The funny thing is, I’ve always loved Chanel.
When I was sixteen and knew nothing about fashion at all, I scrawled onto my handwritten bucketlist (yes, I actually had one) “Wear all Chanel.”
Only recently am I learning that the late designer and myself actually have much more in common; only now am I beginning to understand why I love Chanel so very much, which I now consider to be valid reason to actually fulfill that bucketlist item: wear all Chanel.
Strings of Pearls
Coco was given many, many pearls by male companions, and though she was never a wife (the feminist inside of her wouldn’t allow her to marry) she was certainly adored. She could have worn expensive jewelry around her neck, but instead she opted for layers upon layers of costume jewelry, perhaps making the most grandiose statement known in the fashion world to date.
“It’s disgusting to walk around with millions around the neck because one happens to be rich. I only like fake jewelry … because it’s provocative.” -Coco Chanel
It hasn’t always been in style, but sailor stripes have definitely been around for as long as we can remember. And though their most recent comeback is now starting to become old news, the sailor stripes still remain. I have to admit, it took me a while to get my own stripes… but once I understood the history and realized how truly versatile the staple is (and how well it matches with my string of pearls) I have to say… I love my stripes!
The sailor stripes we all know so well today were first introduced to the French navy in 1858, and was later introduced to womenswear in 1917 by Coco herself. Forever taking a feminist approach to her designs, Coco’s simple striped tshirt (without buttons!) completely modernized the daily womenswear of the time. Modern women can hardly make practical use of clothing from this era, unless of course it’s by Coco herself.
This is Chanel wearing her sailor-inspired striped shirt from her 1917 nautical collection. The simple top was designed to be worn with black trousers, which was a serious shocker (to men) and reliever (to women) at the time!
Pants Overturning Skirts
Did you know that Chanel was one of the first to make pants a fashionable and acceptable clothing item for women during her time? Had it not been for her efforts and strong beliefs for women’s rights, we’d likely all still be wearing Dior’s cinched in ‘new look’ skirts. Since it’s nice to have the option, I’m certainly not disregarding the full skirts. Quite honestly, I love full skirts – just so long as I can still breathe and swallow in them.
But isn’t there just something so… comfortable and empowering about wearing a pair of awesome black pants?
Oh ya, black? That’s Coco, too.
The Two-Tone Shoe
My first actual Chanel item brought the biggest smile to my face… like ever. I love my two-tone classic ballerina flats more and more everyday, and cringe each time I think I may have scuffed them. They’re just so perfect… and classic… and versatile… and outrageously, simplistically beautiful.
Though Coco was certainly a feminist, she still catered to what women really want. Which is shoes, obviously. And no woman feels sexy in shoes that make her legs look stumpy and her feet look big. Nope. Small and slender, small and slender. So she designed the two-tone shoe, the beige blending in with and lengthening the leg, the black tip shortening the foot.
“A woman with good shoes is never ugly. They are the last touch of elegance.”
Just take a look around – Whether it’s the notorious sailor stripes, the classic strings of pearls, or simply women wearing the color black, you’ll see the C’s everywhere: Coco, Chanel, Classic, Classy.