My attempt at making a maximalist outfit may be the worst thing I've ever worn but at least it got me experimenting with my wardrobeIsabel Dempsey

“And now I think I’m going to pair this Valentino tutu with these galaxy print leggings. And to finish the look I’ll wear this wig from my high school production of Annie as a hat.” Once upon a time these words might have prompted scared laughs, but now ensembles of this sort are becoming a frequent occurrence on TikTok that viewers are learning to accept as the norm.

This controversial maximalist trend is a garish and eye-widening response to clean girls, capsule wardrobes and basic minimalism. The outfits created within this movement give a futuristic insight into a world where we are invited to throw all our preconceptions about fashion out of the window. My first introduction to this trend came in the form of @tinyjewishgirl on TikTok. An eclectic and imaginative creator to say the least, her videos consist of styling bold and brave outfits to an audience of extremely mixed reviews. Her creative process is certainly an adventure and you’re never really quite sure where the outfit is going to go next. “Let’s pair this thrifted top with my Miu Miu skirt.” Okay. “Now let’s add this belt as a headband.” Eyebrows start to be raised. “And use this dishevelled giant octopus toy as a coat to finish the look.” Deep sigh.

“Their defiance of the norms of fashion allow them to embrace true creativity”

Look, I don’t want to be a hater. In fact, the comment sections of creators of this sort are filled with outrageous amounts of unnecessary bullying (because apparently people aren’t allowed to be individuals anymore?). Despite all the negativity, most of the outfits usually do (just about) work. When these creators tell me two items go together, despite initial appearances, I generally believe them. Their defiance of the norms of fashion allow them to embrace true creativity and think outside the box to extraordinary effect. No, I would never be caught dead in most of their outfits but their strange visions have the power to make some of the whackiest items magically cohesive. And yet, other times, the final product just seems off in some way I can’t quite put my finger on. And, in a few rare occurrences, it’s just downright horrific.

These sometimes more horrifying creations have become a meme across the internet, with countless parody videos created in response. The problem? Sometimes it’s difficult to figure out what’s parody and what’s not. Many a time I’ve been watching a styling video and gullibly believing it to be genuine, only for them to finish the look with a diamond studded bra synching their 2008 Twilight tee on top of a Selkie puff dress for me to get the joke.Now I start watching most styling videos ready to laugh at these satirical fits only for me to discover that it’s actually the creator’s genuine style. Oops.

“Sometimes it’s difficult to figure out what’s parody and what’s not”

Yes, sometimes these outfits are massive flops but that doesn’t make their attempts any less valuable or inspiring. Pushing the limits of style makes us reconfigure what style is and analyse the abstract indescribable feeling you get when an outfit just works. It helps us separate the bad, the mediocre and the runway-worthy, pushing the limits of what clothes can be and what has to be worn with what. They say “screw you” to trends and fashion standards, instead insisting that we should just wear what makes us happy and brings us personal joy. So many comments get angry at these creators for pairing high-end designer pieces with strange cheap items they deem unworthy. But why be angry? It’s not their money and it’s not their clothes. Yes, the sheer amount of weird and wacky items these creators own might be a concern, but as long as they get the majority second-hand and force themselves to use and style all the pieces, surely it can’t be a waste. At the end of the day, their determination to break out of the restricting boxes of trend conformity helps rather than hinders the sustainable fashion movement. As a result of the child-like spirit of dressing up for fun that they inspire, they help people consider styling “cheugy” clothes in new and creative ways.


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Having recently watched much more of the satire than the real thing, I looked back over @tinyjewishgirl’s Instagram page for a refresher. Yes, some outfits looked, well, questionable to my eyes. But others made her look like the Barbie doll or Polly Pocket of my childhood dreams. I could appreciate the effort and creativity behind her fits even if I wouldn’t be caught dead in them myself. Fashion should be about expression, not conformity. So why waste effort laughing at these creators for being brave enough to break out of these boxes? That’s what true personal style is after all.