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Two outfits on hangers on a white rod. On the left, a sweater vest over a white button down shirt, on the right, a leopard print and fur trimmed coat for a Meltwater social listening blog about the grandpacore and mob wife aesthetic trends.

Grandpacore vs. Mob Wife Aesthetic: The Battle of the Microtrends

Ann-Derrick Gaillot and Elena Tarasova

Feb 9, 2024

Are you caught up on your microtrends? These days, it feels like they come and go faster than ever, especially in the world of style and fashion. Luckily, technology like natural language processing and large language models make understanding trend origins and trajectories a less daunting, and more precise, task.

For example, look no further than two of the most highly discussed fashion microtrends of the moment: grandpacore and the mob wife aesthetic. While one was poised to be the first big trend of 2024, it was soon eclipsed by the other. We used our social listening and media intelligence suite to better understand these two social media fashion phenomena and how they compare. First, let’s clarify our terms.  


What Is Grandpacore?

This word cloud based on grandpacore mentions from throughout the month of January highlights some of the most popular elements of this style trend.

A keyword cloud for grandpacore mentions in January 2024, with the phrase "eclectic grandpa" in the biggest font at center.

Grandpacore must-haves include comfy casual pieces, long-sleeved button-ups, sweater vests and sweaters, blazers, loafers, scarves, classic lines, and layering.

A screenshot of a tweet from Vogue Business that features a picture of a person wearing a sweater vest and grey trousers. The tweet says, "Move over, coastal grandma. In 2024, it's all about Grandpa Core. According to Pinterest's Predicts report, the eclectic grandpa aesthetic will take over, from grandpa knits to loafers and sweater vests - much like #Blackpink's #JennieKim."

The two most retweeted tweets in the conversation, featuring K-pop stars Jennie Kim and G-Dragon, illustrate the trend further. Notably, both tweets reference Pinterest’s 2024 trend forecast report.

A line graph showing the volume of mentions of grandpacore and related keywords from November 1, 2023, through January 31, 2024, with 4.48K total mentions at a daily average of 48.

Initially, this cozy trend started gaining steam in fall 2023, with a spike on November 20, when the Associated Press published a Black Friday gift guide that mentioned “grandpa chic.” Since then, the conversation has continued to grow, with its largest spike occurring on January 26. That day published a blog titled "‘Coastal Grandma’ is out and ‘Eclectic Grandpa’ is in,” which had a potential reach of 7.4 million people.

What Is Mob Wife Aesthetic?

As with grandpacore, the January word cloud for conversations about the mob wife aesthetic reveals this fashion microtrend’s key elements.

A word cloud of top keywords in the January conversation about the mob wife aesthetic with the phrase "mob wife" in the largest font at center.

Essential elements of the mob wife aesthetic include gold hoops, vintage and faux fur, leopard print, and big hair. 

And while people generally have a range of cultural references for grandpacore (from Tyler, the Creator to, well, their grandpas) those for the mob wife aesthetic are much more focused, as shown by our platform’s top entities analysis. 

A cloud of top names and entities from the mob wife aesthetic conversation with "carmela soprano" at center in the largest font.

The biggest name in the conversation shouldn’t come as any surprise: Carmela Soprano, played by Edie Falco on HBO’s The Sopranos, is the star of this microtrend. Elvira Hancock from Scarface and Carmela’s fellow Sopranos heroine Adriana La Cerva are other inspirations. Meanwhile, Kendall Jenner and Dua Lipa are the modern celebrities driving conversations about the trend.

A line chart showing the volume of mob wife aesthetic and related keyword mentions from November 2023 through January 2024, with 15.4K total mentions at a daily average of 167.

The trend was essentially non-existent before blowing up in early January. Mentions of the mob wife aesthetic spiked most on January 25, and as uncovered, that 5% increase in mentions was thanks to “the Kardashian family’s appearance at Paris Fashion Week.”

A screenshot showing an AI-powered insight from the Meltwater platform. It shows that mentions of mob wife aesthetic spike on January 25 at 1.46K total mentions "due to the Kardashian-Jenners' appearance at Paris Fashion Week, where they showcased a 'Mob Wife' aesthetic with their looks. This has sparked interest and discussion on social media, leading to a spike in articles and posts about their fashion choices and the trend itself."

Since then, social media posts from the likes of Kacey Musgraves, Sopranos meme pages, pop culture Reddit pages, and even HBO have driven engagement around the topic.

A screenshot of a tweet from @HBO featuring 10 photos of Adriana La Cerva from The Sopranos. The tweet reads, "Mob wife aesthetic this, mob wife aesthetic that. Why aren't we talking more about the mob girlfriend aesthetic? #TheSopranos"

Grandpacore vs. Mob Wife Aesthetic

A chart comparing the volumes of mentions of the grandpacore and mob wife trends. The chart shows that throughout January, the mob wife aesthetic was mentioned many more times than grandpacore.

At the end of 2023, media outlets — including far-reaching ones like New York Post, Yahoo! News, and BuzzFeed  — reported that grandpacore was predicted to be the big microtrend of 2024. For a moment there, it looked like they were right, but that all changed on January 7, when chatter about the mob wife aesthetic began to rise. By January 12, it had outpaced grandpacore to enter a whole other trend league. As of early February, mob wife aesthetic is generating even more conversation than quiet luxury, one of the bigger social media fashion trends to come out of 2023.

A chart comparing the volumes of mentions of grandpacore, mob wife, and quiet luxury trends from November through January. The chart shows that quiet luxury had the highest volume until mid-January, when mob wife aesthetic took over.

As we enter February, it’s fair to say that the mob wife aesthetic trend has officially taken off, beating out grandpacore to be the first big fashion microtrend of 2024.

If there’s anything marketers can learn from this battle of the trends, it's that new cultural phenomena can catch fire at any time, becoming the internet’s new obsession overnight. The key to staying ahead of them is keeping an ear to the digital streets with social listening solutions. See how Meltwater can do the heavy lifting for you by scheduling a demo today: