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A New Aesthetic

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“Come out!” Dan Howell ordered, “You can’t stay in the dressing room all day!”

“I can and I will,” Phil Lester replied stubbornly.

“Phil,” Dan whined, “I’m tired, and I want to go home. Just let me see and then we can go!”

“Oh, alright,” Phil said, “Is anyone else out there?”

“No,” Dan answered. “Come out!”

Phil stepped out of the dressing room and Dan’s jaw dropped.

Phil was wearing a pair of black jeans with holes in the knees and thighs, and a bright pink, form-fitting, long-sleeved button down shirt, done up to the neck. He had on his glasses and his black shoes with the white borders and white laces.

“Phil,…” Dan began, “It’s just stunning!”

“It’s too tight!” Phil complained. “And I think you can see my nipples!”

“You … well, you kind of can, but only if you really look. It’s not too tight. It looks really good on you! You have to get it!”

“Where would I wear this?!” Phi asked.

“Anytime! Around the house, to a party, at a meet and greet. It really suits you, Phil,” Dan enthused.

Phil stepped out and took a look at himself in the three-sided mirror. The tighter fit of the shirt brought out his best features, especially those square, broad shoulders. His pectoral muscles were well-defined and then the shirt travelled down and hugged his narrowing waist line. The contrast between the angles up top and the rounded buttocks below was devastating. Dan was loving it.

Phil was still unsure, though.

“I just think if I take a deep breath, the buttons will pop off,” he said.

“Take a picture and show it to your mum,” Dan said. “I promise, she’ll love it!”

“Alright,” Phil agreed, walking back into the dressing room to grab his phone. He took three shots and sent them to Katherine, who promptly wrote back, “Child! Buy it, you look handsome!”

“See,” Dan said, looking over Phil’s shoulder at the message, “I told you! Now get your clothes back on and let’s pay for this and get home!”

“It’s 80 pounds, though, mate!” Phil whined. “For one shirt? I could buy three shirts at that price!”

“Not of this quality and not from a store like this, you couldn’t. Come on, ‘Capital Lester’, splurge a bit.”

“Fine,” Phil said, sounding somewhat defeated, “but you’re buying supper then.”

Dan laughed.

As Phil went back in to change, Dan stepped back out into the department store and began to wander around. He was in need of a new pair of pants and took the opportunity to browse the selection.

He pullout a pair of black trousers but didn’t care for the material. He found another pair that were a bit softer, and held them up to check for length. They tapered in towards the ankle a bit, which he liked, so he decided to try them on.

Phil was just exiting the dressing room when he passed Dan heading in.

“What have you go there? Oh look, black pants. I can’t believe it,” Phil teased.

“I need new trousers,” Dan said, “Mine are all getting a bit faded.”

“Why don’t you try something a bit out of your comfort zone?” Phil asked, his eyes darting around, “like— like these for example!” He held out a pair of white trousers with silver buttons down the front instead of a zipper.

“Because I’m not a cowboy, Phil,” Dan said.

Phil rolled his eyes, “They aren’t cowboy pants,” he said, “and besides, you would look good in these. They’d accentuate your hips.”

“Who says I want to accentuate my hips, Phil?” Dan asked.

“Just try them on!” Phil demanded, holding them in front of Dan’s face.

“Fine!” Dan agreed, and he took the trousers from Phil and headed to the fitting room.”


Dan was just buttoning up the pants when an red shirt appeared over the fitting room curtain. “Here!”

“No,” came Dan’s reply.

“Come on!” Phil whined. “It will be striking! Just try it on!”

“This would look good on you, Phil, not me. It will wash me out.”

“No it won’t. Just try it!”

“Fine,” Dan said, and pulled off his shirt.

The red shirt was well-fitted, but not too tight, with black buttons down the front, long sleeves, and a pocket over the left breast. Dan winced as he looked down at himself. This is ridiculous, he thought.

“Are you ever coming out, or are we sleeping here tonight?” Phil teased.

Dan walked out and Phil started applauding. “Dan! OMG! Look at yourself! Look, look!”

He literally pushed Dan towards the three mirrors. Dan squeezed his eyes shut and refused to open them.

“I can’t believe it! I’m taking photos,” Phil said.

Dan immediately opened his eyes, “Don’t you dare!” He threatened. As he reached for Phil’s phone, he caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror.

Actually, he thought to himself, this isn’t that bad. The red did not fade him out, but instead, contrasted brightly with the white of his pants.



“What did I tell you?!” Phil said, “You look incredible! You’re getting this.”

“I don’t know,” Dan said, but secretly, he was shocked at the fact that he could indeed pull off wearing a color other than black or white.

“Yes,” Phil decided, pushing him away from the mirror and back to the dressing room. “Take them off and I’ll go buy them while you change.”

“What do you mean you’ll buy them?”

“It was my idea, so I’ll get them for you,” Phil replied.

“No,” Dan said. “Go get yours and I’ll meet you outside.”

“No,” Phil said, stepping into Dan’s dressing room and folding his arms, “Because you’ll just leave them in here and not buy them like you do every time.” Phil closed the curtain behind him and faced Dan. “Disrobe.”

“Disrobe?” Dan cackled. “This isn’t the 1600’s, Phil! And get out of here!”

“I’m staying. Give me your clothes.”

“Fine,” Dan said, unbuttoning the shirt. “You are a weird man, Phil Lester.”

Phil smiled smugly.


Three weeks later, after Louise had her baby, they found the perfect opportunity to try out their new outfits. They were going to her “After Baby Party” and wanted to look their best.

Phil began to whine from his room as soon as he buttoned up the pink shirt. “It’s too tight!”

“It’s not too tight!” Dan yelled back.


On the train to Louise’s apartment, both young men felt conspicuous, as if all the passengers were staring at them. Truthfully, some of their fellow riders actually were stealing glances at the handsome young men.


When they arrived at Louise’s apartment, Louise immediately gushed over Dan. “Dan! You look amazing! Look at those dimples! Aww, your face is starting to match your shirt!”

“Phil! So sexy and angular! My goodness, I’m all a flutter!” She joked. Phil grinned and felt his ears go hot with a blush as well.

Louise’s compliments helped them to relax a bit and focus on enjoying the party. When it was time for pictures later, they stood next to each other and simply beamed.


When Louise’s vlog came out three weeks later, the Phandom nearly broke Tumblr with frantic reblogs, lengthy posts reviewing the new aesthetics, fan art, gifs, and several dozen new fan fictions all within the course of about six hours.

Dan scrolled Tumblr with a grin on his face. Phil was leaning into Dan as they cuddled on the couch and found himself smiling as well.

“I guess they like it,” Phil giggled.

“Yeah, they seem to!” Dan said, laughing along.

“I guess that’s our new look, now,” Phil said.

“One new outfit does not a new aesthetic make!” Dan chided.

“Aww. I was thinking they would make cute plushies.”

Dan paused for a moment.

“I mean,” he said, “we could always run it by Martyn. Just to see what he thought….”

Phil laughed.

“You really did look handsome, Phil. Very manly.” Dan said.

“Aw, thanks Dan,” Phil said, absently rubbing Dan’s chest as he snuggled in closer.

“Maybe we should go shopping in real life more often,” Dan suggested.

“Yeah,’ Phil agreed, looking at his handsome boyfriend in the animated gif that had just appeared. “Maybe we should.”