Photography by Getty Images

It seems opposites really do attract.

It’s hard to be a celebrity in a relationship, I assume. Your dating timeline is basically public knowledge. Slightly humiliating monikers like “Bennifer” and “Tay-Squared” are unavoidable. And your street style as a couple is treated as a marker of your compatibility. But Hailey and Justin Bieber — in all their mismatched glory — don’t seem phased by this.

RELATED: Is Hailey Bieber 2023’s Audrey Hepburn?

The famous couple, who tied the knot in 2018, are frequently photographed out and about looking like they’re going to different parties. Hailey leans form-fitting and polished, while Justin is reliably dressed down and baggy. It’s almost as if they purposely skew as far as they can from one another when getting dressed. And you know what? It works.

Case in point: The pair is currently in New York City, and their sartorial contradictions are on full display. On a May 10 dinner date, Hailey went full Matrix fashion in a leather maxi and bralette with pointed heels. Justin, on the other hand, wore a white tank, low-slung jeans and worker boots. This seems not like a simple vibe difference, but a deeper commitment to being so visually contrary that the untrained eye would think, “Hm, I wonder why these two strangers are holding hands.”

Said dress code conundrum was the case yet again on a date night in April. Hailey’s ensemble? Pointed-toe heels, chic sheer tights and a halter LBD. Justin’s? Sweatshirt, baseball cap, and slides, if we’re being generous (but slippers if we’re being serious).

It was the same deal a few months back, at the grand opening of OBB Studios in Los Angeles. Mrs. Bieber was decked out in Schiaparelli couture with gold accessories, while her husband was in paint-stained jeans, a Drew House sweater and a pink beanie.

At this point, this sort of outright outfitting confusion is part of the couple’s style DNA. Historians will tell you that back in 2021, on a much-publicized outing in Paris, Hailey Bieber dazzled in a pink Miu Miu cocktail dress while Justin donned a slouchy red hoodie. Moral of the story? They almost never look in sync, and maybe that’s the point.

The garments worn by Hollywood couples tend to be taken as symbols of synchronicty. Tom Holland has a “Z” emblazoned on certain pairs of pants, which fans speculate is an understated ode to Zendaya. More alarmingly, Machine Gun Kelly accessorized with a vial of Megan Fox’s blood around his neck during their courtship. But Hailey and Justin Bieber take a decidedly different approach: dedicated inconsistency. Olivia Broussard (@olivialayne6) recently went viral on TikTok pointing out this phenomenon. “Is one of them overdressed or is the other one underdressed?” Broussard mused, flashing a series of photos of the duo on screen. “I cannot tell by looking at these outfits.”

There are, as with everything in life, exceptions to this pattern. Sometimes, the Biebers will appear delightfully harmonious. Take their recent outing in L.A., where they both sported baggy jeans, a staple of low-effort, versatile dressing. Hailey completed her look with kitten heels and a crop top, while Justin went for a hoodie and sneakers. Here, despite their differences, the pair were decidedly in equilibrium. But this is not usually the case.

More often than not, Hailey is dressed to the nines while Justin looks unbothered and relaxed. She’ll wear a luxe Saint Laurent fur coat, and he’ll be in bug-eye sunnies and patterns layered with reckless abandon. For them, that’s normal. And sure, it’s a little jarring. She’s giving high-fashion, he’s giving Adam Sandler with a jar of pickles. But perhaps their drastically different dressing methods signal two partners that are secure in their relationship. They’re wearing what they want, and not judging one another for it.

Photography by Getty Images

What’s the purpose of painstakingly coordinating with your significant other, anyhow? To present an image of unity to the world? To convince onlookers that you’re on the same page? The Biebers, and all their incongruous outfits, take this notion and flip it on its head. What’s next for these two and their contrasting street styles? I’m not sure. But in all likelihood, nothing will make sense. And I’ll love it.

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