Culture/Style

How Kanye helped Kim become an unlikely fashion icon

May 21, 2017

Kim Kardashian... style icon? It's true! And Kanye West's influence is at least partly to thank.

Several months ago, I caught myself pinning a picture of Kim Kardashian, wearing a monochrome outfit, to my “Werk” Pinterest board. I never thought I’d want to cop Kim’s wardrobe, but as a fellow woman with West Asian/European heritage (mine Turkish, hers partly Armenian), she genetically has more in common with me than, say, Jennifer Aniston or Gwyneth Paltrow. I relate to her curves, dark features, and short height, and recently, she’s pulling it all together with some flawless outfits.

There’s no doubt that Kanye West has influenced Kim’s style in the years they’ve been together – they started dating in 2012. Even Harper’s Bazaar, Manrepeller and Garance Doré were surprised by the realization that Kim Kardashian does, indeed, dress well. These revelations slowly turned the fashion world on its head. How could a “trashy reality star” have gravitas in the fashion world?

KIM AND PARIS, CA. 2006

Once a personal assistant to it-bag toting Paris Hilton, Kim used to play it safe with Hervé Léger bandage dresses, heavily contoured makeup, and a hodge-podge of ruffly items. But in the past few years, Kanye’s high-end streetwear label YEEZY – with its nude nylon bodysuits and effortlessly oversized layers in neutral colours – has taken over Kim’s look for the better. Suddenly, everyone wants to dress like Kim as she embraces minimalism, unconventional shapes and longer hemlines.

It’s no secret that Kanye made Kim throw out her clothes when they started dating (Ed Note: HARSH!).

Traditionally, women have been the ones overhauling their boyfriends’ closets. Obviously, we’d be pretty pissed if a dude told us what to wear, but they’d also probably put us in something uncomfortable, revealing, or overly sexualized. The complete opposite has happened with Kimye. Kim’s overhauled wardrobe came with the decision to layer up, show less skin, and put more thought into her looks.

Leandra Medine of Manrepeller wrote aptly about Kim’s style: “[The] fundamental difference between no style and good style is that the former, no matter how beautiful the wearer who functions as a canvas may be, doesn’t make you want to think I can do that. Where good style meets triumph is in the vulnerable moments that have you question what makes you wear what you wear and why not what she wears.”

Oh, I’m questioning what I wear, alright. Whether Kim wears a black duster over a white tee and ripped jeans, or a Maxmara mustard ankle-length coat atop seasonal separates, she breathes new life into those clothes, and we envision how we might look in them, too. She makes the high-end feel accessible, annihilating the stereotype that you must be 6 feet tall and rail-thin to get away with wearing some serious runway looks.

With a wardrobe of designers like Givenchy, Alaia, Balenciaga, Celine and Margiela at her disposal, Kim Kardashian is, without question, a style icon. While part of me feels weird for embracing someone who published an entire book of selfies, has her own reality show, and has launched her own set of Kimojis, I can’t deny that she’s one of the most influential people in fashion right now, and the risks she takes, with some credit to Kanye’s sharp eye, are paying off.

Scroll through the best and not-so-best Kim K. looks up top.

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