Everything You Need to Know About the “Soft Boy Aesthetic” & How to Style the Look

Bryce Hall
Courtesy of @brycehall on Instagram
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It’s safe to say that TikTok has transformed the way we interact with social media. It’s made us laugh, it’s made us cry, it’s made us buy products we’ve never considered purchasing before and it even forced everyone and their mother to whip coffee at the beginning of 2020.

Over the past year, the app has become a coping mechanism for bored-in-quarantine children, teens and adults as an outlet where we can sit down and turn our brains into Jell-O for a couple of hours. Depending on which videos you interact with, TikTok will begin to style its algorithm by showing videos they think you, as an individual, would like. But, one thing about TikTok is that no matter what normally comes up on your For You Page, we’re sure that you’ve knowingly or unknowingly come into contact with the “soft boy aesthetic” at least once or twice.

Just like the scene culture derivative of MySpace, TikTok has unintentionally created a whole new fashion sense amongst teens and young adults deemed the “soft boy” or “soft girl” aesthetic. The style has an internet-driven root that visually portrays an artistic, sensitive side through clothing, makeup, jewelry and hair. For guys, the style kind of conjoins what you’d consider your typical “fuck boy” look with more “sad boy” overtones to create a look cringe to some but stylish for others.

What Makes a Soft Boy Outfit?

Dangle earrings, moppy middle-parted hair, oversized short-sleeve tees over long-sleeve tees, baggy jeans, turtleneck dickies and painted nails tend to be some serious components to the style. Muted and neutral colors are the most popular, too. So, black and white will be your two new best friends. If you’re familiar with the guys on “straight” TikTok, think Lil Huddy, Bryce Hall and Josh Richards. You know, the guys who do those little dances and make millions of dollars doing so.

The soft boy aesthetic simply does not exist without TikTok and the internet culture surrounding it. It’s come from a place in which shares and likes through the TikTok app signal boosted the soft boy aesthetic to millions upon millions around the globe. The boyish quality attached to soft boy outfits, hair and overall aesthetic has become synonymous with TikTok stardom and popularity. Just look at Lil Huddy’s follower account in the TikTok above. Thirty million followers. It’s really no wonder why guys are dipping their toes into the soft boy style given its heavily regarded notoriety on the internet.

Lucky for you, if you’re willing to give the look a shot, soft boy outfits aren’t challenging to find online. As mentioned earlier, a couple of basics will put you in the exact direction you need to be in. No, the look isn’t for everyone — especially if you’re over the age of, like, 25 maximum. But, for those of you younger millennials and Gen Zers out there, here are the basics you need for the best soft boy outfit money can buy.

1. Dangle Earrings

You can’t rock a soft boy outfit without dangle earrings. It is quite literally the most important staple of the look. If you pull a look dangle earring-less, you’re not repping the soft boy aesthetic. So, you’re going to need your ears pierced, boys. Whatever’s dangling from your ears doesn’t really matter, it just has to dangle. Etsy has a number of dangle earring options for guys in both gold and silver depending on your preferences. Examples include roses, crosses, leaves and even these daggers pictured below.

Dagger Earrings Courtesy of Etsy

  

2. Long-Sleeve Tee

Now that you’ve got your earrings in, it’s time to begin layering. Throw on a long-sleeve tee as your look’s base. This striped black and white long-sleeve tee shirt is super in right now and will look great covered with an oversized tee. It’s pretty baggy, too, so you might have to tuck it into your pants. For just $20, this is a reusable option you can merge into most day-to-day soft boy outfits.

ASOS DESIGN Oversized Organic Long Sleeve T-Shirt Courtesy of ASOS

  

3. Oversized T-Shirt

Right on top of your base layer, you’re going to throw on a tee. You know, to create that dual-shirt look that’s so popular right now. A classic graphic tee never hurts for this specific look, especially when it has such fitting text. Remember: snag this in a size up. The baggier, the better.

Courtesy of Urban Outfitters

  

4. Turtleneck Dickies

While they aren’t necessary for this outfit specifically, turtleneck dickies are essential for a number of soft boy outfits. They’re easy to throw on and add the right amount of flair to your look without going overboard. Throw them on under a baggy sweatshirt or long-sleeve tee and it will almost always heighten your soft boy outfit.

Courtesy of Amazon

  

5. Baggy Jeans

We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again: the baggier, the better. Baggy jeans are a must-have if you’re looking to master the soft boy aesthetic. Most colors work just fine, so these light wash blue jeans from ASOS are pretty much perfect. Rips look great, so feel free to go to town yourself or find a pair pre-ripped. Don’t forget to roll your cuffs at least twice. Highwaters are low-key a must.

ASOS DESIGN Baggy Jeans Courtesy of ASOS

  

6. Sneakers

Sneaks are a must. The most popular to step out in are AF1s and Converse high-tops, so you can’t go wrong with either. For this look, we’re choosing AF1s because we feel they make a little more sense. Don’t be so afraid to dirty them up, either. A dirty pair of AF1s are a good-looking pair of AF1s.

Nike Air Force 1 '07 Courtesy of Nike

  

7. High Socks

It’s kind of funny how important high socks are to this outfit since bare legs are a big, fat no. You can’t ever go wrong with a classic, easy-to-wear pair of white high socks, but if you want to spice it up a little, get out there and snag a different color.

High Socks Courtesy of Amazon

  

8. Nail Polish

We’re incapable of explaining just how important nail polish is to the soft boy aesthetic. Like, it’s needed. Throw on whatever color your mom or sister’s got because what goes on the nails doesn’t really matter. What matters is that they’re painted.

OPI Nail Lacquer Courtesy of Amazon

  

9. Carhartt Beanie

Yes, before you ask, it has to be Carhartt. Why? We don’t know. It just has to. As mentioned, middle-parted moppy hair is pretty much necessary to the soft boy aesthetic, but on bad hair days, a beanie won’t ever hurt. We’re topping this look off with a bright color just for fun, but feel free to snag any color you want.

Courtesy of Amazon