The Fashion People Have Spoken: *This* Is the New Neutral


(Image credit: @olympiamarie)

Every so often, a discussion pops up among fashion nerds as to what constitutes a "new neutral.” That is to say, something that has typically been considered a trend piece or a statement item but has transitioned into the utterly non-noteworthy realm of the everyday. A second qualifier is that, like a pair of blue jeans, it can be worn with damn near anything—not just those traditional neutrals (black, white, navy, brown, camel, cream) that once made it "work.”

The vibe is it goes with nothing, therefore goes with everything—an anecdote to the mentality that you don’t want to invest in certain statement pieces, because you supposedly can’t wear them on repeat. Animal print is a good example from seasons past: Once the Scary Spice cliché of gaudiness and flamboyance, it now feels highly mix-and-matchable. It’s true of Khaite’s python-embossed leather, it’s true of Jil Sander’s zebra print, and (as both designers will certainly tell you, with a nod toward their gold and silver footwear) it’s very true of metallics. So go ahead and peruse these shiny picks, snap up your faves, and prepare to wear them again and again.


If you’re also an Olympia Gayot fan, you’ll already know that J.Crew is having a big metallic moment right now. This structured gold top-handle bag that's popping off on her feed is even better when you spot that it comes with a crossbody strap—dare I say almost good enough to get you to stop thinking about Loewe’s mini clutch? Also! Great news if you live in the real world and have a ton of shit to carry around—there’s no shortage of reasonably priced metallic totes that will make schlepping around with your laptop and gym gear just a little bit better.  


As someone who has repeatedly refused to part with the gold Gucci slip-on loafers I spent my entire savings on in 2016, I am thrilled to see a slew of metallic shoe styles on offer. I wrote a story recently about my capsule of fall footwear, which was only short a pair of statement flats—so as you might have guessed, this is where I’m buying in. These Jil Sander slingbacks are haunting me as they sell out (as are Khaite's Marfa boots, as usual), but it's this Jeffrey Campbell pair (that also comes in gold) that's currently sitting in my Nordstrom cart.


Admittedly, foil-look leather jackets aren’t for everybody, but there’s still plenty of room to play. As much as I'm really into this maxi-skirt situation, a metallic layer peeping out from beneath a blazer is a chiller option. That being said, silver trousers are definitely on offer everywhere I look, and (as a new neutral) they’d like you to throw them on with as little thought as you give to donning your 501s.


If you’re just looking to dip your toe into metallics, there are so many good belts floating around—I’m also picking up on silver gloves as an item to get ahead of for winter. Even more low-key: card holders and coin wallets, which are also excellent gifts if you’re already mentally making a list for the holidays. At more of a white-elephant price point, I love this Baggu tote or a pair of subtly sparkly socks. 

Natalie Cantell
Executive Director, Brand Studio

Natalie leads the style direction for the all content we create in partnership with our friends at various brands plus the legendary team of editors who work on those shoots and stories. She loves collaborating and storytelling, so it's a really fun role for her. It's also the first full-time job she's ever had⁠! She started out in her career as a very mediocre model who agreed to her first styling job to impress a photographer she had a crush on, which led her down a happy path of contributing to Vogue Australia and working as a stylist, fashion writer, and creative director for all sorts of brands and titles. She has a bachelor of communications, but most of her career opportunities came up thanks to some fleeting and accidental street style moments. She's been at Who What Wear for three and a half years and still loves to work as a freelance consultant with brands and designers to shoot their campaigns in NYC. She's originally from New Zealand, and Bondi Beach is her second home, but like just about every other 20-something, she fell in love with New York at some point. She lives in Williamsburg with her fiancé and their weird little dog, Ruby. If you ever need reccies for feel-good fashion, legit coffee spots, politics podcasts, or non-intimidating yoga studios, she's very much your girl.