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Dressing the Part: Anna Wintour and Karl Lagerfeld Have Something in Common

Karl Lagerfeld (Vogue, Kevin Tachman)

Karl Lagerfeld (Vogue, Kevin Tachman)

One can’t help but cluck at the irony. For all of their seasonal trendspotting, some of the most legendary fashion industry figures rarely personally experiment with fashion. Season after season, year after year, and for some, decade after decade, fashion puppeteers are snapped, “papped”, and glorified for wearing—well, pretty much the same thing…day in, day out, year in, year out.

Karl Lagerfeld remains seemingly forever loyal to his fingerless gloves, crisp high-collared shirts, dark sunglasses, and Madame de Pompadour hair; American Vogue Creative Director, Grace Coddington, dresses in perennial black, which she proudly accents with a cloud of frizzed burnt-orange hair.

Even fashion stylists who are known to mix, match, and take sartorial risks have a signature. Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele has a penchant for a heavily accessorized blinged out look, the late Isabella Blow had a penchant for Philip Treacy hats—even the late street style photographer, Bill Cunningham, with his Mr. Rogers blue long sleeved shirts and khakis had a look that never changed.

Vogue's Lisa Love and Grace Coddington (Courtesy of Saint Laurent Paris)

Vogue’s Lisa Love and Grace Coddington (Courtesy of Saint Laurent Paris)

On the political and royal stage, fashion can be just as fascinating as a whole, if, individually speaking, rather stagnant. As First Lady of France, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy opted for Christian Louboutin flats and demure Christian Dior dresses; German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, is never without her masculine-cut boxy blazer; American Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, is rarely pictured without a pair of Michael Kors trousers; while on our side of the pond, Sheikha Mozah dons turbans like crowns, and Queen Rania of Jordan masters color-block shift dresses.

Actors and musicians also maintain standard uniforms. Angelina Jolie attempts to tone down her beautiful face with plain black attire to drive home that “I-am-a-UN-ambassador-take-me-seriously-look”; and Johnny Depp favors tinted spectacles and an overall boho pirate get up, inspired by his sartorial idol, Rolling Stones’ guitarist, Keith Richards.

On the subject of Editor-in-Chief-turned-icon, both Diana Vreeland and Anna Wintour come to mind. André Leon Talley, Numéro Russia Editor at Large and American Vogue Contributing Editor, explained the concept best in the August issue of Vanity Fair. “When a woman of true style, like Mrs. Vreeland, has her hairstyle, she never changes it. Ms. Wintour has had her bob since she was in her 20s. I have never seen her hair pulled back. Never. Not even at tennis.”

Far be it from us to advocate wearing the same style every day—but put another way, consider instead if your sartorial choices are, indeed, a true reflection of your inner self. Take a minute to reflect: “What does my sartorial uniform say about my habits, my passions, my lifestyle choices?” If you are what you eat, then it’s not a leap that you might be what you wear, at least to the person looking at you, or at least at first glance.

Finding your sartorial uniform is about having an honest conversation with yourself—never an easy task, and one that can often take years to establish. But if first impressions are important to you, then why not consider lasting ones?


Homepage image: Vogue, Delphine Achard

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