I'm still thinking about Tory Burch
Can't unsee those cropped leggings, so here's a stab at a homegrown copycat
How many times now do you think you’ve been subject to these screenshots?
One thing I have been thinking about a lot lately as it relates to fashion consumption is the difference between clothes that excite you because they empower you and clothes that excite you because they facilitate escape. The difference between the two (by the measure of my own experience) is that the former have this way of simultaneously shining a new light on your closet and jogging your creativity. They encourage you to test new ways of getting dressed with your own stuff. This makes you feel a bit more like you’re in control — like you can use your closet, as opposed to a storefront, to indulge this creative urge and as a bonus, you get to satisfy any desire you might have to look “of the moment.” Trendy. These clothes are more wrapped up in the ideas conveyed by them than anything else.
The latter clothes facilitate escape because they do the opposite — let you slip out of your own closet/experience and enter the world of another. Sometimes this is seen as laziness: “I like that outfit, so I’ll just figure out how to buy it,” but I think there’s a more compassionate underpinning here because this can be its own kind of salve at times — the thing that gets you out of bed, or actually dressed, out the door and into the world with an arm of confidence to show for it.
There have been plenty of times where I have chosen the escape clothes and for the most part, I don’t regret, but right now I’m in, “use what you have mode!” which has reinforced the basic principle that clothes-that-excite-you-because-they-facilitate-escape are a means but not at all the end. When this behavior becomes automatic, when you start to shop every time you desire a new idea, this means of escape has a way of rendering you helpless. Of making you believe, you depend on the clothes and not the other way around — that without this thing or that, you don’t know how to get dressed.
This post is about the clothes that empower you: the ones that give you good ideas, that reinforce your own trust in your taste, that frankly may well compel you to get something new, but when they do, from a place of confidence as opposed to lack. Tory Burch’s Spring 2023 show did this in various places, across various style archetypes, but the one that got me most acutely featured some combination of a single-breast spring coat, fitted shirt, and cropped leggings.
It’s November 1st in New York right now, and something like 65 degrees, which makes it warm enough still to embody the spirit of these looks, albeit with jackets of a slightly different ilk — light wool numbers or a classic macintosh coat a la this:
Recreated the look using an Old Celine coat, a tight grey tank (mine’s Toteme, but any permutation that is longer than the shirt you layer over should work), a Venstore polo, red mules (from The Real Real, by Manolo Blahnik; they’re a particularly prideful score from a few years ago in that they came unworn and cost me $80) and a pair of cropped leggings from a Turkish brand called Cult Form. The skirt is a Norma Kamali bathing suit bottom that I hard recommended over the summer as an unconventional but very useful skirt option. Now I mean it even more. But I think any bodycon mini skirt (or dress!) or even just crazy long tank top should work.
Would have been better for sure with a straight skirt instead of this one that bunches at my right side thigh but I’m just making due with what I’ve got.
Re: leggings, btw: The color on them is right for the overall story, but I prefer a less shiny finish — like these:
Which are Lulu Lemon. (These from Everlane are on sale for $15; I don’t hate the “charged indigo” from LL either.) I feel like I actually fucked this look up by not wearing a longer undershirt — or at least like it didn’t quite understand the assignment, so here is the makeup shot, taken yesterday, after I’d had enough time to rack my brain and reconsider how to nail this look.
You’ll notice I went completely off script — I wanted to follow the color scheme presented by the first Tory look shown in this post and paired the gold Michael Kors dress that keeps on giving with full length red leggings that I rolled up into a knee cap crop, with a brown Toteme sweater over my shoulders and these white loafers from last year.
My last go at the cropped leggings set out to combine colors softly but still expressively:
Not sure if the “softly” was accomplished, but for sure the black coat and shoes ground the colors. I think the thing when you’re playing with color is that it helps to also play with texture — this turtleneck for example is from tights material. The leggings are spandex cotton (I do like these from Alo Yoga too for another color) and the sweater is wool/alpaca knit.
If you’re going to try it, I’d stick to disparate colors either emboldened or muted to the same gradation degree. It’s like, I went for three diff colors that fall somewhere similar on the spectrum between pastel and bold. If you, for example, were wearing a mustard yellow (or gold) cardigan (dress), you might want to wear leggings that were brown, or the color of rust — they’re off in the same way. Ditto that if your leggings were navy — you’d probably want to pair with, idk, hunter green and burgundy. If you want to go real out there with one color the way TB showed that slime green cardigan, that’s a good foil to depend on a classic grey or black pair of leggings. When you’d just add an element of white or ivory depending on the “out there” color to sandwich it.
The key components to get the general combo right are really the leggings and the coat in my view — what happens inside the outfit is much more at your discretion, and the layering of lightweight, semi-fitted tops is easier than it seems (a merino sweater goes a long way, huh). I’m linking some items from around the internet to either help you jog your closet’s memory of its outfit heroes, or to seize:
And for good measure, here, too, is the right shape of trench coat and army green cropped leggings. You’ll notice most of the leggings I linked don’t necessarily look like they are PERFORMANCE quality — this is on purpose. A less overtly elastic/bound cotton lends itself well to creating more formal appeal for the outfit, which can feel kind of daunting if you’re not entirely comfortable with tight bottoms. This is why the coat is such a great companion — covering most of the top of your legs the way a dress would, but still accomplishing the overall task of spinning you into a new trend that you like.
File it under one way to let clothes work for you as opposed to against you and with that, I wish you a wonderful week.
See you Friday @ Letter of Rec — signing off yours,