What’s Your Instagram Tribe? Manic Pixie Dream Girl With a Straw Basket vs. Ironic 90s Club Kid
08.07.17

The Manic Pixie Dream Girl was declared dead in 2013 — her death later disputed. If she did die, she has reincarnated (if she lived, reinvented) herself as a millennial muse to an entire style tribe that exists and thrives on Instagram. Discounting one unfortunate waistcoat worn as decorative vest and a few other twee vintage misses, Zooey Deschanel’s 500 Days of Summer manic pixie character defends my argument in one prescient outfit which featured that white Reformation top every influencer has plus a straw basket to go with it, not to mention those bangs. It’s what half of my Instagram feed is currently wearing.

The other half are sartorial flashbacks to the days of CVS-developed photos taken on Kodak disposables.

We’ll get into both, but first, some context. In May 2016 I delved into two prominent social media aesthetics: Post-90s Minimalism and Post-90s Feminism. Just because you identified with one didn’t mean you ignored the other, and as their presence began to bleed into mainstream fashion a sort of harmonic cross-pollination between camps took place. In no way did their luster fade, but the group chatter turned to a din that allowed for two new style tribes to show face: The aforementioned Manic Pixie Dream Girl With a Straw Basket and the Ironic Yet Nostalgic 90s Club Kids Who Wear Unflattering Sunglasses on Purpose.

⚡️Dreamgirl @lucywilliams02 wearing her Valentina in New York⚡️

A post shared by Réalisation Par (@realisationpar) on

The Manic Pixie Dream Girl With a Straw Basket is a Jane Birkin derivative. What’s interesting about this camp is that she who prays at the alter of Jane and knows her fashion references now kneels next to another girl who couldn’t care less about the smocked top’s origin and instead just wants to look cute on the weekend. Instagram is largely to thank for the unity; in 2017, style is no longer a strict, clique-y cafeteria table assignment but rather, a mess hall where all are welcome to participate so long as they don’t mind matching their seat mates. Other identifiers of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl With a Straw Basket in question:

– She buys her dresses from Rouje, Réalisation Par and Reformation.
– She does not want to tell you where her dress is from. (Can you blame her? I can’t.) She will tell you, however, because she respects tap-for-credits culture.
– It doesn’t matter anyway; they’re always sold out.
– She is probably Jeanne Damas
– She has fully embraced the plandid, and in such a way that you feel brave enough to try it.
– She rarely shows her teeth in photos, and while it is never a question of whether or not she has teeth, there is the hope that behind her puffy pout exists a much-coveted gap.
– She wears Glossier products but never buys them; like a pothead who doesn’t buy pot, the Manic Pixie Dream Girl With a Straw Basket always has a Balm Dotcom inside her wicker basket but cannot for the life of her tell you how she wound up with it.
– She wears Le Labo Santal 33 or Chloé.
– Her hair smells like Herbal Essences back when the commercials mimicked women having orgasms (and you didn’t totally get it yet).
– Ankle-wrap sandals never fall down her leg.
– You want your brother to date her and if he won’t, you will.

Top 4 places she can be found:

1. By cacti

The time I humped cactus 🎍

A post shared by wanyizee (@wanyizee) on

2. Anywhere outside holding flowers

@nikishabrunson in the Mariposa Dress. #refbabe

A post shared by Reformation (@reformation) on

3. Anywhere outside in a field of flowers

🍒 Dreamgirl @ashley_moore_ wearing her Teale Wild Cherry dress in Madrid 🍒

A post shared by Réalisation Par (@realisationpar) on

4. And inside, but in a way that makes you assume she’s just taking a break from the sun for a few minutes to freshen up

The mandatory hotel bathroom selfie #pittiuomo

A post shared by Sabina Socol (@sabinasocol) on

Though she also exists in your phone (and possibly your wardrobe) she is worlds away from the other half of today’s style tribe in question, Nostalgic 90s Club Kids Who Wear Unflattering Sunglasses on Purpose.

A post shared by @lottavolkova on

In general, here’s how to spot one:

– She is often art world or fashion world (or both) adjacent
– Very frequently, a model
– She either is or has friends who are photographers. The goal is for the photo quality to look as bad as possible (and you either get it or you don’t get it)
– She wears sunglasses that were either bought at a gas station rest stop, or are Balenciaga
– When in her presence, you have a sudden, unavoidable urge to impress her with your knowledge of early 90’s punk bands
– Half her clothes appear lifted from the closet of a 13-year-old Limp Bizkit fan circa All About the Nookie
– 
The other half are thrifted from a store that specializes in 1999 polyester
– She inspired Vetements and venerates Eckhaus Latta
– Her entire “look” is so expertly packaged that you’re terrified of your own sensibility if you don’t understand it
– Do not call this normcore
– She is a savant at finding logo designer bags once held under the armpit of Paris Hilton on eBay
– She gets a kick from the grotesque and for the sake of her pixellated Instagram, zooms in on it
– She’s a flat-out refuser of constricting societal norms
– She does not smile in photos and has made an art of defying the unflattering angle
– She is unafraid of brazen sexuality
– She is very often stealing your girl, and your man

And though her location is often unidentifiable, you can find her in the following situations:

1. Somewhere that requires halter tops and ironic (but honestly, practical) props, plus coordinated friends

rg @nylonmag 💕

A post shared by chloe mackey (@chloemackey) on

2. Standing in a senior portrait pose in a full look with a positive affirmation caption

*lil yachty voice* I'm always blessed

A post shared by SANAM 🍯 (@trustmedaddy) on

3. Being dead-ass serious and 100% committed to the selfie

A post shared by Molly Bair (@molllsbair) on

4.Posing in either a proposal squat or a legs-open position (frequently: in front of bathroom-mirrors and on stoops)

A post shared by @lottavolkova on

As is the case with any Instagram style tribe, if you haven’t noticed either crew before, you will now. Enjoy their myriad of voyeuristic rabbit holes to follow, and if you’ve already pledged loyalty to one, tell me all about it down in the comments section. I’ll be over here taking notes and pasting photos to my board of life goal manifestations and inspirations.

Feature image via Wanyi Jiang by photographer Aaron Richter

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  • Adrianna

    My instagram tribe is cats.

  • Lol sad to say I’m definitely the nostalgic 90s club kid but I want to be the manic pixie dream girl.

    • Amelia Diamond

      you can be both!

  • Daniella 💫

    Well I’m definitely a follower (the camera angles and lighting never quite work out to actually be a part of the tribe) of the former with the latter mixed in sort of ironically. I do enjoy how the ‘fashion groups’ are a lot less grouped 🙂

  • Hilary

    This is TOO accurate. I have to say I’ve grown weary of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl With a Straw Basket tribe…every time I see one of their ‘grams on my feed, it just makes me feel particularly pale, sad, and less-than. On the other hand, while I’m nothing like the Ironic 90s Club Kids, I’m kind of obsessed with their vibe and love seeing such deliberately unrefined, unfiltered ‘grams. Also they make me wish I had tattoos.

    • Amelia Diamond

      same re tattoos

  • traces of light

    Oh god, I can’t believe I’m petty enough to point this out, but the orgasm commercials were in fact not Garnier Fructis, but Herbal Essences.
    Sincerely, someone who grew up confused by those commercials.

    • Amelia Diamond

      hahahaha this is v. important fact checking THANK YOU

    • Nicole Brouillette

      It definitely was herbal essence and not garnier fructis, I found the commercial.
      https://youtu.be/UsfNXj9s-iY

      • Amelia Diamond

        oh don’t worry, i linked the shit out of it in the post and then went on a spiral of watching shampoo orgasm commercials.

        .. is it weird that i still use this shampoo?

        • Elizabeth

          No because it is the best smelling shampoo in the history of shampoos.

      • Caroline Whitbeck

        Has no one else noticed Tony Hale (aka Buster Bluth) here????

  • Hajni

    Thank you Amelia, for describing my ideal buying persona (“The Manic Pixie Dream Girl With a Straw Basket”) so well for my business plan 😛

  • Alessia

    omg i love lucy williams and sabina socol! but i also love lotta volkova so i guess i identify with both tribes??

    • Amelia Diamond

      i know i go down longgg lotta volkova rabbit holes, and start looking at all her friends…

      • katt

        It’s funny- can we have a real talk about these kinds of instagrams (lotta)?I also go down this rabbit hole of looking at lotta’s account, and paul hameline’s account, and before you know i’m on their bff’s ex boyfriend’s cousin’s account and after a million ironic pictures, i feel like shit. Actually after just one picture I feel like shit. Is it just me?!I don’t know, the constant ironic cooler than everything attitude is a downer for me… It makes me feel radically and clearly lame?? confused as hell to realize for the first time I might be the only one to be so upset about those haha.
        Aaaaand on the other hand the Jeanne Dammas accounts ALSO make me feel like shit because I’m not beautiful and skinny and perfect like them. lol so I follow just friends, aquaintances, manrepeller, and cool dogs :))

        • Kittybat

          I totally get this. I’m just not 90’s ironic cool. I dont want to showcase my bruises and I suck at posing in that I don’t give a shit but I have pouty lips and I can crouch low and put my hand into the thinking position and still look like a model kind of way. Part of it feeeels like glamorizing depression. And it makes me feel uncomfortable.

          And the other part of it feels like um will I like this person in real life? Are they just stoic and cooler than thou and won’t even take their sunglasses off to speak to me?

          I highly doubt it. I bet they’re super nice in real life, it’s just the image is intimidating. But seriously, all the more power to them. It’s caught on for a reason.

        • snakehissken

          Follow @usinterior and you can look at beautiful things without feeling bad

  • Lindsey

    yeahhhhh i’m totally a wannabe jeanne damas. do you know how long it took me to find *the right* straw bag?? and how disappointed i was when the espadrille wedges i wanted were sold out in my size *everywhere*? and how sad i am that my hips are too big to really fit into reformation’s little dresses?? ugh, i’m a wannabe and I DON’T EVEN CARE.

    • Kittybat

      It’s ok; no one is judging you. Better to be self-aware and know what you like than to blindly copy and pretend it’s your own. Live your best life GIRL!

      • Maggie Lanham

        well this response is just absolutely wonderful and affirmative

    • Lil

      I hate heels of any type (esadrilles included), can not for the life of me master the, “no makeup, makeup look,” and am not thin enough for all those thread bare, Jeanne Damas-esque dresses.

      Yet I love Realisationpar, Reformation, and Rouje with all my heart. XOXOXO

    • Rachel D.

      ME TOO! I finally got the espadrilles (Castaner, obvs, bc what else do they wear)– but these dresses DO NOT FIT! My thighs are too big, my boobs are too big…can’t rock the no bra look… it just doesn’t happen! I’m looking for some kind of alternative tribe to go with.

      • Cristina

        I’m blessed to embrace the minimal makeup look, but girl. WTF. I too have boobs and a butt and thighs and why do these things ALWAYS look better (best) on people with nothing. Flat. Straight. If I free’d the boobs, you’d have to cover your childs eyes when walking past. ::shudders::

      • Lindsey

        Yes! OBVI the Castaner espadrilles. And of course Shopbop had them, but they were like, $50 more, and that was ridiculous . I pretty much gave up.

    • Rachel D.

      oh and they’re all part of the ‘just a bit of concealer’ Glossier tribe… MY SKIN IS NOT THAT PERFECT PEOPLE. And yet I dreaaaam.

      • Lindsey

        Haha! Me too. Years of cystic acne, however “clear” my skin is now, has left me with scars. At this point I’m just like, fuck it, this is my skin and I don’t want to spend 20 minutes of my day trying to cover it up. So concealer it is! And you KNOW I love that Glossier stuff.

  • lillian c.

    i’m manic pixie my room mate is club kid, we’re good together

    • Amelia Diamond

      “you complete me”

  • Kay Nguyen

    I had such a good time reading this, love your writing Amelia! My instagram tribe are shoes and my cat (Puppy, yes that’s her real name)

    https://www.myblackcloset.com/

  • This gal

    I love this but pleas, please, please, it is COULDN’T care less.

    • Amelia Diamond

      only because you said please!

  • *when you don’t know which tribe you are because you want to be both in an unattainable kind of way*
    Also, I’ve never clicked on a MR post so fast, this title made me laugh-cry.

  • Kittybat

    Hi. I’m one of these manic pixie basket heads. But I also bought myself a 90’s clueless blue polyester halter dress. I don’t know who I am. accept me?

    • Amelia Diamond

      all are welcome come into my arms child let me hold u

  • dk

    I could give my instagram handle but I won’t because I am ashamed of the amount of Manic Pixie Dream Girls With a Straw Basket that I’m currently following. Spot on.

  • dietcokehead

    Amelia, a male tech columnist at USA Today just referenced Man Repeller/one of your articles and my mind is so blown right now and I just thought you should know.

    • Amelia Diamond

      That’s amazing!

  • One time, I saw Jeanne Damas wearing a floral dress and straw basket, so I bought a floral dress and straw basket.

    • Kiks

      One time Jeanne Damas punched me in the face. It was AWESOME.

      • gracesface

        you two are making me smile after a loooooong day!! (and the sangria margarita I had is helping too!)

        • Kiks

          That sounds delicious. Happy to help!

  • Sophie

    It’s so interesting to read this now, because I’ve been thinking a lot about this today and how the jeanne damas strawbag girl tribe has really given me fashion fatigue. I’ve been drawn to that tribe for quite some time and a year ago I would have considered it exactly how I’d aspire for my style to be. It really does sum up what I think is pretty and feel comfortable in. But it seems to have become so ubiquitous and especially, made after a recepie. When it becomes to predictable I grow very bored of it and I no longer know what it is I like any more and don’t know in what direction to take my wardrobe. I am wondering whether I shouldn’t take a break from this tribe on instagram just so I don’t need to get bored from pretty dresses so fast, or if I need to move on in my own style.

    • Kittybat

      I ask myself why i do this to myself Every. Day.

    • Kristie

      I’ve been going through this exact same thing! well put!

    • Bo

      So glad someone else feels the same way. I’ve been too scared to voice my weariness of the Cult of Reformation/Realisation.

    • Emma

      Yeah, it does look cute and flattering but it’s really the fashion blogger starter pack outfit lol, without any trace of personality whatsoever. When I see a girl dressed like that irl I think ah yeah she follows Jeanne Dammas and bought her full look. Kind of ridiculous.

    • Rachel D.

      Feeling similar.. but what next?! Where to go!?

    • Amelia Diamond

      I know how you feel! I just commented to someone down below that I often grapple with “i want this thing everyone else and since everyone else has it, hate that i want it… but does that mean i hate the thing, or i hate the fact that it’s stripped of once-perceived individuality?” i think this look may be a little “over-indexed,” but that broken up in pieces and taken out of context and perhaps styled less literally, it can still feel good and fresh to someone who likes the concept, hates the mass appeal of it.

  • Devon

    My tribe is half eaten pizzas and pugs on skateboards. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

  • Kurie Fitzgerald

    Ughhh so good 🙂

    • Amelia Diamond

      kurie!!!!

      • Kurie Fitzgerald

        hey!! hope to see you soon :). My first FW is near…time flies

  • Tori Johnson

    i often find myself mixing the two. Unflattering glasses AND straw bag AT ONCE!

  • Madeleine Herritage

    These tribes are basically the sisters from Ten Things I Hate About You, no?

    • Amelia Diamond

      oh my GOD

    • that is the best takeaway from this whole shebang tbh

  • Anna

    My Instagram tribe is books, or “bookstagram.” 😬

  • Bo

    My instagram page is Simpsons memes

    • Amelia Diamond

      classic

  • DA

    So spot on! I’ve been re-watching SATC and was really only in love with Carrie’s style in the first few seasons. I realised it’s because she was dressing like a millennial in 2020. We’ve just cycled back to the rather bipolar dainty maximalist color clasher of a few decades back. And its sooo good.

  • Caitlin Sheehan

    This is so so spot on! Especially
    “She gets a kick from the grotesque and for the sake of her pixellated Instagram, zooms in on it.” I definitely follow a handful of girls of that camp.

    • Amelia Diamond

      i get sooo lost looking at this kind of stuff

  • Carrieanne Luicadi

    Whichever cool tribe Jeanne Damas is in is the one i’m aiming to be a part of. Sorry not sorry.

  • Sandra

    How to have no personality:
    – wear the Jeanne Dammas outfit starter pack ( don’t forget the golden hoops, golden gourmette necklace and red lipstick from Glossier !!)
    – have a Scandinavian decorated apartment (white everything, plants everywhere, ceramic tea cups, Edison light bulbs, a Chemex, etc)
    – drink green juices
    – be gluten free and dairy free too to be extra special!
    – have tiny golden rings at your fingers
    – the list goes on

    Congrats you’re a modern basic Instagram girl !

    • Rachel D.

      AND YET I’M SO DRAWN TO IT

    • Amelia Diamond

      you know, i’d argue (actually i think i have a while back when the word “basic” or “basic b*” was used more often) that just because you’re drawn to alll the same stuff as seemingly everyone else doesn’t mean you have no personality! i grapple with wanting stuff everyone else has, like that cult gaia bag! because i’m like, what does this say about me. butttt – and i wish i could find this Heather Havrilesky quote for you because it was so good (i think it’s from her Ask Polly book, not online because I can’t find it) but she said something to a reader to the effect of “don’t assume that just because someone doesn’t look ‘deep’ doesn’t mean their thoughts do not go deep…” argh I’m getting annoyed that I’m butchering it but it makes me stop and think EVERY SINGLE TIME NOW that i “assume” someone is like, less complex than I am (because of the way they look or act or whatever), that i literally have no idea what’s going on inside that head. ok the end!

      • Kittybat

        It’s that Atticus Finch thing where you can never judge someone until you’ve walked a day in their “so called basic” shoes. A long time ago, someone said to me “everyone is deep. you just don’t know them yet.”

        And thanks Amelia for not judging all of us. I was about to cry in the corner from feeling instagram-basic as fuck. But WHY SHOULD I take off my gourmette necklace and jlo hoops so I can look different when those gold accents look so good on me??? Can a girl feel free to like what she likes and be vain? Anyway. I digress. Thank you.

        • Amelia Diamond

          yes a girl can, kittybat! also i really like this “everyone is deep. you just don’t know them yet.” i’m also wearing espadrilles as i write this.

      • Sandra

        No of course, you can wear jeggings and still read Kant (I saw this for real ). You can enjoy chai lattes and be deep. I know!
        But still isn’t it cringe to see fashion, food, decoration, everything looking so generic all around the globe? I don’t know, just trying to be *authentic* lol via not blindly following Instagram trends but yes in the end, it doesn’t matter, of course that’s not what matters!

      • Sandra

        Side note about the cult Gaia bag: why not buy the actual vintage one from which the design is completely ripped ? It’s like $50 in eBay or Etsy last time I checked… I don’t get why people would pay for the Gaia one lol ?

  • hailey thompson

    I sell sunglasses for both girls so I guess I’m doing it right.

  • Rachel D.

    This article seriously gives me life- how are you always in my head?! I’m part of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl With a Straw Basket tribe, except that the clothes are too expensive and don’t fit me anyway. So I basically just oooh and aaah from afar.

    • Cristina

      Bahahaha seriously. I need to learn to sew, then I could make those unshapen smocks so easily

    • Amelia Diamond

      Rachel D. can we have a frank and honest conversation about your profile picture: are you or are you not using the fish function of photobooth on a Mac book? Because it’s just amazing.

      • Rachel D.

        What!? You don’t believe that I’m snorkeling off some island?

        (yes <3 <3 – love photobooth backgrounds, they're so ridiculous)

  • Cristina

    Ugh. So many thoughts that I ended up with ugh lol.
    The former makes me wish I wasn’t myself. That I was skinny and blonde and that sterotypical effortless french girl with Clemence Poesy features. I am not. The latter makes me wish I wasn’t 31 and also skinny to fit in halter tops and low rise denim again. I do own a straw bag, which I purchased at a vintage store and loved. I then realized how impractical is is for daily living and that really they are just Insta props. I have a real life so that doesn’t work for me.
    I do feel like there is a 3rd tribe though. The whole, minimalism-capsule wardrobe-don’t wash my hair and buys ethical leather troupe. Those are my people. I can’t afford to be them, but like, drape me in cream colored linen and a pair of ethically sourced leather clogs any day.
    Fashion is hard lol

    • Amelia Diamond

      this sounds like kate in our office’s aesthetic

    • Sandra

      Lol same, check Christiiiine on YouTube whom is lovely and very stylish indeed. So much better than these Jeanne Dammas clones smh.

      • Kittybat

        Yet she has a “Hot to get the Jeanne Damas Look” video too! It’s ok. We can all live.

        • Cristina

          Haha. I don’t really get into YouTube influencers anyway, they get paid to say they love everything and to use the makeup and wear the clothes.

      • Cristina

        I feel like Christine is more beauty tutorials than style though. But I’ve seen a few of her videos!

  • God I am so OVER INSTAGRAM. Love this post though. Long live blogs.

    • Amelia Diamond

      ( i kinda am too )

  • Ashley Roxanne

    As a person who lived through the 90’s as a tween/teen this post is making me feel super territorial over 90’s fashion. Anyone else experiencing that?! Also I’m now retiring Santal 33 😂. Actually, I’ve been wanting to try the Shiso Eau de Parfume from Goop. I would love to know if anyone has tried it. The price is kind of steep and I’m having trouble pulling the trigger

    • Amelia Diamond

      i more just think it’s funny to relive my youth in this way? (born in 88) not territorial over it BUT I GET IT.

      PS speaking of that perfume WE JUST GOT A SAMPLE TO THE OFFICE. it’s good. it’s very different from santal, kind of spicy and leathery? intense for hot weather but sexy.

  • Alisha Arthur

    Oh Fuck. Guilty slave to this aesthetic, sans much needed bank balance #FML

  • Rosie

    “She is probably Jeanne Damas” YEP

  • Georgie

    THIS IS SPOT ON. thank you.

  • Jayne

    I’ve never read something more accurate than this. I follow people that reside in both tribes (individually) yet I am certainly more the first, as I am currently carrying a vintage 70s straw bag bought from depop right now. Although I bought the bag 2 years ago before the straw bag was featured in every other post on my instagram feed, I have been reaching for it so much more the past few months, which says it all really. Oh and I want my wardrobe to consist entirely on Reformation and Realisation Par. The Dream.
    http://www.jayneemma.co.uk

  • Daisy Tinker

    This is the best thing ever

  • Coralie

    half my wardrobe is reformation/rouje/realisation and the other half is random 90s vintage! I wear my unflattering sunglasses with my floaty dresses! I can’t figure out the hat situation though.

    Seriously though, the one teenager I know well enough to follow on instagram for real is gorgeous like a model, as are all her friends, and they all post the ugliest, worst quality photos. I’m definitely in the ‘don’t get it’ camp.

  • femmemuse

    I laughed so hard at this post, you made my day!
    I personally love the French gal aesthetic but I also go gaga over the badass French version of Jeanne (lecoledesfemmes is a good example), who isn’t afraid to wear a bold lip or a suit. Throw in flicking off anyone who gets in her way while she shimmies her bob; my type of person.

  • Rebekah Wilson

    I’ve been thinking about this above mentioned straw-bag girl since the spring started. I’m low key starting to hate this vibe, but I still love it so much. Hell, I just bought ANOTHER Rouje dress this week and was planning on how I should best drape it on my body for an upcoming “pandid”. WHO AM I??

    Honestly though, I’m struggling to find style vision to move beyond this look. Please Man Repeller, what is the future that we “Manic Pixie Dream Girl with a Straw Basket” should look to?

    • Kittybat

      Same. I wear rouje so much It’s turning into a uniform and I feel a sense of pride and shame at the same time. We’ll be alright.

  • Carina

    I can’t tell if the Jeanne Damas no make up make up vibe is liberating because its “natural” and we don’t feel like we have to wear tons of make up or its another trap of expectations we cannot meet because mere humans have acne scars, butts and real life obligations that do not happen at insta-matic vineyards in the south of France

  • Morgan Siggard

    I’m fully committed to the manic pixie dream girls + Americana tomboys tribes!