Casually dropping barbiecore and cottagecore in conversations has become a routine at this point, and there’s no escape. Mostly spearheaded by fad-focused Gen Zs (I’m a 2000s kid and so, I’m allowed to say that), the adhoc use of the word ‘core’ will have you subjected to the piercing wrath of people who talk like human beings.
While the jury is still out on the timeline of these ludicrous terms trickling into their vocabulary, the enduring usage sure does hint at their enthusiastic welcome into colloquialism. Think yass, slay and ate but this time there’s a suffix thrown in the mix – one that ties these ‘aesthetics’ together. Okay, let’s make it intelligible: devoted core-users add in ‘core’ after any relevant word while trying to sum up a feeling, a trend or a vibe. Concert-core, mermaid-core, dirt-core (yeah, don’t ask). Let’s break down a few common cores for you:
An aesthetic that emphasises rural simplicity (mostly whitewashed) and rustic sensibilities. Love child of Emma and Pride & Prejudice. It’s a way of living. She makes homemade jam. She’s romanticises her life. Bows are important, yes. Big bows! She probably grows her own vegetables. But doesn’t get mud on her dress. That’s just too unappealing.
This is a fashion trend influenced by the attire of upper society during the Regency era. Thank you Bridgerton! Tight corsets, velvet gloves, poofy tulle skirts. All these trends have wrecked havoc on the mass production forecasts due to their growing demand and doesn’t look like it’s stopping anytime soon.
This fashion subculture is all about dressing and looking like the fabled sea animals. The Little Mermaid sure brought this back. Ample usage of shells, pearls and extended train-like sleeves and silhouettes. Wet hair is a clear giveaway. It’s ethereal and dreamy – short for impractical. For the most part.
A few months ago there was a newfangled twist to this concept with a new internet trend cropping up. We were instructed to type our names, add core to it and search this compound term on Pinterest. The images that would show up post the search would encapsulate our truest selves, our aura and the likes. Or so we were told. I voluntarily participated and was quickly humbled after being shown a picture of a tombstone in the second row.
The Appeal Vs The Hate
The idea to write out this story stemmed from a comical row that took place in our Editor-In-Chief’s office during our weekly pitch meetings. We got to talking about some or the other ‘core’ and thus ensued the blistering animosity, mostly from the millennials on the futile nature of such theatrical nomenclature, one that is entirely dispensable. And to be honest, these terms are not even grammatically sound. My Gen Z co-workers are now going to disown me, I think. But frankly speaking, I’m not taking sides here. I personally feel indifferent when it comes to the usage of these terms. Me injecting them forcefully into conversations just to irk my older colleagues doesn’t count, okay?
Let me clarify, I, as a fashion writer, have been a willing perpetrator with several headlines sporting the controversial word featuring my byline. It’s my job. I have to talk about it. Break it down. Now if Bella Hadid is killing it in a tennis skirt and Ananya Panday is topping trend charts with her lime-green athleisure dress, I have to talk about tenniscore. Perils of the job. But at the end of the day, if it’s simplifying things and sparking conversations between folks our age, who am I to hate?
Sure, we can do away with the unnecessary reinterpretations of trends – like strawberry girl aesthetic and tomato girl aesthetic being thoughtlessly hyped on the gram. What do they mean, you may ask? Well visually speaking it’s just excessive usage of blush on your cheekbones and a bronzer to give that ‘freshly returned from Italy’ look. Remember glazed donut aesthetic? Hailey Bieber truly owns the game. She could put cucumber slices on her eyes and post an image of the same, to which people will comment ‘cucumber girl aesthetic.’ Or cucumbergirl-core. Now THAT is infuriating. We are to be blamed here, no shade to Hailey.
Case in point: people are going to keep using these terms. And others are going to keep rolling their eyes at them. You do you. I’ll go write about tenniscore in the meantime.