First and foremost I want to thank everyone on Instagram who helped make this such a WILDLY comprehensive gift guide for every Gen Z and (older Gen Alphas) on each of our lists! The suggestions ranged from things I predicted to pieces I am still laughing about because they gave me BIG 2002 flashbacks. But that’s the thing, right? No matter what, in about 20-30 years things always come back around making your childhood “vintage”. Ha. But since getting these suggestions, I’ve been observing “youths” in the wild and let’s just say this list is SPOT ON. I also want to say that while there will be a couple of categories that are gendered, what I love so freaking much about these generations is that more than ever they are throwing gender rules out the window – whether it’s clothes, accessories, or hobbies! This is all to say that you know your “youth” best and every category on this list is meant for everyone. So throw on your oversized sweatshirt and your butterfly hair clips, cuz baby, this is the only teenage/Gen Z guide you’re going to need.
I think it’s safe to say that music is important to everyone but it’s especially a lifeline when you’re in high school/college. That means you are going to need some headphones. Now Airpods are still on the youths’ wishlists, but more and more they want “over the ear” headphones. Of course, these are way cooler than the ones of the early 00s because they are noise canceling, wireless, AND have built-in microphones for phone calls. All three of these picks above were mentioned over and over so I think they are safe bets and go in order of most affordable to most expensive. Any of these would be an incredible “big gift.”
This suggestion was no surprise to me but a great reminder. I have seen countless TikTok videos of people simply wearing massive oversized sweatshirts or talking about them. So if your person loves an oversized sweatshirt these are all great! But remember to GO BIG. These are all meant to be oversized but maybe go a little bigger than their traditional size. They want to nearly be swimming in them.
Now the look is either crisp and new or kind of random and vintage (like #1). This also means if you don’t find any online you like feel free to go to your local vintage shop! The only risk you take is if they want to return it, it’s a little harder.
And why stop at oversized sweatshirts when you can also have oversized sweatpants? Now, these don’t need to be as oversized as the tops. Just large enough to be loose and comfortable. The three above are perfect for exactly that. In general, classic brands like Nike, Adidas, Russell Athletic, Champion, etc. are all very cool and safe bets when you are searching.
But of course, not everyone wants a loose fit. In fact, the flare legging is VERY IN and #1 was specially requested by Mallory’s BF’s younger sister. Actually, she made a whole PowerPoint of gifts she wanted to give to her family. Not only was it incredible to look at but also VERY helpful for this post:)
Sneakers were suggested over and over and over. So this would be a great gift. One very cool option is to get them Vans or Nikes they can customize! That way it’s unique to them and you don’t have to worry about picking the wrong shoe. But if you want to get them a cool shoe, a Nike Hightop or the Adidas Samba sneaker are solid picks. Sambas are still VERY MUCH the “it” shoe and come in a few different colors.
I was kinda surprised that Popsockets were still such a hot item but they were suggested a ton! There are ENDLESS options to choose from but since “Millennial fashion” is so hot at the moment, these three seemed perfect. Did anyone else draw endless Ying and Yang symbols and collect those alien head stickers in 1999???
Phone charms were another big suggestion. I mean why stop at a phone case and Popsocket?? Let’s get some charms on these phones! Well, they are meant for your wrists so actually it’s a functional gift that happens to be very cute. These are all fun and trendy if you ask me:)
But what good is a phone if it’s cute but dead?? A handful of people recommended a portable phone charger which is a pretty great idea. These are all slim which is great and all are HIGHLY rated (#2 even has some more metallic color options).
These two water bottles were mentioned A LOT. I think by now we know the wonders of the Stanley Quencher (it comes in sooo many colors and sizes too) but apparently, the Owala FreeSip is the next “it” bottle. Who knew? Now we do:) It also comes in a bunch of different colors.
These babies want beanies, y’all. You can’t miss with a Carhartt beanie (or jacket for that matter). But it’s a cool and standard beanie that has a bunch of color options. But having a classic sports team on your beanie like the Dodgers or Yankees is also pretty cool. And then you have Nike which might be the most classic. Who wouldn’t be pumped to get a Nike beanie, right? You have 10 colors to choose from!
This suggestion made me laugh a little but hey, these kids should be able to express themselves however they want! And if a fuzzy bucket hat is the cool hat of their time then they should wear it:) Plus TBH it’s probably really comfortable. Also, these are from Lululemon and Princess Polly which are two places the cool kids love.
Another suggestion I knew was coming! Even Em’s little kids had asked for colorful LED lights for their rooms at one point. I mean it’s fun and weird and cool and looks great when you are making videos. Each of these is a little different. I’m most familiar with the LED light strips but the corner light is cool and avoids any potential wall damage. But that little astronautgalaxy projector is the coolest in my opinion:)
Mini fridges were another surprise suggestion! I guess since kids these days have computers or phones they are asking for mini fridges rather than TVs or a landline. Honestly, the idea of having some cold drinks in your room for when you are doing homework late or have friends over is pretty cool. I’m in.
One of my favorite topics…jewelry! The Tennis necklace trend took me by surprise but I really like it. I like it even more when said necklace costs under $70. But let’s talk color. I found this colorful yet delicate necklace on Princess Polly so I feel confident it’s a slam dunk with the teens. But so is this beaded strawberry necklace from Etsy. Beaded jewelry is also super popular.
Hoop earrings were specifically called out when we asked so here are a few great options! The teardrop style is very cool right now so this set is great for more than one option. The same goes for this silver set. Cool, small, but bold. However, a classic gold chunky hoop is a staple in anyone’s collection. If they don’t have them then it’s a perfect gift.
Hmm, all this great jewelry with nowhere to properly put it. Jewelry organizers were kind of a surprise suggestion that probably shouldn’t have been. It’s the kind of thing you always think about getting but never do…just me?? Well, show your person the glory of having your pieces organized with any of these three very cute options!
Bags were, of course, highly suggested. But the younger folk want more of an over-the-shoulder more than a crossbody so it seems (unless it’s a fanny pack:)). So #1 and #3 were on the PowerPoint we borrowed from and #2 was a hot brand that a follower suggested, Stoney Clover Lane. And yes, I know it’s a crossbody:)
So while purses made sense to be highly suggested, I didn’t think weekender or duffle bags would be as big of an ask as they are this year. When these kids go for a sleepover or a short trip they want to do it in style. Who can blame them? All three of these are truly great bags they can have for a loooong time.
What, did you think we’d make it through this list without talking about makeup?? No way. Ok, so this Danessa Myricks Multichrome Gel for Eyes and Face is SO cool and was specifically called out as a great gift. They have a ton of other colors and the product is incredible. But, of course, Rare Beauty by the one and only Selena Gomez was a hot rec. I have that blush and it’s so pretty. 10/10 but you can’t go wrong with any of her products.
Since they are younger, it’s nice to set them up with some helpful makeup tools. A brush set is so great to have and makes playing around a lot easier. Then you can’t ever go wrong with sponges and this is a perfect set. Lastly, I’ve come to realize the importance of a powder puff so if they love makeup, I know they’d love this if they love makeup.
Ok, so I only put this straightener on her because it was suggested a few times! It’s definitely on the “big gift” side of things but I’m sure they’d have it for a very long time which is great it won’t break after a year or so. Then I was introduced to this hair brush on TikTok and was convinced it was THE brush to use if you want to slick your hair back (which if you’ve noticed, it’s a huge hair trend).
“Millennial hair accessories” were what was suggested so this is what I chose! Those headbands were SO COOL growing up. Mine never had cute flowers so this one is a setup. Now the Barrett set feels a bit more goth and pretty cool. And then instead of actual butterfly clips, I chose these mini pearl cuties since pearls are still very much on-trend.
Poor teens are dealing so a lot of skin stuff so that was another popular suggestion. Hailey Bieber’s Rhode line was mentioned A LOT. I’m sure it has nothing to do with wanting the same skin as Hailey’s:) But it also has good reviews so it sounds like a great gift. A skincare brand I hadn’t heard of but was recommended a bunch is Bubble Skincare. They have a bunch of sets but the Rise & Shine Set seems like a good place to start. All the kids want it! Last but not least is the Brazilian Bum Bum Jet Set. I mean it smells incredible. Who wouldn’t want it??
Beauty fridges are a real thing so if your person is a skincare LOVER then a beauty fridge wouldn’t be sick! Oh, and that Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask was asked for over and over again. It’s good.
Teens (and adults) get pimples! Since they are an inevitable evil why not make your face incredibly fun?? Cute pimple patches were a real request and a good one at that!
I wish all skincare and haircare marketing were targeted at everyone but we all know that’s not the case. So here are some truly great options to help your maybe stinky child get clean and look sharp. JB Skrub was created by two boy moms (one being Modern Family’s Julie Bowen) who wanted to help their teen boys with their hygiene. It’s fun and sustainable making this set a great gift! Speaking of smelling good let’s move onto hair. Normally, I wouldn’t promote a 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner but for your average teenage boy, the fewer steps the better. Plus Method’s products are awesome. But if your “youth” wants to spend a bit more time on their hair then go for this great Grooming Short List Kit.
Man oh man do I love a manicure and here are two options for CUTE press-on nails that aren’t too long and a great gel nail polish kit!
I also used to LOVE nail stickers when I was little and am happy they are back! But this time, they are muuuuch cooler. Look at these options above!
I don’t think I need to explain this one too much. Merch is BIG right now and the biggest might be for Miss Taylor Swift herself. I love the Eras tour poster collage A LOT because it’s a little DIY, the hoodie sweatshirt is epic and from the official site, obviously, and the 1989 (Taylor’s Version) album is the most recent to drop. Any of these would be a great gift for a Taylor fan:)
I was a little surprised by these next too! Who knew Friends was making such a comeback?! I guess people are in the know with the cool kids. I think all of these are great Friends gifts.
I didn’t realize how big the resurgence of Harry Potter was until I was a little girl with a backpack COVERED in Harry Potter patches. So that’s where I started with these patches. Then to be a fan AND want to be cozy, I thought this Hedwig Plush Head Throw Blanket was pretty cute, no? And what’s Harry Potter merch without a little magic (or batteries)? These light-up floating candles are an HP fan’s dream.
LOTS of requests for record players. I think since they are for younger people, playing with color and pattern like #2 and #3 is awesome. But if you have a kid that loves true-looking vintage things then #1 is ideal.
Yep, the kids want old-school digital cameras! Teens seem to want to go back to older technology since what we have now is so intense. I fully support this! I also support them wanting a Polaroid camera.
The teens like to game so why not make it more fun with this follower’s suggestions of a Driving Force Racing Wheel and pedals. It looks SO COOL and works with a bunch of different systems. But if they are just starting out, a Nintendo Switch is extremely fun and they will love it!
While gaming is great, there were awesome non-screentime suggestions. I think this 3D Printing Pen is so fun and silly but stimulates their creative mind! Skateboarding wouldn’t take them outside which is even better and this board is meant for beginners. But maybe cooking is more up their alley! This boba kit (that was recommended) Looks easy and really fun.
The cool thing about social media is that it opens peoples’ minds to the possibility of what they can do…like making dope clothes! Both of these machines are great for beginners. Love this reader’s suggestion.
Maybe it was lockdown, maybe it was always this way, or maybe these teens just know how to be cozy! #1 looks like a cool house shoe that will never let your toes get cold. The UGGS are so cute! Also warm but so soft. Then I love the pink ones (they come in other colors) because they have a zipper on top for some money, a single key, a credit card, you name it. Cute and practical!
More cozy stuff! Bean bags are definitely back and this brand was recommended. Lots of colors and affordable! Now tell me that blanket doesn’t look like heaven? You can’t and it also looks cool. V important:) Then for the socks, they just look cool and retro. This brand was also recommended and they have a ton of other styles and colors. I just love this one:)
Most of these are straight from the Gen Zers mouth (Mallory’s BF’s younger sister)! Now, I do have to say I really like that moto jacket and think it’s a piece they could have for a very long time. The long coat on the other hand is just pure fun! The cuffs are incredible. But man, that off-the-shoulder sweater is giving millennial SO HARD. But hey it’s pretty and comes in other colors. I’m sure they’d love it!!
These tops are very cute and actually look soft and comfortable! Recs for our Gen Z sister:) Oh, Skims is for sure a hot store to buy from. Trust that you will look cool giving something from there. But the icing on the cake are those shoes. I used to have a pair, my mom had a pair, and I never thought I’d see them again. Well, the joke’s on me cause they are cool again.
Last but never least are gift cards. Do they feel the most personal? No. But they are so great and the person can then get whatever they want. I do love the idea that was given a couple of times to buy a cameo of the person’s favorite TikTok star, actor, or athlete! So fun and thoughtful. Or a chance to go to a concert or show is so special! But letting them choose when and where is ideal hence the Ticketmaster gift card. And finally, teens and a little older LOVE LOVE YouTube. So if they don’t already have YouTube Premium this would be a killer gift.
Thanks for reading! Hope it helped and again, thank you to everyone who contributed! Good luck, y’all:)
Opening Image Credit: Photo by Veronica Crawford | From: When You Think You Can’t Pull Off Certain Trends And Then Maybe You Can? We Test Some ‘Best Sellers’
THIS POST WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED HERE.