Welcome to Pop Culture Week! While you can always find us waxing poetic about the hefty overlap between fashion and pop culture, we're dedicating the next five days to the subject of our favorite music, movies, TV, celebrities, books and theater, and how that all intersects with the fashion industry.
I admire Ina Garten for many reasons. First of all, she's smart as hell — did you know that she has an MBA and worked on nuclear energy budget and policy under Presidents Ford and Carter? She hates cilantro. She isn't shy about discussing the fact that she and Jeffrey chose not to have children, or that their commuter relationship has been key to keeping their 49-year marriage so strong. She's up front about supporting worthy causes like the Southern Poverty Law Center and Planned Parenthood. She appreciates a good olive oil. She has appeared on "30 Rock" and hugged Michelle Obama. I'm also fairly confident she's actually a nice person. And that's to say nothing of her massively successful TV shows and books and business empire.
It goes without saying that she has flawless taste for things like decor, table settings, floral arrangements, friends and (duh) food. But let's ignore all of that for a brief moment and instead appreciate her for something else entirely: her sartorial choices. Few people, I'd argue, are quite as devoted to a signature look as Ina Garten.
For years, Garten has gravitated toward the same look: A tailored button-down — preferably black, white or chambray, but maybe blue or purple — black pants, flat shoes and the glossiest dark chestnut hair you've ever seen, cut into the same reliably perfect long bob with bangs.
She wears it on just about every episode of every TV show, as well as on book covers and during any public appearances.
She wore it at the White House, when she chilled with (then-FLOTUS) Michelle Obama for a TV episode that made my cold heart swell three sizes, Grinch-style.
Sometimes she'll incorporate jewelry — a string of pearls, some small gold hoop earrings — or a printed scarf. If she's traveling (roaming the streets of Paris, say) she'll top it off with a chic black or camel coat.
She even stuck to her iconic look while watching the eclipse with a gaggle of random children — though she added a pair of eclipse glasses because she, unlike the current American president, is not a total dummy.
The genius of Garten's go-to look is in its timelessness. Like Garten herself, it's elegant but unfussy, classy but personable. And it doesn't distract from the work that she's doing or require a long time spent with wardrobe or in a hairstylist's chair. It abides by Garten's mantra: How easy is that?
As far as I can tell, the one time she ever deviated from this look was at her wedding in 1968, during which she still looked incredibly chic:
In this crazy, mixed-up world, it's nice to have something steadfast to rely on. For me, Ina Garten — and her perfect, unchanging, un-dated aesthetic are that thing. Like the high-quality Mediterranean olive oil she holds so dear, it's not just any aesthetic — it's a good aesthetic.
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