On the eve of Thanksgiving, you're probably thinking about turkey and pumpkin pies, so in the spirit of the holiday, we came up with one more stylish side dish to pique your interest-today's Trend Report: Pilgrim Dressing! As we're sure you remember from history lessons in grade school, the 17th-century English settlers of Plymouth Colony were an austere bunch-think: somber colors, modest dresses with long sleeves, and ground-grazing hemlines-but the fashion version of this look is decidedly more alluring. We've spotted interesting iterations of Mayflower-inspired ensembles on chic ladies like Alexa Chung and Delfina Delettrez, and think these subversively solemn styles are perfect for autumn. Even better, they're easy to wear and can be adapted to any budget or body type, so let us all give thanks!
Our first hint that Pilgrim-influenced outfits might be the next big thing happened the moment we laid eyes on Albert Elbaz's F/W 11 collection for Lanvin. First and foremost, the designer showed dark capes and minimalist outerwear galore, like the Wool Felt Coat with Metal Lapel Detail ($3505), which had a very old world look. Elbaz paired these pieces with wide-brimmed chapeaux, like the Cartwheel Hat ($1720), and masculine Patent-Leather Loafers ($805), for a look that's a modern interpretation of ye olde timey New England chic. We also noted a more feminine take on puritanical sensibilities at Chloe, specifically look 27, which featured a black long-sleeved Ruched Organza Midi Dress ($3000) accented with a white pseudo-ruff.
Off the runways, the Pilgrim look is decidedly more alluring, as evidenced by the four stylesetters shown above. One way to reference the trend is to simply keep your color palette stark and your hemlines long, as French actress Melanie Thierry and jewelry designer Delfina Delettrez demonstrate. The delicately blonde Theirry was photographed last month at the Miu Miu show wearing a black and white ensemble that was strictly chic-perfect for today's topic. By pairing Miu Miu's simple white Silk Blouse ($865, select Miu Miu boutiques) with the below-the-knee black Cady Skirt ($580, select Miu Miu boutiques), she looked modest and sharp, a fact only furthered by her very modern shoes, specifically Miu Miu's Glitter and Suede Booties ($890, select Miu Miu boutiques). Delfina Delettrez also showed off a black and white look, albeit a more ornate one, for the opening of Louis Vuitton's "The Art Of Fashion" exhibition during Milan Fashion Week. The designer paired a vintage floor-length black Fendi skirt with a puffed sleeve Louis Vuitton Crepon Tec Blouse ($1550, 866.VUITTON) for the occasion. As for her accessories, Delettrez selected a Louis Vuitton clutch and also wore her own snake cross necklace-made in gold, silver, pearls, sapphires, and enamel-from her Original Sin collection. The result is certainly more elaborate than a "true" Puritan look, but one that's also much more stylish and youthful!
In addition to pairing a refined white blouse with a knee-covering black skirt, you can also address the Pilgrim trend by simply wearing a white collar-just look to Alexa Chung and Emily Browning for wardrobe guidance! Last month Chung was spotted in a decidedly kittenish spin on this look at a party celebrating the new Pucci boutique in Manhattan's Saks Fifth Avenue store. For this event, she picked a runway look from Peter Dundas' F/W 11 collection-specifically the peerless Short Dress ($3890)-with a boned waist, black lace sleeves, and a white eyelet Peter Pan collar. Though unquestionably sexy, there's a touch of primness to this incredibly chic frock that we think embodies the spirit of Pilgrim dressing perfectly. Of course dresses and skirts aren't the only way to go; the Louis Vuitton playsuit that Emily Browning selected for an amfAR gala in Paris earlier this year is also in keeping with the New England settlers' vibe. The long-sleeved Double Shetland Knit Jumpsuit ($1400, 866.VUITTON) with a contrasting Varnished Leather Collar ($490, 866.VUITTON) is almost understated on its own, but the addition of black thigh-high stockings and peep-toe pumps turned it into a very seductive look.
If you're ready to tap into your inner Pilgrim-clothing-wise, that is-we've gathered a veritable cornucopia of options to help you along the way. First things first: a modest white blouse! We like the silky, slightly relaxed look of Joseph's Solferino Blouse ($335), the puffed sleeves of Giulietta's Crepe Blouse ($625), and the dramatic Ruffle-Collar Blouse ($595) by Dolce & Gabbana. For a more affordable iteration with a hint of naughtiness, try Topshop's Knitted Fluffy Collar Tie Top ($88). Style any of these options with AllSaints' Toledo Maxi Skirt ($90) or Diane von Furstenberg's Isela Midi Skirt ($225) and you'll be well on your way to a majorly Mayflower look. Craving a cape or stern coat? Theory's Miliena Cape ($635) is an excellent choice, and there's an austerity to Topshop's Premium Cashmere Maxi Coat ($370) that even William Bradford (weirdest name drop ever!) would appreciate.
As for dresses and hats, do check out DKNY's Black Dress with Round Collar ($450); it reminds us of Emily Browning's playsuit a bit. If you have a bit to invest, we also love Jason Wu's Black Belted Jersey Dress ($1070) and Giulietta's Contrast-Collar Wool-Blend Dress ($1030). Dying for a statement-making hat instead? Our first pick is Dsquared2's Wide Brim Hat ($370)-it has a bigger crown-but you also might like New York & Company's Felt Floppy Hat ($30), which is a less dramatic iteration. It's sizeable, but not quite so stern, making it perhaps the most wearable way to get the Pilgrim spirit!
Photos of Delfina Delettrez, Emily Browning, and Melanie Theirry, courtesy of Getty; Photo of Alexa Chung, courtesy of Billy Farrell Agency; Lanvin runway image, courtesy of Lanvin; Chloe runway image, courtesy of Chloe.