Tip #1: Layer tiny-print pieces over skinny jeans for a boho-chic look.
Coco Young is seriously cool. Not only did she get her start as an artist's model serving as Ryan McGinley's muse and sitting for highly regarded photographers including Dana Lauren Goldstein and Richard Kern, but the twenty-year-old model recently forayed onto the runway scene, thanks to a direct call from the casting team responsible for Marc Jacobs' F/W 10 show. As if that isn't enough, the unique beauty is also a nascent artiste herself, recording her hipster adventures by way of a provocative photo blog. As such a cultured individual, we aren't surprised that Young has an expert eye for artful layers, which she so deftly demonstrated at the presentation of Haider Ackerman's S/S 11 collection in New York earlier this month. We love how she mixed and matched patterns using a horse-bedecked button-down and Fair Isle-esque sweater, both vintage, and then further piled on the intrigue with Acne's leather-paneled jeans, Isabel Marant Boots ($565, 212.219.2284), and a slick moto jacket. She aptly finished her peripatetic-chic ensemble with a must-have accessory for any world-traveler: Clair Vivier's Messenger Bag ($345) in black. To get your own layered look--ideal for chilly climes and off-duty cool--start with Zara's Horse Print Blouse ($40) which is nearly identical to Young's own vintage version. Next, pick up one of the season's coveted printed knits by selecting either Rag & Bone's Grayling Fair Isle Sweater ($359) or Forever 21's Wintery Snowflake Open Cardigan ($28) for a heavier sweater-coat version. Finally, slip into Victoria's Secret's Soft Washed Leather Motorcycle Jacket ($198) and the next runway call might be for you!
Tip #2: Contrast leather shorts with a chunky sweater.
As the temperature drops, cozy knits are essential for bridging the gap between comfortable and chic dressing, and, just like clockwork, each fall we start craving a new hibernation-worthy style. This season, the must-have options are undoubtedly uber-chunky; yet, while we love our cashmere cardis and wool layers, avoiding the "marshmallow look" takes a certain amount of sartorial savvy. Luckily, we can look to darling dresser Alexa Chung who showed us how to master the world of knitwear when she wore a Margaret Howell sweater and 3.1 Phillip Lim leather shorts from F/W 09 to attend a screening of Submarine at the British Film Institute earlier this fall. We like how she contrasted the soft bulkiness of the sweater with sleek, edgy bottoms and further dressed up the look with on-trend lace-up Prada Shoes ($930) in Black Spazzolato. To get Chung's type of cold-weather chic, start with a pair of leather shorts; we like Halston Heritage's Leather Hot Pants ($345) or Blank Denim's Leather Shorts ($94) in Riptide for a more wallet-friendly version. Then reach for a cozy cable knit like J. Crew's Cambridge Cable Crewneck Sweater ($74) or Forever 21's Extraordinary Knitted Sweater ($22.80), which boasts some festive holiday beading. Finally, pull on your opaque tights and some shiny lace-ups--either the Caameo ($110) or Caylaa ($110) from Steve Madden will do the trick--and your head-to-toe look will be complete!
Tip #3: Temper sparkly sequins with neutral accents.
When we saw Isabel Marant's F/W 10 show, we swooned for the designer's modern fifties femme looks--especially her amazing sequin leggings, which truly outshined the competition! Apparently, these glittering bottoms caught the eye of genetically-blessed Jessica Hart as well, who made these runway stunners work for real-life when she paired them with The Reformation's The Drop Top ($95) and Isabel Marant's Poppy Suede Pumps ($620) to attend Esquire's Sexiest Woman Alive soiree. While clearly everything Marant touches turns to sartorial gold, getting our muse's featured look doesn't have to cost a fortune. Pick up either Siwy's Hannah Sequin Slim Crop Pants ($284) or Alice + Olivia's Sequin Mesh Leggings ($297) and pair them with a neutral t-shirt--black, cream, or olive will do--that you already have in your closet. Slide into some staple pumps like Nine West's Melania Pumps ($79), or take this daring-dressing opportunity to invest in a wardrobe essential like Jimmy Choo's Lockett Pumps ($495) and you'll be perfectly attired for your next Girls' Night Out.
Tip #4: Add interest to an all-black look by mixing materials.
An all-black ensemble is always a foolproof option, but sometimes spicing it up can be a challenge. Luckily, British TV and radio presenter Fearne Cotton displayed a flawless tout-noir mélange to attend the Q Awards in London late last month. The chameleon-like Cotton (whose yen for mixing it up we totally admire) paired a semi-sheer Never Fully Dressed Black Barbie Shirt ($60) with South's Cigarette Trousers ($43) and vintage lace Miu Miu shoes to attend this annual UK-based music event. Her textural mix keeps the look fresh, while her infusion of directional touches like a top-button blouse and flashes of black lace render it decidedly au courant. To emulate the British beauty's edgy style, we suggest pairing Cheap Monday's Sheer Button-Down Shirt ($75) with Helmut Lang's Skinny Pants ($360), a great pair of trousers you'll have in your closet forever. Finally, to satisfy your cravings for a cutting-edge dose of black lace, we suggest picking up either Charles by Charles David's Night Light Lace and Satin Booties ($125) or House of Harlow 1960's Leslie Platform Booties ($275).
Tip #5: Combine a mid-calf skirt and a semi-sheer shirt.
Just in case you weren't convinced that a mid-calf skirt is the length du jour, we have yet another A+ example of how to wear this column-like bottom! The talented tastemaker Margherita Missoni looked absolutely lovely in a Missoni Spacedye Long Sleeve Crew Top from their F/W 10 collection and slim navy skirt to attend a cocktail reception of the International Herald Tribune Heritage Luxury Conference in London earlier this month. If you're looking to try this fashion-forward combination for yourself, we'd recommended opting for a striped t-shirt like Haute Hippie's Debbie Harry Stripe Tee ($145), or any fitted top you like, with Forever 21's Knit Maxi Skirt ($24). One of the things we love best about Missoni's ensemble is how she highlighted her adorable figure with an oversized belt, so we'd grab either the Double Rose Leather Belt ($60) or the Metal Bow Elastic Belt ($40) both from Topshop for a kitschy little cincher that completes the look.
Tip #6: Pair a shearling jacket with a sexy party frock.
One of our favorite industry-insiders, former GOTM Caroline Sieber, turned up at private preview of Moncler Grenoble's F/W 10 Collection in London earlier this month wearing an ensemble just as covetable as her It-girl status. The leggy Londoner mixed three drool-worthy separates: Rag & Bone's Shearling Bomber Jacket ($1875) and Mark Fast's Midnight Blue Crop Top and Skirt ($4253)--look 23 from the F/W collection-- with Valentino's Garavani Shoes ($775) for a fresh cocktail look that strikes just the right note between intentionally sexy and effortlessly chic. We encourage you to create a similarly intriguing mix for your next cocktail affair and while Mark Fast has loads of lovely options--like his Knitted Dress with Slip ($2509)--Rachel Gilbert's Trixy Cutout Crepe Dress ($530) can be used to approximate his panache. Finding an of-the-moment shearling jacket is also essential to take you through this fashion season; and we like the Shearling Suede Jacket ($47) or the Distressed Suedette Jacket ($50), both easily snagged at Forever 21.--Liza Kaplan