When does a style trend on social media make the leap to mainstream fashion movement? In the case of “latte fashion”, it’s the adoption by Hollywood A-listers, as well as a heavy presence on every street, bus and cafe – and on the catwalk.
Latte fashion – the outfit dominance, sometimes even head to toe, of coffee shades, from beige to taupe to darker browns – has its roots in beauty influencers on TikTok reviving the kind of tan foundation and copious bronzer that saturated the early noughties. “It’s warm, milky and effortless”, was how #BeautyTok personality Rachel Rigler described the term she coined and the look she helped re-popularise.
Since then, coffee has spilt over sartorially. The actor Jennifer Lawrence was spotted lunching with Phoebe Waller-Bridge wearing an oversize beige wool car coat from the Row; tan wide-leg, high-waisted trousers; and a cream, tucked, silk shirt. Elsewhere, the Princess of Wales attended a charity engagement in a caramel-tone Roland Mouret suit with a flared leg. Meghan Markle – a long-term investor in an actual coffee company – announced her latest Archewell Foundation project in a tunic-neck beige top and tonally matching slacks from the Malibu brand Bleusalt.
It is not uncommon for popular looks and trends on social media platforms such as TikTok, Instagram, and Pinterest to cross into offline spaces. Rachael Bundu, a stylist and strategist at Harrods’ private shopping division, notes a new symbiosis whereby “trends roll down from establishment luxury brands on runways, and up from real people through street style and content creation”.
At Paris fashion week last month fawn and camel were prominent in the collections of Miu Miu, Prada and Gucci; and stylish local people and off-duty models were photographed in tan, twill suits from Dries van Noten and bulky, wood-coloured bomber jackets from the workwear brand Carhatt. During London fashion week in February, the party-ready label 16Arlington even covered its runway in recycled coffee grounds and titled its show Wake.
Bundu loves the “biscuit shade currently at Schiaparelli”, but if couture is out of your budget, she recommends the British-Canadian brand Re Ona and their sand-coloured Joey suit for a more accessible option. High street brands Cos and Other Stories are also good choices.
It is not just the lighter tones that are having a moment – for those who prefer their caffeine fix with an extra kick, Timothée Chalamet has been sporting the darker, mocha shade of a Tom Ford leather blazer.
It makes sense that hues reminiscent of a steaming cup of coffee might appeal as the leaves start to fall and the northern hemisphere heads into winter craving simple, wholesome comforts, but Bundu is not entirely sure the popularity of the colour palette is something new. After all, a camel trench has been an autumn staple since for ever.
It is a sentiment echoed by the fashion director Rebekah Roy, who has styled numerous Met Gala attenders and says that the timeless qualities of soft, neutral tones make for a more sustainable choice, and an affordable means of accessing the stealth wealth energy of prestige television characters and high-networth individuals.
“Creams and beiges have always been a sign of luxury – you live a life where your clothes don’t get dirty,” said Roy. She advises that “an accessory like a handbag, or a pair of brown boots that will last can offer any wardrobe a refresh”.
The versatility of neutrals are also key to the appeal. Both Bundu and Roy suggest that for those who often stick to black, brown can be a great alternative.
There is even a simple trick to ensure instant sophistication: “the cortado rule”, which is to say espresso hues below the waistline and creamier tones and lighter textures above. But for those such as Lawrence who want to go double-shot, Abigail Southan, senior fashion and beauty e-commerce editor at Hearst, says that wearing “one colour head to toe is an easy way of looking pulled-together”.
Southan adds that while milkier tones “signify elegance and taste”, darker shades are perhaps more practical (for those of us sans chauffeur), and “they suit every hair colour and skin tone”. While Southan predicts that next year will see the jazzier energy of bold reds and metallics, she doesn’t think people should ever be ditching their cream sweaters. Latte fashion? I’ll take the almond trousers to go.2023-11-11T09:19:51Z dg43tfdfdgfd