Every year when the leaves turn and the air gets crisp, I instinctually move away from the airy frocks of summer and yearn for something altogether richer. Thankfully my appetite was whetted with the re-emergence of the baroque trend on the F/W 12 runways. From the coats adorned with gilded embroidery at Dolce & Gabbana to the heavily embellished jackets at Balmain, there were a plethora of opulent ensembles that would have moved Botticelli to tears.
My favorite way to capture the lavish spirit of the 17th century is with tapestry textiles. In addition to seeing this baroque fabric on the runway, I've also noticed street style darlings, such as L'Uomo Vogue's Giovanna Battaglia and blogger/model Hanneli Mustaparta, embracing it too. The fashion industry's feelings about tapestry are clear: whether it's embroidered, cross-stitched, or hand-woven, it's high time to weave some richness into your wardrobe!
But even with the endorsement of stylesetters and designers alike, I'm a bit hesitant to swath myself in the thick material. After all, I don't want to look like I'm wearing my Grandma's drapes or appear to be a Renaissance fair attendee! Fortunately for us all, the current iteration of tapestry clothing is anything but frumpy. In fact, these ornately patterned pieces will simply add splendor to a look--never a bad thing! Don't believe me? No worries; just check out my three top ways to pull off the trend without looking like you just got upholstered.
Look 1: Weekend Shopping
With my fashion compass fully turned to fall, I can't get enough of layered looks. But when I'm getting dressed for some weekend shopping, I know that the more complicated my outfit, the more frustrated I'll be in the fitting room. Thankfully I found this double-layered Rag & Bone Taj Coat (price upon request), which offers the best of both worlds. This amazing coat has a cropped, tapestry jacket-like layer underneath a long, black outer shell, so you get the effect of an artfully layered ensemble without having to do any work! Even better: for those of you who would pass on a full-on printed outfit (no judgment, it's a lot of look), the coat has just a tiny bit of floral tapestry peeking out, making it an ideal introduction to the trend.
Style Notes: With any print, I love to let the pattern's colors inspire the palette of the rest of my ensemble. By allowing the floral design to take the lead, I didn't have to overthink the rest of my outfit: a khaki fedora, olive skinny jeans, and a burgundy tote to hold all my purchases.
What I Wore:
Rag and Bone Taj Coat (Price Upon Request, 212.219.2204, available now); Wildfox Fiore Hippie Crew T-shirt ($64); River Island Khaki Molly Jeggings ($57); Nine West Vintage Collection Boots ($129); Marc Jacobs Brighton Khaki Tote ($1595, 212.343.1490) in Bordeaux and Camel; Hat Attack Wool Felt Cowboy ($88) in Camel/Burgundy Ribbon.
Look 2: Creative Interview
The suit has long been the cornerstone of the interview ensemble, so I love finding ways to make this menswear classic feel fresh. While the two-piece staple may initially feel too formal, remember that slightly overdressing communicates regard for your future employer. Plus there are a few easy tricks to update the suit, whether it's mixing and matching separates--for example, I wore a navy blazer with forest green trousers for my interview at Who What Wear--or taking the plunge with head-to-toe print. I'm not advocating the tapestry suit for a corporate interview, but in the creative world this look shows you can think (and dress!) outside the cubicle.
The best creative interview outfits follow the same recipe: one part style-conscious elements (see my leather lapel and burgundy patent loafers) plus one part workwear staples (my button-down shirt and structured doctor bag. It's the sort of no-fail equation that will get you hired.
What I Wore:
Maje Solo Blazer and Risk Pant ($610, $390, 212.775.8330); Gap Perfect Oxford Shirt ($50) in Optic White; Miu Miu Grainy Madras Top Handle Bag ($1350) in Tan; Paul Smith Damson Hayworth Shoes ($685); Sarah Chloe Ella Bangles Clasp Version ($129) in Gold.
Look 3: Fancy Dinner Party
While the tapestry trend can be easily styled for the workplace or the weekend, the opulent textile is truly in its element when it's all dressed up. Whether the fabric's fancy leanings stem from its longstanding popularity among nobility or the sheer indulgence of the plush fibers, there is no denying there's something about tapestry that radiates luxury. My collared dress is no exception; the Arabian Nights-inspired print feels rich in history while the slight metallic sheen makes it evening-appropriate. A stack of jeweled bangles and an embellished clutch enhance the party-ready vibe, while a simple camel bomber jacket keeps the look from feeling overly fussy.
When you're wearing such a standout piece, it's important to let the star of the show (in this case my sleeveless party dress) take center stage. In other words: style the rest of your outfit with complementary but subtle pieces.
What I Wore:
Jil Sander Navy Shimmery Jacquard Dress ($1510); Wren Cropped Camel Coat ($398); Hue Opaque Control Top Tights ($14) in Black; Charles David Seduction Heels ($250, 310.659.7110, available now in stores only) in Black Satin; ASOS Beaded Clutch ($87); Tory Burch Metallic Bow Headband ($65) in Gold; Juicy Couture Half Round Pave Bracelet ($98) in Gold; Oscar de la Renta Crystal Station Bracelet ($355); Lulu Frost Dreamlink Bangle ($190).
I'm still experimenting with my newly cut bob, but at the moment my favorite way to style it is with tousled waves. The key to my undone curls is Sebastian Matte Putty ($28), which gives my cropped hair texture without making it greasy. To take my look from day to night, I added a bold red lip courtesy of Revlon ColorBurst Lipstick ($9) in True Red. I usually keep my eye makeup minimal, so I count on the lip color to create a little drama for an evening event.
SHOP THE TREND
Tapestry garments may look lavish, but lucky for our bank accounts they don't have to cost a lot. Select your piece depending on your comfort level: you can test the waters with a combat boot, take it to the next level with a tuxedo vest, or fully commit in a pretty sleeveless dress.
Love, Zooey Cotton Jacquard Sleeveless Blazer ($242); River Island Cream Tapestry Print Waisted Dress ($65); Dr. Martens Floral 1460 Lace-Up Boots ($130).
P.S.: Do you have a trend you're not quite sure how to wear? Leave a message in the comments, and yours truly might try it out! -Kat Collings