JCPenney Photo Shoot Trend Ramps Up the Awkwardness on TikTok

JCPenney is surely enjoying quite the boom in interest thanks to the latest revival of its signature photographic style.

jcpenney storefront
Image via Getty/Justin Sullivan / Staff
jcpenney storefront

When you feel the urge to document your existence in an exaggeratedly staged fashion, preferably with ill-fitting or otherwise intentionally ill-advised clothing, why not head on down to your local JCPenney to draw from the limitless well of performative nostalgia?

For a few months (years actually) now, that’s been the pastime of a number of photographer paragons on TikTok. For some, this does indeed amount to an easy nostalgia play; for others, it’s all about ramping up the perceived discomfort. But for the true victors, the ones that make a real impact, the key is to bring together both of these decidedly complementary aims by going all in on JCPenneyisms.

You've certainly seen examples of this all over TikTok in recent days, rendering this article largely useless, but on the off chance that you wait until trends are written about to experience them firsthand, we've compiled a few highlights from the growing selection of JCPenney photo shoot clips.

While other songs have been utilized, many TikTok from the current batch of this trend have put Grover Washington Jr.’s Grammy-winning 1981 hit “Just the Two of Us” at the center of the proceedings. In 1997, Will Smith sampled the track on his Big Willie Style single, also titled “Just the Two of Us.”


JC Penny photoshoot to surprise my parents for Christmas 🤫😉 which ones your fav? #jcpennyportraits #jcpenney #awkwardfamilyphotos

♬ Just the Two of Us - Grover Washington, Jr.

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