Is Hailey Bieber Actually Stylish or is it Just Thin White Privilege?

hailey bieber style outfits
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I distinctly remember Hailey Bieber’s 2021 Met Gala dress like it was yesterday. Not because it was so spectacular — just the opposite, in fact.

Hailey showed up in perhaps the most boring outfit ever worn on the Met Gal red carpet: a little black dress by Saint Laurent and a pair of sunglasses. It was neither on-theme nor exciting. And yet this is what she chose to wear to what’s been dubbed the “Oscars of Fashion.”

 

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Over the years, Hailey Bieber has become on of the most talked about celebrities. Fashion websites like WhoWhatWear and InStyle publish countless articles about how to recreate her outfits and there are numerous Instagram accounts dedicated to her style. Google “Hailey Bieber style” and you’ll get 50.6M results.

But when you really look at Hailey’s outfits, I mean really look at them, you’ll quickly notice how incredibly uninspired they are.

Her street style in particular — which she’s constantly praised for — is nothing special. She typically wears two types of outfits these days: wide-leg baggy jeans and an oversized bomber jacket, or matching sweats and sneakers.

 

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It’s not that these outfits are bad, per se, but they aren’t particularly interesting either.

And yet, she receives compliment after compliment with fans clamoring to recreate her outfits on a budget.

So, why then, does she get so much attention for her style? It’s simple: she’s pretty, she’s white, and she’s thin.

It’s no secret that plus-size influencers have to work twice as hard to get on the map. Not just because of fatphobia, but also because they can’t get away with wearing the outfits that thin women can wear — like an oversized sweatsuit, for example — without being labeled “messy” or “lazy.” They can’t afford to rock the “barely trying” look.

Kim Laghari (Punam Patel) put it best in the Netflix show Special when she confessed to Ryan,

“I love clothes and looking glam and #goals all the time, trust. But sometimes I just feel like as a non-skinny, non-white girl, I gotta work overtime. It’s like, Hey I’m a voluptuous brown girl but I’m wearing a $448 dress and I got a blow out so I’m safe. Accept me! It’s exhausting and expensive.”

This is something Hailey Bieber doesn’t have to deal with. She can throw on an oversized sweatsuit and a pair of expensive sunglasses and still be dubbed a style icon of her generation.

To be clear, this is in no way an attempt to skinny-shame Hailey. All bodies are good bodies. Period.

This is merely an attempt to explore why we consider Hailey Bieber to be one of the most stylish celebs right now. Because if we’re exclusively looking at the surface level, her outfits are fine, but certainly not style icon-worthy. And that’s something worth talking about.

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Lena Finkel
Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, Tiger Beat, and Sesame Workshop (aka Sesame Street). She loves all things Real Housewives and Vanderpump Rules. When she's not busy binge-watching TV, you can find her hanging out with her tuxedo cat Tom.