Teens' 'VSCO Girls' Trend Is Giving Moms a Major '90s Flashback
Tween and teen girls suddenly can't get enough of Puka shell necklaces and scrunchies.
If you grew up in the '80s and '90s, you probably rocked bellbottoms and/or flowy floral dresses—styles that had very much been on-trend and worn by your mom 20-30 years prior. Well, what's old is new again, once again. Peek in any Justice store or juniors' section of your local Target, and you'll see that tween and teen girls can't get enough of styles that look suspiciously familiar. Fashion that once distinctly belonged in the late '80s and '90s—scrunchies, Vans, oversized tees, clothing from Brandy Melville, Pura Vida bracelets, Fjällräven Kånken backpacks, and Puka shell necklaces—is now beloved by today tweens and teens who call themselves "VSCO girls."
NBC News reports that the VSCO girl name and aesthetic originated from the photo-sharing and editing app VSCO (formerly called VSCO cam), and now the "preppy" style, that is also "casual beach-inspired ... has taken over Gen Z-dominated corners of the internet such as short-form video app TikTok" and Instagram.
An 18-year-old from California named Caprese Wippich told NBC she's a "retired 'VSCO girl'" who makes TikTok videos about the aesthetic. "It’s probably the most popular trend I’ve seen come off the internet," Wippich told the outlet. "I see it constantly."
In addition to all of the scrunchies, Burt's Bees lipgloss, and Mario Badescu products, the ultimate VSCO girls accessories include HydroFlasks and metal straws. For that reason, it feels like today's tweens and teens seem to be channeling '90s icons, like The Baby-Sitters' Club Dawn Schafer and the cast of Clueless, while giving the look their own, 21st century eco-conscious flair.
That said, it's no wonder Gen X and millennial moms are having major flashbacks. Becky Bracken, a 44-year-old mom of one from Arizona took to Facebook to ask her fellow parents about the trend, writing, "I know I'm old and all but isn't this just '90s fashion and they are too young to know it? Every woman over 40 owned several things [from Brandy Melville]."
Bracken believes the VSCO look is "very much a preppy predecessor to grunge. This was very much my '90s look: scrunchie, oversized t-shirt, and very short shorts. It was also influenced by early skate-wear, like Vans and Airwalk."
Rachel Sokol Slavin, a 40-year-old mom of two girls in New York, is all about revisiting the fashion of her youth with her daughters. "I love this," she says. "I was your typical, go all out, kid of the '80s and '90s with a well-organized and colorful stickerbook, plastic charm bracelets, jelly shoes, slap bracelets, bubble necklaces. I love seeing these trends making a comeback, because I'm a big kid myself. The nostalgia is great during an era of a lots of uneasiness and stress for the parents of today."
Some moms see the VSCO girl trend as a way to revisit the style of their youth. Brieanne Dyas, a 35-year-old mom of one in New Jersey, is proudly rocking the look and a similar '90s-inspired style called Vaporwave or seapunk. She admits, "Sometimes people mistake me for my daughter's babysitter."
It seems like whether teens are flaunting their VSCO girl style on social media or trading scrunchies at school, the throwback-inspired look is giving multiple generations feel-good vibes. After all, it's proof that this next, green-minded generation is all about recycling—and we should all be onboard with that.