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The Power of Coco Chanel, 120 Years Later

Written by: Alexis A. Ansley


Coco Chanel standing as a woman tends to her dress

Coco Chanel, 1962

This week the world celebrated the life and fashion contributions of the infamous Coco Chanel. If you open up your closet, chances are you’ll find a fashion piece that pays tribute to Coco Chanel’s vision. With her signature two-piece suits and sleek dresses, Coco Chanel created timeless designs that are still popular today.

Born August 19, 1893 (according to The Biography Channel), the Parisian fashion mogul created a-less-is-more approach to mainstream fashion in a time when robust florals and exaggerated garments were viewed as the best in high fashion. Her signature looks include the little black dress with layered pearl strands, the tweed two-piece suit, and chic hats. These fashion looks are still praised long after Coco Chanel’s death and have inspired modern designers like Donna Karen, Prada, Oscar de la Renta, and more.


Coco Chanel leaning against a balcony

Coco Chanel circa 1950

Chanel Leveraged the Loophole

The Chanel brand, which began as a simple hat shoppe, grew into an entire clothing brand in the 1920’s by way of jersey fabric and simple idea. During the 1920’s, women sought after clothing made out of expensive fabrics that were often imported. These fabrics, though a fashion novelty, were uncomfortable to wear.

Chanel noticed a lack of affordable and comfortable clothing in fashion and decided to counter the trend with more wearable garments. Her first piece was made out of jersey, an inexpensive fabric most often used in creating men’s undergarments. Coco claimed that she chose the fabric because not only was it inexpensive, it was something that would complement a woman’s shape.


model on runway wearing Chanel

Chanel Fall 2013

Chanel Today

In today’s fashion world, Chanel as a brand is the epitome of sophistication, luxury and timeless beauty. In fact, Chanel’s ideas of simple fashion have become archetypes of classic women’s style.

So as you search through your closet for what to wear and you pick up your favorite black dress, consider that the idea of simple and elegant women’s fashion was born with Coco Chanel more than 100 years ago.

“Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.” – Coco Chanel


Chanel’s story goes even deeper. For more juicy details, check out The Biography Channel’s Coco Chanel feature.


Photo 1 source

Photo 2: Sante Forlano, for Vogue France

Photo 3 source


Alexis Ansley is a Central Florida fashion blogger, fashion consultant and co-founder of Lex&Pooch Styling Co. An avid enthusiast for all things vintage, Alexis has made a name for herself by uniquely combining vintage and contemporary styles within her personal fashion choices and while styling clients. Alexis is a member of the Independent Fashion Bloggers (IFB) community and work towards bringing fresh and unique fashions to the forefront of all her style ventures.


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