Mrs. Jennifer Lynn Affleck has embodied many glamorous personas in her 53 years, but since her July 16 wedding to Ben Affleck, she has been demonstrating one side of herself she has never really tried on before: relatable! At least a little bit.
There has been a river of takes on what the blessed reunion of Bennifer means: They’re the last movie stars! A modern-day Liz and Dick! A reset of the year 2003! A collision of the tabloid era with the social media era! One thing is clear: we can’t look away. And they (but particularly she) are really giving us something to look at.
The fashion messaging is clear: from the sentimental ceremony rewear of a white wedding dress saved from the set of “Jersey Girl” (the 2004 movie Lopez starred in with Affleck), to the breezy Reformation sundresses she has been wearing on their family-filled honeymoon in Paris, J.Lo is giving “of the people,” which we’ve never seen from her before.
In part, it feels like a compromise. When you marry a guy who is as famous for his Dunkin’ Donuts runs and rumpled button-downs as he is for his leading roles, you have to try to bridge the gap.
The honeymoon trip is a far cry from the romantic private yacht vacations of their recent and distant past. Some of their offspring are along for the ride: Ben has three kids, with Jennifer Garner; Lopez has twins with Marc Anthony, and we won’t join the tabloids in speculating which of them are in tow and what it might mean for the ones that aren’t.
Relatively quotidian tourist pleasures are on the itinerary: a visit to the Louvre, a cruise along the Seine, pit stops for ice cream and hot chocolate (albeit in the courtyard of the ultra-luxe Four Seasons Hotel George V). There was even a pit stop at Sephora — did Lopez forget her travel-sized dry shampoo like so many of us have done before?
And there were still designer names, of course: Saint Laurent heels, Birkins galore and a private appointment at the Hermès flagship on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. But the standout pieces from Lopez’s vacation wardrobe have been linen sundresses that retail for under $400. For the boat cruise, Lopez wore a pale floral Reformation linen corseted sundress with wide straps (the style is called the Tagliatelle and costs $335) topped with a simple beige cardi. On her birthday, July 24, she chose another dress from the sustainability-focused California brand, the stretch cotton Stassie in this season’s knockout colour, hot pink. While a $378 sundress is an investment for most of us, these picks are relatively within reach.
She looked relaxed and happy in both outfits, alongside Ben in his forgettable yet dependably handsome button-downs over T-shirts with faded pants and sneakers. It appears she left her hair and makeup team at home and didn’t co-ordinate full beauty looks with every wardrobe change. Glam can add years. Natural takes them off.
When the Afflecks went out to dinner sans kids they got a bit more gussied up. Lopez opted for a very sleek black cut-out gown by Et Ochs for her birthday dinner at Girafe; an elegant cobalt blue Alexander McQueen shirt-dress at Brasserie Lipp, with a Dior handbag monogrammed with the letters J-L-O; and a lovely Gucci floral gown with voluminous sleeves at the Hôtel de Crillon.
Mixing up those two moods, she also busted out a filmy, ruffled Dolce & Gabbana blouse with early-2000s-style low-rider jeans, kick-starting a wave of panic that lowrise jeans might actually be coming back. And we got a peek at what she might have purchased on that Hèrmes shopping mission: a mint-green Birkin that she wore with another casual T-shirt and jeans look.
There are myriad up-close and crystal clear photographs of all of these outings — these two are followed everywhere and they know it, they’re inviting it, though I do feel badly about the cameras up their children’s noses all the time. J.Lo knew what she was doing when she planned this honeymoon wardrobe, knew it would be so widely seen, analyzed and absorbed into the pop culture understanding of her. It’s an opportunity to craft the persona she wants to project in this next phase of her life.
Like Madonna and Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez is a chameleon. She has dated many famous men and been married three times. She dances, sings, acts and sells products.
We were first introduced to her in the early ’90s as a fly girl on “In Living Color.” Her burgeoning movie career began with her breakout role in “Selena” and then the underrated thriller “Anaconda.” She first found herself in the belly of the tabloid beast during her relationship with Puff Daddy, circa 1999, when she adopted a newly glamorous image, epitomized by nightclub-forward sparkles and body-con dresses under white furry stoles.
In that period came “the dress,” the low-cut and high-cut green jungle print Versace gown from 2000 that actually sparked the invention of the Google Search function. A year later she was christened “J.Lo” by her own fans.
Her next phase included her first round with Affleck, up until they broke off their engagement in 2003. Then she married Marc Anthony and embarked on motherhood with her twins, Emme and Max. Affleck paired up with Garner. Both of them seemed to manage the spotlight in a calmer way during the period after their white-hot affair, with years focused on family and career.
Lopez put herself squarely back in the paparazzi target zone during her four-year relationship with baseball great Alex Rodriguez. During this time she had a triumphant show at the Super Bowl with Shakira, proving how hot and vital and centre-stage a 50-year-old woman can be. “Halftime,” the documentary released last month on Netflix, is here to remind us if we ever forget.
Even through the depths of the pandemic, there was nothing relatable about Lopez or her lifestyle. Calling off her engagement with A-Rod in early 2021 set her free to hit the refresh button.
And that she did, for all of us. The Bennifer reunion was a heaping dose of nostalgia we ate up with a spoon — it felt like a return to a simpler time. And now that they’ve sealed their fate, the deliberate make-under feels right. The new Mrs. Affleck has chosen precisely the mood and wardrobe to make the relationship — and her image — feel fresh again.
Leanne Delap is a Toronto-based freelance contributor for the Star and The Kit, where she writes the weekly Ask The Kit column. Reach her via email: [email protected]
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