Coquette aesthetic: What is it, and can you wear it at any age?

The ultra-girly style has taken over TikTok, and it's coming to stores near you.

January 17, 2024, 2:27 PM
Shop the coquette trend for all ages
Shop the coquette trend for all ages
ABC News Photo Illustration, Nordstrom, Anthropologie

The coquette aesthetic has been around for several seasons now, but it continues to grow in popularity as 2024's biggest fashion trends start to come into focus.

With awards season in full swing, the style has recently shown up everywhere on red carpets -- including on big-name stars like Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Lopez -- in shades of pink, florals and adorned with bows at the Golden Globes.

Sarah Jessica Parker also rocked the style recently, and even went viral in October for the gorgeous bow-centric look she wore to the New York City Ballet Fall Gala. The attention she got from that look appears to have inspired Parker to add a line of bows to her SJP Collection.

Search trends show more people than ever are expressing interest in the aesthetic, so we decided to take a closer look and offer some suggestions on how you can incorporate coquette details into your own outfits.

While folks tend to think this sort of ultra-girly dressing is for those under a certain age, we found plenty of pieces that will lend a feminine touch to your look regardless of what stage of life you're in.

What is coquette?

Coquette, by the Oxford Languages definition, simply means "a woman who flirts." The trend inspired by that definition includes details like lace, pearls and bows in a frequently pastel palette. Other hallmarks of the look include ballet flats or Mary Jane shoes, corsets, puff sleeves and gold jewelry to finish.

Originally confined to a younger TikTok-obsessed crowd, who frequently post aesthetic videos donning the style, coquette looks have started seeping into the mainstream, even winding up on racks at retailers like Anthropologie and Walmart.

Plenty of those options are sold with a younger audience in mind, of course, but there are endless ways to adapt the style to any age! With Valentine's Day right around the corner, it's the perfect time to experiment with a little romantic styling.

Where did the coquette aesthetic come from?

Countless influences can be cited when trying to pinpoint the coquette style's origins, namely the Japanese street style known as Lolita.

Taking inspiration from the Vladimir Nabokov book of the same name, Lolita's direct influence on coquette styling can be seen in the Victorian, Rococo and Baroque flourishes adorning their intricate outfits. Whereas Lolita clothes often accentuate childlike innocence and modesty, coquette can be a bit sexier, with wearers generally less likely to cover up as drastically as you might see on Lolitas.

Lots of followers of the coquette trend, including popular Youtube and TikTok influencers making coquette content, also cite Lana Del Rey as an influence. The singer's music and style -- particularly in the early years of her fame -- has included flower crowns, bouffant hairdos and 1960s-influenced clothing that stands out from many of her contemporaries.

Popular television show "Bridgerton" also had a role in shaping the coquette trend, thanks to its Regency-era costuming, which includes lots of empire waist dresses, satin gloves and elaborate updos topped with sparkly crowns.

The show's debut in 2020 helped fuel the trend alongside the rise of brands like Selkie, whose fanciful photoshoots feature models in dreamy provincial landscapes with heavily blushed cheeks and soft lighting to showcase the over-the-top frilly dresses that have made the brand famous.

More brands have followed suit and have begun incorporating details like oversized sleeves, cupcake-shaped dresses and dainty florals into their lineup. Luckily for those who don't want to take the full plunge, many also toned down the editorialized vision of the originals in order to make them wearable for a wider array of fashion lovers.

Am I too old to participate in coquette fashion?

Absolutely not. Coquette works at any age, so long as you have the confidence and styling know-how to dress for yourself.

While Selkie dresses and enormous hair bows might seem out of place on a more mature woman (though we once again point to Parker as evidence to the contrary), there are myriad ways to incorporate delicate clothing and accessories into your own look.

Keep reading to see some of our favorite coquette pieces you can buy right now, including tips on how to style them to work for you!

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Shop the coquette trend

29% off

Selkie - The Puff Dress

As we mentioned above, Selkie dresses have been a huge driver of the coquette aesthetic popularity. The Puff Dress is their signature shape -- short, huge sleeves, only tight in the bust area -- and this wispy floral pattern encapsulates the dream-like aura a coquette yearns to exhibit.

  • $175
  • $249
  • Revolve

Elliatt Floral Jacquard Cocktail Minidress

With its rich jacquard fabric, dainty puff sleeves and bold pink shade, this dress is ideal for pairing with white tights and a hair ribbon when you want to go full-on girly girl, or you can keep things sleek with minimal makeup and sleek hair to give it a more adult feel.

  • $199
  • Nordstrom

Crinkle Patent Ergo Bag With Bows

A maximalist coquette's dream, this bag has the ultra-sturdy construction of Coach while offering a whimsical take on a classic shape. The black patent leather makes it wearable with all sorts of styles, so it's the perfect way to add just a touch of the trend to your everyday looks.

  • $250
  • Coach

Coach Hamptons Bag

Another beautiful option from Coach is this sleek and simple Hamptons Bag that was first introduced in 2003 and was brought out of the vault for a new generation to appreciate. Its compact but useful size makes it ideal for a night out, and the Bubblegum pink shade is coquette through and through.

  • $295
  • Coach
5% off

The Minnie Sweater

A coquette sweatshirt? It's even cuter than you think! Keep things comfy with this too-cute, short-sleeved top featuring beautiful classic imagery and sheer, gathered puff sleeves. 

  • $187
  • $198
  • Revolve

Dolan Floral Appliqué Cropped Jacket

This jacket is the perfect example of how to wear the coquette trend while still looking sophisticated and age-appropriate. You can boost the feminine vibes by wearing it with ballet flats and a flouncy skirt, or toughen it up with boyfriend jeans and leather loafers.

  • $118
  • Anthropologie

Madden Girl Tutuu shoes

The must-have footwear of the coquette aesthetic includes ballet flats and Mary Janes, and this Madden Girl shoe manages to combine elements of both for something adorable yet totally walkable. The cherry red patent leather would look perfect paired with a pink or red dress for a Valentine's Day date.

  • $49
  • Zappos

UGG Women's Bailey Bow II Boot

If you want something cozier than a Mary Jane to wear this winter without sacrificing cuteness, try UGGs with bows laced up the back! Brown is the classic UGG color, but they also come in black, gray and goat, a lighter grayish-white shade.

  • $199.95
  • Amazon
Free People

Strawberry Fields Cardigan

This fruit-covered cardigan looks sweet enough to eat, but we suggest sticking to layering it with tees, dresses and sweaters for a cold-weather solution to looking coquette in freezing temperatures. It'll function as the perfect outer layer once spring arrives, too, while the classic shape and color scheme ensures it will never go out of style.

  • $228
  • Free People

Amber Sceats Crystal Cross Necklace

While this necklace would complement any number of styles, it takes on new dimension when paired with coquette pieces that celebrate opulence, femininity and romantic beauty. Layer it with pearls for a maximalist take on the style.

  • $119
  • Revolve
36% off

I IHAYNER Girls Bowknot Cute Leather Backpack Mini Backpack Purse for Women

Perfect for days when you want to keep your hands free, this mini pink backpack is a popular option for infusing flirty vibes into your look. Though on the smaller side, reviewers say this bag is still large enough to fit a water bottle, snack and all your essentials.

  • $19.19
  • $29.99
  • Amazon

Furling Pompoms Hair Bows for Women

Nothing is more coquette than a satin bow for your hair, especially a pink one. Grab this two-pack to ensure you have the perfect shade for every girlish ensemble.

  • $9.59
  • Amazon
Urban Outfitters

Velvet Hair Bow Barrette

If pink satin hair bows are a bit too on-the-nose, try this velvet bow in blue to keep your style more understated and mature.

  • $12
  • Urban Outfitters

Glamnetic Press On Nails - Cloud 9 | Jelly UV Finish Medium Pointed Almond Shape, Reusable Pink Nail Kit in 12 Sizes, Semi-Transparent - 24 Nail Kit with Glue

Put the finishing touch on your look with coquette nails, easily achieved thanks to Glamnetic's convenient press-ons! They're semi-sheer with a natural almond shape, and each pair offers up to two weeks of wear.

  • $14.99
  • Amazon

Women's French Beret Hat Solid Color Plain Wool Classic Traditional Artist Cap

Berets remain a flirty, fun way to jazz up a basic outfit, and this baby pink option is ideal for radiating coquette vibes. Bundle up with matching accessories, or top off an all-white ensemble to look like a sweet, wintery angel.

  • $12.98
  • Amazon

INK + ALLOY Women's Rhinestone Bracelet Etta Prism Small Rectangle Stone Stretch Bracelets

While not pastel, there is something unabashedly feminine about this colorful, sparkly bracelet. It would be beautiful worn with a red, floaty dress, or even as the pop of color you need with a neutral blouse and trousers.

  • $33
  • Amazon

Canice Dress

Plenty of coquette style followers are happy to incorpoate darker colors such as black into their wardrobe too, but the key is making sure it comes in a romantic fabric like lace. Style it similarly to the model seen here with a red bag, or add an extravagant pearl choker and bows to go really girly.

  • $298
  • Reformation

Octwine Boho 3 Tier Dainty Rhinestones Pearls Chunky Short 1920s Choker

Speaking of pearl chokers, here is a lovely option that instantly ups the flirtatious quotient of any look -- and it's affordable!

  • $10.99
  • Amazon