The other day we were thinking about a concept that is generally attributed to Picasso, specifically the theory that bad artists copy, but good artists steal. While the father of Cubism certainly wasn't talking about creating cute outfits when he made said statement, it's oddly relevant within the context of personal style, no? After all, to replicate a look seen on your favorite fashion plate is one thing, but to merely use said ensemble as a starting point to create something personal and new¬--well, that's not thievery, that's divine. On that note, we invite you to pilfer July's Tips to your hearts' content and ransack the story for wardrobe ideas galore. You're sure to find something that's perfect to pinch: in other words, make Pablo proud.
Tip # 1: Add an embellished jacket to a simple outfit.
We truly believe in the importance of creating carefully considered outfits (hence why we bang on and on about it), which is part of the reason we find Agyness Deyn's style so noteworthy. No matter the occasion, she always takes the time to add at least one intriguing piece to her look, like the embellished vintage blazer she sported at an after-party for The Cinema Society's screening of "Whatever Works." The detailed jacket not only shows off her personal taste, it also turns her simple t-shirt and black skinnies into something much more interesting. While our first suggestion is to go the Deyn-route and ransack your favorite vintage stores to score a piece like hers, you can also find an embellished blazer or jackets in shops now. Topshop's Premium Stud Blazer ($125) is a superb option and it's still pretty subtle, so you're sure to wear it to pieces!
Tip # 2: Reveal your favorite lacey bandeau bra.
Anyone who owns strappy or shoulder-revealing tops and dresses (read: everyone) probably possesses a bandeau bra too. But rather than concealing said undergarment, we want you to show it off, √† la Liya Kebede at the CFDA Awards in New York last month. The stunning model illustrated one of our favorite looks from Balenciaga's F/W 09 collection¬--comprised of the Cream Print Silk Beaded Dress ($25550), Black Lace Bra ($645)¬--both of which will be available at the Manhattan boutique any second (212.206.0872), and the Black Snakeskin Sandals from Balenciaga's S/S 2007 show. To emulate Kebede's straight-from-the-runway look, but aren't ready to invest in Balenciaga's bandeau, you do have a few options. Check out Only Hearts Lace Bandeau Bra ($40) or Lana's Lacy Bralette ($18), both of which have a similar look.
Tip # 3: Try a pair of harem pants this summer.
In a wildly informal poll of a few of our friends, it became clear that most women (at least in our test group) are quite afraid of two types of pants: white and harem. We'd like to offer a rebuttal, using the above image of Sienna Miller as our primary evidence. While tight white trousers offer a multitude of potential issues, the relaxed lines of harem pants ensure a figure-flattering and undergarment-concealing look, as the actress deftly demonstrated. Use Miller as your outfit inspiration and pair either Splendid's Jersey Harem Pants ($115) or Silence & Noise's Drapey Woven Harem Pants ($48) with your favorite shrunken blazer and some simple sandals for an easy-chic summer outfit.
Tip # 4: Style a fancy party dress with a casual belt.
The lithesome and lovely Byrdie Bell inspired us recently when she arrived at the Veuve Clicquot Manhattan Polo Classic wearing a wonderful party dress with a twist. Rather than simply sporting her pretty polka-dot Carolina Herrara gown as is, Bell wrapped a vintage leather belt around her hips, which added a little bit of casual coolness to her fancy frock. The resulting outfit is perfect for a daytime summer wedding and, even better, it's also incredibly easy to recreate. Just start off with a relatively simple dress (floor-length is recommended), then accessorize with a slightly rugged belt, like Linea Pelle's Distressed Hip Belt ($130) or J. Crew's Roughed-Out Leather Belt ($52), to achieve the perfect mix.
Tip # 5: Pick a sexy dress with an interesting neckline.
Though neither the runways nor the red carpet will ever suffer a lack of sexy dresses, sometimes the de rigueur backless/strapless styles feel a little stale. In moment like these, we're pleased to see someone like Pixie Geldof shaking things up. The Brit it-girl turned up at the London premiere of Bruno looking appropriately fresh in her fashion-forward frock by FrostFrench (say that three times fast). The modified halter neckline and bustier-esque top of her The Corset Dress ($195, +44 20 7354 0053) turned this mini into something seriously memorable and made us want our own killer dress with an equally noteworthy neckline. If you feel the same way, check out Wren's Musidora Jersey Bow Top ($170) or Foley + Corinna's Linen Mini Dress ($345) as both have daring details that are similar in spirit to Geldof's pick.
Tip # 6: Mix a body-con frock with a boyish blazer.
We shall conclude this month's installment of Tips with one of our current favorites: Dree Hemingway. The super stylish up-and-coming model wisely coupled a formfitting cocktail dress with an oversized boyfriend blazer at the 2009 Whitney Art Party in New York. Hemingway selected two pieces from BCBG Max Azria's fall collection for this look: the Strapless Shiny Knit Foil Dress ($318) serves as the base of her look, supplemented with the Stretch Twill Boyfriend Blazer ($298) on top. The jacket's casually cuffed sleeves and loose silhouette contrast nicely with her more formal metallic dress, while her covetable shoes¬--Nicholas Kirkwood's Black Patent Laced Front Open Toe Booties ($895, 702.770.5491)¬--are simply the ideal finishing touch. Kimchi Blue's Black Long Party Blazer ($78) and Aqua's Boyfriend Blazer ($108) are both stylish alternatives, especially when worn over something like American Apparel's Foil Print Micro-Mesh Mini Dress ($48) in metallic gold. As for the footwear¬...we suggest saving up for Kirkwood's killer booties!