Leonardo DiCaprio: My unlikely style hero of summer 2020

Written by Hannah Cole

Photography Supplied

There’s something about the bad-boy-with-a-soul that has always appealed to me; I just didn’t think I would start dressing like him too.

Every season I play a little game in my head: who will I be this {insert season here}? It’s at worst the sign of an underlying identity crisis and at best a spin at fashion roulette. The Millennial in me hates being stagnant; I must keep evolving, producing and bettering, and it leaves no aspect of life unturned. As a way of impacting the wardrobe, an overarching aesthetic is agreed upon with me myself and I. The look becomes a uniform of sorts — a simple checklist that makes the morning rush more bearable. 

This past winter, Zoe Kravtiz’s Rob in High Fidelity determined my layered looks merging leather, overshirts and sweater vests; Elaine Benes had me appropriating a 90s woman-at-work in socks and loafers. 

But now, who will I be for summer 2020? The question haunted me for weeks, embarrassingly so. After a long yet oddly fast year overexposed to “loungewear”, elasticised waists and athletic gear, summer is a breath of new life. I need a uniform that offers versatility — survival in the outdoors under this new COVID way of life means sun, dirt, and sand over dirty bar stools and cheesy cocktails. I need an air of freedom and nonchalance, warmth and tenderness. Fashion speaks louder than words.

While cottagecore was the summer hit over in the northern hemisphere, the overt girliness and jam preserving ways are a little sickly sweet for my liking. There is a need for more grit; a means to show 2020 that we will fight back. I won’t bow down and surrender. 

Then it came to me, like a strange, heavenly vision one morning as I was desperately clothing myself: Leonardo DiCaprio circa late 90s to the early 00s. That haloed babyface has dictated my vibe ever since. 

Journey down memory lane with me and flashback to Baz Luhrmann’s epic Romeo and Juliet. Forget Claire Danes’ angelic wings and zoom in on Romeo and the Montague boys. The Californian beach gang spruiked wild, sea-salt sprayed hair with bold Hawaiian shirts, baggy trousers and skate shoes. Add a smattering of layered chains and a dishevelled attitude for good luck. There’s something about the bad-boy-with-a-soul that has always appealed to me; I just didn’t think I would start dressing like him too. 

Fast forward to The Beach — Leo’s Richard journeys to an island paradise only to meet torment, anguish and possession. I’ll take the looks without the psychological terror, thanks. Baggy tees printed with meaningless logos, tight tees, buttons-flailing overshirts, and that iconic chain (the OG before Connell wooed us with his silver?). Try and stop me from dip-dyeing my hair with bleached tips.  Inspiration comes from unlikely places, even when there is more parading around shirtless than is acceptable in daily life. 

Does that make me a skater/surfer/groupie/bum now? Regardless, it’s a look that encapsulates something we need right now: a bloody break. While inside I might be battling fears of the invisible enemy, on the exterior I’m prepped to fight back with a heavy-handed laissez-faire attitude. Come at me. One look at my get-up, though, and the unknown evil will know I play with the sharks every day. Never underestimate the power of a good ‘fit.

leonardo dicaprio
leonardo dicaprio

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