Katie Holmes, a woman who first thawed the cold heart of America as a fresh-faced 19-year-old in Dawson’s Creek, has, for the best part of three decades, been the embodiment of the girl next door: natural, modest, and effortless. In the year 2000, a biography of the actor—“with eight pages of color photos!”—was published under that precise description, and some 20 years later, fashion magazines like this one were running listicles that continued to position Holmes as a wholesome icon.

And with good reason: The actor’s wardrobe is direct and approachable—rarely straying from straight-leg jeans, short-sleeve shirts, and square-toe ballet shoes—which are nothing if not the effects of an everywoman with enough soft power to convince an entire generation of women to wear cork wedges again. Holmes is, in other words, a rare example of a famous person who wears “clothes,” as opposed to “pieces,” “garments,” and the most dreaded term of all: “fashion.”

Image may contain Katie Holmes Clothing Coat Pants Accessories Glasses Bag Handbag Footwear Shoe Adult and Person

Raymond Hall

But I wonder if there might be more to Katie Holmes than an ineffable, Midwestern relatability. That is because on March 25, to attend the final night of Alan Cumming Is Not Acting His Age on Broadway, Holmes dressed in a denim trench coat that had been strewn with metal eyelets, and a pair of patent studded flats. This is about as mad, bad, and dangerous as this celebrity gets, a departure from the tomboyish, girl-next-door formula that has, perhaps, been 30 years in the making.

Mansur Gavriel Everyday Soft Tote

This article first appeared on British Vogue.

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