The Best of the Worst Teenage Dirtbags
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The Best of the Worst Teenage Dirtbags

by Kenna McCafferty

If you wore neon laces in your Converse and shutter shades to the club, you get it. If you didn’t, you don’t.

The newest TikTok "Teenage Dirtbag" trend is for the grimiest, sleaziest, dirtiest dirtbags of the early 2010s. Set to the 2000 Wheatus song, "Teenage Dirtbag," TikTokers have been sharing throwbacks of themselves in the early 2010s in a blood-thirsty battle to see who can claim the crown of ultimate teenage dirtbag. (The actual teenage dirtbag crown is actually just a snapback worn sideways.)

The essence of the teenage dirtbag is akin to that of indie sleaze. Best characterized through grainy, over-edited photos of teens engaging in compromising activities and wearing even more compromising outfits, the teenage dirtbag trend showcases the best of the worst.

Some jealous Gen-Zers have also hopped on the trend to recreate the "teenage dirtbag" aesthetic, to which we say, leave it to the experts.

The trend has also granted us some of the best celebrity throwbacks. Though we’re not the indie sleaze experts (we’ll leave that to Meg Superstar Princess and Cobra Snake), here are our bids for the teenage dirtbag title.

Andrew Yang

@officialandrewyang Here to contribute vintage Yang content #teenagedirtbag ♬ teenage dirtbag. wheetus - jj

We try not to get too political on here, but the duster? The shaggy bang? The clear product placement of his forthcoming book, FORWARD? He won’t be taking home the title for this (and we won’t be taking home $1,000 a month), but it was worth a mention.

You weren’t there! Lil Miquela may have only stepped on the scene in 2016 (well after the height of the teenage dirtbag aesthetic), but she pulled a look out regardless. And for that, we are grateful.

Wholesome content, horrendous haircuts, taking his brother Kevin down with him. Joe Jonas' contributions to teenage dirtbag society are well documented. If you need us, we’ll be bingeing the Camp Rock franchise.

Chloe Cherry


I did like this song though lol

♬ teenage dirtbag. wheetus - jj

A late bloomer, Chloe Cherry may be living her teenage dirtbag dream at 24, but her adolescence was all things sunshine and dip-dye.

This Girl

@rightupyourallly The time period between 2006 and 2012 was weird #indiesleaze #sidebang #oldmillenial #teenagedirtbag #fyp ♬ teenage dirtbag. wheetus - jj

Who is she? How can we become more like her?

Charli XCX knew exactly what she was doing. The smeared panda makeup, the disaffected zombie eyes and the pink wig... was Charli a Barb? This throwback drop has lots to unpack and even more to cherish.

She hasn't yet hopped on this trend, but if she did, we know it would be mind blowing. I mean, look at the material. We unofficially crown Zendaya queen of a trend she did not even participate in. Her power!

Photos via TikTok