Don’t you hate it when you get all dressed up to promote your skincare brand’s new collaboration with a national donut chain and your husband shows up in a groutfit with a trucker hat pulled over his tightly tied hoodie and a pair of bright yellow Crocs? If you feel seen by this quagmire, know that you aren’t alone. Hailey Bieber recently found herself in this very predicament with her husband Justin: a classic case of what the internet has dubbed “Overdressed GF, Underdressed BF.”
Always put-together, Mrs. Bieber regularly steps out in chic minidresses and high heels. Justin, on the other hand, has become known as a serial under-dresser, consistently wearing hoodies, baggy jeans, oversized tees, and backwards caps to date nights and other events where “casual” probably isn’t the operative word in the dress code. But hey, he’s the Biebs!
On an April date night at their favorite restaurant, Giorgio Baldi, Hailey Bieber dressed to the nines in a sleek LBD and black tights with pointed black pumps. Justin Bieber, for his part, wore house shoes, albeit from his own label Drew House. (He has a thing for slippers. he previously stepped out in a Louis Vuitton monogrammed set in 2019 and, in 2018, a pair straight from the hotel.)
The Biebers have long embodied the extremes of the Overdressed GF, Underdressed BF dichotomy. But the most recent instance, which occurred on the day Hailey launched her Krispy Kreme collaboration with her skincare company Rhode, seemed particularly relatable online. “He’s always dressed like he’s about to go help his mom bring in groceries from the car,” user @SaeedDiCaprio wrote on Twitter. Others joked about the frustration that comes with being dragged down by association. “Id be so angry if i was giving the girls my best look of the year and here come my husband,” @siyyaninaas said.
Although he didn’t deck himself out in head-to-toe strawberry merch, Justin was ever the supportive husband, posting a sweet Instagram dedicated to Hailey and the launch. Behind-the-scenes videos also captured Jusin in full IG Husband mode, snapping pictures of his beloved in front of her Times Square billboard. “very unpopular opinion but i kinda love that he clearly doesn’t want the attention on him. he wants her to stand out for her OWN event while he just shows up to show her love from the sidelines and i honestly love that,” a user named Isabel tweeted.
But the Biebers’ complete inability to dress for the same occasion has become the most relatable thing about them. Who among us hasn’t thrown up their hands in defeat when they’ve put in an hour getting ready and their boyfriend rocks up in a pair of busted overalls and Crocs? And while the highly memed fashion divide is a largely heteronormative phenomenon, it’s resonated with the queer community. “Me when i show up somewhere with my femme girlfriend,” writer Kristen Arnett tweeted about the Rhode launch.
It’s not just the Biebers. Scores of couples—even famous ones—are plagued by the Overdressed GF, Underdressed BF phenomenon. See: Miley Cyrus and Patrick Schwarzenegger, who wore a three-piece neon pink fishnet outfit and a gray t-shirt and jeans, respectively to a Moschino event. Adam Sandler wore a Knicks hoodie to his own movie premiere while his wife Jackie donned an LBD and heels. It even applies to George and Amal Clooney, when she wore a gold minidress to his Casamigos tequila event while he opted for a white button-down and jeans. (While it’s worth pointing out that the underdressed parties here are men, and there is a certain expectation for women to always appear presentable, these are ladies who are inclined to pull out a look in any situation.) And although not much else about the lives of the rich and famous are relatable, at least we’re able to find common ground over their mismatched outfits.
My colleague Christian Allaire is a fierce defender of Justin’s sartorial choices: “There’s something commendable about him always sticking to his own fashion sense—oftentimes, couples share a wardrobe, or at least a general aesthetic. But his devotion to his Drew House hoodies and his beloved Crocs, to me, expresses individuality,” he says. “I kind of love that he doesn’t care what everyone thinks.” I’m inclined to agree. You can always tell when a partner (in most cases, a straight man) has become a dress-up doll, itchy and uncomfortable in a clearly coordinated outfit. The Biebers have found what works for them as individuals—even if it is memeable from the outside.
Like death and taxes, being dressed in diametric opposition to your partner is one of life’s few guarantees. So let’s salute the Biebers, and all couples who aren’t fighting their sartorial differences and are staying true to themselves in front of God and the entire internet.
This article was originally published on British Vogue.