There's a vibe shift happening, and it's called "Night Luxe." With over 22.3 million views on TikTok, the aesthetic is taking over social media. Characterized by moody lighting and candid pictures in high-end establishments, Night Luxe celebrates lavish urban nightlife. It is the digital age's iteration of the Roaring '20s.
The aesthetic gained traction on Pinterest in early 2021 but exploded with 2022's reintroduction of nightlife. TikToker Holicistism says that lifting pandemic restrictions ignited anticipation for fresh content and experiences. As a collective, the last few years have encouraged us to leave behind restricting "wellness" routines and gravitate towards what makes us feel good. Night Luxe designates hedonism as the new-self care. We're trading in green juices and girl-bossing for late-night partying on rooftops with espresso martinis in rotation.
For Gen Z, Night Luxe champions the coming-of-age moments they were previously denied during the pandemic. For Millennials, it is a sentimental return to their carefree party days.
What Is "Night Luxe?"
TikTokers Lucy Jane and Julia Schwartz and Instagrammers Hannah Harrell and Shea Marie are amplifying the aesthetic, and brands like 4AM and The Established are taking note. "If you were to pull up a TikTok video explaining the meaning of 'Night Luxe,' it would highlight the glitz and glamour of the party scene in an urban city," digital content creator Morgan Dionne describes. "So imagine modern Gossip Girl-esque chaotic but glamorous nightly outings. Night Luxe is more of a luxurious vibe or mood."
Visually, the color palette favors black, neutrals, deep reds, and purples. Night Luxe also goes hand-in-hand with sequins, dresses, and plunging necklines paired with mini bags and high heels. Proven favorites include the Crystal Prada Bag, Mach & Mach Silk-Satin Pumps, and Versace Medusa Aevita Platforms. The makeup is sultry yet slightly unkempt with tousled hair and, of course, loads of opulent jewelry. While many of us have reverted to showing up casually on social media, Night Luxe embodies a party aesthetic far more curated and conscious of the internet's permanence.
Night Luxe Thrives in NYC
Night Luxe's growing popularity is also indicative of the shift in influencer culture, with some creators trading in Los Angeles for New York City. YouTuber Shelby Church released a video in 2021 explaining her decision to relocate. "I felt like I overused all the locations in L.A., and I felt kind of burned out," she says.
Users are over recycled videos and pictures of influencers parading their out-of-touch lifestyles. New York City offers a new location for aspiration. From Fashion Week to the Met Gala, the Big Apple's cityscape attracts fashion enthusiasts and has established itself as the ideal scenery for cosmopolitan content.
"Moving to NYC has allowed me to embrace my creative adaptability and further embody the night luxury aesthetic," Dionne says. "It is the city that never sleeps, so I was automatically sucked into the Night-Luxe lifestyle. Walking around NYC, I see inspiration everywhere, from the East Village to the Upper East Side. Every area of NYC gives me a different vibe, which plays a huge part in my creativity."
Night Luxe and Wellness Culture
In addition to encouraging the migration from the West Coast to the East Coast, Night Luxe has sparked dialogue about toxic wellness culture. Wellness has historically been a display of wealth. Only those with disposable income and free time could balance meetings, popular exercise classes, and trendy eating.
In recent years, the conversation has shifted, and efforts have been made to make conscious living more inclusive and accessible. But, attempts to do this haven't been without their flaws. The popular "That Girl" TikTok hashtag showcases countless Gen Z'ers and Millenials embracing productive and healthy habits. However, the wellness movement's overarching obsession with restrictive eating, early-morning workouts, and rigid schedules can lead to detrimental effects (like overworking, burnout, and unhealthy relationships with food).
Night Luxe is a direct antithesis of the self-care culture that has permeated the internet. Instead, this shift allows for dinners and blowing off steam to count as self-care in its own right.
The trend also speaks to our current socioeconomic and cultural climate as well. With The Great Resignation (the mass exodus of workers due to wage stagnation) and the rising cost of living, being compulsive about productivity is proving unfulfilling. By romanticizing an era of enjoyment preceding the internet, people feel they are rejecting the self-care craze and defining their life beyond labor.
Make no mistake, Night Luxe is not revolutionary nor anticapitalist. The Night Luxe aesthetic does not challenge the status quo or champion inclusivity. The It-Girl right now has a growing collection of designer bags, an Amex card, and can frequent fine dining establishments.
Its exclusivity indicates we are simply following the tradition of glamorizing a different aesthetic with the same key players. However, Night Luxe does reject performative self-care and hustle culture. And for these reasons, it has (and will continue to) resonate with the youth.