It’s been four summers since Megan Thee Stallion coined the season of 2019 as one dominated by hot girls.
But combine a forced isolation period (fuelled by an international pandemic), a desire to embrace the merits of globalisation and netizens’ desire to live vicariously through different cultures, you’ll be left with a cocktail of hyper-viral and location-specific sartorial aesthetics helping you cosplay as a specific style.
This season, it’s the reign of the ‘la dolce vita’ lifestyle, repackaged into an appetite-stimulating aesthetic called the ‘Tomato Girl’.
Indeed, TikTok has ushered in the reign of a ‘Tomato Girl’ summer, a sartorial and lifestyle ideology of emulating the distinct je ne sai quoi of an Italian summer, all year round.
What Is The Tomato Girl Aesthetic?
It’s not difficult to understand the appeal of the aesthetic.
If you’re not reading this article from under a striped parasol at a Positano beach club, you’re most likely inundated by the ubiquitous photos of the Puglian cliffs or Lake Como villas saturating your social media feeds. The Tomato Girl aesthetic bridges the gap between those partaking in a European Summer, and those who want to channel the vivi bene or an Italian sojourn.
Yes, irrespective of your distance from the Mediterranean, social media users are proving that indulging in fresh burrata spooned over salted heirloom tomatoes and toasted ciabatta isn’t exclusive to Tuscany. ‘La dolce vita‘ is a state of mind, and Tomato Girl is the hyper-niche medium in which you can achieve it.
The sartorial mode is, of course, inspired by the vivid red hues of a ripened tomato, but also extends far beyond a singular colour way. Airy white linen dresses lined with vintage-inspired lace that blow in the breeze of the Ionian sea is a mainstay, along with sumptuous crepes, eyelets and crisp cotton poplins crafted into lightweight blouses and billowing dresses.
The uniform for the Tomato Girl isn’t strict or prescriptive by any means, but rather pieces that emulate an aura of riding around Lombardy like Timothée Chalamet’s Elio in Call Me By Your Name. These pieces might be something you wear to listen to “Somethin’ Stupid’ by Frank Sinatra as you twist and swing dance in Lucca’s city centre à la Carrie Bradshaw and Big in Sex And The City (Season 4, Episode 18).
The Tomato Girl aesthetic goes beyond sartorial choices, too. Essentials include red nail varnish that matches the terracotta tones of Italian houses, or the crimson hue of your cheeks after spending a day under the beating Mediterranean sun.
Applying colour theory will explain why red or varying tomato shades has become the colour of the season. On the colour wheel, red sits directly across from the azure blues of the Southern European coastline, meaning the contrasting shade makes the biggest splash.
At its core, the Tomato Girl is about romanticising the rudimentary essence of Italian life and sartorially relishing in the bold flavours of the country, all while taking cues from the wardrobe of Apollonia Vitelli Corleon.
Given the presence of a Tomato Girl, it also suggests that offshoots of the aesthetic like the Olive Girl or Sardine Girl exist, but until they bubble up into the collective conscious of the zeitgeist, we’re turning our attention to the key ingredients needed to perfect the Tomato Girl sauce.
To help you with your pursuit, look below to GRAZIA’s guides of the Tomato Girl essentials are editors are shopping to achieve the aesthetic. Molto bene!
GRAZIA’s Essentials To Achieve The Tomato Girl Aesthetic
Jessica Bailey, Editorial Director
“These high briefs from Eres remind me of the beach umbrellas and deckchairs at luxury seaside hotels in Italy. Ideal for languid days in Capri, the eyelet detailing gives the nautical nod necessary to cosplay such a vacation in Southern Europe. While I count myself super lucky to have just returned from the Amalfi Coast (pre-heatwave!), I’m forever manifesting a return: these swim bottoms, a Caprese salad and those cerulean blue waters.”
ERES ENCANTA HIGH BRIEF, $615. SHOP NOW.
“Nothing says ‘la dolce vita’ quite like a bold gold statement earring. And, in my opinion, no brand does them better than Saint Laurent. These oversized disc earrings are sculpted from polished gold-tone metal and hollowed out in the middle to ensure they have a lightweight feel. Whether you team them with a black dress for your reservation at La Sponda, or with a string bikini and a red lip by the pool, they are my absolute favourite for the Tomato Girl Summer.”
SAINT LAURENT GOLD-TONE CLIP EARRINGS, $1180. SHOP NOW.
“Our contributing editor Gyan Yankovich introduced me to Rouge Dior Forever lipsticks when they first released, and I honestly think shade ‘999 Forever Dior’ is the best red lipstick I’ve purchased: ultra-pigmented, matte, transfer-proof, and a deep hue that packs a punch. No girl can dream up an Italian sojourn without a good red lipstick. So, here you go!”
DIOR ROUGE DIOR FOREVER LIPSTICK IN SHADE ‘999 FOREVER DIOR’, $66. SHOP NOW.
Pema Bakshi, Fashion Features Editor
“Modelled after vintage nightgowns, this sheer cotton-voile midi dress with lace trim detailing is the quintessential wardrobe staple for an Italian summer. Just the sight of it makes me want to swan around an olive tree grove with a picnic basket in tow.”
DÔEN ALESSIA DRESS, $472.03 FROM NET-A-PORTER. SHOP NOW.
“While I might not actually be languishing in the Tuscan sun, this candle is surprisingly transportive. As someone who doesn’t enjoy sweet smells, I’ve become obsessed with LOEWE’s food-inspired home scents. This vibrant candle captures the fresh aroma of green vines just before they ripen, and the scent reminds me of a warm Italian homestead.”
LOEWE TOMATO LEAVES CANDLE, $138.19 FROM NET-A-PORTER. SHOP NOW.
“A silk head scarf has the transformative power to make me feel that little bit more like Sophia Loren. I’m not sure I have the same impact, but I’ll take it. This OROTON sardines print scarf nails the brief without being too on-the-nose.”
OROTON SARDINIA SILK SCARF, $149. SHOP NOW
Ava Gilchrist, Senior Fashion Features Writer
“Taking cues from the old Hollywood glamour style of Sofia Loren, Orseund Iris’ ruched bombshell bustier evokes a vintage sensibility that is flirty, feminine and synonymous with the Italian lifestyle. The subtle nostalgic-inspired floral illustration and built-in scarf further promotes the “main character energy” required from adherents of the Tomato Girl aesthetic. ”
ORSEUND IRIS CHIFFON BUSTIER, $1074.79. SHOP NOW.
“For the long balmy days that turned into bar-hopping nights, look not further than this 70s-inspired silhouette from cult-favourite label Realisation Par. Featuring a romantic floral print, sultry bell sleeves and a skin-tight fit, this sultry piece radiates with an intoxicating allure and serves as the ultimate carnal, eye-catching moment.”
REALISATION PAR THE GIA, $382.47. SHOP NOW.
“Evoking the air of leisure that is naturally associated with the Tomato Girl aesthetic is easily achieved with these coveted sand-coloured mesh ballet flats from New York based label Sandy Liang. Mind you, these aren’t the shoes you need to traverse the rocky hillside, countless steps or even the pebbled beaches. But who said Tomato Girls had to be practical? Nothing says leisure more than a pair of shoes purchased for aesthetic purposes, not functionality. But when paired with black capris and a boat-neck shirt, you’re halfway to becoming a chic Italian beatnik.”
SANDY LIANG MJ MESH IN SAND, $425. SHOP NOW.
“Tomato Girls aren’t caught up by higher maintenance tasks like perfecting a full volume curl, which makes this cherry-hued claw clip a must-have essential for anyone seeking to emulate a Tomato Girl summer. Simply dry off at whatever Amalfi Coast beach you find yourself lying on, throw your wet hair up in a messy bun and secure it with this pop of crimson.”
EMI JAY BIG EFFING CLIP IN CHERRY KISS, $52. SHOP NOW.
“If you’ve stumbled onto the #TomatoGirl side of TikTok, you’ve no doubt come across countless tutorials teaching you how to achieve Tomato Girl-inspired makeup. This creamy Camellia-coloured balm is the perfect buildable option to enhance the natural flush of your cheeks after they’ve been gently kissed by the beating sun. The salve is also multi-faceted, meaning it add a wash of blush to any area of your complexion. Prepare for a slight terracotta glow that rivals the tiled roofs lining the Tyrrhenian coastline.”
CHANEL N°1 DE CHANEL LIP AND CHEEK BALM, $75. SHOP NOW.
This article originally appeared on Grazia International.