How to be fashion-forward at school

TikTok aesthetics let teens express themselves in a fun way 


Photo by Peyton Sims

Why not make school a little less of a drag by expressing yourself in a fun and fashionable way?

Story by Maria Rangel, staff writer

Gen Z’s obsession with TikTok is usually seen in a negative light. It’s all too common for teens to put off homework in favor of staying up until 2 a.m. watching these videos. They can’t be blamed, though. The content is so versatile and accessible; it’s way too easy to scroll through the app for hours on end! However, TikTok can influence kids in a positive way, too. School puts a lot of stress on us teens; luckily, TikTok aesthetics can help take your mind off of that stress. Why not make school a little less of a drag by expressing yourself in a fun and fashionable way?



Want to dress “alt” but don’t know where to start? The E-girl/boy style is an approachable way to incorporate alternative styles into your wardrobe. The “E” stands for “electronic,” which means the style is heavily influenced by Internet culture such as gaming, watching anime and cartoons, streaming on Twitch and devoting a lot of time and energy into upholding an online image. The aesthetic is inspired by styles from alternative subcultures, including emo, grunge and skater. 


Hair and makeup

E-boy/girl hair is almost always dyed with bold, neon colors or bleached. It can be fully dyed, split-dyed or just dyed in strands. Tie it up into pigtails with beaded elastics or accessorize it with colorful clips. Incorporate space buns or pigtails into the half-up half-down style. Hair can also be simply split down the middle or even cut into bangs.


The makeup style is meant to create a youthful and almost cartoon-y look. This is achieved with heavy blush swept across the face ,even over the nose, thick winged eyeliner and lipstick drawn over the cupid’s bow. For added cuteness, apply fake freckles, colorful eyeshadow and under-eye graphics like glitter and hand-drawn hearts and stars. 



Clothing has a dark color scheme and a variety of textures, patterns and graphics. Layer an oversized grunge band T-shirt, usually thrifted, with a striped turtleneck. Wear a sheer or mesh top over a spaghetti-strap or under a graphic tee. Even just an oversized hoodie, preferably old and tattered, can fit the style. 

For bottoms, pair plaid or leather pants/skirts with chunky sneakers, converse, or platform boots. Undergarments like knee-high socks or fishnet stockings can be worn with skirts or under ripped jeans. 



Heavy accessorizing hugely defines the e-girl/boy style. Main elements include chokers and heavy necklaces, harnesses worn over clothing, chains worn around the neck or clipped onto pants and skirts and even bandaids over the nose or cheek. 


Soft girl/boy

If you’re looking for something cute, pastel and simple, the soft girl/boy style is worth a shot. It’s more approachable than the bold colors and accessories of the e-person style, but still unique enough to get your wardrobe looking a little less basic. It’s inspired by the aesthetic of the indie/bedroom pop genre of music: young, sunkissed faces, small, beachside towns and skating or rollerblading through parks and sidewalks during golden hour. 


Hair and Makeup

Hair is less of a statement in this style; just a natural color will suffice, but if you want to change it up a bit, pastel pink or purple would fit the aesthetic perfectly. Beaded elastics and hair clips are also used in hair. A popular makeup choice is going for a natural and glowy look. Use a light hand with concealer and powder, but go all out with bronzer and highlighter. Fake freckles are often seen in soft-girl/boy makeup looks too.



The color scheme is bright and soft, and patterns are simple. Tops commonly worn are cropped cardigans, spaghetti straps over plain or striped tees, fitted crop tops and light-colored oversized t-shirts. Plain tees and fitted long sleeves can be worn under a slim-fit plaid dress. It’s easy to build a look; any of these can be paired with a fitted plaid skirt or floral midi skirt, baggy mom jeans, colored or khaki cargos or corduroy pants. Soft girl/boy shoe options can vary from chunky sneakers to high-top converse to slip-on vans, and simple low block heels to doll-like platform sandals. 



Accessories are cute and colorful. Spice it up with circular wire-framed glasses and tiny color-tinted sunglasses. Simple gold charm bracelets and necklaces can give just a touch of flair to the ensemble. Bucket hats and dad caps add a lot of indie to any look.  


Dark/Light Academia

This aesthetic is lesser-known and unique but very easy to wear. It’s inspired by classic literature and the European Victorian era and defined by motifs of books, history and a passion for knowledge and learning. This simple style is for the bookworms and history lovers.



The clothing is mainly chic and classy. Tops include button-ups, light blouses, cable-knit sweaters and fitted cashmere long sleeves. Choose from short wool pencil skirts, straight-leg plaid trousers, long, pleated skirts and flowy, polyester pants. For colder days or just for an added visual element, add a cardigan, blazer or fleece overcoat. Shoe options add just the right amount of flair to an otherwise simple look. Options include Mary Jane shoes, Oxfords, Doc Martens and kitten heels. 



As minimal as this style is, accessorizing isn’t limited. Neat gold or silver jewelry, watches and wire-frame glasses add small but eye-catching visuals. Pair skirts and shorts with knee-high socks for a cutesy element. Berets, ivy caps and satchels can add elegance to any look. 


Finding more unique ways to dress can be intimidating; it’s hard to judge whether something looks innovative or just plain tacky. Fortunately, TikTok creators gave way to approachable fashion looks that still divert from the mainstream. After being enlightened on the numerous TikTok aesthetics, go take a look in your closet and see how you can turn that boring vintage sweater into a cute and eccentric look.