You guys know how when corporations are trying to sell makeup to you, they’re not just selling you individual products but rather they’re offering an image and a dream. A dream of the kind of woman you could become if only you’d buy this contour stick or this eyeshadow palette or brow kit. I mean I’m not exactly breaking new ground here… this is something we’ve all known for a while. Women in the 60s were being sold the image of the youthful, skinny, bug-eyed Twiggy woman while in the 80s they were promoting the Amazonian supermodel. Back in the 2000s, I totally admired the whole stick-thin blonde It-Girl heiress wearing gigantic sunglasses and toting around an even more gigantic handbag with a tiny teacup Chihuahua in tow look. Starbucks in hand, of course.
There’s no questioning who was the woman we’ve been pushed to aspire to be for the past couple of years… I don’t want to mention the name because I don’t admire them so much but I don’t have to mention her anyway: you know exactly who she is. And in the makeup giant’s quest to make us want to be her, we’ve been pushed contour kits and liquid lipsticks and high-coverage foundation. Everything we need to achieve that exotic, racially-ambiguous Armenian look. But now I think we’re seeing a new kind of woman emerging—The Cool Girl.
So who is the Cool Girl? I can’t name any specific woman the Cool Girl is based upon. I guess she probably does exist, but she’s probably an artist or a writer or a magazine editor AKA not the kind of person the general public would recognize. It’s funny because the first time the term ‘Cool Girl’ came to my (and a lot of people’s) attention is through Amy Dunne’s iconic prose in Gone Girl (the book and the movie) where she basically laid it out that the ‘Cool Girl’ is a myth and a fraud, a front put up to satisfy men. So it’s funny that the term is now being repackaged into something that’s meant to be desirable and aspirational. Not that I mind all that much—I’m pretty much the opposite of a ‘Cool Girl’, but I find myself really buying into it. So here are some of the elements which I think make up the Cool Girl Look.