I can’t count the number of times I’ve reflected on how hard it is – if not impossible – to write about something seemingly inconsequential as fashion, with all that is going on. But in reality, fashion is more than a trivial pursuit. It is fundamental to how we present ourselves to the world, and it takes on even more significance for those high profile individuals in the political arena.
Kamala Harris is Vogue’s February 2021 cover girl. The Vice President-Elect is dressed in a dark brown jacket by Donald Deal, narrow black jeans, a white t-shirt, her signature Irene Neuwirth pearl necklaces, and trusty Converse sneakers. The visage is the complete antithesis of Melania Trump, who was snubbed by Vogue in these past four years. FYI, when you go to the Donald Deal website, donalddeal.com, all you see are evening gowns?
There is a second “Madam Vice President” digital cover featuring a closer-cropped image of her wearing a pale blue suit by Michael Kors. It is more formal but still “meh” in my opinion. Neither one captured the sanctity of the moment. It didn’t take long for the reactions and criticisms to start pouring in. Many argued that Kamala should look more “Vice-Presidential” and less familiar and informal.
For the record, I think the Vice President-Elect’s face and hair look beautiful (she is a good looking woman, after all). But I would have preferred to see her wearing something more inspirational and less “girl next door.” When Kamala appeared on the cover of “Elle” in November, they captured her strength, warmth, intelligence, and beauty. She looked completely Vice Presidential.
If Kamala was going to be dressed informally in her sneakers, it would have helped if she was wearing a beautifully fitting, well-tailored jacket. There are certainly many to chose from. It is Vogue Magazine, after all, and this is a monumental accomplishment. I understand the symbolism of the pink satin curtain in the back (it is emblematic of Kamala’s Howard University sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha). Still, it looks like a cutesy, amateurish afterthought.
According to a Vogue Magazine spokesperson, Harris dressed and styled herself for the Tyler Mitchell-lensed shoot. The images are meaning to convey “her authentic/approachable nature — which we feel is one of the hallmarks of the Biden/Harris administration.”
There are now blogs and websites devoted to Kamala’s fashion choices. One site of note is “Kamala’s Closet,” launched this August by Vittoria Vignone, a New York City-based museum associate. She turned her Instagram account into a website, with links to shop Harris’ wardrobe items. You can bet armies of women who usually shy away from tailored pantsuits, pearl necklaces, and humble converse sneakers will want to emulate. They already have.
Meanwhile, the classic Converse low and high top sneakers Kamala favors are iconic but don’t offer any insulation or protection against the elements. I recently found a version that does: The Chuck Taylor All Star Lugged Winter High Tops sneakers built to take on the elements from the inside out. The Sherpa-lined GORE-TEX bootie features a leather upper, traction platform sole, and reflective two-tone laces. They are currently on sale from $110-$71. 97 and available at converse.com.
Speaking of sneakers, the consensus is that we will want to get dressed “to the nines” when the pandemic is finally under control. According to Dr. Fauci, that most likely won’t happen until the beginning of fall 2021. For now, there are no live events to attend, and we still have winter to contend with.
You don’t need a special occasion to wear a well-cut dress, a statement coat, a cozy puffer, an impeccably tailored jacket, perfectly cut white trousers or a marvelous sweater. Adding a fanciful touch, especially in the form of gold hardware, is always a good idea.
With all the chaos surrounding us, clean-lined minimalism (whether played out in stark black and white, pale neutrals, or living color) looks better than ever. See collections by Jil Sander, Altuzarra, Proenza Schouler, Bottega Veneta, Peter Do, and Saint Laurent.
All of them showed their spring, fall, or pre-fall 2021 collections throughout the past few months. Their designs are consumer-focused and relevant for the real world but remain joyful and celebratory owing to the well thought out design, innovative fabrication, and distinctive or artisanal touches.
Actually, some of the best things I’ve seen are on The Frankie Shop website. I am continually impressed with Gaelle Drevet’s cool, on-point selection, and reasonable prices, not minor issues. I was so taken, I wrote an article about her company back in May.
The Frankie Shop’s practical, versatile, well-made distinctive wardrobe basics provide a perfect blank slate and allow for personalization and individuality. The coats are outstanding. The Side Split Double Breasted Wool Felt Coat in Ivory with notch lapels side split pockets and hem. It sells for $499 and is available at thefrankieshop.com
The oversized quilted down-filled quilted Anorak Cape offered in black and khaki is lined with goose down and feathers features front pouch pockets and a partial snap front placket. It sells for $455 and is available at thefrankieshop.com.
The Hooded Wool Cape in Macaroon features a fixed hood, open sides with snap fastening, and flap front pockets. It looks great with leggings and flat loafers. The cape is $455 and available at thefrankieshop.com.
I love the structured shape of this Single-breasted Hourglass Blazer. It reminds me of a chic riding jacket. Made of Mid-weight suiting fabric with peaked lapels, padded shoulders, back vent hem, and welt pockets at the chest. Available in camel and black, it looks far more pricey than $289 and is for sale at thefrankieshop.com.
Knitwear is another Frankie Shop specialty. The Split Cape Sleeve Turtleneck Pullover in Asphalt is made of a midweight woolen ribbed knit. It has a cropped silhouette and open split cape sleeves. It is highly versatile and can be worn, and draped, in many ways. It’s a lot of style for $128 and available at thefrankieshop.com.