What is your “cheugy” style? Here are five ways to find out
If cheugy seems difficult to define, it’s because it is. It has been equated with ‘basic’, the insult Kate Moss made famous when she cast it on an Easyjet pilot in 2015 and which refers to people whose tastes are a little too obvious, generic or mainstream, and while it’s not as offensive, it’s clearly not a compliment either.
“To me, cheugy is a lazy attitude,” says Isaac Hindin-Miller, a New York-based DJ and fashion influencer with over 60,000 followers on TikTok. “It’s living your life the numbers way, like Instagram wants it to. He drinks Starbucks instead of nothing else. It’s Santal 33 by Le Labo. This is what the new hype sneaker is. To avoid appearing cheugy, develop your own style. “
For the record, I like Santal 33, but I understand what he means. A cheugy person is a late follower of trends. Only a little late, the mind, and nonetheless interested in trends. Other fashion items that have been identified as cheugy include Ugg boots (which have, ironically, seen a renaissance among models like Gigi Hadid and Kaia Gerber in recent times), Golden Goose sneakers (a brand that pre- distresses her designs to make them look vintage), fedora hats, herringbone stripes, initial pendant necklaces and tassel earrings. Even the seemingly harmless denim jacket has been identified as cheugy.
The use of the word is not just limited to TikTok. The Instagram handle @cheuglife documents examples of cheuginess and currently has over 24,000 followers. The caption for an image of a Gucci belt with a double G logo buckle reads: “Overly branded designer stuff is cheugy. It started with those crazy tight long sleeves that read “Abercrombie” on the chest and now you’ve graduated from Gucci belts and Chanel bags. Walk lightly my friends. Expensive is not synonymous with chic. “
To make things more confusing, cheugy doesn’t just refer to fashion items. This can also apply to housewares – those shabby-chic soft boxes or wooden signs bearing supposedly meaningful quotes such as “ Live, Laugh, Love ” are very cheugy. Photos on social media can also be cheugy, such as engagement announcements or a person posing in front of a pink wall. Apparently even the lasagna is cheugy, although that wouldn’t stop a conscious TikTokker from eating them.
True to the warp speed life cycle of any viral trend, the use of the word cheugy was once considered cheugy itself. Of course, trying to keep up with what Gen-Z thinks is cool at any given time is a crazy task. The truth about items that have been deemed cheugy is that they were once popular for a reason. I don’t have a Gucci belt, but I have a vintage handbag with the double G logo that I use on a daily basis and I don’t plan on stopping. But if you’re wondering what else might raise a teenager’s or 20-something’s eyebrows, read on …