The 2014 Tumblr Era: The Original Blueprint

Picture this: there I am, sitting in bed surrounded by my One Direction posters plastered into every corner of my room, barely allowing the candy pink painted walls to seep through. I scroll through Tumblr on my iPod touch listening to “Chocolate” by The 1975. And there it is. The most iconic wardrobe staple to ever hit the clothing racks of teenagers all around the world: the American Apparel Tennis Skirt. Immediately, I ran to my mom and begged her if I could get this skirt. The bothered look on her face already told me everything I needed to know. A stern “no” shut me up as I sulkily walked back to my Niall Horan-infested walls.

Fast forward seven years into the future, and there I am again, 20-year-old Priscilla strolling around campus to my 2 p.m. lecture. And then I spotted it: the American Apparel Tennis Skirt. I go still and my mind immediately flashes back to Priscilla circa 2014 — a naive eighth-grader who had no business begging her mom to buy her a $50 American Apparel Tennis Skirt that would most likely go out of style within a year (might be up for debate, but this skirt still has a chokehold on today’s fashion).

Although I never got my grubby little hands on that skirt, memories of tennis skirts, flower crowns, blk. water, and Lana Del Rey flooded my brain. I know I’m not alone in this, so here’s my question: Why does the 2014 Tumblr era have a chokehold on my brain? A small part of my brain remembers these memories so vividly, but why? Is it nostalgia? Is it the desire to remain innocent? These questions rack my brain as I constantly revisit my Google Photos, looking at how happy I was during this time. 

In an attempt to understand the impact of this time, 20-year-old Maddy Khachadoorian, a junior at UC Santa Cruz, shared her experience during this time and how it has shaped who she is as a person:

“Having these hidden desires on an entirely anonymous platform became a pinnacle experience to our generation people were easily able to share their similar interests during their teenage years. For me, 2014 Tumblr was the best and worst of my internet life; it was something I shouldn’t have been exposed to at such a young age, but there was something about the era and what was being released [music, trends, etc.] that we were able to easily consume and create a subgenre of things that were recycled from previous generations before, but we could create an aesthetic vision. 2014 Tumblr has followed us for so long. My dad was a teenager in the ’70s and a lot of that time still followed him to who he is today. The internet was growing rapidly at this time, and we were able to revel in all that was being created and shared.”

As the saying goes, history repeats itself. In the times of Vine culture and new fashion trends, we are in the new age of trends and aesthetics. From the infamous e-girl hair to Instagram photo dumps, we are defining a new era of trends that will be looked back on the same way we look back at 2014 Tumblr. 

Still wrapping my brain around the fact I am now 20 years old, the number of responsibilities I have continues to rack up, and I’ve realized that I’m just trying to hold onto one last thing before I let my childhood go. Although I’ll never get the same experience back, it’s an era that my friends and I continue to revel in. It was a crutch that allowed millions of teenagers from around the world to share trends and opened the door to the world of music, fashion, and creativity. Cheers to new trends that continue to pave the way for the youth.

Photo courtesy of Sofia Guaico from Unsplash

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