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  • Daniella Vega

Bows: Why Is Everyone Obsessed With Them?

I have never been one to become crazed with an internet trend. That being said, bows have taken over my life (and the lives of many others). Their accessibility and power to add elegance to any plain outfit have allowed them to become every other young woman's obsession. But where did all this start and how have bows remained a timeless staple?


A pink satin bow


"I'm Literally Just a Girl"

Referring to the song by the rock band No Doubt, most fans of these dainty accessories jumped on the bandwagon resulting from their presence on the social media app TikTok. Frankly enough, many of the videos under this trend aren't seen on clothing or the hair band of a half-up-half-down hairdo: instead, bows can be found on the ears of pets, small items, and even food. Often heard with the viral audio of Sydney Sweeney's Euphoria character Cassie yelling her iconic Season 2 monologue, with Lana Del Rey's song Let The Light In loudly protruding in the background, no explanation has been given besides "this is me if you even care", or "I'm literally just a girl".



Even with the lack of an explanation for the bow trend, their prevalence shouldn't come as a huge surprise. Since the 2010s Tumblr era—that some praise while others cringe at—Balletcore and Coquette aesthetics have regained popularity and experienced a tremendous breakthrough. Both styles call for the use of pastels, simple yet feminine patterns, and an overall softer tone. They have also made a comeback in high fashion, with brands like Miu Miu producing a pair of baby pink satin slippers (with, you guessed it, bows on the nose of the shoe) as well as Simone Rocha in their Fall 2023 show featuring models with bows glued onto their outfits or even their faces.



Photo collage with women and clothing with pink satin bows

Courtesy of @/fairytaleboard via Instagram


Drawing Parallels

Apart from the viral video memes, bows have made their way onto almost everything and everyone. Whether it's a small detail on a blouse, a pair of gold stud earrings, or even a tattoo. Some have begun to create an analogy of bows to another relevant 2010s fashion trend: the 'millennial' mustaches. Specifically, the bows are Gen. Z's violent obsession (specifically geared towards young women) just like how the mustaches were the comparably violent obsession of Gen. Y when more of its demographic was younger.


On the contrary, despite their online presence being one that only a niche audience understands, bows have a much deeper meaning than their facial hair counterpart. Playing into the qualities of the previously mentioned aesthetics, bows are connoted as being soft, light, and youthful. Mustaches, contrastingly, provided a more quirky and alternative style. Although the bows target the same group that the mustaches would have targeted in their prime, they carry a sense of yearning along with them. They signify the bridge from girlhood to womanhood—which has also been given more attention thanks to the popularity of Greta Gerwig's Barbie—and the longing to hold on to the most of childhood before fully becoming an adult. Interestingly enough, many younger aged girls (mainly in Generation Alpha) have been observed attempting to mature t0o quickly. This group is often denoted as the "Sephora 10-year olds" and is seen as the opposite to the bow adolescents (which is a whole other topic). Ultimately, social media has played a large role in delivering this trend to where it is now and it only continues to grow stronger.


 

So maybe, one day, you decide to wear a bow for its profound meaning in hopes of someone noticing how cool you must be for understanding metaphors. Maybe you just think they are cute. Whatever your reason may be, I hope that understanding why the bows gravitated so much attention only makes you like them more. Or question our habit as a society to latch onto certain items for validation. Who knows.


Sources:

Gonzalez, Tara. “I’m Just a Girl Who Loves Bows, but What Does That Even Mean?” Harper’s BAZAAR Magazine, Harper’s BAZAAR, 21 Dec. 2023, www.harpersbazaar.com/fashion/trends/a46203224/bow-trend-explained/.

Gould, Wendy. “Trend Alert: Bows Are Everywhere Right Now.” Real Simple, 3 Jan. 2024, www.realsimple.com/bow-fashion-8421624.

Pullen, Robyn. “Is the Bow Trend the New Millennial Moustache?” Culted, 29 Dec. 2023, culted.com/bow-millennial-moustache-trend-tiktok-social-media-coquette-viral/. Accessed 6 Mar. 2024.


 

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