When Olivia Rodrigo crossed over from her Disney acting origins to a prime pop takeover with her debut album Sour in 2021, she came ready-made with an enviable closet. The hit music video for “Good 4 U” found her channeling Jennifer’s Body with cheer outfits and long black opera gloves, setting the tone for the youthful energy that inspired her work. (It also became a strong contender for Halloween costumes that year.)
In the two years since Sour, Rodrigo is gearing up for the release of her second album, Guts, out tomorrow. And in doing so, she has also continued to cement herself as an inspirational figure for Gen Z fashion.
Whether it’s for a high-profile appearance or a casual day-to-day look, Rodrigo opts for vintage archival pieces. At the MTV Movie and TV Awards last year, she rocked a halter John Paul Gaultier black dress — believed to be made around 1987, according to Cosmopolitan.
Her preference for thrifting started as a teenager when she watched a documentary titled The True Cost, which showcased the effects that fast fashion has on the environment. Rodrigo previously shared in an Instagram interview with Sophia Li, “That was just something that I had never really realized up until that point.”
The recycling of style has carried down to Rodrigo’s fans, who also frequently thrift for their own unique pieces — rather than buying new items from companies like Shein and Forever 21. Over the past few years, resale platforms like Depop and Mercari have also replaced eBay for younger users looking to sell their old clothes and buy pieces from others’ closets.
When speaking to some of Rodrigo’s fans, her push for sustainability is something that they highlight as why they respect her fashion approach.
As one fan named Jenn points out, the pop star briefly “had a stint as a Depop seller herself.” The account, dubbed “SOURShop,” found Rodrigo selling items from her music videos and closet with all proceeds going to charity. These included the feather boa from “Deja Vu,” her white Nike Air Max’s from “Good 4 U,” and a ringer band tee of The White Stripes — one of her personal musical influences.
Others, like a Boston-based fan named Haley, work in thrift stores and have experience seeing firsthand what the younger customers are purchasing: “Plaid skirts, platform boots, [and] lace tops.”
“Vivienne Westwood jewelry and pieces always sell especially fast in our store as well!” Haley adds, pointing out the designer’s recurring influence on Rodrigo’s public appearances — between the pink beaded dress and matching choker for her first Grammy Awards or her plaid look on Saturday Night Live.
“I wanted to do something fun and young, but also we’re at the Grammys, it’s glamorous,” she told E! on the red carpet in 2022.
Much like Rodrigo’s noted love for The White Stripes, her penchant for picking Westwood pieces speaks to the role that rock plays in her wardrobe. The late designer first rose to fame as bands like the Sex Pistols and other punk performers relied on her shop for unique and shocking pieces.
Rodrigo’s style also pulls inspiration from the “It Girls” of decades past. At a Grammys after party, she emulated Paris Hilton’s popular 21st birthday look — wearing a custom Blumarine dress alongside Hilton at the DJ booth. She even recently raided actress Chloë Sevigny’s sale in New York City, revealing her “most prized possession” of owning the actress’ plaid Versace dress, in a Vogue 73 Questions video to promote the new album. “I’ve had this dress, the picture of her wearing this dress, saved on my Pinterest for years, and I was actually able to get my hands on it,” she said.
Yet, compared to the “It Girls” of the early-aughts, Rodrigo has also served as a role model when it comes to representation. She is also around a similar age range as those who love her. In July 2023, she became the first Filipino girl to be on the cover of Vogue US, which is part of the reason why Jenn respects her.
“She’s a really valuable source of representation for me, and I was so happy, as a Southeast Asian girl myself,” she explains. “I always feel like I can trust her influence because of how her character seeps into her output as a person with a platform.”
That representation is also felt by fans like Paris, who appreciate the fact that Rodrigo takes plus sizes into consideration when putting out her own merchandise.
The stylist duo, Chloe and Chenelle, have worked with Rodrigo (and other celebrity clients) to bring a modern spin to the grunge and Y2K styles. According to an interview with i-D, they contacted the New York-based designer Sintra Martins to pull looks for Rodrigo’s Sour tour.
“Aggressively feminine in that it was masquerading femininity,” Martins previously told the publication about her design approach, as i-D applied it to Rodrigo’s pink ball gown look as one example. “I’m always asking how I fit into this world, what I get to do, and a lot of that is prescribed by gender. I feel like I’m really limited by gender, in some ways.”
And Rodrigo, like any fashion icon, isn’t remaining static. It’s been a little over a year since Rodrigo wrapped her Sour tour, and much has changed since then when it comes to her style. With Rodrigo now being 20, fans like Jenn have noticed that she is taking a “timeless and sophisticated” approach. If the Sour era was marked by colorful tees and pink dress that play with the previously-mentioned “aggressive feminine” concept, Rodrigo’s Guts era finds her in more monochromatic outfits.
Still, other Livvies are continuing to follow in Rodrigo’s footsteps. Around the time that we speak, Bridget is in NYC and planning on heading to a Guts promotional event in another recreated street-style look of the pop star’s past.
She sums up the mindset of those who turn to Rodrigo for fashion inspiration best: “[Olivia] can make anything look good, and she encourages me to have fun finding new styles and to play around with what I wear.”