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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Poster for the film "It" (1927)
Poster for the film "It" (1927)

An "it girl"[a] is an attractive young woman, who is perceived to have both sex appeal and a personality that is especially engaging.[1]

The expression it girl originated in British upper-class society around the turn of the 20th century.[2] It gained further attention in 1927 with the popularity of the Paramount Studios film It, starring Clara Bow. In the earlier usage, a woman was especially perceived as an "it girl" if she had achieved a high level of popularity without flaunting her sexuality. Today, the term is used more to apply simply to fame and beauty. The Oxford English Dictionary distinguishes between the chiefly American usage of "a glamorous, vivacious, or sexually attractive actress, model, etc.", and the chiefly British usage of "a young, rich woman who has achieved celebrity because of her socialite lifestyle".[3] The terms "it boy" or "it man" are sometimes used to describe a male exhibiting similar traits.

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Early use

An early literary usage of it in this sense is found in a 1904 short story by Rudyard Kipling, which contains the line "'Tisn't beauty, so to speak, nor good talk necessarily. It's just It. Some women'll stay in a man's memory if they once walk down a street."[4][5]

Elinor Glyn, the notorious British novelist who wrote the book titled It and its subsequent screenplay, lectured:

With It, you win all men if you are a woman and all women if you are a man. It can be a quality of the mind as well as a physical attraction.

— Elinor Glyn (1927)[6]

Glyn first rose to fame as the author of the scandalous 1907 bestseller Three Weeks. She is widely credited with the invention of the "it girl" concept: although the slang predates her book and film, she was responsible for the term's impact on the culture of the 1920s.[7]

Clara Bow later said she wasn't sure what "it" meant,[8] although she identified Lana Turner[8] and later Marilyn Monroe[9] as "it girls".[8]

The fashion component of the "it girl" originated with Glyn's elder sister, couturier Lucy, Lady Duff-Gordon, known professionally as "Lucile". Lucile managed exclusive salons in London, Paris and New York, was the first designer to present her collections on a stage complete with the theatrical accoutrements of lights and music (inspiring the modern runway or catwalk show), and was famous for making sexuality an aspect of fashion through her provocative lingerie and lingerie-inspired clothes.[10][11] She also specialised in dressing trendsetting stage and film performers, ranging from the stars of the Ziegfeld Follies on Broadway to silent screen icons such as Mary Pickford and Irene Castle.

As early as 1917, Lucile herself used the term "it" in relation to style in her fashion column for Harper's Bazaar: "... I saw a very ladylike and well-bred friend of mine in her newest Parisian frock ... she felt she was 'it' and perfectly happy."[12][13]

"It" (1927 film)

The Paramount Studios film was planned as a special showcase for its popular star Clara Bow, and her performance[14] introduced the term "it" to the cultural lexicon. The film plays with the notion that "it" is a quality which eschews definitions and categories; consequently, the girl portrayed by Bow is an amalgam of an ingenue and a femme fatale, with a touch of Madonna's latter day "Material Girl" incarnation. By contrast, Bow's rival in the script is equally young and comely (and rich and well-bred to boot), yet she doesn't have "It".[citation needed][original research?]

Modern "it girls"

Since the 1980s, the term "it girl" has been used slightly differently, referring to a wealthy, normally unemployed, young woman who is pictured in tabloids going to many parties often in the company of other celebrities, receiving media coverage in spite of no real personal achievements or TV hosting / presenting. The writer William Donaldson observed that, having initially been coined in the 1920s, the term was applied in the 1990s to describe "a young woman of noticeable 'sex appeal' who occupied herself by shoe shopping and party-going".[15]

The prominence of an "it girl" is often temporary; some of the rising "it girls" will either become fully-fledged celebrities, commonly initially via appearances on reality TV shows or series; lacking such an accelerant, their popularity will normally fade.[citation needed]



Film and theater

"It boy" or "it man"

The terms "it boy" or "it man" have been used to describe a male exhibiting similar qualities to an "it girl". In 1950, Bow identified Robert Mitchum as an "it man".[8] In 1995, Entertainment Weekly referred to Leonardo DiCaprio as "Hollywood's 'It' Boy" because of his "blazing talent and dashing baby-faced looks – a combination of the mystic and the mischievous – that have the praise faucets gushing buckets".[37] South Korean boy-band BTS was called an "It boy" band by Billboard in 2017.[38] In 2018, Vanity Fair referred to Timothée Chalamet as an "It Boy".[39] Jimin, a member of BTS, was called an "it boy" in 2019.[40]


See also


  1. ^ "It girl". unabridged. Retrieved June 19, 2018.
  2. ^ Etherington-Smith, Meredith & Pilcher, Jeremy. (1986). The 'It' Girls, 241.
  3. ^ "It girl, n.". Oxford English Dictionary (Online ed.). Oxford University Press. (Subscription or participating institution membership required.)
  4. ^ Kipling, Rudyard (1904). "Mrs Bathurst". Traffics and Discoveries. London: Macmillan. p. 352.
  5. ^ Wilson, Alastair; Wilson, Commander Alastair (19 October 2010). "Mrs Bathurst". Retrieved 5 March 2014. ... she had that indefinable quality which Kipling was the first to call 'It' – sex-appeal without flaunting her sexuality.
  6. ^ Introduction in the film script for It (USA, 1927)
  7. ^ Barber, Nicholas (28 December 2014). "Clara Bow: The original 'It Girl'". BBC. Archived from the original on 2022-07-09. Retrieved 2022-07-09.
  8. ^ a b c d Waterloo Daily Courier, 21 September 1950
  9. ^ Stenn, David (1988). Clara Bow: Runnin' Wild. Doubleday. p. 272. ISBN 0-385-24125-9.
  10. ^ Evans, Caroline. (2013). The Mechanical Smile, pp 34–36, 39–41
  11. ^ Bigham, Randy Bryan. (2012). Lucile: Her Life by Design pp 23–31.
  12. ^ Duff-Gordon, Lady (Lucile). (1917). "The Last Word in Fashions". Harper's Bazaar, 63, October 1917
  13. ^ Bigham, Randy Bryan. (2012). Lucile - Her Life by Design, 31, 275.
  14. ^ private showing. (1927-01-01) Variety
  15. ^ Donaldson, W. (2002) Brewer's Rogues, Villains and Eccentrics.
  16. ^ Uruburu, Paula (May 1, 2008). American Eve: Evelyn Nesbit, Stanford White, the Birth of the 'It' Girl, and the Crime of the Century (First; hardcover ed.). Riverhead Books. ISBN 978-1594489938.
  17. ^ Spitz, Marc (2015-04-06). "Edie Sedgwick, eternal It Girl: 50 years after "Poor Little Rich Girl," she remains an icon". Salon. Retrieved 2022-07-17.
  18. ^ Lhooq, Michelle (2018-08-17). "Crazy Rich Asians' Michelle Yeoh Has Kicked Ass for Three Decades". GQ. Archived from the original on 2022-08-02. Retrieved 2022-08-02.
  19. ^ Keogh, Kat (26 June 2011). "Kat Keogh: Tamara Beckwith – now an over-the-ill IT girl". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 8 April 2021.
  20. ^ a b Jackson, Marie; Harris, Dominic (9 February 2017). "Tara Palmer-Tomkinson and co: Whatever happened to the 'It girl'?". BBC News. Retrieved 8 April 2021.
  21. ^ McInerney, Jay (7 November 1994). "Chloe's Scene". The New Yorker. New York City: Condé Nast. Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  22. ^ Sun, Rebecca (2013-05-08). "Fan Bingbing: The Chic Life of a Cannes 'It' Girl". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2022-08-02.
  23. ^ Farah, Lynn (2021-11-25). "Meet India's new 'It' girl Nidhi Sunil, the first Indian model to represent L'Oréal Paris and former lawyer taking on colourist beauty standards in the industry". South China Morning Post. Archived from the original on 2022-04-10. Retrieved 2022-04-10.
  24. ^ Dorfer, Tobias (31 January 2012). "It-Girl Sara Schätzl aus München Öffentlich bis zum Zusammenbruch". Süddeutsche Zeitung. Archived from the original on 2 July 2013. Retrieved 2 July 2013.
  25. ^ Schneider, Martin. "Sara Schätzl: Warnung vor dem Roten Teppich". Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 2 July 2013.
  26. ^ Haddad, Hanan (2020-10-23). "5 Things About South Korea's It-Girl, Jessi That You Need To Know". ELLE SINGAPORE. Retrieved 2021-10-03.
  27. ^ Poole, Robert Michael (2012-09-20). "'It' girl Rola welcomes Jepsen to Japan". The Japan Times. Archived from the original on 2021-10-29. Retrieved 2021-10-29.
  28. ^ "A guide to dating Karishma Sharma, Indian horror genre's new IT girl". Man's World India. 2017-09-12. Retrieved 2022-04-10.
  29. ^ Williams, K.-Ci (2021-10-12). "Jung Ho-yeon Says Squid Game 'Changed Me for the Better'". Vulture. Retrieved 2022-04-08.
  30. ^ "#ELLECoverStar: K-Pop Star And Dior's Newest Brand Ambassador, Kim Jisoo". Elle India. Retrieved 2021-10-27.
  31. ^ "Who is Jennie Kim, The K-Pop It Girl Who Fans Call the 'Human Chanel'?". L'Officiel USA. 2021-03-10. Archived from the original on 2021-12-03. Retrieved 2021-12-31.
  32. ^ Payos, Alyanna Raissa J. (2 Dec 2022). "Style File: Blackpink's Rosé". Vogue Hong Kong. Archived from the original on 2022-11-30. Retrieved 2022-11-30.
  33. ^ "K-pop It-girl Lisa @lalalalisa_m of @Blackpinkofficial is rumoured to be launching her own fashion line. In December of last year, Lisa's management company YG Entertainment registered a new trademark filing for "Manobal Lalisa" and "Manobal" as merchandising labels. If approved, the trademark would reserve the right to produce clothing and underwear. Stay tuned for more details!". Vogue Hong Kong. February 12, 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  34. ^ McColgin, Carol (2022-04-13). "3 Rising Stylists Who Work With Olivia Rodrigo, Ariana DeBose and Hoyeon". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2022-08-02.
  35. ^ Han, Sarah (2022-11-17). "How Le Sserafim is Taking on Bolder Beauty Looks with "Antifragile"". Allure. Retrieved 2023-02-22.
  36. ^ It Girl Musical Archived 2005-10-14 at the Wayback Machine
  37. ^ "Hollywood's 'It' Boy". March 24, 1995. Retrieved 2022-07-09.
  38. ^ Herman, Tamar (2017-09-21). "BTS' 'Pied Piper' Is Filled With Tough Love Towards Fan Culture". Billboard. Retrieved 2022-12-06.
  39. ^ Harwood, Erika; Amchin, Jordan (2018-10-15). "Timothée Chalamet's Blazing Beautiful Boy Press Tour". Vanity Fair. Archived from the original on Jul 7, 2022. Retrieved 2022-10-02.
  40. ^ "방탄소년단 지민(BTS JIMIN), 세계 패션 산업에서도 인기 입증!". 한국스포츠통신 (in Korean). 2019-12-02. Retrieved 2023-01-31.


  1. ^ Sometimes written as "it" girl or 'it' girl.

Further reading

This page was last edited on 16 March 2023, at 00:55
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