WAGs And The Return Of 'Mob Wife' Aesthetic; Are These Style Trends Problematic?

From courtside fashion reference WAG culture to opulent fashion briefs referencing crime films, 2024's biggest fashion trends may not be completely innocent.

Published On Feb 28, 2024 | Updated On Mar 08, 2024

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The year has just begun and we already have one of the most influential style trends for the year take over our Instagram feeds. We have the return of the WAGs, which stands for ‘Wives and Girlfriends’ and is often used in the context of partners of professional athletes. Then comes the ‘Mob Wife’ aesthetic, riding the coattails of the surge in maximalist fashion. It is associated with a glamorous and opulent style inspired by Mafia movies and TV shows. While WAGs is less aesthetic and more to do with courtside celebrity fashion, the modern "mob wives" have taken over streetstyle and FROW fashion. But could they be problematic? Like drawing on faux freckles with sketch liners? Or sporting cultural garments without understanding the meaning behind them? Let's take a look!

Anybody who had entered their early teens in mid-2000s is aware of the WAGs. The term gained popularity in the media thanks to gossip columns in celebrity print magazines and describes the high-profile and often glamorous lifestyles of the spouses of rich athletes, particularly in sports like football (soccer), American football, and others. From Victoria Beckham to Irina Shayk, these women were decked out in designer label from head to toe and despite their own celebrity status, were often only limited to the WAG label. So while the term itself is not inherently offensive, its use has been criticised for perpetuating stereotypes and reducing individuals to their relationship status, especially women. 

So a fashion trend dedicated to the term can be seen objectifying and reinforcing traditional gender roles. Referring to women primarily in relation to their partners' professions diminishes their individual identities and achievements. The most recent example of this can be Taylor Swift at Travis Kelce's games. Tay Tay is one of the most influential women working today. So her being referred to a WAG too is such a ‘Hater’ move. It's 2024; I think we can retire the term now.

Here's what ‘Mob Wives’ dress like:

  • High-end and luxurious fabrics such as silk, fur, and velvet, is Church-day outfit for them
  • Oversized sunglasses, OTT jewelry, and designer handbags are NBD
  • Form-fitting dresses and outfits that accentuate curves are mandatory
  • Stilettos or high heels are a common sight
  • Big hair and glamorous makeup, with emphasis on smoky eyes, bold lip colours, and perfectly coiffed hair is the brief
  • And so much animal print!

The key references for this aesthetic comes from some iconic characters. Karen Hill in Goodfellas (1990), Carmela Soprano in The Sopranos (1999-2007), Ginger McKenna in Casino (1995), Victoria Gotti in Victoria Gotti: My Father's Daughter (2019) and Angela Gots in Mob Wives (2011-2016). The main criticism around the trend comes from potential stereotyping and focus on luxury and ostentation. It's about glamourising the lifestyles of people involved in crime because while the movies themselves may portray an unbiased portrayal of the mob life, the fashion trend may not take into account the impact it can have on impressionable minds. Maybe leave depictions of the mob way of living to experienced directors who can deal with the subject sensibly?


Photo: /InstagramKendalljenner

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