I was on a Parkchester-bound 6 train and halted at the Astor Place stop, which was theoretically fine because there is 4G service underground at that station, scrolling through Instagram when one photo of Kim Kardashian led to a pantheon of photos of Kim Kardashian, which prompted me to ask the passenger to my right reading a book of poetry I now can’t recall if he thinks I would look good with blonde hair.
(Fine, full disclosure. What I said was, “Shy I go blonde?” in that annoying way New York girls speak, pointing at my face and squinting my nose in seemingly utter confusion even though I was well aware what I wanted the answer to be: Duh.)
That I asked a male stranger whose exterior connotations did not at all allude to interest in a woman’s volatile hair color isn’t what confounded me so much as why I asked does. See, I was inquiring based on the pretense that I was so intrinsically and positively affected by Kim Kardashian’s aesthetic that my impulse left me no choice but to wonder out loud, with the possibility of reinforcement from any member of the general public, about the state of my hair.
In my October 4 story, Is It Just Us, Or Has Kim Kardashian Been Killing It?, I posited a new truth — that the antecedent’s style was becoming a force unto itself. Nearly four months later, it’s been confirmed that just like her actual style, the conversion wasn’t just a passing trend. With her full white ensembles and beige coats and nude patent leather pencil skirts and unassuming t-shirts and Alaïa sandals, she’s successfully convinced America — or me — with equal parts metaphor and reality, that she’s well on a road to recovery. Bygone bandages and all.
Of course, her significant other, better known as father to North West, ineffable Margiela mask wearer and sometimes, too, Kanye West, has held a paramount position in the transformation much the same way Whoopi Goldberg’s character helped Lauryn Hill’s in Sister Act II. But where my first report may have been assessing a relatively new condition, this one is much more a celebration of the longevity Kardashian has demonstrated.
I had one of those lightbulb moments people are always talking about over coffee on Sunday with a close friend of mine. We were discussing the ancient Jewish exodus from Egypt and the modern, social implications tethered to the mythic splitting of the Red Sea when– just kidding, we were talking about style. And it occurred to me that the fundamental difference between no style and good style is that the former, no matter how beautiful the wearer who functions as a canvas may be, doesn’t make you want to think I can do that. Where good style meets triumph is in the vulnerable moments that have you question what makes you wear what you wear and why not what she wears.
I have, for example, thought about the photographed black Céline leather trench coat and yellow Max Mara topper more times than I should feel comfortable admitting and not because they’re independently spectacular (which they are) but because they’re instilled new life when Kardashian wears them. She doesn’t look off-putting or out of place, and really eloquently confronts the stereotype that to be en vogue is to be 60 pounds — then obliterates it.
So I’m going to say it one more time. Should I (shy?) go blonde?