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City School Girl: The Trend That Combines Two Other Trends

Imagine if preppy style and grunge aesthetic had a baby. That’s exactly what the ‘city school girl’ trend brings to the table.

Makeup Artist/Hair Stylist: @makeup_stylistin_anita⁠ Wardrobe Stylist: @styling_gina_awad⁠ Photographer: @wardeski⁠ Model: @tessalexandrajansen⁠ Via @officialkavyar

Prepppy style and all its ‘core’ and ‘aesthetics’ absolutely dominated the year of 2022 – I'm sure the names ‘dark academy’, ‘old money style’ and the latest ‘plazacore’ are not news to

you – and so did this old friend of ours, the grunge aesthetic. Those two very different styles came back with the same goal: to evoke a past time. Who doesn’t remember with deep love all thr nights spent watching Gossip Girl for the first time and wanting to be Blair Waldorf? Or scrolling through Tumblr for hours while listening to the Arctic Monkeys album ‘A.M’? Those were the prime of preppy and grunge, and as we’re moving on from all those nostalgic feelings – but not completely – we're combining both things while also adding some modern takes to it, giving us a whole new trend to love.

Photographer: @numotrenko⁠ Model: @lilasmodel⁠ Assistant: @anna_dimitrak⁠ Hair Stylist: @nata_sobo⁠ Retoucher: @nyusentiy⁠ Model: @abagroup⁠ Makeup Artist: @amalyonkina⁠ Wardrobe Stylist: @tatiana_ef1mova⁠ Via @officialkavyar

But before we really get to it, let’s remember what we’re talking about when we say preppy and grunge – I know they are not concepts you’re not familiar with, but it’s important to know their specific elements. There’s no need to dig deep into the history of them and its impact for society at the time – even though those are some very interesting things that you can read here (link) and here (link). Let’s just keep it simple as we go one by one, starting with preppy.

Preppy fashion and style is considered timeless, and of course there’s a good reason for that. The explanation would be that there’s some sense of nostalgia and feeling dressed up and put together in a preppy outfit – there's just something about all those collared button-ups, cable-knit sweaters and white tennis skirts that just gives off the vibe – and that’s enough motive for it to never go out of style. But if we take all that sentimentalism and status search aside, we’re left with ant aesthetic that is so polished that is rooted in exclusion, and that became even clearer when we got the ‘old money style’ trend, which was just the Gen Z name to the long know preppy. That being said, as much as we love to see people get all pretty in little soft preppy clothes, it’s a good thing the style has been going thorough a makeover.

Througout all of 2022, the schoolgoer was a defining trend in all three of the most important topics for fashion: runways, social media and street style. Some of the biggest fashion houses such as Louis Vuitton and Miu Miu took elements of the trend to put on their collections, like the androgynous take on the classic suit and tie and the so famous micro mini skirt, respectively. We also saw the beggining of preppy plus heavy looks when Coach added dark elements to the schoolgir image, like leather pieces and heavy looking chockers.

Set Designer: @_lilpuss⁠ Wardrobe Stylist/Creative Director: @daryaianovna⁠ Model: @gerlzzzzzzz⁠ Makeup Artist/Hair Stylist: @emilia_shaikh⁠ Photographer/Retoucher: @kate_boombox⁠ Accessory Designer: @isakova_ksenia⁠ backstage: @annamorozova_e⁠ Via @officialkavyar

The thing about the whole preppy aesthetic is that even though it is undoubtably pretty, it gives off something that can be seem as more conservative and elitist than we want to see in mainstream media. All of the most famous – and loved – characters that are called preppy are ones high ranking social statuses, like Blair in Gossip Girl, Spencer in Pretty Little Liars and Cher in Clueless. The whole aesthetic is by itself something that’s more inspirational than real, giving the fact that is not all of us that can have the actual old money privilegies – and that’s something deep connected with preppy style, so uch that it came back using the name. If you push your memory a little, you’ll reember how some time ago all preppy labels such as Ralph Lauren and Abercrombie & Fitch were sartorial status symbols, as not everyone could afford the clothes. And that’s a big part of why preppy is now combining that new day royalty vibe with some street style and elements from different aesthetics: to break that cycle of exclusion.

And now moving on to the other side of the city school girl trend, the grunge aesthetic, there are some things to discuss too. As 2022 was a year marked by a big take on nostalgia on all sectors, specially bringing back things from the 80s and 90s, many different “old” aesthetics and styles came back to the spotlight. And grunge couldn’t not be a part of it, specially when we’re talking about one that reached its peak populaity in the 90s, also being the heart of the time’s counterculture movement. It was a gret time to wear baggy jeans, thrifty clothes, chunky heels, plaid skirts, and flannels in dark colors – even better if you got something with chain details in it. It also counted with some rough punk edges and a not so subtle influence of emo style and looks. In 2022, when the aesthetic came back to the center of fashion, it came as more than a way of styling clothes and outfits, but as pure style statements – as it should be if we’re not trying to betray the reason why it started in the first place.

Photographer: @ph.marielka⁠ Makeup Artist/Hair Stylist:⁠ Model: @lesya_leron⁠ Via @officialkavyar

Now that all the important things about preppy and grunge are fresh in our minds let’s get into the real topic here: the city school girl trend. If you happen to live, or even just to be around Manhattan’s Lower East Side neighborhood, there’s not much left for me to say as you’ll se it for yourself: a strong presence of this new, upcoming trend. The style takes some elements of the very well known, very girly – and very preppy – school girl aesthetic such as the plaid skirts, ruffled collars and pink bows and fuses them with we can call some kind of street style grunge, so prepare to see heavy piercings, lug sole shoes and mesh layering. Those are some things that are not often seem together in the same outfit, but apparetly it works greatly and the new girly yet grungy look is getting a lot of attention. Imgine a pastel mini dress that can be paired with both ballet flats – a vaery controversil trend that seem to be here to stay – or sporty sneakers, That’s what we got here and I don’t know about you, but I’m not mad about it at all.



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