Plus, see our top picks for an enchanted summer wardrobe.
Who didn’t want to be a fairy as a kid? Through their whimsical imagery and mischievous reputation, the enchanting creatures brought excitement to all our favourite fairytales. It’s perhaps no surprise then that on TikTok, fascination with fairies has found a home within the fairycore aesthetic.
The trend, which first gained popularity on the app in 2020, is ideal for warm weather and draws on elements from nature. Think butterfly and flower motifs, earth tones and flowing materials. The fairycore aesthetic often comprises a hazy pastel colour palette and unconventional fabrics like silk, crochet and tulle combined to make billowing silhouettes. The goal is to, quite literally, look like a fairy.
Stemming from European folklore, fairies (or fae) live on in mythology. Though often associated with witchcraft and magic, the fairy remains somewhat of an enigma. That’s because throughout history, depictions of fairies have been both ethereal and monstrous. Today, the term fairy sparks imagery of ultra-feminine, wing-clad beings that frolic in the forest among flower gardens, mushrooms rings and trees.
Fairycore is not to be confused with the viral “cottagecore” aesthetic, which embraces sustainable living, comfortable dresses and DIY projects. Though they have similar nature-minded aspects, the fairy aesthetic takes this trend to the next level by adding magic into the mix.
Through its playful blend of fabrics and nature-reminiscent patterns, fairycore encourages us to lean into childlike wonder and style exploration. Because of this, there are many imaginative interpretations of fairycore. Exhibit A: the campy, theatrical take on the trend, which includes creators cosplaying as fairies with wings, elven ears and layered corset ensembles. There’s also grunge fairycore, a decidedly darker style that draws from ‘90s media like Charmed, with style elements such as arm and leg warmers, jewel tones and platform footwear.
But fairycore goes beyond fashion. In fact, there is an entire side of TikTok dedicated to pixies. It includes creators living as fairies, fairy-themed photoshoots, and a general fascination with fairy and witch mythology. In these online spaces, there’s a growing desire to learn more about fairies — whether by simply dressing as them or by seeking out fae communities. It seems we all still want to be fairies, and it’s not hard to guess why.
Fantasy is central to the fairycore aesthetic. It taps into our collective childhood nostalgia and serves us the escapism of mythological lore. Much like couture, the style channels otherwordly fashion by taking us out of our current reality. But unlike the ultra-exclusivity of designer collections, fairycore is relatively easy to achieve. With a purposely mismatched, layered look, many elements of this Gen Z trend can be upcycled or thrifted. Fairycore brings fantastical fashion to all.
Interested in starring in your own fairytale? Here are some pieces to build your dream fairycore wardrobe this summer.