If one were to make a list of the top five women who are thought of as being quintessentially stylish, Coco Chanel would certainly be on that list. Her style philosophy has influenced many of the ‘fashion rules’ that are still in play today.
Although it is supremely different to the way I dress, I adore Coco’s style. I started studying her as a muse when I was researching 1920’s style a while ago. It struck me that she might be the perfect style icon for women who want to in corporate vintage styles into their wardrobe, but who don’t like clothing that is too fussy. Chanel’s looks are classic and sophisticated, but they do have a decidedly 1920’s feel about them. They’re perfect for women who are trying to add a bit of personality to their professional wardrobe, or ladies who want vintage style without the frou-frou or pin-up vibe.
If I were to choose just one word to describe Chanel’s style, it would be “clean”. Her look was blissfully uncluttered and simple. She stuck to a basic colour palette of black, white and beige. While this might sound a little dull, I assure you that the absence of colour can truly make for a striking statement. Prints were fairly sparse in Chanel’s style, although she did favour the classic look of a wide Breton stripe.
The garments which Coco favoured where rather boxy. The shoulders were emphasised in blazers and dresses with sharp angles. The waistline tended not to be very defined, with the lines of the garment draping over the waist and hips. Coco did sometimes wear pants which were cinched at the waist. Skirts fell to the knee and had a lot of movement. Coco was the woman to pioneer the idea of the “Little Black Dress”, and her wardrobe contained a liberal quantity of this style staple.
Accessories were a key part of Chanel’s style. She was famous for wearing long strands of pearls, sometimes looped over and worn double or triple. She also liked large stud earrings. Usually, a single piece of jewellery was chosen to adorn an otherwise simple outfit. However, if you’re emulating this look and you feel like layering your jewels, you can do so by pairing a stack of bracelets and a long necklace with a simple black outfit. Coco liked small hats with petite brims, ladylike gloves and large sunglasses.
The makeup worn by Coco was very defined and quite sharp. The brows were very defined and the lips tended to be coloured with a red or rouge shade.
Coco’s style is quite easy to emulate, because it does not require items which are specifically vintage. Many of the items are classic and similar garments can be found in modern stores. The muted colour palette also makes it easy to copy, because these colours never go out of style. It’s easy to find black, beige or white clothes to use as the basis for your outfits.
Do you consider Coco Chanel to be one of your personal style icons?