When I told my boyfriend first thing in the morning that I was writing about "tomato girls," he asked me if I was still dreaming. I get it—like other TikTok micro-aesthetics, the name sounds ridiculous. But, contrary to his belief (and much of Twitter, where the trend was hotly debated), once you get past the name, it makes total sense. Chances are, there are tomato girls all over your Instagram feed—and if you have a European vacation planned this summer, you might just be one yourself. Ahead, we break down everything you need to know about the tomato girl aesthetic.
What Is a Tomato Girl?
It's tricky to trace the exact origins of the name "tomato girl," but TikTok user @bemusedbeanie's viral video—featuring images of linen dresses, green tiles, and juicy red tomatoes—brought the trend to the forefront. While the name is new, the aesthetic has been bubbling up over the past few summers—think a mish-mash of Call Me By Your Name, Aperol Spritz culture, and the popular pasta and fruit-print tops from brands like Lisa Says Gah and Miaou.
A tomato girl loves swimming in the Mediterranean, and her old-world style is what sets her apart from the rest. She mostly wears her hair naturally in waves or curls kissed by sun and saltwater. Some may call her a minimalist or even simple, yet, she knows that it’s just because she’d rather walk along the rocky coast to find a spot to write poetry than sit in front of a ring light to apply a face of makeup.
Her hobbies include reading old novels (exclusively ones that were printed before the ‘70s—you’ll find no E-readers in her collection), listening to the sage advice that her grandmother has to offer, and, of course, eating fresh tomatoes from the vine with a bit of salt and olive oil.
As someone who has spent her entire life visiting family in Croatia, I can confirm the simple reason why you’ll never see a tomato girl wearing an all-black outfit—it’s just too hot on the coast to wear anything structured. Rather, she often wears linen dresses, short-sleeved button-up tops, frilly skirts, and classic red or brown leather accessories (bonus points if they’ve been passed down). Though this is mostly a summer vibe, in the fall and winter, she adds suede jackets and boots in oxblood and brown to keep her warm. Her preferred palette includes white, pale yellow, tomato red, hunter green, and any shade of brown or gold.
Furthermore, a tomato girl has an affinity for anything old-school, so you won’t find her wearing pieces that look even remotely futuristic. Instead of a smartwatch, she’ll tell you the time from her vintage wristwatch. And she typically foregoes trendy chrome jewelry in favor of her gold heirloom pieces passed down for generations.
And finally, she’s a fan of the no-makeup makeup look, that is, if she decides to wear any makeup at all. A touch of concealer, a simple brush of mascara, and a "my lips but better" lippie or a popsicle stain are all she wears on special occasions.
Why Is it the Summer of the Tomato Girl?
Perhaps it was the pandemic, but for some reason, it seems like everyone in NYC skipped out on their summer in the Hamptons for a lavish trip to the Italian coast or a Grecian island last summer. Their Instagram stories were full of anchovy platters on rustic patios, gelato with marble buildings in the background, and glasses of Lambrusco against a setting pink sky. Though they were no longer physically in Europe, everyone seemed to keep a little of that Mediterranean spirit with them when they returned—even if they’d only been to Amalfi once.
We won’t fault them, though—there’s something alluring about a tomato girl’s ease of style. You’ll often find her re-wearing her most treasured items because they’re what works best for her body and climate. She’s not obsessed with layering funky pieces or spending too much time thinking about her outfit. She just likes to put her clothes on and get on with her day. It’s a refreshing take on fashion, especially after an onslaught of microtrends that require tons of effort and time.
Then, of course, there's the popularity of brands like Mirror Palais—though its founder is Brazilian, the brand is stocked with floaty romantic pieces perfect for a Sicilian maiden aesthetic—and the enduring appeal of Reformation's breezy linen two-piece sets.
How to Get the Look
You’ll want to call on the classics to achieve a true tomato girl look—naturally, Sophia Loren and Monica Bellucci are figures who first come to mind. For tops, you can opt for shirts with ruffled sleeves and a fitted bodice, and for skirts and dresses, grab something that hugs the hips with a flare at the hem. If skirts aren’t your vibe, you can opt for Bermuda shorts or bootcut pants.
Don't be afraid to get a little cheeky with it and incorporate actual tomatoes—or other fruits and veggies—into your look via prints or even produce-shaped accessories. For beauty, leave your hair long and loose, and a multi-purpose stain like Olio e Osso's is all you need. Whatever you do, a glass of chilled red or an Aperol Spritz is the perfect finishing touch.