Tumblr Fashion Makes a Comeback in 2022 — Indie Sleaze Trend


It was my DSLR-selfies-in-my-high-school-bedroom era. My index-finger-ballpoint-pen-mustache-tattoo era. My hashtag era.

It was 2010, and I was wearing circle skirts and polka-dot tights with “acid-washed” band tees cut into crop tops. I had successfully hunted down a pair of sold-out Jeffrey Campbell Lita platform boots and wore them everywhere despite suffering a sprained ankle. I even fell for an internet scam over $12 studded denim cutoffs because I wanted them so badly but my local mall was selling only low-rise Bermuda shorts. Anything to be the epitome of fashion—of ~Tumblr fashion~. I rabidly thirsted for the very specific aesthetic, something I’d spend the next decade making fun of myself for. But now that said look is once again in (see: Megan Fox and Machine Gun Kelly, Kravis, the grungecore-meets-Jess-from-NewGirl vibes all over your feeds), I’ve realized something: I may have been cringe, but at least I was free.

In my small Tennessee town, where a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new Cheesecake Factory was exciting news, I saw Tumblr as my window to life outside of the suburbs. I stared at GIFs of British TV dramas, read One Direction fan fiction, and kept up with trendy internet fashion that had yet to make it to my hometown (if it ever would—I can’t stress the Bermuda shorts problem enough). My classmates would praise me for being a “trendsetter” and I would accept the compliment, all the while keeping the secret that I was actually behind on style compared to the big bloggers out there.

Those bloggers inspired me through what would become some of my most creative and self-expressive years, with my friends and I going on what we called “photo adventures.” We’d spend days running around town snapping shots of each other posing on park benches and empty train tracks (illegal!). The melodrama was practically palpable. We’d post these photos, sometimes with nonsensical quotes (“I think of you in colors that don’t exist”), hoping to get a ton of Likes and reblogs. And even though we never came close to going viral, the possibility of it always hung in the air. I felt fulfilled, like I could essentially get away with wearing or creating whatever I wanted—free from critique and, most importantly, free from self-doubt.

selfie

Kim Duong

selfie

Kim Duong

Looking around now, I see these famous couples in their punktastic platform shoes and sheer ensembles (and relentless PDA), living their best emo-adjacent fashion lives. And I think I rarely feel the way I did when I dressed like that. Maybe it’s because I’m a full-on adult, with various responsibilities and raging anxieties to tend to. Or maybe it’s because inspiration is harder to come by nowadays (no, Instagram’s not the same, thanks for asking). And I’m guessing I’m not alone. TikTok, the cultural moment that was Euphoria season 2, and designers are echoing this feeling because the people once again want Tumblr’s provocative, rebellious wardrobes (except with fewer cat sweaters and more of whatever Olivia Rodrigo is wearing). And they want it without judgment.

woman standing in sunset glow with hand on her forehead

Kim Duong

woman holding an orange

Kim Duong

It’s all given me the urge to log back on to my old dashboard. But to my dismay, I’ve been locked out of my account. My photos. My reblogs. My “poetry.” Everything lost, gone, held hostage behind a now-defunct .edu email address. Some of the best—if, yes, most roastable—years of my life are floating in the internet’s abyss with no possible path of reunion. Ancient civilizations lost the Great Library of Alexandria, and I’ve lost my Tumblr archive. But at least I have today’s fashion—and its trip down memory lane.

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Source hungryforbalance.com