As for origins of this restrained trend, look no further than Stefano Pilati's austere F/W 10 collection for Yves Saint Laurent. Though in post-show interviews Stefano rejected the idea that his collection had a religious bend, it's hard to ignore the references. The designer opted for a primarily black-and-white palette and stuck to modest cuts, including lots of blouses with clerical collars and rigorously tailored, high-waisted skirts. In the above runway look, Pilati combined a white duchesse satin Peasant Blouse ($1100, 212.980.2970) with a black Wool Skirt ($875, 212.980.2970) and a Seventies Silhouette Pendant ($1430,212.980.2970) in old gold for a strict, crisp ensemble. Additionally, we saw pieces like the Detailed Collar Blouse ($517) were paired with High Waisted Full Leg Pants ($862) and sent out on the runway with capes, fringed heels like the Palais Mohawk Pumps ($935), and long necklaces, like the Silhouette Pendant Necklace ($1187). Think of the results as fashion's take on The Flying Nun--even if Pilati says otherwise!
Off the runways, we've noticed that many influential fashion idols are dressing themselves in similarly elegant and retrained ensembles. In the magazine world, both ELLE's iconic Style Director Kate Lanphear and Vogue's uber-chic Senior Market Editor Meredith Melling Burke have embraced the Sister Act trend. Lanphear was photographed last month at Haider Ackerman's S/S 11 presentation in New York wearing a refined combination of tailored black pieces--a Jil Sander jacket and an Ann Demeulemeester vest--with a crisp Meadham Kirchhoff shirt, slim J Brand 912 Low-Rise Pencil Leg Jeans ($174) in Shadow, Alexander Wang boots, and a Pamela Love Crystal Cross Necklace ($650) in clear resin. Melling Burke also opted for a pseudo-Benedictine look last month when she wore a black sweater over a white button-up blouse to an event at the Standard Hotel in New York. MMB's styling choices--specifically the addition of black leather skinny pants, a clean-cut gray blazer, and slouchy boots--are definitely worth noting, as they ensure her outfit looks modern and cool.
In addition to these important editors, we've noticed the Sister Act look is also being adapted by stylephiles like Dree Hemingway and Pixie Geldof. The invariably intriguing Hemingway turned up at The Cinema Society's after-party for The Next Three Days in early November wearing her own take on this trend. The model selected a 3.1 Phillip Lim Asymmetrical Draped T-Shirt Dress ($350) as the base of her look, then layered a black Marc Jacobs men's sweater over it, and cinched the two with a Givenchy belt. She finished said look with a trinity of high/low accessories, including: Duane Reade tights, Maison Martin Margiela boots, and a Tom Binns cross necklace. Of course, Hemingway isn't the only one opting for this type of necklace; we spotted Pixie Geldof wearing a similar style--albeit vintage--at a party for the James Small collection in London earlier this fall. Geldof's all-black outfit has a grungier vibe than the looks on the YSL runway, but we think it's still in keeping with the overall trend.
Ready to get into the spirit of the Sister Act trend and create some clean and chic ensembles of your own? We've got the answers to your prayers--at least when it comes to products! First, let's address the necessary items needed to achieve Lanphear and Melling Burke's looks. The former selected a sleek black blazer, so be sure to pick up Allsaints' Adersi Jacket ($110) and pair it with a classic button-up, like America Apparel's Italian Long Sleeve Button Up Shirt ($75) or Character Hero's Pleated Back Button-Down Tunic ($54). Style these items with your favorite black skinny jeans and a pair of pointy ankle boots, like Jeffrey Campbell's Frankie Lizard Print Booties ($165), for that Lanphear look! Even better: you can also use either blouse when building a MMB-inspired outfit! Just swap out the jeans for Halston Heritage's Faux Leather Leggings ($175) and add a slouchy pair of boots, like ASOS' Kelly Tie Leg Knee Boots ($130), and a black crewneck sweater; Vince's Double Layered Wool Blend Sweater ($220) is one good option.
Of course, if you want to recreate Dree Hemingway and Pixie Geldof's outfits, we've got you covered there too. For the former, we suggest starting with Hemingway's exact 3.1 Phillip Lim pick, or you also might like BCBGMaxAzria's Draped Dress ($132) too. Then simply add your favorite black oversized crewneck--try T by Alexander Wang's Knitted Cotton Sweater ($180)--and some ankle boots, like Sam Edelman's Farrell Suede Booties ($175) or Ash's Parody Zip Booties ($193). Extra points for accessorizing with a cross necklace; we like Avindy Design's Gold Hammered Cross Necklace ($100) and Roberto Coin's Tiny Treasure Cross Necklace ($300). If you'd rather try Pixie Geldof's tough-girl take on the trend, we suggest starting with a black body-con dress, like Factory by Erik Hart's Double Layer Tank Dress ($88), and a texturally interesting moto jacket, such as Topshop's Faux Sheepskin Biker Jacket ($160). Then simply pile on the jewelry with Aldo's Anny Necklace ($18), Yochi's Pewter Large Cross Necklace ($68), and Seventh Door's Gold Cross Connector Ring ($58) for that final Sister Act touch!
Photos of Kate Lanphear and Pixie Geldof, courtesy of Getty; runway image courtesy of Yves Saint Laurent