Just about everyone in fashion understands what a grail is, those who don’t probably have a grail but just don’t know what to call it. At most times, my top three would probably be a Louis Vuitton by Sofia Coppola SC Bag PM, the perfect black boot, and a Fucking Awesome skateboard deck with a picture of a young Chloë Sevigny on it. Writing this little piece, yes, it’s probably because I have a bit of a crush on her. But she’s a great actress, she’s in some cool films, and I’ll be damned if she doesn’t dress well. This is post is less a dissection than it is exhibition, a look into why I love her style to such a degree.
For the majority of those who truly love fashion, self-actualization typically comes in the form of effortlessness. It’s an idea that spans all levels of fashion from sprezzatura to normcore. They key to effortlessness is naturalness, wearing clothes that don’t feel forced, you want the clothes to seem like a component of who you are and arguably vice versa. I’ll touch more upon it further later, but I feel that Sevigny simply is a depiction of what good, effortless style can be.
Perhaps part of what draws me to Sevigny’s style is a certain sense of nostalgia. She honestly dresses somewhat like my mom. Light wash denim, clogs, the power of a good white button-down, even the classic LL Bean Boat & Tote. It’s a certain sense of the familiar, the items I saw constantly as a child and always associated with what my mom wore to the grocery store but now recognize as being kind of cool. On top of that, there’s the preppiness of her style, the aforementioned LL Bean tote, a good blazer, loafers galore. Hell, the woman has her own Weejuns. Whether I like it or not, I went to private school, I did cotillion, I work at a country club, these things have had an influence on my personal style. Though, to be fair, I own a copy of Take Ivy, so any influence is pretty voluntary.
It’s hard to discuss personal style without discussing the idea of consistency. People tend to believe (I think incorrectly) that certain styles require certain items and you cannot waver outside that. Almost like you aren’t allowed to be inspired both by a picture of a man in a suit and a skateboarder. Sevigny’s style exists as a defiance of that, that she can fluidly go from a Chanel two-piece to a Cramps tee and vintage denim. And not even just that her individual outfits can exist in contention, but that her choice of individual items. For instance, the inherent chicness of a Prada waist bag and Beret matched with the basic utilitarianism of Blundstones. Or wearing cut-off shorts with loafers, or even something as simple as wearing a romper and pearls with Air Force 1’s. At the end of the day, I’d argue that style is not about something as straight-forward as “here is a label, here are the rules,” it’s about knowing what you want and how to make that thing physical. Sevigny has mastered that. She can step out day to day in totally different outfits but so long as they each come off naturally, that is her style, that is who she is.
The final thing that appeals to me about Sevigny’s style is that she has a clear ear to the ground culturally. Perhaps it’s in part of how she got started. She wasn’t some model who got picked up at a mall for being drop-dead gorgeous, she was hired because a fashion editor liked her style, Harmony Korine put her into Kids because he liked her hair. Maybe this is why her style is so natural, she fell into her niche by being herself so why should she be obligated to be anything else? It’s no wonder, therefore, that she posed beside Jason Dill for Supreme x Comme des Garçons or that she collaborated with Opening Ceremony or modeled Uniqlo graphic tees beside Tadanobu Asano in 2013. The woman oozes metropolitan coolness.
It’s taken me far too long to write this post. I find it hard to describe why Sevigny’s style appeals to me to such a degree. It would be insufficient to say it’s just because she’s in some cool films or because she wears Margiela Tabis or because I happen to own her Warby Parker sunglasses. Maybe it’s just because I can sense she is someone who truly loves style. So the next time someone asks why I’ve got pennies in my loafers, it’s because Chloë Sevigny made it cool.