well said

"Notions like taste and practical chic are way too complex to sell today, when much of the world’s population is consumed with either acquisition or basic survival. For that reason it’s tough to talk about comfort and a moral economy of style without sounding grim or like one is trying to promote a car with three wheels (hey, but it drives!). On the other hand, this idea is not so far from something Coco Chanel offered when she arrived in New York, in March 1931. Asked by a reporter to define the fashionable woman, Chanel said, “She dresses well but not remarkably. . . . She disobeys fashion.” Then, perhaps thinking of her rival Elsa Schiaparelli, Chanel added, “But she is not eccentric. I hate eccentricity.” So she was extolling understatement and ease, yes, but also suggesting these choices reflected virtues like self-control and seriousness."

Much ink has been spilt over the departure of Cathy Horyn from NYT, but I think, ultimately, her writing speaks for itself. Her piece on the T Magazine blog on Feb 6, as always, is a succinct, wisely-observed piece about the state of fashion, and I don't think anyone has put it quite as well why, to some of us, the "unremarkable" is magic. Her resignation (to spend more time with her partner, who passed away last week) is journalism's loss.

What items of "practical chic" have you loved lately?

Comments

Pret a Porter P said…
Tailored well fitting pants and long black sweaters whatever they maybe.
Camille said…
Almost the same as Pret a Porter P - black cigarette jeans, a black sweater, and sturdy but not bulky boots.
Joy said…
can't believe she's retiring! can't she just write part time :(

practical chic items lately: my coat, my coat, my coat. it's the one that looks good, understated and kept me from hypothermia since coming back from HK.
Pret a Porter P said…
also the chanel quote reminded me of one I read from Ralph Lauren: “I’ve always admired a woman who can dress for all occasions—someone who’s not fashion crazy, but you always want to look like her.” –Ralph Lauren (Bazaar’s Great Style)
That said, I can appreciate the understand style just as much as people that can be apologetically glamorous too.
Ammu said…
Style needs to be somewhat practical, I think. At the moment, my favourite practical chic elements are my Carven coat and my Varas. Once the weather warms up - in a few weeks - I am going to start wearing my saris with low heels. Spent most of my weekend dressed in saris and Trinas and have concluded that together they make for graceful, practical summer style.
Kali Vine said…
I like the point she raises about sounding grim when talking about comfort or moral economy. I think many people see fashion as fun and creative and tend to see "practical chic" as something serious and boring. Maybe it's also a way to dismiss the underlining, uncomfortable questions and issues.

For me, practical chic is a pair of dark slim pants, a simple draped top in a comfortable fabric, and a pair of supple, comfortable leather shoes.
Eileen said…
Practical chic to me must be comfortable. Currently, it is a nice lace boho blouse with dark slim pants.
Aïssa said…
Currently practical chic to me is pairing my OTK boots with a knit dress or a simple skirt and sweater combo. Simple and efficient for everyday office wear and the simple fact that I'm not wearing pants somehow makes it feel (to lots of people around me) that I'm making an effort...
Anonymous said…
Practical chic to me currently is a pair of black skinny trousers, cotton or linen button down, flats (loafer or ballet) and 'boy-like' short hair. - I Ying
miss sophie said…
i will miss CH's incisive writing at the Times.

favorite practical chic item for me lately has to be my Acne scarf - it's taken me through a brutal winter and i just got the camel one.
lin said…
Thanks everyone for sharing! I like to think of my whole wardrobe as practical chic, but if I had to pick one it would still be my Dieppa Restrepo Calis...I love how they can still look elegant but Tomboy-ish with a dress.

Pret a Porter P: Ralph Lauren is spot on about this elusive woman -- I imagine she's someone you always want to see what she'd wear to any given thing.

Kali: I suppose there is only so many words one say pen down about practical clothing, unless one wants to cross into the realm of the really particular menswear bloggers who quibble about the make of the chambray used to make their shirts...hahaha. I like knowing the origin of things but I can't really expect everyone else to feel the same way.

Aissa: OTK boots sound awesome - I love how they add an edge to everything but are still quite practical.

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