Reader KG asks:

Hi TCFKAG! I'm in my mid-twenties and have been thinking about trying to create a more cohesive personal style lately. So far my shopping style is haphazard and I just buy what I like. My closet isn't bad, it's just not memorable. I'm trying to go about this by selecting a fashion icon (Jackie O) and trying to go from there. But I get a block when I'm actually shopping. What I really would love is a list of 5-10 modern Jackie O must-haves to get me started on building an awesome wardrobe. The details: Size: generally size small/2/27. I'm a skinny hourglass. Price Range: Lower is always better. Max prices would be $30ish for shirts, 100ish for pants, 75-100ish for dresses, $50-150 on shoes. But I love to fall in love and goggle at out of reach clothes too, so don't feel too limited. Hair color/skin tone: Super pale skin, brown hair Event: Everyday work and weekend clothes. I work in a pretty casual industry, so I don't need suits or really formal stuff. Shoes: Size 9.5, and definitely partial to flats.

Hey!  Look - I'm back. Sorry for the longer than expected delay in return. I got back from a PHENOMENAL vacation (go here to see photos) and then I got very, very, very sick. So my return to the world of vicarious shopping and blogging was delayed. But here I am and your question tickled my fancy. It also gives me a chance to expound for just a bit on a topic that has come up several times on Corporette and just generally in work environments I've been in in the past (but which doesn't necessarily apply entirely to your question). I have absolutely no problem with people having a defined personal style; in fact, I think its a great way (though not the only way) to guide your wardrobe and your closet into a cohesive unit - thus allowing the set of clothes you own to work well together as separates and saving you both time and money in the morning. 

But, with any style choice, you have to walk a fine line in the workplace. With the Jackie O inspiration, frankly, it would look incredibly odd for a twenty-something to be walking around right now wearing pill-box hats and chanel suits. And as with one of my recent posts, people who are more "goth" or edgy in their personal style have to find a way to reign that in for work. But I don't think this just applies to "out there" stylistic choices. If your style is "preppy" for example, a fairly well accepted style choice in the work place, I still don't think you can buy your entire work wardrobe from Lilly Pulitzer or LaCrosse.  And if you're into fashion and really like getting dressed up and looking trendy, I would think twice about wearing an Akris suit everyday to a more casual business casual firm, no matter how awesome you would look, because the edginess would likely throw off your superiors. What am I trying to say? With any style-inspiration, its all about taking that inspiration and working elements of it into a modern business or business casual wardrobe. No matter how loyal you are to the "look", you have to remember that your work wardrobe is *not* about expressing personal identity (with, of course, the exception of dressing to match the gender you identify with) - its about looking professional and pulled together. But there's also no reason that has to be boring. Hence the meeting in the middle. So just remember, you want to be remembered as the woman who filed a kick-ass Motion to Dismiss or solved the network problems that had been plaguing the office for months; that is what your office identity should be. You do *not* want to be "Jackie O girl" or "Mad Men girl" or "goth girl." Your style should be a secondary identity but not a primary one. If you pull that off, then you have achieved greatness my friend.  NOW!  Moving on to the actual meat (and FUN) of the question.

I guess the first question is .... what did Jackie O wear?  Of course her style changed somewhat throughout her life, but she was known for clean lines, classic styles, simple colors, collarless blazers, and in her early years a-line skirts.  She was a style icon of her time and always looked pretty amazing. She was also very New Englandy (is that a word....it is now) - trending, especially later in life, towards a sort of maritime look in her casual wear. Now, I have to admit up front a STRONG affection for Jackie - and frankly the whole Kennedy clan. I'm from New England (in fact a large chunk of my family is from Newport, RI) and I'm Irish-Catholic. What does that mean? That means that there were pictures of JFK and Bobby Kennedy up in all of my elderly relatives houses next to the pope. They were a very big deal for Irish-Americans in the 50s and 60s and it may be hard to understand now, but Jackie was their princess. My now deceased great-uncle went to JFK and Jackie's wedding, just so he could see them come out of the church and shoot a picture - the resulting picture (she looking pretty startled) was one of his most treasured possessions.  But really - how could you not love them? (By the way, that's a rhetorical question, I am well aware of the reasons that JFK was problematic.)
So - given this is my first post back AND its Jackie O, I'm going to do a slightly different format.  I'm going to post a picture of her that caught my eye - trending from the more business formal to the more casual - and then I will post  more modern items that I think would do a good job of recreating a similar look - without making it look like you were playing 1950s or 1970s dress-up (I will be doing various J.O. eras - she had fabulous style in all of them.)  So lets get started!
So - the Chanel suit with the pill box hat is, of course, a classic. Its practically iconic. But I also think its pretty dated for a young attorney at this stage of your career (and I'm just going to assume point blank you're not wearing pill box hats to work.) I also think its critically important that you get something that highlight the waist a bit more and is, frankly, a bit more flattering. But I have some ideas about suits that might give the same effect but without the stiffer, throw-back vibe.
Front zip moto in coral from the Limited ($49.99 also in yellow - I honestly think in your case that separates are the best way to go, since you don't need a full suit. You can get the vague look with a bit more modern flair.)
TopShop Fleck Bouclé Jacket at Nordstroms ($150 - a bit above what I imagine you'd want to pay for a blazer - but otherwise I think its perf. Its cute and modern and I love the color - and if you can get past the horrendous styling on the model it would be great for work (especially with gray.)
Bouclé Jacket at Mango Outlet ($79.99 on-sale - I think this blazer is cool and may fit a bit more with her later style - more in the seventies look - but I really like it. Especially if you tried something a little interesting and paired it with a black turtleneck, for example.)
So - other than the unfortunate Chanel suit - one thing Jackie was very good about was picking dresses that emphasized her natural waist.  Now - I'm not sure where your waist is precisely, but I'm going to assume for the purposes of this exercise that, like her, you had a fairly mid-range natural waist (which was great for her - it seems to have allowed her to wear things that hit everywhere from just below the rib-cage to almost a dropped waist....the lucky duck.)  So here I'll be showing a few work appropriate dresses that have nicely defined natural waists - but would also work as essentially a business casual suit separate with a blazer thrown over them (perhaps one of the blazers above - who knows.)  For that reason, I'm sticking mostly with the neutrals here, black, gray, and navy.
Belted sheath dress at Jones New York ($99 - in navy - you may notice a lot of higher necklines or boat necklines in this post.  That is intentional - it is one of the hallmarks of a "Jackie O" look.)
Ellen Tracy Belted Sheath Dress at Nordstroms ($128 - I like that the longer belt on this gives it a touch of interest - though I'd be excited to see it in person. The boat neck is lovely though.)
Anne Klein Swing Dress - Short Sleeve Belted Honeycomb at Bloomingdales ($89.95 on-sale - I love this one. I love the tiers on the skirt and the simple neckline. It would work well under a blazer or on its own and it gives off the right vibe I think.)
Tahari Belted Sheath Dress at Nordstroms ($128 - I like the shape of this (and pockets!) but I always worry about length with Tahari a little.)
Lauren Ralph Lauren Two-Tone Sleeveless Dress "Henshaw" at Bloomingdales ($134 - like the Anne Klein above this is also described as a swing skirt - but I love how the waist here is defined by the simple horizontal lines - without the need of a belt. If only it had sleeves it would be perfect.)
Lauren by Ralph Lauren Knotted Matte Jersey A-Line Dress at Nordstroms ($130 - I like this LRL too.  It has cap sleeves and the cross-knot waist accent is a very modern way of creating the same waist definition that Jackie O had above. Plus while the color is more vibrant, it can still be used as a neutral for the office.)
So, there may not be universal agreement on this, but I think Jackie's 70s style was absolutely fantastic. She didn't fall prey to some of the more hideous excesses of the period, but instead stuck with her figure flattering, chic look - but added a little more flair and a little more.....disco....for lack of a better term.  Take this look for example.  50s and 60s Jackie would never have rocked a super swag, collar popped trench coat and corresponding trousers.  And yet she looks fabulous.  Also...I think she's the only reason that sometimes I think that very sparing use of the turtleneck in your wardrobe is absolutely a go (see e.g. with the Mango Blazer above.)  But generally, what I would take away from this picture, is the power of a well tailored pair of straight leg (or slightly boot cut) trousers, a fitted blouse or short, and an awesome trench coat.  
Now, I will acknowledge, it is essentially an exercise in futility recommending pants blind over the internet because of simple size preferences, fit preferences, and the magic "it" that is impossible to capture via the world wide web. But take this from Jackie O - you should want your pants to fit - and don't trust catalogues as a judge for how pants fit - if you have lines pulling across the front forming that sort of spider shape across your pelvis (you know the one) they're too small.  If when you sit down, they ride up and show your whole sock, they're probably too short. If when you walk, you trip over them, they're too long. And if they dig into your stomach and make you uncomfortable, they're too small.  My best tip - buy the size that fits your thighs, hips, and stomach....the rest can be altered (and get a Nordies debit or credit card so  you can get some free alterations too.)  Okay...moving on, here we go.
Seasonless Straight Leg Pant at White House Black Market ($88 - I know I just said how I wasn't going to recommend pants - but I like the look of these - they're a bit different than all the other "straight" or "wide" leg pants. Might be worth a gander at this price. Readers - has anyone worn or purchased these?)
Silk Chiffon Houndstooth Blouse from Brooks Brothers ($91.20 - in trying to figure out what the modern equivalent to the turtleneck would be - I bet it would be something like this blouse. Its formal, but with a pattern and a bow to keep it interesting. In fact, Jackie liked neck bows as seen here, so you'd be keeping it on theme.)
Mark New York Asymmetrical Zip Front Belted Trench Coat from the Bon Ton ($140 - so I'm going with a bright color on this trench because sometimes we forget that Jackie was actually *really* fashionable. She wasn't just demure and proper; she was one of the first First Ladies who was young enough to be a "fashion icon." Yes her style seems a bit prim now, but she was cool back then, so a Jackie O inspired wardrobe doesn't have to be all prim all the time.  Is all I'm saying.
The Kennedys as I assume many of you know are Cape Codders - they have a huge house on the cape and most of the kids grow up there and spend a lot of their time there in the summer. I'm not sure what Jackie's relationship with Newport was, but I think she also spent a fair amount of time on the beach in the summer.  After JFK died, she married a yacht dude (I won't pretend to know what he did.)  Basically, her casual wear definitely had a fancy maritime theme.  Three elements that really defined her look were her cropped pants, her scarfs (traditional square ones, I think), which she would wear on her head or around her neck, and her flats (not pictured above as she's wandering around barefoot....like a peasant...or Britney Spears during her breakdown. But in other pictures it appears for flats she favors a box toe or a slight point with a buckle or other minimalist decoration on the toe box and either flat or a low square heel.  We won't discuss in too much detail her taste in heels, we'll chalk it up to the era.)  As such, I'll focus on these three items for "casual wear" assuming - probably rightfully - that you have t-shirts or blouses that you can wear that will go nicely with these items.
Caslon Chino Ankle Pants from Nordstroms ($34.80 - so, the Halogen brand cropped pant which comes in a variety of cuts and fabrics gets great reviews at Nordies, but I think I like these chinos a bit better. The cuff gives them a little more of a relaxed flare, while still keeping them looking good - plus I love this navy color - though they come in like 20 colors.)
Slightly Curvy Perfect Twill Ankle Pants from Eddie Bauer ($39.99 - if you are considering a more formal cropped pant - I think these Eddie Bauers might be a good fit for you.  They are mostly fairly straight, with the pressed seam in the front, but the slightly curvy cut will fit your slim hour-glass shape better.  I wish they came in more colors though...I feel like the whole point of cropped pants is fun colors; I'm almost sure of it. For ones that maybe aren't as curvy friendly but come in WAY more fun colors, check out the Hampton fit cropped pants at BR.)
Linen Straight Leg Pant from C&C California ($48.99 - so these are a bit off the radar - but for a modern "oh, you know, I'm just running from the beach to my yoga class to coffee and I just threw this look together" pant - I really am drawn to these.  They look amazingly comfortable and yet way more stylish than most similar pants. At least worth a look - especially if paired with an appropriately "just thrown together" tunic and some jewelry.)
Vintage Christian Dior Paisley Silk Scarf from American Apparel ($50 - I may or may not be having a stroke right now, since I'm willingly listing an item from AMERICAN APPAREL - but this scarf is SO PRETTY and is allegedly vintage Dior.  Either way, I love teal, I LOVE paisley, and it would go amazingly with the color palette we've been building so far [always an important consideration when adding new items and accessories.])
Vintage Waves Square Silk Scarf from Lord and Taylor ($30.44 - I love this bright yellow, it would really take a lot of gray and navy and even black outfits into summer with just a tie of a scarf. Plus this is a color I know Jackie favored [at least in the color pictures I saw of her] and I just think its lovely. This particular scarf would go especially well with say a gray or navy dress as a way to add some interest without needing to add layers in the heat of the summer. Plus its a great price for silk!)
Harmony close toe flat in dafodil from Sole Society ($59.95 - I have to tell you, I LOVE these, and I'm thinking of getting them for myself. And they feel like exactly what an updated Jackie O casual flat would be. You have the box toe and the buckle on the toe box and yet the color and the patent really scream fun. Plus the yellow will add some pop to otherwise neutral weekend or casual [or work] attire.  These are kind of amazing....I might be personally in love though I recognize they are not everyone's cup of tea.)
Sesto Meucci Exedra Flat from 6PM ($96.99 - so based on pictures of her actual shoes - these may be the most similar to Jackie O's casual flats that I could see on the current popular shoe market.  Which, is kind of funny, because this sort of vaguely male style flat is totally back in style right now. And these would be insanely comfortable [they also come in tan] but they are not as cute and adorable as one might hope. I have no idea if it was a Jackie O thing or a that period thing, but there ya go. She did wear more dressy flats for formal occasions (based on the pictures at least.)
Enzo Angiolini Pointed Toe Flats - Danville Metal Tip at Bloomingdale's ($72 - another pair of flats I love....this is a real problem.  These are great, I think the nice thing about leopard print is that you can basically wear it as a neutral [especially when its a shoe] and no one will really care.  Plus, I'm still not over the metal toe cap thing.  Other people may be, but I'm not, who doesn't want their toes to shine? Not me!  And if you're wondering if Jackie O would ever wear animal print, here is photographic proof she would.
So, we have come to the end of our epic journey....the Little Black Dress.  Perhaps not as famous for her choice of a LBD as, say, Audrey Hepburn, our First Lady in question sure knew how to make one work. I especially like the one in the above picture - completely appropriate for the wife of the President and yet stunning none the less (though I think in the modern day we'd ramp up the jewelry and the shoes just a bit.)  The bottom two dresses are different.  The one on the left is presumably still during the Presidency and it is a more formal event. But I like the deeper dip in the neckline. You can see her jewelry and her toned arms. This is Jackie O outside a boatneck!  Huzzah!  On the right is something entirely different. This is later in life (probably in the 70s - a google image back search couldn't turn up an origin) but her tastes have matured and she has been freed to be more sexy and fashion forward. Despite all that, and in the middle of the fashion....adventures that were the 70s.....she still looks classy and timeless. She could turn up to a gallery opening today in any of these looks and look in place - and in the end, isn't that the goal? (Well not always, but sometimes. Probably not with Lady Gagas meat dress.)
T by Tadashi Off the Shoulder Bandage Dress at Nordstroms ($138 - also available in red and blue - this dress is presented in honor of Ms. O's sexy later years.  Because having Jackie O as your style icon doesn't mean being prim and proper forever.... sometimes it means off the shoulder bandage dresses.  That's what we are remembering with this dress. ;-].)
David Meister Illusion Top Cocktail Dress at Neiman Marcus ($161 - I like this dress a lot - I feel like its classy with just a bit of sex appeal, just like Jackie.  It would be great for a formal work cocktail party type thing or as a guest as a wedding. Its screaming for dangly earrings, bangles, and brightly colored shoes [and possibly an opera length necklace, if it doesn't mess with the effect of the neckline.])
Bridge V-Neck Dress in Black from Reiss ($240 - also available in red - I feel like this picture likely does not do this dress justice. But it is the ideal sheath dress for fancy occasions, the perfect blank slate on which to build your jewelry and shoes and hair and make-up; with the up-side being that you can wear it to work as well. Also if you click through you'll see the back dips down just a little, which I really like as a detail. To bad the picture is so terrible.)
Kate Spade New York Lorelei Dress in "black/clotted" at Piperlime ($248 - okay my budget is all out of control on these....look at them as long term goals?  Sorry.  But I love the checkered design on this one and the pockets and the classic shape.  I also think it would be wildly flattering on someone with a slightly curvy figure [I say that as someone with a slightly but not super curvy figure....if that makes sense.])
JS Collection Peek-a-boo lace Cap Sleeve Fit and Flare Dress at Edressme ($270 - so I was trying to avoid lace, mostly because I feel like we're all going to look back at this period in 10 years and wonder if there was something in the water that made us all have a lace fetish, but everything else about the cut, the shape, and the fit of this dress is lovely...so here ya go.)
Carmen Marc Valvo Crepe Bottom Cocktail Dress at Bergdorg Goodman ($226 - so - I won't lie, this is only available in a size 6 - but I just think its lovely so I'm sharing it anyway. If any of my other readers are a size 6 and are looking to add something in the same style to their wardrobe, this might be a good match for you!)
So that's all she wrote folks. Did I miss any clear "Jackie O" necessary wardrobe elements? If so, give Reader KG a heads up in the comments! And I'm glad to be back - I missed you all!!  Look forward to hear from all of you going forward over the next few days/weeks. And since I couldn't share ALL the amazing photos of Jacqueline Kennedy-Onassis I found during the making of this post, I will leave you with just a few more (clearly its too bad I don't have the picture of her looking shocked/terrified from when my great-uncle jumped out and took her picture on her wedding day.....)
Karla (NYNY is my Corporette moniker)
7/7/2013 16:03:37

Welcome back! I was worried that you came back from vacation having decided that the website was too much. Glad you're feeling better.

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KG
7/9/2013 17:14:41

WOW this is great! Glad you're back and excited that you started with my question! Thanks for such a great post - I'm definitely bookmarking it and will be referring to it lots.

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Swtwc
7/16/2013 19:17:57

Welcome back! Another thing to love about Jackie is her stylish jewelry-never overdone, always classic.

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