In Defense of Katie Holmes’s Jingle Ball Outfit

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 09: Katie Holmes attends the Z100's iHeartRadio Jingle Ball 2022 Press...
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These days, when a red carpet look gets attention, it feels like the star and their stylist have worked very hard to ensure that it does. Sometimes it gets to the point where it all feels rather contrived. Dressing for inclusion in trend roundups or Instagram likes is the surest way to take “personal” out of “personal style.” Which is why the controversial outfit that Katie Holmes wore to the Jingle Ball concert in New York City on Saturday night was, in a way, a breath of fresh air.

Despite its relatively simple nature, the ensemble sent fashion Twitter aflame over the weekend. Holmes showed up to Madison Square Garden in a pair of simple black sneakers and loose-cut jeans down below, but it’s what she wore on top that got gums flapping. She paired the casual bottom half with a structured blue top from the label Tove. The top’s elongated proportions almost resembled a cocktail dress.

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The outfit was perfect for the trusty Twitter meme format of “When you have to walk a red carpet at 6, but attend a rock concert at 7” (which is, well, exactly what Holmes was doing), but its resemblance to the controversial “dress over jeans” trend worn by so many of Disney Channel stars during the ‘00s caught the Internet’s imagination. Some recoiled at the reemergence of the cursed outfit combo, while others had the nostalgia centers of their brains sent into a joyful overdrive.

No offense to the style legacy of teenage Ashley Tisdale, but we highly doubt Holmes was purposefully channeling the “dress over jeans” trend. Separately, the pieces are all in line with Holmes’s usual casually sophisticated city girl style. Plus, this was Jingle Ball. She was there simply to introduce Charlie Puth’s performance. One of the most important red carpets of the year it was not.

There’s something a little “off” with the proportions, but in a transfixing way. It’s the kind of look that stands out because it’s not bothering to fit in. You could imagine other stars purposely trying to snag headlines by reviving the Y2K trend and going over the top, even if they risk looking like a gimmick (with say, some extra beading around the hem and a tiny little going-out bag on their arms). Holmes’s take is laid-back and confident. It’s the kind of outfit that results from someone with actual personal style taking a chance and trying something news—and isn’t that how trends really start anyway?

We have a sneaking suspicion the outfit may find its way to the mood boards of more than a few stylists and designers, for better or worse. We can’t say that Holmes was purposefully trying to bring back the “dress over jeans” trend, but she might have anyway. Don’t be surprised if, in 2023, you see the usual lineup of trend chasers attempting to put their own spin on this outfit. Although Holmes’s take was, in a word, effortless—others will likely be trying way too hard.