Follow College Fashion on Twitter!

How to Dress Like Vanessa Abrams


Gossip Girl's Vanessa Abrams, played by Jessica Szohr

For the next part of College Fashion’s Gossip Girl Fashion series, it’s time to break down Vanessa’s style.

In case you missed the other articles in the Gossip Girl Fashion series, I also wrote about How To Dress Like Serena van der Woodsen, How To Dress Like Blair Waldorf, How To Dress Like Jenny Humphrey, How To Dress Like Georgina Sparks, and How To Dress Like The NEW Jenny Humphrey.

Vanessa, played by actress Jessica Szohr, is one of those characters that you either love or hate. Some think she’s the best character on the show, and others hate her for dating both Dan and Nate!

No matter what you think of the character, it’s hard to deny that Vanessa’s wardrobe is stylish. Her quirky downtown fashion sense sets her apart from the other characters on Gossip Girl in a big way! She has a unique look, and you know that she always has fun with her clothes.

Vanessa’s Style

Jessica Szohr recently talked about her character Vanessa’s unique fashion sense, explaining, “In the book, Vanessa was very gothic, always in black, with piercings, and when we started the show, they wanted to make her kind of Lower East Side: tight skinny jeans, high-tops, and things like that.” She went on to explain, “I had just moved here so I wasn’t aware of the neighborhoods, so when I was doing homework for my character, I went to the Lower East Side.”

If you’re looking to incorporate a little Lower East Side hipster fashion into your own wardrobe, here’s a guide to the basics of Vanessa style.

Vanessa’s Wardrobe Staples

Here are the essentials of Vanessa Abrams’ wardrobe: from her denim to her accessories, they make up the basics of her style. If you want to cop this look for yourself, invest in the following pieces, and you’ll be Williamsburg Brooklyn-worthy in no time.

Skinny Jeans

Gossip Girl's Vanessa Wearing Skinny Jeans

This season on Gossip Girl, Vanessa was always wearing trendy skinny jeans. They are definitely one of her wardrobe basics, and if you want to dress like her, skinny jeans are a must. In general, skinnies are a big part of Gossip Girl fashion, so they’re worth picking up.

If you’re looking for an inexpensive pair of skinnies, shop at Wet Seal; they sell fashion-forward pairs for under 30 bucks. Pair your new jeans with some high-top Nike Dunks in a neon color, a long basic tank, and a cropped jacket for a very Vanessa-worthy look.

Letterman Jackets

Gossip Girl's Vanessa loves jackets

Vanessa loves classic varsity letterman jackets, like the ones that high school jocks wear in 50’s movies. She loves vintage jackets in satin fabric, especially if they have bright pops of color on the collar or sleeves. These jackets make for a sporty and casual look that’s feminine and cute at the same time.

If you want to find one of these jackets yourself, I recommend checking vintage stores, and good old eBay. Look for satin and go for a cropped version of the jacket if you can find one! Wear it with everything, and you’ve got one of Vanessa’s staple outfits down.


Vanessa on Gossip Girl's fashion style revolves around bright colors.

If there’s one thing you can always expect to see Vanessa wearing, it’s a bright color. Part of her Lower East Side style is that she rocks neon 80’s colors in her everyday outfits. Whether its a bright yellow dress for a date with Nate, or some hot pink boots for work, Vanessa loves her brights.

Add some V. style to your wardrobe with a brightly colored dress from ShopBop, or brighten up your footwear collection with a pair of neon sneakers or technicolor boots.


Vanessa from Gossip Girl's fashion choices often include patterns

Vanessa’s outfit always stands out, not only because of the bright colors, but also because she is always wearing an interesting pattern! V. loves geometric and safari-inspired patterns in earthy colors with pops of red. She also has a thing for leopard print.

What’s great about how Vanessa wears patterns is that she’s not afraid to mix them! Most people would think twice before pairing a leopard-print hoodie with a tribal-style top as Vanessa did above, but not this girl. She’s fearless when it comes to mixing and matching, and that’s part of what makes her style so fresh and fun.

Vanessa’s Accessories

Accessories are a huge piece of the Vanessa Abrams look. She uses them to funk up her outfits, and she understands that accessories can often MAKE an outfit. Here are some of her favorite pieces.

Black Lame Leggings

Gossip Girl's Vanessa in black lame leggings

One of Vanessa’s most unique and controversial fashion choices was the pair of black lame’ leggings that she wore to Blair’s birthday party and around Brooklyn. She paired them with a dress for the party, and with a skirt for a casual look. I’m personally not a huge fan of the leggings, but if you have the legs to work them, more power to you!

If you want to get the same leggings Vanessa wore, you can buy the exact pair at American Apparel – they’re the Shiny Legging in lame’ black.

Bold Jewelry

Gossip Girl's Vanessa piles on the jewelery

Vanessa always makes a statement with her jewelry. She has a fabulous collection and is known to wear door knocker earrings, chunky bangles, and statement necklaces. Vanessa isn’t afraid to mix and match her jewelry or pile it on when the mood strikes, so if you want to dress like her, adopt the same attitude with yours!

A great place to buy funky and unique jewelry like Vanessa’s is Girl Props. They sell every kind of costume jewelry you can think of, and their prices are incredibly low!

Vanessa’s Fashion Manifesto

Basically, dressing like Vanessa Abrams all comes down to risk-taking. Her fashion sense is experimental, fun, and ever-changing. To get her look for yourself, mix & match your patterns, throw on some neon threads, pile on the jewelry, and wear whatever you like, however you like it. Most of all, have fun with your clothes and be fearless!

Your Thoughts?

What do you think? Are you a Vanessa fan, or do you think her style is fug? Are you liking her Lower East Side style, or do you think it’s one of those things that’s only OK in New York? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear your opinions!

Also, don’t forget to check back here in a few days for more Gossip Girl fashion; I’ll be breaking down Jenny Humphrey and Georgina Sparks’ styles next!

Posted on on May 22, 2008 / Filed Under: Fashion Tips / Tags: , , , ,

Blog Widget by LinkWithin

46 Responses to “How to Dress Like Vanessa Abrams”

  1. 1
    May 22nd, 2008 at 7:03 pm

    I don’t really like Vanessa so much, but this article totally covers her fashion, nice job!

  2. 2
    May 22nd, 2008 at 10:29 pm

    I agree, Vanessa isn’t one of my favorite characters – probably because she tried to hook up with Dan on the first day she was on the show! But I must admit that her style is interesting!

  3. 3
    May 23rd, 2008 at 10:03 am

    For the most part, I just don’t like Vanessa’s style, but it’s great GG is showing different styles – not all prep. This is a fashion style that seems a bit more affordable and real than say, Serena’s or Blair’s.

    I have to say though, I do love Vanessa’s jewellery. She’s got some great pieces.

  4. 4
    May 27th, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    I agree with you Zephyr, her style is interesting! I actually just bought my first pair of high tops (trust me I couldn’t believe it – haha) but Chinese Laundry WASH makes them. They’re pretty cute, metallic shiny silver.

  5. 5
    July 14th, 2008 at 8:24 am

    What brand is the cropped leather jacket that Vanessa is wearing on her date with Nate on “Desperately seeking serena” ?

  6. 6
    August 4th, 2008 at 11:20 am

    yea i really love that jacket, anyone know?

  7. 7
    August 10th, 2008 at 12:30 am

    i’m crazy about the leather jacket in the photo of vanessa walking into the shop she was about to work in but ended up taking the sats. i see the photo of the jacket but no info on where to get it. if any one knows where she got it from please tell me!!.

    you can email me at

  8. 8
    August 16th, 2008 at 10:22 pm

    vanessa es el mejor personaje… me encanta!!!

    es muuuy linda y tiene mucho estilo

    la otras son unas manikis sin cerebro

    vanessa es la mejor, serena es muuy fea, que dan se quede con vanessa es mucho mas bonita, simpatica, estilera y honesta.

  9. 9
    October 7th, 2008 at 5:49 pm

    i love her style but could you plz show me how to do her hair

  10. 10
    November 5th, 2008 at 2:56 pm

    I like Vanessa..her style ,her face..

    so thanks for posting ds but unfortunately until now still cant find where the hell i could buy one of those letterman jacket like what she has.

  11. 11
    January 4th, 2009 at 1:30 am

    I hate vanessa and her doe eyed face so freaking much she is a pretty girl but i’m so sick of her being on that got damn high horse and then doing the same shit that everyone else does. And if shes suppossed to be the only black girl or excuse me ethnic girl on the show do me a favor and give her a tan ! Anyway i feel that she could be tolerable be cause she has great style and shes pretty i love her style but i mean i think i like chuck better than her … geeze thats pretty desperate i had better see some vast improvement on her part in part 2 of season 2 and that is not an empty threat

    Semour Hiney
    ps i’m not gay because i’m a man and watch this show son’t judge me or you’ll be vanessa

  12. 12
    January 27th, 2009 at 10:01 pm

    Not a big fan of Vanessa’s style. Too choppy. The outfits don’t flow into each other. The pieces are all sort of disconnected.

  13. 13
    February 21st, 2009 at 6:50 am

    I really like the bright light green top that she wore in the new season

    But i don’t know where to get it:S

    Any help please

  14. 14
    February 23rd, 2009 at 1:12 am

    I Love Vanessa!
    her style is awesome too

  15. 15
    March 28th, 2009 at 6:05 pm

    I LOVE VANNESSA!she’s no worse than blair,serena,or jenny on the show.thank you so much for doing this fashion breakdown on vannessa! and semour why dose she need a tan to be considered “black”or ethnic?

  16. 16
    May 3rd, 2009 at 9:11 am

    I loveeee Vanessa, and her style is great!

  17. 17
    May 5th, 2009 at 4:42 am

    I love love love vanessa;s style!
    You never mentioned it but i think her style is totally bohemian/ethnic!
    I love bohemian looks and her jewelry is just amazing.

    I wasn’t as impressed as the articles you wrote about blair, jenny,etc..
    because I was expecting way more pictures and more explanation about her bohemian type of dresses. And since she is more into fashion than serena or georgina is.

    But anyway, thank you for writing this articke.

  18. 18
    May 25th, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    I like Vanessa, she is pretty..petty hair,clothes,smile!

  19. 19
    June 3rd, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    I absolutely love her style and it’s always been my favourite by far on the entire show. I’ve been looking around lately for some more Vanessa-esque items to fill my wardrobe and i’d really appreciate it if anyone knew of any good shops, websites etc in the UK; i can’t really get Varsity jackets:(
    Also, this is a pretty good break down of her style, thanks for posting:)

  20. 20
    June 8th, 2009 at 4:11 am

    eh? in the books she was like an emo and shaved her head, but understand that i am GLAD that she hasnt shaved her head LOL
    love the high tops and skinnies altho they could hav made her a touch darker and cynical in the show

    still hot tho, <3

  21. 21
    August 3rd, 2009 at 7:03 am

    I like vanessa ! her style is amazing!

    Do you know where she buy her clothes ?

  22. 22
    August 8th, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    Vanessa is by FAR my fav character, and her style ROCKS!!! I dig her bohemian/ethnic style, and covet her wardrobe. Also, to the person who says she isn’t tan…ummmmm…haha, YES SHE IS!!! She’s very olive-skinned! People of color come in a variety of shades and besides, she’s mixed anyway.

  23. 23
    August 11th, 2009 at 6:12 am

    Vanessa is absolutely AWESOME in the first season of gossip girl. But in the second one… she is like Serena, Blair and Jenny. She still wearing nice clothes, but she has no personality.
    But shes AMAZING!!!!

  24. 24
    August 25th, 2009 at 10:41 pm

    Hey Vanessa, (another Vanessa here). I’m doing some research on our name and was wondering if you know any history behind it. Mine was from my great-grandmother, but she’s passed on now so I can’t ask her where it came from. Thanks!

  25. 25
    September 21st, 2009 at 7:08 pm

    I like Vanessa’s is like a Neneh Cherry wanna be….her style has a little bit of everything but basically its got that hip hop 80ties edge…if you understand what I mean….your comments about the style of all the GG”s are great!

  26. 26
    October 14th, 2009 at 8:18 am

    vanessa’s style is super cool and outstanding!!!! i love her kind of dressups!!! more like a boho style…….and the best hairdo i ever liked…..and now she is one my fashion goddesses!!! SO COOL!!!! i like her style of all the other GG characters…..
    i would love to see more of her new self mixmatched boho collection!!!!!
    love ya girl!!!!

  27. 27
    November 21st, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    Vanessa is my favourite character! I love her face, she’s so beautyfull! I don’t understeand why people doesn’t like her?! Her style is amazing, but diffuclt, but she’s so pretty girl that she looks great in anything she dress.
    Sorry for my english! I’m not from USA.

  28. 28
    May 4th, 2010 at 8:29 am

    She fun and cool girl, but she not Qween B. Love this serial))

  29. 29
    June 23rd, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    nice article zephyr, in more recent series however Vanessa’s style has developed a lot more and is a lot nicer than when gg started, in my opinion. maybe you could do a how to guide on her more recent stuff? thanks

  30. 30
    September 12th, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    I really love Vanessas style. I saw the episode 22 i season 3, and there Vanessa had this huge jacket, if you saw it and know the name of that kind of jacket, could you please tell me?! Thank you girls

  31. 31
    April 23rd, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    I have never seen the show, but I have read most of the books. she seems soooo much different on the show than in the book…

  32. 32
    May 14th, 2011 at 11:40 am

    the pictures are removed :/

  33. 33
    May 15th, 2011 at 11:36 pm

    why would anyone want to dress like Vanessa?

  34. 34
    October 6th, 2011 at 12:07 am

    I love Vanessa’s style, and I think that gossip girl will be boring without her because, Blair and Serena are always dressing so elegant and expensive and Vanessa is like the fresh and fun girl in Gossip girl.

Links to This Article

Leave a Reply


* Comment Rules: CF is a positive place and our comments section is no different. Constructive criticism is fine, but if you're rude, we'll delete your comment. Please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name and do not put your website in the comment text, as both come off like spam. For more info, see our Comment Policy. Have fun & thanks for adding to the conversation!


* Want a custom avatar to show up next to your comments? Sign up for a free Gravatar.