While I jaunt through the fields of Tumblr less frequently now, as of several years ago, I was an avid fandom blogger specializing in Harry Potter, Taylor Swift, all forms of Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and the low-rated yet critically-acclaimed NBC comedies of 2010. It was around that same time that I held most blog aesthetics in a certain disdain, particularly because I was neither a fan of Lolita (after reading the Wikipedia page in 6th grade, was haunted for the next few years) or the galaxy print in combination with the “in that moment, we were infinite” quote.
It’s difficult to reconcile all my coexisting worlds if inspiration is sent through different pipelines.
Still, it was an interesting idea for me to try and blog with aspiration. To reblog the kinds of photos that represented not my reality of gluttonous media consumption, but what my life would be if I were someone able to allocate at least six figures annually to luxury markets, sunsets of exotic locations, and photos of my bounty in the crisp lighting of a Parisian apartment.
Since Tumblr themes were generally unaccommodating towards content consisting of Arrested Development gifsets, Harry Potter text posts, and vacation photos all in one user-friendly theme, it required the bifurcation of my interests. Fandom and fashion and studyblr blog aesthetics were seen as separate spheres, and therefore to my dismay, separate blogs. And if I’m someone who uses appearance as a natural extension of my personality, it’s difficult to reconcile all my coexisting worlds if inspiration is sent through different pipelines.
Trickle-Down Tumblr Art Hoe
The true art hoe community would contest that there is no such thing as a “white art hoe” aesthetic because the art hoe movement was created by and for queer or non-binary people of color as a platform to combat stereotypes and prejudice placed against them. However, when you think of the “art hoe” aesthetic on Tumblr, it’s generally a girl (probably white, preferably Alexa Chung) with perfect Balayage highlights and blunt bangs wearing a mustard yellow Fjallraven Kanken, a striped boatneck top, clear lucite glasses, perfectly distressed boyfriend jeans that will likely become absolutely ruined in the wash, and Great Wave off Kanagawa socks underneath limited edition Stan Smiths.
It’s not happening. First, because Stan Smiths seem to be made from a weirdly delicate, easily-scratched leather and I don’t trust myself to give these shoes the care they deserve. Secondly, the Fjallraven Kanken has sub-par straps for a backpack that should will typically tote heavy goods. I’ll never be an art hoe because I can’t sketch succulents or deer on a Moleskine notebook from memory and I’m dreadful at drawing artfully squiggly lines on the selfies I rarely take.
Urban Outfitters keeps telling me that if I were to dress this way, my problems would magically disappear by taking herbal supplements suited to my zodiac sign and with an agnostic’s faith in crystals. But would the art hoe lifestyle accommodate for my unironic love of Taylor Swift’s sweetness and talent in combination with her coldly-calculated capitalism? Or the fact that I also harbor an immense irrational hatred of The 1975 (whom I view as the off-brand non-Union iteration of the Arctic Monkeys) and the song “Sweater Weather?”
The ideal art hoe dwells not in nuance, but a genial surface-level engagement with the things she claims to love—social equality without consideration for the rural poor, John Lennon while conveniently never learning about his violence against women and children. She probably thinks Van Gogh ate yellow paint to feel happy after seeing a cute Tumblr post about it and never googled it to see if it was truth.
Zooey Deschanel in New Girl; alternately, Mindy Kaling on The Mindy Project
If we live in a culture that devalues traditional femininity, I see my choice to wear a rainbow-striped dress with an avocado wristlet as an act of reclamation, a sign of having quelled some internalized misogyny enough to admit that I love polka dots.
My constant window-shopping of the Modcloth site coincided with my interest in tracking the wardrobes of my favorite characters on TV, which in 8th grade, included Glee and New Girl. For some time, dressing exclusively in Modcloth looked like the pinnacle of luxury and adulthood.
Though I’ve grown out of that mindset to an extent, there are still days when I straight-up dress like a confectionary, 100% Kimmy Schmidt-approved. I think it’s still small cute things in semi-unexpected places that make me happy, like a wireless mouse with a fox on it or a pastel satchel. Some whimsy should always belong in my world.
Minimalist Model/DJ/Blogger/Producer/Creative Director
All it takes for this waif to be beautiful is to “drink water” and “live your bliss.” What a joke. Still, I love her clear acrylic chairs, exposed brick walls, cashmere throws, and white marble countertops and cheese plates. I eat it all up.
Though she epitomizes the inconspicuous consumption characteristic of the “cultural elite,” the small number of worldly possessions she does own are scrupulously well-crafted and expensive-looking. Yet there are still other ways she should be trimming the fat on the budget; she is living proof that the rich should be taxed more because they insist on spending their money on worthless pseudoscience-backed health supplements endorsed by Goop.
Though I possess the cultural capital of a university student, I personally possess very little capital capital, making many of the purchases necessary to fully engage in the lifestyle quite difficult, as student loans loom over my head. I don’t want my life to be filled with herbal teas and Kinfolk magazine; I want to live industriously and go to work and collect my accoutrements painstakingly over a prolonged period.
As a first-generation Korean-American, I’m almost embarrassingly enamored by the ideal of old money, final clubs, artistic purity, and the good old-fashioned hustle. But I also have the luxury of not becoming a doctor or accountant after graduating and can take classes on subjects like Urban Food Justice and August Wilson. I’m nit-picky about my viewing material, and take some pleasure in being so.
When I’m an older woman, I’ll shop at Wegmans with my New Yorker tote while listening to an improv podcast performed by comedians who vote blue. I’ll drape myself with natural fiber-clothing from brands that take pride in their ethical and environmentally-friendly vertical integration. I want to feel secure enough to, in Ali Wong’s words, see a coin on the ground and not feel the need to pick it up, you know, like I’m a princess or something.
In a practical sense, it means that in terms of clothing, I’m more concerned with the cost-per-wear and versatility, particularly as it fits into my more protean style of dress. I enjoy soft textures, pretty colors, and architectural flourishes, though not always all at once. To borrow a phrase from Bunheads’s Truly, I’m also going for a “kind of Greenwich Village 1950s coffee house literary communist collective” vibe as well.
I want to be Old Hollywood-approved, but not an Audrey Hepburn carbon copy, just possessing of some of that impossible grace. I’d like to be haute couture-minded on an Ann Taylor clearance section + 40% off budget.
How is a left-leaning, pseudoscience-rejecting, content-pirating, Madewell-loving, stressed-out comedy nerd Presbyterian with literary inclinations supposed to dress? I mean, I’m not sure; there aren’t really very many blogs out there to define it. It’s sort of elusive and incohesive, what I’m seeking, but I’m looking to bridge the gap between the personas I consist of and the person I’m trying to become.
Images via pinterest