🍀💫#erastourglendale #tstheerastour #openingnighterastour #taylorswift #swifttok #taylornation #swiftcityarizona #swiftcity #erastourtaylorswift #erastouroutfit #erastouroutfitreveal #keylimegreendog #omgimseeingtaylor #taylorswifttok @taylorswift @taylornation
Others planned their ensembles around specific era-defining music videos. On Swift’s debut album, her song “Picture To Burn” became a standout angsty country anthem about an ex boyfriend who never let her drive his truck. Model and digital creator Madeline Ford recreated one of Swift’s most iconic music video looks for the track in preparation for her upcoming local tour stop.
sTATE THE OBVIOUS 🤠
Another fan dressed up as Swift’s longtime collaborator and producer of her last few albums, Jack Antonoff, who also performs as solo act Bleachers. TikTok user Luis Romo (@luispabloromo)’s outfit came from a now infamous clip of Antonoff and Swift crafting the catchy bridge of “Lover” track “Getaway Car.” The clip made the rounds on TikTok following its feature in Swift’s 2020 Netflix documentary “Miss Americana.”
2023 marked a year of celebration for girlhood. The return of Taylor Swift to touring and the record breaking blockbuster release of director Greta Gerwig‘s “Barbie” ushered in a new appreciation for all things pink, ribbons, and friendship by way of a new global wave of nostalgia. A pivotal scene in “Barbie” incorporated a montage of childhood footage of a number of the film’s cast and crew members to the tune of Billie Eilish‘s “What Was I Made For,” and fans of the film and song recreated the scene across TikTok.
Women shared childhood images reflecting sisterhood, female friendships, and their respective journeys of getting in touch with their emotions. Eilish’s song has since been shortlisted for Best Original Song at the Oscars, and “Barbie” has received nine Golden Globe nominations.
How Often Do You Think Of The Roman Empire?
In the early Autumn of 2023, TikTok users turned scholarly and crafted a strange social experiment–testing men on how often they think of the Roman Empire. Predominantly young women asked their husbands, boyfriends, brothers, fathers and friends how often they think of the Roman Empire. Every viral video that is a part of the trend offers the same result, with varying reasons. The Romans are remembered for their engineering and advanced inventions that influenced contemporary civilization as we know it.
When Vicky Conroy shared a video explaining her shock at learning that men constantly think of the Roman Empire, a social movement and new internet vernacular was born. Now, whenever digital creators reference memorable world and pop culture moments, they widely refer to them as “their Roman Empire.” Additionally, women chimed in to reflect upon historical events that stuck with them, ranging from the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire to The Salem Witch Trials and more.
The trend ushered a new discussion on history lessons in the American education system.
“You Don’t Know Me, But I Know You”
TikTok users revamped a surprising soundtrack this year, Laurie Anderson’s haunting techno-pop sleeper hit “O Superman” from 1981. The track largely references the global military reach of the U.S. government, and the strange interconnectedness of American life. Anderson included the track in an art exhibition titled “The United States.”
As TikTok prioritizes short form video, however, one verse is particularly receiving viral attention: the eerie “you don’t know me, but I know you,” layered over Anderson’s “ha ha ha ha” that mimics frightened breathing. The trend is reflecting upon unexplained connections in a variety of ways, from alleged spiritual happenings to strange reunions with people and items that belonged to loved ones passed on.
The trend first picked up speed when one TikTok user named Eli Yarian (@dad.tats) shared a photo of himself and his brother as children wearing denim jackets in Tennessee. 24 years ears later in 2018, Yarian married his wife and the couple had a son after moving to Alaska. The family went to a local thrift store in search of vintage clothing, only to find his exact denim jacket, his last name written on the tag in his mother’s handwriting and all. Shocked by his find, Yarian purchased the jacket and gifted to his toddler aged son, who he also shared a photo of wearing the family heirloom.
Photographer Amy Seder Burkley (@amyseder) also revealed that upon moving into her Los Angeles, California home, she discovered a photo of her grandfather as a child in 1932 in front of the same house.
Acclaimed alternative singer-songwriter Lana Del Rey made a name for herself with her old Hollywood crooner style vocals and varying explorations of the regional Americana aesthetic. Among the several vintage styles she made popular is an aesthetic coined “coquette”, centering pastels, pink ribbons, and lace. To the tune of Del Rey’s duet with Father John Misty “Let The Light In,” fans were comically placing pink bows on their less than enthusiastic pets and not-so-glamorous household objects.
so lana del rey
Del Rey’s viral track came from her most recent album “Did you know there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd?”, for which she has received six Grammy nominations.
“Murder On The Dance Floor”
One of the most shocking and critically acclaimed films of the year is arguably Emerald Fennel’s “Saltburn“, which starred Barry Keoghan, Rosamund Pike, Jacob Elordi, and more. Moviegoers have now come to associate Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s 2000s Britpop staple “Murder On The Dancefloor” with THAT wild ending–and have rapidly turned it into a surprising end-of-year anthem.
i may have killed the groove
The track has served as the backdrop for several TikTok creators offering up their own dance moves after Keoghan’s viral nude dance, with others jokingly creating slideshows revealing comical ailments that they “suffer from.”
the craziest movie ive ever seen #saltburn
Merry Christmas to all, and remember, you can not kill the groove with whatever TikTok turns into a trend this time.