Vanilla Girl Aesthetic 101

The “vanilla girl aesthetic” is nothing new, but the latest term to capture a trend that has likely been around since the dawn of time. I like this specific term because it invokes the beautiful smell of vanilla — which reminds me of my mom.

The trend has been criticized as racially inclusive of white women, but it is not meant to be at all. It has nothing to do with skin color or race. Anyone can be a vanilla girl if they choose to do so, even men — maybe they’d prefer “vanilla boy” or “vanilla man”…?

The word “vanilla” in this context does not refer to the color white. It is the cultural meaning of the word — how as a society, we label “soft” or “uncomplicated” things as vanilla.

Modern society demonizes this word — “don’t be so vanilla!” That’s because people tend to equate softness with weakness. This is a part of toxic hustle culture, the pressure to stay busy, be a high-achiever, and always be on-the-go.

What I like about the trend is that it reclaims the associations of “soft,” “plain,” “simple,” “quiet,” etc.

This aesthetic definitely reminds me of hygge — the danish philosophy of embracing comfort and slow-living. Alongside, it certainly parallels many other aesthetics, such as “soft girl aesthetic” and even parallels “cottagecore” and many others.

Like all aesthetics, most of the focus is on fashion and home decor. Look for the following colors:

  • White
  • Eggshell
  • Cream
  • Brown
  • Biege
  • Tan
  • Black
  • Light pink
  • Baby blue

Basically, look for neutral tones and the occasional splash of pastel. You want to avoid bright and bold colors with harsh and unnatural tones.

Now, just because vanilla is white, doesn’t make it the only acceptable color. Again, vanilla refers not to white, but to natural colors that are easy on the eyes. This means the avoidance of fire-hydrant red, for example — or rainbows, stripes, polka dots of clashing colors.

Goals of vanilla girl aesthetic:

  • Simplicity
  • Cozniess
  • Warmth
  • Plainness
  • Self-care
  • Soft and fuzzy
  • Smelling good (preferably like vanilla)

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