Blane’s Style Files: Microtrends and the Illusion of Novelty

If you’ve been keeping up with the whirlwind of microtrends that have pervaded the fashion world over the last year, then you probably know exactly what I mean when I mention blueberry milk nails, glazed doughnut nails, tomato girl summer, cowboy copper hair, and cinnamon cookie butter hair.

If you have no idea what any of that means, then not only do you actually have a life, but you’re probably in the majority.

To put you out of your misery, blueberry milk nails are pale baby blue nails. Glazed doughnut nails are pale pink nails with a shear chrome or pearl finish. Tomato girl summer is a vaguely mediterranean aesthetic using red and off-white clothes with an occasional food-themed graphic print. Cowboy copper hair is a muted, autumnal, red-toned hair colour. Cinnamon cookie butter hair seems to just mean brown hair. No, I’m not kidding.

An interesting theme linking some of the most viral microtrends of the last year is that they all have obscure names, to the point where their meaninglessness only serves to fuel their own virality through google searches that lead to articles advertising the products the trend entails, and confused TikToks that transmit curiosity about the trend to even more people.

However, as soon as you dissect what these micro trends actually are, another common thread emerges – all of these trends revolve around ultra-specific items and leave very little room for interpretation.

This is probably because the majority of the trends originate from pictures of celebrities. Both Dua Lipa and Sabrina Carpenter posted pictures of themselves with pale blue nails not long before the commencement of the blueberry milk nails saga. Fashion reporters (or avid fans) then pick up on this and spread the word about it.

However, there are only so many different colours of nail polish, or hair colours, or clothes colour combinations to write about, so fashion reporting outlets often give new and obscure names to old trends that have come back, and as previously discussed this fuels the trend’s virality, successfully recycling an old trend under a new name. A quick search will easily reveal that Vogue magazine has featured shades of pale blue nail polish several times before, and nails that look suspiciously like Hailey Bieber’s famous glazed doughnut nails have appeared before until articles talking about frosted makeup and pearl nails – the only difference is the (completely arbitrary) name that’s been slapped onto the trend.

Especially with the blueberry milk nails, the resemblance to Miranda Priestley’s cerulean monologue in The Devil Wears Prada is so obvious that it shouldn’t need to be mentioned, but it does go to show just how carefully curated and calculated the world of fashion really is. The truth is that fashion magazines have a lot more control over the current fashion climate than first meets the eye, not only with what styles they choose to feature, but also with how they market them, or even just the language they use to write about them