If I asked you to think of 2023’s biggest it girls, household names like Bella Hadid, Emma Chamberlain, and Hailey Bieber probably spring to mind. And for those of us who were die hard fashion girlies from a young age, it’s almost impossible not to have a thought for the icons that were Alexa Chung and Lauren Conrad, or as we all knew her, LC. No matter what the Kardashians do for the beauty sphere, Conrad invented cat-eye eyeliner, and I’ll challenge anyone on that.
Recently however, it’s become evident that us gen Zers have begun looking towards women who have had a few more trips around the sun than we have. As we search for more wisdom to aspire to, we’ve seen a surge in older it girls, including Chloë Sevigny, Julia Fox, and Anne Hathaway. In other words, we’ve finally realised that it’s about time we put an end to “old” being a pejorative word.
Described as the “sale of the century” by its organiser and writer Liana Satenstein, 90s it girl Sevigny put some of her most precious items from her closet up for sale in New York City in May. Soon after it was announced, TikTok netizens went fully feral and the queues began to grow. Some divas even got into scraps over stilettos.
Apart from having an excellently curated wardrobe, if you’re wondering who Sevigny is, it’s important to note that her career started in indie movies. Nowadays however, she’s become more renowned for a sense of style so sublime that she’s been the muse for many a designer, including Marc Jacobs.
Now aged 48, Sevigny is by no means old. When she was first described as an it girl in a 1994 profile piece by the New Yorker, Sevigny refuted it—like any true icon would. Regardless, gen Z has scooped the American actress up and deemed her a constant source of fit-spiration. At the star’s closet sale, she even shared some of the memories that were attached to different pieces of clothing, and gave special insight to all the new owners. We love a wholesome and approachable queen.
While we take our it girl pitstop in the city that never sleeps, let’s head over to the Upper East Side and reminisce about the women I’ve personally always considered to be the OG influencers, New York City’s finest: Serena van der Woodsen and Blair Waldorf. Despite first airing in 2008, Gossip Girl is one of gen Z’s most-binged Netflix series, and for good reasons.
We may cringe over some of Serena’s wardrobe now, but Blake Lively’s present-day style is constantly an inspo go-to—irregardless of those unspeakable Lily Bloom flops. Lively is never afraid to experiment with colour and patterns, and Serena’s messy locks remain emblematic to the actress’ real-life aesthetic. Meanwhile, her relationship with husband Ryan Reynolds, and their three gorgeous children, is nothing short of goals. Regardless of your opinions on Taylor Swift, no one can deny how iconic it was that the singer used all three of Lively’s children’s names in her song ‘Betty’.
Next is Julia Fox, whose relationship with Kanye West first brought her to our attention. But it was her scandalous style that earned her a spot alongside gen Z’s older it girls. From ultra low rise jeans with a matching barely-there bandeau to the more recent melted glass top Fox wore at the Cannes Film Festival, the 33-year-old’s style definitely got the Karens riled up. And we all know that gen Z simply can’t say no to that.
Last but certainly not least, Hathaway has always had special place in us 90s babies’ hearts. The Princess Diaries was somewhat of a life-changing movie, and ultimately had us convinced that if we simply put on a plastic tiara, like our frizzy-haired babe Mia Thermopolis, we too could be princesses and rule over a made-up country where the national food is pears. Move over, Kate Middleton.
Hathaway’s style in the movie and its sequel was very of its time. There’s something incredibly nostalgic and fun about wearing Doc Martens and using a Walkman to accessorise an outfit. However, it is more Hathaway’s recent looks—as well as gen Zers’ renewed obsession with her other iconic role Andy in The Devil Wears Prada—that have given way to her 2023 fashion renaissance.
The actress’ friendship with Donatella Versace has blessed us with a flurry of Versace red carpet looks and even a Versace Idols campaign. Similarly to Lively, Hathaway doesn’t shy away from bold colours and definitely wasn’t afraid to take the Valentino Pink PP for a test drive. Kris Jenner has of course been less successful when it comes to the Italian brand. She may be the Kardashian matriarch, but she certainly isn’t ours…
Speaking of mothers, it feels as though us gen Zers have definitely taken a wholesome approach to the way we look up to older it girls, valuing them as inspirational and legitimately authentic, as opposed to distant, unrelatable or cold—basically, it’s giving mother and auntie rather than middle sibling or homophobic uncle. And so, the “mothering” meme began, but it’s important to acknowledge that the term didn’t originate on TikTok.
The term “mother” was born in the underground ballrooms of 1960s New York, it was a part of the language predominantly used by queer people of colour and also played an integral role in trans communities. “Mother” represented something much more important than biology or genetics, it was a way to communicate trust and protection.
Lady Gaga,Sarah Michelle Gellar, and Viola Davis are all great examples of what mothers represent in the LGBTQIA+ community, and are held with immense respect and esteem by the queer community. “She ate,” and “get off my neck” are also mainstream expressions that have been poached from queer culture.
The surge in older it girls among gen Z says a lot about our generation’s push for inclusion and kindness. “Old” is no longer associated with decay and disease but great clothes and even better words of wisdom. It’s the end of the mean girls era, and the beginning of the yummy mummy take over.