He’s tall, lanky, nail polished, and your roommates hate him. His tattoos are stupid, his band is not as good as he says they are, your mom won’t tell your grandma about him, but underneath all that chaotic energy, there’s a little heart of gold that runs primarily on whiskey and clothes he borrowed from your closet. So let me introduce you to your new Internet boyfriend.

The fascination with the bad boy who’s only nice to you is an old trope, but now there’s something new and fresh around the 2021 aesthetic. Now, we’ve stepped into the glam. So, what is that aesthetic exactly? It’s more glam-rock than your black-and-white punks of the ’70s, with impeccable tailoring, perfectly done nails, eyeliner, a chainlink necklace, and a hint of a contour. Throw in either bleach or blue-black hair dye, and you’re most of the way to building one of these guys from scratch.

The Manicure

The ideal set of nails is the first step when entering your name to be 2021’s, new pop-punk boyfriend. Even the baby punks, who haven’t donned their first kilt and whose hair is still virginal, will paint on a coat of black nail polish. If you want to take it up a notch, grab a nail file and give yourself a faux-chipped look without needing the legitimate wear-and-tear.

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So while a simple black manicure is the ideal first step, there are also some new levels to reach. For example, you could go a little more glam, using TikTok’s Lil Huddy just released limited-edition nail sticker collab with Glamnetic. Or, if you’re genuinely committed to the aesthetic, get the longest acrylic nails possible, à la MGK.


Press-on Nails, Playboy



Nail Polish, Essie



Nail File, 3 Swords Germany



The Hair

Whether you decide to dunk your head in a vat of bleach or darken it with some blue-black dye, one thing is for sure: You absolutely cannot go au naturel with your locks if you’re trying to compete with the other punk boys on Instagram. Of course, going platinum blonde is always encouraged, but even if you decide to stay away from chemical treatments, you’ll need to at least rake some gel or pomade through your strands.

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If you decide to change your natural color, the more unusual the new tone, the more we want to learn more. Black dye is a serious commitment, but some lime green or a shock of red wouldn’t go amiss either.


Purple Haze Hair Dye, Manic Panic



Sculpting Clay, Verb



Semi-Permanent Hair Dye, Arctic Fox



The Makeup

This is where it gets tricky because makeup is optional. Would we prefer to share our eyeliner with our lovable punks? Sure, why not. But a makeup-free boy doesn’t lose his punk rock card if he doesn’t feel like throwing on some lipstick that day.

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When they decide to break out a little beauty, keep to the classics: Black eyeliner and red lipstick, both smudged. If that’s not enough to do the trick, embellish in the vein of Machine Gun Kelly, who wore pearls on his face to the VMA’s. If that’s not swoon-worthy, I don’t know what is.


Waterproof Eye Pencil, YSL Beauty

$28 (was $40)


Boy Brow, Glossier


Face Gems

Face and Body Gems, e.l.f. Cosmetics



So why are we now trying to find a single punk-adjacent boy again? Have we reached our punk-rock bottom? Maybe it’s because we identify with all that pent-up rage that we used to find unbearable. Personally, the appeal lies more in the fact that we could share ripped-up sweaters and book a couple’s manicures. But it does seem that the current variation of the cliché seems to go a little deeper: He probably has good political views, he’s not confined to gender norms, he’ll show you on his Instagram if your ‘fit goes with his aesthetic.


This story originally appeared on ELLE US

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