One of the best parts about this wonderful time of the year is the endless stream of festive gatherings that are rife with holiday magic. Whether you're, ahem, strategically meeting someone under the mistletoe, making memories with your BFF, or spending some much-needed QT with the fam, your presence is undoubtedly requested at a myriad of events. So it's only natural, then, that you'd want to be styled to the nines and end the year on a tip-top fashion note! Accordingly, we have a hefty helping of outfit inspiration from a most illustrious sextet of tastemakers that will surely help you achieve said goal. From chic minimalism invoked by Lara Stone to quirky-cool underscored by Alexa Chung, in today's Styling Tips you're guaranteed to find just the right ensemble to tickle your fancy!
Tip #1: Pair pastels with shocking, electric hues.
Routinely on the cusp with her personal style, Ashley Olsen did not disappoint when she attended the launch party of Google's new shopping site Boutiques.com in New York last month. She artfully mixed a vibrant Balenciaga sweater from F/W 10 with a sweet pink skater skirt and grounded the look with opaque tights and an Hermes bag. The outfit is a welcome change from darker-hued autumnal ensembles, and one we'll be sure to keep in mind when brightening up our winter basics! For a similar look, try pairing J.Crew's Cashmere Button-Front Sweater ($180) with American Apparel's Rigid Corduroy Circle Skirt ($39) for a spot-on replication of this mogulista's shocking sorbet ensemble.
Tip #2: Invest in a clean + chic pale sheath.
While being named Model of the Year at the British Fashion Awards cocktail reception at the Savoy Hotel in London earlier this month, the lovely Lara Stone was the picture of effortless chic in a stark white Calvin Klein Collection Silk Georgette Sleeveless Dress ($1195, 212.292.9000). The minimalist sheath is one of our favorite Resort 11 trends and we like how the evening's honoree simply accessorized said dress with slim black t-strap sandals and a black clutch. Of course, one of our favorite aspects of Stone's refined look is her dramatic makeup; the statement cat-eye personalizes the streamlined ensemble and adds a bit of high-fashion edge. To take a page from Stone's style file, whip out your favorite eyeliner and slip on either Calvin Klein Collection's Fineen Leather Dress ($1850) for a luxe version of this pared-down silhouette or BCBGMaxAzria's Shirred Panel Shift Dress ($238) for a more wallet-friendly iteration that is just as model-of-the-moment worthy!
Tip #3: Style a floral dress with a neutral sweater.
Model Dree Hemingway may be a perennial stylesettter when it comes to unexpected or sultry looks, but she also proved she knows a thing or two about sweetly feminine ensembles as well. While attending the opening of the new Dior boutique in New York earlier this month, the arguably perfect blond wore Christian Dior's Adele Dress ($7500) with a gray Sandro Sweater ($262, 01.40.39.90.21) and Christian Dior Spy Pumps ($900) from the pre-fall collection. The tastemaker shows us how to flawlessly temper the girlishness of a floral, tiered, silk organza dress--just pair it with a no-frills sweater--without looking remotely dowdy or undone. A floral dress is a refreshing change from basic black; try ASOS' Dahlia Net Layer Babydoll Dress ($48) or Jill Stuart's Maria Strapless Dress ($628) with either Topshop's Knitted Fine Gauge Long Sleeve Top ($70) or Sparkle & Fade's Dolman Sleeve Pullover Sweater ($48) to get Hemingway's lovely look in no time at all!
Tip #4: Go for a gray coat with a sharp shape.
Coat season is finally here and when we spotted model Laura Bailey in a sleek gray iteration, our interest was duly piqued. While rubbing elbows with the cognoscenti at the British Fashion Awards reception at the Savoy Hotel last month, the Vogue.com blogger wore a trendsetting Stella McCartney Botanical Tulip Print Dress ($1395, 310.273.7051) from the S/S 11 collection topped with the designer's impeccable Cashmere and Wool Blend Coat ($2295), and finished off with a Clotted Cream Shoulder Bag ($1092, 310.273.7051), also from Stella McCartney's S/S 11 line. The smart outerwear contrasts nicely with Bailey's whimsical dress and effectively elevates her entire look. Luckily, we've rounded up a few wintertime favorites so that you can achieve our model/blogger's studied sleekness. If you're ready to invest in this outer layer, we suggest checking out Stella McCartney's Wool Blend Flannel Coat ($1595) or the London Funnel-Neck A-Line Coat ($795) from Burberry. Alternatively, if you'd prefer a more flirtatious rapport with this trend, pick up either the Wool Mix Deep Revere Coat ($164) from Oasis or Club Monaco's Cate Coat ($349), which can be worn belted should you delight in a more fitted silhouette.
Tip #5: Pair a graphic scarf with a shearling coat.
Though shearling jackets have been a top trend for some time now, we love Cara Delevingne's street-chic interpretation. For an ice-skating event aptly named "Skate" held by Tiffany & Co. at the Somerset House in England late last month, the model/actress/sister-to-Poppy Delevingne outfitted herself in a lust-worthy Leather Aviator Jacket ($675) from Reiss, which she threw over an American Apparel t-shirt and A|Wear jeans. The multi-hyphenate completed her look with Topshop's boldly graphic scarf and Carvela motorcycle boots for a cozy-yet-stylish outdoors ensemble. While Delevingne's exact scarf was produced and distributed specially to celebrate the opening of Topshop's new Knightsbridge store, can you can get a similar look by trying Lost & Found's Winter Polaroid Scarf ($298) or Yarnz's Feline Cashmere Scarf ($169). Be sure to incorporate a shearling jacket via Lipsy's Faux Fur Trim PU Aviator Jacket ($91), as this essential can complement everything from a cocktail dress to off-duty wear!
Tip #6: Add opaque tights to a short romper.
Rompers have fallen off our radar as of late, but that's just because we were looking for a captivating, weather-friendly way to wear them. Luckily, inspiration comes to us via the always-plucky Alexa Chung who opted for Sandro's Dungaree-Style Crepe Playsuit ($250) for the Sandro boutique launch party in London late last month. Chung--who was also the guest DJ for the evening's festivities--put her usual individualist spin on these shortalls by wearing them with a Rodarte t-shirt that was created for Fashion's Night Out in 2009 and Isabel Marant's Xarsa Sweater ($480). Chung made this summery item feel winter-worthy by pairing it with opaque stockings--we like Commando's Richly Ribbed Tights ($34)--and Russell & Bromley boots.--Liza Kaplan