When it comes to "it" girls, my, what a difference a decade makes.
Maybe it's the increasing popularity of the blogosphere, the stance the country is taking on bullying, giving the next generation the freedom to express one's self confidently, or simply the accessibility of designer fashion, today's young style makers are leaving their mark on the fashion industry in a much different and more individual way.
Case in point: Tavi Gevinson, the 14-year-old Style Rookie blogger who has intrigued the fashion community so intensely that on any given day, she could be wearing a pair of eyeglasses sent to her by Thakoon or shoes gifted by Comme des Garçons. Gevinson, who resides in suburban Chicago, has such an eye for styling that she recently revealed an upcoming collaboration with media magnate Jane Pratt to launch an updated version of Pratt's dearly departed Sassy magazine.
Annemarie Iverson, author of "In Fashion: From Runway to Retail, Everything You Need to Know to Break Into the Fashion Industry" and former editor-in-chief of Seventeen, sings Gevinson's praises: "I think she's brilliant and an original. She sees things in her own way and she's attuned without even being connected. I come from the fashion magazine world, so I think it's funny to read that Jane Pratt wants to launch a magazine with her. I was thinking to myself, Why would Tavi do that -- go back to the old world of doing magazines -- when she has this whole world of her own? Let me just say that I think Jane needs Tavi a lot more than Tavi needs Jane. In this world, it's kind of a curious combination. Tavi doesn't need Jane. Tavi's been doing it on her own quite nicely. She's a phenomenon and a force of nature."
About 1,000 miles south of Gevinson's Chicago, in the small community of Trophy Club, Texas, lives another teen blogger who has become an "it" girl in her own right. Eighteen-year-old Jane Aldridge, who pens the blog Sea of Shoes, admittedly comes from fashionable genes. Her mother, Judy, is an influential style blogger, with her site Atlantis Home, who modeled before pursuing fashion design. But she's quick to point out that her daughter has taught her just as much about style as she has passed down over the years.
"Jane and I learn so much from each other that it's almost like through osmosis," she says. "We kind of learn by observation."
Both women get inspiration for their chic looks from current and vintage magazines, and it's one periodical in particular that gave the younger Aldridge the opportunity of a lifetime: the chance to make her debut at the famed Crillon Ball in Paris.
"Being in Chanel's Rue Cambon haute couture studio, when I went to the Crillon Ball that Teen Vogue invited me to, was totally insane," says Jane, when asked about her most surreal moment since her blog gained fame. "They gave us a tour of Coco Chanel's apartment, as well. That was amazing."
"I'm having so much fun with my blog, and it's taken me on such surprising journeys that I would have never would have anticipated for my life ever," she says. "It's been such a learning experience. I think I'm in a great position right now because I'm learning so much while still pretty much being on the sidelines. I can't believe the opportunities I've had."
One rising "it" girl who is happily staking her claim on the fashion industry is endearingly precocious 11-year-old designer Cecilia Cassini. Cassini, who received her first sewing machine for her sixth birthday, has been creating what she refers to as her "masterpieces" ever since. Each piece usually reflects her bubbly personality -- they're either bright, sparkly, outrageous or all of the above.
"I would describe my own style as fun, chic, fabulous, colorful, bright, happy, outgoing and, to sum it up, very avant garde," she says matter-of-factly.
Cassini's mother, Michelle, a yoga instructor, admits she's no fashionista herself, but vividly remembers when at the ripe old age of 2, her daughter began dressing herself in what sometimes resulted in outrageous ensembles.
"I never got to dress her just so, however it was I wanted her to look, because she had such a strong opinion," says the elder Cassini. "I always felt like children have so many boundaries as it is and if this is the way she really wanted to express herself, I wasn't going to not let her do it. So it really, truly is her. She has always had her own style, her own ideas, her own color palette in her head. I basically just encouraged her by just allowing her to dress however she wanted to, even though to adult eyes maybe it looked funny or totally mismatched or crazy."
Cassini, who lives in Encino, California, is indeed confident, so it's not much of a surprise that her celebrity fashion inspiration is the same woman who wore a meat dress to the MTV Video Music Awards.
"The one celebrity that I really look to when I'm designing is Lady Gaga," she confesses. "She's just so amazing in what she wears. Everything she wears is so avant garde. She doesn't care what the other people think. She'll just wear a diamond lobster on her head -- that's Lady Gaga. She's kind of like me in a way because I'm not afraid either and I don't care what the other people think of me when I'm wearing a gigantic bow on my head."
Of course, if you aren't a blogger or tween designer, a girl can always make her mark on style the old-fashioned way: singing those hooky pop tunes or as the daughter of an A-list celebrity.
These days, many celebrities who aim for "it" designation are hip to the notion that it may not be such a good idea to alienate their young fan base. Alas, some still are not (looking at you, Miley).
Michelle Tomaszewski, celebrity stylist to the Jonas Brothers and Demi Lovato and fashion blogger for Cambio.com's style section, is very aware of the importance of keeping her clients approachable, while setting trends at the same time. This, after all, is the woman who put the Jo Bros in their signature skinny jeans.
As far as celebrity spawn is concerned, none is having more fun with fashion than 10-year-old Willow Smith, daughter of Will and Jada, who is becoming a pop star in her own right with the success of her single "Whip My Hair." "I think it's schoolgirl meets punk rock," Smith told MTV of her style. "I like plaid/argyle or whatever somebody calls it. I like motorcycle boots, little sparkly boots."
The burgeoning fashionista tells Teen Vogue that her mom is to thank for her eclectic look, as is advice-giving big brother Jaden. "I used to like dresses and tights but when I turned 9, my style changed," she says. "My mom helps me pick out my clothes, but my brother always says, 'Willow, sag your pants!'"
Despite this onslaught of new "it" girls, Spears has nothing to worry about, having recently appeared on the cover of Britain's edgy POP magazine for the first time last September, thus proving she's still got "it." Interesting enough, Spears' cover came a year after Gevinson herself was photographed for the front of the publication. Hmmm, on second thought...
In other up-and-coming fashionista news, read about how Lourdes Leon is blogging for the Material Girl line that she collaborates on with her famous mama, Madonna.
And click here for a roundup of the most influential street style blogger.