There was a time when supermodel style was synonymous with pure, unadulterated glamour—a look that’s almost impossible to imitate without the long legs and copious amounts of funds to have you remotely resemble the holy trinity that was Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista and Christy Turlington. But as we enter a new year, it’s time to take note of a fresh wave of models who have taken off-duty style to a new level, one more low-key and cool than ever.
Long gone are the days of ostentatious dressing between shows as pared-back styles are now of utmost relevance. Just look to any of the hottest names on the runway. From Bella Hadid’s fluffy headwear go-to and Mona Tougaard’s slouchy trouser obsession to Paloma Elsesser’s midriff-baring cardigan and Kaia Gerber’s The North Face puffer jacket, take style cues from fashion’s favourites and give your wardrobe the rejuvenation it deserves.
Binx Walton and Paloma Elsesser
© Melodie Jeng
This is Vogue’s guide to dressing like a new-era supermodel in 2021.
1. Keeping warm is cool
It’s time to dig out the outerwear, but 2021 is more about making a statement of comfort and practicality than being flashy. Runway superstars Kaia Gerber and Selena Forrest have worn puffer jackets from The North Face, immediately adding a dose of chill to their looks. Dress it up by throwing on a pair of Balenciaga satin mules with white athletic socks.
2. How’s your head game? A fuzzy bucket hat might help
As 1990s and Y2K fashions are all the rage on IG and TikTok, it’s no surprise that the trusty bucket hat is back. Whether you go for one in faux fur like Bella Hadid’s from ASOS and Alva Claire’s from British milliner Emma Brewin, or a plain black version from South Korean label Varzar like Sora Choi, which balanced out her oversized multicoloured knitted vest. Either way, the bucket hat is an equaliser that can elevate a casual ensemble or tone down something more polished.
© Marc Piasecki
3. Don’t be afraid to show a little midriff
The bare midriff look is something the new crop of It girls love to wear. Paloma Elsesser in a forest-green cardigan by Paloma Wool and Adesuwa Aighewi in a cropped ‘cowgirl’ T-shirt and Prada boots. Emily Ratajkowski had a formal take on the trend by wearing a white, strapless bandeau and matching low-rise skirt from her own label Inamorata at last year’s Vanity Fair Oscar Party. However you choose to wear it, make sure you carry yourself with supermodel confidence.
Adesuwa Aighewi and Tami Williams
© Melodie Jeng
4. You need to invest in a pair of baggy pants, now
Drainpipe jeans have long been a staple in supermodel style, but now it’s official: the skinny trouser is dead (or taking a well-earned hiatus) and slouchy pants are taking over. Look to Mona Tougaard and Adut Akech, who are notorious for sporting the style, and try pairing baggy trousers from Acne Studios or lengthy low-rise denim flares from Frame with Converse Chuck Taylors to offset a tailored blazer and designer bag. (Prada’s new version of its 2000s nylon mini bag springs to mind.)
© Melodie Jeng
5. Find a suit that suits you
Off-duty style typically sits somewhere between casual and dressed-up, giving supers optimum comfort while maintaining a fashion edge. But why not go against the grain and opt for a tailored three-piece suit? Think of Bella Hadid in a brown pinstripe look complete with vest, crimson tie and branded chain belt all by Central Saint Martins alumni Dilara Findikoglu. Or how about Gigi Hadid in a Vivienne Westwood suit with matching plaid overcoat for last year’s Paris Fashion Week? You could also go monochromatic à la Kendall Jenner in a smart roll-neck, satin shirt and trouser combo, who declared on Instagram: “The Row head to toe.”
© Robert Kamau
6. Masks are still the hottest accessory
We’ve all heard the good news that vaccines are being rolled out across the world, but this doesn’t mean the pandemic is over. The mask is still a life-saving accessory and to wear it properly makes it that much more radical (yes, I’m talking to you if you hang your mask off your nose.) Wear one with pride and coordinate with a tonal outfit like Kaia Gerber after having her cast removed or colour match with a Versace handbag like Jill Kortleve.