Olivia Core: A Style Analysis of Gen Z Icon Olivia Rodrigo

By: Valentina Reni
06/30/2023
en
Thumbnail courtesy of Kaia

Olivia Rodrigo made her first silver screen appearance in An American Girl: Grace Stirs Up Success in 2015. Shortly after, she starred in the Disney Channel series Bizaardvark and Disney+ original series High School Musical: The Musical: The Series in 2016 and 2019, respectively. After shifting gears and releasing original music in 2020, Olivia saw a rapid rise to mainstream fame, amassing a large fan following thanks to her catchy music and memorable lyrics. As she developed her on-stage identity, Olivia also gained attention for her fashion, which combines vintage pieces with modern high-fashion Ready-to-Wear.

In the latest installment of our “Core Series” — where EnVi breaks down the fashion and beauty of our favorite celebrities — we dive into Olivia’s style, breaking down what makes her the fashion icon of Generation Z.

THE FASHION

The Core Aesthetics

Since the release of her hit song “drivers license,” Olivia has embodied everything that Gen Z loves about the resurgence of Y2K and retro trends. Butterfly motifs, miniskirts, and baby tees make regular appearances in her outfits. Like her music, however, Olivia’s style has an angsty pop-punk twist that often manifests in the form of platform boots and plaid patterns. From jeans-and-tee combinations to vintage designer dresses, the starlet has put her unique touch on both ever-changing trends and evergreen staples.

In addition to her gorgeously styled looks, Olivia perfectly channels Gen Z’s approach to fashion with her sustainable and eco-friendly wardrobe.  In an interview with PopSugar, Laura Sophie Cox, Olivia’s stylist, gushed about the fact that Olivia keeps sustainability in mind with her fashion choices. When possible, she supports slow fashion brands or shops for vintage pieces.

Photo courtesy of Geffen Records

The Color Palette

Think of Olivia Rodrigo and one color comes to mind immediately: purple. While Olivia’s closet spans the full RGB spectrum, shades of purple constantly appear in her wardrobe. The cover of her first album, SOUR, places a moody Olivia against a lilac background, while the black and white cover of her newest release, “Vampire,” features a set of lavender bandaids. In fact, for her second Met Gala appearance in 2022, Olivia wore a glimmering violet Versace dress. The monochromatic look was complete with butterfly hair accessories, purple platforms, and smoky purple makeup.

But Olivia’s outfits are anything but predictable. Although she often recurs to purple, the “good 4 u” singer also explores with checkerboard or plaid patterns, and colors such as hot pink, chartreuse green, and royal blue. And while she may show a preference for vivid hues, Olivia has also pulled off muted tones and neutral basics just as effortlessly.

Photo courtesy of Geffen Records

The Brands

Olivia’s brand lexicon reflects her spunky pop, it girl aesthetic. Given Vivienne Westwood’s role in melding punk style with high fashion standards, it’s no surprise that Olivia was drawn to the late designer’s work. She has been spotted wearing corsets and dresses from the brand at concerts and events alike, occasionally debuting custom pieces.

Other brands Olivia gravitates towards include Jean Paul Gaultier, Versace, and Area. Staying true to the revival of past eras’ fashion, she often picks vintage pieces from these iconic brands. Additionally, she styles newer pieces to fit the late 1990s and early 2000s’ style. 

One label constantly repped by the ‪‪star is Dr. Martens, and Olivia certainly has an impressive collection: the 3989 Bex Smooth Leather Brogue Shoes worn for an SNL performance, the Dr. Martens Jadon Flatform Chunky Boots at the airport, and the Dr. Martens Molly Platform Boot on a day out, to name just a few models. Dr. Martens footwear has a significant place in punk history, having made its mark thanks to the underground punk bands of 1960s England. With Olivia’s style drawing elements from punk’s grunge, moody aesthetic, it’s fitting that Dr. Martens are on her regular rotation. 

The Accessories

When it comes to accessories, there are three things that Olivia constantly cycles through, all of which perfectly align with her Gen Z image. First, gloves are a stylish detail that completes many of the singer’s outfits. While elbow-length gloves lean slightly into the regencycore look, fingerless gloves seemingly come from the 2000s-style scene. Second, any avid supporter of the Y2K aesthetic knows that hairclips are an essential item. Olivia has accessorized with a variety of clips, including those with the characteristic butterfly motif she has taken a liking to. 

Finally, the actress has a knack for layering statement necklaces. Be it a bold choker with a flashy heart pendant or delicate golden chains, Olivia never misses the opportunity to add extra detail to her outfits. In addition, when it comes to footwear, Olivia has a clear liking for boots, with a particular predilection for platform boots fitting for the Bratz. 

THE BEAUTY

The Makeup

Given the array of makeup styles Olivia has tried throughout her career, it’s hard to label one look as the “Olivia staple.” While she often sports a confident red lip, the singer has tried a range of colors that includes shades of dusty rose, raspberry, and light mauve. Whereas her music video makeup tends to lean into a “classic” look — think winged black eyeliner, mascara to accentuate the eyelashes, maybe a soft touch of eyeshadow, and a clearly defined lip — Olivia often explores more sultry or dramatic looks for special occasions like awards shows.

Photo courtesy of Geffen Records

The Hair

For the entirety of her career — from her Disney Channel start to the release of “Vampire” — Olivia has kept similar hairstyles. Her natural brown hair, typically worn down and straight, has been consistent through her rise to pop stardom. But that doesn’t mean she hasn’t experimented with fun styles. A quick scroll through the ‪star’s Instagram page will give you a look at some of the looks she has tried in the past. From Y2K-style hairclips to berets, Olivia’s hairstyle and accessories often reflect the aesthetic that the rest of her look embodies, making for complete execution.

The Skin

Given the heavy makeup-wearing requirements associated with both an acting and music career, it’s no surprise that Olivia is committed to a thorough skincare routine. She has previously shared her pre-makeup routine, walking viewers through the process. After cleansing with the Epionce Milky Lotion Cleanser, she follows up with a serum by The Ordinary and completes the application using a gua sha. Before starting her makeup, Olivia actually uses a lip scrub and lip balm combination to prep her lips. This simple five-step process precedes Olivia’s makeup routine and gives her skin a fresh and healthy glow throughout the day.

The Nails

Whereas Olivia’s fashion choices tend to be adventurous, her nail preferences are comparatively more conventional. For the most part, the Disney star-turned-global phenomenon keeps her nails short and square. As for polish, anything is game — as long as it’s simple. From baby blue during the “drivers license” era to pastel green during her time off, she has tried several fun colors. Olivia is also a loyal follower of monochromatic styles, diving into black manicures often — case in point: the nail looks she sported at the Grammy Awards and the 2023 Met Gala.  Additionally, Olivia sometimes puts her own twist on classic nail trends, like when she opted for pink French tips. 

Olivia’s fashion and beauty preferences complement her developing identity as one of the decade’s biggest musicians. As she explores music across genres and fashion across eras, on- and off-stage, her undeniably chic take on popular trends will only help maintain her status as a budding fashion inspiration. With sustainability and self-expression guiding her decisions, Olivia’s authentic style is bound to propel her higher in the fashion stratosphere in eras to come.

Interested in more Gen Z fashion? Check out how Chanty from K-pop group LAPILLUS is channeling her fashion affinities here.