Microtrends are not news since they’ve been around for at least five years. But if you’re new, it might be hard to figure out what’s going on in this madness of names and everything -cores. Today, we won’t cover all the existing trends out there (there are thousands of them!), but instead, let’s focus on the ones breaking social media in 2024 and explore how they influence the world of fashion and design.

Read more about the key design trends of 2024 in our report, or explore 600+ custom collections of high-resolution photography and footage for inspiration and new ideas.

Thoughts on aesthetics and microtrends

It seems like aesthetics have always been around. From the Victorian era to Hollywood glamor. From disco fever to hippy. From grunge to minimalism. Aesthetics are cultural treasures born from styles in music, architecture, sculpture, poetry and other arts that had the strongest influences of the time. Aesthetics always move along with culture.

It’s as if only yesterday we took inspiration from Tumblr. Now, the influence is mainly coming from TikTok and Instagram. Here’s where we take a turn and add new terms into the global design conversation—microtrends.

Microtrends are like spices in cooking: a tiny amount can change the flavor and make an outstanding dish, but as soon as you add too much, they become overpowering. Luckily, you can improve your cooking and sense of measure.

Microtrends suddenly appear, there’s an abundance of them, then we all get tired and they disappear, and when we’ve had some rest they reappear. Examples? Cow print—all over the place just three years ago. Now, gone. Poof! Same as VSCO girl, coastal grandma, Y2K, grunge, and twee. Recently, we had tomato girl and barbiecore, and while those are gone already, some microtrends are stubbornly staying (read on to learn which ones exactly).

Top Microtrends and Aesthetics of 2024

What’s interesting with microtrends is that there are tons, but they are evolving. The world we are living in today calls for something sustainable to combat fast fashion. Microtrends adapt. Immediately, there’s gorpcore—a microtrend featuring sports and hiking gear as casual streetwear. Easy to reuse! Cargo pants were a hit just a couple of years ago, but you can be sure they will soon loop back into our lives, so don’t throw them away. They’re also useful for actual hiking 😉

What about 2024? It’s a year of modern nostalgia, which allures with its aesthetic appeal and ability to evoke emotion, spark conversation, and redefine contemporary norms.

Let’s immerse ourselves in the topic of modern nostalgia and explore the microtrends we’ll be seeing a lot of in today’s world of fashion, pop culture, and design.

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Country

The first and most prominent trend of 2024 is country and cowboy aesthetics. It captures the rugged, adventurous spirit of the American West, drawing from ranching traditions, rodeo culture, and a sense of nostalgia. This trend stands out by blending urban sophistication with rustic charm, featuring denim, plaid patterns, cowboy boots, hats, and leather accessories. Once considered niche, the country style has gained mainstream popularity for its authenticity.

Top Microtrends and Aesthetics of 2024

Taylor Swift’s early music has been one of the strongest influences on the popularity of country in the last two decades. By 2024, the country aesthetic had smashed through its old-school stereotypes, taking on a broader, bolder interpretation of Western style. It came back in a contemporary form, mixing traditional cowboy with the high demands of also being comfortable and glamorous. Country’s simplicity is a big part of its charm and why it’s so popular. Unlike high-fashion trends that can be demanding, this style is easy for anyone to rock.

We can notice a solid cowboy style comeback in Louis Vuitton’s Men’s Fall-Winter 2024 Collection by Pharrell Williams. Beyoncé’s latest album “Cowboy Carter” and Rihanna’s photoshoot for Vogue China have significantly contributed to the popularity of the cowboy aesthetic. It has also gained traction on social media, with celebrities like Bella Hadid supporting the trend.

The cowboy aesthetic is full of nature themes and is a logical transition from the recent cottagecore boom. You can apply it in your digital projects by adding scenery of lush fields, farming, horses, natural materials, and textures.

Browse the Cowboy collection

Old money

The “old money” concept originates from the aristocratic and upper-class lifestyles of past eras. Recall Princess Diana to have an instant picture. In recent years, this trend has evolved into backlash against fast fashion.

Now, it’s focused on vintage pieces, quality craftsmanship, and heritage brands to promote sustainable fashion. The old money aesthetic has a strong influence on contemporary fashion since it appeals to the younger generation seeking authenticity and enduring style.

Top Microtrends and Aesthetics of 2024

Being inspired by classic sophistication, old money stands close to “ladies who lunch”, “quiet luxury”, and “mob wife” aesthetics in a row of recent microtrends. Think Ralph Lauren polos, twin sets, fur coats, and big jewelry to achieve the look. By the way, pearls strongly contribute to the overall old money aesthetic, and they’ve been another hit in the last several years. To learn more about pearlescence and find out the trendiest colors of this summer, read our full Color Trends report for Summer 2024.

Speaking about the digital side of things, variations of #oldmoney hashtags have had billions of views on social media platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, and TikTok, with examples from high fashion, movies, and TV shows.

If you are among the ones inspired by the old money style trend, you can easily incorporate it into your creative projects. Consider blending neutral colors with simple patterns. High-quality photography, evergreen content, and thoughtful branding will help you achieve the luxury this trend is all about.

Explore the Old Money collection

Coquette

Inspired by the French word “coquet,” meaning flirtatious or charming, the coquette microtrend is all about playful femininity with a nostalgic twist. It popped up in 2020 as a reaction to gender-neutral fashion, spotlighting whimsical details, soft fabrics, and vintage-inspired looks. Think ruffles, flowers, bows, lace, and pastel hues—bringing to mind the innocence and allure of Victorian and Rococo styles.

Top Microtrends and Aesthetics of 2024

As time went on, coquette evolved into a versatile aesthetic that both fashion houses and indie designers embraced. Influencers on social media made this trend go viral, mixing delicate blouses with high-waisted skirts or pairing frilly dresses with contemporary sneakers for a modern edge.

When searching #coquette, you can also find blends of royalcore, balletcore, and angelcore aesthetics, thanks to their slight similarity. Lana del Rey is one of the main icons of this trend, with her dreamy feminine style and songs heavily appearing on #coquette TikTok videos. Of course, we can’t forget about Bridgerton and The Crown, creating a whole new fanbase and ensuring the coquette aesthetic lives on.

To introduce the elements of coquette into your digital creative projects, consider mixing lace textures and pastel colors with symbols of royalty. When creating content for social media, dreamy styles such as coquette may call for special effects and music. The good news is that we have it all at Depositphotos! Explore our evolving library of over 300 million licensed files to cover all your creative needs, and contact us for a custom solution.

Discover the Coquette collection

Light & dark academia

Another key trend supporting the concept of modern nostalgia is “academia”. Looking up this trend, you may notice that it’s a bit similar to “old money” and “quiet luxury”.

Essentially, the academia trend is all about intellectualism with aesthetic charm. It is inspired by literary and academic settings, collegiate attire, classic literature, and historical architecture. Picture tweed blazers, turtleneck sweaters, pleated skirts, and leather accessories, all vibing erudition and sophistication. Academia style is influenced by the 1950s Beat Generation and subculture, and iconic movie pictures such as 1989’s “Dead Poets’ Society”, the “Harry Potter” film series, “American Psycho”, and more.

Top Microtrends and Aesthetics of 2024

Dark and light academia aesthetics are similar in their core ideas. The main difference is in the color palette. While light academia mostly features neutrals and enjoys the simpler, cheerful pleasures of learning, dark academia is all about goth and punk vibes mixed with preppy.

Light academia’s key colors are whites, light blues, creamy yellows, pinks, and greige (learn more about greige and other main colors of summer 2024 in our Summer Color Trends Report). This style is emotionally positive and warm, inspired by the 1980’s preppy look. To capture the vibe of this trend, imagine reading in green meadows or cozy bookshops surrounded by nature and warmth.

Dark academia’s key colors are black, purple browns, greens, grays, beiges, whites, burgundies, and deep blues. Its mood revolves around literary existentialism, artistic tragedy, old books and libraries, and fraternities. Think of it as regular preppy but through a gothic or melancholic lens, embracing the solitude of study and finding beauty in rainy days spent reading and learning.

Both trends grew into a global subculture, going beyond fashion into literature, art, and lifestyle. Online communities on Tumblr and Instagram fueled this aesthetic, sharing reading lists, study tips, and outfit ideas. Fashion brands contributed by releasing collections inspired by academic motifs, catering to those craving intellectualism and elegance in their daily lives.

Easily incorporate academia aesthetic into your digital projects by adding scholarly symbols, Argyle patterns, plaids, and stripes.

See Light & Dark Academia collection

Wrapping up

As we look ahead, these trends continue to inspire and captivate, transcending fleeting fashion to become an ageless expression of individuality and cultural heritage.

From the rugged spirit of country aesthetics to the elegance of old money, the charm of coquette, and the intellectualism of academia—these microtrends are examples of the dynamic interplay between nostalgia and contemporary style. Evolving from their appearance up to 2024, each trend has left a mark on fashion, culture, and self-expression, reflecting society’s values and aspirations.

Make the most of current trends in your communications if you cater to millennials and Gen Z, or opt for timeless classics to always stay trendy.

Closing words—don’t throw away your cowboy boots, grandmother’s pearls, or dad’s blazer! You’ll need them later when each trend comes back full circle.

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