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The Unexpected Obligations of Adopting an Aesthetic

Sometimes, an aesthetic traps us in a restrictive box of expectations.

By: Chanel Thorpe

Person dragging their a dress and a pair of jeans on hanger across the floor
Photo By: Mia Anderson

I wrote recently about the struggle of choosing basics that are suitable for your wardrobe and how your basics should solely depend on you. The way you envision your style shouldn’t be based on others’ wardrobes or staple pieces. I’ve noticed a similar concept across most prominent social media apps for fashion, like Instagram and TikTok: the feeling of wanting or needing to stay in one aesthetic.

This feeling, desire, or obligation may relate to wanting to be perceived a certain way or wanting to be perceived in the same way as always. This is especially important concerning how people want their friends and family to treat them.

In reality, the word ‘aesthetic’ condenses who you are into a few buzzwords that not only everyone can understand, but strangers with similar qualities can relate to. The issue with this is that, oftentimes, people are perceived to belong in a box of a certain aesthetic, forcing them to stay within the constraints of an aesthetic for the sake of comfortability. Essentially, this is an example of a stereotype: being treated based on how people perceive you.

Your identity, internally and externally, can drastically or gradually change in an unexpected amount of time. Because of this, people are not always ready to accept the change in your interests, clothes, opinions, and actions. Rather than seeing people for who they are on the inside, many only perceive the surface level of an individual (hence where aesthetic and being perceived leads to stereotyping) and not their energy as a person.

So keep in mind: the ability to reject the surface and to look deeper is an essential quality in understanding not only yourself but others around you.


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