From Rom-Comcore to Rich-Mom Energy – autumn's aesthetics are in.
This article was originally published on whowhatwear.co.uk
Are you one conference call away from a wardrobe full of power suits, or do you spend your time reading Edgar Allan Poe and painting your nails black? Do you possess the breezy confidence of a well-heeled matriarch or are you too artfully dishevelled for neutral-hued knitwear and glossy blow dries? From Rich-Mom Energy to Rom-comcore, we’ve broken down some of Autumn/Winter’s most esoteric fashion aesthetics and matched them to personality types.
RICH-MOM ENERGY | FOR THE QUIETLY CONFIDENT
Let us be clear: to channel Rich-Mom Energy, you neither have to be rich nor a mother – and if you do have sticky-handed tots, we’d advise you keep them away from your white shirt and suede bag. This is for those with the quiet confidence of Gisele Bündchen wearing all-white on a Miami beach, or Sofia Richie Grainge accessorising her workout gear with an Hermès Kelly, no gym bag in sight.
You likely already have many of the RME essentials hanging in your wardrobe. There is the prerequisite oversized shirt and blazer, a pair of jeans in white or blue, an abundance of yellow-gold jewellery and a neutral knit. If it’s cashmere, even better; no one will know but you, and that will imbue you with just the right amount of inner smugness that no rich mom would be without.
The outfit permutations are endless. Layer a roll neck beneath a sweeping blanket coat a la Mrs Walker in 1994's Miracle on 34th Street; do like Katie Holmes and opt for the holy trinity of blazer, denim and luxe bag; or follow Gucci’s lead and throw together a shirt, slouchy jeans and driving shoes – after all, rich moms don’t ride the underground. If in doubt, copy any one of the looks from Gwyneth Paltrow’s courtroom era.
AM I THE DRAMA? | FOR THE POWER PLAYER
Those tired of casual office dress codes will delight at the return of ‘80s power dressing. Think big – in terms of shoulder pads, suit jacket and end-of-year bonus. If you’re dressing for the job you want, this one involves boardrooms, rolodexes and fancy lunch meetings.
It’s no accident our Autumn issue cover shoot is inspired by the video for Robert Palmer’s ‘Addicted to Love’, so take note. Saint Laurent’s Anthony Vaccarello certainly did when he sent models down the runway in pinstriped skirt suits, complete with ultra-exaggerated shoulders, semi-sheer stockings and knife-sharp, patent pumps. The look is Melanie Griffiths in Working Girl, but slicker – with sleek buns instead of back-combed perms.
You don’t mind presenting to a packed-out conference room, but you’re not quite ready for a Saint Laurent shoulder or high-shine stiletto. We get it. Opt instead for a gently oversized suit and wear it with flats, like Brittany Bathgate. Another option is a tweed, Chanel-inspired jacket – Anna Vitiello styles hers with a matching skirt, while Anine Bing dons hers with a T-shirt and jeans.
ROM-COMCORE | FOR THE MAIN CHARACTER
It’s time to grab your witty/kooky sidekick and start a figurative campaign for Class President. Much to the delight of main characters everywhere, Rom-comcore is here (the tag has 4.2 million TikTok views and counting). As the name suggests, this aesthetic is heavily inspired by Y2K’s most iconic romantic comedies, from Mean Girls to 13 Going On 30 – and specifically, their technicolour heroines.
The vibe is ‘00s does ‘60s, so do like Clueless’s Cher Horowitz or Mean Girls’ The Plastics and wear pastel-coloured mini skirts, matching cropped cardigans and Mary Janes. For a more grown-up take, Jennifer Lopez in The Wedding Planner will provide ample inspiration; Mary Fiore’s lilac roll neck, beige leather blazer and pale-blue shift dress can all be easily thrifted.
Eveningwear is where the aesthetic really comes into its own, which is no surprise considering the prom-style makeover is a common rom-com trope. See: the scarlet, spaghetti-strap dress worn by Rachel Leigh Cook’s Laney Boggs in She’s All That, or the famous, lemon-satin gown that Kate Hudson’s Andie Anderson wears in the climactic scene of How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.
FRAZZLED ENGLISH WOMAN: FOR THE LOVEABLE ECCENTRIC
If Rom-comcore is the main character after she’s been given the glossy makeover, Frazzled English Woman is very much the ‘before’ – in the chicest way possible. The artfully dishevelled FEW throws pieces together with seeming disregard – fluffy little cardigans and flimsy little skirts, practical coats and jewel-toned tights, lots and lots of mismatched knitwear – and it just works.
The term was first coined by Russh Magazine last December, referencing characters including Bridget Jones, Juliet in Love Actually, and Iris in The Holiday – essentially any endearingly flustered, skinny scarf-wearing woman in rom-coms directed by Richard Curtis or Nancy Meyers. See also: Helena Bonham Carter’s personal style in any era, but particularly the nineties. Pay particular attention to her legwear.
Earlier this year, the FEW conquered chic new terrain when she was spotted on the London and Paris runways – at Molly Goddard in a fairisle knit, maxi tutu and clashing-coloured flats, and at Miu Miu with just-got-out-of-bed hair (not usually seen without a claw clip), a buttoned-up cardigan, sheer skirt and tights. Bridget Jones could never.
GROWN-UP GOTH | FOR THE DEEP THINKER
The Grown-Up Goth is Wednesday Addams’ older, sultrier sister. Don’t confuse her with Morticia – she’s cooler than that and wouldn’t be seen dead (pun intended) in a floaty dress. Instead, GUG would opt for Prada’s strict, point-collar LBD and style it as it was on the runway – with angular stilettos – or Nina Ricci’s velvet maxi and obnoxiously large hat, to keep others at a healthy distance at the festive parties she will reluctantly attend.
When GUG picks an outfit, the waist is always defined – sometimes by a corset-like belt – and shoes are always pointed (soft edges aren’t her thing). Think ‘40s femme fatale rather than Y2K Matrix fan. And, of course, everything is black. It makes it easier to get dressed and leaves more time for casting spells and listening to The Cure.
The Grown-Up Goth has likely owned some form of leather coat since she was in her teenage years, though this season, she’s upgrading it to something a little more grown-up, like The Frankie Shop’s belted Diome style – as seen on Amy Lefévre. A tailored, wool coat works, too; just make sure it’s maxi, not mid-length. It’s all about the drama.