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Great Outfits in Fashion History: Jane Birkin in Velvet Shorts in 1971

Plus a very on-trend cape.
Jane Birkin in January 1971

Jane Birkin in January 1971

There are perfectly good celebrity style moments, and then there are the looks that really stick with you, the ones you try desperately to recreate at home. In 'Great Outfits in Fashion History,' Fashionista editors are revisiting their all-time favorite lewks.

When it comes to laissez-faire style, Jane Birkin is a frequent reference, with her baskets-as-handbags and daintily-layered gold necklaces over T-shirts. Her most cited outfits aren't museum-worthy, necessarily, but they do stand the test of time. When she did stray from her casual denim uniform, though, she reminded us to consider not-so-basic wardrobe staples, like velvet hot pants styled with a cape. The influencer moment I'm referring to dates back to January 1971, when the actor was on a stroll down one of those cobblestone side streets in Paris, lined with quaint cafés. It's hard to upstage the French capital, but Birkin — in heeled Mary-Janes, a loose-fitting collared blouse that looks plucked from Maison Cleo's current collection, a pair of upper thigh-revealing velvet shorts and a black cape coat — does so with ease. 

The nearly 50-year-old black-and-white images of this moment could have been taken yesterday. Capes were by far one of the most-spotted outerwear trends for Fall 2020, and Chanel and Isabel Marant offered many iterations of hot pants in their recent spring collections. What's more, statement collars became popular accents in a year of Zoom meetings. 

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Ahead, shop pieces that will help you recreate Birkin's '70s look and stay on trend for this winter. 

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