Culture

Business Casual Superstar: Inspired by Kendall Hart (Alicia Minshew, “All My Children”)

I got a request from a fan of ABC’s (former) soap, All My Children, which has since been cancelled because the head executives are idiots. She said she loved Kendall’s style, and would appreciate it if I put together an outfit that Kendall would wear.

I’m more than happy to oblige. I remember Kendall back when Sarah Michelle Gellar played her, before Alicia Minshew took over the role. I was just a couple years old back then, but my mother would watch the show, along with One Life To Live and General Hospital. She taught evening classes at Boston University in the evenings, and was working for her doctorate at that point, so she stayed at home with me while my dad was at work, and when he got home at 5, off she’d go to BU. During the day, after lunch, she’d put me down for my nap and would watch soaps and do her work, keeping the television on mostly for company.

When she first moved to America in 1982, she started watching these ABC soaps, and admitted somewhat sheepishly to me that she only did so because she wanted to better understand American culture, which was somewhat new to her. (She studied at an English-medium school since childhood, so she knew English, and knew somewhat about English and American culture; in addition to that, my dad had been in America for the past ten years, and he’d filled her in on things that might have surprised her, so she was all good).

By the time she figured out that soap operas are not really that reflective of American culture, and are more about paternity issues and evil twins and forged wills and marriages of convenience, she was already kind of sucked into the plots and slightly invested in the crazy characters, so she’d just kind of keep the soaps on while she did the housework and worked on her thesis and all that.

Because of that, I grew up always kind of knowing enough about the characters on AMC, OLTL, and GH. And I remember being kind of sad when Sarah Michelle Gellar left, and we got a newer, more feminine, less tough-as-nails-evil-bitch Kendall, played by Alicia.

But the new Kendall was pretty, and had really pretty hair, so I got over it.

I think I’ll always have kind of a soft spot for AMC, even though I never once watched it of my own volition. It was the very first soap to have a real, true lesbian character, who was portrayed sensitively, and given the chance to have actual romances that were part of the storyline, and was given a pregnancy and a baby (I think). That character was Biana, Kendall’s little half-sister, and her kiss with some other character was the first lesbian kiss in daytime history. AMC’s writers worked with various organizations representing women and lesbians in order to make sure they got it right, and that they treated the character and by extension, lesbians, respectively, and I have to give them huge props for that.

What I’ve noticed about Kendall (somewhat from memory, somewhat from going through archives of promotional stills of her from AMC) is that she wears delicate, feminine, close-fitting things. She’s not exactly a well-endowed woman, so her tops often have plunging v-necks (because smaller girls can pull those off without looking inappropriately dressed, as perhaps some girls with huge sweater puppies would look), or ruffles, which draw the eye to the top and add interest.

So here’s what I put together, inspired by Kendall v.02.

JM Collection Pants in Taupe ………. $24.98
Elephant Print Tank in Pink ………. $22.50
Cloud Fine Top ………. $26.99
Retro Pleated Pumps in Pink ………. $20.80

Kendall likes things that fit her. That’s the best way I can put it. She picks tailored, close-fitting things that skim her silhouette nicely. It helps that she’s so petite. So I went with these great, slimming trousers in a nice brown color, and paired them with this great off-white chiffon-ish (or whatever) blouse. It’s got the little collar and the wispy fabric and the little buttons, and just screamed Kendall to me.

It’s totally sheer, so I slipped a printed pink tank there, and found these shoes at Forever21, in a slightly duller, duskier pink. We’ve got the heels, we’ve got the girly silk/chiffon, we’ve got the great pants: This is totally a Kendall-approved outfit, and all for under $100!

For more business casual outfits, be sure to check out my blog.