We were thinking about one of Picasso's fabled quotes the other day ("Bad artists copy. Good artists steal."), and realized that it's practically perfect for WWW: Tips¬--with a slight tweak, of course! Our interpretation of this phrase is simple: while it's almost always possible to simply replicate an outfit, it's invariably better to use that ensemble as a starting point for your own creation. On that note, in this month's installment of Tips, we've gathered an amazing group of stylesetters for you to use as fashionable springboards. Whether it's Gwyneth Paltrow's casually chic chinos or Alexa Chung's leather-lite look, you're sure to find loads of ideas in today's story and, hopefully, inspiration too!
Tip #1: Mix a neutral blazer with green chinos.
Judging by all the field jackets we've seen on and off the runway this season, there is no doubt that the military trend is here to stay for summer. That said, we love the way Gwyneth Paltrow recently infused her wardrobe with a different kind of army inspiration by opting for olive green chinos. While attending Stella McCartney's Resort 2011 presentation in New York early last month, Paltrow paired Current/Elliott's The Captain Trousers ($162) with a neutral blazer designed by McCartney. Take a tip from the current Vogue cover girl's style and create your own crisp look by pairing J. Crew's Destroyed Boyfriend Chinos ($50) with a neutral topper like Aqua's Boyfriend Blazer ($88). We also think ASOS's Stripe Linen Boyfriend Blazer ($102) and Old Navy's Cotton Twill One-Button Blazer ($40) are smart alternatives. Extra points if you round out your polished ensemble with a sharp pair of shoes like Jean-Michel Cazabat's Penny Suede Wedge Heels ($395).
Tip #2: Wear a LBD with festive summer shoes.
While it's true that a little black dress never goes out of style, a pair of attention-grabbing shoes is sure to boost its fashion quotient even more. So when we spotted gal-about-globe Leigh Lezark at the AnOther Magazine party at Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, Turkey last month in a timeless one-shoulder dress and an of-the-moment pair of platforms, we couldn't help but admire her chic combination. Not only do we love the belted silhouette of her satin Preen dress (which is from the Pre-Fall 09 collection), we are completely infatuated with the summery feel of the cutout details on her Versace S/S 10 pumps ($1350, 888.721.7219). To achieve a similarly sophisticated nighttime look, we suggest Riller & Fount's Keel One Shoulder Dress ($137) or ASOS's Twisted Slinky One Shoulder Dress ($65) cinched with Rag & Bone's Double Buckle Belt ($140). To finish the look, we like either Elizabeth and James' Maryl Platforms ($257) or Seychelles' Ankle Wrap Heel ($98); both are affordable options that will elevate your go-to LBD to fashionable heights this summer!
Tip #3: Style leather shorts with an easy gray tee.
As we mentioned earlier this season, leather isn't solely reserved for the colder months anymore. In fact, quite the opposite is true; now that the material is considered seasonless, there's a myriad of warm-weather interpretations available! If you need additional inspiration on how to wear this trend, just look to Alexa Chung's laid-back ensemble for a spot-on suggestion. For the YSL Belle D'Opium fragrance launch in New York, Chung kept it casual in a pair of leather shorts from Yves Saint Laurent's S/S 10 collection, paired with a gray Vince Degrade Burnout Wedge Tee ($138) and a cream Neal Sperling cardigan. Further delighting us, Chung added a couple luxe accessories into the mix: a Mulberry Roxanne bag (no longer available, but check out the Oversized Alexa Bag ($1250) for a structured substitute) and Louis Vuitton shoes from the F/W 09 collection, to be exact. For a similarly slouchy gray tee, we recommend trying Sparkle & Fade's Short Sleeve Boxy Tee ($24) or Joe's Jeans' The Riley Tunic ($93). As for the perfect pair of leather shorts, we've got you covered! Be sure to check out Boutique's Leather Shorts ($160) or Elise Overland's Leather Shorts ($736) for a Chung-worthy look!
Tip #4: Tie your fave silky blouse in a knot.
There's nothing like a silky blouse: it's one of the few pieces that can make you feel feminine in summer's sweltering heat, plus it easily transitions from morning meetings to nights out with the girls. But you can make this wardrobe staple even more chic¬--just take a styling tip from Carine Roitfeld and try it knotted instead of buttoned up. As she gracefully demonstrated with a Hermes blouse at a Guiseppe Zanotti cocktail party last month, this otherwise prim top can look downright sexy when worn this way, especially when paired with a neutral pencil skirt and knee-high lace-up boots (Gianvito Rossi shoes, in Roitfeld's case). If you're ready to invest in a couple of standout pieces to emulate Roitfeld's look, don't miss Blumarine's Python-Print Fringed Silk Blouse ($925) and Burberry's High Waisted Pencil Skirt ($650) in Wheat. For pocket-friendly alternatives, we suggest Tory Burch's Alison Blouse ($265) and Ann Taylor's Cotton Sateen Pencil Skirt ($78), which will keep you looking your best without breaking the bank.
Tip #5: Start wearing fall's metallic dresses now.
While summer trends are still in full bloom, we see no harm in anticipating fall's new fashions a little early to satiate our sartorial cravings. As we mentioned in Look Forward To Fall Trends, metallic dresses are an autumnal must-have. Just look at how stunner Lara Stone executes the trend if you need some outfit ideas. The model picked a custom-made coppered beaded Calvin Klein Collection dress for a party celebrating Berlin Fashion Week earlier this month, which she accessorized with a demure Gold Box Clutch ($595, 212.292.9000) and black Platform Heels with Ankle Straps ($895, 212.292.9000) from the label's Resort 11 collection. Ready to create your own interpretation of Stone's radiantly elegant outfit? ABS' Asymmetrical Draped Metallic Knit Dress ($230) is a chic gunmetal option, or check out Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent's Czar Gold Lam√© Party Dress ($298) for a strapless style. If you'd like a more body-conscious iteration of the metallic look, don't miss MinkPink's One Sleeve Metallic Print Dress ($90) or Erin Wasson x RVCA's Soul Clappin Mini Dress ($110) in Metallic Gold. Pair any of these glitzy picks with Charles David's Andria Mary Janes ($138) to complete a glamorous ensemble that's perfect for any night out!
Tip #6: Pair silky pants with a crochet top.
There's nothing we love more than seeing an unexpected cocktail party ensemble, so it's no wonder why we adore the boho chic look Margherita Missoni wore to a Missoni party during the menswear shows in Milan in June. Her combination of billowy, beautiful slacks¬--specifically, Missoni Silk Trousers from the S/S 09 collection¬--with a cropped crochet top from Missoni's S/S 10 line is youthful, fresh, and totally fun. (MM's accessories are also worth noting; we love her Opening Ceremony necklaces and Alaia handbag.) To follow in Missoni's fashionable footsteps, start with an earthy shirt, like Madison Marcus' Link Crochet Top ($282) or Free People's Carefree Crochet Tank ($88) for a less constricting option. Then simply dress your look up with some fluid trousers; we like Topshop's Premium Silk Hareems ($110) for a tapered silhouette or Dolce Vita's Charlie Pants ($198) for more faithful interpretation of Missoni's look. ¬--Natalie Yost and Nicole Shoohed
Photos of Leigh Lezark and Margherita Missoni, courtesy of Getty; Photo of Gwyneth Paltrow, courtesy of Splash