Bourgeoisie: a French word that, by definition, refers to members of the middle class. Of course, like many things, it doesn’t stop there. As you may know, the term has a place both in Marxism and the long history of fashion, the latter of which I’d like to focus on today.
If you remember back in February, (just when Phoebe Philo’s devotees were ready to mobilize against Hedi Slimane’s new Celine—hold the é), Slimane’s F/W 19 runway collection for the house became the poster child for bourgeoisie dressing’s modern resurgence (and an overall fashion week favorite). The trend, which Vogue succinctly described as “separates-based dressing [that] celebrates personal taste over a single must-have item” and CR Fashion Book recently defined as “an elevated take on minimalist dressing,” was everywhere. It marked a symbolic shift from frivolous to feel-good fashion, and, alongside Celine, countless brands from emerging to established subscribed to this new wave of style for the season ahead.
Nobody is abandoning the party dresses or occasional It shoe any time soon, but there’s a clear-cut shift from statement looks to refined separates for everyday dressing that includes but isn’t limited to skirts, suiting, heritage prints such as plaid and tartan, refined ruffles, button-down shirts, and overcoats.
Which brings me to the other B-word of this story: boring. There’s no denying that all of the above descriptions of bourgeoisie dressing are a far cry from much of what we’ve seen over the last several years, both on the runways and in street style, where it seemed like It items (no matter how outrageous) were the keys to sartorial and financial success all around. However, while this new era can clearly seem boring in comparison, I like to think I’m not alone in feeling that it is in the best way possible.
As someone who has been in New York for the last five or so fashion weeks, I’ve seen firsthand how fatigue over wearing (not to mention sourcing!) the coolest new statement coat or It shoe just to feel “fashionable” has grown and grown. This can also be seen on Instagram, where It items have historically prevailed; in recent months we’ve seen more nondescript and pared-down pieces and outfits start to compete for the spotlight.
To wrap things up, there’s no denying that the bourgeoisie trend is on the up-and-up for fall, but before you write it off as too dull or repetitive and wait for the next wave of fads, I implore you to give it a chance. After all, I, for one, am hoping that it sticks with us for some seasons (if not years) to come. I think if you see some of the below runway looks (and shopping picks), you might just join me in that desire.
Up next? Summer’s It top (which you can actually later repurpose for your fall bourgeoisie look) is probably buried in your drawer somewhere.