Marie Antoinette knew the power of clothes. Even if she had little else to control in her position as a young queen, she chose to wear attention-getting lower necklines with shorter hems—gowns that shocked her peers by showing more cleavage and ankle than was the custom. Her wigs rose to the ceilings.
Fashionistas are like that. They are the women who live for their clothes and aren’t afraid to dazzle everywhere they go. They always look fantastic—not so much because they fit in, as because they have a bold style of their own that makes a statement. This could be accomplished in outlandish ways, like Carmen Miranda, Grace Jones, or Lady Gaga; or by the kind of stunning taste and attention to understated detail mastered by Grace Kelly, Babe Paley, and designers such as Carolina Herrera.
Fashionistas are not always typical beauties. Jacqueline Kennedy was not a traditional knockout and neither was Audrey Hepburn. But they had the Fashionista’s way of styling themselves so perfectly that they become iconic. So do Iris Apfel, one of the nation’s oldest living Fashionistas at 90; and Tavi Gevinson, the teenage fashion blogger and industry darling.
What all Fashionistas have in common is an exuberant relationship with style, not just in clothes but in decor, entertaining, and travel as well. They find shopping more exhilarating than any cultural pursuit and they are unafraid to get excited about beautiful things.
Kate Moss, Carla Bruni, Chloë Sevigny, Linda Wells, Rachel Zoe
Fashionistas bring enthusiasm to any event and have a sense of occasion that adds spice to a decidedly understated world. They will always have an opinion when asked any question about style and are usually more than happy to share their glamour secrets.
Opinions can become oppressive at times, and when a love of style gives way to pettiness and narcissism, Fashionistas can reveal glaringly superficial tendencies.
Designer clothes, shoes, and handbags, fashion and design magazines, cosmetics, objects of beauty
- Seeing Through Clothes by Anne Hollander
- D.V. by Diana Vreeland
- Deluxe: How Luxury Lost its Luster by Dana Thomas
- Chic Savages: Inside Nouvelle Society-New Money and Haute Couture by John Fairchild
- Cleopatra’s Nose: 39 Varieties of Desire by Judith Thurman
“Fashion changes, but style endures.” -Coco Chanel