Sunday night’s Teen Choice Awards, aside from provoking An Old to do a quick Google search every seven minutes to identify some YouTube boy or Nickelodeon cutie, were as humane as they were tame: even the most awkward jokes and presentations were tolerable at a time limit of two hours.

During it, many teens and not-so-teens wore lovely and Teen Choice Awards-appropriate outfits, the pinnacle being Empire’s Gabourey Sidibe, above, making a surprise appearance in mermaid sequins during Jussie Smollett and Yazz’s performance of “You’re So Beautiful.” (Her eyeshadow matches the gown!) Other small triumphs occurred as well, so let’s delve into the arcane and mysterious world of the under-20 mall set.

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Here is newly christened YA-novel-adaptation alumni Chloe Grace Moretz in a perfect look from Gucci, a teen-whimsical snake and tulle skirt giving a coven vibe that any secret witch would covet. On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, is Lea Michele ever not wearing Monique Lhullier and/or looking like a very prudent teacup?

Rita Ora’s done the formal suit many times before—this slick one’s by Max Mara—and looks very adult, but not as adult as Black-ish’s Yara Shahidi, who is still 15 but somehow became a young adult overnight, and is stunning in Rubin Singer.

I love nothing more than a summer short set; Sarah Hyland does it formally well in butter yellow Christian Siriano, though there is something vaguely wedding about it. Dance Moms’s Mackenzie Ziegler wore a perfect lightly-contrasting top and skirt, while The Fosters’s Maia Mitchell went crisp-white in, again, a shortset, by Giambattista Valli. It is my favorite. Rowan Blanchard, of Disney’s Girl Meets World and also in Valli (does ABC/Disney have a hook-up over there, or?) is perfect in slip-on Vans, so she can run around this thing (or run away, should the situation require it).

Bethany Mota, who is covering the September issue of Latina, is doing all right with this YouTube thing; while I’m not crazy about the dress as a whole, the simplicity of it was the right call. Chloe Lukasiak, beleaguered former Dance Moms youth and current Teen Choice for Best Dancer (beating Maddie Ziegler, SHOCKING!), looks very mermaid-esque in a cute circle skirt and Donna-on-90210 cami top. Nina Dobrev’s Zuhair Murad sequined bandage dress is not proportionally working for me—it looks very much like someone else chose it, and for night—but Victoria Justice’s fringed party dress is perfect in its chill zone of fun.

YouTuber Amanda Steele is in a fall state of mind in a leather bralette and tweed (I think) sailor pants; cute, very muted TLC-at-the-office. Asia Monet Ray, on the other hand, is a sweet garden party and as late-summer as can be in chiffon, while Bella Thorne and Mae Whitman split the difference in Balmain and Novis, respectively.

Dance Moms break:

How Sway!

Disney actor Chelsea Kane is confusing me a bit; on one hand, I appreciate the loose structural aspirations of her top and sleek pants, going for something a little more avant-garde; on the other, I feel it is a table napkin at a high-end restaurant? Maybe that is the point. Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi, on their anniversary, contrasted pants; one wonders if they phoned up Peyton List, gave her the memo. At right, it is she, the slay teen Zendaya, slaying; as avant-garde looks go, the UFO structure of her Ashi Studio top is more definitive in its end game, while the sleek high-slit skirt balances it out.

These were the best-dressed quartets of the evening. To the left, Hey Violet, Los Angeles teens in cutie pop punk looks; the to right, Little Mix, London not-teens, vamping hard.

Here are lessons in dressing semi-up, but not too up: Gina Rodriguez in a pretty detailed Alberta Feretti; Keke Palmer in a Giulietta dress and tattoo choker that’s giving us ‘90s Angela Bassett to the T; Emma Roberts, businesslike in Peter Pilotto; Jordin Sparks, looking like the most comfortable woman at the party in Karen Millen.

Today’s Razzies go to: Abby Lee Miller, who actually looks fine but every time I look at her face I see her saying mean shit to Chloe or Nia or Jojo or anyone who is not Maddie Ziegler. Britney looks fantastic theoretically—gorgeous, healthy—but the doll-like empire waistline on that high-low frock is just odd with its cleavage shots, and makes her seem like she could topple over. Josh Peck, of Drake & Josh and horrible movie I hate to love The Wackness, made way too many dad jokes over the course of two hours and couldn’t nail his timing, but looked nice though.

Dudes were there! Yazz looked super sharp in his graphic Moschino jacket and contrasting red sneakers, while Austin Mahone has clearly been studying rappers for fit-and-drape inspiration, and coming up 2013 Kanye in all ways. John Stamos is the platonic ideal of John Stamos. Wiz Khalifa and son Sebastian win the Adult’s Choice Award for cutest couple in the universe, which was awarded via popular vote tallied via landline.


Contact the author at julianne@jezebel.com.