Unless you have been hiding under a rock for the past few months, chances are you have been made aware of the latest type of trendy girl: the VSCO girl. While you might hear the term tossed around in almost every article on Buzzfeed, you might not have any clue what the heck a VSCO girl even is.
VSCO, previously known as VSCO Cam, is a photo editing app that became popular in early 2010 just as social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat were beginning to take off. The app has been widely used by Insta fiends and shutterbugs alike to edit photos in a hazy, faded and boho style.
VSCO has been gaining tons of attention lately as this summer’s “it” girls used the app as part of their moniker. Despite their name, VSCO girls gained recognition through other social media platforms, like Instagram and the Gen Z favorite, short-video platform TikTok.
Teens and preteens deemed “VSCO girls” began to make videos displaying the VSCO girl aesthetic on TikTok, which ultimately led to the discovery of the trendy teen group amongst the youth of today.
When looking at TikTok videos, Instagram posts and yes, pictures posted to the VSCO app itself, you will notice a trend amongst them all. VSCO girls tend to exude this sense of effortlessness and a laid-back style that reflects that of YouTube royalty, Emma Chamberlain.
When out and about, VSCO girls can be easily spotted wearing any variation of an oversized T-shirt or tube top, scrunchies (usually multiple on their wrist), Puka shells around their necks and Birkenstocks or Crocs on their feet. As for makeup and hair, VSCO girls have the mentality that less is better and are often seen donning a messy bun and a little bit of mascara. They also might be seen toting around a sticker-covered Hydro Flask or an iced beverage with a reusable metal straw.
Other key items include those teeny-tiny Fjällräven backpacks usually filled with Carmex lip balm and Mario Badescu facial spray, homemade friendship bracelets, Polaroid cameras and anything Brandy Melville. Online, the girls can be found using slang like “sksksksk” and “and I oop” as well as encouraging others to “save the turtles.”
VSCO girls have been compared to a few different online trends past and present, two of them being the “tumblr girls” and “the e-girl.” Tumblr girls were the trendy girls of the early 2010s and, like VSCO Girls, were prominent all over social media.
Tumblr girls were known for having a hipster-esque sense of style and were normally seen rocking a fringed tank top or T-shirt that they might have DIY-ed, some high-waisted shorts, and heels or converse sneakers. Like VSCO girls, Tumblr girls loved taking photos, often of themselves and typically on a Canon camera, and posting them to social media with some sort of inspirational quote.
They also tended to dye their hair in pastels or in the ombre fashion and wore a decent amount of winged eyeliner paired with a nude lip. Instead of Hydro Flasks and reusable cups with metal straws, Tumblr girls often enjoyed Starbucks, plastic straw and all.
Like VSCO girls, “e-girls” are a current type of trendy girl made popular by social media, specifically TikTok. Unlike the VSCO girl, however, e-girls exist only where their names suggest: the internet. E-girls are pretty much the juxtaposition of the easy breezy VSCO girl, as they are almost always sporting bright colored hair put up into perfectly positioned pigtails, bold makeup and drawn-on hearts along with alternative fashions inspired by the emo community, amongst many others.
VSCO girls, like the Tumblr girls they’ve been compared to, have been receiving some flack for some of their practices and ideologies. As mentioned previously, VSCO girls use the slang “sksksk,” which is said to have originated from the black community and stan Twitter, as well as “and I oop,” which was from Ru Paul’s Drag Race contestant Jasmine Masters.
The style and aesthetic have been criticized, as well. The style is thought to be restrictive to only certain groups because of the cost. For example, the VSCO girl favorites, the Fjallraven Kanken Backpack and Birkenstock sandals, run for $80 and $135 respectively on the Urban Outfitters website.
Also similar to their predecessors, the Tumblr girls, VSCO girls have been looked at as being a non-diverse group of young, thin, white women.
The internet has not always been kind to the group of girls and is known to pick at and make fun of some of their habits. Many individuals have gotten on the same platform, TikTok, that made the VSCO girls popular, to make parody videos of the trendy tweens and teens.
Recently, a TikTok from user koobydoobydoobydoo has gone viral. The video serves as a caricature of the loved and hated VSCO girl. While the video was created for good fun and a few laughs, many online personalities and YouTubers have been voicing their opposition to poking fun at VSCO girls.
vsco girls: pic.twitter.com/7xIMCQyDyX
— elle ☁️ (@ifuthinkabtme) August 10, 2019
One YouTuber in particular who has explored the world of the VSCO girl is Tiffany Ferg. In a recent video, Ferg brought up the point that many have, which is essentially that it is not cool to make fun and purposefully hurt the feelings of young girls, as being a teen is already enough of a burden in and of itself. However, she also plays devil’s advocate and believes that many of the parodies are not intended to be malicious and are often made by members of Gen Z themselves.
At the end of the day, no matter how you feel about the trendiest teen girls of today, they do have some positive habits that other groups might not have had, like using reusable cups, bottles and straws, and caring about marine wildlife (although it might be just the turtles).