The Year of the Grandpa: Cozy Quirkiness Meets Messy Layering

We hope everyone started the new year safe and sound. For those who prefer to follow the Chinese New Year calendar: The Year of the Dragon is coming – or more specifically, the Year of the Wood Dragon.

The next Lunar New Year begins on 10 February 2024, and in Chinese astrology, the 12 animals of the zodiac are each associated with an element – metal, wood, water, fire, earth – as they move around the zodiac cycle, and when an animal reappears after 12 years, its elemental association changes. For example, 2012 was the Year of the Water Dragon and 2036 will be the Year of the Fire Dragon. People born under each elemental zodiac sign have a unique set of personality traits that influence their lives, not unlike the concept behind the Western zodiac signs.

We would like to introduce you to three more signs that are detached from all the known concepts of the zodiac: Fashion Signs – if you will.

The Eclectic Grandpa

For those not chronically online, terms like “coquette,” “coastal grandma,” and “quiet luxury” may leave you a bit puzzled. For those whose screen time runs higher than you’d like, you might have already conjured up an image in your head for each packaged-up style interest. Quiet luxury will have you envisioning the whispered effortlessness of The Row and anything worn by Logan Roy in Succession. Coquette will transport you into Sandy Liang’s world filled with bows, ruffles, and the innate feeling of healing one’s inner child. And 2024’s first buzzy aesthetic, “eclectic grandpa,” coined by Pinterest and TikTok.

Think wardrobes full of retro streetwear, kitschy knitwear, patterned boxers, loafers, sensible trainers, well-worn baseball caps and minimalist wristwatches. As seen on TikTok, the ‘eclectic grandpa’ trend is a delightful blend of retro, vintage and quirky elements, inviting individuals to channel the timeless charm of their grandparents’ wardrobes. The best ambassador for this aesthetic is Tyler The Creator, who has made it his signature style – in typical Pisces fashion. Striking the perfect balance between timeless pieces and a mix and max of textures and colourful prints, he flawlessly blends vintage finds with trendy designs from the new guard of fashion designers.

The Frazzled English Women

Just when you think it’s on the way out, the Y2K revival will throw up another old aesthetic to keep us running on that noughties hamster wheel. And its latest addition? The Frazzled English Woman. We all know her. She’s unlucky in love. If she’s not secretly crying in her bedroom after getting gifted a Joni Mitchell album from her cheating husband, she’s dressed like a Playboy bunny finding naked women in her boyfriend’s bathroom (calling all Libras and Cancers).

She’s the leading lady in any Richard Curtis movie and she’s either snogged Hugh Grant or Jude Law at some point, or wishes she has. While this sounds like an archetype destined only for the ’00s, TikTokers are claiming it back in, what is essentially, a British-rom-com-core – or as Ella O’Keeffe, fashion and brand features editor at RUSSH Magazine, dubbed the “frazzled English woman” aesthetic.

The look is layers upon layers of knitwear, cardigans, mid-length skirts, opaque tights and knee-high boots mismatched with tiny scarves and messy hair. It’s Renée Zellweger as Bridget Jones and Kate Winslet in The Holiday. And we’re seeing it everywhere. For instance, Altazurra’s Spring/Summer ’23 collection at last month’s New York Fashion Week spotlighted office-appropriate blouses peeking out from under fine knitwear (à la Sarah in Love Actually) while Paloma Wool’s skirts grazing past knee-high boots epitomise the 30-something-working-in-publishing look. Even model Bella Hadid has been spotted on the streets of New York City in pleasantly-awkward length midi skirts and tall boots.

The Snarky Secretary aka The Office Siren

Are you a virgo or a snarky secretary? If you find yourself trapped on TikTok’s fashion page, you may have noticed a new genre of super-niche style references bombarding your page. These include rectangular reading glasses, slick back claw clips, mid-length pencil skirts, Mary Janes, chunky jewellery and supermodel smiles. And yes, we are thinking of noughties supermodel Gisele Bündchen’s iconic cameo in The Devil Wears Prada. Although the office siren’s wardrobe is largely made up of vintage pieces and archival runway looks by the aforementioned designers and more, it was Miu Miu’s F/W 23 collection that ignited the office siren flame in many.

The aim of the aesthetic is not just to be noticed for your looks, but to shine with all your qualities. It’s really more about the woman than her wardrobe. However, when someone is fully aware of themselves, they usually have a good idea of their personal style. And the Office Siren is 100% the type who knows exactly who she is and what she wants – from her job, from her style, from her life as a whole.

Header Image: Celine Van Heel