A Guide to the Pogue and Kook Dress Code: Everything You Need to Look Like a Character from Outer Banks

Beauty & Style

Whether you're team Pogue or team Kook, Outer Banks leaves no room for disappointment when it comes to style. More than just a show about rebellious teenagers and their dangerous escapades in their quest for a mysterious treasure, it is a lifestyle, one that many teens would like to emulate. But if you're like most teens with rules to follow and responsibilities to honor, this is probably a life best left to the TV screen where actors that are annoyingly much older than actual teens get to live out our fantasies.

But all hope is not lost! Even if we can't spend the summer hunting for gold and cruising along the North Carolina coast, looking like an OBX character is the next best thing. Here's everything you need to look like you're straight from Paradise on Earth.

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First thing's first: decide if you'd rather go country club rich with Kook style (think Rafe, Topper, Sarah) or stay with the local casual style of the Pogues (JJ, John B, Pope, Kiara). However, there isn't exactly a fine line between the two, especially because many characters often traverse this line as they form new friendships and go on different adventures. If you'd prefer to mix the styles, there are definitely ways to do that too.

Team Pogue

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The Pogue style is my personal favorite because it plays on the careless beachy vibe as well as the rivalry between the rich and the poor. In the show, “Pogue” is the name given to the people that live on the South Side, or The Cut. They're not as well-off as the Kooks, and their style is often more gritty and local; the goal is to look like you just threw whatever you had on, and it happened to be stylish. The Pogues are the working class, and they don't choose to spend their money on expensive clothing. Instead, they choose to work hard and play hard, looking at life differently than their privileged enemies.

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JJ and John B are perfect representatives for the Pogue style. They resent the Kooks, for the most part, so you'll never see them in anything designer, pressed, or new for that matter. The stuff they wear is supposed to come across as somewhat trashy; after all, they're not rich and clothing is likely the least of their problems. But you don't have to look like trash to rock the Pogue look. Here are some great staples for every Pogue wannabe.

1. Button-up shirts

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I know, this doesn't seem to fit the Pogue dress code. But remember, most of your outfits in this style will be ultra-casual because you never know when a storm will beckon you to go surfing. JJ, John B, and Pope all wear these types of shirts a lot, usually partway buttoned or not buttoned at all. Avoid long-sleeve shirts (Outer Banks takes place in the summer, of course) and patterns that you think might work in an office setting. Instead, look for lightweight ones that would be easy to throw on over a swimsuit. Summer prints are a definite must, as well as bright colors and beachy styles. If you haven't already heard, swimsuits are completely acceptable everyday attire on The Cut, so these shirts can double as beach coverups or be paired with swim trunks/bikinis and shorts.

2. Bathing Suits

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I mentioned this a little before, but I'll say it again: Pogues practically live in their swimsuits. They make for easy shorts on the guy side and easy tops on the gal side, and you really can't go wrong, especially when it comes to their styling potential. While I don't recommend wearing them to school, swimsuits make for great summer fits that are sure to leave you sun-kissed. Swimsuits are not exclusive to the Pogues, however. You'll see many Kooks wearing them as well, especially people like Sarah who crosses into Pogue territory quite a bit throughout the show.

3. Headwear

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When I say headwear, two things come to mind. First is the ever-trendy baseball slash trucker cap. Wear them backward or forwards—they're a great accessory for all that time spent in the sun. You'll see the trio (minus Kiara) in them a lot, which makes sense: you have to hide your salty hair somehow because showers are few and far between when you're on a crazy treasure hunt or escaping to a foreign country as fugitives. But seriously, baseball caps are a necessity for a Pogue, and they even come in handy for Kooks as well.

The second thing that comes to mind when I think of headwear is the headband that Kiara often sports. If you don't know what I'm talking about, it's sort of a cross between a bandana and a headband, and it's actually also something that Pope and JJ wear from time to time. It's basically a cloth wrap that Kiara wears several different ways, whether it's to tie up her hair or simply as an accessory. Kiara technically isn't a Pogue because she comes from a family of money, but her style definitely reflects the lifestyle she has opted into.

4. JJ's Style

While John B and Pope typically have a pretty straightforward dress code that they adhere to almost all the time, JJ is a bit different. To be JJ, there are a few other things you need. First, tank tops. These tops have large armholes and are usually pretty worn (or at least they look worn). Pair these tops with cargo shorts, and you'll be JJ's Doppelgänger in no time. JJ also wears heavy-duty work boots often, different from John B's pair of Converse, a sweatshirt and jacket combo, and ordinary t-shirts, the latter of which all the other characters wear as well.

5. Accessories

This is probably the most unique thing about Pogues. Pogues wear accessories to the extreme, and many of them look rough and handmade in the best way possible. Take, for instance, John B's bandana. He wears it as a necklace of sorts around his neck as a remembrance to his father who was the previous owner of the accessory. It's a great illustration of Pogue style and how it isn't store-bought. These types of accessories are passed down or created and mix-matched with other items to give the teens an especially edgy look.

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If you're even a remote OBX fan or active on TikTok, then you probably know that Kiara's accessories are particularly appealing. With lots of layered beaded necklaces and bracelets, it's no surprise that hundreds of small businesses name their creations after the character every summer. With chunky necklaces, shell and crystal charms, beads, and colors, Kiara's accessories are great for anyone this summer.

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But the rest of the Outer Banks cast also has mention-worthy accessories. JJ, John B, and Pope all wear a chain or beaded necklaces at some point, and they also have plenty of bracelets and wraps that are definite staples of both their characters and the Pogues. While the Kooks are more smooth-on-the-edges type people, Pogues embrace unconventional, not-straight-from-prep-school looks.

6. Last Minute Tips

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For teens on the South Side, life is all fun. If you want to dress like a Pogue, your outfits should reflect this. In real life, the Pogue style could be compared to the surfer or VSCO style. Basically, keep things summery. That means you'll be wearing jean shorts, swimsuits, tank tops, crop tops, lots of jewelry and accessories, and hopefully sunscreen.

Team Kook

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“Kook” is a term coined by the Pogues and mostly used by them to describe the rich country club people of the North Side, or Figure 8. They make up the powerful and wealthy class of Outer Banks, and they are portrayed as the privileged population that doesn't really fit into the island life. While the Pogues resent the Kooks for said privilege and money, the Kooks resent the Pogues for gatekeeping the local island life; parties that Kooks show up to that are hosted by Pogues can get pretty messy because the Pogues don't think the Kooks belong, while the Kooks think they're better than the Pogues.

This superiority complex is a central theme in the show. When styling your Kook self, it is important to keep in mind that Kooks are not impressed by their name. They are, however, satisfied with their status, and they use their clothing and wealth to show up the Pogues because that's what enemies from opposite social spectrums do. Not to say that the Kooks are terrible people, Kiara and Sarah are not, but the North Side breeds many stuck-up characters who use their position in society for more sinister gains.

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But don't worry. Even though many of the “bad guys” in Outer Banks reside in Figure 8 and cite their money and power as motivation for their evil actions, they still have an appealing style, especially to those who prefer to look posher and put-together. Here are some tips for becoming a fashionable Kook.

1. Golf Attire

If you're going to go full Kook, it's only natural that your second home is a golf course. You better start looking the part! Kooks like Rafe and Topper can often be seen in golf polo or collared shirts and your typical golf get-up. While it is true that the main Kooks in the show are guys, the girls can still easily look Kook with their own golf outfit. You can wear the same polo shirts the guys do, and you can add skirts, white golf sneakers, visors, and anything else that makes you look like you have enough time and money to spend the day golfing.

2. Brands

For Kooks, it's all about the brands. Rafe is often called “J. Crew” by Barry, the local drug dealer. Barry isn't a Kook, but he gets involved with Rafe more than once thanks to his business. It's hard to know exactly what brands Kooks wear in the show, but J. Crew and Polo Ralph Lauren represent their general style pretty well. If you're wearing expensive brands, it usually means you have a lot of money, which is something the Kooks want people to know. They take pride in their wealth and don't hesitate to show it off.

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If you have the means to dress this way, go for it! If not, you can find brand dupes or even make your own by sewing on Polo Ralph Lauren patches, for example. Check the clearance section of your favorite brands, or even the thrift store. You don't have to be ultra-rich to be a Kook; the goal is simply to look clean and like you have money.

3. Accessories

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Accessories can really change the game when it comes to looking like a Kook. On the guys' side, you'll see that the boys in the show wear belts with their shorts, which, by the way, are rarely swim trunks. Belts make you look more formal and are super easy additions to any outfits for both girls and boys. On the gals' side, jewelry is a Kook staple, just like it is for the Pogues. But the jewelry Kooks wear isn't chunky or colorful or stacked to make a bold statement. Instead, Sarah wears a lot of minimalist necklaces in gold and silver. She layers them together to create a shiny look that may not be exclusive to the Kooks but definitely works for their style. Kook accessories can either be expensive or look expensive. Try statement earrings, plated metals, and quality belts.

4. Dress Shirts

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Unlike the Pogues, the Kooks wear dress shirts you might actually see in an office. You can find Topper in plenty of full-length sleeve dress shirts that make him look especially rich and fancy. If you want to dress like a Kook, you can't look like you just threw on a sweatshirt that's been sitting on your floor for days. Kooks are always clean-cut and nice-looking, but they can also be casual. Pair one of these dress shirts with some khaki shorts, and you'll be good to go.

Sarah, the only real female Kook we see a lot in the show, has a similar style to Kiara. Part of it could be her transition to Pogue style or her general distaste for many of the Kooks in her life, but either way, I'm still using her as an example of the Kook style. For tops, Sarah's are dressier, think blouses instead of tank tops. In general, you want to look like you have a formal family dinner to get to right after you hit up a Pogue party on the beach. It can be hard to find a style in the collision between fancy and casual, but that's the Kooks' signature trademark and, with practice, it can be done.

5. Formal Wear

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The Kooks are routine guests at fancy restaurants, large parties, and other formal gatherings that call for formal wear. While I don't suggest you wear a suit or cocktail dress to school, you can weave this idea into your style through mixing and matching. For example, invest in a blazer that can be dressed up or down. Or wear summery dresses; they may be casual, but they are more formal than shorts and a t-shirt. There are tons of little things you can do and wear to bring out the Kook in yourself, you just have to be willing to think outside the box and maybe dress outside your comfort zone.

6. Last Minute Tips

When it comes to the girls, it's a bit harder to differentiate between the Pogue and Kook styles. Blame it on fewer girls in the show. However, you can still easily add aspects of characters such as Rafe and Topper into your style. Put an emphasis on brands, expensive-looking accessories, and more formal clothing. Remember, the Kook life is preppy and sophisticated.

For a lot of people, the Kook style is difficult to re-create since it's all about money and power. Be creative! There are plenty of ways that you can look Kook-y without spending a ton of dough. Ever had a country club spirit day at your school? The preppy country club-style would definitely work for the Kooks; just put on a nice shirt, shorts, or tennis skirt, and tie a sweatshirt around your shoulders.

Also, keep in mind that it is still summer for the Kooks, and their outfits say as much. Most of the show is centered around the Pogues, but summer is a mainstream connection between both groups, making it easy to mix and match styles.

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Overall, just have fun with it. There aren't any right or wrong answers, and you can really incorporate your own unique style as well. Be glad that a stark class war isn't happening to you (hopefully) and embrace the vibe of coastal life and style whether that be from the hammock of a junky backyard or the putting green of a beachfront mansion.

Grace McClung
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Grace McClung is a senior at South High School in Denver, Colorado. Other than writing, she enjoys swimming, running, and spending time with friends and family.