The Secret to Chloë Sevigny’s Red Carpet Style

Though not listed in the official job description for Man Repeller’s fashion editor, one of my self-appointed responsibilities is “checking in” on a handful of celebrities roughly once a week (and by “checking in” I mean doing a quick sweep on Instagram, Google search and Getty Images).

The members of said handful have been carefully selected by yours truly on the basis of whether or not they consistently make me rethink what I want to wear and why. Chloë Sevigny is one of them.

I can think of a million reasons why her style is deserving of frequent stalking, from the way she turns denim cutoffs into an art piece to her single-handed ability to actually make me excited about wearing black tights, but her most impressive accomplishment by far is a consistent knack for producing red carpet looks that are actually cool.

It’s no easy feat. I’ve written at length about why, but here’s the short version: Red-carpet style rarely crusades for trends — present or future — because its primary purpose is to flatter; ergo, it does not often move the needle or disrupt and reshape your sense of personal style.

That’s why when someone like Chloë does manage to fit into and break out of the red-carpet style mold simultaneously and with so much success, I am rapt. I take mental notes. I admire. I bookmark. I cradle her like a mesmerizing petri dish under the microscope of my various search engines and observe, observe, observe.

I was never able to pinpoint precisely how she does this, though, and therefore attributed her success rate not to a styling trick but rather to her overall propensity for experimentation and risk-taking.

Then, last week, during a routine “check-in,” the trick hit me like a gooseberry between the eyeballs: her BAGS.

Her bags! They are, in sum, the key-and-wallet-toting equivalent of personality heels — a collection of quirky characters. I can’t believe I’d never noticed how regularly she uses them to differentiate her aesthetic.

She favors a top-handle silhouette, with the occasional drawstring pochette, Monopoly dice (slide 6) or film camera (slide 7) thrown in for good measure. While red carpet accessories typically pay homage to the star of the show (i.e. the dress), these demand a spotlight unto themselves.

That sentiment is, in a sense, the underlying psychology that permeates Chloë’s style, formal or not. Nothing she wears plays second fiddle to another part of the outfit. Every aspect feels special.

It’s an attitude I plan on co-opting next time I get dressed, which is bound to occur at any moment since I get dressed mentally about 425,294 times a day. In the meantime, tell me, do you have specific celebrities you “check in” on? I’m always looking to add to my roster.

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  • Dani Heifetz

    Kiernan Shipka! Her clothes and her eyebrows forever and always

  • Alison

    Chloë always looks like she’s having a really good time. For me, that’s the difference between her style and Bella Hadid’s. Even if they wear similar clothes, the style is nothing alike.

    • Chalisse Burrell

      So True!

  • Hayley

    She’s so timeless and amazing.

  • eye4style

    I saw her recently leaving the New York Times building and she caught my eye not because she’s a celebrity, but because she looked so goddamn amazing. She was wearing wingtip oxfords with a pleated mini, schoolgirl/schoolboy hybrid.

  • Ciccollina

    God, she’s just flawless isn’t she. Wish I could do that slicked back, middle part bun.

  • Autumn

    Jenna Lyons (for obvious reasons) and I’m really loving Drew Barrymore’s style these days. It’s very casual and comfy but she always looks cool. And she’s a Regular Woman, not a stick thin model/actress, which is appreciated.

  • Chalisse Burrell

    Her style is amazing. So personal and effortless.

  • Maddie

    Alexa Chung & Olivia Palermo!

  • Bo

    I used to check in on Emma Watson but she’s so low key she hit isn’t about that much anymore unless there’s a movie coming out 🙁

  • eva

    chloë for sure, the kates lanphear and moss, rhianna, björk, debi mazar, miroslava duma, the olsen twins [and hillary duff because we have similar figures so i like seeing what’s working for her]

  • b.e.g.

    I agree she carries unique handbags. But I think her style is more to do with her attitude. She is irreverent toward the whole Hollywood scene. She’s part of it, sure, but she does her own thing. Never has she followed a trend. I think she is probably her own stylist. Plus she has a killer body and looks good in a paper bag. And she is not a traditional beauty, so I believe we are attracted to her because she seems like such a badass, and not one to get surgically improved. She has not aged a bit in 10 years. I’ve always admired her style for it being different from the pack.

    • Selena Delgado

      In my eyes, she’ll always be an Lower East Side gal. Tried and true New Yorker. Legend

  • Amy Garcia

    Lupita N’yongo

  • william murphy

    Best head around

    • Diana McNeill

      lol yes

  • Babs

    Adam Selman, Binx Walton, Leandra flippin’ Medine!

  • Sophia F.

    I think another reason she looks so flippin’ cool on the red carpet is that she tends to wear prints, quite boldly too, which is an uncommon red carpet choice.

  • Eliza Jackson

    Zoë Kravitz’s looks always add about 5 years to my life span

  • Natasha

    Emma Roberts: you can tell she appreciates Fashion-with-a-capital-F, but she doesn’t let it stop her from trying out her own ideas

  • Sarah O’Dea

    Solange too <3

  • Nora

    Tracee Ellis Ross!

  • Chloe is my forever style idol but I’m also loving Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie atm. She usually wears little-known African designers, and she is so quirky cool as well. Her Instagram is devoted completely to showcasing all her looks. <3