Off Duty Style: The 5 Key Pieces to Nailing Street Style, No Matter Your Budget
Confession time: I am majorly obsessed with off-duty model street style. I love how effortless and casually cool they look all the time. Like, “Oh, no big deal, I just left this massively overwhelming fashion house’s fashion show and now I’m grabbing a coffee and hailing a cab like it’s nothing.” I love how simple their wardrobe is, but how they make outfits pop with one or two pieces.
I’ve been trying to achieve a similar end since I discovered Alexa Chung when I was in seventh grade and have since gone through several iterations of the “off duty model” look: Miranda Kerr, Behati Prinsloo, Gigi Hadid. But no matter who I was channeling, one thing was certain: basics are worth the investment (and don’t always mean a plain white v-neck), and a good jacket and pair of boots can literally change your life.
The best part? Almost every outfit breaks down to five key pieces. Read on for The 5 Key Pieces to Nailing Street Style, No Matter Your Budget.
1. Started from the bottom.
We’re gonna build from the ground up, because, as my mother taught me, any outfit - no matter how good - is incomplete without a good pair of shoes. I swear by three pairs of shoes: my trusty Chuck Taylors, my boots, and a pair of black leather flip-flops for warmer climates. Search “off duty model style” in Pinterest, and almost every image will show a pair of killer boots. There’s no way to describe exactly how unconquerable the right pair of boots will make you feel. If you’re ready to make the investment, these boots are my babies, but check out these for a more budget-friendly option.
2. A leg to stand on.
Oh, skinny jeans…what would we do without you? If I had to choose one pair of pants to wear every single day for the rest of my life, it would be a pair of black mid-rise skinny jeans, and 98% of models agree (but don’t quote me because I made up that number). They form the foundation of every outfit ever. I wear skinny jeans on stage, when I go to shows, out to dinner. I wore them on my first date with Nick (on Valentine’s day, which was no pressure at all, let me tell you! But it worked out pretty well, which is another reason I swear by skinny jeans!). If I hear someone say they don’t like skinny jeans, I assume it’s because they’ve not found the right pair. They should be stretchy but hold their shape, resist fade, and make your exit as grand as your entrance. These American Apparel jeans cover all the bases and are about as good as you can get.
3. The shirt off their backs.
White v-neck tees. Black v-neck tees. Gray v-neck tees. They have a place in your closet (and every off duty model’s closet), but one thing I always loved about Behati Prinsloo’s style is how she incorporates her individuality in her wardrobe via the vintage (or vintage-feel) band tee.
There’s no hiding my love for vintage band tees. I have an obsessive need to own every one of them, from size small to XXL. The more oversized, faded, worn, and trashed, the better. Junkfood’s ability to make a brand new shirt look and feel forty years old blows my mind. This David Bowie tee is everything to me + the perfect addition to a capsule “off duty” wardrobe.
4. Leather jacket, collar popped.
I could write poems for my leather jackets. Songs. Albums. A whole symphony, I think, and based on the amount of leather jackets worn out and about during fashion week, I think a few other people agree with me. Straight to Hell has some of my favorite leather jackets (like this one), and I’m dreaming of the day that I get to own one (but don’t tell my leather jacket!). Until then, this H&M Biker Jacket is budget friendly + totally nails the look.
5. Top it all off.
There’s always an accessory, isn’t there? A hat, a scarf, a purse, a dreamy Gucci belt. I’m personally obsessed with this cobalt blue Brixton cap, this bandana, and this gorgeous printed scarf from Free People.