In Praise of Tory Burch

A brand happy to be itself


Tory Burch is a household name, primarily due to her logo flats. This sort of fame in the fashion industry is a double-edged sword. Impressive sales and critical success do not go hand-in-hand; oftentimes, they’re at opposition.

But do not sleep on Tory. Yes, she has a clear vision — both of who she is and who her clothes are for. Over the years, this focus has steadied. Perhaps she’s narrowing in on what she wants to wear. She has also managed to find a sweet spot both commercial and industry-relevant. This can be a real tightrope: Do a 180 and you’ve just confused the hell out of your fans; stay the same and you’re boring.

As with the new Oscar de la Renta, it is okay to not be revolutionary. Let Hood by Air and Vetements reign as the names that rip open dialogues with every deconstructed neckline; let them freak people out in that why-I-love-Fashion way with their addictive adrenaline surges of mind-play. Let Gucci, Prada, Céline and Balenciaga establish the sure-to-trickle-down trends. Everyone has a purpose in this very weird and delightful ecosystem of an industry. It may be a saturated market that sometimes begs the question, “Did we really need another X,” but for varying opinions and real talent, there is a lot of room.

Mixed within that eclectic decor is Tory Burch Fall 2017: a brand happy to be itself. The label’s monogram is stitched in giant, tongue-in-cheek cursive letters on ivory twill hips and satin stock ties. This season is inspired by Katharine Hepburn’s character in The Philadelphia Story and reflects on Tory’s own familial quilt, which means it is handsome, East Coast preppy, slightly equestrian and a bit lock-jawed with an invisible gin and tonic in hand.

That kind of aspirational American wealth doesn’t have the same magazine-glossed shine that it used to. We dress for the job we want, sure, but also for the lives we lead. Despite Instagram filters and that whole social-media-lies argument, we’re living in the age of the hoodie. There is a pressure to be exactly who we are, commuter sneakers and all. Well, here is the authentic Tory Burch. Eternally tethered to a pair of logo flats yet in no way the doormat beneath them, every bit the welcome sign for anyone who happens to walk by and acknowledge that, actually, Tory Burch’s clothes are good.

Photos via Vogue Runway; Feature Photo via Getty Images.


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  • Mary

    I’m obsessed with her collection every season but can’t stand all of the logo merchandise (you bet I had the T flats and bracelets and flip flops and wallet long ago…). It’s been really interesting to see how the brand has developed in two ways. I have also noticed a new, evolved logo hardware on some of her latest bags, so I wonder if she’s looking to transition away from the inverted T’s of millennials’ past.

    • Aydan

      I think that’s exactly what it is. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see brands like MK, Coach, and others (who have already started a bit) to move away from the logos. They are too engrained in a particular demographic and to survive as a fashion company in this client, appealing to more is going to get people success

      • Meg S

        My only coach bag is a black leather bowler. No logos, just a subtle black tag on the handle. Years ago I bought a wristlet in poppy graffiti, and it’s the only Coach print I’ve ever loved. I still use it for quick runs to the store where I only need cash or a credit card, but I’m partial to a Kate Spade black wallet with striped lining that I picked up on sale. I’m all about how simple the branding is on solid Kate Spade pieces.

        Everyone and their mother here has that MK logo bag. Even the solid pieces are too obvious, with the giant gold MK hanging from every bag.

        The way I feel about clothes/bags/shoes is this: I want to spend money on high quality pieces, but I don’t want everyone to know who I’m wearing just by looking at me.

        • Aydan

          Yes totally agree!

  • Leandra Medine

    Amelia, your reviews have been fire this season.

  • Annie

    Great informative blog post, her collection looks incredible!

  • Meredith Carey

    I desperately need more pictures of the shoes because that chunky heel is 🔥🔥🔥

  • Meg S

    I’ve never wanted anything from Tory Burch as much as I want things from this collection.

    • Natasha

      I don’t think I ever looked at Tory Burch twice before this. But I need that outfit from slide 5 in my life!

      • Meg S

        I haven’t either. The T flats weren’t ever my thing. I might fight you for 5. I would never buy that sweater if I saw it on the rack, but I’d wear the way it’s put together in slide 5. I want all the boots too.

  • Kasey

    I loved reading this. I think Tory Burch has definitely found the perfect balance between appealing to fashion customers and the more commercial market. Lately I’ve been favoring designers who stick to their style and can translate it to each collection in a different way.