By Cara Schacter

25 January 2023


Stay Ethereal

“The Happy Nut.” Courtesy: Kindred Black

In: heaven, pastures, Anya Taylor Joy. A dispatch hypothesizing big data’s predictions for 2023 and why Katherine Heigl’s stylist might want to explore aura-soul harmony.

Pinterest says 2023 is going to be about “AIRY STYLE.” Given an uptick in searches for “ruffle shirt for men” and “sheer pants outfit,” the moodboarding platform’s consumer insight report forecasts a year of “ethereal sensuality.”

In Ancient Greek, “ethereal” describes the light of Heaven. Now, it describes a vaguely aspirational lack of substance; a mist-like, bitchy elegance.

Things that strike me as ethereal: ice, the letter L (in cursive), Noguchi’s Akari lamps, wind, sterling-silver pistachio talismans, ellipses, cocaine-vase necklaces, merino-wool Elsa dolls, ribbon, white-bean trompe l’oeil dinnerware, sea-moss gel, casket capsules, crochet socks, egg whites, deer, scrunchies, menisci (i.e. liquid particles’ attraction to their container).

Loewe Spring 2023 Ready-to-Wear Collection

Loewe Spring 2023 Ready-to-Wear Collection


I went to a SoulCycle class in NoHo taught by a woman named Alex. Alex’s best friend from high school, Thomas, was taking the class, so we all had to “go crazy” when he walked in. The sexual tension between Alex and Thomas was palpable. Alex was acting like she had never heard of a hair elastic in her life. Her hair (nipple-length and…thick…the ellipses here are more about me than about her…I just started taking Nutrafol…I’m worried my temples are receding. I can’t talk about it. Nutritionists on Instagram say chickpeas could help. The fabric of a community is woven by having to knock on twenty-year-old boys’ apartment doors at midnight because you overloaded your Nutribullet with chickpeas trying to make chocolatecoveredkatie’s Chickpea Blondie and you lack the grip strength to unscrew the lid. Texture is interesting. Why is mush humiliating? Riddle me why I would have loved for the boys next door to associate me only with crunchy foods?) was down and falling in her face and she kept dramatically flipping it around and it was getting sweaty and stuck to her forehead and she said: “I really said fuck my blow out!” and told us to “be sensual” and “grind” and said she “doesn’t like to fake it, how can we make this real?” She said we cannot invent the wheel, we can only learn how to use it. Eventually she did a half-up, half-down bun.

Collina Strada Spring 2023

Collina Strada Spring 2023

The Feeling of Being Extremely Delicate

Vogue’s guide to “Help You Get – and Stay – Ethereal in 2023” is mostly tulle. The Ethereal page on Aesthetics Wiki recommends white fur, pleated skirts, drop earrings, small farms (and pastures), cliffs, minerals (especially quartz), castles, true love, cathedral ceilings, Frank Sinatra, and “the feeling of being extremely delicate and light in a way that seems to be not of this world.”

In the Ethereal Wiki comment section, u/OfficialMikeWheeler says: “I remember I played a dead boy in a show and this was his aesthetic.” If u/OfficialMikeWheeler’s username refers to the fictional character Mike Wheeler of Stranger Things (2016–), played by Finn Wolfhard, I think this is the alleged ethereal character:

Finn Wolfhard as Zoran in the television series The 100

Finn Wolfhard as Zoran in the television series The 100, 2014–20

He looks like a plant-based English Lit student (a viable ethereal subtype).


My friend sent me a tweet. Someone asked GPT-3 to make 2023 trend forecasts, which he then ran through Midjourney. The results are not not ethereal. A picture of “Hopecore” shows floral prints and frilly, puffy fabric. “Tarotcore” features cheekbone-y models and crescent-moon motifs. Even the apocalypse-themed styles feel precious. The patchwork cape of “Recessioncore” has that dulcet, upcycled charm of Gogo Graham or Bode. The “Doomcore” headpiece is u/OfficialMikeWheeler vibes.

TikTok shows me an “Ethereal Boy Names” compilation. In the slideshow, dapper young men interact with various florae. An angular boy named Auberon holds a rose to his eye. Magnus emerges from a lifesize floral arrangement. Dorian holds a dandelion. Aries closes his eyes mid-wheat field. Othello sits unnervingly erect in a flower patch.

Video still from “Ethereal boy names!✨Which one is your favorite?☺️”

Video still from “Ethereal boy names!✨Which one is your favorite?☺️”

It feels like attention-seeking Shakespeare behavior. Auberon is begging to know “what light through yonder breaks?” This is not a critique.

Taut and Curvilinear

“YES! Angelic Essence FULLY explained { ethereal + kitchener face types}” is one of many YouTube videos explaining the Angelic (a.k.a. Ethereal) Essence “style type.” Kitchener is a reference to consultant John Kitchener, who created a scale of Essences (e.g., Ethereal). It was a response to Kibbe body types – the recently repopularized schema created by image consultant David Kibbe in the 1980s to classify women’s silhouettes on a thirteen-point scale, from most yin (“Romantic”) to most yang (“Dramatic”). Instead, Kitchener, rejected Kibbe’s body shapes and extended the yin threshold to include what he deemed the rarest essence: the Ethereal.

I emailed Kitchener asking for a link to any publications about his Essences. He emailed back suggesting I check out his Pinterest (an incredible resource where Ricky Martin’s personal style is described as “tamed romantic drama”). He also offered a list of ethereal actresses (“Kate” Blanchett, Daryl Hannah, Sissy Spacek, and Gwyneth Paltrow) and angelic men (Jared Leto, Macaulay Culkin, Carel Struycken, and Jim Henson).

Ludovic de Saint Sernin Fall 2023 Menswear

Ludovic de Saint Sernin Fall 2023 Menswear

In her twenty-seven-minute explanation of Kitchener’s Ethereal / Angelic Essence, YouTuber Gabrielle Arruda asks viewers to conjure up the image of a thin, S-shape. The “S” should be taut and curvilinear, nothing too flamboyant, but still undulatory. This (the skinny “S”) is Ethereal energy. She talks about mesmeric eyes, low-contrast coloring, soft energy, Art Nouveau, and Vera Wang. Her number-one outfit recommendation is long, lightweight (optionally Grecian) gowns that appear to float. She cannot stress this enough.

Ditto in the blog post “Ways to Become Ethereal in Real Life” by Jenna Coleman, self-described “stalker of swans” and author of Absolute Goddess Handbook (2020). The number-one task on Coleman’s Ethereal to-do list is to “dress in floaty white things.” Other items: invest in a beautiful hairbrush and corset-adjacent tops; put Snow Fairy-scented wax melts in your drawers; and cultivate a sense of compassion.

Not everyone will look ethereal in a soft, draped gown.

Video still from “YES! Angelic Essence FULLY explained {ethereal + kitchener face types}.”

Video still from “YES! Angelic Essence FULLY explained {ethereal + kitchener face types}.”

Arruda points out that while actress Anya Taylor Joy “definitely has Angelic Essence within her blend” and therefore looks “so harmonious” in a soft, draped gown, we can see that J-Lo “leans Dramatic and Romantic in her essence blend,” which makes a soft, floating gown “feel like a costume.” The dress will still look beautiful on J-Lo, just not as “in sync” as it does on Anya. Likewise, Katherine Heigl (a Classic Essence) is “not mesmerizing” in a soft, draped gown, while Lupita Nyong’o (an Ingénue-Ethereal Essence) consistently mesmerizes in a soft, draped gown.

The dress is not itself ethereal. As image consultant Olga Brylínska says, ethereality is “not three-dimensional,” but an “emanation of aura” that can “harmonize with our soul.” If you need help with aura-soul harmonization, she has a website.

Video still from “YES! Angelic Essence FULLY explained {ethereal + kitchener face types}.”

Video still from “YES! Angelic Essence FULLY explained {ethereal + kitchener face types}.”

Brylínska is “a moon woman who prefers night to day” and the founder of Ethereal Typology, a system of eighteen beauty archetypes, called Ethereals, that exist in some combination within each of us. The key is to identify a dominant Ethereal “flash” and apply Olga’s corresponding style notes:

Royal Ethereal

● wear capes, handbags with chains, smokey eye makeup
● avoid combat boots
● hair must be tucked behind ears, option for smooth ponytails (never high)
● Roberto Cavalli

Sparkly Ethereal

● think helium, colorful butterflies, Blake Lively
● wear halter necklines, skinny pants, Michael Kors, “New Year’s Eve style,”
Maasai beaded jewelry
● hair should be windblown (but not as windblown as Wind Ethereal)
● not to be confused with Energetic Ethereal

Slavic Ethereal

● follow guidelines for Rose Ethereal, but replace pinks with fiery reds
● tightly braided buns
● not to be confused with boho style (a.k.a. Wild Ethereal)

Advertisement for DKNY “Be Delicious” perfume, 2015

Advertisement for DKNY “Be Delicious” perfume, featuring Abbey Lee Kershaw and Akin Akman, 2015


A somewhat Polish man I once heard on a podcast keeps calling me to chat. When I tell him I have to get off the phone to take a shower, he says taking a shower is a metaphor. I worry he doesn’t know what a metaphor is. When I was little, my piano teacher ran away. We found out because, one day, my teacher’s wife showed up instead of my teacher. She stayed for tea. I sucked on a sugar cube while my mom and my piano teacher’s wife talked about my piano teacher’s alcoholism. My piano teacher’s wife kept laughing in a way that I understood was a metaphor for crying. Everything is basically a metaphor for crying. When Marilyn Monroe’s seamstress walked in on Marilyn bleaching her pubic hair and asked if it was safe to apply bleach to the labia with a toothbrush, Marilyn said sometimes it burns and she gets infections, but what else can she do? One time, someone showed Ludwig Wittgenstein a piece of paper with three dots on it and asked him to admit that there were three dots on the piece of paper. Wittgenstein was a suicidal philosopher who looked like David Remnick and was obsessed with saying that nothing is certain. He felt you can’t say anything meaningful about the world at large, because if the world is a totality of facts, then it cannot itself be a fact, since a logical formalism that allows a set to contain itself as an element leads to infernal logical complexities and uncontrollable contradictions. I have two unmelted glycerin suppositories inside me and my neighbors keep connecting their Bluetooth to my speaker. Nothing can be said about anything and everything is a metaphor. The world feels diaphanous and full of podcasts.

Gauntlett Cheng SS23

Gauntlett Cheng SS23

Rain Barrels Ideas Beautiful

Other trending search phrases from Pinterest Predicts include:

● Shower routine aesthetic
● Dystopian outfits
● Clean scalp build up
● Primal movement
● Black fringe skirt outfit
● Train quotes travel
● Neck hump exercises
● Fancy ice cubes
● Rain barrels ideas beautiful

Marissa Oosterlee, Metallic Reef, 2022

Marissa Oosterlee, Metallic Reef, 2022, acrylic, oil paint, and twenty-four-carat gold flakes, 70 x 100 cm