This week, Ruth looks at the most iconic fashion idols from the most popular teen drama shows of the last decade, and what makes them so memorable.
I’m going to take you back in time to the early 2010s. In comparison to society and media today, it seems like a lifetime ago. But in the ten years that have passed we have seen tremendous change, in every aspect of the world. In the last decade, Apple released the very first iPad. The Twilight series was coming to cinema screens every year. One Direction was formed on X Factor UK. Instagram was established. Prince William and Kate Middleton were married in a beautiful royal wedding. Facebook was really the only social media that anybody used. If you wanted to listen to music, you pulled out your iPod Nano. Gay marriage was legalised. Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and Beyoncé were taking the music world by storm. Kim Kardashian broke the internet. And as for fashion, you couldn’t walk down the street without seeing neon colours, jeggings, wedge sneakers, or cracked nail polish.
But the early 2010s were also the time that teen drama shows really rose to fame. Before dystopian fiction became the new trend, we had vampires and werewolves, and there was nothing more exciting than telling the world which team you were on. These TV shows were iconic, bringing together a generation that still re-watches them today. If you open TikTok, you’ll see edits of said teen dramas and their main characters, all of which get hundreds of thousands of likes. It was something incredibly new at the time, and it inspires a lot of nostalgia for those who were there at the very beginning.
So, here we are to look at the most popular teen drama shows from the last decade or so, and crown our top five most fashionable stars.
ARIA MONTGOMERY / PRETTY LITTLE LIARS
Pretty Little Liars is one of my favourite television shows of all time. It’s a teen thriller which follows the story of four teenage girls whose lives have fallen apart ever since their best friend, Alison, mysteriously went missing. It is soon revealed that she was murdered on the night she disappeared, and the girls begin to receive messages from an anonymous person called ‘A,’ who threatens to reveal all their secrets.
Aria is described as the alternative one of the friends. In the pilot episode, she had bright pink highlights in her dark hair, and as the series progresses, we see her as the girl who loves writing and film noir. She’s independent and feisty, especially when it comes to protecting her friends. She’s one of the best at keeping secrets throughout the entire series, even hiding romantic relationships from her loved ones.
But Aria is best known for her fashion choices. In the earlier seasons, we see her in print dresses, paired with knee-high boots, and leather jackets. She tended to favour darker colours, such as black, grey, mauve, or burgundy. But everything came with textures, from velvet to chiffon, usually intertwined with city-chic. The dress she wore to homecoming was black lace with a corset bodice and silver chains falling from her shoulders. Once, when talking to her boyfriend in his office, she wore a gold glittery top with a zip-up dress over it.
Aria was also the main character who loved her accessories. I know it was the early 2010s, but some of them were just bizarre. Like the time she wore earrings that looked more like weapons; black and gold, big enough to touch her collarbones, with long spikes. Then there was the episode where she wore bright blue feathers in her hair. And we can’t forget the studded belts she wore in every flashback to when Alison was still alive, and Aria was in her retro-meets-Avril-Lavigne phase.
It might have been Hanna who was the one obsessed with fashion in Pretty Little Liars, but we have to give Aria the crown for the most iconic statement looks in the show.
Elena Gilbert / The Vampire Diaries
When the Twilight series ended, The Vampire Diaries was there to win our hearts over with the story of two vampire brothers falling in love with the same girl. The series takes place in the supernatural town of Mystic Falls, where vampires, werewolves, and witches rule. There’s magic, curses, rituals, and bodies drained of blood, as the drama really takes over. But the one girl who stays herself – for the first three seasons – is the protagonist, Elena.
When the series first starts, Elena is seventeen, and mostly dresses in casual teenage clothes. We see her in long-sleeved tops, bootleg jeans, and black Converse. She sometimes liked to wear lace camisoles, paired with leather or denim jackets, and tended to reach for darker jewel tones; purple, blue, and dark red. But overall, her look was always comfortable and feminine. It made perfect sense, as she never knew when she might have to run from evil vampires. She was practical with her fashion choices, and that’s part of the reason she was so relatable.
But when Elena had an illustrious event to attend, she really showed just how fashionable she could be. One of her most iconic looks is the dress she wore to the Miss Mystic Falls beauty pageant in the first series. It was royal blue silk, which pulled in tightly to the waist before falling elegantly to her feet. She paired it with simple silver jewellery. This was the episode where she first danced with Damon, and their relationship sparked into more than friends, which makes the look even more memorable.
It’s no wonder that every girl watching was jealous of Elena. Not only did she have two handsome vampires fighting over her, she was also an absolute fashion icon.
Lydia Martin / Teen Wolf
Just like The Vampire Diaries, Teen Wolf was a huge part of the early 2010s and its obsession with the supernatural. The series surrounds a teenager who is bitten by a werewolf before his second year of high school, and how he is forced into a world of magical creatures, like banshees, chimaeras, and hellhounds. It is down to him and his friends to protect the town they live in.
Lydia is one of the main characters, and the resident fashion icon of the series. Despite being a supernatural creature herself, she always managed to look perfect. Her style was feminine and ever-so-slightly prim, with light colours. She was often seen wearing floaty dresses, sometimes printed with florals or various patterns. She also liked the look of a blouse and sweater, with the collar visible, giving her a classic, preppy aesthetic.
One of her most memorable looks is the dress she wore when she kissed Stiles. It was a pale blue shirt dress, with short bohemian sleeves, giving her the ultimate feminine, romantic look.
Blair waldorf / gossip girl
Gossip Girl first appeared on our screens in 2007, but it was still as popular as it continued into the early 2010s. The series follows the lives of several privileged, upper-class teenagers living in New York City, all whilst being narrated by the anonymous blogger, ‘Gossip Girl.’
Blair is one of the main protagonists of the TV show, the so-called ‘Queen Bee’ of the Upper East Side. She is a socialite and an incredibly ambitious young woman, who strives for perfection in her life whilst struggling with self-esteem and beauty issues.
If you had to describe Blair’s style in a few words, it would be classic, preppy, and chic. She was often seen wearing bright print dresses, made of more expensive-looking fabrics, like silk or satin, or chiffon blouses with tight skirts and pearl headbands. She tended to lean towards brighter, more colourful clothes so as to stand out in the crowd. Even her wedding dress was sky blue; a beautiful, bejewelled Elie Saab gown.
Blair’s fashion aesthetic was elegant and clean, and we have to give her points for being New York’s queen of style.
Maddy pereZ / euphoria
Euphoria is the most recently released television show on our list, which follows the lives of high school students as they struggle with love, substance abuse, trauma, and their place in society.
Maddy is known as an icon in the show. She is confident and protective of her friends, but also extremely emotional and manipulative. Even though she is beautiful, she seems to have deep self-esteem issues as she continually returns to her abusive boyfriend, and allows him to get away with hurting her. These differing sides to her are unveiled through her fashion choices, revealing both her powerful and vulnerable side.
Maddy’s style often surrounds tight clothes that show a lot of skin. She’s often seen wearing crop tops with jeans or mini dresses. She turned up to school several times in co-ords, in denim and lilac, with eyeshadow to match the colours. In the first series, she wore the iconic white Louis Vuitton halter-neck top, with the brand’s logo printed on it in rainbow colours. And there can be no forgetting the monumental outfit she wore to the carnival, which soon went viral on social media. It consisted of purple cut-out trousers with straps that tied over her hips, with a matching bralette. She paired the look with diamante eyelashes and silver hoop earrings.
Her style choices have been replicated on social media, and featured in hundreds of articles since the show first aired, making Maddy one of the most iconic fashion stars of the decade.
So, there we have it, the top five most iconic fashion stars from the most popular teen drama shows. Some of these television shows might be over, but their legacy lives on through the protagonists and their iconic representation of fashion.
To read more of Ruth’s work, you can follow her on Instagram @thewriterruth.