Vanessa en Vogue

How Vanessa Hudgens became Carlye Wisel’s accidental style icon.


Written by Carlye Wisel

Look, I never thought I’d find myself enthralled by Zac Efron’s ex-girlfriend and a kingpin of the television musical phenomenon, but then again, with Mary Camden as the subject of Justin Timberlake’s reflective jam and Hilary Duff all up on her mom game with a gentleman other than Gordo, we’re taking pre-determined notions with a hefty grain of Maldon these days.

Vanessa Hudgens’ threads have been dynamite as of late, and not just because she plucked a few fancy frocks off a stylist’s rack. It’s because she’s simultaneously playing the part of regular LA girl as well as movie star; keeping true to her First National Queen of Coachella roots while dipping a toe into the Barneys pool.

Now, if that doesn’t seem so over-the-top, let’s keep in mind this is a female who’s become famous for waltzing in kitten heels. For glaring doe-eyed across a karaoke stage on New Year’s Eve and sparking a love interest that would last for too many song-and-dance routines. For wearing outfits that could only be explained as “my mom forced me to wear this and I’m too busy studying math to know any better.”

Unlike her spunky-haired, debatably oversexed post-teen counterpart Miley Cyrus, Vanessa’s public growth came by way of her impeccably intense turn as Candy in Spring Breakers, a movie whose rebellious edge opened the door for VH to move beyond her youthful public viewing.

The overseas premieres of Harmony Korine’s gross-out wonderland truly marked the former bubbly Disney Channel ingenue’s first shot at nabbing runway samples for big deal premieres, and she ran with it [1]. Were her picks flawless? No [1], but was that glimmery Temperley dress [2] not what a part-time free spirit would wear if one possessed the ability to float back in time to the junior prom? You never want to call a burgeoning style icon too early — the fashion appeal of someone like, say, Kristen Stewart by fans as well as El Ghesquière-o are continually beyond lost on us who were raised pre-Twilight — but Hudgens  straight solidified her burgeoning style icon status with a dip overseas last month to promote her turn as a prostitute in the could-be-a-big-fucking-deal flick The Frozen Ground. Some people travel to stuff themselves with liquid, soft cheeses and hefty encased meats, some to ransack the U.K.’s stack of Sophia Webster heels, but Hudgens? Hers was to prove a sartorial point.

Her current love affair with all white errhang  — seen in two kickass versions at Italian film premieres [3][4], and once while popping by the BBC [5]— proves that she’s not only on the same brain wavelength as we are, but is a ball-busting daredevil. (Someone who wears that many stainable blanks has a hefty ritualistic connection with a higher spirit or merely knows her reproductive cycle better than by drip-drip-drop accidental chance.)

But the blank buck don’t stop there. If a gilded, maroon Moschino suit [6] isn’t the tailored equivalent of “Fuck With Me You Know I Got It” then there’s one outfit in particular that kicks it up a few notches, by way of a royally co-signed songbird named Jenny Packham. Quell the panic, as your eyes are not taking a trip back to 2004; the California homegirl donned a bedazzled, flesh-tinted bodysuit on a red velvet step-and-repeat for reals. A Toxic moment? [7] Perhaps, but someone who can within the same hotel-stay don both a throwback to peak Britney-era iconic getups and a tip of the turban to being painfully bohemian [8] is a varied egg we can’t wait to crack.

And that’s what’s so downright dazzling. I’m confused to be in so deep with the brains behind Gabriella Montez because she’s kind of like me. (Kind of.) She utilizes publicity opportunities to get capital-d-dressed, but kicks it like it’s the nineties and there’s a probable chance she might end up swaying in the grass outside a Phish show if she plays her cards right on tour [9].

There’s a verifiable off-switch, a difference between her glamorous self and her laidback one. She knows who she is. In a world where it’s perfectly feasible to trot around in heels that look like birdcages or a silhouette of shorts that are cartoonishly oversized, there’s something about embracing the normal — as well as the wow moment — that makes me stoked to see what’s next.

And really, isn’t that the best, when your closet envy turns not to jealousy, or hatred, but to total rah-rah support?

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  • (BAD) Blog About Design

    I’m actually sort of liking some of these Vanessa looks! I can see that she likes her crop tops. Must be a MR reader 🙂

    Check out the BAD Blog…

  • Nathalie

    I love her style, she carries it well.

    Also I love that her style is varied.


  • Mar

    I don’t like the gothic style of her last look but she’s been wearing some nice outfits lately. Specially on the promo tour for her last movie. Let’s see how it goes from now on.

  • Jennie

    I’m still not sold. You’ve compiled some pretty convincing images, but ultimately, VH tries way to hard to be a man magnent, vs. repeller. Hence the nudie cell phone pics.

    And I really dislike her tired boho looks. She looks like a hobo, but probably drives a Mercedes.

    • Moi

      Agreed. The boho looks are so try-hard, when I look at them I can’t think of anything else but the time it must have taken to get ready (the hair, make up, the skin jewels??).

  • CarolinaG

    I loved it!!!!!!!!

    I’m posting looks from Los Angeles and accessories:

  • Katie

    I’m not really a fan of her style… I consider most looks “hippie chic” although I’m starting to like grunge looks on celebs like Mylie Cyrus.

  • dilanch

    Look, I really want to kinda sorta agree with you…probs not though. Her bf is totally babein’ and she was semi fathomable in spring breakers, but most of the time she just comes off as trying too hard

  • Lynn

    Not that I’m a fan of Miley; But I find it funny that you use Vanessa as a good example of someone who has grown out of Disney Channel into an “I’m grown now” because Vanessa Hudgens even while she was still on Disney Channel had a nude picture scandal and is known in Hollywood for sleeping around and partying just a little bit too hard.

  • Oh, baby V. Who knew little Gabriella Montez was ending up a style icon? She’s definitely broken out of the bubble, but still, it’s hard to shake off her old persona, in my eyes. Although, she can totally rock those grungy looks.
    Your Friend, Jess

  • I’ve always liked her style.

  • She has great style! I have been a fan for a while now!

  • Rosaly

    So happy to read about my fashion icon!

  • marie a

    It’s strange to me that you would consider Vanessa someone to look up to more than Miley. I have never even been a fan of Miley, but at least she seems to be following her own style, and not the masses. And though she might be ‘oversexed’, I believe hers is more bearable than Vanessa’s- remember the multiple underage and not underage nudies, and the desperate personal attempts to sexualize herself (wasn’t the whole point of springbreakers to sexualize a bunch of disney stars? With a threesome there and her next movie playing a prostitute, I’d say it’s also her own effort to pick roles that are specifically ‘sexy’). Definitely not manrepeller-esque to me!
    Of course, she’s beautiful and most of these outfits are great, just not groundbreaking or worthy of icon status.

  • Katie

    Finally, someone talks about how fucking brilliant VH is. Managed to stay incredibly relevant after HSM and is now doing bigger, better things – with bigger, better style! Go Vanessa xx

  • DellaRee

    You should be crediting her stylist. That’s who pushed her into these looks. The stylist clearly knows what she can pull off and VH is willing to go with it. Good for both of them.

  • CarlotaLMorais

    Agree a hundred per cent with this! Her style is sort of simple and boho chic! She wears a pop of red on the lips from time to time and her nails are flawless! I Actually think shes not trying too hard shes just knows what she likes! Dont really care about her personal life, style wise I give her a 8/10! Miley on the other hand is in my opinion an attention hore!

  • Tami

    I love her sense of style, but her as a person? I’m not sure…

  • Coffeeandbuttercups

    I completely agree! I think she has her own style and that is definitely very special in that industry as it is full of stylists or other people who try to tell you how you are supposed to look like and dress. The fact that she was once a “Disney princess” makes it even more special that she stayed true to herself! (I mean just look at Miley Cyrus.. which grew up to be more embarrassing and attention seeking in my opinion.)

    XXX A


  • ASULikeIt

    As we would say in the world of improper grammar usage “she cleans up good.” Most of her best moments are red carpet, which I think we can all attribute to a good team helping her out. Not to diminish a red carpet look, I’m not seeing her look repinned a million times or talked about much (except for here, obviously).

  • Taylor

    This article is too witty to read quickly

    • Leandra Medine

      Yeah–Carlye really packs a punch into her sentences

  • Elle

    This girl is so cheesy and makes all designer duds look cheap!

  • EvaFalco

    I really like Vanessa’s style!

    Follow me !!

  • Alyssaspeaks

    LOVE look #4! She somehow manages to make the sexy look classy.

  • StyleandPaper

    I have a totally love her and hate in her style. One day it´s like OMG love how she looks in that Moschino suit, and the next day it´s like What &%·%%&%$???? O_O

  • femfashion
  • Jacqueline Jax

    To be honest I wasn’t feeling the 80’s flashback this year like the cropped tops, neon and print leggings but I do adore that long black skirt. Stunning. Would have been more classically elegant with a Lauren silky fitted round neck tee and some beautiful simple statement earrings. I just feel like if your wearing a really full skirt with a lot going on, less is more on the top especially on shorter woman. xoxo, Jax

  • dede

    YES well said

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  • I used to not be a fan of hers, but she has such amazing style that my thoughts on her have done a complete 180… Love her!

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