Sometimes, typically when battling yet another installment of our chronic insomnia, we like to lull ourselves to sleep thinking about the perfect life. In this parallel universe, we'd wake up in our Ryan Korban-designed pad (oh, how we adore his work), brew up a fresh batch of Stumptown coffee, and then wander into our giant closet filled with beautiful black-on-black clothes, much like the ones favored by model Maryna Linchuk. The Russian stunner has collected an assortment of wardrobe staples¬--little leather jackets, sharp shoes, and skinny pants galore¬--in an inky palette we not-so-secretly adore. In lesser hands, Linchuk's nearly monochromatic wardrobe could err on the uninteresting side of things, but thanks to a smart selection of unbasic black pieces (a mixture of opacities, textures, and layers), her Model Off Duty look is one to covet.
One of the first things we noticed about Linchuk's outfits is her tendency to favor a single silhouette. The foundation of her personal style is a skinny pant; she almost always builds her outfits around leggings, a slim pair of jeans, or form-fitting leather pants¬--all in inky tones, of course. Another Linchuk certainty is a fitted jacket, whether that's her go-to little leather jacket (combined with a plaid shirt and pointy pumps backstage at Preen F/W 09), a preppy boyfriend blazer (worn with knee-high boots post-show at Rag & Bone), or a sharp-shoulder cropped style (as seen at backstage at Donna Karan's S/S 10 show). In fact, our MOD is so enamored with little leather jackets¬--naming versions by Balenciaga, Gucci, and Belstaff as a few of her favorites¬--she designed one with the boys from Rag & Bone, which was sold as part of the Fall 09 collection and is currently on sale.
Within these strict parameters, Linchuk adds dimension to her lean-and-leggy looks via interesting layers. Sometimes they're long, like the semi-sheer embroidered tunic and snap-detailed jacket she mixed together after Zac Posen's F/W 09 show, other times they're shorter, such as the hip-length cardi and studded belt she wore while en route to Giambatista Valli's F/W 09 show, but they're always nuanced. Even her outerwear gets a little textural help; we love the surprise of a furry gilet over a double-breasted jacket and the unexpected leather arms on a mid-length funnel neck coat (as seen at Ralph Lauren's F/W 09 show over a floral dress).
To pull off your own version of Linchuk's understated √©lan, you obviously need some rock'n'roll basics. Of course we suggest saving up for your own Balenciaga moto jacket or picking up a Rag & Bone iteration, like the Bowery Leather Jacket ($1495). However, you just might like For Joseph's Cicletta Biker Jacket ($450) or Doma's Leather Motorcycle Jacket ($498) as immediate, more affordable alternatives. You can also add a little gothic glam with a petite and pointy jacket, like Robert Rodriguez's Crocodile Leather Jacket ($792), or via a snug suede style with padded shoulders, such as Illia's Tailored Suede Jacket with Zip Pockets ($649). In the trousers department, go for second-skin pants like L'Agence's Metallic Leather Leggings ($1030) or a killer pair of Bess' Leather Zip Leggings ($968) on the high end, while Charlotte Ronson's Zipped Leather Pants ($215) or Current/Elliott's The Legging Jeans ($176) will do the trick at a lower price point.
With our fashionable framework set, now you just have to add a few key layers to bring dimension to your MOD look. If you're mad for Linchuk's plaid shirt, you're in luck, as we've discovered a couple of great alternatives. Forever 21's Crinkle Plaid Shirt ($18) is a guilt-free treat, but if we had our druthers, we'd pick up Frank and Eileen's Barry Plaid Button Down ($158) instead. Otherwise, if you're looking for some lightweight layers, we suggest reaching for J. Crew's Cashmere V-Neck Sweater ($168) or Gap's Grosgrain-Trimmed Cardigan ($55), or you could just go for a classic tee, like Alternative Apparel's The Versaille Slub V-Neck ($30). Finish with a pair of universally adored flat boots, such as Fiorentini + Baker's Mid Shaft Buckle Boots ($525), or a pointy-toe pair of pumps, like the Preen 2 Part Court Shoe ($180) from Topshop, for an equally cool Linchuk-style look!
All images from firstVIEW.