Frida Kahlo: A Style Inspiration

Frida Kahlo is a true legend that clearly needs no introduction. Despite a lifetime of obstacles and pain, she was an ingenious and inimitable painter as well as a resilient and passionate lover of life. She had devoted all of her kaleidoscopic ways to her idiosyncratic art, countless tempestuous affairs, and more importantly, love. But today we are going to focus on her iconic dress sense which continues to dazzle and inspire even to this day.

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Maxi Dress & Skirt with a Twist

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Frida contracted polio at the age of 6, which stunted the growth of her right leg, and experienced a dreadful trolley accident as a teenager, which left her bedridden for almost a year. Because of this series of unfortunate events, she opted for maxi dresses and skirts partially intended to disguise her imperfections. In addition, the vibrant colors of nature in her garden not only inspired her paintings, but also the eclectic patterns in her unique choices of clothing.

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Valentino Resort Collection 2015

Anything Frill

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Natives of the South of Mexico, Frida and the Tehuana dress had an inseparable link. She was almost always seen in a Tehuana dress with the beautiful white frill, implying her tremendous pride in her vivid Mexican heritage and deep-rooted attachment to her country.  It also contributed to the colorful composition of her abundant self-portraits which made her one of the most significant surrealist painters of all time. Moreover, we have to admit that a beautiful flowing dress with a frilly hemline has an incredibly feminine flair and flirtatious touch.

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Valentino Resort Collection 2015

Rebozo / Giant Scarf 

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A Rebozo is a traditional Mexican scarf. Frida wore it constantly, suggesting her immense vulnerability and self-consciousness. Nonetheless, they are usually called shawls in other parts of the world and you can see them in every Parisian corner. It is the perfect transitional piece and a must-have in your fall and winter collection. Wear a big bright-hued scarf with your minimalist outfit to add some extra color and warmth.

Statement Jewelry

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I used to purchase a lot of earrings whenever I went to a boutique because they are my favorite type of jewelry. I bought feather earrings, indigenous culture inspired earrings, rhinestone earrings…pretty much any kind you could think of. But now I just wear my tiny Chanel clovers because I have grown too lazy to take them off before showers (I know, I know…It’s such a bad habit). Regardless, a distinctive piece of statement jewelry can easily brighten up your entire outfit. A plain black sweater may be a bit boring? Add a turquoise necklace. Having a bad hair day? Wear a pair of statement earrings to draw more attention to your beautiful features.

Floral Headpiece 

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The signature look of Frida was an ensemble of a slightly updated Tehuana dress and a tightly braided bun with a floral headpiece. The flowers brought out her intense, brooding eyes and their vivacity was pertinent to Frida’s inherent pain and dark beauty. Although it seems unrealistic to wear a floral headband in daily life, it is a splendid addition to your festival outfits or wedding gowns.

Strong Brows

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I have naturally very thin eyebrows which have been kinda of bothering me since I entered adolescence. For those who are blessed with thick brows, I have only one advice: “NEVER overly pluck them.” They are so beautiful and add great definition to your face. I am not gonna say, “Oh look at Cara Delevingne or any other “It girl” with thick brows.” But keep in mind, looking more “au naturel” is always better for any age.

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The “Skin-Tone Look”

In fashion, a shade closest to natural skin tones is called “nude”. However, natural skin tones vary from pearl to mahogany. So essentially “nude” is not a color, but more of a concept come up with by individuals who naively thought that “one shade fits all”. Ballerinas were required to wear “nude” ballet slippers and it used to be virtually impossible for people with darker skin to find “nude” nylons and stockings that matched their skin tones.

Nevertheless, fashion is constantly evolving. Back in 2015, Christian Louboutin added 4 shades to its “The Nudes” shoe collection, embracing an au naturel look for all women.

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Hence, the trend I am writing about today is the “skin-tone look”. On the one hand, it is incredibly feminine, sophisticated and understated. On the other hand, if the color blends with the person’s skin tone impeccably, it creates a striking effect that makes the ensemble astonishingly distinctive and gorgeous. Here are some great examples for various skin tones.

Ivory/Pearl

Blush/Bisque

Beige/Sand

Sun-kissed/Golden

Honey Bronze/Chestnut

Caramel/Toffee

Espresso/Mahogany

Red Carpet Looks

Yeezy

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Although I am not personally a fan of “sports casual chic” or sweatshirts, Yeezy has to be mentioned. The collections and choreographies of the fashion shows sparked controversies as references to the racial diversity and inequality across America and beyond. Kayne however denied the political connotation of his clothes, making a statement in 2015: “It had nothing to do with race. It was only colors of human beings and the way these palettes of people work together and really just stressing the importance of color, the importance of that to our sanity, these Zen, monochrome palettes…” His collections have been received far more favorably by the public in spite of bigotry encountered by the rapper in the fashion world. But there is one thing I will agree with, “Every color is beautiful.”

“Gender Fluidity”

You may agree with John Gray that, “men are from Mars, women are from Venus.” However, style is undeniably universal and one of the biggest fashion trends for Millennials and Generation Zs is “gender fluidity” – the blurring of gender identities. A gender-fluid individual can identify themselves with men, women, and a combination of both — or nothing at all. A gender-fluid style is an expression of ourselves by how we dress that shifts between masculine and feminine.

Marlene Dietrich was known for having a distinctively androgynous style. She started dressing in menswear as early as 1920s and was often seen in tailored men’s suits, loose-fitting white shirts/black pants, and uniforms. She was openly bisexual and enjoyed the thriving gay scene in Berlin. One of her most famous lovers was Greta Garbo, who was equally mysterious and ambisexual, also became a silver-screen sensation — despite the controversy surrounding bisexuality. And ironically, both actresses fully exploited their sexuality against men — on and off screen, and unlike many Hollywood counterparts, lived well into their “zoomer” years (91 and 85).

Since then, the gender fluidity trend became officially on the rise. Here are some exemplary photographs.

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Julia Robert’s men’s suit at Golden Globes
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Diane Keaton in Annie Hall with Woody Allen
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Jared Leto’s long ombre hair blurs the definition of “masculinity”
Wurst, the bearded transgender winner of the Eurovision Song Contest, performs during a concert at the European Parliament in Brussels
Conchita Wurst, the bearded transgender

However, today I am going to show you how to pick up the trend in a slightly less “theatrical” way and to wear some of our favorite pieces with just the right amount of feminine flair.

Crisply Tailored Blazer

A well-tailored blazer can make a cocktail dress more sophisticated, a pair of old jeans more dressy, and those extra few pounds disappear. It is pure magic! Its versatility also allows you to pair it with stilettos, slip-ons, boots as well as sneakers.

Strong-shouldered Military Coat

Another highly adaptable piece for your wardrobe — the military coat, is a perfect transitional piece for the cooler temps and gray days . They offer warmth as well as a little extra strength and security that we sometimes crave.

“Rebel without a Cause” Bomber 

A bomber jacket is an essential for spring and fall seasons, creating the “cool girl” image without taking away the soft look of the woman. Pair it with a dress or skirt for a sleek vibe or a crop top and your favorite pair of destroyed denim for a casual-chic look.

Banker’s Button-down

It is looser-fitting than a woman’s dress shirt but just as sexy. You look like you just threw on your lover’s shirt the morning after yet still appear effortlessly chic. Casually tuck it into your jeans or skirts and pair it with some flirty heels and you’re good to go!

Suspenders

The suspenders are making a comeback. They are quirky and funky additions to your feminine outfits. On the other hand, wear it with loose-fitting pants and tailored jackets and it will scream Parisian chic.

Bow Tie

The bow tie, an attribute of a formal dress code and true gentleman’s symbol, has been part of the modern woman’s wardrobe since the beginning of the 20th century. No matter it is a flowy YSL silk bow tie or a neat ribbon bow tie, it adds a flirtatious vibe to your ensemble. And for the bold and brave, channel your inner Marlene by wearing a tux with a classic structured bow tie.

Loafers

Loafers go with everything, from jeans and white tees, to dress shirts and flowing skirts. They are incredibly comfortable, perfect for office as well as casual outings. They make your easy denim-and-button-down look more posh and your formal attire more down-to-earth.

Combat Boots

I owned a pair of combat boots in college and they were my go-to boots for parties because they looked good with almost everything and I never had to worry about getting stepped on by other drunk kids. They are perfect for winter wear as well as summer music festivals to compliment your boho chic ensembles.

Men’s Watch

I never wear watches even though I seem to alway get them as gifts. However, if I have to pick a watch to wear, it will be a big men’s watch that covers almost the entire surface of my wrist. There is something incredibly sensual about a woman wearing men’s accessories to show her daring and independent nature.