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6th December 2022

Frosty elf chic: From the runway to TikTok, this seasons Winter trends

Winter trends are back with a boom and this year has seen a real change-up in Winter uniform, taking inspiration from several time periods, weather, and designer favourites from the runway
Frosty elf chic: From the runway to TikTok, this seasons Winter trends
Photo: Lucy Giles@ The Mancunion

Long gone are the days of warm burgundy and beige  ‘Brit-tuber’ style of Winter fashion trends. While it has been a good few years since the oversized trench coats and tartan scarfs have graced the streets and our feeds, the passing of this style had left a bit of a void in the Winter-trend world.

But over the past few months on TikTok, Pinterest, and in our wardrobes, a new wave of winter fashion has burst onto the scene. Something that feels like ‘frosty sprite chic’ or ‘snow angel-core’. With a focus on White ethereal clothes, 2000s winter accessories, and an emphasis on embracing the cold. These trends are influencing how people are dressing the makeup they are wearing. We have a look at some of the elements featured in these trends.

Bleached Brows

While the infamous bleached brow trend has been going on since the Spring/Summer it is still raging on with more and more people choosing to take the plunge into bleached-out brows. Suffice to say, the days of chunky brows have gone.

The bleached brows can work in two ways: either so light they look like the wearer does not have any, to give a sprite-ish kind of look. Or, they can be toned almost white so as to look almost as if frost had settled upon them.

While the bleached brow is a cool look right now, it also has kind of become a feminist movement of reclamation in its own right. Julia Fox said in a TikTok video that “I love having bleached brows, because it’s kind of a man-repellent. They absolutely hate it.” 

While eyebrows trends and desired thickness have changed over the years generally no eyebrows have been kind left outside of the beauty standard and seen as undesirable by the male gaze. Therefore for a lot of women in particular, other than looking amazing, bleached brows have become a way of showing you do not care what men find attractive. You are truly ‘doing it for the girlies’. 

Lucy and I bleached our brows a couple of weeks ago using Jolen’s creme bleach and were pleasantly surprised by the results! We both needed a few bleach applications to make sure they were fully blonde, and toner later on to give the full ‘frosty sprite’ effect.

There were no dramatic, teenage angst reasons behind our transformations (although we did listen to a few Olivia Rodrigo songs). It was definitely a fun temporary change to make to our appearances. Even though I like following TikTok and Pinterest trends, I rarely act on them. In this case, I’m glad that we took the plunge into our girl boss, angel-core, snow-embracing selves!

White frosty eyeshadow, smokey eyes and a revamped red lip.

Alongside the bleached brows, for a snow angel dusted-in-snowflakes type of vibe, people have been pairing the brows with white glittery eyeshadow.

In line with a 2000s style of eyeshadow application with a more rounded and sparse application, as opposed to the late 2010’s theme of compact well-blended eyeshadow and thick eyeliner. The looks are set alongside a black smoky pencil on the lash line. These makeup looks seem to be reaching for nostalgia and embrace of the colder winter days. 

I’m cold blush

TikTok is currently the place to go for beauty trends: from the clean girl aesthetic to siren eyes, soap brows to the wolf cut. At the moment, it’s the ‘I’m cold’ makeup look that’s garnering hundreds of thousands of views on the social media platform.

Its main focus is heavy blusher on the apples of your cheeks and the tip of your nose along with white iridescent highlighter on the eyes and lip gloss. Glamour magazine described it as the “seasonal version of the sunburned makeup trend.” Essentially it’s a chic imitation of looking cold without your skin actually suffering for it!

The look echoes the 00s, specifically S Club 7’s ‘Never Had A Dream Come True’ music video.

To recreate, apply pink blusher to the cheeks and tip of the nose, use glittery white highlighter either across your eyelids or in the inner corners of your eyes (feel free to put some on the tip of your nose too!) and finally sticky lip gloss in a natural shade. Keep your base makeup natural and the rest of your makeup minimal – maybe just soap brows and subtle winged eyeliner. 

@sagszn I’m overheating from wearing this fit indoors but I look like I’m fresh out the snow ❄️☃️ #imcoldmakeup #imcold #winterishere ♬ son original – quentin

Crochet and warm accessories

A common theme with these winter trends is that they have had obvious surges in popular culture in Spring and Summer. With their ‘Winterfied’ versions having been explored these past few months.

Pearls have moved from the makeup looks seen in Euphoria and at The Met back onto accessories, clothes and jewellery, but re-imagined. Rather than just simple bracelets and necklaces, they have been fashioned into hoop and drop earrings and a cluster of them as a statement ring. They have made their way into tights and handbags. Their iridescent nature and delicate appearance have naturally complimented the themes and aesthetic aimed for this Winter. 

A call back to over-accessorised and layered Winter looks has seen the re-popularisation of almost forgotten Winter accessories. For example, hand warmers, leg warmers and muffs ( who else remembers having one of these as a child?). These add to a 2022 affinity with layering and maximalism and this cold look’s answers to keeping warm. Especially given the fact that micro and mini skirts have stuck around for this season, leg warmers and unique tights have come as the fashionable solution. I can see white and pastel tights making a huge comeback in the new year.

Crocheting has also seen a surge in popularity over the past couple of years from it becoming a way to pass the time during lockdown to now providing a means for people to keep warm during the cost of living crisis – whilst also being incredibly stylish and trendy, of course!

With crochet kits costing less than £10 on Amazon and tutorials being freely available on the internet, the hobby is proving to be a hit amongst teenagers and students particularly. Although crochet crop tops and bikinis were all the rage over the summer, now we are seeing a revival of garments that up until recently were considered cheesy and outdated such as leg warmers and fingerless gloves. Other trending winter warmers include headbands and ear muffs. While you obviously can’t crochet earmuffs, you could certainly give headbands a go.

Included in the new wave of crochet and preppy is a love of big wide scarfs, open-faced balaclavas, and scarfs fashioned into them. This again fits in with the new re-emergence of vintage and ‘old money’ style looks, calling back an image of 50s Hollywood chic, whilst also keeping you warm.

 The quarter zip

Another item that was once viewed as unchic but is now making a resurgence is the quarter zip sweatshirt. We’ve already seen the trending North Face movement with its sportswear and outdoorsy pieces that I’ve typically only ever seen worn when camping or skiing. Now, they are filling up lecture halls and providing much-needed comfort and warmth to students.

Typically these jackets are worn by men. However, now they are available in womenswear on ASOS, Shein, Urban Outfitters and H&M. I’ve most frequently seen them paired with cargo trousers or flared jeans with crossbody bags and trainers due to their sporty nature but I personally like mine with a skirt for nights out. 

The return of the racer jacket

Jackets are always a key part of winter fashion trends, obviously, and in the past few years the focus has been all about the oversized with huge puffer coats and boxy leather blazers, but now the tight fit is back. Racer jackets are in – collarless, form-hugging, and bold. Think F1 or Tom Cruise in Top Gun but with fashionable flair.

Racer jackets are most popular in black with splashes of colour. Yet burgundy racer jackets in the womenswear sections are also trending in line with the revival of this classic winter colour. Due to the tight-fitting nature of racer jackets, there isn’t much of an opportunity for layering but perhaps that’s why they’re ‘in’ now as people appear to be favouring scarves and warmers rather than jumpers or cardigans.

From the Runway: Dior

This year, Dior won my favourite ready-to-wear autumn/winter runway collection, truly embodying my vision of 2022 winter fashion.

Although favouring a darker colour palette with black, beige, dark grey and pops of colour, they don’t fall in line with the frosted elf look trending across social media. Instead, popular winter style elements appeared on their runway in March.

Even the makeup done by Peter Philips (creative and image director for Christian Dior Makeup) seemed to foreshadow the ‘I’m cold’ trend. He described the look as, “beautiful skin, a nicely groomed eyebrow, and… a luminous spot of silver in the corner of the eye.” Ring any bells?

The collection’s simplicity and elegance made it the most viewed runway this year according to Vogue audiences so clearly I’m not the only one to be impressed. For me, it was the combination of trending ethereal, angel-core elements and makeup with more rugged, gritty pieces that made the collection stand out. 

Overall, it seems that this year’s winter fashion is leaning towards a more delicate and light, sugar and spice and all things nice style rather than a cosy winter aesthetic or a dark, industrial look. We’ve seen a rise in fairycore and balletcore recently, largely on TikTok at the beginning of 2020, and it looks like it’s sticking around for a little while longer.

The good news is whilst fast fashion and trend cycling are advised against due to their wasteful nature and connection with exploiting garment workers, the currently trending pieces don’t appear to fall into those categories too much. Crocheting pieces yourself or buying them from small independent stores is favourable to buying items off of Shein, and investing in something like a racer jacket that is durable and will likely last for many winters to come is a great way of avoiding fast fashion. Plus, winter trends tend to last several years as large items like coats and scarves are expensive so people prefer building up a winter wardrobe to keep for as long as possible. 


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