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Are you wondering why, in the full heat of summer, you’ve seen so many tweets roasting a lifestyle blogger’s fall outfit? Or the phrase “Christian Girl Autumn?”
No, it’s not because Starbucks is releasing the Pumpkin Spice Latte early this year, although that announcement did send fall skyrocketing to the top of my particular lizard brain. This meme cycle originates with the prolific tweeter @lasagnabby, who tweeted a photo of lifestyle blogger Caitlin Covington on Friday with the caption “Hot Girl Summer is coming to an end, get ready for Christian Girl Autumn.”
The tweet was likely intended, through several layers of irony, to make fun of Covington — her blog Southern Curls & Pearls, is arguably the epitome of basic white girl culture. Covington, who is from North Carolina, curls her hair into voluminous Instagram waves. Her home is full of wicker, bright whites, and muted pinks; there are fairy lights taped to her headboard. She calls food “eats.” She frequents Starbucks. Her website’s logo is essentially a monogram. And yes, her fall outfits often involve taupe booties, stretchy ripped jeans, and enormous fringed scarves.
Covington’s aesthetic is so ubiquitous — particularly in the South — that it was an easy punch line for Twitter. “This picture just asked for my regional managers phone number and customer services number,” wrote one person.
“This is what every girl in a Hallmark movie looks like,” said another.
These were a few of the tamer comments — others were far more brutal, and some were just super weird. A few invoked another infamous white girl of yore: the viral chalkboard mom who named her daughter “Lakynn.” (One note here: Covington, who is 28 and was born in 1991, is more likely to have a daughter named Lakynn than to be one herself.)
Covington appeared to take it all in stride. “If all of Twitter is gonna make fun of my fall photos, at least pick some good ones!” she wrote on Twitter. “For the record, I do like pumpkin spice lattes. Cheers!”
If you’re defining the word “basic” in the internet’s preferred way — that is, aggressively and materially unoriginal — Covington’s aesthetic fits the bill. (Whether the term is useful is up for debate.) Though the VSCO girl aesthetic is quickly gaining ground as the new avatar of internet basic-ness, there’s still plenty of room on Instagram for the Southern sorority girl of the early 2010s. She might be slightly too old to aggressively hit the woah on TikTok, but she has plenty of oversized knits and pumpkin patch trips to offer.
Credit where credit is due, though: Covington has been making lifestyle content longer than your average influencer. She started Southern Curls & Pearls in 2011, when Instagram barely existed and her look was a lot less popular on the internet. Now, after eight years of consistent blogging (which sounds like a nightmare), she has nearly 1 million followers and uses her self-created brand as a source of income. That’s no easy feat.
Still, it’s understandable to be fatigued by blogs like this, which present a lifestyle that’s difficult to attain if you’re not white and rich. Covington isn’t exempt from the problems with Instagram culture in general, but it is refreshing to see her react to the memes about her with a sense of humor. And — can’t lie — it was a nice surprise to see that she’s not a Republican.
We’ve reached out to Covington for comment and will update if we hear back.