The Stunning Transformation Of Millie Bobby Brown

Most teenagers go through a painfully awkward phase filled with neon-colored braces and poorly applied eyeliner, but Millie Bobby Brown isn't your average teen. The star rose to fame for her captivating portrayal of Eleven in Netflix's hit "Stranger Things." Coincidentally, she was 11 years old when she auditioned for the part.

Brown has since put down the Eggo waffles, grown out the buzz cut, and hightailed it to the hottest luxury designers in Hollywood. She's been hailed as an "icon for her generation" by W Magazine, brushed elbows with Vogue mastermind Anna Wintour, and landed modeling campaigns with brands such as Calvin Klein and Moncler. Seriously, what teenager receives shout outs from the likes of Marc Jacobs on her birthday?

Since celebrating her 14th birthday back in February 2018, Brown has adopted a more mature style filled with slicked back hair, pant suits, and whimsical dresses. She's even broken some of her own fashion rules. Not to mention, Brown has skated straight past that awkward phase and graduated into a sophisticated young adult. Let's take a closer look at Millie Bobby Brown's stunning transformation.

Millie Bobby Brown: Becoming Eleven

Most of us know Eleven by her buzz cut and affinity for Eggo waffles, but Millie Bobby Brown wasn't always the bald-headed runaway we first fell in love with on "Stranger Things." Before her breakout role, the actor appeared in the TV series "Intruders," "Modern Family," and "Grey's Anatomy" with long, brunette hair past her shoulders. Shaving her head was a bold move for the young star, but with a little bit of courage from action hero Charlize Theron, she put her locks on the chopping block.

In a since-deleted Instagram post, Brown described shaving her head as "the most empowering moment of my whole life," adding, "The last strand of hair cut off was the moment my whole face was on show, and I couldn't hide behind my hair like I used to. The only image I had in my head about what I could possibly look like is Charlize Theron in Madmax [sic]."

According to Entertainment Weekly, Brown's father ran away with tears in his eyes during the actual haircut (très dramatic). The whole thing took about 10 minutes.

At odds with her inner tomboy

After shaving her hair into a closely cropped buzz cut, Millie Bobby Brown adopted a short pixie for her first round of "Stranger Things"-related press. During this time, she offset the androgynous nature of her hairstyle with frilly, floral dresses and kitten heels, like the age-appropriate Burberry dress (pictured) that she donned at the BAFTA LA Emmy Awards Tea Party in 2016.

Apparently, these types of dresses weren't a first choice for Brown, who considered herself somewhat of a tomboy. Like many tweens who'd rather walk around in a Pikachu onesie (which she told Vogue in 2016 she had worn to a recent dinner), her mother chose her red carpet looks and forced her to dress up for the cameras (Mom knows best!). "I'm not a girly girl. I love wearing this stuff, but if it was my choice, I'd come in in my tracksuit," Brown told Vogue. "But my mum's like, 'No, you put this on, you put that on...'"

The catch-22 of hating shopping but loving fashion

Fashion may love Millie Bobby Brown, but she doesn't love it — at least if it requires shopping, the latter of which the then-12-year-old star admitted she disliked to Vogue in 2016. Around this time, Brown was already a budding style icon. Her quirky taste was characterized by mismatched colors and patterns and landed her a front row seat alongside "Stranger Things" co-star Winona Ryder at Coach's New York Fashion Week show.

Just because she's not fond of shopping, doesn't mean she was lacking an affinity for the high-end. Brown told Vogue that her favorite brands at the time were Burberry, Stella McCartney, and Coach. She also hopped on the Eurostar to Paris to meet with Nicolas Ghesquière, Louis Vuitton's creative director, shortly after that interview. She later appeared in one of his Instagram posts wearing a fuzzy, millennial pink jacket and looking impossibly cool.

Millie Bobby Brown also likes to keep it casual

When Millie Bobby Brown's not walking the red carpet, her style is actually quite casual. It's hard to remember that she's a teenage girl, but she flaunted her casual digs in a 2016 appearance for AOL's Build Series. The starlet donned a classic white tee and relaxed overalls for the Q&A — which could be described as nothing short of cute as a button.

Brown's denim outfit was a far cry from the feminine dresses that populated most of her red carpet looks prior to the event, and it seemed more reflective of her actual style at the time. Had she finally taken the reins from her mother? By the following year, the star's affinity for casual clothing hadn't changed all that much and was highlighted in a 2017 Teen Vogue interview. Brown graced the cover of the September "Icons" issue. "I've never been one of those girls who dresses provocatively. It's just not me. I keep it as appropriate as possible. I wear tons of shorts and sneakers," she told the fashion mag, adding, "I'm like, 'Uh, no' if something is itchy or not comfortable."

It's all about feeling confident for this actor

We're all familiar with Eleven's really obvious wig from Season 1 of "Stranger Things." (It was a pretty huge Halloween costume back in 2016 and 2017.) Millie Bobby Brown's mother actually considered a similar, fake-haired fate for the actor herself, but she wasn't having any of it.

In 2017, Brown told "This Morning" (via the Daily Mail) that her mom didn't like her buzz cut and asked her to "put some wigs on." Though the young star adored her short hair, she admitted to W Magazine the following year that people sometimes thought she was sick or made nasty remarks. She managed to grow a thick skin before she grew out her locks. "It was hurtful, but their attitude taught me something about compassion," Brown said. "In the end, being bald was the best thing I ever did — being different changed my life. I wanted to embrace my baldness and, hopefully, inspire people. And, now, that's become my message to the world."

Brown, who told Teen Vogue that she felt all the more confident rocking the short hair 'do, kept the look all the way up until "Stranger Things" Season 2. She played with braids, slicked-back styles, and clips while it was growing out.

Millie Bobby Brown's model behavior

If Millie Bobby Brown wasn't already a fashion icon, landing a Calvin Klein ad pretty much sealed the deal. In January 2017, the luxury brand joined the rest of us in the Upside Down when Brown announced she'd been tapped for a modeling campaign for Calvin Klein by Appointment, a collection designed by the brand's chief creative officer, Raf Simons.

About a month later, Teen Vogue reported that the "Stranger Things" star signed to IMG Models, which represents Karlie Kloss and the Hadid sisters. She later appeared alongside Paris Jackson and Lulu Tenney in the brand's on-going #MyCalvins campaign. (You know, the one that made everyone suspect Kylie Jenner was hiding her pregnancy.)

By early 2017, Brown had pretty much kicked her affinity for juvenile fashion. Her look was notably mature and effortlessly chic to match her new career as a model. What do you expect from a teenager who regularly sits front row at Calvin Klein shows and bumps elbows with fashion legend Anna Wintour?

The Stranger Things star was the princess of the Emmys

In 2017, Millie Bobby Brown was nominated for an Emmy and decided to step onto the red carpet in a whimsical, ballerina-inspired strapless gown by Calvin Klein. The stunning tulle creation played up her penchant for wearing whimsical princess dresses during awards shows and galas. She wore a similar gown for her "Stranger Things" red carpet debut and again at the "Time 100" gala in 2018.

According to Teen Vogue, Brown took a hands-on approach to designing her Emmy dress and worked with Calvin Klein to craft a look that was feminine, edgy, and dramatic — all the best parts of Brown's style. The star's gown landed her on numerous best-dressed lists and was praised by fans on social media, but most importantly, she could still cut a rug.

"I like to dress my age, so I always gravitate to things that are sophisticated but not stuffy or too serious," she told the teen fashion magazine of her Emmy's look. "Comfort is also key for me. Nothing that will slow me down on the dance floor."

Millie Bobby Brown played up Eleven's edge

We're not sure what was more shocking: the fact that Barb was finally vaguely vindicated in Season 2 of "Stranger Things" or the fact that Millie Bobby Brown finally had long hair at that season's premiere. Up until this point, the actor had been defined by her pixie cut, so she shocked audiences everywhere when she debuted longer locks and an edgier look on the red carpet. Also, she was wearing leather! Where was Brown's awkward teenage phase? Where was the frosted lip gloss? The chunky highlights?

According to People, Brown opted to use extensions to lengthen her stylish lob, though after seeing the star repeatedly in the press after the Season 2 premiere, it seemed like her hair just grew faster than a baby Demogorgon. Brown's new look mimicked Eleven's on-screen bad gal transformation, and the star even admitted she got swept away in her character's rebellious, angsty attitude.

"I went through a stage, like at least three episodes, where I would just wear black sweaters with beanies, black nail polish. I was going through goth and it was bad," she told Vogue Australia. Fortunately, this look is so, so good.

The actor made her fashion political

In March 2018, Eleven went political. USA Today reported that the Kids' Choice Awards occurred on the same day as the March for Our Lives demonstrations. Millie Bobby Brown opted to honor victims of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida at the ceremony with a custom Calvin Klein denim-on-denim outfit. The back of the button-up top listed the names of the 17 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students and faculty who lost their lives to gun violence. The words "never again" were emblazoned on the front.

Brown took home the award for favorite TV actress and spoke about March for Our Lives while claiming her orange blimp. "As we saw a moment ago, the March For our Lives demonstrations that took place all over the world today have inspired me, and impacted us all in one way or another," she said, thanking "Stranger Things" for giving her a platform that she could use to advocate for those less fortunate. " ... I'm privileged to have a voice that can be heard, one that I can hopefully use to make a positive difference and help influence change."

She's grateful, she's empathetic, and she can pull off a Canadian tuxedo. What can't Millie Bobby Brown do?

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Millie Bobby Brown: From child star to boss lady

Dress for the job you want — not the job you have. That's exactly the mindset Millie Bobby Brown adopted in 2018. The star's style went from t-shirts and frilly dresses to blazers and sleek trousers, leaving her looking like a total boss (because she is one!). The teenager donned a mature black pant suit and bold yellow heels for a "Stranger Things" panel ahead of her upcoming production role.

According to the Evening Standard, little Eleven busted out of the Upside Down and became Hollywood's youngest producer at the age of 13. The star signed onto a new film franchise based on Nancy Springer's young adult mystery novels, "The Enola Holmes Mysteries." The first movie, based on "The Case of the Missing Marquess," saw Brown star as Sherlock Holmes' younger sister and also produce under her own production company, PCMA Productions.

How many 13-year-old kids have their own production companies and rock pant suits? Just sayin'.

She has broken her own fashion rules

Millie Bobby Brown has a sense of style that rivals most adults. What other teenager has regularly rocked Louis Vuitton like it's Forever 21? Regardless, while she only started wearing some crop tops in 2017, the young star was initially against the idea all together. "I don't like showing off my skin," she told Variety. "If I'm in a photo shoot and they're like, 'Can you wear a crop top?' I'm like, 'No. No, not yet.' When that day comes I'm going to be, like, 18."

Around this time, then, the world had only seen Brown in a crop top a couple of times. According to Entertainment Weekly, she donned a pink velvet crop beneath a Rodarte satin-and-sequin jacket during a New York City press day that October. She also wore some crops in a couple of since-deleted Instagram posts shared in 2018. When it came to public appearances at this point in her career, the star had mostly stuck to button-ups, blouses, and tees that didn't bare a midriff even when paired with a conservative pair of wide-legged or pleated trousers.

Millie Bobby Brown's bubblegum ballerina look

Millie Bobby Brown has gone through several fashion phases since she burst onto screens at the age of 12. After her goth phase, boss phase, Brown made a shift that emphasized her playful style. You may recall the actor wearing a white strapless ballgown to the 2017 Emmy Awards, which made her look like she'd just stepped out of a fairytale. It was the following year that she stepped out into her strong, black pantsuit; but in 2019, she made another more whimsical entry into her fashion repertoire with the bubblegum pink ballerina dress she wore to the Season 3 premiere for "Stranger Things."

A diversion from the business chic image Brown had been cultivating, the bubblegum punk dress excluded youthfulness — boasting a puffy tulle layer skirt with a fitted corset, which was covered up by layers of ruffles working their way up the middle of the dress and out to her arms. Its off the shoulder style was completed with thin spaghetti straps and a tulle train that fell down from the top of the dress like a cape.

It was more like her 2017 Emmys dress, with a more mature style, and it might also have been a nod to her character, El's iconic pink dress. With its short style and cape, which projected strength, this look helped Brown bridge the gap between her teenage years and young adulthood. And she continued with the princess-style ball gowns at industry events, wearing one at the 2018 Emmys.

The Stranger Things star's blonde hair era

We've established that Millie Bobby Brown likes to make bold fashion moves, particularly at the season premieres for her hit Netflix show "Stranger Things." In May 2022, she debuted another major transformation for the premiere of the show's fourth season. Having turned 18 years old a few months earlier, Brown took the opportunity to mark her adulthood by debuting new blonde locks. She complimented her long wavy hair with full bangs, which fell over her eyebrows. Brown also marked her coming of age with a white Louis Vuitton floor-length dress. It had a sweetheart neckline, thigh-high leg slit, and featured a one-shoulder sheer black strap. Brown completed the ensemble with a pair of chunky black platform heels, plus her then-boyfriend, Jake Bongiovi, on her arm, who matched her with a black suit and white turtleneck — cute!

Brown's blonde 'do became a regular feature on her social media, but she took the opportunity to show off her hair with another elegant style that October when she attended the premiere of "Enola Holmes 2." Having grown out her bangs, Brown wore her curled blonde hair neatly pinned up and completed her look with a v-neck bubblegum pink dress that had three pewter-and-white flowers to create a round neckline.

Although Brown didn't have Miley Cyrus-level transformation, the actor felt as though she was being sexualized more. "[I've seen] a difference between the way people act and the way the press and social media have reacted to me coming of age," she told People.

She debuted a new look for 19

After turning 18 and all the overwhelming things that came with it, as she told People, Millie Bobby Brown seemed to have found her footing again. In fact, age 19 turned out to be a big year for Brown. In April 2023, the actor announced her engagement to her longtime beau, Jake Bongiovi, with a sweet Instagram photo of the couple on the beach that showed off Brown's new jewelry. Alongside it, she quoted a lyric from Taylor Swift's song "Lover," writing, "I've loved you three summers now, honey, I want 'em all."

And just weeks before, Brown shocked fans with another serious hair transformation. She ditched her long blonde locks in favor of her natural brunette color and had her hair chopped into a chic long bob. Her makeup artist, Kelsey Deenihan Fisher, was the first to share a picture of it after doing Brown's makeup for her birthday. Brown's blonde hair might have only been temporary, but her transition into adult style is permanent. Like she said above, she likes to dress her age — so now she's bringing a new level of glam for her late teens and as she enters her early 20s. "The new year looks good on you, @milliebobbybrown," Fisher wrote in the celebratory Instagram post.

Millie Bobby Brown launched her own fashion collection

We are all aware of the fact that Millie Bobby Brown knows how to put an outfit together. But did you know she's something of a fashion designer herself? Brown actually put her sense of style and love of fashion to the test when she co-created her own fashion collection with the German fashion retailer ABOUT YOU. The first collection launched in October 2022, followed by a second installment of spring and summer pieces in April 2023, which were made available throughout Europe.

Brown's focus with the collection was to create clothes that were both comfortable and stylish, and that work for lots of occasions. Gone was the girl who was wary of crop tops. Her collection featured a matching set — knitted checkered bra top and skin-tight shorts. About the co-ord, she said on Instagram, "I initially just wanted to try something sort of casual for loungewear, but you could also dress it up with a fun heel." Emphasizing the versatility of the collection, Brown added: "One of my favorite looks is this two-piece ... with a crochet pant and then the matching crochet cardigan. ... You could go to dinner in it, but you could also throw it over a bikini." 

This wasn't the first time she got to show off her design skills, having previously collaborated with Converse to release a range of shoes, including a pair in her own brand Florence by Mills' signature lavender. Speaking with Seventeen, Brown teased that expanding her beauty line "is so exciting and also ever-evolving," meaning fans could hopefully expect another drop in the fall of 2023.

She had a hand in designing the costumes for Enola Holmes 2

Millie Bobby Brown showcased her range as an actor as the titular fierce and feminist detective in "Enola Holmes." Easily able to best her more famous brother, Sherlock Holmes, the character proved very popular with Netflix viewers, and Brown returned for her second turn as Enola in 2022. Brown's company PCMA Productions produced both features, but the actor took on an extra role in the sequel, as she also had a hand in designing the costumes in collaboration with the movie's costume designer Consolata Boyle.

It was only a matter of time before Brown's love of fashion also extended to the screen. She put a lot of thought into her character's outfits, explaining to Preview, "[For] the ball gown scene, I always knew I wanted it to be a mint green dress [because] pistachio is Enola's favorite color." The pink shirt Enola wears under her dress (pictured above) was also Brown's choice to add some softness and femininity to her character's outfit.

Additionally, Brown made sure Enola's clothing was authentic to the time period of the late 1800s by adding bows, which were becoming the height of social fashion. She didn't just work on Enola's costumes, however; the star also had sartorial input on the outfits for many other characters, including the Matchstick Girls.

Millie Bobby Brown's vintage-inspired date night outfit

We love a celebrity date night — and the outfits that come with them. Now Millie Bobby Brown has joined the ranks of celebs like Zendaya, Rihanna, and Hailey Bieber, who always dress to impress when they spend the night out on the town with their beaus.

In June 2023, Brown turned heads when she spent the evening with her fiancé, Jake Bongiovi, and her parents. For her date night outfit, per People, Brown took a trip back to the '90s in a classic slip dress with an animal print skirt and lace trim detail. The actor styled the dress with her classic brown wavy bob, gold hoop earrings, and wedges for a gorgeous summer look. Like her Louis Vuitton dress at the "Stranger Things" fourth season premiere a year earlier, this was a more serious (though still fun!) grown-up outfit for the star.

But while she's seemingly focused on how her fashion can take her forward in life, Brown has proven it's still possible to take inspiration from the past. In fact, on a few other occasions, she's also experimented with popular hairstyles from the period, so this might not be the last '90s-inspired style we see from Brown.

Her Y2K style is effortlessly chic

Millie Bobby Brown's '90s slip was not her only outfit inspired by the past, as some of her other more casual styles also come from the Y2K era. For example, Brown looked effortlessly chic when she just threw on a patchwork graphic tee and paired it with low-rise pants and her natural smile, as shared on Instagram in May 2023.

With all of Brown's accolades, it's easy to forget that — as of this writing in July 2023 — she's still seven months off her 20th birthday. So, while she likes to dress smartly and seriously when the occasion calls for it, it's fitting that the teenager has featured plenty of youthful and colorful clothes in her wardrobe. She's donned everything from Y2K sandals and bright shimmery eyeshadow to colorful hair gems and butterfly clips. These are pretty minimal effort accessories that have helped to give Brown her effortless look, but they also seemed to really help determine her sense of style. 

Furthermore, this star is happy that other Gen Zers have been using her and Y2K fashion to find their own sense of style, too. "I think about the girls who are going to look at the picture, those young girls that are going to look at me and if they think, 'Wow that's what I should dress up as,'" Brown explained to Harper's Bazaar in 2019. "They are my age, so those are the ones I think of. I want to make sure that I'm influencing being your age and being who you are in that time of your life."

What's next for Millie Bobby Brown?

After starring in her first major motion picture, 2019's "Godzilla: King of the Monsters," and leading the "Enola Holmes" franchise on Netflix, Millie Bobby Brown has been going from TV star to full-fledged Hollywood A-Lister, a transition that's not easy to make.

While we can expect the "Stranger Things" star to continue to be a trendsetter for Gen Z fashion, not to mention plan a very fashionable wedding in the not-too-distant future, we also suspect that the two "About You" clothing lines mentioned above will not be her last. "I wanted to create fashion that doesn't conform to trends and lives by its own rules," the Florence by Mills founder said in a statement about the collab, and we're betting she has plenty more ideas. Given that she also has her own production company, Brown has more creative control than most actors her age. Having already worked on costumes for one of her roles, it's certainly possible that she'll be doing this more often, too. Additionally, she became an ambassador for Louis Vuitton in 2022, so fans should expect to see her in more of the French luxury brand's outfits on the red carpet.

But if there are two things we know to be true about Brown, it's that she's also a fan of the unexpected and her style is ever evolving — so we know she's going to switch it up here and there. And given how she's been influenced by the style of her on-screen counterparts, it's possible there are some unforeseen fashion choices on the horizon for the British star.