Now that the weather is cooperating and stores are fully stocked with fabulous fall pieces, it's time to focus on incorporating some of the season's top trends into your wardrobe. Right now we're primarily focused on experimenting with texture┬--think: woolly knits, metallic sequins mixed with matte pieces, and unexpected lace accents┬--but the inspirational options really abound. Whether it's an outrageously gorgeous leopard-print look, courtesy of Chloe Sevigny, or a festive cocktail-outfit idea, per Maria Sharapova, we've got some amazing ensemble examples that are sure to spark some ideas, so be sure to take note of them all!
Tip #1: Add a cozy cardi to a vintage-inspired dress.
Per our Look Forward to Fall story, this season is all about chic, chunky knits, so take a tip from Alexa Chung and pair an of-the-moment nubby cardi with your favorite vintage-style dress. The British beauty gave us a great example of this tip recently when she was spotted out and about in London wearing a thick white A.P.C. sweater (it's from a few seasons ago) thrown over a yellow Rachel Antonoff Hitchcock Dress ($305, 212.826.8900). We think she looks adorable and cozy, which makes her ensemble one worth emulating. To follow in Chung's stylish footsteps, simply break out your favorite vintage or vintage-style frock and add a lovely layer over it. We like Topshop's Knitted Aran Cardigan ($100) or ASOS' Arran Long Line Cardigan ($64); either one will keep you feeling warm and looking cute all winter long.
Tip #2: Try out a pair of black lace heels.
Of all the fabrics used in the F/W 10 collections, black lace was definitely one of the most popular. We saw loads of black lace blouses, dresses, and skirts, but perhaps the easiest way to wear this must-have material is on your feet, as model Julie Ordon demonstrated at the reopening of Chanel's Soho boutique earlier this month. The Swiss stunner used a pair of black lace Christian Louboutin boots (which are from a previous season and sadly sold out) to add texture and interest to her white bow-tie blouse and slim black pants┬--an excellent idea, indeed! If you'd like to try your own interpretation of this trend, check out Nine West's Masqurede Pumps ($69) for a classic peep-toe style or House of Harlow 1960's Lilian Lace Pumps ($198) if you prefer a hidden-platform heel. If you're more of an ankle boot sort of girl, don't miss Candela's Lace Heel Pumps ($247); they have a sturdy geometric wedge heel and a delicate lace upper, which adds up to one thoroughly modern shoe!
Tip #3: Pick animal-print pieces for your next GNO.
While no one will mock you for wearing a LBD on a GNO, it's kind of an expected look. Rather than going for your classic choice, why not vamp it up with a killer cat print instead? If you're not sure about how to pull it off, we suggest taking a page from Chloe Sevigny's noteworthy stylebook. Last month, the fashion front-runner attended HBO's post-Emmy party wearing a Lanvin leopard-print dress from the Pre-Fall 10 collection: a marvelous choice if we do say so! We love the curve-hugging silhouette and the long sleeves make it an ideal choice for fall's colder moments. If you're ready to try Sevigny's animal-print style, pick up Victoria's Secret's Three-Quarter Sleeve Minidress ($78) or ABS' Animal Print Puff Shoulder Dress ($245), and you will be the object of your friends' envy. If a feline-spotted dress is not your cup of tea, Rebecca Minkoff's Haircalf Leopard Fling Bag ($350) is another great way to incorporate the print into your GNO wardrobe rotation.
Tip #4: Mix sequins with lustrous or velvet pieces.
There's little we adore more than seeing an outfit that combines two complimentary textures to create one perfectly harmonious fall ensemble. Case in point: Maria Sharapova's masterful mix of shimmering sequins and lustrous satin at a party for Evian's new Baby On The Inside ad campaign. The Russian tennis pro combined a pair of sequin 3.1 Phillip Lim shorts (from the S/S 10 collection) with DVF's Tux Lourdes Jacket ($465) in black and navy sateen and Cole Haan's Air Swan Sandals ($198) in dark aubergine velvet. To execute your own take on Sharapova's playfully romantic ensemble, start with something sparkly like Topshop's Sequin Bloomer Shorts ($80), Cynthia Rowley's Sequin Shorts ($345) in Moss, or J. Crew's Metallic Sequined Bell Skirt ($275). Then, pair any of those pieces with Topshop's Satin Shawl Tux Blazer ($135), Juicy Couture's Schoolgirl Velvet Blazer ($228) or Rutzou's Biker Jacket in Velvet ($396) and you'll have a fashionably textured look for your next party!
Tip #5: Pair ladylike shoes with a trendy outfit.
We always love a statement shoe, but sometimes the best footwear choice is a little more demure, as the fabulous Florence Welch demonstrated at the V Festival in late August. The Florence and the Machine frontwoman wore an eye-catching ensemble┬--high-waisted neutral shorts and a mustard short-sleeve blouse (both Topshop) with Mulberry's Lily With Leopard Bag ($1595) in Natural Giant Leopard┬--that was toned down by a prim pair of vintage shoes. The next time you are looking for some subtle flats with a feminine vibe, we suggest checking out Vinnie's Canvas T-Bar Shoes ($50), Max Studio's Jiangsu Bow Ballet Flats ($125), or Salvatore Ferragamo's Varina Metallic Ballet Flats ($440), as each style will give any outfit a touch of polish!
Tip #6: Style your maxi with a knotted shirt.
On the off chance you're not quite sold on maxi skirts this season, simply look at Gillian Zinser's fresh styling choice for inspiration. Snapped at a party celebrating Louis Vuitton's new Santa Monica location last month, the 90210 starlet paired two unlikely pieces from said brand: a maxi skirt from the Cruise 08 collection and the Short Cotton Check Shirt ($704, 1.888.VUITTON). By knotting the otherwise casual top and wearing it with the more formal skirt, she looks incredibly chic and totally appropriate for her age. Want to assemble a similar look? First you need the perfect shirt, like Old Navy's Patterned Button-Down Collar Shirt ($20) or American Colors' Duofold Plaid Button-Down Flannel Shirt ($204): both excellent options. Knot it at the waist and style it with a black floor-length skirt┬--try Warehouse's Maxi Seemed Skirt ($37) or L'Agence Crepe Maxi Skirt ($400)┬--and you'll have an equally stylish outfit of your own!┬--Jessica Baker
Photos of Alexa Chung and Chloe Sevigny, courtesy of INF; Photos of Julie Ordon, Maria Sharapova, and Florence Welch, courtesy of Getty