Tip # 1: Temper sweet floral frocks with a strong black belt.
Its always nice to see a fresh way to wear a popular pattern, so in light of the season's floral frenzy, we shall start today's Tips by showcasing a perfectly balanced poesy-power look. For a summer exhibition preview party for the Royal Academy of Arts, Stella McCartney made her romantic dress look modern by juxtaposing the pretty garden-print with a strong black belt. While McCartney wore her own design from her Spring 2010 collection (yes, she's ahead of the game!), we suggest just adding this key accessory to a floral frock you already own. Even better: an obi-style belt like McCartney's won't cost you loads of cash. Express' Knit Obi Belt($16) or American Apparel's The Sash ($16) are both similar to the designer's style and are currently available!
Tip # 2: Embrace the entire spectrum of nude hues.
Super-chic supermodel Claudia Schiffer revealed a lovely nude hue at the Amend Charity Luncheon during the Cannes Film Festival. We don't mean to imply that the blonde bombshell turned up in the all together, rather, she showed off a stunning Roksanda Ilincic Silk Floral Ribbon Dress ($1660) in a lovely shade of blush. Schiffer decided to style the frock from Ilincic's spring collection (which is sadly sold out) with a Chloe clutch and Roget Vivier shoesÂ--both in a paler shade of nude. We encourage you to follow in Schiffer's footsteps and experiment with a range of nude tones. Simply combine your favorite lighter accessoriesÂ--many of which were discussed in New NudesÂ--with a dress like By Malene Birger's Brocco Dress ($219) and you'll look seasonally sensational.
Tip #3: Play up a maxi dress with a fancy bolero.
The maxi dress is not only a summer staple, but thanks to its elegant lines, it's also the standard shape at fancy events. While the floor-length column can be a little predicable, you can easily enliven this classic silhouette by accessorizing with an embellished or embroidered jacket. As demonstrated by British model and former GOTM Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, the addition of a cropped, tailored, fancy jacketÂ--such as the Topshop Premium Embroidered Jacket ($135) seen aboveÂ--takes the whole look to another level. In addition to RHW's choice, we also like Topshop's Sequin Trophy Jacket ($170).
Tip # 4: Mix a plaid work shirt with a metallic mini skirt.
Frequent WWW-readers know that we adore a high-low combo, so it's no surprise that we really responded to the outfit Anne Vyalitsyna wore to The Cinema Society's screening of The Hangover. The modelÂ--known as Anne V. in the industryÂ--charmed us with a simple plaid blouse paired with a fancy metallic skirt. Now, admittedly, Ms. V's top is anything but humble (it's vintage Chanel), but you can translate the idea of this look with a non-designer version and still achieve lovely results. We like BDG's Plaid Buttonfront Boyfriend Shirt ($38), Delia's Tracy Plaid Shirt ($40), and John Eshaya's Red Plaid Shirt ($84), all of which would contrast nicely with a smart skirt. On that note, Anne V. selected Peter Som's Two-Tone Layered Skirt ($995, 212.247.1100) from the Spring 09 collection, but we think that Robert Rodriguez's Sequin Skirt ($385) or Loeffler Randall's Full Pocket Skirt ($225) are superb substitutes. Whatever you pick, just finish things off with some killer heels, like Anne V.'s Alejandro Ingelmo Woven Metal Shoes ($744), and you'll have a masterful mix!
Tip # 5: Wear a cocktail dress with a smart pair of loafers.
There are many reasons to be a fan of Alexa Chung, but for us, the fact that she always goes for unexpected footwear definitely tops the list. Take her recent red carpet (er, blue carpet) look for example: fancy vintage Sophia Kokosalaki dress worn with Marc by Marc Jacobs Penny Loafers ($99 on sale, 212.924,0026) in powder. Sensible and stylish, Chung's metallic loafers add a dash of geek chic to her cocktail dress and look totally darling. Try BC Footwear's Good Cause Flat ($60) with a festive frockÂ--your feet will thank you!
Tip # 6: Show off strong-shoulders with an updo.
Until now, our commentary on all the season's strong-shoulder looks has focused on how to wear the trend itself. But now, thanks to a little inspiration from Peaches Geldof, we're spotlighting a non-garment way to accessorize the look. As seen at the Dsquared party at the Cannes Film Festival, Geldof's exaggerated updo (viva big buns!) creates the perfect stage for her pagoda-shoulder blazer. Inquiring minds take note: Geldof's wearing the Bovary Jacket ($600) by the new line, Nonoo Lyons, and will be available at Intermix in August. (Definitely check back then, the whole collection is incredible.) Though not nearly as vivid as Geldof's pick, the Premium Shoulder Pad Blazer ($160) from Topshop has a similar strong shoulder and long, lean cut. Just remember to keep the spotlight on the jacket's shape and wear your hair in a disheveled topknot or a teased ballerina bun!
Photos of Claudia Schiffer, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Peaches Geldof, from Getty Images; Photo of Stella McCartney, from Bauer Griffin; Photo of Alexa Chung, from INF.