Elle Fanning

Age-appropriate dressing seems to be a terribly tricky concept for most Hollywood residents to grasp. You have teenage starlets who want very adult wardrobes and grown-up actresses trying to pass for college kids: it's confusing, to put it mildly. But occasionally we come across someone who embraces the correct look for her years flawlessly, like this month's Style Spotlight subject, Elle Fanning. Though technically still a 'tween--she turns 13 this April--Fanning consistently steps out in modestly girly ensembles and youthful accessories that are not only fashionable, they're also spot-on selections for any young woman. If only our adolescence had looked this chic...!

One of the things we appreciate about the Somewhere star's sensibilities is that she seems to know what she likes and sticks to it. Overall that means lots of full-skirted dresses--trapeze, baby-doll, a-line--typically worn with interesting textural accents, mary-jane shoes, and extremely minimal, if any, jewellery. For more casual or daytime events, Fanning will also add some visual intrigue via a cool pair of knee socks, as she did during the Venice Film Festival when she paired a plaid Pendleton Meets Opening Ceremony Baby Doll Dress ($755) with Dr. Martens Vintage 1461 Shoes ($180) in Oxblood and matching lace-trim socks (top row, far left). Later in the festival, Fanning was spotted in knee socks again, this time at a portrait session promoting Somewhere (bottom row, middle). That day she went for thick-knit knee socks in a pale neutral hue styled with a plaid Dear Creatures blouse, flared khaki skirt from the Argentinean line Eufemia, and a pair of Barneys Co-Op lace-up ankle boots. Fanning's fondness for knit or woven accents isn't simply limited to her hosiery though, oh no! She skipped the socks at a screening of Somewhere in New York this past December, instead incorporating a knit piece via her mustard cardigan (top row, right). As for the rest of her ensemble, Fanning picked a swingy white Opening Ceremony shirtdress and Dr. Martens Marlena Mary Janes ($120) in Dark Brown Polished Laredo for one sweetly polished look.

Fanning's selections for dressier events are as equally on point as her more relaxed picks. Always loyal to her signature silhouette and fondness for textures, over the past few months the actress has been hitting the red carpet in stellar picks from standout designers. For example, at the LA premiere of Somewhere, Fanning opted for a stunning tan suede and gold leather embossed Rodarte dress from the S/S 11 collection, sheer white Rodarte socks, and a pair of metallic gold Nicholas Kirkwood for Rodarte wedge heels (far right). The frock stays true to Fanning's modest sensibilities--its high neckline offsets the shorter hemline--while the addition of socks and chunky shoes is in perfect keeping with her youthful footwear preferences. Aside from the Rodarte dress, Fanning tends to favour more overtly feminine dresses, like the cream, printed organza Valentino A-Line Dress with Grosgrain Band ($4990, 212.772.6969) from the Resort 11 collection she picked for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Governors Awards in November (top row, center). We also noticed her fondness for delicate dresses at the Venice premiere of Somewhere, when Fanning selected an embroidered Marc Jacobs Mint Sky Strapless Dress ($3200, 212.343.1490), styled with a metallic pair of Marc Jacobs Mary Jane Pumps ($775) and a simply ponytail (bottom row, right). While we love these gorgeous dresses, we also adore it when she wears something a little less ornate, like the black long-sleeve Valentino Haute Couture dress Fanning selected for a New York screening. Again, the full and swingy silhouette is perfect on her, and the small details--Heidi braids and sparkly Valentino bow shoes--really solidify this standout look.

If you, too, are impressed by Fanning's fashionable selections, we have a few suggestions for your shopping pleasure. If you're fond of her more casual looks, don't miss J. Crew's Plaid Sundrine Flannel Shirtdress ($128), which has a more streamlined silhouette than Fanning's Pendleton Meets Opening Ceremony dress and is a very cute option indeed. If a plaid dress isn't for you, follow in Fanning's footsteps and tuck a plaid top, like Rails' Kendra Plaid Button Down Shirt ($98), into a cute khaki skirt, like See by Chloe's Mini Skirt ($149). Of course, if you simply want to accessorize a la Fanning, we suggest picking up Nasty Gal's Crochet Away Thigh Highs ($18), or pair Urban Outfitters' Open Stitch with Rib Knit Cuff Over the Knee Socks ($14) with Boutique 9's Iliana Ankle Boots ($200) for another inspired look.

Prefer to emulate one of our Style Spotlight star's fancier ensembles? Remember that a swingy silhouette is the key to getting Fanning's style, so search for feminine dresses with swirly skirts. Calvin Klein's Petal Applique Strapless Taffeta Dress ($178) has lots of delicate details, which makes it very much in keeping with Fanning's girly red carpet picks. (And you could add a black bow belt such as Fossil's Bow Skinny Belt ($28) to make it even more like Fanning's look.) Additionally, you might like BCBGMaxAzria's Strong Shoulder Dress ($218) or Poltock & Walsh for ASOS' Swing Dress ($276), both of which have a similar look to the gorgeous black Valentino dress Fanning picked for a recent screening. Pair either option with neutral bow-bedecked heels like Badgley Mischka's Keeper Pumps ($200) or Valentino's Bow-Embellished Patent Leather Pumps ($745) in Taupe to finish your outfit. Looking for a fun frock with a pleated skirt similar to the Rodarte option Fanning picked? Our suggestion is to seek out a dress with a box pleat skirt, ideally in a neutral colour. While we love the gold hues in the original look, we found a couple more practical options for you: Markus Lupfer's Tweed Dress ($379) is an excellent black and white style or you could opt for Juicy's Pleated Mini Dress ($198) in basic black instead. Finally, you should check out BB Dakota's Star Lake Dress ($95), which has the same silhouette and comes in a dark and dreamy floral print. Whatever pieces you pick, just make sure you finish your outfit with a simple beauty look for a true ode to Fanning's fresh-faced style!

Photos, courtesy of Getty, Splash, and INF