Explaining ‘Recession Core’: TikTok’s Newest Aesthetic

1 min read
recession core tiktok

TikTok is predicting that Recession Core will be the predominant aesthetic in 2023.

The internet is attempting to forecast the direction of fashion trends this year and TikTok users believe the shift in style will be linked to the looming recession in the U.S.

What is Recession Core?

  • In the modern internet era, the -core suffix is used to describe shared ideas of culture, genres, or fashion and groups them all into one set category (e.g. “cottagecore” or “normcore”).
  • Economic issues shape fashion trends and the impending U.S. financial downturn has fueled Recession Core as a viral fashion trend this year.
  • Recession Core is characterized by less flashy, minimalistic, modest, and comfortable clothing. Trend forecasters are predicting quieter, muted colors, more functional clothing, and outfit repeating — to reflect the current economical situation.
  • As TikToker Ainsley Coote explains, it’s a move away from the maximalist excess that characterized the “dopamine dressing” and “logomania” trends that have been popularized by celebrities like Dua Lipa and Kim Kardashian in the last few years.

For example:

  • Mini designer handbags emblazoned with logos are out. Bigger, practical bags which have a more understated and quiet luxury aesthetic are in.
  • Glittery, bejeweled chainmail dresses are out. Timeless, cozy sweaters are in.

@ufodelaney #greenscreen Thoughts? #recessioncore #celebstyle #fashionhistory #trendpredictions #quietluxury ♬ Chopin Nocturne No. 2 Piano Mono – moshimo sound design

What were the early signs of Recession Core?

  • Trend forecaster Delaney Bryant was one TikTok user who noticed that the usual, glitzy jewelry was missing from stars’ red carpet looks during awards show season this month. Celebrities particularly shunned opulent necklaces at recent awards shows and opted for minimalist looks.
  • Bryant suggests this decision to eschew jewelry is a calculated one. With a looming financial crisis and the debate around celebrity “nepo babies”, stars are keenly aware that showing off their wealth does not come across well in the current climate.
  • While luxury fashion houses boomed during the last few years, influencers as well as consumers are now opting for more timeless, cozy, and simple pieces. For example, The Row and Toteme are two minimalist designer brands that are having a moment.

Why does it matter? The rise of the Recession Core aesthetic is a reminder of the cyclical nature of fashion.

  • Between 2003 to 2008, the hedonistic “McBling” aesthetic was one of the most popular and predominant fashion trends. The aesthetic revolved around wearing bedazzled clothing and jewelry as well the having the latest, shiny technology.
  • However, with the advent of the 2008 recession, pared-down ensembles came back in style, leading to the era of early 2010s minimalism.
  • In a nutshell, the internet believes the same aesthetic shift is happening now. Fashion is tied to the wider social, political, and economic world. So in 2023, style will be recession-inspired.