The Row’s Spring 24 lookbook has all the outfit ideas
What is a lookbook from The Row if not an A-class suggestion for what to wear when you don’t know, or better yet, for how to wear the most basic and bland and beloved clothes in your closet?
And for occasions that require more practical advice — when you can’t think of what to wear because you’re going for this,
but with more personality, it is also the best recommendation churner.
When the Spring 2024 lookbook came out earlier this summer, the internet (that I occupy) was set ablaze with thrill.
When I look back at it, I wonder if I’d have similarly felt so compelled to fashion myself into similar renderings if the campaign were from, say, Lands’ End:
Now that I think about it, the better comp is really Banana Republic. But even within that constellation, it’s not quite a match — the photography has a Demna Gvasalia, unfiltered attitude about it
But I guess that’s the magic, the grace, the uncomfortable truth about what The Row gives to us.
Context for clothes we can recognize, that we are intimately familiar with, the right pin and tuck and spin on them to give them fashion gravitas. And there is also something more subtle — a respect for bad taste.
I have been thinking about taste on account of a story Rachel Tashjian Wise wrote for The Washington Post some weeks ago. It was called “Whatever happened to taste?” She and I spoke for the piece, which was mostly about the return of taste as informed by the unlikely placement of Jenna Lyons among the new cast of RHONY and the rising popularity of the fashion newsletter as a sort of antidote to what the business of influence has become, but our conversation (and her piece) got me thinking most about how we relate to our taste.
Everyone has it, but does everyone respect it? Recognize that it’s there, deign to nurture it?
In the post-Philo era of style and shopping, where so much of the late Celine designer’s minimalism still spins off on an axis of past fashion trends (with a few exceptions, like Prada or The Row, which is similar in conceit to old Celine but very much one in its own life-world), one of the reasons I suspect that many of us have grown bored with commercial fashion is because there is an essential ingredient missing from these spin-offs.
I have tried to distill this ingredient before — have tried to break it down and give it a name. I’ve called it creative risk tolerance, rough edge dressing, or most recently, refined maximalism. I’ve referenced the ugly, the tumbles, the blunders that are the essential components one must integrate in order to churn out good creative work.
But I think the most direct way to explain what has been missing is “bad taste.” I put in quote marks because it is relative, subjective, impossible to define by any measure of a universal term. And it is essential, too, as noted above, to the process of cultivating good taste.
The Row does a good job (just as Phoebe Philo did) of unleashing their own bad taste, tucking it into the good, folding it over the seams to create this dynamic, elusive and inviting image that we can’t quite make out but want to be part of.
The thing about taste, why it’s so relative is because it’s an innate, primal instinct. No more complicated than a person’s liking for a particular flavor. The precursor to style, a sense or a feeling, not so much a logic or what can be conceived through the thinking mind.
To judge it as good or bad or worse: to try to do away with you call your own “bad” taste is an errand for fools on the one hand because who is to say what is good or bad other than the actual sensor and a travesty on the other because you as the sensor deserve to know that what you like is what you like and you like it! Full stop.
In order to cultivate good style, you have to trust and respect the full range of your taste.
And in order to do this, you have to make room for the bad to run wild. To release the bad from the shackle of its title and to recognize that it’s part of the constellation of your likes. This is the magic sauce.
The best personal style reflects (but does *not* present as) the total sum of a person’s taste, and a person’s taste is informed by what moves them, intrigues them, what draws them to go a bit deeper. It is then spun out into something else that implores you or I to do the same. And that’s how the most inspiring stuff is made.
You can’t really know and transfer the good without incorporating the bad. And you can’t do that until you’ve become intimate with it. One sock on and the other off!
For this story, I analyzed some looks from The Row’s Spring 2024 lookbook and attempted an approximation of my own. They will be separated by lookbook reference, like this:
And real life rendering, like this:
The negotiation I was up against in this one was between applying a pair of jeans to a look that seems actually to call for a tailored slim upper, flare lower-leg pant or to get the silhouette mostly right, which I could accomplish better with the jeans, from Jeanerica. The rest of the look includes a Vintage jacket that belonged to my grandma (but there are plenty of great ones around the web), Wardrobe.nyc grey t-shirt, Beaufille belt, Jeanerica jeans, Jigsaw shoes (here they are in yellow, maybe just get a pair of Birks? I like the brown!)
Skall Studios hooded anorak — maybe you remember when I fashioned myself into 27 proof points of its goodness?, LMND green button-down shirt (the exact color is gone, but this one still lives), Oliver Peoples sunglasses, white tank top from The Row; but why not try this one?, Levi’s mens jeans that I bought from a tip in Becky’s newsletter — I’m going to return them and size up from the 29 twice more (will be better belted, me thinks!)
I have a matching jacket for these pants, which are from a Berluti suit I had fitted to my form in 2019 for an event in Paris but the jacket wasn’t making a dramatic enough STATEMENT around my waist, so I used a Polo suede bomber that belongs to Abie to layer over the pants (these look good, but only one sz 0 left; these are more casual, but look really good). The shirt is LMND and the shoes are Loro Piana. Took creative license with the tote but more on it @ the end
A de facto cap from The Row x2, Abie’s polo jacket (might like the one from J. Crew better and on an unrelated note, the contemporary men’s leather jackets are sooooooo worth trying to achieve this effect, no?), Kule grey shirt, Pallas Paris corduroy pants (these ones look like an absolute best bet but maybe these or these too?), By Malene Birger boots
Creative license exercised with the add of some shimmer and shine.
Here we have a single-breast, 4-button blazer from the brand, Bobkova. Maybe the secret to feeling fresh in a blazer these days is trying a single-breast one (and pairing it with a skirt of some sort) — three good options from Acne, Sportmax and Toteme. I also just saw this one from Mango, can’t vouch for quality but it nails silhouette. The shirt is Abie’s (men’s button-downs are narrower and longer than women’s), Maria McManus bike shorts and Gabriela Hearst sandals. You can’t quite see it here but I used a black knit polo to cinch my waist for some shape. Better pic:
I always like to tie things around my waist button side out for flair. One more note on my earrings below:
The triple ring at left is three hoops I hooked together to create a dangle. The hanging stone at right is a Dorsey sapphire.
This one was fun to make! I’m wearing an old black see-through slip from Dolce and Gabbana (I also have this one, which I shortened a bit) that I got on The Outnet in 2015 (for a skirt, not dress, that does the same thing, this one from Mango seems worth it) with a black long-sleeved sheer beaded mini dress layered over.
What I did was pull the embroidered dress up over my slip then tie the arms around my chest to create a similar (similar?) cascade effect. The rest of the look includes Khaite’s Emmylou t-shirt and a pair of Louboutin black slingback pumps. If you’re in the market for a pair of black slingbacks, get these. Oh! And as the season of leather chords with silver medallions hanging off of them is upon us (and employed in The Row look), do enjoy this link.
More derivative, less approximation:
Consider these looks reflective of formulas I constructed — less literal following of the recipes, more creative license within self-produced templates.
Truly a reach, but a fun one! The formula is: straight, knee-length coat (single breast), long line button down shirt (tunic, really), straight leg pants and shoes with an exaggerated, but not cartoonish wide toe.
This one feels like the right color palette with a pink Sessei button-down shirt, Abie’s black slacks (they are Dries and cuffed at the ankle) and my own Jigsaw “clogs.” The fringe scarf is like that one delicate, but also rough curveball The Row is so good about employing (see: crochet lace gloves, comb necklace, THE HAT) in all their looks.
And the look I didn’t get to, but will:
So straightforward and recreatable and containing the right amount of interesting proportion (socks and cropped pants/long shorts plus the weight added by wide-sole shoes. They correlate to the sunglasses. And the choker and soft shirt collar that are sneaking out of 4-button jacket.
Plus the styling tricks that will be most satisfying to apply to my already-existing wardrobe and style:
An unconventional bag with a casual cool-weather outfit. I love this woven one and a flimsy straw basket could work in its place, but I’m more intrigued by the thought of styling a large canvas tote with sleek, expensive-looking clothes.
And duh, to bring us right back around to where it all started: one sock on, one sock off. No doubt the most generous contribution from the lookbook at large.
The most glaring recognition to come out of this exercise is that all the pants I own are the wrong length! Either too long or too short, not baggy enough or cropped enough. But it is what it is and I have what I have. Going short (as in hemming) is always easier than figuring out how how to go long.
Most importantly in conclusion though, there is no good taste without accepting, honoring, and respecting the bad. So do something weird! The Row would.
Until next time,