VSCO Girls– The evolved “basic white girl”

The VSCO girl will likely go down as one of this year’s most memorable trends. What started on an app called TikTok, became a breed of girls found nationwide. (Photo courtesy of Amanda Ray)

VSCO girls have officially taken over the internet. A trend that initially started with videos on Tik-Tok has spread all over the internet, including on Instagram ,Youtube, and Twitter. 

While VSCO girls are a new internet trend, it’s not the first time teenage girls have been given a label on the internet.

Before understanding what a VSCO girl is, it’s important to understand where they come from. The VSCO app was created in 2011 and is essentially Instagram’s younger sister. Users share and post pictures, but the platform is less focused on numbers and more focused on creating a visually appealing feed. In fact, most people began using VSCO because of its user-friendly photo editing abilities, and eventually started posting their edited photos as well. On VSCO, there aren’t likes comments: the only options are to favorite posts and repost them to your own collection. And while others can interact with the photos you post, nobody can see how many favorites and reposts you get, removing the stress of posting something others will like.

With a more casual version of social media, people began to post more aesthetically pleasing pictures — like pictures of quotes, nature, and cute outfits. However, as a social media platform, naturally people wanted to show off how amazing their lives look, so it became flooded with girls of a similar nature, and thus, the VSCO girl was born.

By now, most people have heard the term “VSCO girl.”  They’re characterized by oversized t-shirts, lululemon shorts, birkenstocks, scrunchies, hydroflasks, messy buns, Jeep wranglers, and metal straws. Common sayings from VSCO girls include “and I oop,” “skskskks,” and “save the sea turtles,” most of which first gained popularity on social media. The VSCO girl takes the fashion of a typical college student (outfits that take minimal effort) and combines it with trending topics, such as the well being of our planet.

Part of the reason this stereotype blew up so much is because of the internet and the millions of people on social media. Millions of girls all over the world with similar looks found each other, and were able to bond over their shared interests. After the name “VSCO girl” was coined on TikTok, youtubers began to pick up on the trend, making tons of videos like “transforming into a VSCO girl for a day”. Even though there are other TikTok stereotypes (like e-boys and soft girls), the VSCO girl likely became most popular because of its wearability–it’s not a trend far from what teens usually wear. Teens already had scrunchies and oversized t-shirts, the trend just combined popular trends and gave it a name. 

VSCO girls are usually associated with freshmen; but the problem with that, however, is that “VSCO girls” are just wearing things that are trendy. Scrunchies and Birkenstocks are coming back into style from the 80’s and 90’s, and lululemon is one of the most popular brands at the moment. Most teens don’t like wearing small or tight shirts either because they are insecure or afraid of breaking the dress code. And for using hydroflasks and metal straws, can we really be upset at people straying away from single use plastics? 

This also isn’t the first time the internet has allowed teens with the same interests to find each other and bond over their similarities. Everyone remembers when “basic white girls” were taking over. In the early 2010s, the internet was plagued with another girl group, made fun of for their Starbucks drinks (bonus points if it’s a pumpkin spice latte), Ugg boots, and Victoria’s Secret PINK clothing. And even though this group has mostly disappeared, you still hear someone being called “basic” every now and then. Also worth noting about many trends that link girls on the internet, is that it mostly targets affluent white girls. These trends are expensive. Being a VSCO girl is by no means cheap– hydroflasks go for about $50 and Birkenstocks are upwards of $100. Even the “basic white girl” stereotype adds up– Uggs are also around $100 and Starkbucks sells coffee for like $5 a cup. 

What’s interesting is that the VSCO girl aesthetic is really only compatible for the summer and spring. Based on big t-shirts and tiny shorts, it will be interesting to see if VSCO girls survive the winter, or if they’ll have to go into hibernation until next spring. Or maybe a new group will be popularized this winter…


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