TikTok and Fashion Agree: This Side Part Makes You Look Old
“PROVE ME THE CONTRARY, but I don’t think there is a single person who looks better with a side part than with a middle part, ”Glorianna Restrepo said in a viral TikTok video she posted in July 2020. Ms. Restrepo, a 24-year-old Connecticut photographer, continued in the clip to tout the middle part as “tasty, elegant” and “supreme.” Her voice, recorded as “Middle Part Baddies”, has become a popular soundtrack for other TikTok videos on the strangely sensational topic of middle parts versus middle parts. By TikTok logic, side parts and skinny jeans are for disconnected millennials, while center parts and looser “mom jeans” are for cool Gen Z kids. In playful and controversial videos, Millennials are defending their territory in skinny jeans, while Gen Z trendsetters laugh at them. These subtle differences in hair division and denim cut have become a must-have generational lightning rod.
The middle part seems to have won the battle, at least for now. As the fashion industry rears its brilliant head with a full roster of in-person shows in New York and Europe after several sleepy seasons of digital presentations, we see the insidious little ways our time at home has informed the trends. . There are the editors who ditched high heels after almost two years at Birkenstocks. A few sneaky elastic waistlines crept into the front row. And then there’s our collective reliance on TikTok and Instagram to tell us what’s in and out. Ms Restrepo, whose original mid-section video has nearly 100,000 likes, said: “I think the trend cycle, last year in particular, has gotten so out of hand because of social media.”
With teenagers, designers and fashion insiders stubbornly embrace the middle part. No one wants to look old. Designers like Bora Aksu and Kiko Kostadinov as well as establishment brands Prada, Balmain and Chloé all presented masterpieces for their catwalks. Publishers and audience buyers of these shows, too, mainly sports center pieces. The September issue of Vogue? A multitude of models, all with central parts. Our biggest celebrities, like former side part fan Beyoncé, have mostly embraced the center part trend.
A little background: For much of the 2010s, when millennials were younger, fashionistas preferred gray skinny jeans tucked into the boots and side cropped hair a la Sienna Miller and Lucy Liu. The most revered fashion designer of this period, Phoebe Philo, often parted her blonde hair to the side, messy. But in the ’90s and around the turn of the century, a period that returns with a vengeance for Gen Z, a sharper midsection reigned. Many TikTokers fetishize this period, labeling the videos “90s fashion” and “y2k fashion”. Social media and high fashion are now on an incestuous feedback loop, so it’s no wonder the Gen Z fixation is bleeding into the catwalks and fashion circles as well.
New York hairstylist Edward Lampley said, “Absolutely, we’re completely obsessed with references from the late 90s and early 2000s right now.” He cited minimalist designers Helmut Lang and Calvin Klein, as well as chin-up grunge hairstyles for men from bands like Nirvana and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. He continued, “A lot of what we see is that kind of natural texture, a little bit oily, with a nice middle part, because it’s something from that period that’s always very good.”
Twin sisters Laura and Deanna Fanning, 31, the designers and womenswear directors of London-based label Kiko Kostadinov, also had this period in mind when they came up with the look for their spring 2022 collection. in Melbourne, were nostalgic for their interest in fashion around 2003, and devoured John Galliano and Alexander McQueen’s collections on style.com. They were particularly inspired by an early 2000s photograph from Vogue Italia, of a model with a middle part and very straight hair looking over her shoulder.
For Divya Seshadri, artistic director and illustrator from Austin, 28, the central part evokes a different kind of nostalgia. When she was a child in an Indian family in Dubai, she resisted her mother’s attempts to send her to school with a middle part, which is a traditional Indian style. Many Indian women part their hair in the center and pull it into a braid, sometimes dusting the line with red sindoor to indicate that they are married. When Ms Seshadri recently changed her role to the center side, her mother berated her: “Of course you think it’s cool now that the internet thinks it’s cool, not when I wanted to.”
But for those who still prefer their side part – or no separate part at all – it won’t be long before cool kids move on to the next thing. Hairdresser M. Lampley offered a few words of comfort for those who don’t want to succumb to the center: “No room makes you look old. Side part, middle part, left right, this is really about what best matches your face and what matches the symmetry of your face.
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