Is Gigi Hadid’s Style Actually “Good”?

Or is the girl just blessed?

01.15.16

On a slow news day, Gigi Hadid “got away” with this look:

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It’s not bad. She paired jersey sweats with over-the-knee boots. Far worse fashion offenses have occurred. I don’t know her life, so it’s possible that she spilled coffee all over the white jeans she had on earlier, then in a Mentos-moment of quick thinking, she put on the pants she wore to Zumba and thanked her lucky stars that the overall ensemble was of a complementary color palette.

Or she meant to do this, in which case, I’m not here to judge. We all make vaguely questionable decisions. Sometimes we don’t even think they’re questionable until the media calls it out or your friend asks you, “Why are you wearing that?”

But what I’m curious about is how the blogosphere’s reaction has been, “Only she could pull this off.”

And I’m curious as to why I’m inclined to agree.

Gigi Hadid’s overall style (across the board, not this outfit specifically) is not my kind of inspirational. (Aspirational, perhaps, if you consider brands she wears.) You could argue that what she does is get dressed in clothes. Period. That she doesn’t have her own sense of style but rather an aesthetic that’s appealing. She’s found a formula that works and perhaps a stylist for events. She certainly looks great in everything.

When I think about people who can truly “pull things off” I think about those who’ve established themselves as creative and innovative dressers: those who’ve not only mastered the basics (which means they can do whatever the hell they want), but those women with such inherent taste that their style is not only deemed “good” by all, but effortless — so of course they know what they’re doing.

Taylor Tomasi Hill keeps coming to mind. If she wore this outfit back in her days of street style stardom, I wouldn’t for a single moment question if it was cool. Of course it was! And I wouldn’t assume that something had gone wrong — coffee on white jeans — in order to explain the outfit. It would just be what she wore.

And if no one else would wear it? Simple: that’s because only she could pull it off.

But Gigi is a model, not a fashion editor. She’s a celebrity, not a street style star. Her mother is famous — she didn’t spring from the depths of nowhere. She’s certainly beautiful. And she’s real. Which is so important. But are these things enough to “get away with” a questionable outfit in the way a fashion icon might, or to be considered fashionable without one questioning the actual clothes? Without a strong history of prior personal style to back it up?

Maybe she maintains an I don’t-care-what-you-think attitude that I’m still wrapping my head around. That would mean she also maintains the enigmatic je ne sais quoi that allows her to duck under the fashion police’s elbow of insult and look good in anything, thus making anything good. Which invariably could signify what once made someone a style icon no longer does.

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