In this FRONTPAGE interview, we catch up with model extraordinaire Reign Judge for an in-depth assessment of their personal style.
We all get dressed, but some folks get dressed better. What’s their secret? Well, for one, the best-dressed always look effortless. Even if one does put a lot of thought into their look, to appear perpetually uncaring is the je ne sais quoi that separates the swag from the swagless.
Because she is of exemplary taste, Reign Judge, naturally, relishes thoughtlessness. “Getting dressed doesn’t really ever take longer than, like, 15 minutes,” she laughs. “And even that’s like, ‘Damn, I’ve been thinking about this for too long.’”
Great personal style doesn’t mean dressing any one way or even limiting your taste, it just means knowing how to handle your clothes, as Judge knows. “I have so many clothes, it’s actually a little bit concerning,” Judge says. “But I’ve gotten my closet to a point where I can pick any item and it’s going to work in some way.”
Judge, a native New Yorker, is only 21 years old, but she’s modeled for everyone from independent brands like Batsheva to companies as big as Ralph Lauren, demonstrating a timeless versatility that belies her age. In fact, “timeless” is the only phrase she feels comfortable using to describe her own stylistic palette, though she’d rather not pin herself down to specifics.
Judge’s Instagram account provides visual clarification: scarf-wrapped, slinky-dressed selfies, candid snaps at parties hosted by Chanel, candlelit dinners, and mountainside hikes (in heels, no less). Her taste is malleable and fluid and that’s what makes it so magnetic. The only person who needs to understand the personal style of Reign Judge is, well, Reign Judge.
What does personal style mean to you?
Personal style to me is just wearing what makes you feel good and the most like yourself. It depends on the day.
Well, how would you define your style?
If anything, I try for a timeless, classic look. The thing I have the most of, item-wise, is button-ups. That is a need for me, for my wardrobe. That’s my go-to when I’m like, “I don’t want to get dressed. I’m too lazy.” A button-up and slacks, that’s my uniform.
I just feel like my wardrobe is all very — I don’t know if proper’s the word, but definitely classic and nothing like what’s trending, Y2K or whatever. I don’t have any of that floating around. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it’s just definitely not me.
Do you have a desert island button-up?
Yes, definitely. It’s this COMME des GARÇONS shirt. I actually just wore it the other day. It’s, I don’t know, like a multicolored stripe, with every different piece of the shirt a different color. It’s a funky shirt, just so fun, and I’m obsessed. I wear it all the time.
Is that the oldest thing in your wardrobe?
No, no, definitely not. I have some pieces from the 1930s. I haven’t even worn them yet because they’re so fragile, like delicate, delicate lace.
So those are the oldest age-wise, but what’s the garment that you’ve owned the longest?
I feel like whatever I’ve had the longest I probably don’t wear that often, but I’m emotionally attached so I can’t get rid of it. The item that I’ve been wearing frequently for the longest time is a pair of Gucci loafers.
How long have you had them?
Probably two and a half years now. It’s really sad, but I have five different pairs because they just kept getting messed up, so each pair has a different amount of wear. There’s the ones that look really worn in and there’s a pair that’s so perfect and everything in between. For specific outfits, I’m like, “I need the medium worn-in pair.”
What’s the appeal of the Gucci loafer?
I just love Gucci so much. Everything works. I like brands where you can just buy anything, like, you could close your eyes, just buy five pieces, and it’s going to look good.
Going from vintage to Gucci, how often do you mix runway fashion and thrift finds?
Oh, every day. I feel like the only time I’ll go out in all-designer will be Gucci, just because I have a lot of their button-downs. But that’s very rare, and on most days, I’m wearing a mixture of vintage clothes with designer accessories — maybe a nice bag and nice shoes.
I was never one to be like, “Oh, no mixing brands.” I honestly don’t care. Whatever looks good and feels good, that’s what I’m going to do.
Does getting dressed in the morning ever take much time?
It really depends, but most of the time, honestly not. I’ll usually just pick one piece that I definitely want to wear, then build from there. For me, getting dressed doesn’t really ever take longer than, like, 15 minutes. It really comes down to who I feel like that day.
Funny that you mention these multitudes, because I was going to ask if you could describe your wardrobe with, like, a single adjective. For instance, if I described your style as “prep,” how’d you feel about that?
I honestly hate it. For some people, that [generalization] definitely can be applied, one word across the board. There was a point for me when I was still figuring out my style where I really heavily went into this one kind of region, which was a more preppy look.
Then I was like, “Okay, I’ve perfected this, I know how to dress this way to a T.” Then I started to explore the areas around it, and now I feel like there’s five different modes that I go into.
I use the word “timeless” because I think everything I wear does have that essence of, “Was this photo taken in 1950 or yesterday?”
Is there a specific era that you get inspiration from?
I’ve been really into the ’60s and ’70s recently. But I get a lot of my inspiration from watching performers, like Nina Simone or Amy Winehouse. She’s everything to me — love her so much.
The way they present themselves is so awesome to me. They just always look so put together and command a certain respect.
You’ve been posting some of those clips to your Instagram page, too, I noticed. Are you on TikTok?
Yeah, but my whole For You page is food — just recipes and restaurants. For style, Pinterest is big.
I get most of my inspiration from films or musicians. I have so many screenshots in my phone from old French movies that make me be like, “Okay, I’m going to recreate this outfit in my own way.”
Let’s say you were getting your wardrobe made over by one of the costume designers for those movies. Would you prefer that to picking out the clothes yourself?
No. Even if I was the biggest movie star in the whole world, I don’t think I’d ever give a stylist control over what I wear.
You can ask my team: Every time I’m going to an event, I have a very clear-cut vision of what I want to look like, and it’s just like, “Okay, I need this, this, and this.” That’s always going to work because I can just feel it in my chest when an outfit isn’t me.
Maybe at some point in my career, for the sake of accessibility, I’ll work with a stylist. But there will definitely never be a point in my life where someone’s laying out an outfit for me and I’m like, “Yes, let’s go.” I need to have a say in it because it needs to be me.
That’s kind of what we did for the shoot [in this issue] that my friend Conor shot. That was, honestly, probably my favorite shoot I’ve done because of that. It was literally the most fun ever, it just felt like a playground.
Editorial shoots where they just have those racks of racks of clothes and shoes and jewelry — that to me is heaven. There’s nothing I’d rather do than just be there and try on all the things. And that’s what we did for this shoot. It was just such a fun day and I was like, “Damn, I really hope I get the opportunity to do stuff like this more often, just because it was so much fun.”
Would you ever make that shift to being a stylist for other people?
I feel like a broken record, but so much of my style and the way I pick things has to do with what’s going on with my life or the movie I just watched or the place I just visited. It’s hard for me to picture doing that for someone else.
Obviously not everyone feels like that, but [being a stylist] would be so hard because, I don’t know, I’m not the person being styled. I’d be like, “What are you feeling today? Are you heartbroken? Are you in love?” Because all of that stuff impacts the way that I personally dress.
I’ve had this conceit for a long time about really great style being selfish, in a way. Does that make sense?
A hundred percent. Back to when you asked me for the definition of personal style — that’s it to a T. It’s about the person and how they feel and want to be presented.
Yeah, style is inherently a very selfish thing, but it should be, because it’s yours. It’s not anyone else’s. Style is one region of life where you should be selfish. Who cares what literally anyone else has to say?
Agreed. Let’s step back for a second: How do you personally distinguish “fashion” and “style”?
Fashion, at the end of the day, is an industry, and there’s politics and the new seasons and X, Y, and Z. But I think style is more of a feeling, emotion, the way you want to present yourself in clothing.
I personally knew literally nothing about fashion — the terminology, the reasons for all the shows, whatever — until I got into the industry. But I’ve always loved, loved, loved clothes.
Wrapping up here, is there any place where great style is happening that people aren’t paying attention to?
Everyone has so much access to everything now that it feels like everyone’s seeing everything all the time. But people-watching is awesome, especially in cities like Paris, where I used to live.
I’d find a lot of inspiration from sitting at a café and letting people pass by for hours and hours.
Any specific recommendation for people-watching in Paris?
Café Le Mabillon in Saint-Germain, on the main road, I always used to sit there. But, really, any of the corner cafés. Get an outside seat, have a hot chocolate, and just watch the awesomeness.