Artsy Aesthetics & You
BY ANUSHA SENAPATI '24
One of the best ways to get to know a person is by analyzing their aesthetic. From the mysterious Dark Academia to the simple Coastal Granddaughter, the physical appearance you give off reveals your inner persona. Obviously, finding the perfect aesthetic is a daunting task, so today, I’ll handpick the aesthetic for the ones who are determined—or too choosy—to pick their own.
This aesthetic was crafted for the true intellectuals: those who pride themselves on their vast book collections and who desperately crave academic validation. If you’re a dark/light academia lover, you can spend hours executing a lengthy morning routine that features a large cup of coffee and quality time spent with your cat (likely named after your favorite Harry Potter character). Before heading off to the library to study, you’ll make sure to put on their new, checkered, autumnal-themed scarf. This aesthetic is for those who can make any outfit look effortless—but there’s a catch. Academia lovers aren’t united; a great difference in fundamental beliefs divides the two. Between light and dark academics, the former is often characterized by those who are glass-half-full optimists, while the latter emulate its antithesis. So, if you chose to embrace the light academia, you might find yourself motivated by the holiday music and peppermint lattes. On the other hand, the dark academia lovers celebrate winter for its absence of sunlight. Regardless, as the day ends, you find yourself at peace with the fact that tomorrow will be another day full of knotty ponderances.
If you’ve ever dreamed of owning a small cafe near a flower shop one day, this is your aesthetic heaven. A cottage core enthusiast is well-known to have a gentle yet friendly aura, all while wearing airy clothing. A day in the life of this aesthetic requires serious napping skills. Upon being woken up, one would find themselves in the middle of a dream about their elaborately planned out study abroad trip to France, constructed from the age of 14. As usual, they could find themselves packing for a lunch picnic later that day, preferably somewhere far from any people. You may also be a perfect fit for this aesthetic if you’re the person who responds to “What’s your ideal superpower?” with “being able to talk to animals.”
If you own more than three items from Vineyard Vines or Ralph Lauren, then be honest—you don’t need to look much further. The coastal granddaughter aesthetic is inspired by the general vibe of your average Connecticut-country club, mixed with a bit of modesty and a strong attachment to the beach. This one may seem like it’s exclusively for the Ivy League legacies, but really, the aesthetic encapsulates anyone who believes that sailing is a real sport. The life of a coastal grandkid gravitates around the summer season, so it’s ideal for anyone who counts the days down until July 4 in the middle of December.
If you could picture yourself living the life of an Upper East Sider (cue Gossip Girl), then pay close attention! While the old money aesthetic might seem similar to that of the coastal granddaughter, Old Money’s elitist entry requirements drive the two apart. This time, you’re taking a step away from your cushy house in the Hamptons and settling down in bustling NYC. Forget Ralph Lauren Polo, enter Saks Fifth Ave. Your day begins with the sun shining through your penthouse windows, which are tragically too large. The rest of your day is a blur of shopping for clothes, shopping for shoes, shopping for new jewelry, and more shopping. However, it obviously ends with a charitable gala—there’s no better way to spend your free time. While you may be pressured to have a very large trust fund, anyone can adopt the old money aesthetic—but can you live it?
Of course, there are more aesthetics to explore, but hopefully this gives you some direction in your future search for the perfect aesthetic. As always, know the limits of categorization! Aesthetics shouldn’t shape you, but rather YOU should shape the aesthetic based on the person you are and the life you lead. You may not envision yourself as simply one aesthetic, and that’s OK — perhaps in the end, cottage core academia is your true calling.