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VSCO girl style: What would the teenage trend look like if we gave the wardrobe a high fashion upgrade?

VSCO girl style: What would the teenage trend look like if we gave the wardrobe a high fashion upgrade?

And I oop!

Text: Gordon Ng

Editor: Jolene Khor


Much of the Internet collectively shut down when TikTok user @koobydoobydoobydoo posted a meme playing up and mocking VSCO girls. It's also a really handy guide to understanding this trend, which is essentially today's version of the basic b*tch from 2010. She's generally white, middle class, mildly aware of social and environmental causes, and a teenager.

@koobydoobydoobydoo

vsco girl makes you feel welcome on ur first day #foryou #foryoupage #pookashell #vsco #vscogirl

♬ original sound - koobydoobydoobydoo

In the video: a Hydro Flask water bottle, an armful of scrunchies, lip gloss, a friendship bracelet, an oversized T-shirt, Victoria's Secret body mist, and, of course, liberal use of "sksksks and I oop-" drawn straight from stan and queer culture. The trend, like its predecessor, is marked by specific belongings and objects, such as the aforementioned Hydro Flask water bottles, Fjallraven Kanken backpacks, and Crocs or Birkenstock shoes. These are all firmly mid-market, and mostly accessible, just within the reach of teenagers' budgets so as to be desirable. It, like most every other teenage trend, telegraphs some flippant degree of spending power and value association. With the VSCO girls, it's something along the lines of an easygoing, unfussed lifestyle.

Except the quintessential VSCO girl hallmarks are drawn from a range of '90s and noughties pop culture, remixed and stripped of whatever meaning they had in its own time for consumption by this generation of teenagers. It's also no use making fun of them the way teenage girls' subcultures and trends have always been made fun of. That's because VSCO girls, it would seem, are well aware of and actively participating in the trend — as evidenced by the best memes and parodies coming literally from VSCO girls themselves. It's all quite post-modern.

Seeing as this trend is so driven by what is worn and owned, we couldn't help but wonder what the VSCO girl's quintessential pieces would look like... if they came from high fashion designers. Here are some upgrades the fashion world has to offer.

 

Oversized slogan t-shirts, but get them from Dior

VSCO girls are of-the-moment — they represent a late-stage capitalism symptom of cultural consumption. Everything is easily digestible, even complex ideas. It's why the feminist T-shirts from Dior are so popular, and it's a no-brainer VSCO girls would wear them and consider them statements.

Bella Hadid in Prabal Gurung feminist T-shirt

Maria Grazia Chiuri has made feminist statement tees something of a signature at Christian Dior. These rather simplistic t-shirts are perfect examples of the consumptive activism that trends like VSCO girls bolster.

 

Cowrie shell fashion jewellery, but get them from Prada

What was once relegated to *cough* surfer archetypes with frosty highlights from the '90s are now almost requisite for the VSCO girl. Maybe it's that irreverent cultural loaning, but this generation's puka shells are meant to transmit chill, laid-back vibes without the very uncool surfer connotation.

If a VSCO girl were to look for a more upscale version, she'd do well to turn to Prada, which has surprisingly adopted shell jewellery as part of the brand's contemporary design lexicon. For spring, they're big, shiny, and very kooky — just the upgrade a string of shells needs.

Prada spring/summer 2020

 

Deliberately uncool shoes, but get them from... just about anywhere

There's three main shoe styles that VSCO girls wear: checkered Vans slip ons, cork Arizona Birkenstocks, and Crocs. There is, of course, a self-aware irony about these items that high fashion has already mined and turned on its head, transforming hideous design into chic comfort.

Think of Phoebe Philo making luxury versions of slip on skate shoes in plaids and snakeskins at Celine of yore. Or her furkenstocks, which revived the Arizona sandal back in 2013 and made it fashionable again. These are, naturally, super collectible and can be bought at auction or ready to ship from any of a number of vintage resale stores. Better still, Birkenstock has actually collaborated with fashion brands like Valentino, Rick Owens, and Proenza Schouler, so the VSCO girl already has contemporary options.

Crocs are a tough upgrade. They're subversively cool and beloved by VSCO girls precisely because they're so ugly and derided. The best fashion take on these shoes are perhaps Christopher Kane's, which featured charms and decorations on the holes of the shoes — not unlike the actual Jibbitz charms that Crocs sells today for the purposes of customization.

Christopher Kane's collaboration with Crocs in 2017 was perhaps the rehabilitation of this shoe style back into trend.

These shoes are from past collections, but, hey, circular fashion's good for the environment — and who doesn't want to save the turtles, right? Sksks and I oop and I oop.

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