The Coquette Aesthetic Is Trending on TikTok. Here’s How to Get the Look

Lolita meets Marie Antoinette

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coquette trend: harajuku, marie antoinette, lana del rey
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Last year was undeniably the year of the girl. We had tomato girl, grocery girl fall, gingerbread girl, girl math and a plethora of other girl trends pop up on social media. But as much as we love harkening back to childhood, even the girl must grow up. Or, at least, evolve. Say hello to the coquette. “Halfway between a Lolita and a Marie Antoinette, the coquette girl is romantic but nostalgic,” explains fashion stylist Catherine Bibeau. “The coquette woman is a woman who loves romance and innocence.” Below, the history of several trends that lead to the evolution of the aesthetic, plus my interview with Bibeau about how to achieve the look.

Meet the Expert

Catherine Bibeau is a fashion stylist and designer, and the founder of Nacre Voyage, a luxury swimwear company. Her designs have been featured in publications such as WWD, Oprah Daily and L’Affaire. Additionally, Bibeau is a fashion consultant at Salvatore Ferragamo and has also worked with brands like Dior, Lancôme and Guerlain.

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What Is the Coquette Aesthetic?

In French, coquette translates to “flirtatious.” It’s also defined, according to Merriam-Webster, as “a woman who endeavors without sincere affection to gain the attention and admiration of men.”  Or, as YouTuber and cultural commentator Mina Le puts it in a 2023 video, “A coquette is ‘the woman who flirts.’ The coquette aesthetic is known for embodying the idyllic and the feminine.” Bibeau notes that coquette is a crossover: Lolita meets Marie Antoinette circa 2010 à la Sofia Coppola.

When it comes to the clothing and makeup, a quick scroll through TikTok shows that the color palette is soft. “The key for fashion is pastel colors and white,” Bibeau says. Bows, knits, stockings and lace abound. Cue the corsets, the bodices and the Rococo hair. As for makeup, it must be natural, Bibeau says, with a little blush. (Think: innocent rosy cheeks.) “Focus on eyes with luminous eyeshadow, thin eyeliner for a doe-eyed look and black mascara with a false eyelash effect,” she adds.

Influences on the Coquette Aesthetic

The culmination of the coquette look as we see it now can be traced back to an amalgam of styles, beginning, perhaps, with Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov’s 1955 novel about a man who preys on a 12-year-old girl, whom he sometimes refers to as “nymphet.” The 1997 film adaptation canonized the image of Lolita not as a child but a young woman with cherry lips seductively snapping bubble gum. It was girlhood, but naughty.

The ‘80s through the 2000s also saw the height of Harajuku, an era named after the Tokyo neighborhood known for its outlandish fashion. Harajuku is a fusion of girlhood and grunge, a mash of cosplay, school uniforms, Lolita, kawaii (a Japanese term for “endearingly cute”) and goth looks. The colors are big and bold, at times almost kitschy, playful and surreal, like you’ve tumbled into an anime movie. Here, bows and combat boots are equally likely to appear in the same outfit.

Fast forward to the 2010s and we have Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette (2006) and Lana del Ray’s Lust for Life (2017) and Blue Bannisters (2017). The former is, perhaps, one of the ultimate odes to girlhood and a precursor to the Bridgerton frenzy and obsession with the ultra-feminine (see: the rise of Selkie and LoveShackFancy) that would overtake us in 2020. Del Rey ties everything together, the style notable in her two aforementioned albums, as well as the bow motifs seen in Did You Know There’s A Tunnel Under Ocean Boulevard (2023). A quick search for “Lana del Ray core” (up 300 percent this year, per Pinterest, BTW), turns up a soft, feminine, girly look. Think a sea of lace, tulle, baby doll dresses, bows and flowers tucked into hair. But, also, lingerie, plunging necklines, heavy eyeliner and an ever-present dangling cigarette.

While all these styles have influenced the coquette aesthetic, it remains something unique in that the focus isn’t on a hypersexualized ideal of the girl or something overly flouncy or childish. Rather, Bibeau notes, the emphasis is on innocence and nostalgia.

How to Get the Look

If you want to try the coquette trend for yourself, here are five pieces to get you started, from hair accessories to outfits.

PureWow editors love a good hair bow, and as an editor I haven’t been able to walk three feet without running into a Jennifer Behr hair accessory. The Virginia Bow Barrette is a classic, simple satin piece that’s perfectly oversize with dreamy, fluttery ribbons. It’s available in six colors, including black, cream and blush.

It doesn’t get more coquette than a baby doll dress, and this sweet bubblegum number from Maeve checks all the boxes. This cotton pull-over has generously puffy sleeves, an elastic back and an empire waist that makes it charming and dainty.

Take a page from the Harajuku book with this cute, cozy 3-D heart sweater. If you pair it with an A-line miniskirt and button-down, you’ll nail the coquette look. All that’s missing is a pair of Mary Janes.

Speaking of Mary Janes, I’m obsessed with these patent-leather block pumps from Larroudé. In addition to black, the shoes come in silver, ivory, wine and silver. And if the design doesn’t sell you, maybe the fact that a certain Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez love the brand will.

A little blush, Bibeau says, is key to the coquette look. It gives you “baby doll” cheeks. PureWow Beauty Directory Jenny Jin says Haus Labs’s Color Fuse Blush is the best she’s used in years. (And as a beauty editor, she’s tested hundreds, if not thousands, of products.) This blush is available in six shades. “It packs so much pigment and yet, it sheers out beautifully, leaving behind the most flattering flush that doesn’t look the slightest pit patchy or uneven. It also gets bonus points for longevity,” Jin writes.

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