Off-Duty Model Style
I don't mean to pick on you, Gigi Hadid, but you suit well as an illustration of a common style problem, and it's not your fault- it's the media's for loving your (and many other models and celebrities) lackluster casual looks. This article highlights part of the problem, by having a non-runway-model dress in a "model off duty" style. I really want to put the scare quotes around "style" and I'll tell you why.
Why I love style
Style is for Everybody. Style is an art form that supersedes beauty ideals. Beauty ideals dictate availability and range, just as trends dictate availability and range of items, but the heart of style positions you to view yourself as a visual artist. You get to choose what to emphasize or de-emphasize, whether it's your coloring, body, personality, or creative taste. You are put in charge of color combinations, prints, and textures. You can say something different with your choices each day. You can treat style as a bullhorn to declare your expression of self, or you can treat style as a costume wardrobe with masks, or as a suit of armor for the protection of distance, or as a weapon with a specific purpose.
Style isn't a brand name or a body type. Style is what you choose to assemble from whatever wearables you can access- freebox and hand-me-downs, fabric and craft stores, couture and custom. Style can't be bought, because it isn't an item- it's a creative lens. Right and wrong, good and bad, depend on the lens, values, associations, and sculpting contexts of the person at the very moment they are viewing it. My blog and the style systems I use are a reflection of my lens. The world is full of contrasting opinions, and we get to choose and re-choose our aesthetic alignment and aesthetic statements. In my style lens, plain clothing is bad.
Boring clothing is like an anti-personality mask. You don't get to *see* the person, and you don't learn anything about them or what they want to present. It's not even a false but beautiful mask. It's a mud mask- soothing and good as camouflage. The only argument I see in favor of boring clothing, is if it somehow genuinely makes you feel better to wear than anything else. If you're choosing boring clothing because you don't care about style- uh, well, I think you're in the wrong place right now, but hello to you. If boring clothing is an anti-style statement, that's fine, but it has no business being called stylish.
The Problem With "Model Off-Duty"
It's painfully boring, and the darker side? When people/media are praising a plain pair of jeans, a plain tee/tank, and a plain pair of sneakers- no accessories, no color, no prints, no design details, no textures, no nothing, as stylish, it is code for thin bodies. The models praised for their "style" in plain jeans and tees are not showing style. They haven't thought about it. No artistic lens is being applied. That is not style, and if not style, what? Praised for their physique. Let's be clear- I don't have a problem with people being praised for their physique, but I do have a big problem with physique being coded as style. Style is beyond physique. Style is personal art. I suppose physique can be art, but it's an entirely different realm and I want it untied and uncoded from fashion.
Fixing the Problem
Hey, it's ok, now that we've isolated the problem, we can fix it. A generic fix would be to apply KLM Addition. Instantly better. The more involved way is to apply Fantastical Beauty. Gigi Hadid is most likely a Dragon Princess in FB. Her plain style of dressing is anathema to her best fantasy look. We can do casual or formal and everything in between for each type. For Gigi, I'm going to stick with casual, because that's what she is often praised for.
She can still do jeans, but they shouldn't be distressed, and it's best when they are high waist and pocketless. A breezy blue floral tank with a bit of ruffle, but still a racerback for sporty/casual. Frankly this is going light on the accessories for a DP, because this is a more casual look- you could add more. The cardigan in a vibrant color because that jean blue can read as a neutral, and a tie belt at the waist to address her s-curve needs. Even a little wave added to her hair would really help complete the picture.
The KLM addition/DP look is not only just as easy, comfortable, and casual, but it has style. Real style. The kind that would still be seen as stylish on a variety of bodies.