Michelle Williams, Alexa Chung, Irina Lazareanu

Michelle Williams, Alexa Chung, Irina Lazareanu
It's not exactly clear what first provoked us (perhaps reading about "Man on a Wire" so many times in the past month or maybe it's some sort of post-Olympic balance beam fascination), but lately we've found ourselves thinking about balance in a big way. Whether it's in regards to our checkbooks, lifestyles, or ability to walk fall's vertiginous heels, we're always striving for that elusive golden mean. While the results can be seesaw-like in practice, we also are committed to applying this idea to our WhoWhatWear.com coverage. Our goal is to offer you a blend of the best new trends and products (splurge), as well as creative ideas for repurposing the contents of your closet (skimp). We think we got the mix just right in today's Tips. Read on to find both inspiration and must-buy items, all of which were inspired by Alexa Chung, Irina Lazareanu, and Michelle Williams.

1. Belt your high-waisted skirts for a paper bag effect.
Not to imply that she reminds us of an inanimate object, but sometimes we think that Alexa Chung must have been a Swiss Army Knife in another life. She's always quite innovative in the personal style department (remember when she swapped out the strap on her handbag a vintage guitar strap?) and wears things in a fresh way. Case in point: the above outfit Chung wore to Luella's S/S 09 show last week. We love the way she belted the designer's high-waisted Dolly Chiffon Skirt ($465) over a vintage tee (gotta love Blutto) for modern take on the eighties trend. It's easy to emulate this shape with the full skirts you already own. Just hike them up a little higher than usual, secure snugly by knoting an inch-wide belt at your natural waist, and voila--paper bag perfection! If this is too much work for you, you can also just pick up a full skirt a size or two bigger than you normally wear to get the full cinching effect. We like the Kimchi & Blue's Nordic Embroidered Full Skirt ($58) from Urban Outfitters for a thrifty option as well as DKNY's Knee Length Skirt ($295) for a dressier option. Society for Rational Dress made a cool, pre-bagged option, check out their Tuck Skirt ($169) for another way to get the look.

2. Warm up to menswear with tweed jackets and baggy trousers.
Irina Lazareanu took a break from walking in the New York shows this season--she's focusing on her album with Sean Lennon--but her personal style stayed in the spotlight. One of our favorite Laz looks of the week was the ode to menswear outfit (it's vintage Lanvin from the forties) she wore to pal Phillip Lim's show. From her two-tone lace-ups to her wide-leg pleat-front pants to her slim tweed jacket, Lazareanu showed us why this trend continues to gain strength. If trying a head-to-toe style is not for you, perhaps you could incorporate at least one boyish piece into your fall wardrobe. Ultra slouchy slacks like Lazareanu is wearing are a major force this season; we're particularly keen on Adam's Pleated Wide Leg Pants ($295), DKNY's High Waisted Pleated Trousers ($225), and McQ's Wool Tuxedo Pants ($343). If you'd rather dip into this trend from the waist up, we suggest checking out Elizabeth and James' Elizabeth IV Blazer ($395) or the Gap's Wool Blazer ($98).

3. Add a dash of cool to navy-and-white stripes by wearing them with black basics.
When we think of traditional blue-and-white striped button downs, we think of two things: preppies and bankers (or preppy bankers--ick!). Thankfully, Michelle Williams gave us a much better mental image to work with. Seen here strolling in New York, Williams gave her uptown stripes a dash of downtown cool when she wore her Candy Stripe Up Down Shirt ($255) from Boy by Band of Outsiders with a slim pair of black jeans, like Levi's Capital E Skimmer Skinny Jean ($158). If you'd like a slightly less pricey version of Williams' main pieces, take a look at Victoria's Secret Classic Shirt ($58) and Cheap Monday's Tight Jeans ($70).


Photo of Michelle Williams, Pacific Coast News. Photo of Alexa Chung and Irina Lazareanu, Getty Images.

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EXPLORE: Events, Alexa Chung, Irina Lazareanu, Michelle Williams, Boy. By Band of Outsiders, Cheap Monday, Lanvin
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