The ‘vibe shift’ survival guide
If you listen closely, you’ll hear it. The wind is whispering, vibe shift.
Predicted all the way back in June 2021 by trendcaster Sean Monahan, the aforementioned vibe shift — known as that period in time when one trend dies and another emerges — has been teasing us for months with the TikTok revivals of twee culture and indie sleaze. And just this week, The Cut’s Allison P. Davis publicly proclaimed: “A Vibe Shift Is Coming.” Vibe almanacs have also predicted such a shift, citing years of pandemic ennui, the popularity of early 2000s nostalgia, and the vibe-ological cycle that is closely aligned with the planets.
The vibe shift is imminent. But the real question is who survives.
In her piece, Davis asks about her own survival: “I have a choice to make: Do I try to opt in to whatever trend comes next, or do I choose to accept that my last two good years were spent on my couch gobbling antidepressants and wearing ‘cute house pants’ and UGGs?” It’s a choice that many of us are forced to consider right now, so now more than ever, vibe shift preparation is critical.
From interviews with vibe survivalists and historians (no, not really), we’ve put together a guide of everything you need to know to survive the shift.
The key to navigating any kind of vibe friction is to stay calm. Remember that humans have survived vibe shifts for thousands of years. From the very first vibe, when humans learned how to make fire, to living through the more recent Hypebeast era, humans have been driven to survive vibes by our innate desire to stay relevant. They got through this, and so can you.
Always be prepared
Failing to plan is planning to fail. Set Google alerts for vibe forecasters like Monahan or Mandy Lee on TikTok, study flash cards of past vibe eras, and pack a bag of essentials for when the shift happens. Although there are theories as to what the next vibe might be, it is still unclear. To be safe, we recommend packing items that indicate your cultural fluency and thus your ability to adapt, such as wired headphones (they say “don’t talk to me,” which is a timeless aura) and sage to clear the unwanted vibes.
Be on the lookout for misinformation. There are going to be people saying the vibe shift won’t happen, that it’s all hype. But these people are dangerous and wrong. The initial shift from one vibe to the next will be difficult for many, and might cause outrage, panic, denial, and sudden awareness of mortality. Expect an influx of rebuttals and think pieces.
Additionally, you might also encounter those who claim they don’t care whether or not they survive the vibe shift. Distance yourself from them immediately. They will only bring you down with their toxic beliefs.
Wear lots of layers so you can be ready to don or remove items of clothing according to the new vibe. Wear comfortable shoes since ride share prices are expected to surge. Invest in a capsule wardrobe you can dress up or down, depending on the vibes. (Whatever you do, don’t buy into fast fashion!)
Bring a portable charger
Keep your phone charged in case of vibe emergencies and to contact family and friends when you have safely entered the new vibe.
As we’ve seen from previous micro-vibes — such as banning plastic straws, carrying a HydroFlask, and the sparkling water wave of 2018 — the water vibe is highly volatile. Preempt this as much as possible by staying hydrated in case you’re not able to immediately access the new vibe.
Nothing kills a vibe like trying too hard. So embrace the uncertainty, stay loose, and enjoy the ride. Your vibe survival depends on it.