The marvelous Mark Twain once opined that you should never let formal education get in the way of your learning. Though the author obviously didn't make this statement about fashion per se, we think it's quite applicable in many ways. Traditionally, women have followed a few well-known wardrobe guidelines-those old do's and don'ts-but those rules were made to be broken! After all, who says you have to conform to that stodgy school of thinking, er dressing? It's much more modern to ignore these antiquated guidelines and just wear what you want. Take today's featured fashion plates for example: they tweak the typical style statutes and end up looking fresh, not foolish. Whether it's an unexpected accessory choice, like the way Diane Kruger uses heavy-metal accents to modernize little black dress, or a surprising clothing combo, such as Leighton Meester's cocktail-frock-and-vest pairing, we're sure you'll acquire lots of info via today's Tips!
Tip # 1: Make a fancy frock cooler by adding a little vest.
The lovely Leighton Meester is a joy to watch, no matter if she's at work or at play. Just like we never tire of her escapades on Gossip Girl, we have an endless appetite for her off-camera clothing choices. Definitely more directional than the majority of her peers, Meester wowed us when she turned up at the Louis Vuitton S/S 10 show in Paris wearing an unexpectedly delightful ensemble from the fashion house's recent resort collection. Rather than simply sporting a by-the-book outfit, Meester accented her Front Ruffle Dress ($2810) with Cherie Ankle Strap Sandals ($1200) and Strass Socks. But our favorite aspect of this look is Meester's addition of a simple Sleeveless Jacket ($2535), which she cinched in with the Ceinture Chaine Belt ($966)-all by Louis Vuitton, of course. This addendum makes the fancy frock's overall vibe a bit more casual and a little cooler; it's also great way to get more wear out of your favorite cocktail dress. Simply add a slightly oversized waistcoat, like Laurie B's Ethic Vest ($171), over a pretty patterned piece, such as Catherine Malandrino's Floral-Print Dress ($475), and you'll have a Paris Fashion Week-worthy ensemble!
Tip # 2: Transition into fall with pale neutral accessories.
Last month on Fashion's Night Out, model Sasha Pivovarova showed off the kind of enviable accent pieces that always pique our attention. Wearing a cropped jacket in the most gorgeous wheat color and a nude patent pair of ankle boots, she offered a refreshing antidote to the typical all-black dress code that many New Yorkers follow. Even if you don't want to wear summery whites, we suggest working some pale pieces into your transitional wardrobe. Topping our list right now: Doma's Cropped Washed-Leather Biker Jacket ($630), which is tonally correct, and Topshop's Stud Leather Jacket ($320), which is available in a soft dove gray. While Pivovarova's exact Miu Miu boots were not produced for retail, we think Michael Antonio's Maeko Ankle Boots($75) are an excellent affordable (and available) option!
Tip # 3: Wear thigh-high boots with modest hemlines.
Like many other fashion fanatics, we can't get enough of French Vogue's EIC, Carine Roitfeld, and her dynamic wardrobe choices. While attending a party for John Richmond during Paris Fashion Week, Roitfeld was snapped wearing the season's most extreme-and coveted-footwear: Christian Louboutin's Button-Up OTK Boots ($1995). While their incredible height and corset-like detailing might scream "dominatrix" on most people, Roitfeld managed to wear them in a ladylike way. By styling them with a pencil skirt that has a modest hemline, Roitfeld made these extreme shoes seem downright approachable. When you feel ready to take the thigh-high plunge, don't miss Jeffrey Campbell's Over The Knee Platform Boots ($228) or bebe's Thigh High Boots ($159), both excellent choices. Simply reach for a simple skirt, like Robert Rodriguez's Leather Combo Skirt ($275) or Silence & Noise's Banded Skirt ($48), and you'll be channeling Carine in no time flat.
Tip #4: Try skinny trousers in a pattern or plaid.
Though monochromatic harem pants were all the rage last spring, skinny-legged bottoms are still a key fall and winter piece-especially if updated with a chic Prince of Wales print. As seen on French actress Amira Casar (pictured above en route to the Balenciaga S/S 10 show), this classic tweedy pattern offers an update on the cool-weather staple. While Casar's Prince of Wales Pleated Trousers ($979, 212.206.0872) are from Balenciaga's Pre Fall 2009 collection-as is her Brown Fox Fur Bolero ($7195)-we think there is a great selection of interestingly patterned pants out there that are a bit more budget-friendly. Make sure to check out Alexander Wang's Geometric Sweatpants ($395), which would both look great with an eye-catching statement blouse and a killer pair of heels for a flawless fashion-forward fall ensemble!
Tip # 5: Toughen up your LBD with heavy-metal accents.
When it comes to the red-carpet, Diane Kruger often dons the frothiest feminine frocks, so we were pleasantly surprised to see her in an edgier style for the Mr. Nobody press event at the Venice Film Festival this September. While her Louis Vuitton Cashmere Twisted Brooch Knit Dress ($1270, 866.VUITTON) is dynamic to be sure, what we most love about this look is the rough-and-tough effect of her See by Chloé Belted Lace Up Boots ($495) and Louis Vuitton Ceinture Chaine Belt ($966)-they add the perfect punky contrast to a sexy LBD. Make sure to try a look-a-like pair such as Dollhouse's Cianna Studded Motorcycle Boots ($50) with a long-sleeve mini such as Splendid's Mini Dress ($132) and a chic cincher like Elegantly Waisted's Kit Belt ($86). The boots and belt are sure to take away any potential saccharine sweetness from your favorite noir number and sure to give you that killer Kruger look.
Tip # 6: Cuff your classic slacks to get a new cropped look.
Once the days get shorter and the weather cools, we immediately start searching for sophisticated ways to freshen up our favorite slacks. This fall, we love how a cuffed hem can add a sartorial kick to even a plain black pair: just check out Damages' Rose Byrne to see what we mean. Though much of her ensemble is from the Chloé Resort 2010 collection-the Slim Black Pant ($745, 212.717.8220), Creme Blazer ($1195), and Emerald Pleat Blouse ($915, all available mid-December)-and the entire outfit is superb, we think her rolled trousers are particularly Tip-worthy! Grab a similar look via Martin + Osa's Tailored Slouch Trousers ($110), or go to town on your favorite lean-legged pants (recycling is always a thrifty thrill). Once you do so, all you'll need is a great green blouse like Diane von Furstenberg's Ayla Tunic ($225) and a crisp coat like Silence and Noise's Double Breasted Blazer ($88) and you'll be ready to for any occasion!