McBling is an aesthetic that was popular from roughly 2003 to 2008, succeeding the Y2K aesthetic. It was coined through a Facebook page in 2016 made by Evan Collins of the Y2K Aesthetics Institute.
First signs of the McBling aesthetic began around 2000–2001. It was at this time that the Y2K aesthetic began to decline due to over-saturation, the dot-com bust, paranoia in the wake of 9/11, etc. as well as a general desire by the American public to move onto something else. One of the earliest instances of this aesthetic is the music video for Madonna's 2000 song "Music".
The McBling aesthetic went into full swing around 2003–04 with the start of the Iraq War, the release of Myspace, the iPod becoming a huge status symbol, and the premiere of Paris Hilton's The Simple Life, marking the end of the Y2K era. By late 2005, McBling was in full swing with things such as emo, Myspace, YouTube, etc. having become very popular, and all leftover traces of the Y2K era were gone. The McBling aesthetic rise and fall was also coincidentally in tandem with another mid-late 2000s aesthetic called Surf Crush.
The McBling era ended around 2008 with the Great Recession, Barack Obama's election, and the backlash against 2000s culture setting in. This led into the ElectroPop 08/Hipster/Jersey Shore Era, which lasted from about 2008 to 2013. On social media in recent years, the McBling aesthetic has grown in popularity, albeit it is often lumped with or mistaken for the Y2K aesthetic (i.e. on TikTok and Depop, McBling-era fashions are mistakenly referred to as "Y2K fashion"), despite there being some differences between the two.
Popular visual cues of the era include:
- 1970s-esque maximalism
- The Candice font (previously popular in the 1970s, fittingly enough), seen in media like Pimp My Ride
- Worship culture of mainstream pop stars
- Hollywood royalty who were popular at the time (such as Paris Hilton, Beyoncé, Britney Spears, etc)
- Bedazzled flip phones
- Flip phones
- Trucker hats
- Large jeeps
- Range Rovers
- Jewelry and "bling"
- Websites like Myspace and Blingee
People often associate this aesthetic with the color pink (usually a bright hot pink) as it was popularized by Paris Hilton during this time.
A darker side to the McBling aesthetic centers around the myriad of celebrity scandals that went down around the time, including:
- Britney Spears's meltdown in 2007
- Lindsay Lohan going to jail several times for a variety of reasons
- Leaked celebrity sex tapes (most famously, Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian)
- Ashley Tisdale messy red carpet looks
- Over exaggerated tabloid headers
- Amanda Bynes unflattering paparazzi photos
- Amanda Bynes messy tweets
- Brad Pitt leaving Jennifer Aniston for then-rising-sexpot Angelina Jolie
The fashion mainly contains messy any controversial outfits worn by these celebs during the 2000's, low rise jeans, Juicy Couture tracksuits, ripped clothes, etc. Popular fashion items involved in the McBling aesthetic include:
- Juicy Couture clothes
- Brandy Melville
- Louis Vuitton
- Von Dutch
- Victoria's Secret/P!NK
- Wildfox Couture
In essence, McBling was the painful hangover after the massive party that was Y2K.
- Mean Girls (2004)
- High School Musical (2006)
- Wild Child (2008)
- Jennifer's Body (2009)
- The House Bunny (2008)
- Confessions of a Shopaholic (2009)
- Young Adult (2011)
- The O.C. (Fox; 2003-2007)
- The Girls Next Door (E!; 2005-2010)
- The Hills (MTV; 2006-2010)
- Gossip Girl (CW; 2007-2012)
- The City (MTV; 2008-2010)
- ELECTRO MCBLING ROCOCÓ CHANEL Spotify playlist by Victoria Fini
- mcbling halloween Spotify playlist by sophiegraham01
- instant messenger | Spotify playlist by lifegrips
- mcbling by lk_777 // spotty playlist