Modern dating can feel like one endless tragicomedy: the swiping, the awkward first dates, and all the ghosting included. It’s no surprise that our generation has often turned to romantic-comedies for escape, from the ordinary-teen-turned-royalty storyline of Princess Diaries to the wishful thinking-turned-IRL boyfriend in 13 Going On 30. But alas, it’s just movies.
Still, like so many other of our retro film obsessions, people are looking for ways to dress the part. If love is not the end game then at least let us have the style of a 2000s rom-com: slip dresses, multiple shades of pink in one outfit, cropped cardigans, and yes, peep-toe shoes.
At least, that’s the memo coming from TikTok, where searches for “rom-comcore” — as creators have dubbed it — have grown over 2 billion views, with people reenacting outfits from movies like 10 Things I Hate About You and 13 Going On 30 that channel the hyper-femininity of that era. What’s more is that Pinterest has already spotted the trend as one of the top predictions for the year, with searches for “2000s girl” rising by 235% and “pink mini skirt outfit” by 145%.
Sure, social media is going crazy over this trend now, but its resurgence has been brewing for a while now. For example, back in 2021, Ariana Grande coached The Voice’s first live show wearing a version of Jennifer Garner’s iconic Versace mini dress from the “Thriller” dance routine scene in 13 Going On 30. “It was a dress that worked for the scene, for the character, and that’s why we picked it and that’s why she wore it,” the film’s costume designer Susie De Santo told The New York Times in 2021. Since then, multiple iterations of the dress have popped up online by retailers like Cider and Walmart.
Then, there is the overall reemergence of Y2K trends that have been repackaged as TikTok aesthetics, from “soft girl,” which is characterized by cozy knits and subtle makeup, to “light academia,” which borrows much of the early ‘00s preppy styles. But rom-comcore takes it a step further, with people literally finding ways to dress up as their favorite rom-com heroines to exude main character energy. Repeat after us: Mia Thermopolis is our muse!
If you don’t know how to start, take a look at some of the options below.
A basic slip dress is a common denominator in any 2000s rom-com. Although if you want to truly look the part, we recommend going strapless.
Peep Toe Shoes
Believe it or not, peep toe shoes are still going strong 20 years later. The best way to update them for 2023 is to go for a platform version or some edgy booties.
Top It With A Cardigan
Much like a slip dress, a cardigan is a staple of 2000s rom-com movies, from Legally Blonde to 13 Going On 30. For 2023, it’s crucial that you go with a cropped version or a pin top.
Try The Going-Out Top
Nothing says Y2K like a going out top. Whether it’s a halter number or an asymmetric strapless top, one of the best ways to exude main character energy is to rely on the retro look of this classic staple.
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