Trends among teen girls are an ever-changing hellscape. Even millennials — people who are not that old, thank you very much— can have trouble navigating the world that’s ruled by TikTok trends and whatever every high-school-aged girl can’t seem to stop raving about.
Funneling those trends into a gift that she’ll like and use for longer than a month seems nearly impossible. But you know who does get teenage girls? Other teenage girls. We asked our families, polled our staff (one of the writers of this gift guide has approximately one more month left to be a teenage girl), and scoured the internet to find out exactly what the best gifts for teenage girls (that they actually want) are.
The same items popping up over and over again each year is a constant reminder that, though the VSCO girl lifestyle meme may have ended in 2019, a few overarching concepts remain alive and well. Gen Z girls are loyal to a defined handful of brands and have very specific aesthetic goals. They don’t just want workout gear, they want Lululemon yoga pants. They don’t just want skincare products, they want serums from The Ordinary. They don’t just want a reusable water bottle, they want the (weirdly specific) Stanley Quencher H2.0 tumbler. You get it.
TikTok’s impact on what teenagers care about is different from that of the kind-of-famous Instagram influencer. There’s something so inherently convincing about a regular person hyping something they bought — not because they got paid to make a calculated YouTube video about it but because they genuinely thought others would benefit from knowing about the product. Soon enough, 50,000 teenagers are rallying around said item. So if the teen on your list hasn’t dropped any hints on the items they’re eyeing, TikTok has no shortage of ideas. You’re welcome.
Some things about a teen girl’s must-haves stay the same over the years. The youths love Apple and give Android tech a bombastic side eye, for instance. Lululemon (lovingly shortened to “Lulu” by those in the know) still holds its position at the top of the clothing list. All things with a retro or vintage aura (Levi’s jeans, record players, instant cameras, and roller skates) continue to maintain a stronghold. These are all considerations you should keep top of mind when coming up with a suitable, teen-girl-friendly gift idea.
To make it easier for you to shop for a teen girl — when you’re not a teen girl yourself (we get it, it’s hard) — we’ve rounded up the very best gifts for the demographic in this easy-to-browse, relevant-to-2023 gift guide: