Deputy Editor Ilaria Riccio discusses the overwhelming reception of celebrity couple’s matching outfits - and how this fascination goes far beyond the fashion itself.
Released onto Netflix in early October, the Beckham documentary series let viewers glimpse into the life of arguably the most glamorous celebrity couple in contemporary pop culture. Since their romance first sparked in the late 90s, David and Victoria Beckham have continuously made headlines thanks to their carefully curated image, both individually and as a couple: whenever “Posh and Becks” appeared in public, they looked like two pieces of an inseparable puzzle through their meticulously coordinated outfits. It would thus be an understatement not to say that the Beckham’s is “a love story told through fashion”, as also argued by The New York Times. Thanks to their matching looks, the couple strengthened their reputation as a “power couple”: their complementary fashion sense has become an extension of their romantic bond, cementing a perception of the two as a God-ordained “perfect match”.
Thanks to their matching looks, the couple strengthened their reputation as a 'power couple': their complementary fashion sense has become an extension of their romantic bond, cementing a perception of the two as a God-ordained 'perfect match'.
David and Victoria Beckham walked a metaphorical runway so that other celebrity couples could run; they were the blueprint for other celebrity pairs using co-ordinated looks to publicly demonstrate the strength of their relationship. For instance, the all-denim outfit donned by Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake is many people’s metaphorical “Roman Empire” when it comes to early-2000s celebrity couple fashion. Social media has provided the public with a platform to express their curiosity towards celebrity couples’ matching outfits, whilst also further feeding the image that paints these couples as perfect matches - just like their outfits. Think Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, whose looks were impeccably coordinated even when engaging in the most mundane of activities.
An interest in couples’ fashion might also contribute to the media frenzy surrounding the Met Gala; “fashion’s biggest night”, with people eagerly waiting for the biggest fashion statement of the evening whilst also hoping celebrity pairs will confirm a romance by stunning with their matching looks. Simply put, the outfit speaks louder than any love proclamation ever will. Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner, Rihanna and A$AP Rocky, Zayn Malik and Gigi Hadid are only a handful of celebrity pairs who used the Met Gala to show off their fashion sense and, simultaneously, cement their status as “power couples” through their coordinated looks.
But why are we so obsessed with these matching looks? What is it about celebrity couples coordinating their outfits that leaves us so ecstatic? Speaking to Elle, behavioural psychologist Jo Hemming argued that a similar style “makes celebrity couples appear more connected emotionally – expressing solidarity and togetherness.” Additionally, and relatedly, Hemming suggests that celebrity couples’ matching outfits represent a “breadcrumb” of what goes on behind the scenes, allowing a glimpse into their relationship. Therefore, we are not only admiring celebrity couples’ - often complementary - fashion sense: matching outfits contributes to idealising celebrity couples, creating an ideal relationship to aspire to. On this matter, website Outfittrends suggests that “[O]utfit coordination is a step to show the world how madly in love our favourite couples are without saying anything.” Matching outfits thus come across as the ultimate relationship goal to achieve with one’s significant other, whereby the continuous “twinning” results in the couple being perceived as a “packaged deal” that cannot be separated - further cementing the ideal of the couple being a perfect match.
Matching outfits thus come across as the ultimate relationship goal to achieve with one’s significant other, whereby the continuous ‘twinning’ results in the couple being perceived as a ‘packaged deal’ that cannot be separated - further cementing the ideal of the couple being a perfect match.
It follows that the public’s obsession with celebrity couples who match outfits goes beyond the world of fashion: it crosses into the field of interpersonal relationships and leaves us longing for a relationship whose strength can be expressed through clothing coordination. This fascination, however, neglects the commonality of celebrity relationships, with the couples’ matching outfits upholding the illusion of perfection both in public and behind the scenes. In fact, of the couples I have mentioned so far, only the Beckhams and Rihanna and A$AP Rocky are still together; the others have been through very public separations in the past couple of years, whilst Britney Spears’ memoir shed new light on her less-than-idyllic romance with the NSYNC alum. This is not to suggest however, that celebrity couples’ coordinated looks are mere bandaids to keep up appearances - although Hemming argues that couples “might be trying to show a united front” through dressing alike in difficult times in their relationship. I do think, however, that matching outfits uphold the aura of perfection that accompanies celebrity couples.
The public’s obsession with celebrity couples who match outfits goes beyond the world of fashion: it crosses into the field of interpersonal relationships and leaves us longing for a relationship whose strength can be expressed through clothing coordination.
The Beckham documentary reminded the world of how “Posh and Becks” set the standards for how celebrity couples publicly present themselves, leading to fashion becoming an essential aspect in celebrity relationships: the coordinated look is allegedly the ultimate proof that these power couples are a match made in heaven. Despite this being a cute “relationship goal”, you can be a perfect match… even if you don’t coordinate outfits with your partner.