What Is Kidcore And How Can You Copy The Look?

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Let's face it: fashion and beauty trends are popping up faster than ever and experiencing extremely high turnover thanks to social media. Although current generations are said to have their differences, one thing's for sure: the lines are blurred when it comes to sharing each other's aesthetic sensibilities. The idea of dressing for your age is something of the past; no one seems particularly bothered about the implications that past generations associated with certain articles of clothing.


So, it shouldn't come as any surprise that the latest micro-trend to capture the attention of the mainstream is something called "kidcore." Kidcore is one of many burgeoning movements that originated somewhere between blogging environments like Tumblr and the endless-scroll behemoth that is TikTok. The hashtag #kidcore appeared as early as 2016 on websites like Tumblr, where users often used the phrase to reminisce about objects from their childhood. Over time, the moniker became popular on apps like Instagram and TikTok for its association with the kidcore aesthetic. According to Sourcing Journal, other trends in the constantly growing "core" spectrum include regencycore, cottagecore, and gorpocore.


You might be wondering what you should look for if you're hoping to spot, or sport, kidcore looks. From a fashion standpoint, movements like kidcore tend to have distinct characteristics but still allow room for personal variation. We'll investigate what defines this microtrend and how you can try it for yourself.

Understanding kidcore and its growing popularity

Kidcore can refer to both clothing and makeup choices. Similar to its cousin clowncore, kidcore emphasizes a bright color palette in varying shades of the rainbow and childish prints, patterns, and silhouettes. Typical outfits integrate items like striped suspenders, denim overalls, and oversized jumpers or tees. Kidcore makeup looks rely heavily on bright pops of color, graphic liner or stenciled face designs, and sometimes the addition of 3D elements such as stickers or colored lashes. When it comes to accessories, kidcore enthusiasts favor novelty earrings, barrettes or hair baubles, and plastic bracelets. Those old enough to recall the Japanese street fashions of the 1990s and 2000s will notice curious similarities between kidcore and the Decora style seen in Harajuku. However, "decora and kidcore often overlap some in looks but they're definitely totally different things," as Reddit user Notsoreallybad pointed out in the Depop subreddit.


Why has kidcore exploded in popularity recently? Experts think kidcore and similar colorful trends are a form of creative escapism in response to post-pandemic blues. "All these issues bubbling up in society have brought people's psyches to a boiling point," Dr. Lisa Wong tells The Los Angeles Times. As juvenile as kidcore may sound, the inclusion of nostalgic elements in our wardrobes can act as a small mood booster when struggling with negative thoughts. "Connecting to our inner child through 'kidcore' fashion may inspire a sense of comfort and security during an otherwise challenging time," psychotherapist Dafna Kronental explained to Harper's Bazaar.

How to adapt the kidcore aesthetic to your style

You don't need to swap out your entire closet or vanity to experience the effects of kidcore. In fact, there are simple ways to weave it into your look. An easy way to integrate kidcore makeup is to use unexpected colors instead of your usual neutrals. At less than $5, Wet n Wild's MegaLiner Liquid Eyeliner in Voltage Blue is a stellar choice for creating electric-hued cat eyes or freckles. If you prefer to rouge your cheeks, ColourPop's Fighting Crime Blush is not only the perfect fuschia for kidcore looks but also comes in a theme-appropriate Powerpuff Girls compact at $7.80. For a lighthearted approach to skincare, The Crème Shop's Dreamy Skin Hydrocolloid Dark Spot Acne Patches are adorable primary-colored shapes that conceal blemishes, currently available through Ulta for $4.50.


You can easily experiment with kidcore attire through thrifting striped or graphic tees, washed denim, or oversized tops in vivid colors. One accessory to tie any classic kidcore outfit together is a pair of Rainbow Suspenders, which you can purchase at Hot Topic for under $10. For a twist, you can even try out spooky kidcore — that's kidcore, but under the influence of Halloween (via Reader's Digest). Kidcore is all about having fun and harkening back to simpler times, whether overtly or through subtle details. Now that you understand the basics of the kidcore aesthetic, it's up to you whether to fully cross over to the bright side of fashion.