Introducing 2022 fall fashion: the “cool girl”

A step up from the clean-girl aesthetic

Everyone can be the cool girl with these timeless staples.

If you’ve had your eyes and ears on TikTok, Instagram, Pinterest, or any medium where fashion influencers like to roam, you’ve probably heard of the term “clean-girl aesthetic.”

This aesthetic embraces minimalism, covering stylistic choices from a slicked-back ponytails to a no-makeup look to a clean. It’s about being simple, and often comfortable outfits.

The heavily Scandinavian inspired clean-girl aesthetic took over the spring and summer seasons, with creators like Bella Hadid and Matilda Djerf pioneering the look.

Though this aesthetic has all the makings of a micro trend, it may escape that deep dark pit where forgotten trends go to die by valuing quality over quantity. The clean-girl pieces that have been trending over the few past seasons are elevated closet staples: basic tanks, button-up tops, and straight-leg pants. As university students, we can work with that.

The clean-girl aesthetic might be able to dig its perfectly neutral manicure in the fashion game a little longer, but it won’t be able to survive the world of quickly moving trends without adapting to emerging influencers and whatever is new and cool.  Thankfully for it—and our bank accounts—the next wave is a rebranded clean girl aesthetic.

Introducing fall 2022: the “cool girl.”

The cool girl aesthetic will be everywhere this season, and I’m living for it. We’re taking the quality, closet staples of the previous trends and using them as the foundation for accessorizing with personal stylistic flair.

Another bonus to the cool girl aesthetic is most of the core pieces are vintage, timeless staples, meaning you can find them second-hand or in your parent’s closet.

We’ll be seeing lots of statement accessories this fall. They’re an easy way to spice up your walking-to-class outfit, especially if that outfit is sweats and a jacket.

Accessories like the chunky scarves we saw some of last year will be sticking around, and we’ll see likely see some colourful wool hats and mittens, too. We got a glimpse of the balaclava last winter, and I'm hoping to see it come back for fall.

Another cool girl staple that can elevate any outfit is none other than black boots.

They come in all styles: slightly platformed, heeled, ankle length, calf length, even below the knee. Round toe, square toe, pointed toe—the options are endless. The bottom line is that black boots are timeless, classy, practical, and cool-girl-approved.

Speaking of timeless, classy, practical, and cool girl approved, let's talk about leather jackets. Leather jackets are one of the most iconic fall staples, and are another example of where personal style comes into play.

This season, we’re seeing the emergence of the leather bomber jacket—as seen on renowned cool girl Emma Chamberlain—but leather jackets can take on any length or size. Leather jackets are a great way to elevate even the most basic of outfits, adding an edge to your vibe and keeping you warm in the process.

If you’re walking around campus, either to class or to grab a Co-Gro matcha chai, you’re going to need something to carry your stuff in. Tote bags are an easy classic that actually hold all your stuff. They’re a trend that I hope never goes out of style.

A step up I’ve been seeing all over my Pinterest is the utilitarian side bag—basically, a tote with pockets and a zipper. What’s not to love?

At the end of the day, the most important accessory the cool girl wears is one they wear proudly: confidence. The cool girl could be wearing a paper bag, but if they’re wearing it with poise and authority, they’ll seem trendy no matter what.

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