Models “Off-Duty”: Individualizing the Mold – Sophia Arbess

Models are burdened with the impossible task of always looking put together and fabulously chic while seeming nonchalant and indifferent with respect to their outfits. Though models’ personal style has been dubbed the coveted casual and cool “Model-Off Duty” look, in the iPhone era, models are never really “off-duty.” Rather, they must assume their status as fashion influencers even in their most casual of coffee runs.

It seems as if there is a specific mold models must fall into when they dress, though not quite a uniform. Therein lies the crux of Joanne Entwistle’s argument in her essay “The Dressed Body” in which she proclaims: “the clothes we choose to wear represent a compromise between the demands of the social world, the milieu in which we belong, and our own individual desires” (114). Of course, models have agency to choose whatever they may please when they’re off the runway; however, it may be off-putting to the brands they represent, or even their fans, for the models to be dressed in anything less than the hot trends they sell. Just like it would be strange to see Mark Zuckerberg using Myspace in his free time.

Models’ “off-duty” looks change with the times; the mold adapts to current trends and societal expectations. For example, whereas Twiggy in the photograph below (1967) flaunts her mod suede romper, stockings, patent bag and shoes, models today embody the current spirit of “spend two hours curating an outfit that looks like you just threw something on.”

Today’s Cool Girl look is all about simplicity with fashion details: high waisted denim, a staple tee, and an optional statement belt:

       

The rest (think bag, shoes, jacket, etc.) is up to the models’ discretion. Just as Entwistle suggests in her piece, models’ dress is always a function of both their role as fashion icons expected to be well-versed in their field, as well as their individual interpretations of fashion and expressions of style.

 

Sophia Arbess

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