Effortless Effort: What is Style?

While browsing through photos of the pre-fall collections the other day, several looks from Michael Kors jumped out at me. They looked so familiar and for a moment I couldn’t place them. Then it me: something in the slouchy chic of Kors’ classic pea coat and bright red tuxedo pants or the simplicity of a black suit instantly recalled the crisp, clean, all-American style of Carolyn Bessette Kennedy. But more than just the clothes themselves, it was the attitude in these images that reminded me of the late style icon. The writer Dani Shapiro wrote a blog post recently about this kind of attitude as it relates to writing and creativity and, well, life. Shapiro quoted Buddhist thought when she identified this attitude as the effortless effort, this idea of serendipity or risk or an openness to life’s possibilities. It’s a definition you could apply to style too, particularly this brand of seemingly effortless style.

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