Pamela Anderson is so synonymous with a certain vein of ’90s bombshell glamour that many of today’s young stars often dress up as her for Halloween. (Think: jorts and tanks, that big fuzzy hat, her Barb Wire leather era, and of course a certain red swimsuit.) Lately, though, Anderson’s personal style has morphed into anything but a party costume. In fact, she’s been out-fashioning the fashion girls lately by dressing in refined tailoring, often offset with minimal makeup. At first glance, she could have been mistaken for the fashion director Vogue Scandinavia, not a Baywatch icon.
Cementing her recent transformation, Anderson turned up September 27 in Paris to sit front row at every fashion girl’s favorite American brand, The Row. Her oversized suit-and-coat combo was not too dissimilar from the one Austin Butler wore the day prior to attend Saint Laurent’s runway show—and yet, Anderson’s take was actually a bit more covered-up: unlike Butler, she wore a white collared shirt underneath her jacket.
She wore her hair slightly tousled and opted for minimal makeup, in an aesthetic that called to revered fashion insiders like designer Phoebe Philo or legendary Vogue contributing editor Tonne Goodman.
Or perhaps the inspiration was her good friend, the photographer Ellen Von Unwerth (Von Unwerth has shot Anderson numerous times over the years, including for a 2015 issue of Playboy that was, at the time, billed as the magazine’s last issue that would feature nudity). Von Unwerth, too, is a fan of suits and fuss-free glam. If that was the reference, Anderson completed it by carrying an actual camera along with her.
Anderson’s fashion transformation is no one-off. She’s been out and about lately in minimal makeup and on-trend oversized silouettes. During New York Fashion Week, she sat front row at Proenza Schouler (another fashion insider favorite) in simple glam and a black shirtdress. She also attended a Pandora event during the week in a pair of oversize trousers that matched a button-down blouse.
While Anderson isn’t ashamed of her hyper-sexualized looks of the past, in recent years she’s talked about wanting to take control back of her own image and her enthusiasm for aging more naturally in the public eye.
“Part of my life is always trying to get over that hump, convincing people that I’m capable of anything because of the image of me,” she told WSJ. Magazine earlier this year. “And I know I’m responsible for that.”
“A lot of my career was based on being in a bathing suit, running around on the beach, lip gloss and eyeliner and big hair,” she said. “I’m a lot more than that.”
Today’s look is the inverse of that bikini-bombshell image—proving that, in addition to being a ’90s icon, author, actress, activist, and mother, Anderson can add another title to all that she is: an official fashion insider.