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Wouldn’t you think your summer clothing collection’s complete? No! Not until you add a few pieces to it from the increasingly popular mermaidcore aesthetic. What is mermaidcore? The ocean-inspired look fuses traditional coastal wardrobe pieces with sequins, flair and unironic mermaid accessories. From starfish earrings to fish-shaped handbags, meramidcore is washing over summer styling with playful iterations of fantasy and fashion. Ariel might want to be on land, but the fashion industry wants to be part of her world.
It’s no coincidence that the wave of mermaid-inspired pieces flooding your summer Instagram feed coincides perfectly with the release of the 2023 live action re-make of The Little Mermaid. The film, starring Halle Bailey as Ariel, is set to hit theaters on May 25 and has brought a modernized mermaid aesthetic to the forefront of people’s screens and minds. For the ultimate example of mermaidcore, look no further than the outfits the film’s stars wore on the red carpet to the premiere.
Halle Bailey wore the perfect Ariel gown to The Little Mermaid premiere. The liquid dress was designed by Valdrin Sahiti to mimic the scene where Ariel sings “Part of Your World” on a rock while being splashed by the ocean around her. The only thing that separates the gorgeous gown from mermaidcore and a full-on mermaid is a tail.
However, you don’t have to commit to such a literal mermaid look to participate in mermaidcore. Brands like Loewe and J.Crew have built entire mermaid-inspired summer collections that are both playful and practical. The Loewe + Paul’s Ibiza summer collection features a starfish dress, sequined wicker baskets and fish-printed denim. Each piece can be incorporated with your usual summer vacation wardrobe to create a subtle, yet effective mermaidcore moment.
J.Crew has embraced the mermaidcore aesthetic by adding under-the-sea elements to otherwise classic silhouettes. The paillette sequined sweater vest (which quickly sold out) or the nautical sequined slip dress is very much created for everyday wear and helps avoid the aesthetic from sliding into costume territory. The pieces can easily be dressed up or down, which is why mermaidcore is such a fun aesthetic to experiment with.
Balance is a key factor in nailing the mermaidcore look. For example, if you’re wearing a green sparkly mini-skirt, pair it with a simple white tank. Or, if you want to deck yourself out in starfish and seashell jewelry, wear it with a solid-colored bikini or linen set. The mermaidcore oyster is your world (or something like that)!
Keep reading for the best mermaidcore pieces to add to your wardrobe right now.
This knitted blue dress reminds me of a fisherman’s net and the specks of sparkly thread give it a shimmery sandy look. It’s available in sizes 0-20.
The shiny material of this bikini gives it a wet effect so you’ll always look like you just emerged from the ocean. The ruching on the top also creates a shell-like silhouette.
Pair these bright blue starfish earrings with a bikini and wear them on the beach for a thematically accessorized look.
If you’re a mermaid with a big budget, this fish-shaped shoulder bag by Loewe is such a fun pick. It will become your quirky summer staple forever.
This unique wavy mini dress is perfect for a special occasion on the beach. It looks very mermaid-inspired without being too obvious.
What’s that word again? Oh, feet. These colorful heels would look great on yours.
The crochet overlay on this bikini makes the swimsuit top and bottom look like they have scales. Each piece is $2o or under and can be mixed and matched with the other swimsuits in your drawer.
This lightweight satin set will be the star of your vacation wardrobe. It comes in six beautiful colors.
Bring a little mermaid sparkle to a night out with this orange sequin tank top. Pair it with a champagne-colored silk skirt for an elevated look.
Protect all your gadgets and gizmos with this metallic clutch bag. The flower shape is perfect for a tropical mermaid.
This sequin choker looks like mermaid scales. Wear it with a silk slip dress for a high-fashion mermaid effect.
Ditch your leather shoulder bag for the summer and opt for a rope tote instead. This one comes in four fun colors.
These espadrille sandals will go with any dress in your closet and are the perfect shoe for a special occasion.
You know that any mermaid would have seashell earrings. This pair will dress up any simple summer outfit.
If you want all eyes to be on you, this statement sequined mini halter dress will do the trick. I love the open-back design.
Take the mermaidcore trend literally and rock a mermaid graphic T-shirt.