"What's Cheugy?" meaning battled over in latest TikTok trend war

For a good few years now, Gen Z has become the true trend setters. Lately, though, a trend war has been fought over a simple yet complex question: What does "Cheugy" mean?

What does the word "Cheugy" mean, and why is there are trend war being fought over it?
What does the word "Cheugy" mean, and why is there are trend war being fought over it?  © Collage: Screenshot/TikTok/@hannahwarling/@webkinzwhore143

A new battle seems to have been born during quarantine, as millennials and Gen X started invading TikTok, a platform once exclusively the domain of Gen Z. The influx of "older" users prompted a series of videos sarcastically asking over-25s whether they were "OK," in an attempt to push them out.

TikTok has long since become a home for users of all ages, but Gen Z-ers have found another way to claim dominance: In recent weeks, they have started calling their elders out for fashion and style-related faux pas, questionable word choices, and even their use of emojis.

What does "Cheugy" mean?

"Cheugy" refers to things that are outdated and no longer trendy, according to a Gen-Z TikToker by the name of Hal, who posted a video explainer and demanded that people "expand their vocabulary."

Trends such as T-shirts or hats with words or slogans on them, Herbal Essence and Lululemon shopping bags, even phrases like "girl boss energy" have been declared "cheugy".

The strangest part of it all is this: If trends that were stylish for millennials in middle and high school are no longer on-trend, why does Gen-Z keep bringing them back?

So, what things are considered "Cheugy?"

Crocs are a prime example of something that is "Cheugy." The rubber shoes featured decorative pins and were a big hit for a year or two, then slowly began to phase out as skater shoes like Etnies and Vans began to take over the game.

Now, Gen Z has pledged allegiance to the shoes, which predictably led to stars like Nicki Minaj, Justin Bieber, and Post Malone to design their own pairs and sell them for astronomical prices.

Some trends that were popular in millennials' school-age days are now cheugy, while others have turned into wildly popular recycled trends for Gen Z-ers, who just love resurrecting pop culture from the 1990s and early 2000s.

There seems to be a fine line between who can wear what, and who can be considered "cheugy" for doing so – even if they're rocking the exact same styles.

Of course, Gen-Z has created some styles of their own, like rocking fanny packs across the chest or neck, and "life-hack" clothing items.

If you never thought a pair of bikini bottoms could ever be used for anything else, for example, Gen-Z is here to prove you wrong. A TikTok video posted by Hannah Warling shows innovation at its finest, as bikinis become a stylish top.

The video has garnered over 934,000 views, with comments questioning how this hack would work for anyone with a larger chest, and why you would ever wear it in the first place.

One comment said, "That's where I draw the line," while another jokingly wondered whether this hack was gender-neutral, asking, "Can we gents use [it] like this?"

Cover photo: Collage: Screenshot/TikTok/@hannahwarling/@webkinzwhore143

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