Before 13-year-olds turned into tiny fashion and beauty gurus (thanks, Instagram), kids participated in the character-building exercise of looking like a complete and utter mess from the ages of 12 to 17. Whether you were a purple-haired scene kid or a grungy product of the ’90s, you know exactly what we’re talking about. It’s like our parents didn’t even care that we’d have to look back on photos of our pimply, angsty, nerdy selves ten years later and wonder how many Old Navy graphic tees one human could possibly own. Thanks for nothing, Mom and Dad. But these days, especially in Hollywood, young fashion icons are serving up LOOKS.
After all, have you seen Zendaya lately? Every scroll down the ol’ Instagram feed is a gut-punch to the self-esteem. Every one of the 16 young fashion icons on this list has apparently made it their life’s work to shame our former selves – they’re all 21 or below! Drag us, kings and queens!
Since we already touched on the topic of legendary style queen Zendaya, let’s start there. This 21-year-old has been slaying the red carpet game since she was in her late teens and she shows no signs of stopping. Her style is painfully chic and every time she shows up to an event, she gives stylish stars ten years her senior a run for their money. She has a penchant for risk-taking that is a far cry from the risks we all took with our eyeliner in middle school.
15. Millie Bobby Brown
Because absolutely nothing makes sense, 14-year-old Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown is already a fashion maven. When she’s not busy playing Eleven, she’s dragging our teenage selves for filth. Can you imagine being 14 and finding yourself on best-dressed lists alongside the likes of Angelina Jolie and Viola Davis? Yeah, we can’t either. She’s pulled off some risky fashion moments that would even make Rihanna proud.
14. Caleb McLaughlin
But the girl who brings us Eleven isn’t the only Stranger Things cast member killing it. Sixteen-year-old Caleb McLaughlin wears a mean suit. Departing from the boring black-and-white tux, McLaughlin is known to rock brocade, embroidery, and silk on the red carpet. Men’s fashion is often overlooked during awards season because it can be a little one-note, but this guy’s here to change all that. His off-duty style is just as cool.
13. Timothée Chalamet
The Internet’s new favorite boyfriend is 22-year-old Timothée Chalamet. The Call Me By Your Name star is a well-dressed man who will make you look at every male college student on Earth and ask, “Why?” He is proof positive that young guys can kill it in the fashion department. He’s particularly into pops of color and the suit-jacket-over-a-tee look and we live for every second of it.
12. Sahara Lin
Okay, when you’re badass enough to start your modeling career with braces, you know you’re a fashion legend in the making. True to 2018 form, Sahara Lin was discovered on Instagram by photographer Fumi Nagasaka. In Lin’s own words, “I would describe my style as thrifty, retro, luminescent! Braces are a cool silver accessory—it’s like having your own personal set of permanent grills!” While most of us looked kind of awful with braces, we still couldn’t have said it better ourselves. Now if you’ll excuse us, we’ll be cringing at our yearbook photos until the end of time.
11. Amandla Stenberg
Amandla Stenberg is basically the cool-girl benchmark. She’s someone who absolutely kills it in fashion while making it seem like she’s put zero effort into her look (much to the chagrin of the rest of us who work harder and not smarter in the style department). The 19-year-old plays with cut and volume in a complex way that even some of the most daring Hollywood veterans would struggle to do. Her IDGAF approach to clothing is something most of us can only dream of adopting.
10. Maddie Ziegler
Dance Moms alum Maddie Ziegler made huge waves with her incredible skills on the reality show, which is when singer Sia first laid eyes on her young muse. She may only be 15, but she’s a complete stunner with an eye for fashion. Girl loves a great pair of distressed jeans and a classic jacket and has been known to ditch dresses on the red carpet in favor of wide-leg trousers. We were not firing on this many fashion cylinders when we were kids, Maddie.
9. Rowan Blanchard
First of all, when your name is Rowan Blanchard, it is basically illegal to be anything but a fashion icon. We don’t make the rules. Fortunately, 16-year-old Blanchard lives up to her stylish name by being every bit the young fashion icon. First of all, when she hit us with that shoulder-length bob, none of us were ready. She gravitates toward brands with an earthier, more classic feel, like Céline. The rest of us wore band tees from Hot Topic at her age, but it’s fine. We’ve repressed it.
8. Willow Smith
One of the coolest things about Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith is that they’ve always supported their kids as they find themselves both personally and professionally. Since the day 17-year-old daughter Willow Smith started whippin’ her hair back and forth, Mom and Dad have let their stylish girl forge her own path. While some stars have a signature style, you never know how Willow Smith will look when she shows up to an event or hits the street. Another enviable cool-girl, she knows how to keep us guessing.
7. Jaden Smith
Keeping on the Smith train, let’s talk about Jaden Smith. Artist and Twitter philosopher Jaden is never one to shy away from bizarre fashion choices that make him a fashion heavy-hitter like his sister. His style is a surprisingly successful mashup of ’80s hip-hop star, Calvin Klein model, and Portland hipster. Not many people could pull it off, but this 19-year-old kills it every time.
6. Joey King
If you’re a woman and your name is Joey King, you’re pretty much bound to be cool as hell — and that she is. This 18-year-old star, best known for her roles as a child star in films like Ramona and Beezus and Crazy, Stupid Love, is a doll-faced young fashion icon with an edge. She plays with softness and grittiness pretty effortlessly and the result is a look all her own. King brings an almost grungy quality to classic looks and is a badass for it.
5. Kaia Gerber
The 16-year-old daughter of Cindy Crawford is a shoe-in for any young fashion icons list. Kaia Gerber won’t just make you look at your nerdy past self and cringe. Oh, no. She’ll make you look at your grown-ass woman self and wonder why you don’t look like that. She is an absolute stunner and her model-off-duty style may even be better than her runway looks. She’s gorgeous enough to make a slouchy leather jacket and ankle-length jeans look super chic and we love (and envy) her for it.
4. Lily-Rose Depp
Stars are evidently just destined to have beautiful children. Johnny Depp’s 18-year-old daughter, Lily-Rose Depp, is serving up some serious Kate Moss-esque lewks. If you want to see someone who can rock the hell out of a square-necked ’90s tank and mom jeans, look no further than this style queen. The model can go from ethereal goddess to sharp badass in two seconds flat. We love a versatile legend.
Singer Khalid quickly became everyone’s new fave over the last year. His amazing musical talents and infectious smile are hard not to love, and his unique style is pretty endearing too. The 20-year-old always looks like he just rummaged through the coolest ’80s and ’90s-themed vintage shop in the world and we honestly just can’t get enough. I mean, he single-handedly brought back the tracksuit. That takes skill.
2. Kiernan Shipka
Before Millie Bobby Brown, it was Mad Men actress Kiernan Shipka who blew our minds with her surprising, age-defying fashion moments. She was nailing the bold brow look long before it came back in style. In her own words, “When I get dressed, I really think about what I’m trying to convey through my outfit.” When I was 18, I was busy focusing on how angry my outfit of choice could make my parents, but get down with your bad self, girl.
1. Yara Shahidi
Black-ish and Grown-ish star Yara Shahidi is five feet and three inches of pure fashion slay. The natural-haired beauty is one of those people who turns heads everywhere she goes because she’s a striking legend. Oh, and she’s about to go to Harvard, so she’s a genius too. Let us breathe, queen!