“Grocery Girl Fall” Is Trending Now — And I’ve Never Been So Seen
I never liked to play with my food as a kid, but I’ve more than made up for it with my fantastical food decor now. Looking around my apartment is like a game of I Spy — can you spot the papier-mâché butter lettuce, illuminated croissant lamp, and tiny corn-adorned fondue forks that come in a larger ceramic corntainer? Those are just three of the bakers’ dozens of food-inspired decorations in my home, ranging from hyper-realistic food candles to anthropomorphic snacks that smile back.
Scrolling on TikTok, I recently discovered that I’m not alone. The term “Grocery Girl Fall” has popped up alongside endless videos of food-inspired decorations (DIY and store-bought, including wall-hanging ramen bowls, strawberry stools, and much more); clothing with vivacious food prints; and other food-shaped things that aren’t actually edible.
What Is “Grocery Girl Fall”?
There are various points of views about what “Grocery Girl Fall” means — for some, it’s quiet luxury with elevated whimsical accents; others go whole hog and embrace the fun maximalism. I fall into the latter category, with an expansive collection that I’ve curated from years of thrifting, antiquing, estate sale shopping, and — more recently — spotting things on TikTok or Instagram that I need to have. (I still don’t have the famed strawberry stool, but I settled for a lemon stool from HomeGoods after searching 13 stores and being berry disappointed.)
This isn’t a trend or a phase for me, though — it’s been my lifelong lifestyle. In fact, one of my earliest memories as a toddler was wandering the aisles of a play grocery store, filling my tiny grocery cart with plastic-and-paper fake food at The Discovery Center in Binghamton, New York. What was then a bag of Tostitos full of triangular-cut paper is now my actual custom Tostitos Scoops earrings, a ring, and necklace from Glitterlimes, with real chips preserved in a coat of glitter resin. Back then, I would throw a plastic banana in my cart; now I have a bejeweled banana, hanging wooden bananas, a banana-shaped amber glass serving platter, banana napkin rings, stackable peeled banana salt-and-pepper shakers, and banana toast holders. I am indeed B-A-N-A-N-A-S.
Through the years, friends and family have noticed my love of food-decorated items and quirky housewares, and I’ve been gifted a bagel-covered platter, fruit trivets, and more food-with-faces plushies than I can count. I’ve long hunted HomeGoods, TJMaxx, and Marshall’s for things that looked like food, usually few and far between and seasonally available. I bought my first vintage, fruit-covered etched glassware for 99 cents at a thrift store in my hometown and brought them back to college with me. I bought toast-and-egg-shaped plates at Crate and Barrel in my early 20s for a brunch party, and other food tchotchkes throughout a decade of living in New York City.
But I didn’t truly unlock my full fruitful potential of maximalist food decor until I went to my first estate sale after moving to Los Angeles in 2020 and entering the most maximalist chapter of my life. There, I got my first Murano-style glass produce — a bell pepper, peach, and pear — and a small ceramic soup tureen shaped like a head of cauliflower, complete with 3D leaves and a matching plate that looked like its root and greens. From then on, I was drawn to anything that looked like food — especially vintage from the ’60s and ’70s — and started my culinary collection.
The more hyper-realistic or weird something is, the more I love it. It delights me to my core, and brings me endless joy when I look at all my silly food stuff. I curate it by category or color when it makes sense, like a rainbow display of fruits and veggies in my dining room, sunny-side-up egg tables (with lazy Susan yolks!), and a mantel covered with intricate teapots. I have wall-hanging rugs of a bowl of ramen, a chopsticks-suspended dumpling, and burst-open crab rangoons.
Next to them is a metal mushroom wreath and various fruits and vegetables arranged like a giant clock (that’s still a work in progress), and I have a deviled egg clock to actually tell the time in my kitchen.
When friends come over, they can choose from dozens of tiny food chopstick rests ranging from a bottle of Kewpie mayonnaise to a slightly salacious-looking duo of soup dumplings. I haven’t lit one yet, but I do have a fire collection of food candles as a museum in the hallway between my living room and bathroom so everyone can take a peek. And all the walls in my apartment are mostly food-themed galleries, too, including a portrait of one of my dogs, Miso, surrounded by fried eggs that resemble flowers and can trick the eye.
So, where can you buy food-themed decor?
The biggest boost to my collection was when I was propping out my entire cookbook, Big Dip Energy (out in April 2024), with whimsical, kitschy food-shaped vessels and bric-a-brac. If you’re looking to start a food collection of your own, I suggest searching your favorite food and the word “vintage” on sites like Mercari, eBay, Etsy, and Poshmark — it can be a dangerous game, but without looking up “cheeseburger vintage,” I wouldn’t have found my book cover star: a giant cheeseburger serving dish filled to the brim with Chopped Cheese(burger) queso, cheeseburger napkin rings, and a smiling tomato mini ketchup bottle.
Thrifting locally or going to antique malls or estate sales will also often be fruitful for food-themed and food-shaped vintage wares. If you want more modern goods, some of my favorites — all shoppable online — are Friends and Coming Soon out of NYC, Parchment Paper in LA, C’mere and Gimme in New Orleans, and Edge of Urge in North Carolina. My egg tables are from Studio Flot, a Korean American woodworker in upstate New York who shipped to me in LA, and my deviled egg clock is from Mexakitsch, which also makes incredibly intricate fake Jell-O!
You can also sort through bigger stores like Urban Outfitters, World Market, and even Target, or follow curated reseller shops like Resident Objects on Instagram. And if you also want to add food-printed clothes to your wardrobe while you’re at it, check out Big Bud Press, Nooworks, Rachel Antonoff, Mokuyobi, and ASOS (search a specific food and see what comes up — I love my lobster pajamas!). Jewelry and accessories I buy all over the place, but my most-shopped food-loving brands are MackBecks, Future Frenzy, Sunnie Creative, Glitterlimes, and Velandini.
Creating a cornucopia of inedible delights is the way that I spark joy in my life in a hauntingly beautiful way — hauntingly because a lot of them came from estate sales (and I’m not afraid of no ghost), and because if I walk away from something that looks like food in an antique mall, it’ll haunt me until I track it down online. So perhaps the better term for this trend should be Grocery Ghoul Fall? I’d be aghast without my fake food!
Where do you go for your favorite food-inspired decor? Tell us in the comments below.