Bedgy Is the New Basic
A lot’s been said about the phenomenon of the basic bitch — a girl whose tastes and preferences are so mainstream, she seems like she came from a factory.
Lately, though, we’ve noticed something. Some basic girls are becoming self-aware and realizing they’re basic — so instead, they’re trying with all their might to look edgy.
This is a phenomenon that’s happening everywhere from your neighborhood to Hollywood. Just look at Kendall Jenner in her ripped up Guns ‘n’ Roses T-shirts, and your 12-year-old One Direction-obsessed cousin who suddenly owns a black studded choker. People with absolutely no knowledge of a subculture are basically appropriating punk rock, metal, and hip hop looks without a care in the world.
And when we were sitting in the Galore office marveling about this phenomenon a few days ago, Andrea Angarica from our marketing team coined the perfect term for this aesthetic assault: bedgy.
Bedgy, you see, is when basic meets edgy. It’s when a brunch-obsessed sorority girl trades in her Uggs for Doc Martens, but keeps listening exclusively to Taylor Swift b-sides and watching “How to Be Single” on repeat.
It’s a girl who’s basic on the inside and edgy on the outside. She might skip Starbucks in favor of La Colombe now, but make no mistake: on the inside, that bitch is still basic!
Now, please don’t think I’m maligning basics here. I have some basic tendencies myself. I will double-tap a meme about stalking my ex while watching a “Sex and the City” marathon until the cows come home. But the thing is, if you’re gonna be basic, you have to own it. You can’t try to camouflage it with artfully ripped T-shirts and fishnet tights.
I’m also not saying you can’t dabble in new interests and cultures. But the issue is when you’re testing out a new look just to run from your true identity — especially when you don’t take the time to understand the subcultures and art that inform that aesthetic.
The old joke is that if you wear a band T-shirt, you have to be able to name five songs. I wouldn’t necessarily take it that far because I’m not a douchebag with a tech startup who’s trying to neg you at a dive bar. But I would say that if you give yourself a makeover that entirely borrows from punk or metal or hip hop subcultures, you need to do your homework.
In the 90s or 2000s, you might have called someone like this a poser. But it’s not really the same thing. A poser was someone who also tried really hard to fit into the scene they were mimicking, but somehow lacked authenticity. A poser would go to the trouble of showing up at, say, a Misfits show, and knowing every song by heart. But despite their love for the scene, they might get bashed for having rich parents or a day job in beauty PR.
A bedgy, on the other hand, doesn’t even try to pretend she’s interested in the media and art that go along with the look she’s appropriating. A bedgy will literally dress in a throwback Aaliyah-esque 90s outfit head to toe, and when you tell her you’re getting “Rock the Boat” vibes, she’ll be like, “Huh? Rock the vote? What?”
A poser wants badly to embody a specific identity in terms of looks and interests. But a bedgy girl doesn’t even know she’s wearing clothes or beauty looks that belong to a different culture — she just knows they look edgy, and that’s what she wants to be, whatever that means.
So why do we care? Are we just being shallow and snobby? Maybe a little, but not totally!
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The most disappointing thing about a bedgy girl is that based on her style, she might seem cool and interesting, like someone who shares your interests. But then when you get her alone and try to have a meaningful conversation, her views and knowledge of culture don’t match up with how she’s visually portraying herself.
“You have these high hopes for the person,” writer Ashley Uzer said, “and think they’re going to have a lot of interesting things to say or fun ideas for shit to do. And then you realize that’s not going to happen. And you feel tricked!”
It’s like when a guy on a dating app turns out to be something he’s totally not, she pointed out, but applied to a friend scenario.
Hallmarks of bedgy style include anything lifted from Kendall or Kylie Jenner’s most edgy-seeming outfits: sheer black stuff, body jewelry, ripped T-shirts, studded chokers, combat boots, baggy pants, and crop tops with cheeky sayings on them. Also look out for someone who’s in full hair and makeup with an outfit that looks straight out of a Nirvana video. Oh, and any kind of Nirvana T-shirt, for that matter. Bedgy to the max.
Writer Maria Pasquini points out that you can always spot a bedgy betch based on her Instagram. If a girl has edgy style but still posts photos of sunsets, lattes, or street art (the BIGGEST dead giveaway), chances are this time last year she was cavorting around Meatpacking in a knockoff Herve Leger bandage dress.
Also pay attention to entry-level-alt hobbies.
“I feel like bedgy girls are always really into photography,” Maria said, “and they buy themselves nice cameras they don’t know how to use.”
And if your local bedgy doesn’t have a Canon Rebel or something, she’s going the analog direction, dutifully toting an Instax or Polaroid camera up and down the steps of the Bedford L.
There are famous bedgies, too — a whole bunch of them. Taylor Momsen is a bedgy, because you can’t start your career on a CW teen show and then convince us you’re a rock star, sorry. Similarly, Drake could be considered a male bedgy thanks to his decidedly not-hard start on “Degrassi.”
Avril Lavigne is the bedgy fairy godmother, because you just know she was a poster teen queen before she put on those Dickies slacks and that menswear tie. And babe, sorry, Instagram granola bar sponcon does not fit with an edgy personal brand!
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And Kendall Jenner, as noted earlier, is certainly guilty of trying to cover up her basic-rich-white-girl roots with band T-shirts, as are the rest of her siblings.
So what’s a basic bitch to do, stay basic forever?
Actually, yeah. Some of the chillest and most fun people I know are the basic ones who proudly bump Adele and have a beach-themed bathroom. The trick is to figure out who you are and own up to it, not try and cover it up with someone else’s identity.