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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Still Stylish After All These Years...

Last night I was lucky enough to see the one and only Tom Wolfe at the Newseum for a reading of his work and panel discussion. As I was arriving, I wondered if it the lore was really true...would he really show up to a DC event in late October wearing a white suit? The second I stepped off the elevator, I stopped dead in my tracks--there it was in front of me, the legendary white suit. It practically radiated under the flourescent lights, and of course, there was not a wrinkle in sight. On his feet were black and white oxfords and black and white argyle socks. It was amazing to think of how all those biiiiig books  and their larger-than-life characters all came from the mind of slight figure standing in front of me...

Later in the evening, as Wolfe addressed a question regarding how he came to adopt his signature white suit, the power of his sartorial choices really struck me...the suit has become such a powerful point of recognition that is inextricably linked with his literary legacy. Case in point, Wolfe back in the day...

And Wolfe today, looking every bit as dapper. It got me thinking about other powerful icons of style...people who picked a trademark look early on and have stuck with it for the duration of their careers. And rather than seeming boring or outdated, it's actually helped define them.

Another great example--Lauren Hutton. She's been rocking that menswear style for so long she practically owns the concept. Especially the wide pants.

 And she looks just as great doing that now. J Crew even has an entire line of pants named after her this fall (wide leg, of course).

Clothing isn't the only way to create a recognizable look...does this haircut ring a bell to you? Think hard...

It's none other than Anna Wintour, who has been sporting her signature bob since way back in the day. A pretty ingenious tactic if you think about it; no one's ever distracted over Anna's hairstyle. It's sleek, no-nonsense, predictable...which leaves plenty of time for people to concentrate on the REAL event, which is her wardrobe. A shrewd move for someone who, as the editor of Vogue, basically sells clothes for a living.

Believe it or not, there was a time before geek glasses were "cool"...and this director wore them anyway.

The trends have definitely moved in Woody Allen's favor...after all those years he's still sporting his same thick-rimmed black glasses.

Finally, never underestimate the power of a pixie cut...

Decades later, it's still Judi Dench's signature. If it's good enough for Daniel Craig...

The one thing all of these individual have in common is that it's not necessarily their style that defines them--they're all extremely talented in their own right, be it at writing, editing, acting, etc. In a way, their consistent style has helped their actual talents shine, while keeping their public personas instantly recognizable and classic.

Anyway, in our instant-makeover, today-it's-in-tomorrow-it's-out tendencies these days, I love looking back at people who decided who they were early on--and stuck with it. Inspiring stuff.

2 comments:

Mary Steele said...

Great post. Just read Wolfe's Charlotte Simmons and am DYING for him to come out with another tome. All of the people you mentioned have a certain charm, a certain twinkle, as if they know a secret--perhaps the secret is being one's own fashion adviser.

The Pink Pagoda said...

I've read everything Tom Wolfe's written. Incredible that you got to see him last night. Great post!

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