Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen's ex-stylist explains all those layers they wear


Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen may be at the helm of their own fashion empire with their two luxury brands, The Row and Elizabeth and James, but back when they were trend-setting teens they got a lot of help from their stylist, Judy Swartz. Swartz, who now works as Melissa McCarthy's stylist, recently spoke to Refinery29 about creating some of their more notable looks from the early aughts, including the Olsens' oft-referenced boho-chic moments (no mention of their ubiquitous Starbucks coffee cups, though).

"Well, the layers came from me. It's how I dress. It comes from my days of dressing rock stars," she said, referring to the ultra-layered looks worn by the Olsens while studying at N.Y.U. "I'm pretty petite myself, and I just have always worn big, oversized things to cover myself up. I still do. I might wear a tight pair of jeans, but I've got a big baggy sweater on, and 50 layering pieces. I'm not surprised that layering moved forward with [Mary-Kate and Ashley's] aesthetics, because it was such a big part of their style growing up."

52 PHOTOS
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen style transformation
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Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen style transformation
1991
At five years old, the Olsen twins sport matching floral outfits and frilly socks. 
1992
The Olsen twins stand arm in arm, wearing lacy tiered dresses. 
1993
Hand in hand like true BFFs, the twins wear adorable straw hats and sandals for their day in the sun.
1993
The twin youngsters hit NYC in nautical-inspired looks topped off with adorable red bows.
1994
Mary-Kate and Ashley wear cute as can be adorable floral headpieces.
1995
The twin take to the It Takes Two red carpet wearing matching oriential-inspired floral dresses.
1996
Mary-Kate and Ashley attend the 9th Annual Kids Choice Awards in all black and their favorite: floral.
1998
Mary-Kate and Ashley take their first fashion risk and don shiny suits on the red carpet.
1998
The twins wear complementary red and blue.
1999
The twins (growing up fast!) wear pastels and matching black jackets and purses on the red carpet.
2001
The twins may have stopped matching their clothes, but that doesn't mean they still don't like the same style. The two wear all black as they walk down the red carpet.
2002
And, we're back to matching! The Olsen twins wear complementary black dresses at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party.
2003
The twins show their love for tropical flavor with bright colors and floral patterns.
2003
The twins go for bold eye makeup to complete their red carpet look.
2004
Mary-Kate and Ashley wear their hair long and free.
2004
The twins hit the Kids Choice Awards orange carpet with sun-kissed glow.
2004
The twins are honored with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in short high heels and flowing dresses.
2004
Fresh faced and smiling, the twins go for loosely fitted dresses.
2005
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen begin attending New York Fashion Week, sporting clearly defined and independent styles.
2005
Mary-kate and Ashley attend the amFAR "Cinema Against AIDS" Gala with two radically different hairstyles.
2005
The Olsen twins attend the Met Gala with two looks that couldn't be more different.
2006
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen love their flowing sheer dresses.
2006
The twins rock beachy hair, tanned skin, and casual looks at a charity event.
2006
Red lipstick gives the two sisters a pop of color for their dark dresses.
2007
The twins attend New York Fashion Week in full on high-fashion glamour.
2007
Mary-Kate and Ashley go with a smoky eye at the CFDA Fashion Awards
2008
The twins wear oversized dark sunglasses at the Chanel runway show.
2008
With a cutout dress for Ashley and metallic gold for Mary-Kate, the twins are ahead of the trend game at the MET Gala. 
2009
Sunny blonde hair gives the twins a perfect summer glow.
2009
The Olsen twins add a pop of color to their black and white outfits with patterned and bright colored clutches.
2010
The twins don flowing, angelic dresses on the red carpet.
2010
The twins love to pair starkly contrasting black and white in their outfits.
2010
Black on black on black is the twins' high-fashion motto.
2011
Sunglasses inside? The Olsen twins can get away with breaking any style rule they'd like because they still look fabulous.
2011
The twins haven't stopped matching! Their twin purses are as cute as can be.
2012
The twins have never let go of their most iconic look: flowing loose-fitted dresses.
2012
The twins rock chic black sunglasses to complement their all-black outfits.
2012
Who can wear sunglasses inside and get away with it? Mary-Kate and Ashley can wear sunglasses inside and get away with it. 
2012
The twins look more grown up than ever with fully developed and sophisticated personal style.
2013
The twins have lost their indoor sunglasses look, but have returned to their go-to: all-black!
2013
At an Estee Lauder event, sporting bags of their own design. 
2014
Posing in casual attire at the Elizabeth and James fragrance launch event. 
2013
Mary-Kate cozies up to fiancee Olivier Sarkozy. 
2013
Ashley takes Olivier's usual spot at the game. 
2014
Posing on the CFDA red carpet, just before winning their awards for Accessories Designers of the year. 
2014
Looking ultra-chic in Paris. 
2014
Looking regal at the Met Gala. 
2015

Wearing their style uniform: all black, at the CFDA Awards.

(Photo by Jamie McCarthy/WireImage)

2015

Channeling the gothic at the 2015 Met Gala.  

(Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

2017

Looking ultra chic with their sister Elizabeth.

(Photo by Donato Sardella/Getty Images for InStyle)

2016

Rocking black and gold at the 2016 Met Gala.

(Photo by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)

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In a recent interview with Porter Magazine, the Olsens discussed the influence fashion had on them when they were growing up as actresses. "When we were younger, being in the public eye was almost part of our role and responsibility–to set the trends at that time or be ahead of fashion," said Ashley, while Mary-Kate added, "We would take adult clothing and cut it down to our size, change the proportions. I think from a young age we understood fit in a very different way because we're so petite."

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Schwartz echoed this to Refinery29, saying that she preferred to put the Olsens in tailored womenswear when they were younger, often seeking out clothes in smaller boutiques or high-end retailers like Barneys. "I had such a hard time finding clothes for them, because there wasn't anything out there that I really wanted to put them in."

She ended up leading the charge of the Olsens' first foray into design, a clothing line sold at Walmart, perhaps planting the seed that would grow into the Olsens' commitment to fashion. "I'm not surprised that they are as successful as they are: I mean, they have great taste," Schwartz said. "They learned early on what a good design looks like and what people like to wear. They obviously took it a thousand steps forward into emulating what their brands are today."

The Olsens still keep in touch with Schwartz, and even give her a "former stylist" discount when she shops at The Row, which luckily, she loves. "When I get dressed up at night, it's the first thing I'll pull out."

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