How to Dress Like Vanessa Abrams

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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.

Also Read: Jess Day Outfits: How to Dress Like Jess from New Girl


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!

20 thoughts on “How to Dress Like Vanessa Abrams”

  1. 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

  2. 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!

  3. 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!

  4. 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

  5. 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:)

  6. 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?

  7. Heyy
    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

  8. 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. 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 [email protected]

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

  11. 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.

  12. 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!


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