Let Me Explain the VSCO Girl Trend and Why I Support It

I remember when I was younger, if I wanted something like a Benetton sweater, Swatch watch, or Guess jeans, my parents would roll their eyes and wonder why in the world I needed something that costs that much money to be draped across my body as I walked down the halls of high school.

They didn’t understand why I tight-rolled my jeans, or left my Reebok hi-tops unlaced. It would drive them bonkers and I’d have to lace up my shoes in their presence. But as soon as they were out of sight, I’d wear my kicks how I liked them. To me and my friends, fitting in and feeling like we were good enough was more important than what we were going to eat that day.

These days, I channel that feeling when my daughter asks for another pack of scrunchies, a fresh pair of Crocs, and a Hydro Flask water bottle which costs twice as much as I want to spend, in order to blend in with the VSCO Girl trend (which got its name from the photo editing app, VSCO) making its way across the land. I know many moms of the world have googled VSCO this past year just to be in the know about what the hell is going on.

VSCO girl
As a mom, it’s important to me to stay caught up and not turn my head waiting for a stage like the VSCO girl to pass. (Kerri Collins)

The VSCO Girl Trend

For many teenage girls, VSCO is their look and their lifestyle. It’s casual, beachy, and involves oversized T-shirts, sweatshirts, colorful Purda Vida bracelets, shell necklaces, a Hydro Flask water bottle, trips to Starbucks with a metal straw, and of course, pictures (hence where the trend got its name).

pura vida bracelets
Pura Vida bracelets

Another part of the trend is being environmentally conscience (you’ll hear talk about saving the turtles) and a language with words you probably won’t recognize like “Sksksk!” which mean laughter, expressing something is awkward. And the very confusing, “And I oop!” which means “oops” or “Oh my God.”

Hydro Flask
Hydro flask water bottles

While my first reaction to all this was confusion and I wanted to tell my teenage daughter and her friends to be individuals (and cut it out with the new language because it annoys me), I have to remember something: Our teenage girls are who we were thirty years ago, coveting certain pieces of clothing and paraphernalia in order to fit in. But thanks to social media, their desire is on steroids.


The thing is, in the ’80s and ’90s when I was growing up trying to be “on trend.” things were a little easier. We didn’t have phones where we could watch YouTube videos, or Instagram where influencers made us feel like we had to have the latest in fashion the second it came out.

Fjallraven backpacks
Fjallraven backpack

The need to fit in is further exacerbated these days by the fact that our kids never get a break from what’s going on and news spreads like wildfire. As a mom, it’s important to me to stay caught up and not turn my head waiting for a stage to pass. I didn’t grow up with technology, but I’m not about to let that come inbetween my relationship with my kids. Even if I don’t fully understand the draw, I’m going to ask questions.

Mario Badescu
Facial prays

Mimi Ito, a cultural anthropologist who studies teenagers and technology tells The NY Times,

It’s really clear from the research that the best way to have a positive influence on kids once they enter the teenage years is to really listen.

I Asked My daughter About the VSCO Girl Trend

For me, listening to what the VSCO trend was all about started by asking questions, even though those questions made my daughter laugh. I should also add, she had zero tolerance for my ignorance in the subject of being a VSCO girl, but once I got her talking, I was able to hear what was going on in her world.

This was the gateway to a conversation about the social pressures teenage girls feel to fit in these days. It was a good time to remind my daughter that there’s nothing wrong with following trends as long as she’s true to herself and honors her own values.

While that may be a lesson that will take her more time to learn, I welcome every opportunity I can to put the bug in her ear. I find it most effective to convey my values to her when we are talking about something which deeply affects her. Right now, that’s fitting in with the crowd and feeling like she belongs.

I’m all for following trends. Hell, I’m 44 and I still do it. And the environmentally conscience piece of being a VSCO girls makes me happy. But between you and me, I just cannot with the “Sksksk” and the “And I oop!” It makes my skin crawl. Probably the same way it made my parents’ skin crawl when they’d see me come downstairs with untied shoes.

I’ll keep that to myself though. Because really, it’s a small thing to put up with in order to keep the communication lines open between me and my daughter.

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About Katie BinghamSmith

Katie Bingham-Smith lives in Maine with her three kids. She is a Staff Writer at Scary Mommy, shoe addict and pays her kids to rub her feet. You can see more of her on Facebook and Instagram .

Read more posts by Katie

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