Even if she was going to a black tie dinner, she always went as herself, in black and white, and what could be more stylish than that? Susan Girard cited in Hunter Drohojowska-Philp, Full Bloom: The Art and Life of Georgia O’Keeffe.
She moves in one piece. Her black clothes have no suggestion of waist line. From the delicately poised head to the small stout shoes is a rhythm unbroken by any form of hampering. Delicate, sensitive, exquisitely beautiful, with the candor of a child in her unafraid eyes and the trained mind of an intuitive woman. Blanche Matthias, Chicago Evening Post reporter and friend of O’Keeffe, cited in Full Bloom.
O’Keeffe’s attitude toward clothes had always been individualistic, though this became more pronounced with age. Ever since reading Charlotte Perkins Gilman in 1915, O’Keeffe had chosen her clothes for practicality and freedom of movement, as well as for her private aesthetic pleasure. High heels and cosmetics were anathema. Simple and severe, her clothes were often monochromatic, black or white, and idiosyncratic as to line. Roxana Robinson, Georgia O’Keeffe: A Life.
Georgia O’ Keeffe’s style embodies purity at its best. Her look was honed early on, favoring first men-tailored suits, a man’s bowler-type hat, oxfords, later refined to include black ensembles with white collars, caftans, capes, kimono style jackets, and flat-heeled shoes. She eschewed dressing like other women artists who favored a more bohemian look. Her aesthetic was simple, serene, elegant, even reductive. An expert seamstress who did illustrations of women’s clothing early in her career, O’Keeffe was in an ideal position to style herself as she chose. I find it fascinating that O’Keeffe simplified her style after reading Charlotte Perkins Gilman, an early feminist who advocated social and domestic reform, including reform of dress: boys and girls should dress in the same way and play with the same toys.