2023 Is My Year of Weird Girl Style - Glamour

It's not a trend; it's a mindset.

The redemption of the weird girl has been swift and long overdue. Once an insult lobbed at outcasts in middle school cafeterias, weird girl is now almost a term of endearment for people with a particular kind of look: harmoniously mismatched, layered to the nth degree, unashamedly individual. It’s dressing, above all else, for yourself. I’m hooked.

There’s nothing new about offbeat dressing; just look to Vogue contributor Lynn Yaeger, Angela from My So-Called Life, the cast of Pretty in Pink, or anyone ever featured in an issue of Fruits. But the style really hit the mainstream last August, when Twitter user @kaiageber asked, “The weird girl aesthetic. Is it anti-fashion? Are people trying too hard just to look ugly? Does it only work on Bella Hadid? Let’s discuss.” (We’ll get to the answers in a bit.) Even more recently, Portia’s wacky styling on The White Lotus spurred further interest in the look.
bella hadid

My own love affair with the weird girl aesthetic began months before that post, when TikTok realized I had at least a minor interest in fashion and began serving me videos from creators like Rian Phin, Clara Perlmutter, Kristen Bateman, Shuang Bright, and Mandy Lee, who all embody weird girl style in one way or another. Not quite ready to commit to a full vibe shift, I kept dressing in my uniform (a white T-shirt, pants, and sneakers) and started to take notes.

Here’s what I gleaned from my initial months on the sidelines: The weird girl (I consider the term to be gender neutral, by the way) wears a hyper-curated mix of secondhand and new clothes, the former sourced from Goodwill and Depop, the latter likely heavily discounted finds from the most recent Ssense sale. Their Instagram page is populated with blurry photo dumps, if they’re still on the app at all, while their TikTok is where they post OOTDs and musings about fashion. If they’re a celebrity, they might be a nepo baby model type; if they’re not, they could certainly pass as one.

The look’s trademark layering and pattern clashing draws inspiration from Harajuku street style, and there’s an undercurrent of Y2K nostalgia and Gilded Age femininity. It feels comfortably out of time, mashing together eras and ideas in a sort of trend-proof abandon. After collecting these mental notes (and folders’ worth of TikTok videos), it finally dawned on me that I might be happy getting a little weirder with my closet.

The main draw of the weird girl aesthetic, at least for me, is that it flips the conventions of other trends. The rules are normally settled: If you identify as a coquette, for example, you put bows in your hair; if you’re a gorpcore enthusiast, your wardrobe is 50% Arc’teryx. But weird girls place emphasis on unique, often handmade or secondhand finds that catch their eye—there’s no need to buy a specific piece or brand to fit in with the crowd. That said, up-and-coming designers and indie labels like Collina Strada, Chopova Lowena, Vaquera, Ottolinger, Paloma Wool, Maryam Nassir Zadeh, Lucky Jewel, and Eckhaus Latta also cater to the weird girl contingent with their off-kilter, easily layered pieces. (Gen Z–focused diffusion line Heaven by Marc Jacobs is in the mix too.)
Collina Strada Florist Dress

Watching the weird-aissance unfold has changed the way I understand my own style—and even if the trend is not for you, there are still lessons to be learned here. Is it about looking ugly on purpose? Is it only for supermodels? I don’t think so. To me, it’s a mindset that’s just about being confident in the way you look and expanding the boundaries of what you’re willing to wear. Everyone can do that, regardless of whether you identify as a weird girl or not. (And in regard to the latter question, Teen Vogue’s Ayana Ishmael would like to have a word.)

These days I’m not walking around Bushwick cosplaying Bella Hadid or Iris Law or Ella Emhoff—and especially not like a certain character from The White Lotus. But I do feel a little freer to spin my style in new, stranger directions. Skirts over slacks? Hiking shoes with pinstriped pants? Gardening clogs with dress shirts fished from the Goodwill bins? Sure! It’s happier on the other side. Come join me.
Back to blog

Leave a comment