Up until a couple weeks ago, I had absolutely no idea what a VSCO girl was. But the media, doing what the media always does, discovered something young people were into and has now made it a thing that everyone must weigh in on. But as I learned more about this Hot New Trend Among The Youths, I realized something: I'm a VSCO girl. Well, I'm an OG VSCO girl. A mom version of the current teen trend, if you will. And just like VSCO girls are pretty unmistakable, so are their OG counterparts.
For the uninitiated, Dictionary.com defines a VSCO girl as:
[A] term, generally used as an insult, for a young, usually white woman who posts trendy pictures of herself edited on the app VSCO. Stereotypes of the VSCO girl include wearing scrunchies and Birkenstock sandals, drinking out of Hydro Flask reusable water canisters, saying sksksk and I oop, and generally seeking attention online.
While there are certain (read: big) aspects of this phenomenon that can't translate into a past context — social media wasn't a thing and an app was something we ate before dinner — so much of the aesthetic will appear familiar to a girl who came of age in the '90s. Extremely familiar, in fact.
So with that in mind, here are some signs you were an original VSCO girl. You know, someone these young bucks can learn from.
You Wore A Hole In Your Checkered Vans
For most pre-VSCO VSCO girls (like yours truly) the checkered Vans phase usually came before (or sometimes after) the Doc Marten's phase. So I'm waiting to see what happens when this new batch of teens takes on the air-cushioned soles of England's favorite footwear.
Checkered Vans were as comfortable as they were cool. No wonder we were rarely seen with them.
You Rocked Scrunchies
Scrunchies seemed to exist out in the wild back in the day. I honestly couldn't tell you where or when I got any of mine. They just, you know, existed. The scrunchies were always there, appearing when I needed them to appear. I couldn't have imagined putting anything else in my hair (OK, maybe cute the barrettes I got at Claire's.)
You Constantly Had Headphones On
OK, they weren't the current VSCO girls' air pods, but damnit I paid $100 for that pizza-box sized Discman! (And sometimes I could even make it three tracks without the CD skipping!)
You Either Wore Crop Tops Or Oversized T-Shirts
A shirt that fits?! Whatever, nerd. You're either going to see my belly button or you're not going to see anything but my willowy limbs, because I'm a size 2 in a XXL early-'90s band t-shirt. I'm pretty sure those were the only actual options.
You Had Your Go-To Beauty Brands
VSCO girls have their Mario Badescu face wash, but we had Noxzema pads, which smelled like a hospital and stung like the fires of hell. I'm pretty sure they probably caused me to get pimples, but I kept buying them because that's just what you did. What else was I going to do? Use soap? Like my grandma?! No thanks.
Also, let us never forget the absolute must that was Bath and Body Works everything. If you didn't smell like cucumber melon, were you even alive?
Your Make-Up Game Was Minimal
VSCO girls, like their '90s counterparts, know that when it comes to getting all gussied up, less was more. They're reacting against the onslaught of YouTube make-up tutorials. We were reacting to the '80s, which, on the whole, was just a mood. (Blue eyeshadow up to your Brook Shield's inspired brows, anyone?) We kept it simple.
You Were All About Saving The Environment
Hopefully you still are! Just as various environmental causes were a thing when we OG VSCOs were younger, current VSCO girls understand that we have literally one planet and they're super into doing what they can to help it (although, their concern may be performative).
Sticker-covered HydroFlasks, metal straws, turtles: not only do they care, but they want you to know that they care, just like I did when I told my parents that chopping down trees for temporary Christmas decorations was killing Mother Earth. (Turns out it's more environmentally friendly than plastic trees, but at least my heart was in the right place.)
You Didn't Leave The House Without A Disposable Camera
The OGs didn't really have a choice: we didn't have your new-fangled camera phones. VSCO girls? Really into the nostalgia of it, for some reasons. Disposable cameras* and Polaroids (which were not unknown to me but were definitely before my time).
*don't know how this fits into the idea of being environmentally friendly, but OK
You Still Have Your Shell Choker
Your Wrist-Wear Game Was Strong
You Were All About The Lip Gloss
Lip gloss was perfect for achieving that natural look you were aiming for. A look that says, like VSCO girls, "I'm above fashion."
(A notable exception to this, of course, were those among us who wore that deep brown color lipstick with a lip liner that was, somehow, even darker than the lipstick.)
You Lived That Birkenstocks Life
Because none of us mind embracing our inner hippie a bit. (Also they're comfy AF.)
You Rocked Casual Hair & You Didn't Care
For us OGs (and admittedly, I'm speaking as a white woman here who was, shockingly, once a white girl), the tyranny of the straightener was years away. Beachy waves? Decades. Those '80s perms were behind us and so, for one shining moment, we could just let our hair be our hair and not worry about fussing too much. Curly? Cool. Straight. Nice. If you could put a scrunchy in it you were golden. VSCO girls, similarly, don't seem to worry too much about being overly coiffed.
You Were A Proud Social Justice Warrior
And, as with environmentalism, hopefully you still are! VSCO girls wear their causes on their sleeves (the kids are alright) and even when their grasp of issues is surface (like ours were back in the day, when Dana Carvey George H.W. Bush impressions were the height of biting satire), it's still encouraging to see that it's on their radar. OG VSCO girls likely joined (or were president of) their school's chapter of Amnesty International (or at least definitely had an Amnesty International sticker or t-shirt poking about somewhere).
You Lived For Sleepovers
Sleep overs were crucial to girl bonding and growing up back in the day, and I'm happy to see it alive and well in the modern VSCO incarnation. Granted, we didn't post it all to social media (thank freakin' god) but you do you, kiddos.
You Knew The Most Uncool Look On The Planet Was "Effort"
I think this is a little generationally different, but some of the impulses are the same. Back in my day, we adopted a kind of Gen X nihilism where everything was stupid and trying was pointless and dumb. That permeated everything, including our sense of fashion and style. (That began to change after Clueless, though.)
VSCO girls are more optimistic (they're all about those #positivevibes) and believe they can effect change, but when it comes to their look? It cannot appear as though you've tried at all. Even though you've obviously put a tremendous amount of thought into it.
You Knew Your "Unique" Was The Same As Everyone Else's
It's cool, you guys. This is what being a teenager is all about, right? And, believe it or not, us moms were once teenagers. And, like the youths of today, when we were teenagers we had adults try and convince us that they didn't spend a significant amount of their adolescence trying to "fit in," too.
You Didn't Care That No One Took You Seriously
As teenage girls, everything we were passionate about, no matter what it was, was dismissed as shallow and stupid. Which, unfortunately, is something the VSCO girls of today can relate to. Hell, this has been the lot of teenager girls since the concept of being a teenager was invented sometime in the '50s. But we weren't shallow or stupid, and neither are the youths of today.
I'm not saying this whole VSCO-branding trend isn't without it's problems. (Brandy Melville selling one size of clothing is deeply problematic.) But overall, embrace what you love and be open to learning and growing. You've got this, VSCO girl.