The Dreamy Wes Anderson Aesthetic, Explained

The look is taking over Fashion TikTok.

A woman wears a yellow dress with white collars and looks into binoculars.
Courtesy of Focus Features
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Wes Anderson — and his singularly dreamy aesthetic — is having a major moment on social media. Last month, a TikTok trend inspired by the cult-favorite director’s cinematography made its rounds on the platform, and aspiring directors, savvy video editors, and content creators alike tried their hand at the challenge. Since TikToker @avawillyums launched the #wesandersontrend hashtag on the social app, videos have earned over 113 million views and counting.

What started as an editing style challenge has since inspired the Very Online to dive deeper into the notable aesthetic and incorporate other crucial Anderson style elements: particularly, the whimsical, retro-style fashion his films are known for. Proof: even OG influencers like Aimee Song and Alyssa Coscarelli have hopped on the trend, sharing their own impeccably-styled takes.

It’s no surprise that fashion girlies are clued into the look these days. After all, Anderson is responsible for some of the most enduring style icons in film history. Who could forget Gwyneth Paltrow’s turn as Margot Tenenbaum in the 2001 cult classic The Royal Tenenbaums? Even Hailey Bieber has paid homage to the original dark academia girlie, proving her sartorial legacy endures, even decades later.

If you, too, want to dress the part or just want to know more about this buzzy aesthetic taking over your feeds, read on.

What Is The Wes Anderson Aesthetic?

The man behind legacy films like The French Dispatch, Moonrise Kingdom, and The Grand Budapest Hotel, among others, built his oeuvre on his fast-paced cinematography (more tips on that here). Most famous, though, might be his distinctly dreamy pastel color grading and the balanced, perfectly-symmetrical composition he often reached for.

Groovy, wonderfully-retro ensembles are often a focal point of his films — many of which have gone down in fashion history and impact culture, even today. The Royal Tenenbaums, for example, basically launched the dark academia aesthetic.

How To Dress For The Aesthetic

If you’re keen to take on the trend, the first element you need to consider is your outfit’s hues (color is arguably the biggest element of any Anderson film). The more monochromatic and harmonious, the better.

For no-fail pairings, consider a mix of browns, yellows, and shades of amber (à la The Royal Tenenbaums), muted pinks and darker blues (as in The Grand Budapest Hotel), yellows and jewel tones (The French Dispatch), muted yellows, greens, and pale blues (Moonrise Kingdom). Muted shades of yellow are a staple in many of Anderson’s films, so you shouldn’t go wrong with an outfit that's just orange.

When it comes to the actual clothes, consider those with an eccentric, retro vibe. Collared schoolgirl dresses (think: Wednesday Addams but in sepia instead of goth), nondescript camel coats, and tights-covered legs.

To nail his perfectly symmetrical compositions in your ‘fit pic, make sure you’re positioned centrally. Use your camera or phone’s grid if you have to and have your subject right smack in the middle.

If you can take pictures in interiors or landscapes with already warm tones and vintage-looking designs, that’s even better and will make the job a whole lot easier. Gorgeous old buildings are also crucial in his films, so if you spot one that calls to mind any movie, go ahead and pose.

For a refresh of his aesthetic, go back to the source. Rewatch your favorite Anderson film — trust me, no one does it quite like him.