Carolyn Bessette may have left this world too early her legacy will live on forever as the other Style Icons have including her mother in law Jackie O'. What makes a Style Icon is a perfect storm, fashion, intelligence and the way she lives her life all of which Carolyn embodied. She was not born into 'high society' nor was she born with silver spoon in her mouth. Money is not a prerequisite for becoming a Style Icon, as they say fashion can be bought but style is who you are. You can't buy it and it never goes out of style. She was raised by a cabinet maker and an administrator of the New York public school board a life that was in contrast to her Kennedy in laws.
In the mid 90's she became a household name and it wasn't just because she married John F Kennedy Jr but because she had that 'je ne sais quoi'. She had substance working her way up from a sales associate for Calvin Klein at a mall to becoming the director of publicity of the New York City flagship store. Her personal style and elegance were perfect for the minimalist fashion of Calvin Klein and eventually she became extremely successful working with some of the biggest names in New York City and Hollywood. When she began dating John F Kennedy in the early 90's we were enchanted by her and a little jealous.
Carolyn Bessette was timeless from her hair to her makeup to the clothes she wore because she was not a slave to fashion. This is a key ingredient in the making of a Style Icon trends are not timeless. She was a Parisian woman in living in New York, raised in Connecticut and the daughter of middle class parents. That infamous picture of her and John walking out of the church that took our breath away. Thousands of brides to be exchanged their elaborate wedding dresses for something simple and more elegant. A bride could wear that dress today without looking dated. All brides, teens going to proms or other 'photographed' moments take a tip from Carolyn and keep it simple. Don't wear your hair and makeup in way you typically never do it never looks good and when you look back at the pictures you end up hating them because they look nothing like you.
When I look back at pictures of her I notice some similarities between Carolyn and Princess Diana. Obviously they came from two different worlds but like Princess Dianna she had that quite, sweet smile that shy, girl next door look. She was doe eyed and had a look of innocence that made us want to protect her. She never appeared self absorbed and even though she was beautiful and married to the Prince of the Kennedy dynasty she was relatable and down to earth. Like Princess Diana she was never fully comfortable with the spot light which only made us like her more. She had a softness, a warmth to her that was genuine and sincere. It would be hard to find one picture of Carolyn dressed in a way that could not be worn today.
One of the things I always loved about her was that she never 'over dressed' even when she was at the time probably one of the most photographed women in the world. She was hounded by the paparazzi photographing her every move. If she was walking her dog she was in jeans and flats no stilettos or makeup artists. Like her Parisian counterparts she kept her 'beauty' look au natural she had that 'I just rolled out of bed looking like this' look and when she was going out to a black tie event she added a red lip. Her fashion style was minimalist and classic with a little All American girl next door mixed with a little Manhattan socialite. Her accessories were also simple, chic and in line with her minimalist style her fashion voice was a whisper, no loud over the top embellishments.
Carolyn, like Princess Diana was never comfortable with the attention she received from the paparazzi and public. She was described as a warm, thoughtful woman that was engaged when talking to you and she genuinely wanted to know about you. She would ask questions and more importantly she would listen. She was not self absorbed or entitled which is another key ingredient to becoming a Style Icon. When you read about her whether it is a friend or a reporter they all remarked on her kindness, they talk about her being genuine and the effect she had.
You felt special when you talked to her, the biggest ingredient that you must have to become a Style Icon no substitution. She joins the ranks of some fairly amazing women from Audrey Hepburn to her mother in law, Jackie O' and all of these women lived a life that had a positive effect on society from humanitarian acts to simply being kind.
Her light didn't burn very long but it did burn brighter than most. Carolyn Bessette was introduced to America in 1994ish and was sadly taken from us in 1999. In those 5 years she became the ideal, a role model for generations of women to come. She was intelligent going from a sales associate to a high profile position with one of the most Iconic American Fashion Houses. She was elegant long before she became Carolyn Bessette Kennedy because her elegance is who she was not what she wore or who she married. Like other Style Icons she used her 'celebrity' status to work with charities. She effected the world around her by her kindness, elegance and generosity that was her legacy, that is how she is remembered by the people she came into contact with. She is one of the greatest Style Icons and will forever hold a place in out hearts.
Key Styling Tips for Her Look:
?Her makeup was always natural and minimal with the occasional red lip
?She kept her hair natural, not overly done or styled. She either wore her hair down or the low pony tail with a chignon here and there. There are no embarrassing pictures of her and the 'Rachel' cut of the 90's she knew what worked for her and stayed true to that
?A wardrobe of mainly neutrals in classic cuts that fit her perfectly and always appropriate for her lifestyle.
?All American Girl Next Door so when you walk the dog think khakis and ballet flats not Channel and stilettosMust Have Pieces to Get Her Look:
?Classic Trench Coat
Trench Coat from Mango
Leopard Coat in car length from Mango
?Grey Sheath Dress and add a Camel Cardigan or long Black Cardigan and Boots
?Pencil Skirt that hits right below the knee in Black, Camel and Grey
Director Pencil Skirt from J. Crew
?Men's Styled White Button Down Shirt
Mens Thompson White Dress Shirt from J. Crew Factory
for 59.50 with 30% off code TimeToShop
?Black V-Neck Cashmere Sweater
Cashmere Sweater from J. Crew