This is peak uniform dressing.
In a business built on looks — and looking up-to-date — perhaps one of the biggest displays of power is to have a look that rarely changes. It’s the critic with an already-established place in the industry who shows up to fashion week in a dad shirt and ill-fitting pants; it’s the editor with a household name who doesn’t change her hairstyle for decades at a time.
And quite often, it’s the designers who are lauded for their ingenuity in cranking out creative new lines every season who rarely alter their own outfits. Whether the goal is to make sure they don’t distract from the clothing they send down the runway or simply to alleviate decision fatigue, some of the biggest designers in the business stick to a uniform.
Need proof? Here, we’ve rounded up 15 designers who are unabashed outfit repeaters.
How long has Carolina Herrera been wearing this outfit to take her bows after runway shows? We don’t really remember a time before it, to be honest. It’s easy to see what makes it fail-proof: a white button-up never goes out of style, an A-line skirt is always flattering and subtly pointy-toed heels are timeless.
Sometimes called the “Poet of Black,” Yamamoto is famous for creating avant-garde designs without venturing far from his favorite non-color. “Black is modest and arrogant at the same time,” he said in 2000. “Black is lazy and easy — but mysterious… Above all black says this: ‘I don’t bother you — don’t bother me!”‘ Looks like this is one designer who knows how to heed his own words.
Does Gurung wear this white tee and jeans combo repeatedly because he wants to casually show off his toned arms? Is he trying to make sure he doesn’t ruin a fancy outfit by sweating in it during his post-show runway sprint? Did he just look at a lot of young Marlon Brando pictures in his formative years? We may never know.
Vera Wang is happy to change up the texture and style of her ensembles, but there are a few constants she usually adheres to: head-to-toe black, towering heels, no sleeves and long layers. Hey, you can’t blame her for being a gal who knows what she likes.
Lanvin’s beloved former creative director already has the kind of face that could inspire an incredibly likable animated Pixar character. Add to that Elbaz’s signature suit and a bow tie in a fun color — like bright pink or satiny mustard — and the image is complete. Can someone get a screenwriter on this, stat?
Olivier Rousteing may design a lot of glitzy dresses for his Balmain army of model besties and Kardashian-Jenner-Wests, but he often limits his own bling to the gold buttons on his double-breasted blazer. And honestly, when you’ve got cheekbones that are insanely selfie-ready, why bother distracting from that?
Riccardo Tisci is known for the way he’s infused Givenchy with a romantic, Gothic sensibility, but his own favored look is mostly pared-down and modern. We’re willing to bet that it’s extremely comfy and low-maintenance, too — other than the white sneakers, which probably take some effort to keep that sparkling white.
Michael Kors’ signature outfit is full of sartorial choices that are easy to understand: the blazer adds polish while the T-shirt keeps things from looking stuffy; the loafers are a no-brainer shoe for anyone wanting to find a happy medium between laid-back and professional. The only question mark? Those sunglasses that seem to be a fixture whether indoors or out. Maybe Kors just likes to have extra protection around the windows to his soul.
The strangest thing about Lagerfeld’s signature look is the fact that it comes off as making a Big Statement even though it’s basically just a black suit. But it’s the Chanel and Fendi designer’s off-beat details — like metallic gloves, a thick tie, blingy accessories and a high collar — that give his look that unique flavor.
Sure, Armani dons a sharp suit on the red carpet like the best of his celebrity fans, but when it comes to his own runway appearances, the Italian legend keeps it simple. A navy sweater, navy pants and white tennis shoes comprise his outfit of choice. One other thing he’s apparently really into repeating? These almost-lightless runway backgrounds.
We doubt that Jason Wu was intentionally taking a page out of Michael Kors’ book when building his signature style, though the resemblance is definitely there. Wu’s look isn’t dissimilar from Kors, though he infuses a youthful edge with slimmer-fitting pants, more shoe variety, and no bewildering sunglasses. But hey, the repeat of this ensemble is all the more reason for the rest of us to feel like we can do the blazer-and-jeans thing every day, right?
There are still men walking among us today who think that shorts on dudes are an abomination to behold. They’re the kind of guys who wear full-length pants even in the summer, even if they live in L.A. and presumably never get in the water at a poolside party. But Thom Browne’s uniform exists to defy such men, and the blazer and tie and sometimes vest aspect of it serve as a strong statement that shorts don’t have to be un-dressy.
Like many of his peers, Raf Simons often takes the simple, all-black route when it comes to a post-show outfit. He keeps things comfy with a soft-looking sweater and pants, but chooses dress shoes rather than sneakers to elevate the look a bit. Adding a brightly-colored collar on occasion keeps things from getting stale.
Tom Ford is the kind of guy who doesn’t own sweatpants. He’s the kind of guy who wears different iterations of the same perfectly tailored suit to pretty much every public appearance. Heck, he’s even been known to wear a suit to the airport, where most of us look our slovenliest. Ford’s dedication to his uniform is almost something you’d want to make fun of, if you didn’t know that it’s his obsession with perfection that’s led to his incredible success as a designer, director and more.
The industry’s favorite party-thrower knows how to bring fun to the runway without wearing anything loud. And with energy as seemingly boundless as Wang’s, his all-black ensemble reads more as “ready to dance my ass off” than quiet and mysterious, anyway.