In the last few years, there have been a handful of mood-board-esque fashion statements primarily rooted in escapism. We saw whimsy ways of dressing inspired by worlds that only exist in fiction novels, like fairycore; period reenactments took place through regencycore wardrobes; and angsty aesthetics, like gothcore and the return of emo style. Stylistically speaking, the latest trend is a little more attainable — although, the lifestyle associated with does seem a bit lofty. It’s called the Clean Girl Aesthetic, and it’s taking over your social feeds at a warped speed as we speak.
If by some chance the Clean Girl Aesthetic has yet to grace your grid, think of someone you know who has their life completely together. Now, imagine them as an outfit. Maximal in regards to their career goals (“That Girl”), the clean girl is minimalist when it comes to beauty and fashion. She’s early to rise and early to bed. She journals and meditates every morning, and also performs her skincare routine like a religious ritual. She’s the dictionary definition of “cool, calm, and collected,” and her closet consists of pieces that are simultaneously comfortable and sophisticated.
Getty Images Lori Harvey
These descriptors are largely generalized, but there is debate around how inclusive the clean girl aesthetic actually is — especially in the beauty sphere. However, while celebrities like Hailey Bieber and Gigi Hadid are most often associated with the look, anyone and everyone can truly channel the Clean Girl Aesthetic fashion-wise, and inspiration is aplenty. Selena Gomez, Gabrielle Union, Padma Lakshmi, Sabrina Elba, Zendaya, Lauren Chan, Lori Harvey, and more have been seen in looks representative of the aesthetic. You can even draw inspiration from fashion icons of the past. Luxury fashion and beauty influencer, Victoria Barbara, for example, looks to Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy for ideas.
“[Bessette-Kennedy] mastered clean yet sophisticated styling through staple pieces and a neutral color palette,” Barbara tells InStyle of her muse. “Her looks are relevant today because they are timeless. Think, polished hair in a slicked-back bun, chunky gold jewelry, and very natural skin makeup with a dewy finish (no makeup, makeup look).”
The key takeaway here is “polished.” The Clean Girl is always sophisticated, but achieves this in a way that’s attainable — a “less is more” approach. In fact, according to fashion influencer and TikTok star, Anna Sitar, all you really need to master the Clean Girl aesthetic at its most basic is a white tank, black tee-shirt, heathered grey crew neck, and a good pair of dad or baggy/oversized jeans that rest at your hips.
“I have been loving this ‘model-off-duty’ look,” Sitar tells InStyle. “It’s so simple to put together and even easier to pull off!”
To prove it, we’ve rounded up a list of fashion experts’ best tips on how to channel the clean girl aesthetic in your everyday life below.
Balance Something Sporty With Something Preppy
Vegan fashion blogger Michelle Rothenburger of Harm Free Fashion says that her interpretation of the clean girl aesthetic involves pairing athleisure with something preppy, giving off a vibe that’s sleek but down-to-earth. Think: black biker shorts with an oversized white button-down, khaki pleated pants or Bermuda shorts with a white ribbed tank top and cardigan. As far as shoes go, Rothenburger tells InStyle she gravitates towards white tennis shoes, black ballet flats, or sleek neutral-colored sandals when channeling the aesthetic.
Remember That Simplicity Can Be Sexy
To channel “clean girl” in your going out outfit, the founder of JessaKae, Jessa Maddocks, advises focusing on a sexy, simple silhouette, like a slip or wrap dress, and experimenting outside a neutral color palette by leaning into pretty pastels or uncomplicated patterns. Once you have your foundation, Maddocks tells InStyle she’d reach for minimal gold jewelry, a black open-toed stilettogo, and, if she’s feeling daring, would opt to go bra-less. “That’s the Clean Girl having fun with her friends on the town.”
Matching Sets Remain a Go-To
The Clean Girl way of dressing is all about simplicity and convenience, as is the intention behind wearing a matching set. According to lifestyle influencer Katya Bychkova, founder of the Style Sprinter, anything from an athleisure set in matching neutrals to a matchy-matchy sweatsuit, co-ord with a skirt and top, or two-piece suit falls under the umbrella of this aesthetic. The best part is, styling the set is just as effortless. “Add sneakers and a simple, logo-free shoulder bag,” Sprinter tells us, citing Mansur Gavriel’s mini crossbody and The Row tote as her sources of accessory inspo.
Oversized Blazers Are a Model-Off-Duty Mainstay
Blazers are a closet staple whether you’re channeling the Clean Girl Aesthetic or not. That being said, Bychkova says something structured but oversized is preferred for this particular look, as these design details “elevate sporty items and make them more appropriate for any occasion,” as well as create the “perfect ratio between an oversized bottom and a tight top.”
A Solid Pair of Sunnies Is a Staple
While the Clean Girl Aesthetic calls for minimal accessories, sunglasses are an essential. Bychkova suggests selecting a versatile pair to have on your person at all times, “from smaller frames that show off your brow, to oversized models that look like you are trying to escape from the paparazzi.” They’ll really help bring home that cool-girl mystique.
Neutral Colors Reign Supreme
The Clean Girl Aesthetic doesn’t subscribe to vibrant color palettes and wild patterns (anything that might fall under the dopamine dressing trend or Barbiecore is a no-go), which is why stylists and influencers , Liv Schreiber and Kennedy Bingham, aka Gown Eyed Girl, suggest sticking to neutrals: black, white, brown, tan, and the like. “You will never find the clean girl in any loud colors or patterns,” Schreiber tells InStyle.
Gold Jewerly Is a Clean Girl Favorite
When it comes to accessorizing, Sitar tells InStyle adding a few layered chains or chunky gold hoops to an ensemble can make the look “instantly shine.” Curve model and fashion influencer Ella Halikas agrees, listing the Adina Hoops by Natalie B Jewelry and any gold piece from Ettika a clear favorite. She tells us that, “along with layering with bracelets and necklaces, gold hoops are the best way to look the part without trying too hard.”
Keep Embellisments Minimal
For example, fashion influencer and founder of the With Love From Kat Travel App, Kat Jamieson, says sh loves pairing a relaxed-fit, light denim jean with a frayed edge with a classic white button-down. It adds a bit of flare to what would otherwise be a run-of-the-mill Clean Girl outfit.
Choose Straight-Leg Over Skinny Fits
According to digital creator Athena Ng, mom jeans and trousers are some of the most prominent options for this aesthetic. “[These styles] cinch in the waist and create a floaty silhouette.” she says, adding that high-waisted bottomed have the Clean Girl’s green light, too. “[They’ll] have you feeling casual and chic all at once.”