Cover photo via NBC News.
Has your teen been asking you to buy her scrunchies, Vans, shell necklaces, and Hydroflasks? If so, she might be a VSCO Girl.
Hold on, what’s VSCO?
Let’s start from the beginning. The term “VSCO Girl” began as a way to describe someone who uses the photo editing app, VSCO (pronounced “vis-co”). The app uses pre-made filters and settings to make photos look cool and vintage. Thus, a VSCO Girl must be just that: cool and vintage.
But it gets tricky: A VSCO Girl doesn’t actually have to use the app at all—that’s just what the scrunchie-wearing, hydroflask-carrying girls are called. It’s the new “basic girl,” i.e. someone who conforms to the majority of other girls’ styles, personality traits, and interests.
And the weird part is that VSCO Girls are a thing, but they’re kind of not? The trend started out on TikTok as more of a joke, but then the inevitable came. Girls began to embrace it as an actual fashion statement. So now, there are girls who genuinely follow the trend, while a majority of teens just make fun of it. They laugh when they see VSCO Girls because the style is so recognizable and, well, basically the same from girl to girl. In an interview with Slate, one 15-year-old girl had this to say about VSCO Girls: “It seems like it’s something that only exists on the internet, but there’s a decent amount of them that I’ve actually seen in real life.”
Another girl mentioned in the comments under one blog post about VSCO Girls, “I’m dressing up as a VSCO girl this Halloween because my neighbor keeps making fun of me for being one so I was going to go as one with a super cute girly crown! So….VSCO QUEEN COMING THROUGH!” So, she’s not a VSCO Girl, but she is one? Confusing, yes. But that’s just the nature of the VSCO Girl trend, apparently.
Students talk rather sarcastically about VSCO Girls for being “basic,” conformist, and looking pretty much the same as each other. But that’s the thing about trends: They all can be seen as basic because, by definition, a trend is simply what a large group of people are into at a certain point in time. So while VSCO Girls may be the hot trend now, a new one will pop up next year or next month or even the next day.
The makings of a VSCO Girl
We’ve talked about what teens think of VSCO Girls, but how do you become one? To be a VSCO Girl, you’ve got to embody all things retro, carefree, and chill. Here are just some of the essentials.
1. Drinking lots of coffee (with STRICTLY almond or oat milk. If it’s milk from a cow, you’re not a VSCO Girl, sorry)
2. Being eco-friendly (using paper straws, drinking out of Hydroflasks)
3. Oversized t-shirts
4. Mom jeans
5. Vans shoes
6. Scrunchies (and LOTS of them)
7. Messy, relaxed hair (you know, because you’re carefree and whimsical)
8. Fjällräven Kanken backpacks
9. Name brands like Nike and Lululemon
10. Tons and tons and tons of friendship bracelets
11. An obsession with skincare
14. Burt’s Bees & Carmex
15. And Saying “sksksksk” and “and I oop” (“Sksksksk” simulates smashing letters on a keyboard in a sort of “OMG” moment; “and I oop” is just a cute way of saying “whoops” after doing something clumsy or awkward.)
And that’s (basically) everything you need to know about VSCO Girls. If you still feel a bit lost when it comes to this trend, the best place to go for more info is your teenager! Ask your child what he or she thinks about the trend, if they think it’s a good or bad one, if their friends are joining in, and what it means to be a VSCO Girl.