It’s about time we talked about Zendaya. I’m just about a full generation ahead of her, but over the last two to three years, I’ve found myself looking up to her. Over the last few weeks, I’ve been combing through fashion photos of Zendaya trying to figure out how exactly she makes such a huge style impact seem so easy.
Having just seen her reinvent the MJ role in Spiderman: Homecoming, I’m having trouble imagining her playing anything other than a complex and strong female character. Zendaya isn’t a rising star – she’s risen, and her LinkedIn would probably make us tired just from looking at it.
From dominating the red carpet to speaking out about important (and frequently controversial) issues, Zendaya is busy AF. It’s always fun to see a child actor persevere through the insane Hollywood industry to come out strong and outspoken. Especially when they also somehow have the time to become a well-rounded style icon by 22.
What are her secrets?! Well, that’s what I’ve spent the last week trying to figure out. I haven’t cracked the case yet, and I don’t know if I ever will, but I have identified 5 Zendaya Style Staples that show up in a ton of Zendaya’s outfits. Then, after we cover the staples, we’ll get into the business of the budget copycat. I picked out some of my all-time favorite Zendaya outfits and found affordable dupes for each piece.
Hopefully, by the end of this, we’ll all have a little more Zendaya Style flowing through or closets. Or, at the very least, we’ll have our fill of gorgeous looks from this beautiful queen of the Spidey-screen.
Zendaya Style Staple: Denim
Zendaya in front of her own roses. (!!)
Every style icon has a signature look featuring denim, but Zendaya takes it to another level. Her look is Britney & Justin’s denim-on-denim but with 100% more effortlessness. (100% less effort? Wait, no…)
Every time Zendaya is in double (or even triple) denim, it looks like she just so happened to pick the perfect pieces up off her floor and threw them on her body. But we know better than that, denim on denim isn’t easy for anyone to pull off, and calculated coordinates are key.
Zendaya is so fearless with her denim that she’s even taking her love of jeans to her shoes. And when I say “her shoes,” I mean it! DAYA by Zendaya features a ton of denim separates, rompers (like the one to the right, $24) and shoes.
Zendaya Style Staple: Pointy Toes
Zendaya at the premiere of Spider-Man: Homecoming
This is a powerful photo to use as an example for pointy-toed stilettos, but when nearly every red carpet look has this level of impact, what’s a girl to do? You can’t deny that the girl has incredible legs, and adding a long, dramatic point to the end of some sky-high pumps is only going to make them longer.
You’ll see in the photos throughout this post that Zendaya is no stranger to a pointy stiletto. With jeans, gowns, skirts, cropped pants, shorts, sweats… it doesn’t matter! In Zendaya’s world, everything goes with pointed toes, and there’s no reason to think she’s wrong. Just look at these outfits!
This is one of the biggest takeaways from this Style Study due to how ubiquitous this shoe shape is in her wardrobe. It’s kind of awesome because, despite her age, she takes elements from past trends and works them seamlessly into her really modern and youthful style.
Zendaya Style Staple: Statement Glasses
Lenny Kravitz, Zendaya, and Bruno Mars – aka LenZuno – at their concert. (Source)
Okay, first, let’s collectively squee about this photo because: damn! That’s a lot of talent in one place! Secondly, the cumulative amount of style in this pic is palpable. Like, I can taste it in my mouth. Not only is Zendaya also rocking her classic double-denim, but those specs are some of the cutest I’ve seen! Part cat-eye, part horn-rimmed glasses, and with her denim tailcoat (!!!???) and Nike high tops, they look somehow perfect.
Her collection of glasses (that I can only assume are prescription) are as stylish as the rest of her wardrobe. Once again, retro styles are mixed up with streetwear or formal getups that only amplify how effing cool Zendaya is.
As a prescription glasses-wearer, myself, she is inspiring me to step up my game and really make my glasses work with my style. I’m no stranger to bold glasses, but I usually let them to all of the talking instead of contributing to the conversation. Admittedly, when I wear a bold pair of glasses, I kind of half-ass the rest of my outfit. Taking a page from Zendaya’s book and not being afraid of multiple bold items is going to make me feel (and look) way, way cooler.
Zendaya Style Staple: Vintage Soul
Zendaya at the 2017 MTV Movie & TV Awards
Maybe it’s the fact that she can seemingly wear anything, but the amount of retro that Zendaya can pack into one outfit is impressive. She has brought back iconic looks from nearly every decade in the 20th century – a century she was in for a whopping four years.
The best part about Zendaya’s love for vintage is that, when she goes retro, she goes full on. It’s not just a jacket or just a dress… It’s the jacket over the dress with the matching shoes and a bouffant, or a simulated perm, or crimps, or a tight chignon and a face of makeup to match whatever era she’s currently living in.
She’s clearly done her research, because the way she styles vintage clothing and throwback looks doesn’t come off as costume-like at all. In fact, when Zendaya rocks vintage at an event, she usually winds up stealing the show.
Zendaya Style Staple: Maximum Color
Zendaya at the 2017 Met Gala (Source)
This might be the ultimate key to Zendaya’s incredible style. I’ve seen the girl in a black dress before, don’t get me wrong, but 90% of the time Zendaya is swimming in color. Whether it’s monochrome or rainbows, she’s doing it well.
And it’s not just color for color’s sake, either. Weird combinations of colors come out of her wardrobe. Other days, she’ll be dressed head-to-toe in the exact same shade. Just look at the picture from the “Pointy Toe Shoes” section! She is wearing head-to-toe neon pink. At a Variety party for powerful youth, she wore a gorgeous, red, monochromatic, rhinestone-covered suit with baby pink trim. And it looked amazing!
Zendaya is out there showing us that color isn’t something to be afraid of. Whether you’re contrasting two colors that have never been friends, or drenching yourself in your favorite color, Zendaya has some inspo for you to feed off of.
Budget Style Copycat: Zendaya Edition
Now that we’re all saturated with the glorious outfits of Zendaya, it’s time to recreate them… on a budget.
Some outfits are easier than others to duplicate. The fact that Zendaya has her own fashion line called DAYA by Zendaya certainly helps, especially because it’s already so budget-friendly! She frequently wears pieces from her own line, and sizes typically range from XS-XXL because Zendaya is nothing if not struggle-aware.
Speaking of Zendaya the Fashion Designer: Her shoes are absolutely gorgeous, and can be found at Nordstrom as well as the DAYA website. You can find her clothing and shoes on the DAYA website, plus current and past seasons on Amazon. Zendaya also has a capsule collection with AQUA available at Bloomingdale’s, but it’s a little less budget-friendly. (Still stunning, though. If you’re a celestial gal, you need to at least scope it out!)
Frequently, Zendaya mixes and matches high end fashion pieces with basics from mall stores, or special pieces from affordable indie brands. Seriously, her style is fun from every angle, from viewing it to recreating it. I challenge you to be Zendaya for a day and see how it changes your style!
Zendaya at the 2017 Kids’ Choice Awards
Rusty orange satin with cool, smokey grey suede, or brown velvet from head to toe… It sounds bizarre and heavy-handed, but it looks insanely good. The best part is that you can steal the exact dress in the above photo for only $20. Outside of that perfect dress from Zendaya’s own line, Boohoo seems to have the orange midi dress market completely cornered. And that means ultra-affordable dresses for you and me.
Orange Midi Dresses: Boohoo Plus Ava Strappy Midi Wrap Dress, $18 | Boohoo Kimono Sleeve Pleated Midi Dress, $23 | DAYA by Zendaya Satin Slipdress, $20 | Boohoo Inna Strappy Wrap Midi Dress, $18 | Missguided Orange Racer Neck Midi Dress, $17
Wide Metal Chokers: Lydell NYC Layered Ball-Chain Choker,
$60 $50 | Noir Abella Glass Crystal Choker, $168 $39.99 | Lydell NYC Rectangular Crystal Choker, $60 $20 | Jenny Packham Crystal Chain Ribbon Choker, $88 $39.97
Grey Suede Boots: LAUREN Ralph Lauren Pashia Boots,
$139 $62.99 | F21 Over the Knee Suede Boots, $44.90 | Target Journee Heeled Boots, $64.99 | Target Journee Flat OTK Boots, $59.99 | Nine West Marcia Boots, $149.99 $86
Zendaya at BeautyCon 2017
As far as making a statement, this girl never seems to disappoint. Even in a super casual white t-shirt and the perfect bedhead, a pair of wide-leg palazzo pants made from sunshine-yellow satin and a hot pink, velvet satchel do just the right amount of stylish yelling. If you haven’t noticed by now, Zendaya also has a firm grasp on how to use jewelry. This impresses the crap out of me because I would wear the same necklace for like three years straight before considering a change.
Zendaya at a CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund Tea Party 2017
This outfit had my jaw on the floor within seconds. First of all, those pants are unreal, and it’s no surprise that I couldn’t find anything remotely close to an affordable dupe because those colors with that metallic sheen are truly one of a kind. Secondly, the extreme high waist mixed with the billowing chiffon top is a perfect mix of structural and floofy. (Structural fashion mixed with floofy fashion is one of my favorite combinations.)
Also, honorable mention goes to those – big shock – pointy-toed pumps. They’re suede again, but this time, they’re a deep, murky teal color which… isn’t… anywhere else in her outfit. See why I’m spending all of this time obsessing? Girl has taste!
Plaid Skinny Pants: ModCloth Slow & Edgy Wins the Race Pants, $49.99 | Target Plus Size Skinny Cropped Pants, $32.99 | Banana Republic Sloan Skinny Plaid Pants,
$98 $65.99 | Maison Jules Plaid Pull-On Pants, $59.50 $35.99
Zendaya in a Casually Badass Outfit (via Instagram)
This is the power of Zendaya. I pulled this photo straight from her Instagram and, try as I might, I can’t find the event where this photo was taken. It’s likely because… she wasn’t at one. This is just how she looks, and it makes me want to step up my grocery store game 500%.
A basic, cropped moto jacket, some comfy, light-wash jeans and a graphic t-shirt depicting one of the most influential, legendary, talented women that ever existed: Nina Simone. Nina shaped my entire world of music, introduced me to jazz, and taught me to prioritize my intelligence and take no shit. When I saw this on Zendaya, I instantly became a Daya fangirl.
If you want to copy this basic-but-amazing look, what you should really do is buy this shirt for $32 from Melanin Clothing. It’s the exact same shirt, it’s perfect in every way, and this indie business deserves your support.
Cropped Moto Jacket: BlankNYC Faux Leather Cropped Moto Jacket,
$128 $76.80 | Express Puff Sleeve Faux Leather Jacket, $128 $76.80 | Brave Soul Plus Biker Jacket, $98 $64 | Lysse Plus Belfast Biker Jacket, $158 $81
What do you think of Zendaya’s style? Which outfit is your favorite, and which would you recreate?