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.
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:
Anywhere outside holding flowers
Anywhere outside in a field of flowers
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
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.
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:
Somewhere that requires halter tops and ironic (but honestly, practical) props, plus coordinated friends
Standing in a senior portrait pose in a full look with a positive affirmation caption
Being dead-ass serious and 100% committed to the selfie
Posing in either a proposal squat or a legs-open position (frequently: in front of bathroom-mirrors and on stoops)
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.