The Rise of Chunky Headphones: TikTok’s Influence on Fashion Trends

Two things in the fashion world are always certain.

The first is that even the most hated fads (remember whale tails?) will eventually find their way back to the runway.

The second is that TikTok has become the blueprint for reviving said dead trends.

We all know how influential the social app can be on the beauty front, but fashion is not left behind.

From baggy ’90s pants to controversial gauzy dresses and everything in between, FashionTok has become a place to not only share your daily ‘fits but also look for inspiration and crown new “it” accessories.

If you’ve spent some time on the app as of late, you might have noticed that no outfit is seemingly complete without a pair of massive headphones.

Yes, FashionTok has officially swapped 2021’s must-have “It” accessory (aka wired headphones) for chunky over-the-head “cans” — nicknamed for their noise-canceling ability.

For fashion historian Rachel Weingarten, this trend has been a long time coming.

“Fashion always fluctuates.

So if we see micro-sized cell phones, the next versions will be oversized,” she tells Teen Vogue.

“If small earbuds were a trend and they were selling well, fashion-forward companies need to turn the trend on its ear (as it were) and find the exact opposite trend.”

Weingarten says this can happen for several reasons, but a shift in trends is normally ignited by “the chic” who want to “set themselves apart from the rest.” In this case, because everyone was wearing small wired earbuds, “the chic” moved on to wired headphones, and, when that became popular, they moved on to chunky headphones.

Much like the rise of tiny earbuds and the revival of wired headphones, the current reign of Y2K “cans” as a must-have fashion accessory has grown exponentially thanks to TikTok.

An inundation of “Get Ready With Me” videos using Apple’s AirPods Max to tie their #OOTDs together and unboxing videos prove that oversized audio accessories are here to stay.

Even celebrities like EXO’s Kai, Becky G, Mun Kayoung, Dua Lipa, Kylie Jenner, Evan Mock, Addison Rae, Timothée Chalamet, Bella Hadid, and Hailey Bieber have all given the AirPods Max their stamp of approval on social media, making them even more desirable to the average consumer.

(SEVENTEEN’s Vernon, with a well-documented penchant for over-the-head headphones, was an early adopter of the AirPods Max but likely not just for aesthetic reasons.)

Even without the celebrity element, there’s a sort of transience when it comes to social media trends that can’t be overlooked.

Wired headphones only held their glory for a few short months before being replaced by a bulkier, more expensive option.

Of course, there’s some overlap.
Though t.

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