Monday, March 17, 2014

10 Modern Style Icons

We all have our style icons… Jackie O., Brigitte Bardot, Charlotte Rampling or Audrey Hepburn. Those gals were so classy and chic at the height of their careers that they changed the game for getting dressed in the mornings, not just during their heydays, but for generations. With that in mind, I started thinking about who my modern day style icons are… Who are the people I look to for inspiration when I'm in a "closet full of clothes, but nothing to wear" rut that are setting the tone now? I came up with my top 10 list, a fabulously chic group of ladies who embody effortless style. This is not a round-up of over-styled red carpet moments… These are people who are doing it right in jeans while off-duty… Let's face it, most of us can pull off a pretty dress and heels without sounding the fashion police alarms, but how many of us are killing it in a pair of boyfriend jeans and a sweatshirt?

There are many things that most of us will never be able to do… Become an astronaut, win an Olympic gold medal, buy a private island, carve a statue out of marble, speak 7 languages fluently, but nothing is stopping all of us from being chic every day, even in our most casual clothes. It's not about the size of our budgets, endless amounts of Chanel or our access to personal stylists. It boils down to a bit of wardrobe TLC… With the right pieces (whether they be Primark or Armani) and a few notes, we can all have a fashion moment every day. Some of the best looks I've ever seen involved a white t-shirt and a pair of jeans, the most accessible look on the planet!

In no particular order, I present you with my current list of modern style icons:

Taylor Tomasi Hill
You may recognize Taylor Tomasi Hill as the most recent GOOP correspondent for New York Fashion Week, but she's also known as the former Creative Director of Moda Operandi. Besides the fact that she's a long & lean gorgeous redhead, what I love about Taylor's style is that she goes for it in a way that's still incredibly grounded in reality. I myself have become a real jeans girl in the last year or so and I'm taking some of my cues from Taylor. Wearing jeans doesn't have to be frumpy or unglamorous - when paired with sexy heels, leopard print and an interesting top, jeans can be the upmost in fashion-forward chic!

Lauren Santo Domingo
The co-founder of Moda Operandi, Lauren Santo Domingo (or LSD as she's fondly known) started her career at Vogue and it certainly shows in her amazing style. Whether she's wearing jeans, a more office-appropriate look like the one pictured above or a full-blown evening gown, LSD's looks are never boring and never disappoint. Here tortoiseshell sunnies, structured bag and of-the-moment barely there sandals prove that with the right accessories, a girl is never out of style!

Mary-Kate & Ashley Olsen
I know, I know… They're two individual people, but it's hard to separate the Olsen twins. Something about their style is like peanut butter & jelly - great separately, but better together. Sure, they're fashion designers with access to the world's most amazing fashion pieces (hello Chanel bag in the photo!), but if you take a closer look, it's not difficult to see what these two powerhouses are doing right. They take risks, they usually look comfortable and they wear confidence as they're most prominent accessory. I also love that they're very often photographed wearing black - the chicest color, especially for busy moguls who don't have time to fuss over what to wear in the morning.

Emmanuelle Alt
It's no shock to find Emmanuelle Alt, Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Paris on my list of modern style icons. What might be shocking is that she is a top fashion editor and is almost always photographed in jeans even though she holds a coveted place at the top of the fashion food chain. What impresses me is Alt's effortless elegance in what seems to be everyday pieces like blazers, jeans and boots. No frills, fuss or gigantic hats for this modern day style icon - she is doing casual Parisian chic better than anyone and accessorizing it with a hefty dose of poise!

Katie Holmes
Whether she's sporting a flannel shirt for Suri's school run or rocking heels with jeans and the most immaculate green sweater I've ever seen (pictured above), Katie Holmes embodies All-American Girl style better than anyone since Christy Brinkley in the 80's. Not so much a fixture on red carpets, Katie is often photographed in clothes that most people could actually wear in their real lives and she always looks amazing. Just the addition of sky-high platform shoes and mahoosive gold earrings makes her otherwise normal look more sophisticated, while mixing olive green, brown & black gives her color scheme depth. Though simple, this look is on another level, but I could totally see her wearing the same jeans and sweater on another day with flats or Converse for a more casual, cool look.

Clemence Poesy
French actress & model Clemence Poesy never ceases to amaze me with her simple, effortless style. Normally, a white blouse with black trousers would evoke images of a hotel waiter, but she knows how to rock this look and so many other simple ensembles in a way that exceeds expectations. Interesting silhouettes help, but the addition of rosy lips, a floppy unbuttoned neckline and messy hair deconstruct this look just enough to seal the deal. From gigantic denim shirts to sweet collared dresses, Poesy always seems to find the perfect balance between boring and interesting without the use of the overly touted 'pop of color', statement necklace or scarf.

Emma Stone
She may be a red carpet darling, but when she's off duty, actress Emma Stone is still killing it. Her looks are always so pulled together and she does this rather simply in a way that we can all emulate. Often photographed in jeans with flats, she looks chic, even when she's casual. Who among us doesn't own a pair of simple ballet flats? Paired with lovely button-down shirts, interesting coats and pretty sweaters, Emma's look could easily be achieved by most of us with a bit of time and a good shopping trip to Zara.

Gwyneth Paltrow
GOOP darling, Oscar Award winning actress and lifestyle guru Gwyneth Paltrow is not lacking in the style department. She may be a working screen siren, wife of a rockstar, business owner, 2 time cookbook author, gym rat and mother of two, but she does mom style like nobody's business when she's not busy wearing fab frocks on red carpets. What's so special or difficult about a pair of jeans with a grey t-shirt and a neutral bag? Nothing. What's so great about Gwynnie's look? Her t-shirt isn't plain - it's a little more interesting than the average tee and those red boots?!?! Hello! Throw a couple of cuffs around the wrists, a necklace around your neck and a great pair of sunnies into the mix and this is school run chic at its best… What's better is that you could probably score this entire look for less at TK Maxx (or TJ Maxx if you're in the US) with a little digging and a lot of patience.

Jenna Lyons
I love J. Crew Creative Director Jenna Lyons for making Tomboy chic. Her hipster glasses are iconic. The way she unbuttons her shirt a little too much is daring. Her jeans & heels inspired combos make wearing denim feel sexy until you throw on a tweed jacket and then it's the modern day power suit. Nobody wears red lipstick with more authority one day and no make-up the next day like Jenna Lyons. She owns her look, no matter what it is and I think what I love most about her style is that though she has a high powered job and undoubtedly a very busy schedule, she finds time to play and have fun with her personal style. Jenna Lyons has single-handedly changed the rules for how a powerful woman can dress, borrowing from the boys but accessorizing like the girls. Iconic.

Sofia Coppola
Actor/Director Sofia Coppola may never live down her dying scene in Godfather III, but her spot-on sense of style more than makes up for it. She should be the poster child for buying quality, classic separates that never go out of style. Always choosing well, I like to think that her wardrobe is filled with pieces that center around a fairly neutral color scheme, making each piece transitional and wearable with any of the others. I get the impression that if she were a frugal shopper, she would really think about every piece she bought, how she would wear it and whether or not it's useful for more than one type of look. Her heart print shirt would work just as well with jeans as it would do with a pencil skirt. Her duffle bag is timeless. Her shoes are chic, yet practical and look extremely comfortable. With every look, she gives off the impression that she is invested in her wardrobe, but she's ready to work and conquer the day. No nonsense. No fuss. Always sharp.

Who are your modern day style icons? I'd love to hear who you look to for inspiration when you're wardrobe creativity is tapped out.

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