Tip #1: Add texture to a floral frock with a chunky knit vest.
If you're anything like us, you can't wait to bust out your floral dresses for spring. That said, a transitional topper is always helpful to have on hand to guard against the still-chilly temperatures. Dasha Zhukova had the right idea at the Marc Jacobs F/W 12 show last month, when she added Ann Demeulemeester's Chunky Knit Vest ($1220) to her floral-emblazoned frock. The extra layer gave the look some texture while also keeping her toasty. Want to cozy up with a vest a la Zhukova? Ann Taylor's Berlin Vest ($60), Anne Klein New York's Belted Vest ($139), and P.A.R.O.S.H's Waffle and Cable Knit Gilet ($590) all fit the bill perfectly.
Tip #2: Elevate a t-shirt and jeans combo with a floral coat.
While you might think jeans and tees are reserved for casual affairs, the classic combo can actually look quite sophisticated with the addition of a couple key pieces. To see what we mean, reference the outfit Caroline Sieber wore to the Jason Wu F/W 12 show last month. The fashion plate started with pared-down basics, including a white shirt and J Brand jeans, and added a floral Christopher Kane S/S 12 coat (the designer's Silk-Blend Floral Jacket ($3840) features the same pattern) and Louis Vuitton's Merry Go Round Pumps ($1000) in Bleu. We especially love how the vivid outerwear piece and chic metal-capped pumps took her look from simple to superb in no time! Craving a Sieber-esque ensemble for yourself? Vanessa Bruno's Athé Printed Coat ($488), Albert Nipon's Floral-Print Jacket ($395), or Dillards' Multiples Floral Print Jacket ($89) will do the trick!
Tip #3: Give your casual look a preppy finish with white oxfords.
Whether it's a blazer, boyish button-down, or full-on suit, we'll never tire of menswear-inspired pieces. Yet another way to achieve this look is by opting for a pair of oxfords, as demonstrated by supermodel/actress Liya Kebede. Snapped at the Tory Burch F/W 12 show last month, Kebede started with casual separates, including a gray jacket, noir dress, and oversized scarf, and finished off her outfit with LemLem's Asta 1 Oxfords ($340). The white shoes-from Kebede's own line of handcrafted clothes and accessories-stood out against a sea of neutrals and added just the right amount of preppiness. If you adore her kicks, we think MM6 by Maison Martin Margiela's Leather Cut Oxfords ($360), Forever 21's Pointed Oxfords ($23), or Comme Des Garcons' White Leather Oxfords ($615) are all worthy alternatives.
Tip #4: Add some edge with a leather top.
If you're searching for a way to pack a powerful punch with your after-dark ensembles, why not take a cue from model Elisa Sednaoui and opt for a leather top? At the LA launch party for the Marni for H&M collection last month, Sednaoui dressed in pieces from the chic collab, including the Patent Leather Jacket ($199) and Ankle-Length Woven Pants ($80) in Lt. Beige/Patterned. The intriguing combination-lively, colorful pants and a textured top-makes this anything-but-ordinary outfit stand out from the crowd! While we're dying to get our hands on the Marni items, they'll no doubt be sold out in the blink of an eye, so we wanted to include some alternatives. We approve of A.L.C.'s Byrn Leather Tee ($725) and Tibi's Leather and Stretch-Jersey Top ($495), and suggest buying either option ASAP!
Tip #5: Contrast a feminine silhouette with an edgy jacket.
The sisters Traina never fail to provide us with wardrobe inspiration aplenty, and their outfits at the opening of photographer Max Snow's exhibit in New York were no exception! What especially caught our attention about their ensembles was how they both finished off their feminine looks with edgy jackets. We love how Victoria's abbreviated leather moto jacket contrasted nicely with a plunging neckline and peek-a-boo bra, and we're also fans of Vanessa's compelling combination of a shift dress and oversized varsity jacket. If you're in the market for Traina-inspired outerwear, we have a few recommendations. KARL's Ordina Leather Biker Jacket ($945) and Topshop's Traditional Biker Jacket ($310) are very similar to Victoria's iteration, while Oasis' Faux Leather Sleeved Coat ($140) and VEDA's Gloria Coat ($516) are spot-on alternatives to Vanessa's version.
Tip #6: Pair a slim pencil skirt with a peplum top.
It's a fact: Giovanna Battaglia can do no wrong! To no one's surprise, the editor/stylist wowed us yet again at the Viktor & Rolf F/W 12 show in Paris earlier this month. We think her sculptured vintage Thierry Mugler jacket and Aquazurra Sexy Thing Suede Cut-Out Booties ($445) lent a fashion-forward flair to her look, making it perfectly suited to Paris' directional style scene! Plus, we appreciate how she smartly balanced the topper's flared silhouette with a slim Lanvin pencil skirt, which ensured a proportionally balanced ensemble. Lusting after Battaglia's smart styling? Alice and Olivia's Betty Peplum Tee ($198), ASOS' Shell Top with Peplum ($40), and Forever 21's Lace Trim Peplum Top ($23) will help you recreate it in no time!
Tip #7: Make a statement in colorblock trousers.
Are you tired of your basic black pants and tried-and-true jeans? Then emulate Jenna Lyons and go for bold, multi-colored trousers instead! Spotted at the Prabal Gurung F/W 12 show last month, the perennially stylish President and Creative Director of J. Crew made quite an entrance in striped Celine pants, which she teamed with a Veronique Branquinho cape, J. Crew's Jean Jacket ($168) in Vintage Sea Blue Wash, and Manolo Blahnik's BB Suede Point-Toe Pumps ($595) in Blue. Take it from Lyons: a pair of eye-catching pants is your ticket to chic and unexpected party dressing this season! If you're ready to make a similarly striking statement, we suggest buying DSquared's Trial Low Waist Flare Pants ($795), Zara Studio's Trousers with Contrasting Hem ($90), or 10 Crosby by Derek Lam's Wide Leg Colorblock Trousers ($325), all of which have Lyons-worthy cachet!-Erin Fitzpatrick
Photo of Caroline Sieber, courtesy of INF; Photos of Dasha Zhukova, Elisa Sednaoui, Liya Kebede, and Victoria and Vanessa Traina, courtesy of Billy Farrell Agency; Photo of Giovanna Battaglia, courtesy of Getty.