It all started with a photo, as many of my fashion fetishes have. She was ethereal, floating in a multicolored gown with a somehow voluminous yet modern fur, waved hair over her shoulders, and a gold belt punctuating the whole bit. I was smitten. Who was she? She was Lauren Hutton at the 1974 Academy Awards. Who was I? A seventeen-year-old with a walk in closet I'd converted into my personal office ripping a page from a borrowed Vogue magazine and tacking to my wall, with a new style icon.
Born in South Carolina, losing her father at a young age, and relocating to the South with her mother, Lauren's early life was one of transience. She moved to New York late in the 1960s, leaving her mother and the memory of her father for a suitor twice her age. Her signature tooth gap was advised to be covered with wax by early agents. It was only when the All Movie Guide declared it "gave her on-camera persona a down-home sensibility that other, more ethereal models lacked," that the wax was thrown out. Her name was changed from Mary Laurence Hutton to Lauren Hutton, inspired by her own icon, Lauren Bacall. She signed record breaking modeling contracts, covered 26 issues of Vogue, and walked runways for decades. A successful screen actor, television star, and personal friend and muse to the Olsens, Lauren created a life worthy of its own screenplay.
It's impossible to read the words "timeless, Americana, tomboy" in any magazine without seeing images of Hutton spanning at least forty years. Her robust career and ever changing portfolio hardly have any impact on her innate way of dressing. When asked about her wardrobe essentials, she said "Always have a navy blazer. White pants, tan pants, navy or black pants—whatever looks good on you. Well-made T-shirts in long and short sleeves. And a good pair of black heels and camel-colored oxfords. If you can afford to, get high-quality classics so you can wear them forever and ever." Everything she wears feels honest, unfussy, and totally her own.
Lauren Hutton brings an easygoing, casual air to every outfit she wears. Her uniform is primarily solid shirts, a high waisted pant, and a toothy grin. It's what set her apart in her early days modeling, landed her campaigns for timeless brands like J.Crew and The Row, and remains her secret to making shorts and a t shirt feel fresh. Hutton is an excellent reminder not to take what we wear too seriously; that having fun is half the battle to getting dressed in clothes we love.
And then there's denim. It seems to make an appearance in almost every outfit Hutton has sported over the past forty years. It's usually a mid wash, once rigid, now worn in, true Levi's style denim. Paired with a silky top, it's suddenly formal enough for a red carpet. With a graphic tee, she makes a strong argument for attending a baseball game (noted.) The rise is consistently high, a good reminder that discovering flattering silhouettes is the key to investing in clothing with confidence.
My jacket envy peaks when searching through archives of photos of Lauren Hutton. From my initial obsession with her fur jacket at the Oscars, I moved quickly into her impeccable taste in blazers. Picture me, walking the halls of my high school, blazer, white tee, and impossibly high rise Levi's. The result was less Hutton and more corporate retreat in the 80s, but I was inspired. The tailoring of her jackets is what stands out. The shoulders are always comfortably loose, fit correctly, but with room to dance (see above) or navigate what is likely a stick shift (see above.) The result is a layer that allows for movement and creative lisence for what is (or isn't) worn under it.
Not to carry on endlessly about the jacket scenario, but how good are her countless moments suited up on the red carpet? What's important about this part of Hutton's style is there is no difference between her casual and formal wardrobe. Often, I find myself intimidated by formal events, wondering how to translate my everyday, casual style into something more elevated. The secret is just to step up what you already love and wear. In Lauren's case, that's blazers. Creativity, a nod to what's trendy, and a hint of humor all punctuate her looks. She's always classic, but never boring.