Wait, is “Trying” Finally Back in Style?

When I wrote about Gigi Hadid’s newfound penchant for matching her shoes to her outfits, I mentally dismissed it as nothing more than a cool development in her personal style journey.

Only recently did I become aware that it was, in fact, evidence of a much bigger style movement.

The realization hit when I was clicking through photos of Céline Dion’s outfits over the past year. The crescendo of her reentry into the fashion spotlight (which began sometime around couture week last July) has been remarked on at length, and for good reason. She’s been crushing it harder than a grape in Napa, sartorially-speaking.

Celine Dion (by Mehdi Taamallah/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

I started to think critically about why her looks were titillating the entire internet. It then occurred to me that my unconscious use of the word “looks” was significant, because they weren’t just amalgamations of clothes that looked cool together, they were full-on LOOKS, a.k.a. “outfits.”

Here are the qualities I ascribe to a true “outfit”:

+ Unabashed matching
+ Complementary proportions
+ Coordinated accessories

Much like an ensemble coming down the runway, every aspect of an outfit is carefully considered. True outfits are the Broadway musicals of clothing combinations: dramatic, a little bit corny, massively entertaining and not at all casual — a well-oiled, premeditated style statement that epitomizes what it means to try.

Kendall Jenner (by Marc Piasecki via Getty images)

And therein lies the exclamation point at the end of this observation, because for what seems like at least the past four years (ever since fashion re-discovered irony, really), trying has been rendered somewhat taboo. Looking cool was cool, but only if it looked like it happened by accident.

Wearing a full outfit ignores that sentiment completely. It has “deliberation” written all over it.

The more I thought about it (and the more I Google-searched), it became clear that Céline and Gigi weren’t the only people propagating the full outfit movement. Other members of the A-list fan club include: Bella Hadid, Kendall Jenner (100 points for matching your biker shorts to your headband), Rihanna, Zendaya (who happens to share a stylist with Céline), Winnie Harlow and Selena Gomez.

by Edward Berthelot via Getty Images

But the club isn’t limited to celebs. I did a deep dive into street style photos from July’s Paris Couture Week and confirmed that fashion industry folk were climbing on board as well.

SO WHAT DOES THIS ALL MEAN? I’m glad you asked, mainly because I’m not quite sure what the answer is and I want to talk about it in the comment section. My working theories are as follows:

#1 People are tired of trying to look like they’re not trying and are ergo going balls-to-the-walls in the opposite direction, celebrity stylists included.

#2 With the internet and social media, there’s no such thing as “off duty” style anymore, because you’re never really off duty when your photo can and will be taken at any time.

#3 The fact that anyone who wants a platform can have one means there is A LOT of noise. You know what’s not going to cut through it? High-waist jeans and a tank top. You know what is? A head-to-toe ivory ensemble complete with a matching cape and wide-brim hat.

Add your theories below. I’ll meet you there.

Harling Ross

Harling is a writer and was most recently the Brand Director at Man Repeller.

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