What the Mob Wife Aesthetic Taught Us About Engaging With Trends

Just a few days into 2024, TikTok creators declared the end of minimalist trends and the beginning of the mafia women aesthetic phenomenon. “Clean girls are over, the era of mafia wives has arrived,” says the videos » proclaimed, announcing the arrival of a new aesthetic style that, in no time, spread to every corner of the Internet.

If you're wondering what exactly the “mafia wife” aesthetic is, you're not alone. Although questionable due to its connection to crime, the name suggests that this trend would draw on everything that the social imagination and pop culture have associated. romantic partners of gangsters, but with a certain lightness. In one of the first videos linked to this trend, influencer Sarah Jordan Arcurithe self-proclaimed “CEO of Mob Wife Aesthetic,” explained how to dress like a mob wife.

“You should start with an outfit consisting of all-black clothing. […] If you look like you're going to a funeral, you're doing it right. Next, you're going to pick up your mom's old fur jacket from the 80s. Nothing screams “golden age of the mob” like a jacket that lived in the golden age of the mob.” Arcuri said in her video, posted in October 2023, before listing other style essentials such as gold jewelry, sunglasses and designer clothing. Bags. In the caption, she wrote: “yes, it’s satire (sort of). »

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However, starting in January, photos of characters from films and television series like Goodfellas, the GodfatherAnd The Sopranos were making the rounds online as the perfect representation of the mob wife trend. (It helped, of course, that January marked the 25th anniversary of The Sopranoswho fed theories that this trend was orchestrated by the HBO marketing team.)

Planned or not, the mob wife aesthetic quickly gained momentum with explainers, tutorials, and glossy articles across social media platforms and media.

The question is: why has this become a viral phenomenon? After all, the trend “is just an exaggerated version of trends that are not only accepted by the general public, but are in some cases even celebrated as the pinnacle of high fashion,” he explains. Rebecca Bauman, PhD, associate professor of Italian at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Bauman, who already explored the meaning of mafia fashion in pop culture in 2022. “Fashion houses with roots in southern Italian aesthetics, like Versace and Dolce & Gabbana, and their materials, patterns and silhouettes are the same as those found in the women's aesthetic of the mafia,” adds Bauman.

Kaia Gerber walks the runway during the Versace show as part of Milan Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2020-2021 on February 21, 2020 in Milan, Italy.

Victor Boyko/Getty Images

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