12 Dec 2021

Humble ‘retro’ corded headphones are making an unexpected return, for both aesthetic and practical reasons

That aesthetic is the so-called “2010s Tumblr” vibe—itself a pastel, youthful take on 1990s grunge—that is proliferating on social media platforms. Shelby Hull, the Los Angeles-based marketing coordinator at Rostrum Records and the woman responsible for the @wireditgirls Instagram account, describes it as “this huge romanticization and resurgence of the Tumblr era, where people are looking at music as a whole aesthetic experience rather than just practical consumption.” She continued, “Low-fi tech is seen as more of an aesthetic experience and it contributes to that cool-factor.”

Courtney Park, a 25-year-old social media manager in Orange County, Calif., said that they are the “polar opposite” of the “finance-bro aesthetic.” She explained, “A lot of people make fun of that whole tech-finance-bro look where they always have their Patagonia vest on and their AirPods in.” She herself recently ditched her AirPods after three years of being let down by, among other issues, their failure to charge. Corded headphones, she said, “have this aura of carelessness and effortlessness.”

The Patagonia line made me lol. Viva-La-Jack. 🎧

I use Master & Dynamics MW60s - which have bluetooth but I find myself using a cord to my DAP more often than not: moving to the country and doing the occasional long commute on unreliable transport has been a serious adjustment to what I need out of equipment.