In January 2019, Frank Ocean was doing what most fashionable well-connected people do: attending shows at Paris Fashion Week. But one outfit, in particular, struck a chord with the internet’s menswear obsessives. It was a vibrantly shaded puffer jacket 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 online—and, notably, feels just as stylish today, a testament both to Ocean’s ability to stay ahead of the curve and to the way he’s quietly helped reshape large swathes of menswear according to his tastes.
Present day, this casual outdoorsy look is more or less unmissable in the stylish corners of basically any city on earth: you see Salomon sneakers paired with Comme des Garçons trousers, or Stone Island puffers with sought-after vintage Levi’s. Walk through New York’s SoHo neighborhood, and you’ll see men dressed in a mix of tried-and-true outdoor labels with high fashion brands. Ocean wasn’t the first to do this, but when he does something, it’s always with considered finesse—and people drop what they’re doing to pay attention. Accordingly, the style has replaced the normcore craze of yesteryear; the goal is to no longer dress like Jerry Seinfeld but like George Costanza. (Yet another notable puffy 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 but Céline, from when the label still had an accent mark and was helmed by the feverishly admired Phoebe Philo. (A very IYKYK flex, even back in 2019.) Ocean’s bright do-it-all down jacket, meanwhile is by Mammut, a Swiss company for clued-in adventurers, and his beanie is Arc’teryx, the seriously tech-forward outdoors brand that is now a present-day name drop among fashion bros. The outfit gets rounded out with straight-leg blue jeans and navy hiking boots. Now, why did this singular outfit warrant coverage from GQ and Vogue and just about every other fashion title on the internet?
To start, the outfit certainly stood out amidst the usual fashion week fare.
One photo from the day finds Ocean sitting next 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 heightened by Ocean’s MFA-level eye for color theory, pairing similar and complementary colors without being too matchy. (This simple-yet-cool brown and blue fit still bounces around in my head.)
Looking back, this outfit felt like the start of a monumental shift—the singular drip that burst the well as rugged, technical wares went from menswear’s more obscure corners into the mainstream. Now, as fall turns into winter and the heavier coats come into rotation, it’s all but guaranteed that we’ll see plenty of stylish dudes dressing like Frank Ocean, whether they mean to or not.