TikTok and Fashion Agree: That Side Part Makes You Look Old

“PROVE ME WRONG, but I don’t think there is a single person that looks better with a side part than they do a middle part,” Glorianna Restrepo spoke in a TikTok video that she posted in July 2020. Ms. Restrepo is a Connecticut-based photographer who is 24 years old. “luscious, elegant” And “supreme” Center part. Recorded under the track, her voice “Middle Part Baddies,” was a popular soundtrack for TikTok videos that discussed the strangely sensational topic “center parts versus middle parts”. TikTok logic states that skinny jeans and side parts are for out-of-touch millennials. While center parts and baggier are for those who have more control. “mom jeans” are for cool Gen Z kids. In playfully contentious videos, millennials defend their skinny-jean-side-parted turf, while Gen-Z trendsetters mock them. These subtle differences in hair division, and denim fit, have become a common generational lightning rod.

At least for now, it seems that the middle part has won the battle. As the fashion industry rears its glossy head with a full slate of in-person shows in New York and Europe after multiple sleepy seasons of digital presentations, we’re seeing the tiny insidious ways in which our time at home has informed trends. The editors who have abandoned Birkenstocks for nearly two years are among the most notable. Some elastic waists sneak into the front row. And then there’s our collective dependence on TikTok and Instagram to tell us what’s in and out. Ms. Restrepo’s original middle-part video is almost 100,000 hits. “I think the trend cycle, the past year specifically, has gotten so crazy out of proportion because of social media.” 

Designers and teenagers are not the only ones. fashion insiders will not stop loving the middle. Nobody wants to be old. Designers like Bora Aksu and Kiko Kostadinov as well as established brands Prada, Balmain, and Chloé have all featured center parts for their runway shows. These center parts were also popular among buyers and editors at those shows. Vogue’s September issue? There are many models with center parts. Our biggest celebrities, too, like former side-part devotee Beyoncé, have mostly adopted the center-part trend.

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Beyoncé, shown here at a Brooklyn Nets game this year, has recently been parting her hair in the center.

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A little context: Fashionistas in the 2010s, when millennials were young, favored skinny gray jeans tucked in boots and side-swooped hair, much like Lucy Liu and Sienna Miller. That period’s most revered fashionPhoebe Philo, Phoebe’s designer, often parted her blond hair sideways, scruffily. But in the ’90s and at the turn of the century, a period that’s forcefully back in focus for Gen Z, a starker middle part reigned. Many TikTokers fetishize the period, tagging videos “90s fashion” And “y2k fashion.”Social media and high fashion are now on an incestuous feedback loop, so it’s no wonder that Gen Z’s fixation is also bleeding into the runway and fashionable circles.

Edward Lampley, a New York hairdresser, said: “Absolutely, we’re completely obsessed with the late ’90s and early 2000s references right now.” He cited minimalist designers Helmut Lang and Calvin Klein, as well as the chin-length men’s grunge haircuts of bands like Nirvana and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. He continued, “A lot of what we’re seeing is this kind of natural texture, a bit greasy, with a beautiful middle part, because that is something from that time period which is still really good.”

Backstage photo taken by Kate Moss in 1991 shows the model sporting the natural center part that was so popular during the grunge period.



Twin sisters Laura and Deanna Fanning, 31, the designers and directors of London brand Kiko Kostadinov’s womenswear, we’re also thinking about that period when devising the look for their spring 2022 collection. The sisters, who were born in Melbourne, felt nostalgic about the time they first became interested in fashion. fashion round 2003, they would consume collections by Alexander McQueen and John Galliano on style.com. They were especially inspired to look at a Vogue Italia photo from 2000, which shows a model with long straight hair and a middle part.

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The center parts have ebbed, flowed into. fashionOver the years. ‘Portrait of a Lady as St. Lucy,’ Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio painted this painting in 1500. It depicts a woman with a central part in the European style.


Divya Seshadri (28), an Austin artist director and illustrator, feels a different kind of nostalgia when she looks at the center part. When she was a child growing up in an Indian family in Dubai, she would resist her mother’s attempts to send her to school with a  center part, which is a traditional Indian style. Many Indian women part their hair in the center and pull it back into a braid, sometimes powdering the line with red sindoor to indicate that they’re married. Her mother was furious when Ms. Seshadri switched her part from the side to the center. “Of course you think it’s cool now that the internet thinks it’s cool, not when I wanted it.”

But for those who still prefer their side part—or no distinct part at all—it won’t be long before the cool kids are on to the next thing. The hairstylist Mr. Lampley offered some words of comfort for those that don’t want to succumb to the center: “No parts make you look old. Side part, middle part, left-right, it’s really about what fits your face the best and what fits the symmetry of your face.”


Is it the center or the side part? Which do you prefer? Get involved in the conversation below.

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