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How to be an It Girl

Follow Shift's tips and get mistaken for Chloe Sevigny at the supermarket

The It Girl is the media’s answer to the girls in year 11 who you envied and couldn’t wait to grow into when you were starting secondary school. From Naomi Campbell, Edie Sedgwick and Nico to Zendaya, Fiona Apple and Chloe Sevigny, the term ‘It Girl’ is hard to shake off.

Managing a mixture of party rat and put together, the It Girl is the socialite without the bourgeoisie branding. She knows everyone, and even if she doesn’t know someone, they for sure know her and are willing to buy her a vodka soda or bum her a smoke (only if it’s a Vogue). This girl is always a multihyphenate: a writer/model/actress/whatever you want her to be as long as there’s a dirty martini and dirty eyeliner.

The mark of an It Girl is one hard that’s to define, and for a lot of people it is simply subjective. We all have our own personal icons and inspirations we would consider make the grade.

But who gets to dictate who is an It Girl and what defines the term? Is it simply style? And if so, how do we mere civilians replicate said style, and how do we become the hottest girl on the tube.

CSM Fashion Design with Marketing student Christopher Harvey gives his views on which current trends can be incorporated into the cool girl uniform. “I adore this formal/casual mix that is slowly coming up- super messy jeans on the bottom paired with a loafer and a shirt and tie, knitted sweater vest on top,” he says. “I also love underwear, slightly showing or seeing the silhouette through fitted clothing. Also, the idea of having leather and lace mixed – hot.”

Ironically, to emulate what is believed to be It Girl style is to simply develop your own personal style, so I cannot really begin to say exactly what to wear or who to dress like or which trend forecasts to read. There are a few style tips and tricks that can be used to get everyone’s head to turn and consequently develop major friend crushes on you. My credentials to tell you this, by the way, is that a dear friend once said I was “the Chloe Sevigny of Shepherds Bush.”

Be brave, even scare yourself with your style

You know that one outfit you have designed and planned in your head for ages, but you feel like there’s no occasion to wear it without feeling properly out of place and too dressed up? Wear it to do your big shop in Lidl, or Sainsbury’s or Waitrose if you’re of the usual It Girl tax bracket. Be brave with your fashion, wear things that may not match but might make you happy despite that fact. Pink and red do in fact go together, and that is the hill I will die on.

Authenticity is the most important thing

Continuing on from the first point, authenticity should be top priority. Developing a personal sense of style is one of the hardest things to navigate in today’s current fashion climate, with a new trend being shoved down our throat by TikTok and influencers every which way we look. Don’t specifically try and follow trends just because they’re trends, but on the other hand, if you like a trend, lean into it!

Instagram is your best friend

The It Girl is regularly untouchable, she’s who you want to be but can never get past her mystery. The benefits of the Instagram age is that this can be translated online – only in recent years is it the norm to be instantly accessible via social media, so don’t feel bad about not replying to messages whilst also posting numerous fit pics on your story. The ultimate It Girl move would actually to buy a landline.

Instagram can obviously be used for inspiration alongside sharing your own style. Here are a few examples of Instagram It Girls to follow for style information, and also how to curate that carefully casual feed that is now ever so popular: Linmick, Chloe Sevigny herself, and @megsuperstarprincess, per Harvey’s request.

Maximalism is your other best friend

Layering will be a saviour – skirts over trousers are no longer just for Ashley Tisdale on a 2000s red carpet. Jeans with a slip dress over the top is now the classic cool girl outfit, usually paired with a good ugly shoe. Layer your slips over long tops and trousers, t shirts over one another, revamp old outfits by simply putting more on top or under it. The benefits of English weather allow us to layer throughout the year bar one week in August, so experimenting with layers can be a year round trial.

Charity shops and Vinted will be your new go tos

The selling point of Vinted for a lot of people is simply the fact that a lot of people do not know what they are selling. That western style belt that did the rounds in Brighton bars in 2004 that Sandra from Portsmouth is selling for £3? It could be the one thing that elevates your look from Bianca Jackson to Bianca Jagger. Scour the charity shops and Vinted as much as you can, use keywords on Vinted to really narrow down your search because admittedly, there are some shockers on that site. Traid is a haven for heels and Miss Sixty trainers, and cheap layering items to elevate an outfit. The £2 basket at the back of Traid is an It Girl’s Pandora’s box.

Wear a bad outfit once in a while, you never know who will actually like it

Pair a tartan kilt style skirt with those leopard print tights you’ve had collecting dust in your delicates draw since you were 14. You may be nervous at first at the harsh clash, but I can guarantee someone at The Hawley Arms will ask if you’re wearing Vivienne Westwood.

Shave your head

That’s it. That’s the tip. Just don’t bleach it all, your locks will never recover. Speaking from experience.

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