Mary Kate Olsen, Pixie Geldof, Claudia Schiffer
There are lots of conversation topics we debate around the WhoWhatWear.com office-which version of Natalia Vodianova's bob is truly superior, the merits of Wolford versus Falke tights, the best way to remove Syrah stains-but one of the longest ongoing discussions is about the idea of risk. Obviously, we're not talking about the board game (though it's a good one), but rather the courage to dare to wear something outside of one's norm or comfort zone, even if the look fails. To borrow from T.S. Eliot, one our favorites, only those who risk going too far will find out how far they can go, so we always suggest that our readers take fashion chances whenever they can. On that note, today's story focuses on three women who are known for their daring style, Mary Kate Olsen, Pixie Geldof, and the incomparable Claudia Schiffer. Each woman successfully takes fashion risks (big or small) in their own, personal way, as shown in this Tips! Read on for suggestions about how you can add a little of their great gambling spirit to your own outfits.
1. Invest in a fashion-forward statement coat.
Now that the weather's finally taking a brisk turn, it's critical to figure out your fall and winter outerwear situation sooner rather than later. Instead of just picking up a practical (but boring) black coat, we suggest investing in a fashion-forward statement piece. After all, when you spend time putting together a stylish outfit, why would you want to cover it up with something that looks blah? Instead, take a tip from Mary Kate Olsen, seen above arriving at the Milan airport in a gorgeous, vintage, teddy-bear brown coat. The warm neutral color shows off her highly covetable Proenza Schouler bag, not to mention the beautiful shoulder details and simple arm trim elevates the piece from serviceable to spectacular. If you'd like a little directional guidance, check out a few of our current favorites, like Loeffler Randall's Cascading Coat ($695), the swing shape and icy blue color reminds us of Grace Kelly, or Helmut Lang's Reversible Coat ($795), a graphic, black and white number that will appeal to sophisticates of any age. Another option is to inject your winter wardrobe with some zesty color via Old Navy's Pique Coats ($89.50)-choose from Siberian Blue, Green Envy, or Beet Sugar. We also like the tomato red Ringspun Kimono Coat ($170), the notice-me hue and Japanese-inspired design means you'll never get confused at the coat check again. Prints are another great choice: you can dip into the season's plaid looks with Urban Outfitters' Ombre Coat ($98) in red and black wool or go for the menswear-inspired style of Ben Sherman's Check Frock Coat ($270).
2. Try a faux fur gilet this fall.
One of the byproducts of watching The Rachel Zoe Project with such diligence is that we now can't stop seeing the stylist's signature pieces everywhere we look. One of the glamorous items Zoe always favors is the gilet: otherwise known as a boxy, furry, waist-to-hip length vest. We spotted Pixie Geldof wearing this boho standard at a Fendi party at the Le Millionaire club in Paris and were inspired by her take on the trend. Instead throwing it over bell-bottoms, Geldof wore it in an unexpected and modern way with hot pants, tights, and a plaid scarf. We found some fabulous faux fur versions of Geldof's gilet, including the very Pixiesque Romany Vest ($188) and Yetti Vest ($118), both by Free People. Kate Moss also loves this folksy favorite and created an amazing option for her Topshop collection. Glossy Mossy's feathery, glam Stripe Fur Gilet ($100) is just the sort of easy piece you can throw on over jeans and a tee to elevate your outfit. We also like the chubby gray Faux Fur Vest ($168) from Express and the luxe look of Seaton's Joplin Faux Fur Vest ($235).
3. Animal print accents enliven menswear-inspired pieces.
The combination of a bow-tie blouse and menswear-inspired skinny skirt could come off as trop librarian, but the uber stylish Claudia Schiffer pulled this look out of a potentially prim pothole with her animal print belt. Seen here en route to a party at Harry's Bar in London for pal Jemima Khan, Schiffer saved her outfit from looking mild with a touch of the wild, specifically, her favorite YSL Leopard Print Belt. Though the model's beloved accessory is from a few seasons ago, and therefore no longer in stock, we found lots of available leopard accents for you. Eugenia Kim's Leopard Pony Belt ($290) is a sleek way to incorporate a bit of beast into your look. We also like the Skinny Serengeti Patent Belt ($48) from J. Crew and wouldn't turn down a Sonia by Sonia Rykiel Leopard Print Belt ($245), for sure. You don't have to limit yourself to just belts, of course, why not try Tasha's Animal Patent Headband ($38) in Brown Leopard? If that doesn't catch your fancy, we also suggest Jenni Kayne's Wide Scarf ($235) or Topshop's Woven Leopard Scarf ($32) for a hint of savage chic.