Embrace New York City Living With TikTok's "Downtown Girl" Aesthetic

The latest aesthetic sweeping TikTok right now is "Downtown Girl," but what does that actually mean? Here's what you need to know.


Dec. 6 2022, Published 4:12 p.m. ET

If there's one thing TikTok users should be known for, it's their creativity. You're probably familiar with the slew of aesthetics that have popped up since the platform rose to popularity, including the "Coastal Grandmother" and "Dark Academia" aesthetics.

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Now, users have a new favorite trend that's taking over Tiktok: the Downtown Girl aesthetic, which already has over 1 billion views on the platform. Not to be confused with Billy Joel's iconic song "Uptown Girl," here's everything we know about the tenets of the Downtown Girl aesthetic and their origins.

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What is "Downtown Girl Aesthetic"?

Although it's not clear when or where the trend started, the "Downtown Girl" aesthetic refers to the romanticization of living in downtown New York City. "Downtown" in New York City is technically Lower Manhattan, and according to Essential New York, this means "The area delineated on the north by 14th Street, on the west by the Hudson River, on the east by the East River, and on the south by New York Harbor."

Recognizable neighborhoods in this location include Alphabet City, Greenwich Village, NoHo, Bowery, SoHo, Lower East Side, Chinatown, TriBeCa, Five Points, West Village, East Village, and more.

The trend is also recognizable for its distinctly autumn flair, and many of the media considered Downtown Girl heavily features fall themes, such as Gilmore Girls, Gossip Girl, and Anne with an E.

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Source: TikTok/@spacegeek14

Downtown Girl fashion typically includes sweaters, Converse, oversized headphones, Doc Martens, messy hair, vests, graphic or band tees, platform shoes, plaid mini skirts, a plethora of layered jewelry, and, shockingly enough, skinny jeans. After being phased out of fashion in early 2021, arguably by Gen Z TikTok users criticizing Millennial style, it appears that Gen Z is also interested in bringing the look back through the "Downtown Girl" aesthetic.

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Some have argued that Downtown Girl has crossover with other aesthetics, notably coquette, grunge, and "rockstar girlfriend," for incorporating leather and niche musical artists while still typically remaining very feminine. Pop culture character influences on Downtown Girl include Rory Gilmore (Gilmore Girls), Bella Swan (Twilight), Alice Cullen (Twilight), Kat Stratford (Ten Things I Hate About You), Serena van der Woodsen (Gossip Girl), and Elena Gilbert (The Vampire Diaries).

Source: TikTok/@yaangi777
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Although the aesthetic is known as "Downtown Girl," never fear! This style works for all genders, and there are videos to craft the perfect "Downtown Guy" aesthetic as well. Many of the Downtown Girl/Guy aesthetics are also paired with a more generalized "back to school" aesthetic, especially because the themes of the aesthetic are centered around the fall, when students typically return to class.

Will you be carrying your cable-knit sweaters, skinny jeans, and Converse into winter? Or is Downtown Girl just a seasonal trend? TikTok moves so swiftly through aesthetic trends it's hard to say about the longevity of Downtown Girl, but one thing is for certain: it's easy to love New York City all year long.

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