Every morning around 7 a.m., I power through a groggy haze to walk Lilibet, my 8-pound shih tzu. It takes about six Taylor Swift songs for him to find the perfect spot to relieve himself, and while he looks snazzy in a royal blue harness and leash matching set, I dress in accordance with my role: human poop scooper.
It’s usually a mismatched look, with a hoodie over my head to hide unbrushed hair, the sartorial equivalent of incognito mode.
Apparently I’ve been wasting some prime ’fit-flaunting time. In the past year, many of fashion’s biggest tastemakers are using dog walks as, well, catwalks.
Take Emily Ratajkowski, who’s been walking her German shepherd and husky mix, Colombo, most mornings around her New York City apartment. One day last month, the model and author wore two meticulously styled looks to do so: in one, a cropped bra with leather pants; in the other, heeled knee-high boots with a belted pencil skirt.
Ratajkowski, ever the spicy dresser, has been turning out for her daily dog walks since she got Colombo in 2019. Vogue UK has even credited her for “single-handedly” turning the “humdrum daily task into a bona fide fashion moment.”
In late July, for example, she wore a cherry red dress with a thigh-high slit, which she paired with the Miu Miu Wander handbag. The only practical item was her footwear, but that was more of a style choice than an errand signifier.
Sure, there’s something romantic about wearing your best ’fit to hang out with your best bud. But just how practical is it for celebs to parade their best designer pieces only to wait for their pets to, err, use the toilet? Better yet, is Ratajkowski really wearing a risky slitted dress to pick up dog sh*t?
Recently, other A-listers have followed suit. Dua Lipa has been photographed walking her rescue dog, Dexter, in a plaid miniskirt, paired with knee-high boots and Luar’s trendy Ana bag.
And others aren’t actually walking their dogs at all, but carrying them. See Hailey Bieber, below, in a power blazer this past spring, as well as Bella Hadid and Olivia Culpo. (Meanwhile, peep Justin Bieber in the back? That’s what I typically look like.)
In November, Kendall Jenner went so far as to hire her stylist, Dani Michelle, to architect a look for walking her dog, Pyro. The model accompanied the Doberman pinscher in a full Bottega Veneta ensemble, complete with a “stealth wealth” coded trench coat, sunnies, and burgundy boots.
But apparently, it was all part of an elaborate orchestrated campaign by Bottega Veneta to simulate celebrities in their daily lives. And, for my purposes, what better way to confirm a nascent trend’s existence than by its commodification?
Over several days, Jenner was fully outfitted in the label to live her regular life — grab dinner with friends, pump gas, and walk Pyro, among other activities — while paparazzi captured (and subsequently sold) her “candid” moments in real-time.
In December, after the pics had made the rounds, the Italian label licensed the photos and re-released them, this time with the brand name slapped on top. (The brand did the same with A$AP Rocky’s paparazzi pics — sans dogs.)
So tomorrow, as I haphazardly dress for my early morning walk with Lilibet, I’ll ruminate on how our roles are flipped. While he’s decked out in stylish wares like the chicest celebrities, I’ll have more in common with their dogs: decidedly un-glamorous and pragmatically focused on one sh*tty mission, outfit be damned. Celebrities, they’re not always like us.