style notes: street seen

have you ever noticed a remarkable person on the street and thought to yourself, what's his/her story?

three or four years ago, i was waiting for the train in the Times Square subway when i noticed a strikingly chic older woman standing a few feet away. she was probably in her late 50s or early 60s, and donned a tweed coat and trousers with a tasteful gathering of jewelry. dangling from her shoulder on an elegant strap was the most exquisite well-worn Hermès Kelly in a deep forest green. here in NYC, it's quite common to see beautiful people wearing fancy things, but often the effect is all flash. this was different – there was something so compelling about how this woman carried herself and how she inhabited her style...it was all i could do to stop myself from tapping her shoulder and start asking personal questions.

after a moment, the train arrived, she got on, and vanished in a crowd of suits and strollers and backpacked teens. 

the memory has stayed with me all these years, almost like a mental instagram. is there a word for this very feeling? (the Germans probably have one.) sometimes the most inspiring moments happen in the least expected places. 

has this ever happened to you? 


  1. Yes but have you noticed that it tends to be "older" more mature person who have that something about them? They have a timelessness about their clothes which transcends all the current fads. For ladies, they tend to be immaculately made up and they just have something very compelling about them. It's from another era. I can't quite put my finger on it but I know it when I see it.

  2. I remember a young mother at the park, when I was a young mother myself. She had long dark hair, was tall, slender, wore a black moto jacket, long black leggings, and Converse. This was in 1990 or so - she was way cool and I never forgot her. How did she manage to dress so stylishly, with little children? She looked comfortable, but so chic.

  3. Yes, someone perfectly turned out in an understated sort of way. They carry themselves without self-consciousness and with grace. Ah...

    When I lived in Austin, there was a woman who worked in Whole Foods like that. Older, tall, and slender, with impeccably cut silver hair with the most subtle lavender streak in it. Perfect posture. I still think about her, more than a dozen years later.

  4. I once saw this young woman in her early to mid 20s in a black dress, swinging a large Hermes shopping bag. Just her jaunty walk in her simple yet elegant dress made me stop dead in my tracks. I wish I had the guts to walk up to her and ask if I could just photograph her.

  5. "Inhabited her style." That makes all the difference!

  6. My grandmother was the most dignified, impeccably turned out woman I ever met. She always wore high heels or kitten heels, regardless of the amount of grandchildren she was running around after! She would team beautiful midi skirts, or in the winter woollen pencil skirts, with pussy bow blouses and a camel coat. She is dead now and I miss her very much and admire her hugely for having the energy to work full time, look after children and still have the discipline to look immaculate with her pearls and lipstick on. She was definitely from another era..... P.S this is the first time I have posted but have followed everyone's interesting thoughts and opinions on this site for a while. Glad to have finally left a comment...

    1. thank you for sharing your lovely remembrance. i think so many of us are so lucky to know a woman like this.

  7. Same sentiments as the post above here!

    A few years ago, I saw a slim, brunette lady in her late 20s shopping in Marks and Spencers in Belsize Park (north london). She was the epitome of understated chic in a well fitted black tweed blazer, slight sheeny dark olive straight cut trouser, simple tan brogues and a burgundy backpack. She topped it off with the prettiest high ponytail that had a cute curl at the end. I simply loved her choice of autumn hues and different textures in a simple & perfectly cut outfit. But of course, it was her aura as a woman who has "inhabited her style" that has ingrained her silhouette into my memory......

    And all this without having seen her (most probably beautiful) face!

  8. Some people just have that allure and you can't take your eyes off them. The women in my family (my grandmother, mother, aunts) are like this. The epitome of chic and refinement. I think it has less to do with what one is wearing and more with how you carry yourself and inner grace.


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