Why is This Street Style Image Everywhere?

Paris Fashion Week Street Style

Out of the many street style images from fashion month, I keep seeing this particular photo. I first noticed it on Amanda Brook’s blog I Love Your Style. Brooks included the image in a roundup of her favorite fashion month street style, which was void of the razzmatazz we’ve come to know (and maybe despise?) during fashion month. She writes, “While looking back at fashion month street style photos this week, my new perspective was cemented. Any one can be noticed wearing the brightest, shortest, furriest, most printed, most clashing, most outrageous outfit one dares to wear, but more interesting to me are the girls that do the most with the least.”

Then I spotted it on Jayne Min’s Stop it Right Now blog. She also included the outfit in a collection of fashion month street style images. “There’s this perfect mix of classic + quirk + effortlessness + comfort to all these ladies, and each one still manages to come across feminine, but in the most un-saccharine way,” she writes.

Something about this photo is resonating with people, well people who care about style. It could be a backlash to the “peacocking,” but for me, it speaks to something bigger than being annoyed by fashion week attendees and their outlandish, gifted get-ups. I presume this woman is French, and at the heart of it, many non-French women want to be French or at the very least dress like they are French. French women posses a level of restraint, whether that relates to the number of croissants they consume or their beautiful wardrobes, that’s intrinsically un-American. Side note: There’s a reason why this book, this book, and this Tumblr exist. But in addition to that, we are having a minimal moment in fashion, which obviously percolates into style. We have been for the past few seasons (you can thank Phoebe Philo for that). Contrary to the hordes of women dressed like caricatures of themselves during fashion week, being toned down feels fresh. The overdone, fussy look is dated. This street style image represents that.

So what does that mean for a print and pattern loving girl like myself? I’m not French, nor do I want to be. I’m perfectly fine being a black girl from Virginia, and I love print, pattern, and color far too much. But who doesn’t want to look amazing yet effortless all the time? I’ve grappled with minimalist vs. maximalist dressing for the past year or so. At one point I looked at my wardrobe, and while it was full of print, color, and great pieces I love to wear, it almost felt overwhelming. Instead of seeing the beauty in its bounty of color and pattern, it felt like it was lacking something. Where were my classic basics? Where were the items to temper this wardrobe? Since then, I’ve been on a mission to invest in those pieces and while I haven’t lost who I am inherently, there’s something appealing about having a pared down, mostly neutral, utilitarian wardrobe that expedites getting dressed in the morning.

Minimal doesn’t mean boring. In fact, anyone, no matter what their style is, can learn something from the tenets of minimal dressing, which are beautifully displayed in this street style photo. For example, when in doubt, choose black. It’s slimming, matches everything, and makes clothes look more expensive. Also, make sure that your clothes fit you well. As Christina Kolbe said in her style profile, “It’s not hard to look chic and put together if your clothes fit you well.” Additionally, being comfortable in your clothes makes you feel confident, which is step one in looking stylish. The subject has injected ease and personality into a classic two piece suit by wearing high top Converse sneakers. This photo has gained so much traction because she is dressing for herself, not the street style paparazzi, and that’s what style is about. I’ve posted this quote before, but it feels so appropriate to end this with words of wisdom from French model turned author Inès de La Fressange: “Sensuality doesn’t come from heels – especially if you can’t walk in them. It’s like a beautiful woman who has the perfect hair and makeup but doesn’t smile. You should dress to feel good, not show off. It takes life to learn that.” The woman in this image has definitely learned that.

Photo courtesy of Vogue.

Kristen and Her Coats

Kristen and her coats                                 Left: Paul & Joe Coat; Right: Isabel Marant peacoat 

Kristen and her coats                      Left: Commes des Garcons cape; Right: Margiela for H&M men’s coat

Coats are definitely on the brain, so when I stopped by Kristen’s apartment to shoot and interview her for a style profile, I knew I wanted to do a separate post on her outerwear. Kristen has amassed a collection of classic, timeless outerwear that perfectly complements her wardrobe. Here’s what she has to say about her coats:

Let’s talk about your coats:

I would say coats are my favorite. They are probably my best pieces. My favorite place to shop in the world is Le Bon Marché in Paris. It’s so crazy old school. I always buy a couple things there every season. I looked at all of these coats there last year and this (Paul & Joe coat) was really the best one. It was so classic and really well made.

How many coats do you buy each season?

I really try only to buy one coat each season. I haven’t bought any this season. Last year I bought this Paul & Joe coat, a Commes de Garcons cape, and the Margiela for H&M camel men’s coat.

What are you thinking about this season as far as coats?

If I were going to buy a coat this season, which I’m not actually sure if I will do at all, it would probably be that green Celine coat. The color is insane. It’s so classic and rich. I’m obsessed with the Dries monkey fur coat. I usually love real fur — I’m Russian — but right now I’m really feeling this sort of nappy faux fur. It feels glamourous right now. I also like the Saint Laurent double breasted men’s coat.

Do you like to buy men’s coats?

I like to buy men’s clothes. They tend to be more classic and  timeless. My biggest problem is that I’m so small and finding ones that fit is not so easy, but Saint Laurent is cut smaller. I’m totally obsessed with finding somewhere between a sand and nutmeg color suede men’s bomber. I want one that’s totally clean with a knit collar, knit sleeves, and a knit bottom. I looked in Paul Stewart and I looked in a bunch of men’s stores in Paris, but I’ve had a really hard time finding one that’s tiny and fits just right.

Photos by Sam Aldenton. Check back next week for Kristen’s full style profile.

Monday Style Links

J.J. Martin on Tales of Edearment

The Maximalist (Tales of Endearment)
Natalie Joos turns her lens on fellow maximalist and vintage lover J.J. Martin.

Inès de la Fressange’s style rules: how to be chic (The Guardian)
“Sensuality doesn’t come from heels – especially if you can’t walk in them. It’s like a beautiful woman who has the perfect hair and makeup but doesn’t smile. You should dress to feel good, not show off. It takes life to learn that.”

Rules of Style: Nick Wooster (Details)
There’s a lot to be learned about style from Nick Wooster no matter what gender you are.

At Home with Linda Rodin (The Line)
The Line profiles stylist and beauty entrepreneur Linda Rodin (the woman I want to be when I grow up). Haven’t heard of The Line? It’s a new luxury e-commerce site headed up by Vanessa Traina.

Photo courtesy of Tales of Endearment

Monday Style Links

Tracee Ellis Ross on The Coveteur

Style Rethink: Capsule Shoe Closet (Net-a-Porter’s The Edit)
According to Christa D’Souza, we only need 10 pairs of shoes.

Awesome Outfit Ideas To Get You Through The Next 10 Days (WhoWhatWear)
If you’re like me, transitioning into a new season requires some inspiration. Thanks, WhoWhatWear for these outfit ideas.

The One That Got Away (Moda ‘Operandi)
Caroline Issa, Leandra Medine, Anna Dello Russo and more lament about a piece of clothing that escaped their grasp.

Tracee Ellis Ross (The Coveteur)
There’s something about Tracee. Happy to see that she has been Coveteured.

A Beauty Minute With Yasmin Sewell (Garance Dore)
“Beauty for me is not just about what you put on your skin but what you put inside. I think that’s actually the key.”

Photo courtesy of The Coveteur.

5 Highlights from Lucky’s 100 Perfect Outfits Special Issue

Lucky's 100 Perfect Outfits

My relationship with Lucky magazine has been similar to a relationship with a long-term boyfriend. For a while it was one of the only magazines I subscribed to, and over time I’ve watched it change and grow into the glossy that it is today. Sometimes I’ve loved it, sometimes I’ve liked it, sometimes I’ve been annoyed by it and its decisions, but I’ve always remained a loyal reader and looked forward to its arrival.

Eva Chen, the new editor-in-chief, has done a great job of maintaining the ethos of the publication while also infusing it with new life. The 100 Perfect Outfits Special Issue is a testament to that. It’s a no-brainer that the Lucky reader would want to reference this issue, which they are calling “The Ultimate Guide to Personal Style,” when in need of wardrobe or outfit inspiration. I can see myself quickly flipping through it when I’m having trouble getting dressed. Overall, I enjoyed the entire read, but there were a few ideas that really piqued my interest. They are as follows:

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Fall Outfit Inspiration

Fall Moodboard

I find myself perplexed about getting dressed when the weather starts to change. I get in this routine of wearing particular items and then just like that they are no longer appropriate. To circumvent this confusion, it takes preparation and thought, hence this inspiration board of outfits I like and things I want to buy for the new season. During the hotter months I’m drawn to bold colors and prints, but for fall/winter I focus more on outerwear (obviously), texture, and tailored separates. Here’s what’s top of mind for my fall wardrobe:

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Monday Style Links

100 Perfect Outfits (Lucky Magazine)
To celebrate its special issue “100 Perfect Outfits: The Ultimate Guide to Personal Style,” which hits newsstands tomorrow, Lucky editors document (via video) their perfect outfits.

The 40 Best Street Style Looks from Spring 2014 (Vogue)
A recap on fashion month street style shot by Phil Oh.

Jeanne Damas
How am I just discovering this French blogger?

Taylor Tomasi Hill’s Fashion Month Diary (Elle)
Aren’t you missing the copious amount of street style photos TTH used to appear in? Well, here’s a temporary fix for that.

Michelle Elie (StyleLikeU)
After spotting her in a few fashion month street style shots, I came across this video on StyleLikeU. Favorite quote: “It’s like everybody looks the same. It’s like oh my God if I go to Art Basel and see another Celine bag I’m going to scream.”

Extolling the Power of Garment Racks

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Sometime this past summer things were just clicking in the morning when I was getting dressed. Outfits were seamlessly coming together. Pieces that I rarely wear suddenly had a new appeal, and that constant “what do I wear today?” was no longer humming through my brain. Then I realized what had changed. I moved into a larger room in my apartment and started using my garment rack for all of my spring and summer clothes. I had previously used the rack for coats and jackets. This small change made a huge difference. Actually being able to see and easily sift through most of my clothes meant I could concoct outfit ideas with much less friction than before. My advice is simple, use a garment rack for your in-season clothes and don’t be afraid to have it out in the open.

 

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