My daughter and I talk all the time about my goal to not become a dinosaur. We made a deal that she will keep me up to date on all the pop culture things she knows about so I have a chance at staying young. My first lesson was about VSCO girls. It first came up as we were visiting some friends at their vacation home a few weekends ago. My daughter and our friends’ two teenage daughters began talking about who is and who is not a VSCO girl. I was completely confused by their conversation. I only knew VSCO as a photo editing app. Totally out of my element, the girls got me up to speed.
- Brandy Melville Crop Top || 2. Fjallraven Backpack || 3. Mario Bedescu Facial Spray || 4. Puka Necklace || 5. Checkerboard Vans || 6. Hydroflask || 7. Scrunchies || 8. Birkenstocks
Do you remember Valley Girls from the 80s? Fast forward roughly 35(!) years and you have another incarnation of a characterization of the coming-of-age fashion and vernacular adopted by a particular type of girl heavily influenced by Southern California-cool. You probably can recall that Valley Girls were generally associated with their lifestyle of overconsumption and materialism shopping at the mall a.k.a. “the galleria” (this is pre-1984 Madonna Material Girl), suntanning, and their penchant for using slang like, “like totally”, “fer sure”, and “gag me with a spoon”.
There have been different versions of Valley Girls over the years but I was largely oblivious to them. Life has a way of coming full circle, however, and now that I am parenting a teen and tween I’m catching up with the current version of the pop culture phenomena I experienced in the 80s.
So what exactly is a VSCO girl? A VSCO girl wears short shorts and a long t-shirt to cover up her shorts (so you can’t really see that she’s wearing anything underneath) or shorts and a Brandy Melville crop top. She carries a Fjaalraven backpack, wears Birkenstocks, checkerboard vans, or Crocs (seriously, I don’t know who keeps trying to bring Crocs back but can we agree they were never a good idea?). She wears puka shell necklaces and multiple scrunchies on her wrist. She spritzes her face with Mario Bedescu facial spray and carries a sticker-adorned $45 Hydroflask water bottle (because, you know, hydration is SO important). When a VSCO girl is surprised or shocked, she’ll exclaim, “and I oop” (in this way “oop” is used as a verb). In text, a VSCO girl uses a keyboard smash of “sksksksk” to express laughter. In short, she is a real life paradox of materialism with her pricey fashion choices but at the same time she has a penchant for environmental pursuits (such as using metal straws so she can save the turtles).
One thing that struck me immediately was how funny it was that the girls describing a VSCO girl to me were so adamant that they are not VSCO themselves (as they sipped from their stickered hydroflask water bottles). They were dressing the part. And, if I’m being fair, I am too. I’ve got my Birkenstocks. I think those checkerboard vans are pretty cute too. The fashion choices of a VSCO girl have seeped so far into our pop culture that most of us are VSCOs without even knowing it. So tell me, how close are you to being a VSCO girl?
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