Romantic or Remiss? The Underdressed Boyfriend vs Overdressed Girlfriend.

Kate Hayhurst

Have you ever arrived at an event only to find that everyone else is either over or underdressed compared to you? The underdressed boyfriend against the overdressed girlfriend is an intriguing dynamic that first appeared on TikTok and has since gained popularity as a meme circulating on social media, especially when viewed through the context of a relationship. How men and women dress in relationships has been brought to the forefront even more, thanks to everyday life and superstars like Justin and Hailey Bieber. But is this simply a humorous fad, or does it have a deeper meaning?

The trend took off when pictures of Hailey and Justin Bieber initially surfaced. The stylish Hailey emerges in front of the photographers wearing a little dress, shoes, and clutch. On the other hand, Justin is exactly the contrary, frequently wearing Crocs and dressed in tracksuits and backward caps. Hailey will not follow the ‘casual’ agenda, but Justin will take it a bit too literally!

A photo of the couple walking to Krispy Kreme Doughnuts emerged on social media due to their stylistic differences, which some people found funny. Others who were angry that Justin hadn’t made any effort for his wife’s events, travelled to X to express their anger: One person questions, “Why would he dress like that?” while another remarks, “That is embarrassing, I would have just left him in the car.” Although Bieber was made fun of, he also won accolades for not caring what people thought and for wearing his own style. Men began to identify with Bieber, commenting that they also underdress- this theme started to gain even more traction.

This type of media pressures women to look attractive and spend more money on appearance. 

With TikToks going popular and headlines like, “For every Pinterest outfit high heel at lunch girlfriend, there is an underdressed Instagram boyfriend,” couples started to use social media to show that they had similar experiences with their relationships. People started to understand that many of their partners had obliviously adopted the same mindset as Justin, and many girls thought they were overdressed alongside them. Thus, it’s intriguing to see that the dynamics in famous couples are equally present in regular relationships. Moreover, many celebrities like Adam Sandler and Kayne West are renowned for their laid-back style. Undeniably, this way of fashion is growing and will most likely only get bigger.

A new fashion trend among males is that ignoring fashion is the coolest thing ever. This relaxed, comfortable appearance conveys that the wearer is laid-back and easygoing. Men now have more freedom and flexibility to dress however they like because there are arguably fewer expectations! This does not imply that women are not free to dress however they like despite media pressure. For instance, Billie Eilish frequently wears baggy attire and athletic shoes when attending red carpet events. She was, however, objectified and made fun of by the media after she was photographed while sporting a more revealing tank top.

This trend has been apparent for several reasons related to societal conventions. There have always been societal standards for how men and women should dress. Men are typically expected to dress more casually, whereas women are expected to make more effort, especially in formal settings. The number of media outlets that push unrealistic expectations on women is extensive. It includes many make-up tutorials, overly sexualised lingerie commercials, get-ready-with-me TikToks, and more. This type of media pressures women to look attractive and spend more money on appearance. 

clothing is a means of self-identity and should be celebrated regardless of societal expectations.

Despite the negativity, many fans took a liking to the fashion expressed by the Biebers, saying that it is comforting to see each celebrity use clothes as a form of self-expression and identity. Some people even noted that it is Romantic of the singer to underdress to ensure Hailey has the spotlight at her PR events.

The phenomenon of contrasting styles within couples, exemplified by the Biebers, has sparked a widespread conversation about societal norms and expectations surrounding attire. This trend, born on platforms like TikTok, has transcended humour to shed light on deeper issues of self-expression, individuality, and gendered fashion standards. While some may view it as a fad, it undeniably reflects a shift in attitudes towards fashion and personal style.

Ultimately, the diversity of expression within relationships, as demonstrated by celebrities and everyday individuals alike, serves as a powerful reminder that clothing is a means of self-identity and should be celebrated regardless of societal expectations.

Kate Hayhurst

Featured image courtesy of @hellorachaelcrowe via Unsplash. Image license found here. No changes were made to this image. 

In article image 1 courtesy of @elleaus via No changes were made to this image. 

In article image 2 courtesy of @gq via No changes were made to this image. 

In article image 3 courtesy of @billieeillish via No changes were made to this image. 

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