Good or bad, the “girl dinner” trend seemed to retool the way we talk. If you like something a lot, you’re a “_____ girl.” This summer alone has given rise to the tomato girl and the olive girl, in addition to the aforementioned girl dinner. But with summer officially over, it’s time for a shift. It can be alienating to exist without knowing what kind of “girl” you are — who wants to be left adrift in the internet ecosystem without an meme identity to cling to? Fortunately with our TikTokified cornucopia of olives, tomatoes, and dinners, a people’s champion for fall is emerging: pasta girl.
The recipe for a pasta girl fall has been building for some time now. Sure, there’s never been a time where pasta has been out of vogue, but if you take a quick perusal of social media, you’ll notice that the dish is particularly ‘in.’ Not only is it the go-to girl dinner of choice according to countless viral TikToks, or a main culinary component of so much Pinterest wanderlust, it has also permeated fashion.
Brooklyn-based brand Panache has capitalized on the cult-like love for pasta — expanding from offering hand painted vintage leather bags featuring various loaves of bread to a full course of pastaccessories. The brand’s Mangia pasta bag straps — 16.5-inch long straps made of 14K gold-plated farfalles — retail for $295. The brand also pasta earrings, pasta art prints, and pasta-themed matchbook sets.
Rao’s Homemade offers a leather bag version of its popular grocery store pasta sauce. The Marinara retails for $1,000, with Rao’s sending all proceeds to the Greater Chicago Food Depository. And Even those of us who can’t gorge ourselves on traditional gluten-heavy pastas can participate in pasta-girl fashion. Banza, which offers chickpea-based pasta options, has its very own “bucakini” a Bucatini bikini, described as “noodle forward” and retailing for $59.99.
The emergence of pasta earrings and sauce purses, while not essential to participating in pastacore, speak to the food’s growing cultural dominance. According to Statista, pasta has a global revenue of $131.4 billion in 2023, and it will continue to grow. On TikTok, the #pasta tag has thousands of videos with hundreds of millions of views, with top searches including “Gigi Hadid pasta,” “TikTok pasta,” and “healthy pasta.” TikTok can also tell you what your favorite pasta shape says about you and how to make Cajun chicken Alfredo penne.
And beyond the deluge of products, a pasta girl lifestyle can be embraced more holistically. You really only need the contents of a grocery bag in order to be a pasta girl. Whether your preference is tagliatelle or tortellini, Alfredo or bolognese, a healthy desire for a hearty bowl of it is really the trend’s only entry requirement. And for this, your options are endless — you can go gourmet with handmade noodles and an elaborate sauce, or downright goofy with silly pasta shapes and a jar of Carbone’s arrabiata.
Maybe wrapping ourselves up in seasonal food identities is not a sustainable long term strategy for coping with the changing seasons. That’s fine. What really is sustainable these days? What the pasta girl can do is romanticize what’s already in your pantry, a meal you’re already planning on eating, and turn it into something a little more fun. Plus, it’s not like this will be anyone’s first time embracing an internet trend to find meaning. I’ve been shifting into soup mode for the last five autumns.
Opheli Garcia is a writer covering travel and culture.