For many of the women who strolled upper Madison Avenue on a recent fall day, it was time to shed the hoodies, biker coats, platform sneakers and country-style floral dresses that until recently denoted cool in favor of a genteelly understated, increasingly formal and durable look.
Call it unfashion, anti-fashion or a counter to the counterculture. It signals a retreat to the safety and unfailing propriety of matched suit, knee-high equestrian boots or some tweedy variation on an old-school uniform — an emphatically grown-up look that resonates with many women now.
More Jackie O. than J. Lo, it trails a whiff of old money laced with a dose of common sense. And it means to send a message that the wearer is too savvy, too secure in her skin, to bother keeping pace with the vagaries of style.
“I don’t do fashion,” said Kate Warmoes, a tourist from Belgium. She preferred to take refuge in a trusty backup, a channel-quilted anorak, which she wore with a ribbed sweater and slim trousers, her beige-on-beige turnout accented with a compact Louis Vuitton shoulder bag.