According to Elsa Hosk, These 7 Staples Are the Secret to Model-Off-Duty Style


(Image credit: @hoskelsa)

If you are the proud owner of an Instagram account, I can guarantee that Elsa Hosk has popped up on your feed at least once in your lifetime. Her effortless model-off-duty style is so good that her posts are constantly going viral. If you're an OG fan like me, you'll recognize her from her days as a Victoria's Secret Angel. What is she up to now? She's stepped out of her wings and into a role as the fashion designer of the latest It-girl brand, Helsa.

According to Hosk, a renowned supermodel and fashion icon, achieving that coveted model-off-duty style requires a carefully curated selection of wardrobe staples. With her effortless street style and impeccable fashion sense, Hosk offers us a glimpse into the secret behind her enviable off-duty looks. From chic essentials to unexpected statement pieces, Hosk has mastered the art of assembling outfits that effortlessly capture the essence of model-off-duty coolness. Below, shop the seven pieces she recommends buying.


(Image credit: @hoskelsa)

When you're not working, what's your go-to outfit for running errands or grabbing coffee with friends? 

My staples from the new drop that just released from Helsa are the 100% organic linen shirts, shorts, and coats. They have that same relaxed vibe but are dressy enough to wear to lunch, meetings, and coffee runs where you know you might run into people, so you want to be super comfortable but look put-together. I'm very particular about fit. I don't just make these pieces to take an Instagram picture in. I want them to live in my wardrobe forever and be constant pieces to go back to over and over again. So the fit has to be immaculate, flattering, and sharp.

How do you balance comfort and style in your off-duty looks? 

I never want to feel uncomfortable in clothes, and I don't think you should ever compromise style and comfort. The two should go together seamlessly. To me, there's nothing sexier than a woman in men's clothes, so a lot of the pants and shirts from Helsa look like you borrowed a men's shirt that just so happens to fit perfectly. I'd wear slouchy trousers with a belt and a jersey baby tee or an oversize blazer with black split leggings. Balancing the silhouette while still achieving comfort is the goal. 

How do you switch up your style when traveling to different cities or countries?

I find myself wearing more color on vacation or matching the colors of the place I'm going more with my wardrobe. We made a sheer, long ruffle-hem dress in the most beautiful shade of orange for the summer drop that I'm so excited to wear surrounded by sunsets, orange trees, and flowers on holiday this summer. 

What are some unexpected styling tips or tricks that you've picked up from working with different designers and stylists throughout your career? 

I feel like, as a model, I've tried on more clothes than the majority of the world's population, so you get an instinct for what fit works best, how fabric moves, what gets dated quickly, and what stays classic. I've always been curious about everyone's job on set, learning as much as I can from designers and stylists—fit, fabric, the mixing of the two, creating contrast. But putting an outfit together has always just been instinct to me. Since a young age, I've had a very clear idea of how I want to dress, how I want to feel in an outfit, how I put it together. It's my armor. It tells the world who I am. It's always been important to me. It's harder to explain because it comes very naturally to me, so I think what's been the most valuable and something I've needed to learn the most from designers and clients running brands is the business side of making clothes, how to run a company, and merchandising. 

How do you define your model uniform?

I don't think this goes just for models but for anyone. I don't think there's a model look anymore, or at least, I don't find it interesting. Our agents used to tell us we had to wear high heels, black skinny jeans, and a tank top for castings, and it was always my least favorite way to dress. Look like everyone else? How boring! I'd always break the rules. I think the coolest models have the most amazing style. They just wear what flatters their bodies and look [like] themselves. I think it's a new world where clients are drawn to personal style and personality and rather book a girl because of what they have to say and their personal style than that they have a pretty face or "perfect body," and that change is finally starting to happen—just embracing who you are and what you stand for.

From chic essentials to unexpected statement pieces, Hosk has mastered the art of assembling outfits that effortlessly capture the essence of model-off-duty coolness. If you want to borrow her cool Scandi-girl style, shop the seven pieces she recommends buying.

1. Vintage Levi's


(Image credit: @hoskelsa)

Hosk raved about her love for this denim style saying, "I wear my boyfriend's oversize vintage Levi’s with a belt." Whether or not you have a partner to borrow jeans from, enjoy this selection of Levi's to shop.


2. The Perfect White Tee


(Image credit: @hoskelsa)

The baby tee from Helsa is something that Hosk takes lots of pride in. She mentioned that it is her personal favorite.


3. A Great Trench Coat


(Image credit: @hoskelsa)

Hosk has been shopping lately. She told me that she "just got an extra-long, floor-sweeping oversize trench coat from Saint Laurent" as an investment buy for 2023. I have a feeling that this effortless staple isn't going anywhere anytime soon.


4. Sandals


(Image credit: @hoskelsa)

The supermodel loves to take a vacation, and minimal sandals are forever a staple of hers. They elongate and flatter the legs and draw attention to the rest of your outfit. Hosk mentioned this item in her list of stylish staples.


5. Oversize Shirt


(Image credit: @hoskelsa)

Hosk told me, "I love oversize clothing when I'm not working. We design a lot of airy shirts and pants for Helsa that are comfy, elegant, and timeless, and that's my personal favorite way of dressing." She specifically spotlighted oversize button-downs in this category.


6. Matching Set


(Image credit: @hoskelsa)

"We made this set for Helsa in raw linen and a chambray blue. My boyfriend Tom wears the same set in blue stripes when we travel, and he gets stopped a million times by people asking where his outfit is from. I love creating unisex clothes and sharing our wardrobes," Hosk said.


7. Distressed Leather Jacket


(Image credit: @hoskelsa)

It doesn't take long to scroll through Hosk's Instagram page and realize that she's really loving leather jackets right now. She specified, "For myself, I prefer a distressed bomber at the moment." I'm so here for that vintage look.


Up Next: I Just Got Back from L.A.—I Found the 8 Coolest Staples People Wore on Nordstrom

Associate Editor

Sierra Mayhew was always destined to work in fashion, but she didn't know it at first. Growing up with no choice but to wear a rotation of school uniforms and activewear, her love for fashion really blossomed when she moved away for college and was able to finally define her very own personal style. Shortly thereafter, she interned at Elle magazine and instantly knew that editorial was for her. After graduating from the University of Notre Dame, she worked for ShopBazaar, contributing regularly to, and finally made her way to Who What Wear, where she is an associate editor. When she’s not working, you can catch her always trying to catch a flight, rollerblading through New York City traffic, or exploring the latest luxury vintage boutique.