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Are You Ready for Dresses Over Jeans Again?

Katie Holmes’s recent red carpet outfit caused a stir online. Her stylist takes us behind the look.

New York Times
By Anna Grace Lee
12/13/22


To some, the early 2000s were a fashion fever dream. Juicy Couture tracksuits. Hoodies under blazers. Wrists crowded with rainbow rubber bracelets. Graphic tees, vests, V-necks and thin scarves. Unironic fedoras. Double denim (or all denim everything, à la Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake). The list goes on.

But for those who were of sentient age during those years, the return of some of these trends can elicit strong reactions, like a jarring visit from the ghost of your past. Now, thanks to Katie Holmes, we have a stirring new entry to the ongoing Y2K style revival debate: The dress-over-jeans look.

On Friday, the actress, 43, attended the iHeartRadio Jingle Ball concert in New York City, walking the red carpet in a dressy, deep-blue strapless Tove top (which some have called a minidress), loose straight jeans and Margiela sneakers. At the concert, where Dua Lipa, Lizzo, the Backstreet Boys, Demi Lovato, the Kid Laroi and other artists performed, Ms. Holmes took the stage to introduce the musician Charlie Puth. She had attended the Jingle Ball before, including the 2017 event when she and her daughter, Suri Cruise, introduced Taylor Swift’s performance.

We say goodbye to trends, packing away our cargo pants and bedazzled baby tees — only, in some cases, to see those very trends return with a vengeance. As predicted early this year, low rise pants have returned in a big way, along with liminal spinoffs like the purposefully unbuttoned look.

Some members of Gen Z embrace the chaos of the early 2000s’ boldest looks, imbuing their personal style with nods to the aughts and even running TikTok accounts dedicated to Y2K fashion. Twenty-something characters in some of this year’s popular film and television shows — like Portia in HBO’s “The White Lotus” — wear vintage pieces from the ’90s and early 2000s.

Photos of Ms. Holmes’s red carpet outfit made their way across social media over the weekend, igniting discussion of her outfit and the dress-over-jeans trend of yore. People shared photos of celebrities who donned similar looks years ago, like Anne Hathaway at the “Ella Enchanted” premiere in 2004, Miley Cyrus at the 2006 Teen Choice Awards and Ashley Tisdale during her years starring in Disney hits like “High School Musical” and “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody.

Brie Welch, Katie Holmes’s personal stylist, worked with the actress on her look for the Jingle Ball. According to Ms. Welch, the choice was a combination of her styling and Ms. Holmes’s own taste and practicality.

“We decided the rich color and subtle bustier effect detailing of the top was elegant and would be fun if paired with jeans, creating a more youthful feel for Jingle Ball and the atmosphere there,” Ms. Welch wrote in an email. (A representative for Ms. Holmes did not respond to requests for comment.)

At first glance, some people online assumed the red carpet photos of Ms. Holmes were snapshots from 20 years ago, when her starring role as Joey Potter on “Dawson’s Creek” made her an icon of the late ’90s and early 2000s. She was known around the world for the quintessential girl next door role, and the character continues to resonate with fans today — including on TikTok, where clips and fan-cams have racked up over 99 million views on the #JoeyPotter tag.

Some onlookers appreciated the outfit, while others fiercely opposed the notion of bringing back the fancy dress-over-jeans look. One Twitter wrote, “This is what true y2k is but y’all aren’t ready for that conversation,” garnering over 177,000 likes.

This isn’t the first time the fancy-ish dress-over-pants combination has captured attention. Over the past few years, publications like Vogue and InStyle have written about the trend, discussing ways of making it chic and modern.

As for the sneakers, they felt appropriate for the occasion, Ms. Welch shared. “On the day of (and because Katie has her own effortless style that should be appreciated here), she said she wanted to wear sneakers, because it was a concert and obviously there would be a lot of dancing to Dua Lipa (and nothing is more comfortable!),” she added.

Whether Ms. Holmes intended to pay homage to her days as Joey Potter or simply wanted to wear appropriate footwear for a concert, Ms. Welch added that the actress is “more than capable of looking cool in an unintentional trend 20 years later.”