TV Editor, Kylie Clarke, analyses the mob wife aesthetic and it’s implications on society’s obsession with trend culture, consumerism and fast fashion

TV Editor. MA Language, Culture and Communication.

With the influence of social media and particularly Tiktok, the turnover rate of fashion trends is at an all-time high, with trends and new ‘aesthetics’ being constantly pushed onto us as consumers before becoming rapidly outdated and replaced with a new one before there is even time to process it. I myself have fallen victim to scrolling through aesthetic board slideshows and ‘How to dress like a…’ videos which induce me to start online shopping for items I do not need and definitely will not wear more than once. The latest of these fashion trends we have seen emerging at the beginning of 2024 is the ‘mob wife’ aesthetic. It seems that this ‘mob wife’ aesthetic is quickly replacing the ‘clean girl’ aesthetic which dominated 2023.

Think fur (preferably faux), all black, cheetah print, bright colours (especially if that colour is red), gold jewellery and accessories

The ‘mob wife’ aesthetic is inspired by, as the name would suggest, what you would stereotypically believe that an Italian mob wife would wear. Gone are the minimalism and neutral tones of the ‘clean girl’ aesthetic, instead the ‘mob wife’ aesthetic is all about being bold. The aesthetic is not limited to clothing. As well as many opting for long nails (again, particularly if they are red), specific hairstyles such as voluminous blowouts or fancy updos, many creators have been giving ‘mob wife’ makeup tutorials. This makeup primarily includes heavy base makeup, dark smokey eyes and a bold red or brown matte lip. In contrast to the ‘clean girl’ aesthetic which promoted natural looks, the ‘mob wife’ aesthetic is all about boldness, expression and embracing messiness and glamour. It is not the first of its kind, however. This aesthetic is reminiscent of the grunge, indie sleaze revival which has been popular as of late. It is similar to the ‘rockstar’s girlfriend’ aesthetic, but appears to be a more mature take on the look.

If, then, many of these aesthetics are similar to each other, do we really need to separate them? In fact, is the branding of different aesthetics necessary at all or are we instead just promoting needless trends which buy into consumerism and often promote fast fashion? I like fur and the colour red as much as the next girl, but since when are these things considered to be ‘mob wife’ and what is the purpose of this name? Many Tiktok creators have been pointing out the ludicrous nature of this, and are making videos stating that they have been dressing this way for years, expressing annoyance that it is now considered to be a trend and poking fun at the ‘mob wife’ aspect. Many of these creators in fact, are Italian and have been suggesting that turning ‘mob wife’ into a trending aesthetic is not only offensive but potentially cultural appropriation. In Italian culture, this type of fashion has long been popular, so is it wrong for us to now begin promoting it as a trend?

I like fur and the colour red as much as the next girl, but since when are these things considered to be ‘mob wife’ and what is the purpose of this name?

Regardless of this controversy, the fashion style is still dominating the ‘for you’ page, and some data given in a Tiktok video by Style Analytics shows that it is influencing buyers and causing a spike in popularity of certain fashion items. They state that the searches for fur coats is up 33% compared to last winter, and the searches for cheetah print is up 120% on google in the last six months. Like any fashion trend, however, there is always the possibility that this trend will die out. Is the ‘mob wife’ aesthetic going to follow this pattern or is this timeless look here to stay? Only time will tell.


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