ARE YOU FAMILIAR with the art of #CouplesDressing? The popular term was coined in response to those who show a level of PDA through the form of dressing the same—Kendall Jenner and Bad Bunny do it exceptionally well, for example, as do Justin and Hailey Bieber—the latter who were spotted at the US Open clad in identical leather jackets looking effortlessly stylish (and in sync).
While the idea of publicly matching an outfit with your partner may cause unduly levels of fear and anxiety, if executed correctly, couples dressing can make for quite the statement. Matching outfits can be a personal signal to the world that you are (sartorially) unified, on the same page and not sheepish to show it. #CoupleGoals, anyone?
There’s another side to couples dressing though and what is says about the pair in question: should you really be wearing what your partner dons? Shouldn’t individuality be encouraged? While we’re not here to look at the psychology of why couples coordinate outfits, intentional or not, what we can do is break down the divisive topic of couples dressing: what it is, how to do it and what not to do.
Below, we present Esquire’s guide to couples dressing.
What is couples dressing
Pretty self-explanatory, but couples dressing is when partners coordinate their wardrobes. As couples therapist Joanna Harrison explained via an article in Highsnobiety, “coordinated outfits can really be an exercise in branding,” she said. “Dressing in matching ways might feel like a uniform, it might feel like a distinct statement about who the couple is and what they want the brand of their relationship to be.”
While couples dressing is not necessarily a new phenomenon—John Lennon and Yoko Ono were early purveyors of the act—in more recent times, couples dressing was championed by the likes of pop-culture icons Brittany Spears and Justin Timberlake (who can forget that denim-on-denim getup!?), David and Victoria Beckham, and Justin and Hailey Bieber.
How to nail couples dressing: do’s and dont’s
Yes, couples dressing can look and feel forced and contrived. But it should be an effortless act, one that is seemingly unintentional but curated at the same time—no easy feat. Here are some things to consider when going for matching looks in public:
DO: Think monochromatic
Keep it simple—with a monochromatic theme in mind, it’s very hard to stray into unchartered territories. If in doubt, opt for an all-black ensemble. While it might present as typical “Melbourne“, it’s a simple way to elevate a look with the use of black staples—think leather jackets, black denim and tees—and also tone down something a little more over-the-top.
On the other end of the colour spectrum, tonal matching outfits—in shades such as bone, eggshell, vanilla etc.—are pretty easy on the eye, and scream Hamptons chic. Further inspiration at Michael Rubins’ swanky white party.
DON’T: Push the envelope
You’re not here to force an agenda, to scream to the world: we’re dating, we’re confident and we’re stable (I.e, look at the outcome of both parties pictured below…). It’s fun to explore styles and trends but when it looks as if you’ve dressed for a costume party rather than a night on the town, something has gone amiss.
In other words, don’t pull a Justin and Britney, folks.
DO: Make an effort
What’s the fun in playing it safe all the time? If you have the intention of matching outfits with your partner, or at least endeavour to match some parts of our outfits, it’s wise to put a little thought into your look.
As seen below, the respective couples have gone for a direct copy and paste of outfits, but there’s a general theme highlighted through their chosen pieces, and it works. And if you’re going for a twinning look and there’s a dress code involved, what’s the harm in adding a little bit of stylistic flair?
DON’T: Clash of the patterns
This is a tough one, because we get that you’re trying to think outside of the box, and that deserves all the credit. But when you’re going for a bold pattern and/or colour, you need to match it accordingly (and carefully).
Abstract colours and patterns should generally be executed with caution—it’s tricky to match these styles. In saying that, if you find you’ve left the house and patterns are clashing like an epic duel, just own it.
The five best couples outfits
Justin & Hailey Bieber
Barbara Palvin & Dylan Sprouse
David & Victoria Beckham
Jeff Goldblum & Emilie Livingston
Anwar Hadid & Dua lipa