Remember the school cafeteria scene in Mean Girls where Janis Ian gives you a rundown on the different high school subcultures? The days of high-school life playing a big role in defining cliques has now transformed into an online phenomenon. Over the last few years, our constant need to share our lives on social media has given birth to an entirely new group of subcultures, largely via TikTok. The latest of those personas is the Soft Girl, which borrows some traits from both the E-Girl and VSCO Girl. If you’re not a teen and are super confused or curious about the terms we just dropped, let us give you some insight into the worlds of these online subcultures.
E-girls, or electronic girls is a Gen-Z way of describing emo kids. They’re edgy but with a dose of cuteness. The e-girl staples include dyed hair (pink, green, or other colours of rainbow), colourful hairclips, heavy winged eyeliner, pink blush swept across the cheeks and nose and little hearts under the eyes. Top it off with a mesh tee, fishnet stockings, and unreasonably high platform shoes and you’re good to go. They spend their time on TikTok (mainly), Twitch and Tumblr and are heavily inspired by anime and K-Pop, using terms like “uwu” – a response to something cute (basically, their version of aww).
VSCO girls are named after the photo-editing app VSCO (pronounced visco, not V-S-C-O), known for its soft and warm filters. They have a carefree, beachy vibe. The VSCO girl starter pack includes oversized tees, scrunchies, bohemian bracelets, Birkenstocks and a Fujifilm Instax mini to take polaroids of their VSCO life for their bedroom walls (surrounded by string lights, of course). They love a no-makeup makeup look that’s fresh and dewy. They’re environmentally friendly and love their reusable flasks and metal straws.
Soft Girls dress similar to VSCO girls, just ditch the backpack and Birks for chunky sneakers and pink accessories. Unlike e-girls, they go for warmer colours and things that are pink or cutesy. Their style is defined by hyperfeminine elements including hairclips, lots of pink blush, faux freckles, glossy lips, oversized tees and sweatshirts (think Ariana Grande, the OG soft girl), creating a dreamy vibe and soft aesthetic. They’re maximalist, less brand-specific than VSCO girls and prefer pastels over neutrals.
Meet Parvané, one of our GLU tribe members. She’s a model, content creator and DJ and uses photography as a medium to express herself creatively. Check out her curated Instagram feed on @parvbar.
Get Parvané’s Soft Girl look by adding these products to your everyday routine:
This multipurpose face crayon matches highly pigmented colour with an ultra-creamy formula to create the perfect pout and a healthy flush. It’s great for blending and experimenting – the rule to colour inside the lines doesn’t apply here, so get creative!
This spearmint scented formula is enhanced with pearl effect pigments for an ultra-intense sparkle, making it the soft girl dream. It’s infused with both Vitamin E & Honeysuckle Flower Extract for all-day moisturization and softness, minus the stickiness. Wear it alone or over your fave lipstick. Apply more than 1 layer for intense sparkle.
This satin-smooth liquid blusher gives your cheeks the perfect natural flush of colour. The easily blendable and buildable formula is paired with a unique velvety sponge to ensure perfect application, leaving no room for mistakes.
Lifted. Long. Luscious. What more do you need from a mascara? Add the perfect amount of drama to your look with this voluminising mascara.
Make sculpted eyebrows your best friend with this lightweight, long-lasting and waterproof brow gel that helps shape and tame your eyebrows. Brush the gel into brows with short upward strokes for full, perfect brows.
By Surbhi Agarwal