A History Of Tween Fashion IconsS

New York Magazine talks about the new trend in tween clothes: "adult-girl fashion," in which, inspired by girls like Noah Cyrus and Lourdes Leon, pre-teens dress like tiny women. Which prompted us to look back at tween fashion!

Kids have always taken inspiration from adults: from Madonna and older sisters and movies. Back in the day, you weren't a tween: you were a kid. You wore kids' clothes. And then you got older and were a teen. But while "tween" may be a modern term, there have always been pre-teens looking to fashion icons. And, just like now, some of them have been youthful. Here, a look back at a few tween fashion icons of a gentler time:


A History Of Tween Fashion IconsS

Shirley Temple. The biggest star of her era, Shirley Temple cast a spell over adults and kids alike. Who didn't want her curls? And her influence is enduring: our own Dodai says Shirley was her main fashion icon as a child.


A History Of Tween Fashion IconsS

Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret Rose. QE2, fashion icon? You bet: during World War II, the princesses were regarded as romantic and popular figures gallantly facing down the Blitz. Even during wartime rationing, American manufacturers made princess-inspired matching outfits, paper dolls, and books of their looks.

A History Of Tween Fashion IconsS"Kitten," Father Knows Best.
Lauren Chapin's name may not ring a bell today, but precocious Kathy "Kitten" Anderson was a wildly popular character. Her short bang and ponytail were the heart's desire of many a girl of the 1950s.


A History Of Tween Fashion Icons

The Brady Girls: Before she was a sex symbol, Marsha Brady was a kid with long pigtails and braces - who other girls wanted to imitate.


A History Of Tween Fashion IconsS


Tatum O'Neal:
Tatum O'Neal may have been the original wild-child, but by today's standards, the 9-year-old Oscar winner's wardrobe was downright demure - and groovy. Beyond the iconic mini-tux, Tatum rocked little fur chubbies and high-waisted jeans, and could still be a style inspiration to sophisticated tweens today.


A History Of Tween Fashion IconsS

Jodie Foster. The 1970s were a golden era for smart, sassy kid characters (see also: The Goodbye Girl) and half the time, they were played by Jodie Foster. Be it her Bad News Bears tomboy look or her insouciant playclothes in Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, she was like a gutsy Kristy McNichol for the tween set.


A History Of Tween Fashion IconsS

Punky Brewster The vest, the pigtails, the attitude: for young girls, it didn't get any cooler than the spunky orphan Punky Brewster. For the space of a few months in the 80s, a sleeveless sweatshirt was to the under-12s what Flashdance was to their older sisters.


A History Of Tween Fashion IconsS

The Olsen Twins. Before granny chic, before Heath, before the Met Ball, there were the pre-teen Olsen Twins. Arguable, the beginning of the tween bonanza, their original line for Walmart was decidedly kid-centric.


And apres lui, le deluge! Disney and Teen Nick and Gossip and Justice, Oh my! With tweens as a huge emerging market, tween fashion became its own stylistic niche and limbo - neither the kids clothes of yore nor their older sisters' runway knockoffs. A mix of sophisticated and not (think lots of zebra and plenty of pink) these are a far cry from the Gap Kids of our youth. But that doesn't mean the kids are.

Tween Beat [New York]