Geek Chic! Librarian-Core! Why "Nerdy" Fashion Will Define 2024

(Image credit: Launchmetrics Spotlight/Markgong; Gilbert Flores:WWD via Getty Images; Mark Mainz:Getty Images for IMG; Launchmetrics Spotlight/Miu Miu)

Picture this: you’re curled up in bed, phone in hand, scrolling through social media. On some level, you know that it might behoove you to open that book, but let’s be honest, TikTok is just too engrossing. Sure, maybe we’re a bit over-dependent upon these platforms for entertainment. However, our hypothesis is that social media offers us a masterclass in the human psyche (if you’re willing to read between the lines). After all, these online platforms aren’t just something we idly scroll through; they influence every aspect of modern life—from how the platforms have transformed the publishing industry to how we dress daily. It might seem like the impact TikTok has had on different sectors of industry and pop culture might be disparate, but the truth is that it’s all connected. The best example of that is the rise of a specific fashion aesthetic: “geek chic,” or what’s also referred to as the “librarian-core” trend. 

The mere notion of dressing like a “nerd” feels antithetical to the current state of fashion, in which the collective is obsessed with keeping up with what trends are currently deemed as “cool”—refer to the rapid rise of the mob-wife aesthetic or clean-girl beauty as examples. Contrary to other trends that feel like marketing gimmicks, the geek-chic fashion aesthetic has been deeply intertwined into the cultural zeitgeist for decades, if not longer. The concept of what nerds look like may have evolved from their early definitions in the ’50s and ’90s, but it’s always acted as both a tool for subversion and ostracization. With the latter, there’s no shortage of historical examples in which the caricatures of geeks are touted in mainstream media to offer a distinct visual manifestation to reinforce ideas around who is considered “normal,” “desirable,” or even “important” in broader society.  

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