Steal Joan Smalls’ Supermodel Style

By Nicole Andre
·  6 min read

As one of the world’s highest-paid models, Joan Smalls is nothing if not a stunner, and her great sense of style certainly doesn’t hurt.

Is there any shoot or show this beauty hasn’t done? Her career really began to take off in 2010 when she booked the Givenchy Spring/Summer runway show. Since then, the Puerto Rican model has had no trouble booking gigs from Tiffany’s to Victoria’s Secret to Estée Lauder.

But Smalls' career hasn’t stopped at runways and editorial shoots for magazines like Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. She did a swimwear collection for Ariela & Associates, a denim line for True Religion, and helped to create new lipsticks for Estée Lauder that were adopted as permanent shades. 

And while Smalls would probably look fabulous in a paper sack, she brings her A-game when it comes to style. Like a lot of models, she appreciates fashion and the industry she works in. Working with designers and fashion editors must help models like Smalls refine their eye for fashion. Maybe great style is contagious! If so, where do I sign up to shadow Anna Wintour?

A Showstopping Dress Is Always in Style

A paper sack I said? Yeah, that’s not how Smalls rolls. Instead, you’ll find her in a glamorous body con dress. What better way to celebrate your femininity? The body con dress is the perfect way to show off an hourglass figure, which Smalls clearly has. What makes this style so flattering on her is the waist emphasis. If you have a looser dress you can draw attention to the waist with a belt. No matter how you achieve it, the key is to make sure the waist emphasis is always there. It’ll be your best friend.

Feminine Florals Are In

Don’t sleep on the power of a good ol’ floral print. It’s reliable, versatile as far as prints go, and ultra-feminine. So whether you get floral into your wardrobe on a blouse or a dress, it’s an essential print to have. You can easily make florals winter-appropriate by working with layers — think cardigans and sweaters. Add a pair of boots, and you’re good to go! Boom, that skirt or dress can get you from winter to spring with minimum effort required.

Professionally Ladylike

Needed some workwear style inspiration? Joan Smalls has got that covered too. A sweater with a pencil skirt is the perfect work from home style for staying cozy and chic at the same time. Fair warning, that outfit formula might become just as addictive as your pajamas. But hey, it’s a thousand-times more elegant and will probably increase your productivity at the same time. 

Bright Colors and the Beach Just Work

When it comes to swimwear, Smalls is all about the bright prints and fun colors. So no matter what style your swimsuit is, wearing feminine colors is always a great idea. Figure out which ones work best with your skin tone and undertone, and go from there. When we’re uncomfortable in what we’re wearing it shows, so pick the style and color you know you’ll feel most comfortable in, and you’ll radiate confidence every time you wear the suit. If you feel confident in it, then mission accomplished!

Don’t Back Away from Neon

Smalls is the last person to shy away from bold colors. And neither should you! As long as you know what colors work with your undertone (whether it’s cool, neutral, or warm), you can get away with a really bright color. And if going all out with bright colors sounds a little too far out of your comfort zone (I get it), try starting with statement accessories that you can pair with your more neutral pieces.

Be a Femme Fatale in Red

There’s just something so femme fatale about the color red, isn’t there? It screams power, doesn’t it? And on a woman, it’s showcasing the power of femininity. A red dress and a big smile are never out of style. Nobody will ever hold more power than a woman who embraces her natural femininity with confidence. Pair it with a red lip for an extra bold look.

Animal Print Is a Must

I’m a big fan of this look! I think Joan Smalls might have just managed to make zebra print a classic. And maybe it should be considered one because it’s super fun while being pretty easy to wear in the day-to-day. My personal favorite way to incorporate animal print into your look is with a sweater like Smalls did. 

Shine in Silk

Is there anything more glamorous than silk? If you want to up your wardrobe game, try to find ways to incorporate basics made of silk for an extra touch of shine and allure to your look. 

Rock the Knee-High Boots

Knee-high boots are a staple for fall and winter. And with good reason! They’re super versatile, keep your legs and feet warm, and are much more comfortable to wear than a pair of stilettos (ouch!). So if you don’t have a pair, pick one up ASAP. And keep in mind, this is a good place to invest because if you buy a quality pair and take care of them, then they will last you a very long time. You won’t regret it. (And, oh yeah, ankle boots are super cute too!)

Stun in Black

Everything goes with black! And that’s part of why it’s so amazing. But an all-black look is on a whole other level of striking. Find styles of clothing that work for you and make sure you have them in black. It will be easy to wear with anything else in your wardrobe, and as part of an all-black look, will be one of the chicest (and easiest) outfits you ever put together. Let the compliments roll in!

Natural Makeup

While she isn’t afraid of a subtle smokey eye, Smalls’ makeup is pretty natural overall. And why shouldn’t it be? She’s gorgeous! Nonetheless, she has it right. Makeup is about enhancing your features, not burying your face in makeup until it’s unrecognizable. The makeup lets her unique features (and her amazing outfits, of course) shine. (Read our tips on mastering the natural makeup look!)

Closing Thoughts

This Puerto Rican beauty knows what works for her! And here’s the thing, at least some of what she does is bound to work for you too. So whether it’s incorporating bolder colors into your wardrobe, embracing animal print, or even just picking up a pair of knee-high boots, we could all learn a tip or two from Joan Smalls’ bold style.