With indie style, streetwear style, and Noah Cyrus taking on the top spots for fashion-related Google searches
last year, 2021 has presented itself with some surprising (and also some recurring) aesthetics that we’ve been obsessing over for the past 12 months.
According to Google’s Year in Search 2021 report, which was revealed on Wednesday, Dec. 8, we dove even deeper into our nostalgic childhoods for aesthetic inspiration, as well as brought back some Y2K fashion staples. And while colorful, dopamine dressing reflected more optimistic times this year, others took on a more moody vibe, like dark academia and preppy uniform ‘fits. Millennial pink may have been all the rage a few years back but in 2021, sage green was our new neutral, and over the summer, we all channeled our inner “Coconut Girl,” which paid homage to Hawaiian-inspired floral prints, surfer culture, and, of course, early-2000s fashion.
Ahead, out 10 aesthetic trends that peaked in 2021, according to Google, from cottagecore to indie fashion.
Google’s Year in Search 2021: Indie Aesthetic
The past two years has birthed a lot of new shopping habits, from thrifting to finding the best
indie brands, which are fueled by our time spent scrolling through Instagram and Pinterest and bookmarking some of our late-night Explore Page finds to shop later. In 2021, people have been continuing their search for unique fashion items, whether that’s secondhand, DIY, or from an under-the-radar name. Plus, as the 2000s continues to dominate our wardrobe inspiration, the “indie sleaze” era is likely due for a comeback very soon. Google’s Year in Search 2021: Dark Academia Aesthetic
Nothing screams back-to-school, Ivy-League style like
dark academia, an aesthetic that has driven over 1 billion views on TikTok. With its inspiration revolving around “the pursuit of knowledge with a gothic twist and slight romantic influence,” this preppy trend also served as the epitome of fall fashion in 2021. Google’s Year in Search 2021: Cottagecore Aesthetic
Since its rise back in 2020,
cottagecore is still a mainstay on our feeds as one of most popular aesthetic trends this year. The cozy style takes inspiration from an overly romanticized version of rural living, with its ode to all things green and the essence of quaint rural living. Since its inception, just about every fashion brand has hopped on to channel the nature-inspired style, and it’s even taken over home decor, too. Google’s Year in Search 2021: Y2K Aesthetic
It wouldn’t be a 2021 trends list without the mention of Y2K fashion. The sought-after era has been reintroduced in the form of
nostalgic shows and throwback accessories making its way into the zeitgeist again. When it comes an aesthetic, some early-aughts trends that have resurfaced over the past few months include corsets, low-rise jeans, candy-colored hair clips, and micro-mini skirts. And it seems like the Y2K revival is only just getting started. Google’s Year in Search 2021: Sage Green Aesthetic
Making a surprising debut on the trending chart, it appears that everyone has had a bit of an obsession with sage green, myself included. The new neutral hue has been a must-have colorway, going with almost any wardrobe no matter the season. Plus, in 2021, designers served us everything “sage green galore,” from the launch of
Telfar’s new sage green Shopping Bag to Jacquemus’ coveted runway looks. Google’s Year in Search 2021: Kidcore Aesthetic
Similar to Y2K,
kidcore is the latest internet aesthetic that taps into nostalgia. While the two may have some similarities, kidcore differs with its “rainbow-fueled color palette and toy-inspired style” that brings out the inner kid in all of us through fashion. In 2021, we’ve seen brands take on this playful approach with an array of vibrant clothing pieces and fun accessories, including chunky resin rings, beaded jewelry, and more. Google’s Year in Search 2021: Coconut Girl Aesthetic
As we transitioned into the idea of “post-pandemic” optimism this past summer, we saw a brand new aesthetic dominate our internet feeds called “
Coconut Girl.” Originating from our FYP on TikTok, the style is mainly associated with hibiscus flower prints, Hawaiian shirts, surf-inspired graphics, crochet details, and statement platform sandals. Not only that, but the “Coconut Girl” aesthetic also takes inspiration from Y2K nostalgia. Google’s Year in Search 2021: Kawaii Aesthetic
While kawaii is a longtime staple within Japanese culture, as well as a major influence in fashion and pop culture, the aesthetic has been back on the style radar in a big way in 2021. Nowadays, the cute look has transformed into various alternative subcultures, especially birthed on the internet, including kawaii goth and more.
Google’s Year in Search 2021: Harry Potter Aesthetic Amassing over 82 billion views on TikTok alone, Harry Potter has made its way from being a favorite book series and one of the most popular movie adaptations of our generation to now being a top internet aesthetic. Emulating “main character energy,” along with fashion inspiration from prep-school uniforms, many people have dived back into the famous childhood story to relive and recreate a modern version of the wizardry world — this time from a Gen-Z-focused point of view. Google’s Year in Search 2021: Slytherin Aesthetic
Taking on its very own rank as a peaking trend, the house of Slytherin has also been a favorite sub-aesthetic from the
Harry Potter series. From forest green sweaters to gray-and-black suited looks and snake-inspired jewelry pieces, this style differs from its fellow Hogwarts houses because of its dark yet cunning characteristics, which has reached nearly 11 billion views on TikTok. Style + Culture, delivered straight to your inbox.