An A-Z Guide To Dressing Like The Olsen Twins

Now all we need is an identical sister...

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by Laura Antonia Jordan |

Picture the most fashionable woman you’ve ever seen. Now, times her by two. What do you have? The Olsen twins, Mary-Kate and Ashley, of course.

TV stars since they were tots (they made their screen debuts on Full House, which first aired in 1987), today the Olsens have ascended to fashion royalty status which is lightyears away from their child star beginnings. Since founding their brand The Row in 2006 - which was built on the simple idea of making the perfect white T-shirt - Ashley and Mary-Kate have come to be synonymous with a grown-up, refined aesthetic that is equal parts ultra-luxe and understated.

The Olsens' look - an impeccably curated wardrobe of supersized silhouettes in a pared-back palette (read: any colour - so long as it's black) offset with disruptive, unexpected touches - generates a feverish fandom among women who favour quiet elegance over bells-and-whistles flash. An effortless attitude is they key at all times. And, yes, while they always nail the red carpet, they're equally fluent in the art of off-duty style. Indeed, we challenge you to find someone who makes a Venti Starbucks look as chic as Ashley and Mary-Kate do...

So you want to dress like them? Welcome to the club. Here, we've decoded the Olsens' signature style...

A

Androgyny. Mary-Kate and Ashley wear tailored co-ords, roomy shirts, oversized blazers and double-breasted coats on repeat. Well, if you're onto a good thing, why change it? Tip: raid the menswear department.

B

Black on black on black on black...

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Layer minimal hues and juxtapose fabrics in Olsen true style ©Getty

You get the picture. Break it up with contrasting fabrics; layer up chunky knits, faux-fur and silk.

C

Coffee run. The twins' off-duty wardrobe is as captivating as their red carpet one. Fashion insiders are known to get very excited about the Olsens latest cigarette-break looks. While we definitely don't recommend you take up smoking, a Venti Starbucks is an essential.

D

Discretion. Mary-Kate and Ashley are notoriously private (no, you definitely will not find them on TikTok or Twitter anytime soon). Do as they do and maintain an air of mystery. Fewer selfies = more enigma.

E

Equestrian. Did you know Mary-Kate is an award-winning showjumper? Naturally, she makes it look seriously chic. You don't need a horse to channel the look - simply seek out starched white shirts, stirrup leggings and neat blazers.

F

Forget the hairbrush. On lesser mortals the undone-'do might elicit an 'are you ok, hun?' response, but on the Olsens just-rolled-out-of-bed hair only adds to their stylistic nonchalance. Opt for middle-parted tresses and forget the blowdry. Braids and pig-tails are also Olsen approved.

G

Gothic-meets-grunge-meets-glamour . Their daytime style might be stripped back in its minimal purity, but after dark the Olsens often opt for a more bohemian sensibility. Lace, opera coats, capes, embellishment and embroidery all get their moment on the red carpet. To finish, pile on the jewellery and go for an ultra-smoky eye. Hair should still not be brushed.

H

Huge scarves. They're the unsung hero pieces of the Olsen wardrobe, gargantuan scarves - we're talking ones that verge into blanket territory - pop up again and again.

I

Invest. Nope, you're not likely to spot the Olsens in anything from the high street in the near future. But you don't need their budget to channel their spirit. Simply stick to a strict shopping list and pinky promise to avoid impulse buys and faddy trends.

J

Jumpers. A luxe knit is an Olsen essential. More than just a building block, seek out sweaters which will take you from work to drinks yet will still perform well on weekend strolls. The ultimate all-rounder.

K

Keep it simple. If in doubt, pare it back. Prints are a no-go on Planet Olsen, silhouettes are streamlined, and classics like the white shirt and black trousers are elevated to hero status. We bow down.

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Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen at the 2017 CFDA Awards ©Getty

L

Layer up. The Olsens have perfected the art of bundling up and practice the skill whatever the weather. If in doubt, put another layer on.

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Opt for oversized duster jackets, rolled-up boyfriend jeans and tuck your hair in your collar ©Getty

M

Mismatch your jewellery. In contrast to their stripped back wardrobes, the Olsens' approach to jewellery is more 'rings on their fingers and bells on their toes'. Get on board by donning oversized vintage jewels for a bohemian take on haute-glamour. Make a beeline for chandelier earrings, wear fistfuls of rings and even consider wearing jewellery in your hair.

N

Never overdressed. Leave the frou-frou gowns and bandage dresses to the rest of the A-List. For Ashley and Mary-Kate, lo-fi glamour is where it's at; for after dark think shirting, flats and a nonchalant attitude.

O

Oversized sunglasses are as much part of any bona fide A-Lister's arsenal as iron-clad pre-nups and double-your-size bodyguards. Wear them inside and outside, day and night. It's time to go incognito.

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Make sure to invest in a hefty supply of sunnies ©Getty

P

Power dressing. They helm an influential fashion empire, but for Ashley and Mary-Kate, that does not mean they need to obviously dress like it. The secret to their power player style? An 'I don't care' attitude. If you take one lesson from them, let it be this: wear what you want, how you want, where you want, when you want. Got it? Good.

Q

Queens of the Met Gala.

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What's a fashion theme to the Olsen twins? ©Getty

Never ones to follow faddy trends, the Olsens always reign on the red carpet. Some of their most memorable turns have been on the Met Gala red carpet. Who needs to dress as a chandelier or suck themselves into skintight latex when you have archival Chanel and Dior at your disposal (see: V for Vintage).

R

The Row. The Olsens are their own best ambassadors, effortlessly inhabiting The Row's impeccably curated aesthetic that has seen them conquer the fashion world. Pieces don't come cheap - but the timeless bags and accessories are the definition of investment pieces.

S

Spotify. Olsen style is about more than just clothes, it's about inhabiting a whole world. Be inspired by The Row's monthly Spotify playlists.

T

Tailoring. The Olsens, who are 5'2", are skilled in the art of dressing for your shape and height. In Mary-Kate and Ashley's case that doesn't mean shying away from supersized silhouettes, but making them work for them. So, voluminous dresses are nipped in at the waist with belts, and sail-like shirting teamed with streamlined trousers. It's all about balance.

U

'Ugly' shoes. Flatforms, orthopaedic sandals, flipflops, sock boots, kitten heels, slippers and dad trainers are all part of their disruptive footwear arsenal. Ditch the cab and start walking everywhere.

V

Vintage. The twins has a taste for high-end archival pieces, having worn vintage Chanel, Dior, Gianfranco Ferré and Christian Lacroix (they are fans of LILY et Cie, the Beverly Hills vintage boutique where Jennifer Aniston sourced her vintage Dior John Galliano dress for the 2020 SAG Awards). Don't have an Olsen budget? Don gold velvet, stack costume jewellery and carry a miniature handbag on the crook of your arm at all times.

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Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen at the 2018 Met Gala ©Getty

W

Wear and wear again. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. The twins know what works for them and revisit it again and again, updating with unexpected accents and new proportions. Get the foundations right and build from there. The cornerstones of their wardrobes? Easy tees (in navy, white and black), tailored trousers, oversized coats, big bags and a hefty supply of sunglasses.

X

XXL. Supersize your shirts, opt for oversized outerwear and always remember to roll up ankle-skimming trousers.

Y

Young ones.

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The Olsens have been sartorially twinning since day one ©Getty

Proof that they have been sartorially simpatico from the get-go.

Z

Zest. If you want to dress like an Olsen, then get acquainted with the art of outfit seasoning. It's all about adding a twist of something unexpected for added flavour - a longer sleeve than expected, a pop of colour, a weirdly wonderful shoe. Attention grabbing looks don't need to be attention seeking.

READ MORE: Mary-Kate Olsen Requests Emergency Divorce From Olivier Sarkozy After Five Years Of Marriage

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