24 OCT - 2022
You may have noticed an influx of catholic crosses, creamy lace and big hair bows whilst skimming social media lately, here’s why.
The ‘catholic girl aesthetic’ or ‘catholicore’ is popping up everywhere on all social media platforms. If you haven’t seen it yet, you might not be looking in the correct crevices of the internet. The catholic girl aesthetic is a subgenre of alternative fashion, much like balletcore, gorpcore, coquette or subversive style. And no, I’m not talking about the infamous online joke ‘christian girl autumn’ (as seen below). The catholic girl aesthetic has more of a witchy, academic, goth vibe. Cathlicore uses symbols and motifs well known within the Christian religion purely as fashion fodder, as a statement.
Offensive? Perhaps… but unless you’re literally wearing a rosary around your neck (which is a big no no in christianity), how are people outside of the alt fashion echochamber to know you aren’t just proud of your religion and showing it off? All of the accessories that make up the catholic girl aesthetic (apart from the cross) aren't specifically tied to christianty, so there isn’t actually an issue behind it.
One influencer paving the way for the catholic aesthetic is Enya Umanzor. Often seen sporting cross necklaces, hair bows, ribbons, any and all kinds of lace, long skirts, ballet flats, and everything else in the catholic girl category, I believe the online creator very well may be at the forefront of this trend.
Part of me can’t help but feel like the Kravis wedding had something to do with the rise of cathlicore as well. Although some thought the wedding to be in poor taste, questioning its cultural appropriateness due to the multitude of traditional Mexican wedding motifs included. Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker’s May 2022 wedding also included a plethora of catholic iconography, such as a small image of the Virgin Mary on Kourtney’s veil and a sword through the sacred heart depicted on table setters, as well as other catholic themes.
A big part of Madonna's sweet/sultry, naughty/nice vibe was wearing layers of cross jewellery with white, lacey gloves, a corset, and a frilly tulle skirt.
Madonna, who has been there, done that, with the catholic girl aesthetic has a very complicated relationship with catholicism. Just last year she requested a meeting with the Pope (which was denied of course) as the music video for her song "Like A Prayer" was banned from the church in 1989 after depicting blasphemous scenes of burning crosses and showing Jesus in a sexual manner. A big part of Madonna's sweet/sultry, naughty/nice vibe was wearing layers of cross jewellery with white, lacey gloves, a corset, and a frilly tulle skirt. A perfect juxtaposition for her mix of innocent yet sexy vision. Madonna was a style icon for countless women in the 80s and had a massive influence on fashion, which might be why a lot of the cross jewellery people seem to be finding in thrift shops is vintage. Thanks Madonna!
With all that being said, here’s exactly what to wear if you want to nail the catholic girl aesthetic
Big Ol' Hair Bows/Ribbons
White Puffy Blouses
Especially if they are pastel coloured! These are quite easy to find in any of your local op shops.
Cross necklaces, earrings, and all jewellery in general
Maybe the most important of them all. The cross symbolises everything catholicism, and is the most recurrent emblem in the catholic girl aesthetic. Try layering a few necklaces! The aim is to look a little bit messy and grungy yet also sweet and wholesome. I’d recommend any gothic jewellery shop or op shop to find a catholic looking piece you might like!