Home Celebrity Whimsigoth Is TikTok’s Favorite Fall Aesthetic—Here’s How to Style the Trend

Whimsigoth Is TikTok’s Favorite Fall Aesthetic—Here’s How to Style the Trend

Whimsigoth Is TikTok’s Favorite Fall Aesthetic—Here’s How to Style the Trend

There’s a chill in the air, the leaves are beginning to turn, and each night is longer than the last; it’s officially the season of the witch. Fittingly, whimsigoth—a viral aesthetic that embraces romanticism and the macabre in equal measure—is taking off on TikTok, where the hashtags #whimsigoth and #whimsigothic have already racked up 25 million and 43 million views, respectively. 

The term, which melds “whimsical” and “gothic,” was coined by Evan Collins, architectural designer and co-founder of the Consumer Aesthetics Research Institute. It was first used to describe decor, after Collins noticed “moody, sort of dark, but still weirdly playful” elements in late ’80s and early ’90s design—think spindly wrought iron, glass baubles, and gilded light fixtures straight out of The Cheesecake Factory. Collins began grouping the styles together as “whimsical mystical gothic celestial,” later shortened to whimsigoth. The term eventually made its way to TikTok, where users translated it to the dark, witchy, goth-adjacent fashion that was popular throughout ’80s and ’90s fashion. 

With icons like Stevie Nicks, Anna Sui, and Lisa Bonet, the style isn’t exactly novel, but it now has a name—plus a massive, brand-new audience. The whimsigoth of today emphasizes rich textures (velvet, lace, leather), bold colors (ruby reds, shimmering purples, cosmic blues), and plenty of jewelry, layering each element like brushstrokes in a Millais painting. It’s luxurious without being fussy and distinctly feminine with a razor-sharp edge—exactly the brooding, slightly theatrical wardrobe you’d wear if you, too, could become a teenage witch.  

Andrea Diodati, an assistant professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology and a womenswear designer who’s worked with brands like Anna Sui, sees layers and layers of influences in the aesthetic. There are obvious elements of ’70s bohemia and ’80s goth—both of which were influenced by Victorian style and Renaissance revival—with a healthy dose of ’90s and Y2K style. Movies and TV shows shape the look, too, with Practical Magic, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Charmed, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Eve’s Bayou, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and Ginger Snaps as touchstones. 

Throw it all in the proverbial blender and you end up with whimsigoth’s slip dresses, chunky footwear, maxi skirts, celestial jewelry, corsets, and paisley tops. (Bonus points if they look burnished, tattered, and inconspicuously anachronistic.) According to the experts, a collective penchant for nostalgia isn’t the only reason the trend is back on the rise. Diodati notes that Victorian-era romantic dressing “prided itself on being emotional in the face of the Industrial Revolution and consumerism”; after the excess of the ’80s, she says, this aesthetic provided a similar release.