17 November 2022

Goodbye to the ‘clean girl’ aesthetic, we’re now in our ‘dirty’ era

Hang up your ballet flats and Matilda Djerf style blazers as the return of ‘Dirty Girl’ embraces bad habits and a new style.

Julia Fox made an appearance on Emily Ratajkowski’s podcast High Low With EmRata on the 8th of November. “Clean girl aesthetic is out,” Fox said. “It’s about, like, dirty girl.”

But what actually is a ‘Dirty Girl’? Another term coined by TikTok maybe, yet after the rise of the ‘Clean Girl’, the darker sister aesthetic is being embraced online. Fox’s loyal followers love the actress’ take on life, including her beauty regime and dedication to unusual fashion. Now, with her take on ‘Dirty’, HUNGER decodes the reactionary style so you can embrace the ‘dirtier’ version of yourself.

‘Dirty Girl’, in the TikTok sense, is a reaction to ‘Clean Girl’. What may have seemed like a harmless aesthetic that promotes cleanliness has developed into a regime that goes beyond regular showering, which the name might suggest to some. It’s slick-back buns, ballet flats and an effortless blazer with a pair of designer sunnies in its ode to style, and many credit the likes of Matilda Djerf for this look. Hailey Bieber is also hailed as a ‘Clean Girl’ — if her no-makeup drop of concealer tutorial is anything to go by. And whilst the aesthetic encompasses a sense of wellbeing in its 6am morning matchas, it has also been criticised for being exclusive. 

It is a relatively high-end way of living, which for many, is simply economically unachievable. Social media has also accepted that the ‘Clean Girl’ generally tends to be white, able-bodied and of a standard body shape and size. Women of colour who fall into the aesthetic like Zoe Kravitz, for example, are few and far between. 

Users have fought back against this, with tweets saying it perpetuates “girls with clear faces who are skinny… like there’s genuinely no deep philosophy to it.”

Though the reasoning behind why the initial aesthetic blew up may be foggy, it has taken hold of young women online and transformed into a lifestyle, not just a passing aesthetic. For a movement that came around faster than a 15-second TikTok video, it’s here to stay, and its reactionary counterpart may be the solution. 

‘Dirty’ itself sits in muddy waters about what it encompasses. ‘Musty’, ‘Messy Girl’ and the club night ‘It’ girl all cross over into ‘Dirty’. From what we have learnt online, the new term is a mixture of all the names that came before it, but doesn’t set out to shame a lifestyle that may not perfectly adhere to its manifesto of looks.

The style aims to be the antithesis of no-makeup perfection, and turns to experimental beauty regimes and fashion looks. There is no set look for a ‘Dirty Girl’, as it encompasses the influences of many subcultures before it. It rebels against the impossible standards of early morning meditation and favours last nights makeup in 80s club kid and 90s grunge inspiration. It doesn’t shy away from admitting to bad habits, and sets to master the ‘Dirty’ look however your own non-perfect lifestyle may see fit.

So while last night’s fake-tan and Olsen Twins hangover chic may be a part of it, ‘Dirty’ is really all you want it to be. Fox is opening the doors to a dirtier lifestyle by saying that smudged mascara and lipstick on your teeth shouldn’t be a point of embarrassment, as long as you’re living your life and having a great time doing it.

  • Writer Ella Chadwick
  • Banner Image Credit

Related Content