As we inspected autumn's many collections, we were pleased to note that feathers were used for a diverse range of outfits and accentuated lots of different pieces. In other words, there is no single key item to buy for this trend, so feel free to experiment! At Burberry, designer Christopher Bailey sent out beautiful, fully feathered jackets, clutches, and made-for-editorial dresses (one of which was worn by Kate Bosworth to the Night of Stars gala in New York on Friday). Karl Lagerfeld also sent out avian-inspired pieces at Fendi, including a Feather Trimmed Dress ($3690) and Feather Skirt ($925), while at Ralph Lauren and Carolina Herrera, models displayed feather-accented fedoras and other assorted chapeaux. Even Alexander McQueen got in on the trend with his blood red and snow white feathered dress that looked fit for a queen.
Runways aside, we know that using the words "feathered" and "clothes" in the same sentence might bring to mind visions of Vegas showgirls, Cher's marabou Mackie moments, or even the San Diego Chicken, but this shouldn't stop you from exploring this of-the-moment detail. There really are lots of understated, modern ways to work a few quills into any outfits and our risk-adverse readers should look to ladies like Rachel Bilson for suggestions on how to subtly add a little plumage. Seen above en route to the Whitney Art Party, Bilson gave her classic ivory halter Herve Leger bandage dress and nude Lanvin platforms an unexpected update by carrying Romanek Los Angeles' feathered Celeste Clutch ($1580, 248.258.0212). Bilson's bag is a bit much for our wallets right now, but we could definitely justify picking up Angel Jackson's Feather Bag ($384), Topshop's Feather Detail Clutch ($125) in blue or black, or even the aforementioned Forever 21 Fab Feather Wallet ($7.50). All of these options are a great way to add an element of fun to a dressy look and would be perfect for holiday parties or even New Year's Eve (it's never too soon to plan ahead!).
We also love the jaunty cool that a feathered hair accessory adds to any outfit, just check out the amazing headdress Erin Wasson wore to a Chanel dinner earlier this year and you'll see what we mean! The model/designer crafted the accent piece herself: she simply purchased a length of feathers at a store in New York's Garment District, wrapped it around her head, and the result was the above, couture-like creation. If you're less DIY, try the Mars Headband ($42) from Lyte Accessories for a cheap and easy approximation of Wasson's standout style. If you don't want to put feathers on your forehead--and not everyone does--we suggest choosing a romantic, retro adornment from ban.do. These killer accessories start at around $75 (the gray one above is $90), come in a range of colors, and have stellar vintage rhinestone embellishments. If you want to really make the look your own, just custom order one by emailing: email@example.com.
Of course, our boldest readers need choices too, and we've got a few statement options for you as well. One daring way to wear feathers is via a fluffy waistcoat, like the Elizabeth and James Plume Vest ($595) Mischa Barton wore to Bardot in West Hollywood the other night. Available in black or white, the vest looks best worn with modern accoutrement, like leather or pvc leggings, rather that hippie favorites, like bellbottoms. (Also check out the brand's Plume Skirt ($765) in green/brown or black/white, Feather Tank ($225), and Feather Tee Dress ($345) for three well-executed examples of this trend.) You can also try the Suede and Feather Waistcoat ($125) from Topshop, as a slightly more subtle option. If you'd rather wear your feathers as a true accent, we'd like to suggest Givenchy's super sexy Open Toe Booties ($964.95) for some ankle flair or the Feather Necklace ($76) by Miss KK. While these pieces are on either end of the price spectrum, both have rich plumes that will elevate even the most basic look.--additional reporting by Claudia Codron
Photos of Rachel Bilson and Erin Wasson, Getty Images. Photo of Mischa Barton, Pacific Coast News. Photo of Kate Bosworth, Splash News. Runway Images, First View.