Back-to-school Essentials Guaranteed to Help You Level up to Ultimate VSCO-Girl Status

If you’re anything like me, you’ve always wondered what it would be like to be a VSCO girl. 

The edgy yet soft filters, the beachy sunset vibes, the endless’s no wonder why embracing the #VSCOgirl aesthetic is so gosh darn appealing. Let’s face it: VSCO is its own branch of religion – a type of spirituality that is both seductive and mysterious. Your VSCO feed is basically your way of telling the world that you could be in a sorority but choose not to be, or maybe you are in a sorority but that doesn’t define you. You’re playful, soulful, sophisticated, charismatic, and unique – you are a VSCO girl through and through. 

Now that you know what being a VSCO girl looks like, it’s time for you to take tangible steps toward actually embracing the identity. Over the years, I have done a fair bit of online shopping for totally-unnecessary yet absolutely essential items. In other words, you could say I’ve spent the better part of 10 years training to become a VSCO girl before being a VSCO girl was even possible. Lucky for you, I have condensed a decade’s worth of research to create the following list of essentials for the VSCO girl inside all of us. 


  1. Hydro Flask

This one is elementary. It’s practically page one verse one of the VSCO Bible: Thou shalt own a Hydro Flask. Acceptable colors include classic white, olive, frost, watermelon, lilac, or like one of those ombré hydros I’ve seen people swinging around. These shades exist, and like I learned in my race and ethnicity class, every shade is beautiful.

Because I’m afraid of copyright, here is a picture of me holding the lilac Hydro Flask that I definitely own. 


  1. Succulents

This is another given. Succulents are spicy additions to any dorm or apartment. Buy two minimum or go crazy like a cat lady (but with plants!) You can’t just own one succulent you legitimately believe they have feelings and get lonely. A reliable source* has led me to believe that if you have a couple of succulents, in 1-2 years you can expect succulent babies. Succulents are not only VSCO girl essentials, they also happen to look pretty dang precious and will make your home all the more homely. 

*I am the source.

“Wow, I, like, love succulents!”


  1. Fall-Scented Candles 

Candles that smell like fall are always relevant. Buy a handful of Pumpkin spice candles or other candles with scents that don’t actually exist as smells on their own, like mahogany wind, breath of cinnamon and nutmeg, or leaves of firewood.

Here I am breathing in the delicious fragrance from my *looks at handwriting on palm* Vanilla Pumpkin Marshmallow candle.


  1. One of those Fjallraven(?) bags 

But make it XX small. If your laptop fits, it’s too big. If your notebook fits, again it’s too big. If your pen barely fits, then it’s just the right size. Let’s be real: all you really need to bring to school is yourself.

I wear my Fjallraven(?) Kaken(?) everywhere! Little trips, like Hawaiian sunset cruises, are never satisfactory without one.


  1. Rescue a [email protected]*&ing dog

Or two, or three. Maybe mix it up and adopt a dog and a bunny. I don’t care. Just do it for the #VSCOgirl vibes. You don’t even need to like dogs, but you’ve got to admit they are great publicity and will diversify your VSCO feed aesthetic. 

I have two rescue dogs, and both are rescues. Have I mentioned that I adopted them? The white one (Bagel) lost an eye on the streets. They’re okay, I guess, but most importantly they make me seem like a humanitarian. Add a filter and I’m a VSCO girl, babyy.


  1. Longboard

I’ve always said, if you can stand and you can kick, you can skateboard. 


Now that you know how to skateboard, invest in something a little more classy: a longboard. A longboard is perfect for cruisin’ down Newport, whippin’ through Aldrich, and rarely fallin’ on your face. Make sure the longboard is made of flexible, sustainable eco-friendly bamboo. The belly of the board should have wave prints or some other symbol that just makes you think, “Holy f***, that’s zen.”

Do I get a VSCO combo bonus here? x2 points for rescue dog AND longboard.


  1. Some quirky item that speaks to who you are as an individual.

As an example, I recently purchased a custom mug which reveals a thousand mini pictures of my dogs’ faces when hot liquid is added. It hasn’t arrived in the mail yet, but I’m imagining it will look something like this:

Get it here.


  1. Redbubble stickers

Decorate that laptop or hydroflask in true VSCO girl style! Have at least one sticker that’s a rainbow, one that says “Good Vibes Only”, one that’s a palm tree, and like a WWF sticker or something from an environmental protection organization.


 “Bruh,” this is my Hydro baby. 


  1. Birkenstocks or Rainbows

To go outside, you have to wear shoes. To go outside as a VSCO girl, you have to wear Birkenstocks or Rainbows. See, the thing about being a VSCO girl is that by definition you spend your time in warm, sandy places where closed-toed shoes are, like, never necessary. Occasionally, nice boots, Tevas, or Timberlands are acceptable VSCO girl kicks. But as a general rule, remember: Rainbows and Birks serve looks, all other shoes serve “Boos.” 

**Not gonna include a photo for this one because too many people already have my feet pics.**


I’m ending my list one short of ten. That’s because I’m leaving #10 up to your discretion. I’ve held your hand up to this point, but it’s time for us to go our separate ways because, you see, being a VSCO girl means being independent. Sure, you’re free-spirited, fun-loving, and popular. But you’re also hella creative and do just fine on your own. So go forth and be the best VSCO version of yourself possible. Together, we can rock this school year and make the world a little more VSCO, one filtered photo at a time.

All photos are courtesy of the Author: Katie Freiberg