close-up portrait of a oyung woman holding her hands on her face
Photo: Ana Bregantin

Aesthetics is a term that's been thrown around a lot lately, but what does it really mean? Is it just about looking pretty, or is there something deeper behind it? From the clothes we wear, and the makeup we put on to the way we decorate our homes, our aesthetic choices say a lot about who we are. But in the age of social media and endless visual content, aesthetics have taken on a whole new level of significance. 

With the ability to curate and share our styles with the world, aesthetics have become a means of self-expression and a way to connect with others who share our tastes. So, let's dive in and explore the world of aesthetics, what it means, and why it's become so popular on the internet in the recent few years.

What is Aesthetic as a Branch of Philosophy?

Aesthetics is a branch of philosophy concerned with the nature and appreciation of beauty, art, and taste. It seeks to understand and evaluate the qualities that make things beautiful or pleasing to the eyes and senses. Aesthetics encompasses a wide range of topics, including the nature of art, the part of the artist, the relationship between art and beauty, and the criteria for evaluating artistic pieces.

One of the main goals of aesthetics is to understand what makes art valuable. Philosophers of aesthetics have proposed various theories about the nature of beauty, including the idea that beauty is objective and can be discovered through rational inquiry, or that it is subjective and depends on individual tastes and preferences. 

Another important topic in aesthetics is the role of the artist. Aestheticians explore questions such as what motivates artists to create, how they go about creating their works, and what responsibilities they have to their audiences and society. They also consider the impact that art has on its viewers and how it can shape their experiences and perceptions of the world.

full portrait of a young woman ina vintage white dress and ginger hair
Photo: Ozan Çulha

The Concept of Aesthetics and the Internet

Internet aesthetic is a term used to describe the visual and stylistic elements commonly found on the internet, especially in the world of social media. It is a rapidly evolving and constantly changing aesthetic that reflects the cultural zeitgeist and technological advancements of the digital age. The internet aesthetic draws inspiration from a wide range of sources, including popular culture, fashion, art, and graphic design, and it is characterized by its use of bold colors, playful typography, and a sense of humor.

One of the defining characteristics of the Internet aesthetic is its ability to create a sense of community and belonging among Internet users. By using similar visual and stylistic elements across a range of digital platforms, internet users can instantly recognize and connect with others who share similar interests and aesthetics. This has led to the creation of online subcultures and communities that are bound together by a shared love of internet culture and aesthetics.

Another important aspect of the Internet aesthetic is its emphasis on self-expression and individuality. With the rise of social media and other digital platforms, people have more opportunities than ever before to express themselves creatively and showcase their unique set of interests. The internet aesthetic provides a visual language for this self-expression, allowing individuals to create digital personas that reflect their identities and values. 

an aesthetic portrait of a young woman with a bouquet of  white flowers in her hands
Photo: Camila Esteves

The Search Term “Aesthetic” and Google Trends

According to Google Trends, the search term "aesthetic" has been steadily increasing in popularity over the past five years, with the highest search interest coming from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand. The term is particularly popular among younger generations, with a significant portion of searches coming from individuals between the ages of 18 and 24.

In addition to Google Trends, social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok have also seen a significant increase in the use of the term "aesthetic", particularly in the context of visual content such as fashion, beauty, and home decor. Users use hashtags such as #aesthetic, #aesthetics, and #aestheticstyle to categorize posts and connect with others who share their aesthetic interests.

How Tumblr, Pinterest, and TikTok Popularized Aesthetics

Tumblr, Pinterest, and TikTok have each contributed to the popularization of aesthetics in their unique ways. On Tumblr, users created and shared mood boards, featuring images, quotes, and other media that conveyed a particular aesthetic. These mood boards often focused on niche interests, from gothic horror to cottagecore, and were shared widely among Tumblr communities. This platform allowed users to curate their own aesthetic identity and connect with others who shared their interests.

Pinterest, on the other hand, took the concept of mood boards to the next level. With a user interface designed specifically for creating visual collections, Pinterest became a hub for users to discover and save inspiration for everything from home decor to fashion. The platform's algorithm recommended related content, further exposing users to new aesthetics and styles. In this way, Pinterest made it easy for users to explore and experiment with aesthetics beyond their immediate interests.

TikTok, the latest addition to this trio, has revolutionized the way that aesthetics is shared and consumed. The platform's short-form video format allows users to showcase their aesthetic preferences and interpret others' in creative ways. TikTok has even popularized new aesthetics, such as "cottagecore," which has gained a massive following on the app. TikTok's algorithm also plays a significant role in promoting aesthetics, as the "For You" page serves as a feed of content that matches users' interests, making it easier than ever to discover new aesthetics and trends.

an aesthetic portrait of a young woman with a bouquete of  white flowers in her hands
Photo: Ozan Çulha

What Are the Most Popular Aesthetic Lifestyles at the Moment

In recent years, aesthetic lifestyles have gained significant popularity among people worldwide. From fashion and beauty to home decor and social media, the desire to curate a visually appealing and cohesive aesthetic has become a significant part of modern culture. Here are some of the most popular aesthetic lifestyles at the moment:

  • Cottagecore: This aesthetic celebrates the simplicity and serenity of rural life, often incorporating elements of nature and nostalgia into fashion and home decor. Think flowy dresses, cozy knitwear, floral prints, and rustic furniture.

  • Minimalism: In contrast to the maximalist tendencies of previous years, minimalism has emerged as a popular aesthetic lifestyle. With a focus on clean lines, neutral colors, and a "less is more" approach, minimalism prioritizes simplicity, functionality, and quality over excess.

  • Dark Academia: This aesthetic draws inspiration from classic literature, art, and academia, with a focus on dark, moody colors and traditional styles such as blazers, loafers, and pleated skirts. Think ivy-covered buildings, old books, and intellectual pursuits.

  • Kawaii: Originating in Japan, kawaii is a cute, colorful aesthetic that often incorporates playful, childlike elements such as pastel colors, cartoon characters, and fluffy animals. This aesthetic is popular among fans of anime and manga and has gained a significant following on social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok.

  • Grunge: A subculture that emerged in the 1990s, grunge has made a comeback in recent years. This aesthetic is characterized by edgy, rebellious fashion such as ripped denim, leather jackets, and combat boots, often paired with dark makeup and messy hairstyles.

These are just a few of the many aesthetic lifestyles that have gained popularity in recent years. Each aesthetic has its unique style and vibe, but they all share a common desire to create a visually pleasing and cohesive aesthetic that reflects the individual's personality and values. I'll try to explore them separately and compare, analyzing these aesthetics in future blog posts.


Overall, aesthetics is a complex and multifaceted branch of philosophy that explores the nature of beauty, art, and taste. It helps us appreciate and understand the art that surrounds us, and think about how it can enrich our lives and contribute to our understanding of the world around us.

Tumblr, Pinterest, and TikTok have each played a significant role in popularizing aesthetics by providing platforms for users to share, explore, and experiment with their unique aesthetic preferences. These platforms have created a new form of visual culture that encourages users to express themselves and connect with others based on shared aesthetics. However, there is always something more profound to the concept of aesthetics, worth exploring and learning about.