In January 2019, Frank Ocean did what most fashionable well-connected people do: attend shows at Paris Fashion Week. But one outfit, particularly struck a chord with the internet’s obsession with menswear. It was a puffer jacket with a lively shade, worn with blue jeans and hiking boots, accessorized with a beanie and a massive leather bag. Nearly four years later, the look is still bouncing around the web—and it feels especially just as stylish today, a testament both to Ocean’s ability to stay ahead of the curve and the way he’s quietly helped reshape majors of menswear according to his tastes.
Today, this casual outdoor look is more or less unavoidable in the stylish corners of pretty much every city on earth: you see Salomon sneakers paired with Comme des Garçons pants or Stone Island puffers with coveted vintage Levi’s. Walk through New York’s SoHo neighborhood and you’ll see men dressed in a mix of tried-and-true outdoor brands with high fashion labels. Ocean wasn’t the first to do this, but when he does something, it’s always with deliberate finesse—and people drop what they’re doing to pay attention. Therefore, the style has replaced the normcore craze of earlier times; the goal is no longer to dress like Jerry Seinfeld but like George Costanza. (Another notable raised jacket icon.) It’s also, unsurprisingly, huge on Instagram and TikTok. Call it Instagram Explore core.
The crème de la crème of Ocean’s look is his massive, dark green leather tote bag. It’s Celine – and not just any Celine Célinefrom when the label still had an accent mark and was ruled by the feverishly admired Phoebe Philo. (A very IYKYK flex, even back in 2019.) Ocean’s bright do-it-all down jacket, meanwhile, is from Mammut, a Swiss company for adventurous adventurers, and his hat is Arc’teryx, the seriously tech-forward outdoor brand that now is a name drop among fashion bros. The outfit is rounded off with straight-leg blue jeans and navy hiking boots. Why did this outstanding outfit warrant coverage from GQ and Vogue and almost every other fashion title on the internet?
For starters, the outfit definitely stood out among the usual fashion week fare.
A picture from the day finds Ocean sitting next to it to Timothée Chalamet, who is dressed in a more typical ensemble of all black. It drives home the eccentricity—at least a few years ago—of wearing a puffer jacket and jeans to sit front row at a Louis Vuitton show. The fit also feels greater than the sum of its parts; each article plays perfectly into the next, elevating the final head-to-toe look. The look is also enhanced by Ocean’s MFA eye for color theory, pairing similar and complementary colors without being too matchy-matchy. (This simple-but-cool brown and blue fit still bouncing around in my head.)
Looking back, this outfit felt like the beginning of a monumental shift—the singular drip that burst the well like robust, technical goods went from the more obscure corners of menswear to the mainstream. Now that fall turns to winter and the heavier coats come into rotation, it’s almost guaranteed that we’ll be seeing plenty of stylish guys dressing like Frank Ocean, whether they mean it or not.