There’s something truly satisfying about discovering what style of denim short or striped T-shirt or sandal aligns perfectly with your sense of self. In fact, it’s a satisfaction so gratifying that once you’ve identified a signature look, it can be difficult to keep from caricaturing yourself to the point of cliché. But maybe that’s also kind of fun? After all, there’s no denying the joy of hearing from someone else that an excellent shoe, earring, or outfit is just so you.
In the name of Cliché Month, I asked Team MR to do just that — to show me their stylistic point of view in its most on-the-nose interpretation. Scroll down to see what they wore and read about how their sense of style became so uniquely them.
How would you describe your style? The breakfast buffet at a 4-star hotel.
Why is this outfit cliché-you? When I originally considered the question of what is cliché me, I was thinking too short-term about what is cliché me right now. But the most cliché me would probably wear this outfit, which I did not put on as a joke, or because I was trying to dress like a parody of myself. I think I just am one! This is cliché moi because it’s a collection of prints and colors that one likely would not intuitively think to wear together (but which I feel strongly are best when worn together) in varying shapes that both conceal and celebrate the female form. Some call it crazy-wear, but I disagree; there is a science to the kind of tops that mesh well with relaxed pants, and a reason why a structured tweed jacket is the right compliment and so far, the best way I’ve come to define it as in a term that was originally coined by an MR-community member as “buffet dressing.”
Would teen-you support the cliché you’ve become? I think so! All she wanted was to feel like the world’s department store was her oyster so she could practice her shucking.
Haley, Deputy Editor
How would you describe your style? Boyish (we need a less gendered/regressive term for this concept), structured, neutral, layered, and simple, with a utilitarian bent.
Why is this outfit cliché-you? I’ve been wearing these pants non-stop since I fell in love with them a month ago — to the point that I’m on the brink of ruining them like I ruin a good song. But for that reason they were the only reasonable choice for this! I paired them with socks and Teva’s (a utilitarian trend I’ve decidedly glommed onto), along with a mock-turtleneck white T-shirt (of course), a fleece (I’m always overdressing), a striped shirt as a scarf (a pointless layer), and a beanie (I’ve over-worn this one for months). It’s a layered, structured, neutral extravaganza. (If you can call something so plain an extravaganza.)
Would teen-you support the cliché you’ve become? I think teen-me would be very confused by this look (she was more into bootcut jeans and cropped blazers), but I think even back then I had a boyish sensibility — although I didn’t know how to express it — so there may have been something appealing about it to me!
Crystal, Production Manager
How would you describe your style? Kooky, absurd, and eclectic. My style truly changes from week to week — sometimes from day to day — depending on my mood. It was actually kind of hard to think about one “cliché” outfit, because most days I feel like a walking talking cliché in the best way possible.
Why is this outfit cliché-you? It’s just perfectly absurd, equal parts asshole and auntie. I mean, listen, I do dress pretty much like a clown most of the time, but I do think it’s less often than people think. I really do love a good pair of jeans and sneakers and this is why this ‘fit is so cliché for me. It’s the most expected a mix of high femme and masculine energy. This shirt is in constant rotation and this hat always taken front and center when I don’t feel like messing with my hair.
Would teen-you support the cliché you’ve become? Teen Crystal in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina would 10/10 support the sartorial weirdo I’ve become. Teen Me would be very impressed with Older Me’s ability to wear whatever the hell pops into my head. I really love this question. Thinking about Teen Crystal judging “Adult” Crystal gives me a massive amount of joy!
Harling, Fashion Director and Brand Strategist
How would you describe your style? Very feminine with a penchant for dressing like it’s summer, no matter the actual season.
Why is this outfit cliché-you? It’s the ultimate ode to what I would consider “stereotypical Harling”: A print-heavy caftan (I have a bunch from the brand SZ Blockprints — they’re the best and I wear them constantly throughout the summer), satin slippers (I’ve had these for half a decade and I’m still just as excited to put them on as the day I bought them), a tweed jacket (I have a ton of my mom’s old tweed jackets from the ‘90s, but this one is a recent addition from J.Crew), and a tiny bag (because tiny bags have historically been one of my signature accessories, although I’m starting to sense that’s changing).
Would teen-you support the cliché you’ve become? My teen-self would be excited about the fact that I ended up having a recognizably cliché style in the first place, since in high school my style mostly consisted of throwing spaghetti at the wall (sartorially speaking, that is).
Elizabeth, Market Strategist
How would you describe your style? Grandma meets toddler.
Why is this outfit cliché-you? When I met the PR team that represents this bike short/cardigan set, they said, “This is so Elizabeth” and I laughed because I was flattered and agreed that it was 100% true. A knit set is my weakness, and the fact that a bike short is involved in this one really seals the deal. I would say 50% of my Instagram photos involve a bike short, and 90% involve a sunglass chain.
Would teen-you support the cliché you’ve become? Yep — perhaps she would have wanted slightly shorter hemlines, maybe scrapped the cardigan, and definitely would have cried at my shoulder-length hair, but I think she’d be into it for the most part.
Edith, Senior Photo Editor
How would you describe your style? Polo Bar meets Dylan’s Candy Bar (on a good day). I also won’t feel disappointed if I turn up to work looking like Zoe Kazan’s character in The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.
Why is this outfit cliché-you? Bright, unexpected colors and classic silhouettes. What’s more cliché than head-to-toe millennial pink, as exhibited here? Prairie-core and ballet flats have become clichés in their own respective trend silos, and don’t even ask about Lee Radziwill’s take on monograms unless you’re ready to open up a can of worms.
Would teen-you support the cliché you’ve become? Teen-me is breathing a deep sigh of relief.
Emily, Visual Manager
How would you describe your style? I’ve been trying to find my style for a long time…it’s been quite a challenge, due to my clothing options being so limited as a plus-size woman. I digress…me at my best self is honestly when I’m “OOO Emily,” which means wearing a gauzy, linen-y frock (breaths well, flutters in the breeze, can wear anywhere), some sort of waterproof, transitional and comfortable shoe (see: Birkenstocks), with a basket and a giant hat for sun protection. In essence, my style is an artsy beach-comber look (not to be confused with a retired art teacher look, which is more like Frankie from Grace & Frankie).
Why is this outfit cliché-you? This outfit is cliché me because as much as I think I might want to dress like a rainbow (because I love using color in my creative work), I think that the Eileen Fisher uniform simple dresser in me just wants to keep my looks uncomplicated (with the exception of a few pop-y accessories every now and then). I like outfits that aren’t fussy or uncomfortable, and this outfit is just that!
Would teen-you support the cliché you’ve become? As a teen, I wanted to dress like Jennifer Garner in 13 Going on 30 but truthfully speaking, the reality of me prancing around NYC in a short slip dress during my current life is not only unrealistic for me, but is also just not something I’d feel like myself in. So, I think that teen-me may be taken off-guard by some of the simpler shapes and colors that I wear but would be happy to know that I still love a good multicolored bag and pair of fruit earrings.
Starling, Office Coordinator
How would you describe your style? Penny Lane meets Suzy Bishop meets your fairy godmother.
Why is this outfit cliché-you? Toile has been a recent addition to my wardrobe but since it entered my life, I haven’t had an outfit without at least one toile element. This corset and quilted purse are the usual suspects. As for the vintage tulle dress, my high school classmates can attest to the fact that I often donned outfits fit for a prima ballerina. They’ll also tell you that I wore these denim Mary Janes every damn day since purchasing them at an American Apparel on a tenth grade trip to NYC.
Would teen-you support the cliché you’ve become? Heck. Yes. I still dress exactly the way I’m feeling on any given day but today my wardrobe in 90% vintage/secondhand and has a bigger focus on comfort.
Patty, Head of Partnerships
How would you describe your style? My style leans towards that of the ‘70s — structured but breathable. I’ll often mix in pieces that could easily be shared with Professor Trelawney and always need to be able to nap comfortably in whatever I’m wearing.
What is your most clichéd outfit composed of? If it’s not high-waisted, wide-legged pants paired with a simple shirt with a blazer, it’s as many bright patterns as possible with a trench. Here I’m in a Tanya Taylor floral top that makes me feel like I’m wearing sunshine, houndstooth trousers from Free People that make me feel like I’m wearing pajamas, and cozy-ass loafers from Creatures of Comfort. If it was cold enough for the trench I would’ve thrown on my blue plaid number from Uniqlo, which is now on sale FYI.
Would teen-you support the cliché you’ve become? Yes. Teen-me basically wore slippers to school. And was prone to taking naps in her car.
Photos by Edith Young.