Why Does Everyone Look Like They're In a Romance Novel?

Why Does Everyone Look Like They're In a Romance Novel?

In an interview with Call Her Daddy's Alex Cooper this week, Chase Crawford lamented over the apocalyptic state of romance. The actor, now in his late 30s, copped to finally joining dating apps — describing the dating landscape as nothing less than “a dumpster fire.”

If one of the world’s most eligible bachelors is having a hard time finding one, where does that leave the rest of us? According to New York Magazine, not in good stead. Just weeks earlier, the outlet published a deep-dive into the nuances of digital-age dating, and the consensus was nothing less than, well, scary. On reality television, a collective swell of beating hearts for Bravo’s Summer House newcomer, West Wilson, were pummeled when the fan favorite wouldn’t commit to a relationship due to his rapport with female fans. The fallout was compared to Vanderpump Rules’ ‘Scandoval’ – star Tom Sandoval’s year-long, secret affair with another cast mate while in a nine-year relationship – and documented by the New York Times. High profile fans also weighed in.

“I am never trusting a straight man ever again,” comedian Joel Kim Booster shared on X. “I have been made to look like a fool. Humiliated and devastated. You have made a powerful enemy, sir.”

These instances seem to confirm what we’ve long suspected — romance, what little of it was left, has been bulldozed by the “better option.” There’s always someone hotter, richer, more together around the corner. Moreover, with the derailing of traditional ‘timelines’ (engagement, marriage, baby before 30), syncing up with someone else’s timeline feels increasingly rare. For singles, dating has begun to feel like a full-time job — a series of auditions to prove your capability for the role of girlfriend/boyfriend. Or, sometimes, just hook-up.

Fashion girls might tell you this was foretold a dire dating landscape. Throughout time, tectonic socio-cultural shifts have prompted an opposite response in fashion. In the wake of Wall Street’s crash in the late 1980s, grunge attire hit in full force. In the years after 9/11, raunch culture reached fever pitch—with the colorful, itty-bitty outfits to match. Post-pandemic, hemlines once again rose barely-there lengths. More recently, there’s been a shift to hyper-femininity. Sexy secretary styling. Ballet-ready looks. This summer, though, we seem to be heading in another direction once again: peak romance. 

Like clockwork, the fashion seems to have embraced an antidotal fashion trend: fairytale fashion. Ruffle 
shorts and billowing blouses. Flowing, Gunne Sax-inspired picnic dresses. Every garment either has a lace trim, puff sleeve or both. There are ribbons galore. It can’t just be the return of Bridgerton that has inspired every fashionista online to take cues from Regency fashion. Rather, we’re harkening back to a time where chivalry reigned, courting was a bare necessity, and a lifelong partnership was the default, not the exception (albeit, with a much shorter life span). 

At a loss for a storybook romance, it seems as though it's now up to us to create our own. Think: Taylor Swift’s “Love Story," without Romeo. The more we frolic in frills and flounces with girlfriends, the easier we forget the woes of the modern dating market. It may not seem like a long-term solution, but who knows what those outfits might manifest. Write your own fairytale, girls — with or without the bloomers.  

(In the meantime, we recommend falling head over heels with our new Cherubs Case.)


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