Organising fashion under different trends has been a common practice for a long time. However, Gen Z has come up with some new terms to describe the way someone dresses and gives names to the ‘vibe’ of certain outfits or styles. Some examples of these viral fashion terms and aesthetics trending on social media include: Dark Academia, Y2K, Cottagecore, Clean Girl and Old Money.

Fashion terms, fashion aesthetics and viral fashion hashtags change often on TikTok, and Instagram, leaving marketers from older generations baffled and confused.

Today, if you want to market your fashion brand, being aware of the trending fashion hashtags, tags terms, aesthetic names, looks and fads is very important.

If you’re new to the fashion scene or wish to catch up with the latest fashion trends on social media, we’ve got you covered.

Read on to learn about Gen Z’s fashion vocabulary, keywords, terms, slang and more.

Here are some of the most used fashion terms in the industry:

  1. Fashion House: Fashion House is a term used to describe a brand that sells trending and fresh fashion clothing, accessories, and ensembles. Examples of fashion houses are Prada, Calvin Klein, Gucci, DJ&C, Primark etc.
  2. Look Book: A lookbook is a portfolio of trending outfits, models, and ensembles according to the season. Models can have lookbooks featuring photographs of them in fashionable clothes and accessories connected to the season. Do you remember the catalogue of different shades of wall paint you were given when you entered a paint store? A lookbook is very similar to that.
  3. Fashion Trends: This term signifies popular pics, choices, and preferred fashion styles by people on social media. While fashion trends existed even before social media, they became very noticeable with the presence of social media platforms like TikTok, Instagram etc.
  4. Women’s Fashion: Women’s fashion refers to the clothing, accessories and looks crafted for women. Women’s fashion has numerous types of clothes and fashion styles and includes a separate set of phrases about fashion that you would need to know.
  5. Fashion Press: A fashion press is the most common way of releasing news of your latest fashion developments and broadcasting your brand to the world and its audience. Most fashion houses call for press releases to announce big changes, different types of clothing and new fashion styles.
  6. Elegant Fashion: This term refers to the clothes style that resembles modesty and superior class. Elegant fashion is also known by the term ‘Chic’.
  7. Stylish and fashionable: This can be referred to as ‘Fashion on point’ or ‘dressed to kill’ fashion in other terms. It’s a phrase about fashion being attractive and trendy at the same time.

6 Trending fashion tags on Instagram and other social media platforms:

Take the example of ‘Fish and Chips’. What the British call chips, Americans call fries. Similarly, names for fashion styles have now morphed into new phrases about fashion and names like fairy aesthetics, clean girl dress, vampire aesthetics, midwest cowboy, and more. Some of these style names include:

  1. Barbiecore: This fashion trend came to life with the release of the 2023 Barbie movie. This fashion style represents anything stylish, pink, and girly.
  2. Coquette: This fashion trend surfaced on Tumblr during the early 2010s and is now making a comeback. Coquette was originally used in the 1600s and translates to ‘a woman who flirts light-heartedly with men’. However, today, Coquette represents a hyper feminine, lacy wardrobe ensemble paired with mini skirts and stockings.
  3. Vanilla Girl: Vanilla Girl was one of the most searched fashion aesthetics on TikTok in 2023. This trend is used to signify a minimalist clothes style with simple and elegant jewellery, muted colour tones and sober pastel shades. BuzzFeed noted that the term ‘Vanilla Girl' was mostly used by blonde women on TikTok.
  4. Baddie: Inspired by the Kardashians Jenners and their high fashion looks and vibes, the baddie look often represents a confident and stylish diva who makes fashion trends and does not follow them. 
  5. Coastal Grandmother: Some great examples of this fashion style include people like Oprah Winfrey, Anne Hathaway, Meryl Streep, Dian Keaton etc. The coastal grandmother look can make you think of a retired woman in a rich and luxurious house by the beach.
  6. Old Money: Kate Middleton can be a great example of what Old Money fashion looks like. Even the likes of George Clooney and Bruce Wayne (in Dark Knight rises), can help you understand this look.

Old Money fashion styles involve using simple and sober classic patterns like plaid, checks or stripes while pairing them with high-end watches, bags, and other accessories.

The ‘Old Money aesthetic’ seeks to stay muted while maintaining the status quo through high fashion brand accessories.

Why is knowing the latest fashion styles and terms important?

According to a study that observed Digital Payments and social media monetising, it was found that 68% of all Gen Z customers search for their fashion needs on social media. 22% of these people complete the customer journey and even make purchases. This rate is the highest purchase rate on social media ever to be seen across all generations. (Source:

Given the statistics, it makes sense for marketers to want to switch their marketing efforts to social media. Being able to reach your Gen Z customers requires you to be aware of their slang, lingo, terms, and communication style. This is why it is important to understand the latest fashion terms trending on social media.

The London College of Contemporary Arts (LCCA) offers you an industry-oriented Fashion Management and Marketing course, Bachelor Hons Fashion Design among many other courses. This can be your chance to upskill yourself and make the best of your marketing career.


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This article was written by Rebecca Paulraj and edited by Taylor Gardner.