Tribute to the Olsen Twins
When I was much younger, I read something somewhere that the Olsen twins have never gotten rid of any item of clothing they’ve owned. I’ve tried to find the source of this tidbit (to no avail), but this particular piece of Olsen mythology has stuck with me and led directly to my personal tendency for clothing hoarding—because, honestly, all I want to be in the world is an Olsen twin. Whether or not that trivia is true, this sort of multilayered, more-is-more fashion sense in which nothing ever fully goes out of style feels perfectly emblematic of Mary Kate and Ashley’s sartorial trajectory from child stars to all-out bosses.
The Olsen twins first came into our lives as baby Michelle Tanner on Full House and followed up their acting careers with big- and small-screen flicks including It Takes Two, Our Lips Are Sealed, and How the West Was Fun. And who can forget the “Gimmie Pizza” song from You’re Invited to Mary-Kate & Ashley’s Sleepover Party? Upon turning 18, the twins took control of their personal brand’s empire of products, clothing, CDs, fragrances, and so much more as they began securing their future and foothold in the fashion world.
In 2006, after a fruitless search to find the perfect t-shirt, Ashley opted to design one for herself, thus setting the course for their incredibly successful line, The Row, followed by accessible brand Elizabeth & James in 2007. The Row, in particular, is the height of timeless elegance. Their womenswear pieces (and, eventually, menswear in 2018) are characterized by clean lines, luxurious materials, and an entirely wearable aesthetic that carries from season to season.
All the while, the three-time CDFA award winners have graced the red carpet of the annual Met Gala in some of the event’s most memorable looks. Their modern Victorian, lace-over-underwear, embroidered-velvet, lime-green-fur, absolute extravaganza of a look at the 2017 gala celebrating Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between is a favorite of mine. See also the detailed elegance of their all-black ensembles for 2015’s China: Through The Looking Glass. Queens.
For most of us, though, it is their spot-on streetwear that serves as outfit inspiration. The Olsens’ seemingly effortless looks transitioned from grungy bohemian in their early years to layers (and layers and layers) of chunky wool coats over blanket scarves over black blazers over wide-leg pants. And the shoes! Delicate kitten heels, Nike sneakers with Céline coats, Birkenstocks with socks. Plus sunglasses, hats, and killer handbags. I assume that walking through their wardrobes is what heaven feels like.
Whether you’re a Mary Kate or an Ashley, we’ve pulled some of our favorite pieces for dressing like the duo. See our picks below, then grab a Starbucks and step out as if you’re taking a smoke break from designing spring/summer ’22 in your Tribeca studio.