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What is an 'It Girl', and Why Are We So Obsessed with Them?

Loose is introducing a new section: the It Girl Glossary. Here, we’re analysing the different aesthetics within the It Girl network, and how to achieve their looks. But, first, what is an It Girl?

“'Tisn't beauty, so to speak, nor good talk necessarily. It's just It. Some women'll stay in a man's memory if they once walk down a street.” — Rudyard Kipling

Paris Hilto 00s fashion fendi bag
A young Paris Hilton — Hilton is a prime example of an it girl, her fame being granted by her socialite status... with a little help from her family's wealth.

The ‘It Girl’ — as powerful as it is elusive, the title ‘It Girl’ has transformed into a blanket term for aesthetics. The term ‘It Girl’ dates back to the early twentieth century, when the model Evelyn Nesbit first gained the title. Traditionally, the term meant a beautiful young woman, often of suitable wealth, and of always suitable fame. But it is the way that they carry themselves that make them so magnetic to others; the way the name came to be was because these women were described to have ‘It’, an unidentifiable, uncharacteristic attribute that made them so charismatic and charming to others. Looking at It Girls, we can see that this magnetism has something to do with how they present themselves. Often, it is socialites that gain this status, because it is their charisma that grants them fame in the first place, something integral to the It Girl persona.

But why are we so obsessed with the 'It Girl'? The Polyester Podcast examined this, and emphasised the ‘casual coolness’ of the traditional It Girls. There is just something about them, with no specific style attached to it.

Leighton Meester and Blake Lively, who played best frenemies Blair Waldorf and Serena van der Woodsen in show 'Gossip Girl'. Both girls had very different styles but were still seen as it girls.
Leighton Meester and Blake Lively, who played best frenemies Blair Waldorf and Serena van der Woodsen in show 'Gossip Girl'.

The podcast also highlighted that the magnetism of It Girls is rooted in their uniqueness. We glamourise the style of It Girls because they are unapologetically themselves. The Gossip Girl duo Blair Waldorf and Serena van Der Woodsen are both considered It Girls, despite opposite styles and personalities. It Girls have one unifying factor, and that is ‘It’. Everything else is unique to the individual. Really, It Girls become famous become their natural personalities are so enticing.

Perhaps this is why It Girl has transformed into a whole subcategory of aesthetics. There are now countless types of It Girl: the rockstar’s girlfriend, the 00s icon, the hippy. Writer Pearli Dark creates TikTok videos depicting these different aesthetics. We spoke to Pearli about the It Girl:

LOOSE: How would you define ‘It Girl’?

PEARLI: To me an ‘It Girl’ is a pioneer for her brand, whether it be her iconic fashion or simply her presence in the media, she’s someone who is looked at for the latest trends… She’s essentially who we all strive to be.

LOOSE: The ‘It Girl’ has become its own subcategory of aesthetics, something that you play into on your TikTok. Why do you think there are so many different types of ‘It Girl’?

PEARLI: I think there are so many subcategories of ‘It Girl’ because there’s so many kinds of girls! From the effortless French It Girl to the punk rock It Girl to all the It Girls in between... I’ve had comments saying I’m putting girls in boxes but I think that’s what humans do, we find an aesthetic that fits and go with it and maybe the next day we change but that’s what’s fun about ‘It Girls’ and ‘aesthetics’, you can be a different one everyday.

LOOSE: Yes! I think with social media especially, we’ve all become so aware of how we present ourselves to others, which lends itself to the different types of It Girl! And finally, what is your favourite ‘It Girl’ aesthetic, and why?

PEARLI: I’d say my personal favourite 'It Girl' would be the party It Girl. I think it takes talent to be able to pull off her style! She’s slept in her eyeshadow but she still looks perfect, it’s a craft you either end up looking like a raccoon or Kate Moss... It's very 90s which I love! It's fun and feels very current.

Perhaps this is the shining feature of the It Girl aesthetic: anyone can be an It Girl if they're true to themselves. Within Loose's It Girl Glossary, we'll be analysing different It Girl aesthetics, and how to make them work for you.

Pearli Dark is a writer from Melbourne, Australia. You can find her It Girl aesthetic videos under the Tiktok user @pearlidark222 and on Instagram @pearlidark. Thank you to Pearli for speaking with us!

The interview with Pearli Dark was conducted by Lucy Eaton.


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