Tracee Ellis Ross
by Alexandra Phanor-Faury
Since the last episode of Girfriends aired, we’ve been experiencing serious Tracee Ellis Ross withdrawal. Our weekly ritual of dissecting her character Joan’s on-screen wardrobe and style pales in comparison to the occasional paparazzi spotting, for which we wait with bated breath, of Ross’s equally real-life fashionable ensembles. Girlfriends may not have garnered as much attention from the media as Sex and the City did for its to-die-for fashions, but the show was inspirational to Black women when it came to dressing the part. We all had our favorite on the show. While Joan may have been anal to a fault and corny at times, she never missed a beat when it came to looking très chic. She blew us away with an elegant array of well-cut suits, high-waisted pants with wide hems, draped leather jackets, towering heels and, of course, her signature pencil skirts that fit her amazing figure like a glove. Joan may have been a fictional character but her on screen taste seemed to crossover into Ross’s personal wardrobe or was it vice versa?
From her affinity for bright hued lips, years before it was deemed trendy and safe, to her daring mix of colors, prints and her eye for wearable fashion-forward silhouettes, Ross has made it unto Hollywood’s best dressed list without the aid of a stylist. Not that there is anything wrong with cultivating your taste and approach to style with a paid professional, but it’s always exciting to watch Ross showcase her very own interpretations. Although she may have more cash to play with it than most of us, it’s obvious that Ross has a confident, impeccable sense of style that doesn’t just rely on the current hot fashions.
Her mother, fashion icon Diana Ross, has no doubt been instrumental in Ross’s passion for expressing herself through clothes from a young age. What more inspiration could a girl need to be glamorous? A healthy magpie mélange of sophistication, edge, vintage (Diana’s, of course!) and a dash of trendiness has kept Ross’ evolving look from becoming predictable or boring. Ross is confident enough to always throw in a quirky or ‘off’ piece to keep her outfits from appearing too put together and more visually stimulating. A favorite style trick many designers follow when putting together looks for the modern sophisticated woman.
One of Ross’s signature menswear looks has been popping up all over the runways these past couple of seasons. For years, we’ve watched and drooled when Ross, or Joan, would pair oversize bottoms, like olive cargo pants or black trousers, rolled up at the hem with sexy high heels and a cropped, fitted tuxedo jacket or sometimes a leather jacket. This is a silhouette Ross has been rocking for years and she’s recently been spotted updating the look with harem pants and vintage leather trousers. Other Ross staples in her wardrobe include lots of print dresses and voluminous shapes from pants to shoulders. Ross loves to steal the spotlight in those details on the red carpet.
We bet Ross, who worked as a fashion editor for both New York magazine and the defunct Mirabella before embarking on to a career in Hollywood, would have excelled in the world of fashion with her trend setting style. Breaking the rules with flying colors comes easy to Miss Ross. Her closet which Ross refers to as “the happy place with all the treasures" is one we’d definitely want to raid!