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The “VSCO Girl” Influence on College Fashion

Updated: Nov 16, 2023

By: Kenzel Williams

The first month of my freshman year at Arizona State University has already gone by. During these weeks, I quickly noticed how certain fashion trends have affected the style of students. The biggest and arguably most important trend I noticed was comfort.

Nobody wants to feel uncomfortable during their 9 a.m. classes, especially when they just rolled out of bed. At the same time, nobody wants to intentionally look like a complete disaster.

Many students at the downtown campus have mixed these ideas together and began to follow the popular “VSCO girl” trend. The term embraces a style that is effortless, natural and comfortable. It chooses a “no-makeup” look over bold lip-colors and eyeshadow. The style involves specific items ranging from scrunchies to Birkenstocks.

VSCO is an app where users can edit their photos with free or paid preset filters. The “VSCO girl” trend became popularized on the app, as well as other social media sites including Tik Tok.

This phenomenon has quickly been adopted by teens all over the nation, and ASU is no exception.

You may wonder, how can I take on the “VSCO” trend into my everyday look? I wanted to figure this out and look deeper into how these accessories and clothing intertwined with today’s college fashion.

A Symbolic Statement

Singer Billie Eilish

I’ll admit, I’m a fan of shirts that are way too big for my body. They are the best piece of clothing to put on if you don’t want to attract too much attention, and oversized t-shirts provide an adequate amount of comfort while not looking like you just woke up. Well, if you style it correctly of course.

An oversized t-shirt or sweater is a great way to maintain an effortless “VSCO” look. It’s as simple as going to the nearest Urban Outfitters and picking out a t-shirt that’s two sizes up from what you would normally purchase.

Celebrities, such as Billie Eilish and Ariana Grande, have popularized the oversized look. Ariana Grande first brought the look into mainstream media by pairing oversized sweatshirts with thigh-high boots, and Billie Eilish has spoken about how oversized clothing is a way for her to not become sexualized.

Eilish is only 17 years old and she wants to portray that her body shouldn’t be the focus of who she is. Because of this statement, Eilish has become an icon for oversized fashion and an inspiration for teens.

Some teens look up to these celebrities, and as a result, girls and guys have exchanged their tight-fitting clothes for the baggy, comfortable look.

Quirky and Comfortable

Singer Ariana Grande

I’ve never seen Crocs until I moved to Phoenix and I don’t blame students for the statement shoe. They are versatile for both men and women, come in a variety of colors to match each personality, and are not the typical slipper. Its original look is different than a Birkenstock or Nike slide.

The brand brings quirky elegance to the VSCO girl, and creates a sense of youth and even empowerment. “I think I look cool in them. I think they’re quirky,” Haley Couture, first-year student and proud owner of Crocs, said.

I don’t believe anybody buys Crocs solely for fashion, though. People buy these shoes because they’re easy to slip on and provide more than enough comfort to get through the day. Students like Haley easily walk around campus while also feeling unique when wearing them.

There are many other slip-ons that can be seen throughout campus including Birkenstocks. It takes only a second to slip on these sandals, so it makes sense that students are choosing these, over tying tennis shoes when late for class.

Aesthetically Reliable

Kanken backpacks are the perfect bag to take to lectures while still maintaining that perfect VSCO aesthetic. Similar to Crocs, the Swedish-designed backpack comes in a huge assortment of colors, so there’s a bag for every fashion style and attitude.

These backpacks were originally created so that children in Sweden would feel comfortable walking to school despite a heavy load on their backs. So, it makes sense that American teens taking on the VSCO style would invest in one.

Madison Young, a VSCO-inspired freshman, can agree on the comfort these bags provide. Being 5 feet 5 inches tall, she can rely on her yellow Kanken to get her through the day and not weigh her down.

The popular bags are functional and perfect for any “artsy” look. They’re not bulky but are still big enough to hold all of your school supplies. The quality is comparable to a Jansport or North Face backpack, and this is why many students choose this as their go-to bag. 

Keeps Water Cold and Kids Cool, Too

Hydro Flasks are not exactly a fashion accessory, but they’re an important part of the VSCO girl look. The water bottle brand has become increasingly popular because of its ability to keep water cold for a long period of time.

The bottle’s design can be kept plain, giving off a simple but classic look, however many use this opportunity to personalize it with stickers and paint.

This is the reason why many VSCO girls reach for a bottle at their nearest supermarket. Be careful not to drop a Hydro Flask, though! If someone drops their Hydro Flask you will definitely hear a VSCO girl exclaim, “and I OOP-, sksksksksk.”

Final Thoughts

The VSCO look has reached a peak and I don’t think it will slow down anytime soon. Celebrities have hopped onto the trend and collaborated with popular apps such as Tik Tok and Twitter to bring the style to the top of today’s fashion.

Despite this trend inspiring many of today’s jokes, I think there’s a statement this look symbolizes. It’s a breath of fresh air from the daunting maturity that some teens tend to take on.

Some boys and girls want to act or look older and always want to do something they shouldn’t be doing. Adults typically don’t reach for the nearest scrunchie and put on an oversized t-shirt when they head out for work. The VSCO trend reminds teens it’s okay to be young.

The VSCO trend reminds students to openly enjoy these comfortable accessories and in turn, their youth while we still can. 


Do you use VSCO? Let us know on Instagram and Twitter!

Reach the writer on Instagram


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