As I’ve gotten older, inevitably my style has changed. Matured, really. It used to be all about the skin-tight American Apparel dresses, spaghetti-strapped tank tops, juicy couture tracksuits, low-rise denim, flashy handbags; the list goes on. I have noticed that when I shop now, my focus tends to be on more conservative, higher quality, and timeless pieces than ever before. It makes sense; if you want to be taken more seriously, you should look the part. As a woman in business, and especially recruiting, my candidates and clients shouldn’t have to wonder if I take pride in my professionalism, which extends to personal presentation.

These days, I find myself looking to the Royals, Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle, and other businesswomen like Amal Clooney, for style inspiration. In doing my research, this naturally extended to Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy, the quintessential master of what is termed, “Minimalist Chic”. She and the late John F. Kennedy, Jr. ruled New York City in the nineties as one of the most desirable couples; beautiful, dramatic, and impeccably dressed. Whether for a black-tie event, running errands to Duane Reade, or at her wedding, Carolyn embodied an almost daringly pared-down elegance that included exceptional tailoring, solid colors, minimal if non-existent jewelry, and an occasional red lip. She did also carry a Birkin bag, but otherwise, she refrained from the flash that she certainly would have had the means to afford. She always looked polished, sleek, and effortlessly luxurious.

Carolyn in her iconic silk crepe wedding dress designed by the then relatively unknown Narcisco Rodriguez.

While I do enjoy wearing patterns, embellishments, baubles, and bright colors, there is something very alluring about the minimalist way that Carolyn dressed. Her style is the kind that makes one more interested in the person. Carolyn was an ambitious and bright young woman who captured the heart of a Kennedy and New York’s most eligible bachelor. In my research, it seemed like her strong-willed demeanor is what set her apart from John’s past girlfriends. I think that is why she has endured as a major style icon since her untimely and tragic death in 1999. She represents a woman of agency, an enigma. Her style remains classic and truly timeless.

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