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Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy's Style Was Understated Perfection — Here's How To Channel It Today


In a world of runways filled with mixed prints, neon color-blocking, and fur and feathers galore, it's safe to say normcore — or "anti fashion" — is a thing of the past. Still, there's something so refreshing about understated fashion done right, and Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy's style is the epitome of just that. The Calvin Klein publicist, wife of John F. Kennedy Jr., and bonafide style icon had a knack for minimalistic classics with a '90s-inspired twist.

From structured overcoats to boot-cut denim, style was all about strong silhouettes with Bessette. A master of accessories, the native New Yorker always topped her looks off with smart details, from bandanas to headbands to structured totes. In the midst of today's chaotic world, there's something particularly cathartic about crisp, no-fuss outfits made up of flawlessly curated staples that stand the test of time. Ahead, The Zoe Report explores four key items that complete a Bessette-inspired wardrobe — one that's equal parts chic and functional, and will make your heart ache for old Céline.

Crisp White Blouse

Who could argue against this closet staple? A crisp white button-down is the blank canvas every fashion lover needs at her disposal. Polished enough for the office, yet chill enough to pair with vintage denim, it's an undisputed go-to that Bessette looked smashing in.

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The Clean Silk Relaxed Shirt



Do the planet a favor with this eco-conscious, 100% silk button-down that's more relaxed and smoother to the touch than your average style.

Cotton Poplin Shirt



Earn automatic style points with this trendy, oversized design, which features double cuffs that'll look so chic popped up like Carolyn's.

Rebecca Cotton-Poplin Shirt



If you want a bit more drama, why not opt for these puffy sleeves for an extra dose of romantic volume?

Oversized Blazer

Bessette's relaxed outfits often skewed on the roomier side, but they never sacrificed structure for comfort. While out and about New York City, the publicist was regularly spotted in menswear-inspired outerwear and chic oversized blazers, staples that still deserve a spot in your everyday lineup today.

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Oversized Blazer


3.1 Phillip Lim

This satin black number will pair with everything from slip dresses to chunky knits, so allow yourself to cement it into your continuous fashion rotation. You'll reach for it time and again, no doubt.

Plaid Double Breasted Blazer



A true hero item for winter, pair this plaid blazer with a mini skirt and over-the-knee boots or fitted trousers and sneakers. It's a win-win however you spin it.

Velvet Suit Jacket


Acne Studios

With an added touch of luxury thanks to its plush fabric, this oversized suit jacket will pair perfectly with anything in your closet.

Knee-High Boots

The less-is-more style icon really stole the show when it came to footwear. Known to rock trend-forward boot styles, Bessette always kept her shoe situation fresh but classic. From square-toe leather variations to retro suede styles, her boot lineup is worth taking notes on, and the knee-high iterations were the main event.

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Laura 85 Leather Knee Boots


Gianvito Rossi

You simply can't go wrong with a block heel and butter-smooth leather, and this warm caramel tone is so versatile.

Helmut Knee High 55


Tamara Mellon

If you're looking to edge it up a bit, opt for this sleek, fitted knee-high style that's sure to turn heads.

Zipper Leather Boots



Though these are actually mid-calf height, the burgundy leather and pointed toe are 100 percent Carolyn-approved.

Small-Frame Sunglasses

Bessette had a real knack for accessories, and even though her style was timeless, she still took risks when it came to trends in the sunglasses department. Luckily, her go-to ovular-shaped frames are back in style, and there are plenty of chic variations to choose from.

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Outta Love Oval-Frame Tortoiseshell Acetate Sunglasses


Le Specs

This tortoise shell style from It-girl brand Le Specs is almost identical to Bessette's everyday sunglasses shape, and comes at an equally alluring price point.

Super Thin Acetate Sunglasses


Linda Farrow Luxe

Serve futuristic vibes with this ultra-thin option from Linda Farrow, a true ode to the fashion girls of the '90s (and Rihanna).

The New Riddim


Crap Eyewear

California-based brand, Crap Eyewear, steadily brings all of the trendiest shapes, and the styling opps for this metal frame version are endless.