Is a “VSCO girl” really just a modern-day hippie?
I’m pretty sure my 10-year-old is a VSCO girl.
This recent trend is sweeping over Gen Z—and it’s had some negative light shone on it. But I’m okay with my 10-year-old Maddy claiming to be VSCO. And here’s why.
Before we go too much further, you may be asking yourself, “What in the heck is a VSCO girl?” I thought the same thing the first time I heard the term when Maddy mentioned it. The only thing that rang a bell was a photo editing app that I had downloaded on my phone ages ago, but I hadn’t really opened it since. So of course, I had to do some research.
Turns out I was onto something, though. The edited pictures of these “VSCO girls” originated on the photo app! But it grew into this little subculture that is now prevalent on TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, and other social channels. VSCO girls can also be found in the halls of elementary, middle, and high schools across the country.
I pronounce it “Visco” with a short “i.” Not sure if I’m right or wrong, but no one has corrected me yet, so I’m just going with it.
VSCO girls are defined as “laid back and beachy.” Messy. Not perfect. Good, I love that. Their fashion includes oversized sweatshirts, track shorts, and even mom jeans. Hot. They accessorize with Pura Vida bracelets on their wrists and shell chokers around their necks, wearing big, messy buns in their hair. And scrunchies—tons of scrunchies. Their choice of shoes includes Doc Martens, Crocs, Vans, and Birkenstocks. Yep! The ugly shoe trend is back—but hey, at least they are comfy!
“VSCO girls” care about the environment, so they use Hydro Flasks decorated with vinyl stickers and metal straws instead of plastic. Yay for the environment! When they get excited or agree with something someone says, they respond with “sksksksksk” and/or “i-ooop.” It replaces “Oh my God, yes!” Basically, it’s just sounds, but it’s like their own little language. Try and say those words out loud; it’s pretty hilarious.
Now for one reason or another, this trend is really driving people mad. Is it their sounds? Maybe it’s that their sweatshirts are too big. Maybe people didn’t want to see scrunchies or Birkenstocks back in style?
VSCO is also being used to coin girls as “basic”—meant to be an insult. Like these girls have no depth. Which I think is complete garbage. Just because they wear scrunchies and like to use metal straws doesn’t mean that there isn’t more to them. There’s so much more.
Maybe what we are seeing is something our society has done for generations: hate on teenagers and the trends that they embrace. Anyone remember the 90s girl? Or the 80s punk trends? 70s disco, anyone? Any hippies in the house?
Every single generation has had their causes and their trends, and adults have generally picked each one of them apart. Now, since we have the internet, it’s much easier to do so publicly and much more broadly. Is it unfair? In my opinion, yes, definitely.
So, I have decided that I’m doing things differently. I am embracing it.
In today’s world of excessive technology and constant phones, finding that human connection is a little bit tougher than when I was growing up in the 80s and 90s. VSCO is just like grunge, goth, or any of the other zillion trends we all attached ourselves to growing up. It’s just a little something Gen Z can connect to.
As these younger girls are just starting to come into their own, it gives them something outside of their moms, dads, and families to identify with. It helps them to feel like they are part of something in this big world.
Again, not that this totally defines them—because it doesn’t. My daughter, for example, is also a good student, a rock-star soccer player, and an amazing friend to many. Not just a scrunchie wearing, Hydro Flask-toting, basic kid.
VSCO also makes me feel old AF, because just yesterday I was the one in the Birkenstocks, with my wool socks or Doc Martens and my huge Abercrombie sweatshirt. But clearly it wasn’t just yesterday. It was like 25 years ago. Geez. And now here I am, with a daughter old enough to get into her own trends.
I guess this is how life goes. And honestly, I’m honored to be able to watch my daughters grow up.
So VSCO away, girls. Just like your mom before you, and your grandma before her. Try things out. See what fits you. See what feels good to you. Find yourself. Find your tribes.
Just know I will always be here for you at home when you need me.
Your 80s punk and 90s girl Mom