The Girlhood Aesthetic Is Still Going Strong in 2024

Designers from Sandy Liang to Prada make it easy to embrace your inner child.

girlhood aesthetic
(Image credit: Future)

Sweet visuals of girlhood have been swirling around the fashion industry for months. Under the catch-all of the girlhood aesthetic, hyper-feminine motifs dominated several Spring 2024 runways and returned on the Fall 2024 fashion week circuit in various ribbon-topped interpretations.

In New York City, Sandy Liang decorated her runway with schoolgirl-inspired pleated skirts and subtle bow embellishments, while Carolina Herrera celebrated symbols of femininity by way of floral-embroidered dresses. In London, models who walked in Simone Rocha’s show wore fanciful nightgown-inspired garments and carried shaggy stuffed animals at the hip. In Milan, a shift dress plastered with bows took center stage at Prada. And in Paris, Dries Van Noten dabbled in youthful hues of pink, ranging from bubblegum to cherry blossom. 

The girlhood aesthetic has also flourished off the runways. #Girlhood has appeared on 283,700 TikTok posts (and counting), trickling into personal style on and offline through ribbons, pearls, and ballet flats.

Ultimately, it's a style experience that captivates the senses through nostalgia. "The girlhood aesthetic is a [trend for] adults that embodies all things sweet and innocent," fashion stylist Catherine Bibeau explains. Perhaps Sandy Liang's pleated skirts remind you of the ones you used to wear to elementary school, or Prada's bow-adorned dress evoke memories of presents and birthday parties.

Bibeau tells Marie Claire that many people find a sense of liberation through embracing the girlhood aesthetic in their wardrobes. "Women are reawakening their childhood selves, free to express their creativity without judgment," she says.

Maybe living in a fantasy world and dabbling in a fairytale feeling here and there isn't such a bad thing. Find a few ways to partake in the girlhood aesthetic ahead, through bows, ballet flats, headbands, and more.

a woman in a pink dress that embodies the girlhood aesthetic

A Sandy Liang Fall 2024 look that embodies the girlhood aesthetic: pink satin dress, tiny top handle bag, and bows to tie it all together.

(Image credit: Future)

Shop the Girlhood Trend

Statement Hair Bows

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One of the easiest ways to have fun with the girlhood aesthetic is to clip a bow (or several) into your hair. It takes absolutely no effort, and it's easy to style. Consider pairing your hair bow with a white T-shirt, a pair of jeans, and ballet flats for the upcoming spring and summer seasons.

hair bows, street style 2024

During the Spring 2024 fashion week season, bows of various shapes and sizes were spotted nearly everywhere.

(Image credit: Future)

Dainty Ballet Flats

Although relatively simple in shape, a pair of ballet flats can instantly elevate any outfit while harkening back to days spent at the dance studio. Wear your flats barefoot or pair them with colorful, thin socks to add a bit of contrast.

ballet flats, runway 2024

Across numerous Fall 2024 runways, ballet flats made their mark. Sandy Liang and Prada offered major styling inspiration.

(Image credit: Future)

The Humble Headband

Once reserved for youth, the humble headband is making a return with grown-up twists. Keep things simple with a straightforward banded design, or amp up your look with a few embellishments.

headbands, street style and runway 2024

Headbands—particularly in shades of red, black, and pink—have become increasingly popular.

(Image credit: Future)

Whimsical Hair Clips

Stacked hair clips capture the haphazard excitement of the days when styling your hair felt new and novel. Try two or three (or four) placed along the hairline to capture the street style approach.

hair clips, street style 2024

Especially when they're stacked, hair clips can bring a sense of whimsy to your look.

(Image credit: Future)

Bow-Adorned Bags

Want to add a playful touch to your designer handbag collection? Look no further than a bow-adorned bag like the ones carried through the bustling streets of New York City and across the fashion week runways. A tiny bow is always a cute embellishment, but a ginormous bow that engulfs your entire bag is lots of fun, too.

bow purses, street style and runway 2024

Embellish your accessory collection with a bow-adorned purse.

(Image credit: Future)

Meet the Expert

Catherine Bibeau
Catherine Bibeau

Catherine Bibeau is a renowned fashion stylist with over a decade of experience in the industry. She is widely respected in the fashion industry for her outstanding work in fashion design, styling, branding and fashion marketing and sales. She has experience working at Buffalo Jeans, Ferragamo, and various other consumer luxury brands.

Lauren Tappan
Fashion Editor

Lauren K. Tappan is the Fashion Editor at Marie Claire, where she writes engaging stories ranging from shopping pieces to trend reports. Prior to Marie Claire, Lauren covered fashion and beauty for Harper’s Bazaar and ELLE as a freelance editor, with a specific focus on e-commerce. She also held editorial roles at Town & CountryInto The Gloss, and Philadelphia Style Magazine. Lauren earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications, with a minor in Journalism, from the University of Pennsylvania. Follow her along at @laurenktappan.