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Carolyn Bessette Kennedy’s ‘90s Outfits Stand The Test Of Time

By Nicole Andre··  5 min read
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Carolyn Bessette Kennedy is a minimalist style icon whose ‘90s outfits remain relevant today.

It’s hard not to get pulled into the mystique of the Kennedy stories. Whether it’s Jackie, Carolyn, or Ethel, these women led interesting lives that draw you in and make you want to know more.

Carolyn Bessette Kennedy’s experience was certainly no different. A virtually unknown, though successful, publicist for Calvin Klein prior to meeting JFK Jr., Carolyn would quickly become thrown into the spotlight, which, much like Jackie, she wanted nothing to do with.

With her bright blonde hair and thin frame, combined with her super chic yet minimalistic sense of style, Carolyn quickly became a style icon that many women still look to today for inspiration. Not only that, but her sense of style and persona also influenced the character Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City (although her outfits were clearly much more out there), with JFK Jr. being represented by Mr. Big. 

Carolyn’s style is particularly suited to recreation because her wardrobe is such a good example of what a capsule wardrobe should look like. I hope it provides you with some great minimalistic style fashion inspiration!

Cool in Classic Coats

A go-to outfit of Carolyn’s was a camel coat, jeans, and boots. She knew what she liked and worked for her, and she wasn’t afraid of repeating it in various variations. 

GAP Factory Long Topcoat in Calm Camel Brown

GAP Factory Long Topcoat in Calm Camel Brown

If you don’t already have a camel coat in your wardrobe and aren’t sure how much you’d wear one, this GAP Factory is a great look for less. (I can almost guarantee the ones Carolyn owned were designer.) But act quickly because it’s 50% off currently!

Buy Now - $69.00

This is my absolute favorite outfit of Carolyn’s. It’s so out of the ordinary for her, mainly because she’s wearing color, but it so perfectly fits with the rest of her wardrobe that it seems like it was meant for her.

Tommy Hilfiger Single-Breasted Peacoat in Red

Tommy Hilfiger Single-Breasted Peacoat in Red

This red coat is currently being sold at a huge discount, so act fast!

Buy Now - $96

Basic Black for Daily Wear

If there were one word to describe Carolyn Bessette’s style, it would be minimal. This black top and jeans outfit is very typical of her day-to-day wear, and yet she still looks amazing. 

Everlane Organic Long-Sleeve Cotton Crew in Black

Everlane The Organic Long-Sleeve Cotton Crew in Black

Everyone needs a good quality black long-sleeve shirt in their wardrobe. This one from Everlane is a great choice I could see Carolyn herself wearing. 

Buy Now - $34

Vineyard Vines Simple Solid Turtleneck

Vineyard Vines Simple Solid Turtleneck

Everyone needs a black turtleneck, and this one from Vineyard Vines gets great reviews and is on final sale. 

Buy Now - $59.50

Power Suit Vibes

Carolyn loved to incorporate workwear like women’s suits and white collared blouses into her wardrobe. 

J.Crew Factory Ruby Blazer

J.Crew Factory Ruby Blazer

A simple black blazer is a great way to start bringing in some workwear to your everyday wardrobe, whether or not you work in an office. Also, hello, is it not perfect to throw on for an impromptu Zoom meeting?

Buy Now - $90

Staple Accessories

Even Carolyn’s minimalist style included a few staple accessories. A headband like this was a consistent part of her wardrobe. And of course, you’ll need her ever-present tiny sunglasses.

Camila Paris Tortoiseshell Fashion Headband

Camila Paris Tortoiseshell Fashion Headband

This tortoiseshell headband is a perfect way to get Carolyn’s look. 

Buy Now - $10

Specs Outta Love Sunglasses in Tortoiseshell

Specs Outta Love Sunglasses in Tortoiseshell

These oval sunglasses are chic dupes for Carolyn’s ‘90s style frames.

Buy Now - $59.00

Black and Beige (or Brown)

Carolyn was not afraid to break so-called fashion rules. Who says black and beige can’t go together? So wear that black turtleneck from earlier with some khakis.

Or, hey, if black isn’t your color, Carolyn has also worn essentially the same outfit but with a grey turtleneck in lieu of the black.

Everlane Corduroy Wide Leg Pant in Sandstone

Everlane Corduroy Wide Leg Pant in Sandstone

Carolyn Bessette proves khakis can be fashionable, so give them a try with this pair from Everlane.

Buy Now - $88

LBD Style

 

Pretty much every style icon has an LBD that they turn to. Virtually every formal gathering Carolyn attended included a chic black dress.

MSK V-Neck Midi Dress in Black

MSK V-Neck Midi Dress in Black

This black midi dress from Macy’s can easily be dressed up or down, making it a go-to item in your wardrobe.

Buy Now - $69

Going Casual

One of the charming parts of Carolyn’s style was that it wasn’t always done up to the nines. She sometimes genuinely just wasn’t trying all that hard.

Banana Republic Factory Fleece Workout Jacket

Banana Republic Factory Fleece Workout Jacket

This fleece jacket is an even more relaxed take on Carolyn’s comfy oversized coat.

Buy Now - $90

Who feels like getting super dressed up in the morning to go run some errands? Some days, sure. But other days you just need a cozy zip-up pullover to make up for your lack of energy.

Target Women’s Sherpa ½ Zip Pullover

Target Women’s Sherpa ½ Zip Pullover

There are lots of different sherpa jackets on the market, perfect for recreating this look. This one from Target is very affordable.

Buy Now - $34.00

Sweater Dresses Are Chic

Nobody rocks a sweater dress quite like Carolyn. She takes all the different fall basics you love and elevates them with high-quality items. 

Lulus Snuggled Up Light Grey Turtleneck Midi Sweater Dress

Lulus Snuggled Up Light Grey Turtleneck Midi Sweater Dress

This sweater dress from Lulus is super cute and will make for lots of great fall outfits.

Buy Now - $58

Closing Thoughts

Carolyn Bessette Kennedy’s minimalist ‘90s style is so chic, it’s timeless. Click here and here for more ‘90s style inspo!

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