Five most unexpectedly stylish characters from YA

in Fiction by

It’s no secret that I love reading about clothes in books. Outfits in young adult novels are particularly awesome – clothes can help establish a teen’s sense of self, sense of place, social status, and sometimes even their species. But while clothing is often described, there are few true ‘fashionistas’ in YA. You know who I mean – those girls and guys so totally obsessed with style that they’re budding fashion designers, sewing their own clothes, or just overly invested in what everyone around them is wearing. These characters are my people. So in honor of my fellow fashion-obsessed readers, here are the top five stylish characters in YA:

1. Claudia Kishi, The Babysitter’s Club

Claudia

For all you ‘90s kids, this is a no-brainer – Claudia is synonymous with awesome style. Read the books now and the looks sound kind of ridiculous (all those side ponytails and overalls!), but there’s no denying her unique and genuine talent when it came to creating outfits. Her fashion sense is so iconic that there’s even a blog called “What Claudia Wore” that analyzes all of her outfits. Can you blame them? I mean, just look at that black number above.

2. Lola Nolan, Lola and the Boy Next Door

lola

Stephanie Perkin’s Lola is probably the most eccentric dresser on this list – honestly, she might even have Claudia beat – but she’s definitely one of the most stylish as well. A budding fashion designer, Lola isn’t afraid to take risks that would make the rest of us squirm. She’s got an extensive wig collection, outfits that verge on costumes, and she spends a large chunk of the book trying to create a Marie Antoinette dress from scratch. Complete with corset and yards and yards of skirts. It’s rare to see a teenage character so self-confident, but no one would ever call Lola average.

3. Anne Shirley, Anne of Green Gables

Anne

Never has there been a character who wanted to be more stylish. She didn’t always succeed, but Anne spent countless pages describing all the romantic clothing she would eventually wear. And remember when Matthew insisted on having a puffy-sleeved dress made for her? Just marvel at Anne’s reaction: “Anne took the dress and looked at it in reverent silence. Oh, how pretty it was – a lovely soft brown Gloria with all the gloss of silk…Anne’s eyes had suddenly filled with tears.” This is a girl after my own heart – actually crying at the sight of a pretty dress.

4. Penelope Hayes, The Luxe series

Penelope

“As she always did on any really important day, Penelope Hayes wore red.” That should tell you almost all you need to know about Penelope, one of the central characters in Anna Godbersen’s stylish series set in the late 1800s. The book cover should tell you the rest – Penelope is always parading around in lush, over-the-top dresses that are as extravagant as they are beautiful. And unlike the other characters, Penelope is “new money,” which means she needs to try extra hard to stand out among her blue blood friends. To her, fashion isn’t just important; it’s an essential part of fitting in.

5. Edward Cullen, Twilight

Edward

Say what you will about Twilight, but Edward was one stylish dude. That boy loved a good designer label. So much that he insisted Bella wear them, too. He enlisted his sister, Alice, for help in styling his soon-to-be-wife, but everyone knew he was the mastermind behind her multiple makeovers. I guess living for eternity has some perks – not only do you have more money than God, you also learn how to put it to good use. In this case, awesome clothes.

Any stylish YA characters we might have overlooked? Let us know in the comments!

Rachel Carter grew up surrounded by trees and snow and mountains. She graduated from the University of Vermont and Columbia University, where she received her MFA in nonfiction writing. She is the author of the So Close to You series with Harperteen. These days you can find her working on her next novel in the woods of Vermont.

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