She may be on trial, but her sense of style is surely not.
Say what you will about Gwyneth Paltrow, but no one can deny her ability to look chic in a crisis. The Goop CEO, wellness (?) aficionado and general causer of controversy is currently in court, and, to borrow an ancient proverb: your honour, she’s slaying.
ICYMI: Paltrow is being sued by 76-year-old retiree Terry Sanderson, who accused the actor of skiing into him on a Utah mountain — and then fleeing the scene — in 2016, leaving him with life-altering injuries. Paltrow filed a countersuit against Sanderson, claiming that he in fact skied into her. Sanderson is seeking more than $300,000 USD in damages (an amendment from his initial ask of $3.1 million), while Paltrow is seeking $1 USD in damages, plus attorneys’ fees. With no agreed-upon facts in sight, the case is rich with convoluted chaos. But it has united the world on one crucial front: fashion!
Since the trial began on March 21, Paltrow has been eschewing the celeb courtroom standard of conservative suits. Instead, she’s opted for a minimalist rotation of flowy silhouettes, soft knits and academic-inspired styles that The New York Times approvingly dubbed “courtcore.” Wearing The Row, Prada, Celine and her own Goop clothing line, G. Label (because of course), Paltrow’s neutral, well-tailored wardrobe is void of branding but indeed very expensive. It’s the epitome of quiet luxury, and it’s downright poetic for a case about the inner workings of ski etiquette.
She started off the trial in true rich mom form. On March 21, the 50-year-old donned a billowing ivory turtleneck — which appears to be a nearly $600 USD sweater from G. Label — Celine lace-up boots, brown wide-leg trousers, an army green trench, and now-viral aviator glasses. The next day, she sported an almost identical outfit which the Daily Mail estimates costs $67,220 USD. (Investigative journalism matters!) These forgiving silhouettes and creamy soft fabrics communicate that, despite being in court, Paltrow has all the worries of a Coastal Grandmother. Which is to say, none.
Her blissful, distinctly affluent oeuvre was further reinforced by her legal team’s request to gift the bailiffs some thank-you “treats.” Sadly, this attempt was shot down, so we’re left only to muse about what those Goop-ish gifts could be. (Hopefully not jade eggs.) Moving on!
While modest and effortless, Paltrow’s courtroom outfits never feel too casual for the setting. Case in point: on day three, she hit the scene (courtroom, that is) in a monotone grey slouchy double-breasted suit. Her hair? Messily tucked. Her makeup? Minimal. Her accessories? Stacked gold necklaces and a family-sized bottle of sparkling water. It’s giving “I’m too rich for this.” And, for obvious reasons, that works for her.
On March 24, Paltrow took the stand in a Wednesday Addams-esque ensemble that had us questioning whether this was fashion week or a courtroom in Park City, Utah. The all-Prada outfit consisted of a dark navy skirt, a figure-hugging cashmere button-down and chunky combat boots. It may have been her best look yet, and that’s a good thing, seeing as her testimony has been meme’d into oblivion. Rest assured, the wackadoodle details of the case brought us firmly back to reality.
The line of questioning by Kristin VanOrman, Sanderson’s lawyer, veers between star-stricken and accusatory. In one moment, she’s marvelling at Paltrow’s height (“just under 5’10”). In another, she’s ruthlessly investigating her ties to Taylor Swift — and whether she’s given “personal, intimate” Christmas gifts to the pop star. Nevertheless, Paltrow’s demeanour is reliably chill. But she’s also not trying to hide the fact that she’s wealthy and famous.
Her team is suggesting that Sanderson’s suit aims to exploit the Oscar winner’s celebrity status. And her demure “old money” ensembles seem to communicate the idea that she doesn’t need to be there, but she’s fighting back because she believes she’s right. (Allegedly.) On March 27, Paltrow wore a similar silhouette and dark colour palette, this time with a white button-up and skirt from The Row paired with yet another G. Label cardigan.
The following day, she wore her trustee Celine boots with Proenza Schouler leather pants and a drapey neck-tie blush pink blouse from G. Label. During the proceedings, she remained attentive while sipping a green juice, because she may be in court, but she shan’t be neglecting her detox.
Through it all, her gentle outfits stand in stark contrast to the jarring details of the crash, and the satirical drama to come of this case. With vastly different recollections, inexplicable lines of questioning, and downright theatrical courtroom reactions, Paltrow’s clothes stand out as a bastion of satisfying polished style amid the disarray of this case.
Of course, privilege is baked into the entire ordeal. The he-said-she-said between two wealthy, white ski resort frequenters is not exactly the end-all-be-all in the name of justice. But perhaps that’s why this trial — which is expected to run until March 30 — has become so popular. We may never know who hit who on that snowy mountain seven years ago. But from her outfits alone, Gwyneth Paltrow seems confident in her case.