Leighton Meester Was Gossip Girl’s True Style Star


Gossip Girl gave the world many gifts—Taylor Momsen’s music career, Blake Lively’s pop culture dominance, that one epic meme of Penn Badgley typing on a laptop—but the highlight of teen soap that ruled the 2000s was Leighton Meester. The actress, portraying the Upper East Side’s Queen B, Blair Waldorf, took what could have been a two-dimensional high school mean girl and made it her own. Blair’s quips, eccentrically feminine fashion, and ability to bring the drama are well remembered, but Meester, who turns 35 today, is as watchable off-screen. On the red carpet and at parties, she displays a personal style that is unapologetically pretty and has been from the start. While other aughts celebrities were busying themselves with trends that now feel dated, Meester’s affinity for floral dresses, sleek suits, and delicate jewelry means that her throwback looks feel as relevant now as they did a decade earlier. 

Meester asserted her point-of-view early. When Gossip Girl premiered in 2007, she attended the celebrations at New York nightclub TenJune in an embellished LBD from Texan designer Julie Haus. Understated with a modish A-line silhouette and zig-zag print, it was a sophisticated choice. Less than a year later and Meester brought Alber Elbaz’s Parisian chic to the 2008 Teen Choice Awards in an emerald draped look from the designer’s celebrated spring/summer 2008 collection. 

By the time Meester made it to the Met Gala steps in 2009, she had entered an experimental phase, wearing directional designs that showcased her playful side. In a Marc Jacobs-designed Louis Vuitton puff-sleeved dress with matching pants, she took the night’s ‘Model as Muse’ theme and put her spin on it. Jacobs looked to Christian Lacroix and Marie Seznec, the silver-haired model and stylist who was Lacroix’s ambassador during the 1980s, when plotting out his collection that season and filled his runway with irreverent pieces heavy on embellishment. It takes a particular person to handle a crimson, paisley, floral look that comes with an insider-y fashion reference, but Meester pulled it off beautifully. 

While her old-school style hits are sure to trigger nostalgia, Meester’s post-Gossip Girl fashions are equally compelling. Having moved on to show her range on comedies like Single Parents and The Last Man on Earth, the low-key star only makes the press rounds when it’s time to promote a new project or support a friend. Each time she does, it’s in a ladylike piece from a beloved designer. In 2019, at the premiere of husband Adam Brody’s flick, Shazam Meester delighted in a polka dot print dress from Alessandra Rich with long sleeves and keyhole detail. Prints—be they dots, loops, or flowers—are part of Meester’s repertoire. At the premiere of Brody’s Ready or Not later that year, she chose a satin cream number from Michael Kors, covered in tiny lavender petals. 

Like many people, Meester has kept a low profile since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, choosing to spend lockdown surrounded by loved ones and welcoming a daughter, Arlo Day, in December. Given the precarious nature of life in 2021, it may be a while before the chic star returns to a full schedule of premieres and press dates, but when she does, rest assured that the fashion will be well worth the wait. 

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