Creating the perfect ensemble is a little like putting together newly purchased Ikea furniture. Once you have all the necessary tools handy (a closet filled to the brim with season essentials), having a detailed set of instructions to refer to (or a series of excellent styling tips) makes achieving the desired result a simple task. Of course, at Who What Wear we take pride in helping you conquer both steps, so to aid you in assembling noteworthy outfits galore, we've rounded up six inspirational looks and the must-buy items you need to put them together. Bearing that in mind, be sure to take plenty of notes when reading today's installment of WWW: Styling Tips--we promise the rest will be a piece of cake!
Tip # 1: Go for slim pants in chic metallic hues.
While metallic hues are often associated with fancy tops and party dresses, it's equally stunning and delightful on slim pants. For example, Ben Grimes selected a shimmering pair of gray Nicole Farhi pants for her appearance at a Kate Moss for Longchamp party in London late last year. To further elevate her luxe and intriguing attire, the British model teamed her shiny trousers with a Nicole Farhi silky crème blouse and pulled the whole look together with a blazer and semi-sheer pumps, both by Dolce & Gabbana. We absolutely love this chic look for a fashion party or evening work event and suggest picking up Piazza Sempione's Audrey Metallic Herringbone Capri Pants ($214) or Haider Ackermann's Cropped Trousers ($530) right away! Whichever style you choose, follow Grimes' lead and pair them with an elegant top, like Pins and Needles' Scalloped Placket Chiffon Blouse ($59).
Tip # 2: Style winter whites with black accents.
Take one part winter whites and combine with equal amounts of simple black accents, and you have a guaranteed recipe for success, as Zoe Kravitz so aptly showed us at the launch of the Dita Von Teese limited edition My Private Cointreau Coffret Set in London late last year. The talented young actress stepped out dressed to the nines in a studded Balmain blazer over a nude dress and black tights. The stark white jacket gives her look a crisp finish, while a few strong black accents--a thick knit scarf, plus Alexander Wang's Amber Spiral Notebook Clutch ($625) and loafers from the designer's S/S 10 collection--further accentuate her outfit's cool-girl vibe. Find yourself inspired by Kravitz's black and white mix? Simply pick up a structured white blazer (Bop Basics' The Finance Blazer ($198) and Elizabeth and James' Carnaby Wool Blazer ($425) are two of our favorites) and Commando's Mini Slip Dress ($72). Once you've pulled those pieces together, add a few black accessories, like KG by Kurt Geiger's Edie High Heel Loafers ($241) and Jalda's Croc-Embossed Clutch Wallet ($230), and you'll be red-carpet ready in no time.
Tip # 3: Buy a silky scarf blouse this season.
When we came across Ginnifer Goodwin's look at Derek Lam's lunch benefiting the MOCA at the Tod's boutique in Beverly Hills two months ago, it was love at first sight. The darling actress showed up in the designer's Bone and Black Silk Crepe De Chine Marquise Blouse ($850), reminding us why a neck-tie blouse is a must-have piece this season. She paired the printed top with Tod's Jersey Jacket ($1100, 800.457.8637) and a few neutral accents--specifically, Tod's Pointy Ankle Boots ($665, 800.457.8637) and D-Bag ($1445, 800.457.8637)--proving it's the perfect way to dress up casual daytime pieces. While Goodwin's exact top is available and investment-worthy to say the least, we found a few alternatives you'll definitely want to check out too. Gap's Flora Tie-Neck Blouse ($55) is a pretty pick for spring, or you can go for DKNY's Nightfall Long Sleeve Scarf Blouse ($356), which is a lovely choice for the cold weather.
Tip #4: Pair '70s-style pieces with a classic wool coat.
Fashion editors are always in the know about the season's top trends, so of course we suggest looking to them for smart dressing ideas. Case in point: the amazing outfit we spotted on Vogue's Meredith Melling Burke last week. The Senior Market Editor was snapped at the Lanvin Pre-Fall 11 show in New York demonstrating excellent transitional wear. While her bright yellow Barneys sweater and Balenciaga wide-leg trousers feel fresh for spring and are in perfect keeping with the season's '70s-inspired trends, MMB's Burberry Zip Waist Wool Felt Pea Coat ($2495, 800.284.8480) keeps her look on point for winter. To try Melling Burke's polished ensemble for yourself, we suggest picking up J. Crew's Saturday Sweater ($70) in Marled Pulp Alabaster and ASOS White's Seamed High Waist Wide Leg Pants ($112); both are excellent picks that will take you straight into spring. Just be sure to layer ASOS White's Elbow Patch Coat ($207) over these key pieces to get a similarly cozy look.
Tip # 5: Try an off-the-shoulder frock now.
Of course, this story wouldn't be complete without an exceptional outfit from Alexa Chung! The Brit It-girl repeatedly captivates us her with her flawless sartorial endeavors, and today's ensemble is no exception. Chung looked pitch perfect in a Charles Anastase dress from the S/S 11 collection and YSL heels at a Donatella Versace-hosted dinner in London two months ago. We love how the off-the-shoulder cut gives her girly frock a sultry spirit and the way Chung made the runway look her own by adding a few personal touches, like her layered pendant necklaces, black tights, and brown Mulberry Roxy shoulder bag. An off-the-shoulder frock is wonderfully feminine and versatile, as it can be worn dressed up or down, so try Phoebe Couture by Jay Unger's Chiffon Off-The-Shoulder Dress ($370), Shakuhachi's Peasant Dress ($249), or Black Halo's Off Shoulder Jackie Mini Dress ($345) for a whimsical and Chung-inspired look.
Tip #6: Add red heels + a long gilet to an LBD.
Daring dressers will agree that a vibrant hue plus an intriguing texture equals one truly noteworthy outfit, as model Clara Paget demonstrated recently. The blonde beauty showed up at a private dinner to celebrate the launch of Miu Miu's new flagship store in London last month wearing said label's Black Cotton Blend Dress ($1690, available at select Miu Miu boutiqes) and black tights. Though risky, we definitely can appreciate Paget's well-calculated decision to add Miu Miu's Fur Vest ($1790, available at select Miu Miu boutiques) and Red Capretto Heels ($950, available at select Miu Miu boutiques). The end result was a high-impact look we couldn't ignore. If you're interested in creating a similar statement at your next after-hours soiree, start with a simple LBD, like Alexander Wang's Jersey T-Shirt Dress ($85) and a pair of opaque tights. Then it's time throw on the intrigue with Alice + Olivia's Flutter Front Fur Vest ($278) and Mizz Mooz's Tillman Pumps ($130) to give your look that Paget-inspired wow-factor your friends are sure to love!--Jessica Baker
Photos of Ben Grimes, Zoe Kravitz, Ginnifer Goodwin, and Alexa Chung, courtesy of Getty; Photo of Clara Paget, courtesy of Splash; Photo of Meredith Melling Burke, courtesy of BFA;