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Lately, I’ve been going back to on what inspires me when I get dressed, what images from the magazines I devoured as a teen have stuck with me decades on. Poring through the tear-outs from magazines I’ve kept, it’s surprising how many I admire but I don’t connect with emotionally, in terms of how I would personally dress.

One image that does connect and I think will always connect is this one of Carolyn Bessette Kennedy.

The super clean, chic gloss of CBK’s evening looks are something I’m in awe of but will never consider channelling because they're just not me. But her easy day looks are something else, and this simple outfit of a sleeveless black top and jeans is one that I adopt often. I like the look of a little kick flare but they look awful on me so I’m happy with my straight-cuts. It's a very adaptable look and excellent for the hot weather here – with sneakers it’s a sporty look; with chic sandals and a nice purse I’m happy to walk into a nice bar for drinks, with loafers or oxfords it’s acceptable for work, especially with a blazer for back-up.

We can quibble over whether there is such a thing as “timeless” –the Cartier Tank watch, for example, has gone through several iterations over the years. Square-toe pumps, kitten heels, the type of make-up, these are all things that can make a look feel dated. But I’ve always felt that if one steers clear of exaggerated details, some things can transcend time.

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Comments

Pret a Porter P said…
When I see pictures of CBK what gives her away is the details: the rise of her pants, the hems, the shape of the heel. At the same time, it's not embarrassing to look back on. though seeing people's big 80s hair has it's charm. And those awful wedding dresses from the 80s and 90s...now those are embarrassing!!!
Anonymous said…
I think the fact that little details change is a good reason not to have too much stuff as most of it will look dated in the (fairly) near future! You often see bloggers etc writing that certain items are forever which often isn't so. You can easily spot an Hermes scarf from a certain era usually due to its colours. Similarly Chanel jackets look dated unless they are very plain and neutral colours.
miss sophie said…
i agree with you, lin - the main idea of this and so many of CBK's other day looks are seasonless. her jeans may look dated but in the end, it's all about clean lines and what's most flattering for your body type.
Ammu said…
Love CBK's style. Proof that if you keep it simple, your look is much more likely to outlast the whims of fashion.
petrichore said…
Love this! I remember in my teens when she married JFK jr. and was in the fashion magazines for awhile before her untimely end. It's nice to revisit pictures that express the zeitgeist of a time period.
lin said…
Pret a Porter P: Would be interesting to see how CBK would dress today. And yes, wedding dresses date an awful lot - and yet it's one thing people are bound to memorialise.

Anon: That's a good point, but I still think the plainest things withstand time quite well. Of course that's no excuse to run out and accumulate things. Also, it depends on how important it is to look "currrent" in the eyes of others. Or maybe I find her look timeless because it looks timeless to me - as in, even if it looks dated to others it'll always be inspiring to me.

miss sophie: yeah...i think i'll be sticking to skinny jeans as long as it works for my body..for the simple reason that it flatters me the most and works for my lifestyle.

Ammu, petrichore: it's interesting to me that she can look so recognisably 90s but timeless at the same time.
petrichore said…
I wonder if the minimalist '90s style (i.e. Calvin Klein from the CK One years) will stand the test of time as well as other eras have? I'm enjoying seeing its influence crop up again in the last couple of years (thank god without the skater/riot grrrrl styles -- I lived through that, don't need to see it again, thanks). Jeans always seem to be a dead giveaway as to what era the photo is from -- isn't it funny how a piece of denim can be so emblematic of a point in time?
Aïssa said…
I had that thought when watching "Downton Abbey" a while back and the whole fashion frenzy derivative it caused. I completely agree with the fact that simple unadorned and flattering items will keep their relevance much longer. The CBK look is a great example indeed. To me that pic (along with many of her daily outfits pics) has a 50's even 70's vibe, it doesn't scream that it was taken in the 90's.

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