Katie Holmes Is Conducting the World’s Greatest Charm Offensive

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Is it just me, or is Katie Holmes staging a charm offensive so powerful she’s suddenly the subject of a mounting viral narrative for the first time since Tom Cruise’s couch-jumping incident in 2005? According to my internet spidey senses, she’s made headlines more times in the past month than she has in the past 14 years combined, not because she adopted a cute puppy or suddenly hacked the Instagram algorithm or is doing press for an upcoming film, but simply because she’s getting dressed and living her life in a noticeably charming way.

Hailing a taxi in a cashmere bra (just the first crystal in her viral iceberg)? Charming.


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Pairing flats with fancy dresses not once but twice? Charming.


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Donning an almost-floor-length coat for the purposes of a morning coffee run? Charming.


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Wearing a can’t-look-away metallic navy power suit that fits like a damn glove? Charming.


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The charm offensive is a delicate art. I’ve seen outcomes go both ways: the way of too much and the way of just right. Unlike the girl in my high school class who sent an email to the whole school announcing she’d gotten her braces off over the summer, Katie Holmes seems to be falling squarely in the latter category. There’s something palpably endearing about the way she and her stylist Julia von Boehm have been putting together outfits recently. Outfits that garner attention without demanding it. Outfits that feature new, exciting designers like Khaite and WARDROBE.NYC. Outfits that clearly take into account the practical concerns of being a human being with things to do and places to see. It’s a different track for Katie, style-wise, and one that makes it seem like she’s navigating what it means to be talked about in the media on her own terms.

As is key with an effective charm offensive, she’s letting the narrative write itself instead of trying to micromanage it. Not only is she refraining from commenting on any of her heavily-discussed style splashes, she’s also acting aggressively low-key about them on her Instagram. That viral cashmere bra incident? Not a single pic posted! Same for the very cool floor-length coat. That metallic navy power suit? Only a pic from the waist up–and one that misrepresented the suit’s brightly arresting color to boot. As for the flat-cum-fancy dress combos, she only posted a photo of one of them… and she cut off her feet, a.k.a. the precise thing the internet was buzzing about.

Some attribute her recent blitz of good outfits and great press to a post-Jamie Foxx breakup style transformation. I, too, have entertained this thought, but there are other potential contributing factors at hand. Like the fact that she turned 40 last year and is thus one decade further into her womanly prime. Or the fact that she hasn’t really been in a hit TV show or movie since playing Naomi in How I Met Your Mother in 2011 and 2013 and therefore might be attempting to stage a career comeback (which, by the way, I’m very much here for). Or the fact that her now-13-year-old daughter Suri has been quietly excelling in the realm of personal style since she was but a wee thing.

At this point that’s the best I’ve got, but rest assured I will continue following this thoughtfully rendered output of stylistic charisma closely. In the meantime, tell me what you think. Has Katie charmed the regrettably-not-cashmere bra off you, too?

Feature photo via Getty Images.

Harling Ross

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

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