Let’s be honest, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen have been style trend-setters since day nought, from their early matching dungarees, to their current signature all-black aesthetic. Since their official retirement from acting to focus on fashion, they’ve redefined casual-chic dressing, popularizing trends from oversized maxi dressing to statement accessories, and everything in-between (and built up some serious credibility as high-end fashion designers in the process). So in honour of the duo’s 33rd birthdays, let’s take a look at seven ways they blazed their own fashion trail, becoming everyone’s favourite style inspo along the way…
Seven ways the Olsen twins were major trend-setters
Power accessorizingWith the use of oversized sunnies, purses, and statement jewellery, the Olsens have made no secret of their love of high-impact, power-accessorizing – using perfect accents to match their structured pieces. And it’s surely no coincidence their luxury line, The Row, just won them the CFDA Award for Accessory Designer of the Year (and their fifth overall).
Here they were at an opera in 2011, in their own The Row sunglasses. Getty Images
Power accessorizingAnd all the way back in 2009, before they ditched the patterns, but had already begun rocking the statement accessories.Getty Images
Oversized everythingPerhaps the defining element of the twin’s red-carpet style, as well as their clothing line Elizabeth and James, has been their signature oversized garments. They’d probably look faintly ridiculous and slouchy on pretty much anyone else, but this twosome show us that with classic tailoring, and incredible streamlining, even loose fitting and boxy garments can do wonders for your style cred.
A case in point, spotted at the recent CFDA Awards. Getty Images
Oversized everythingAnd paying no mind to more fitted forms at 2016’s Met Gala.Getty Images
Boho chicBefore they refined their style and committed to clean lines and even sleeker silhouettes, the twins went all out for boho-chic, seriously making a thing of the look back in the mid-naughties.
Sure, it looks cheesy now, but back in the day it was the height of cool. In 2005, Ashley did her best to look like she spent very little on her outfit (just peep that hole). Getty Images
Boho chicAnd MK, in her best ‘this-is-just-something-I-threw-together’ look in 2007, complete with oversized rings, dark nail polish, and textured tendrils. Boho chic
All black, all the timeIf there’s one thing they’ve become known for, it’s wearing all-black… almost all the time. While they’re partial to a few spontaneous bursts of colour, they’re most at home in this timeless option. And let’s be honest, who else wears black this consistently, and still looks as fresh and sharp as they do? Not us, we’ll tell you that for sure.
Here they are, without a shred of colour at the 2017 Met Gala. Getty Images
All black, all the timeAnd once again, in head-to-toe black, at last year’s CFDA Awards.Getty Images
Floor-length outfitsProving that long silhouettes can be just as flattering on the more diminutive in stature, the twins’ insistence on floor-length pieces has us wanting to extend exactly all of our hemlines. Their standard floor-grazing hems have them looking regal, slightly ethereal, and they also manage to avoid the whole Morticia Addams look (even in black).
This one began early on, all the way back in 2007’s CFDA Awards. Getty Images
Floor-length outfitsAnd continues to now, at last month’s Met Gala.Getty Images
Outfit co-ordinationSometimes they match, and sometimes they play opposites, but their complementary styles are a masterclass in coordination. Whether it’s in opposite shades (sometimes literally black and white), or just harmonizing looks, MK and Ash always avoid a clash, and show us how to work the red carpet as a team... If only we could play this nice with our sisters when it came to clothes.
They were seen balancing each other out perfectly at the WSJ Awards last year. Getty Images
Outfit co-ordinationAnd in mirrored looks at last year’s Youth America Grand Prix Awards.Getty Images
Granny ChicLet’s be real – would you try this at home? Probably not. Yet somehow, Mary-Kate and Ashley made granny-chic cool, proudly rocking vintage-inspired threads for some major red-carpet appearances. And of course, we’d be remiss not to mention, their sleekly tousled locks throughout it all, which keep them looking timeless and distinct. It’s not for everyone, but… it’s not for lack of trying.
They ditched the black, but were still very-much boho at 2017’s Met Gala. Getty Images
Granny ChicAnd opted for similar at the following year’s bash.Getty Images