Tip # 1: Wear a cardi tied around your neck.
Model/DJ/trendsetter Alexandra Richards' stylish outfits repeatedly pique our interest, and her ensemble for the Tribeca Ball at the New York Academy of Art earlier this month did just that. On this occasion, Richards gave her downtown sensibilities a preppy twist by styling her cardi around her neck. The fashion plate created this look by combining a silky vintage blouse with a pair of go-anywhere, tailored Dolce Vita shorts, and a Hung On U Small Bag ($200), which was designed by her supermodel mom Patti Hansen. We love the way Richards balanced the smartly knotted cardi with tough-girl accents, like her black lace-up Marsell boots (the Ankle Boot Sandals ($965) are similar) and black socks. Try this tip after dark for a look that is stylishly nonchalant, yet still sophisticated. To re-create Richards' outfit, start off with a simple white blouse, such as Silence & Noise's Sheer Inset Silky Blouse ($40) or MINKPINK's Sheer Three Quarter Sleeve Blouse ($40). If you don't already own a pair of black shorts, we think Ecote's Smocked Shorts ($39) are a versatile option and definitely worth buying. A pair of black boots will help you further achieve Richards' savvy styling, so we suggest picking up Steve Madden's Factoryy Boots ($100) right away. Most importantly, don't forget to complete your outfit by tying a black cardi--like Caslon's Lightweight Slub Cardigan ($13) or J. Crew's Forever Cardigan in Cotton ($60)--around your neck to attain Richards' laidback luxe ensemble.
Tip # 2: Transition a LWD with an army jacket.
As the flowers begin to blossom and temperatures begin to rise, we expect you're eager to wear your new seasonal staples. That said, the nights are still chilly, which means you also need some all-important transition pieces to warm up your ensembles. For a prime example on how to execute this kind of between-seasons outfit, make note of the look Kate Bosworth put together for the celebration of her March cover for Nylon. The actress/stylesetter expertly transitioned her Dolce & Gabbana White Cotton Top and Skirt with Crystal Embellishments (price upon request for both, 877.70.DGUSA) by styling it with a Gap army jacket (the Lightweight Utility Jacket ($79.95) is quite similar), Topshop boots, and JewelMint jewelry. We love how her sweet and feminine dress is juxtaposed against the tough black boots and sturdy, utilitarian jacket (a piece that is certainly here to stay!). If you need help finding just the right pieces to emulate this look, you're in luck because we've tracked down several swoon-worthy options. If you're craving the perfect LWD, we recommend either Topshop's Cream Crochet Swing Dress ($100) or Vintage Havana's Shell Trim Embroidered Dress ($68). Still looking for that perfect army jacket? Tabitha's Expeditionary Jacket ($128) and Madewell's Ultimate Army Jacket ($98) are both great options you can wear all year long. For the final piece of your look, we recommend picking up Steve Madden's Troopa Boots ($100).
Tip # 3: Try a column dress in a bright color.
A simple, black evening gown is always a foolproof option for evening soirees, but why not go for a more head-turning option? To make a statement this season, consider stepping out in a colorful column dress a la Dree Hemingway. The model wore Calvin Klein Collection's Rust Embossed Silk Twill Racerback Dress ($3495, 212.292.9000) to the New Museum Spring Gala in New York earlier this month and accessorized with Marc Jacobs' Python Suede Luisa Clutch ($1995, 212.343.1490). (It's important to note that Hemingway kept her accessories understated to ensure the dress remains the focal point.) Perfect for a spring wedding or any festive fete this season, a sleek column gown in a bright hue will surely get you noticed! We think Warehouse's One-Shouldered Column Dress ($118), Adam's Wrap-Effect Column Gown ($365), or Coast Antonia's Column Maxi Dress with Beaded Detail ($287) are also worthy options. Just be sure to pick up a gold clutch, like Urban Expression's Valorie Clutch ($30), to further achieve this winning look.
Tip # 4: Style a bold print with black staples.
Fashion editors are always in the know about the latest trends, so it's always a smart idea to look to them for style inspiration. Take, for example, the on-the-mark outfit Meredith Melling Burke put together for a dinner honoring designer Peter Pilotto in New York earlier this month. The Vogue Senior Market Editor let her Auro Printed Matte-Silk Top ($1135) and Skirt ($1470)--both from the designer's S/S 11 collection--take center stage by expertly teaming them with staple black accents, specifically a Calvin Klein Collection Black Cotton Twill Stretch Blazer ($1195, 212.292.9000) and Brian Atwood ankle boots. To emulate her look, keep a printed dress, such as French Connection's Tiger Print Maxi Dress ($54) or Collective Concepts' Maxi Dress ($74), in focus by pairing it with a sleek black blazer, like Topshop's Black Satin Collar Tux ($135) or Gap's Classic Blazer ($98). Whichever option you choose, you're sure to step out in style a la MMB!
Tip #5: A white bag is a must-buy this season.
While we've spent the last few weeks waxing enthusiastic about this season's ultra-bright color palette, we also believe a white handbag would make a fresh addition to your spring wardrobe. We particularly like how versatile this accessory is; it will pop against an of-the-moment colorful mix and look just as striking paired with an all-noir outfit. Speaking of the latter, we couldn't take our eyes off the ensemble Nora Zehetner wore to the New Museum Spring Gala earlier this month. We were instantly drawn to the actress' Calvin Klein Collection White Leather Clutch ($1250, 212.292.9000), which she paired with the Black Leather Shift Dress (price upon request, 212.292.9000) and Rose Wrap Heels ($795, 212.292.9000), both from said brand's Resort 11 collection. The stark contrast between her bright white clutch and black dress makes the accessory a standout piece. Take a cue from Zehetner and pick a bag in a crisp and clean white, like Dooney & Bourke's Portofino Continental Clutch ($135), Elaine Turner's Ava Leather Clutch ($195), or See by Chloe's Zip File Classic Tote ($195). To achieve Zehetner's high-impact contrast, we suggest pairing it with a black shift dress, such as ASOS' Linen Shift Dress ($54) or Gap's Black Side Zip Shift Dress ($60).
Tip #6: Add a polka-dot print to spring basics.
While most of us wore our fair share of polka-dots in elementary school, this classic print can easily look grown-up and sophisticated with the right styling, as demonstrated by Lily Collins. Spotted at Wondercon in San Francisco earlier this month, the actress wore a spotted top by L'Agence with classic wardrobe staples, such as Theory's Lanai Shellback Blazer ($355), J Brand Maria High-Rise Denim Leggings ($169) in Hewson ($169), and a necklace by House of Lavande. We appreciate Collins' well-calculated decision to go for an elegant white blazer, which adds just the right amount of refinement to her ensemble, while still keeping it fresh and modern. If you want to recreate this look, but aren't sure where to begin, let us be your guide. Simply start with a great polka-dot top, such as Anne Klein New York's Polka-Dot Silk Georgette Blouse ($195) or Wyatt's Pink and Black Polka Dot Chiffon Peasant Blouse ($68), both of which are a far cry from our playground days. Next, add a white blazer, like LOFT's Linen Blazer ($98), and finish with a pair of skinny jeans, such as Topshop's Slate Black Jamie Jeans ($80), and voila! You have yourself the perfect Collins-inspired ensemble.--Erin Fitzpatrick
Photos of Kate Bosworth, Dree Hemingway, Lily Collins, and Nora Zehetner, courtesy of Getty; Photo of Meredith Melling Burke, courtesy of Billy Farrell Agency