TikTok and Fashion Agree: Side Part Makes You Look Old

woman in brown button-up jacket near white painted wall

The side part, along with skinny jeans has been deemed a sign that you are out of tune with the times. The center part reigns supreme at the fashion shows of spring 2022 in New York City and Europe.

Glorianna Restrepo posted a TikTok viral video in July 2020 that said, “Prove me wrong.” Ms. Restrepo is a Connecticut-based photographer who was 24 years old. She continues the clip by extolling the “luscious and elegant” central part. Her voice, which was recorded under the “Middle Part Baddies” track, became a popular soundtrack to other TikTok videos about the bizarrely sensational topic center parts versus mid-portions. TikTok logic states that side parts and skinny jeans belong to out-of-touch millennials. While center parts and baggier mom jeans are appropriate for young Gen-Z. In playfully contentious videos, millennials defend their skinny-jean-side-parted turf, while Gen-Z trendsetters mock them. These subtle differences in hair parting and fit are now a generational lightning rod.

woman in brown button-up jacket near white painted wall

At least for now, the middle seems to have won. After a series of sleepy digital presentations, the fashion industry is now presenting a full schedule of shows in New York City and Europe. We are seeing subtle ways that our home time has influenced trends. Some editors have given up on Birkenstocks after almost two years of wearing high heels. Some sneaky elastic waists have made it into the front row. Our collective dependency on Instagram and TikTok to inform us of what’s hot and what’s not. Ms. Restrepo’s original middle-part video has almost 100,000 likes.

Designers and fashion experts are also embracing the middle. Nobody wants to be old. Bora Aksu, Kiko Kostadinov and established brands Prada Balmain and Chloe all used center parts in their runway shows. These center parts were also popular among buyers and editors at those shows. Vogue September issue There are many models with center parts. Beyonce, a former side-part devotee, is one of the most prominent celebrities to adopt the center-part trend.

Here’s some context: In the 2010s, when millennials were young, fashionistas preferred skinny gray jeans that could be tucked into boots and side-swooped hair, much like Lucy Liu and Sienna Miller. Phoebe Philo was the most admired fashion designer of that period. She often shaved her long, blond hair, and it looked great. In the ’90s, and at the beginning of the 21st century, when Gen Z was firmly back in focus, a more stark middle part reigned. TikTokers often fetishize this period by tagging videos “90s Fashion” and “y2k Fashion.” It’s not surprising that Gen Z’s obsession is also bleed into fashion circles.

Edward Lampley, a New York hairstylist, stated that he is obsessed with the late ’90s/early 2000s designs. He also cited Calvin Klein and Helmut Lang, minimalist designers, and the chin-length grunge haircuts worn by men like Nirvana or the Red Hot Chili Peppers. He said, “A lot what we’re looking at is this kind of natural texture with a bit of greasy middle, because that is something that was really good in that period.”

Deanna and Laura Fanning, twin sisters and designers of London’s Kiko Kostadinov womenswear, thought back to that time when they designed the look for their spring 2022 collection. They grew up in Melbourne and felt nostalgic about the time they first became interested fashion in 2003. A Vogue Italia photograph of a woman with straight hair and a middle part in the early 2000s was a great inspiration.

Divya, a 28 year-old Austin artist director and illustrator, finds the middle part evoking a different kind nostalgia. As a child, growing up in Dubai in an Indian family, she refused to be sent to school by her mother. This is the traditional Indian style. Indian women often braid their hair and place it in the middle. Sometimes, they also powder the line with red sindoor to signify that they are married. Ms. Seshadri changed her part to the middle when her mother complained.

For those who prefer their side-parts, or none at all, it won’t take long for the trendy kids to move on. Mr. Lampley, a hair stylist, offered some comforting words for those who don’t want the center. “No parts make you look old. It’s all about your face and the symmetry of it.”

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