Welcome to Celeb Look of the Week! An MR column wherein one member of our editorial team, once a week, waxes poetic about one celeb outfit they can’t stop thinking about. For this installment, Harling examines an oldie but goodie.
The photos I see when I scroll through Instagram can feel as transient as a dream, a jumble of different colors and shapes and fragments swirling hazily in the bank of my memory. Occasionally, though, there will be one that stands out with stark clarity, a square so distinct it refuses to fade into the algorithmic abyss. This is often the case with photos of really great outfits that merit close study — be it an unexpected marriage of colors or a totally unexpected way of wearing a button-down. But the last outfit I’ve obsessed over is so simple it seems like a trick…
Navy T-shirt, white pants, brown flip flops, brown sunglasses, paisley silk scarf and canvas shoulder bag. No frills, no mixing of patterns, no complicated layering. Given my penchant for maximalism, I was surprised by how taken I was with this unremarkable snap of former First Lady Jackie O. traveling in Capri, so I decided to try breaking down its various components in search of the source of their combined magic:
+The navy T-shirt is casual by nature but quite fitted, which lends it an air of smartness. It also has a particularly high neck, which somehow makes it look chicer than a normal T-shirt? Is that nuts?
+The white pants are somewhat rumpled which makes me think she’s already worn them on this trip to Italy, which makes me think they’re the kind of wardrobe staple that functions like a chameleon, adapting to the environments of whichever clothes you choose to pair it with.
+Flip flops! BROWN flip flops! Sounds hideous but is, in fact, so enticing that I’m willing to give them a chance, no questions asked. Okay, maybe one question: Is there merit to the idea that flip flops will automatically appear sophisticated when worn with an outfit that is at once deeply practical and deliciously grown-up?
+The brown sunglasses are where Jackie’s personality starts to shine through the guise of her straightforward attire. They’re big and round and statement-making. All crucial elements.
+If the sunglasses are Jackie’s exclamation, the silk scarf is her point. It’s tied super low on her forehead — a Jackie O. style signature — which is unusual enough that it communicates a degree of aesthetic intentionality by default.
+The bag is relatively uninteresting at first glance but it actually ties the whole outfit together with its clean lines and brown and white coloring. It’s utilitarian in that it tucks neatly under her shoulder and is the perfect size to accommodate everything from a wallet to a small souvenir, but still has something to say style-wise.
In conclusion, the look is simple, and there’s really no trickery involved — or rather, if there is, it’s nothing more than very deliberate and easily replicable accessory choices. I would never think to wear flip flops with this outfit, or tie a head scarf in this particular way, but doing so is what gives an otherwise basic top and pant pairing a uniquely thoughtful identity. Such is the magic of personal style that understands itself well enough to know that “complicated” doesn’t necessarily equate to “better.” Consider my spring 2019 outfit template complete:
Feature photo via Getty Images.