Refresh Your Summer Style with Styling Tips from the 2014 Runways
Looks from the runways depict more than what to wear. They also show us how to wear them.
There are many elements beyond big trends, like similar silhouette shapes or common colors, to take in from the shows. And even if you can't shop off the runway (really, who can?), you can reinterpret styles to fit your wardrobe and odds are that the key pieces that you will need are already in your closet.
Take the Wes Gordon look (above, left). No, we're not talking about effortlessly draping a moto jacket over your shoulders (we bet you've already done that). Our eyes are on the skirt situation. The peek-a-boo hem gives the ladylike pencil skirt a bit of a sexy edge. Simply slip into a breezy skirt of a longer length and then top it off with a svelte pencil skirt.
If your jewelry box is calling for an update, we suggest you buy in twos. Wear the same bracelet on both arms to anchor your look—and have no fear of being too matchy-matchy, the Jil Sander runway (above, center) proved just how chic it can be.
The best kind of tips are those that bring life to a piece you just couldn't figure out—like the dress you realized was see through once you got home. To get some use out of it, simply layer the piece over a chic separates set à la the Maiyet runway (above, right). The airy fabric will top off a summery look with an ethereal edge while subtly showing some skin.
Other styling ideas surfaced in triples. Looks at Reek Krakoff, Chloé, and Maiyet (above, from left) showed us that you can clutch on to any type of handbag. Each girl was sent down the runway carrying large, spacious handbags as clutches—proving that straps, beyond being serviceable, can provide a decorative element too. An added bonus: you can show off an ornate top (like the structured shoulders on the Chloé shirt) while toting around a roomy bag. Plus, this approach will eliminate those they-take-hours-to-go-away strap marks on your shoulders.
For more tips on how to reinvent your wardrobe, click through the gallery. You'll learn how to make your most revealing pieces a bit more office-appropriate, the best way to work deep-diving necklines, new takes on crop tops, and more.
CARRY YOUR SATCHEL LIKE A CLUTCH
Sometimes straps are applied as a decorative element. And sometimes, you just want to show off your top (like the structured sleeves on the Chloé shirt, pictured in middle) while toting around a roomy bag. Carry your handbag clutch-style and allow the straps to swing free.
Runway inspiration (from left): Reed Krakoff, Chloé, Maiyet
WEAR A BANDEAU UNDER A SHEER TOP
Maybe a crop top isn’t for you. Take the safe-and perhaps more sophisticated-route to nailing the trend and layer your abbreviated top with a sheer cami.
Runway inspiration: Salvatore Ferragamo
LAYER YOUR SKIRTS
A peek-a-boo hem gives a ladylike pencil skirt a bit of a sexy edge. Simply slip into a breezy skirt of a longer length and then top it off with a pencil skirt. If you want to up the ante, use this styling idea as a way to work in a pop of color.
Runway inspiration: Wes Gordon
CARRY YOUR BAG UNDER YOUR BLAZER
Draping your blazer over your shoulders evokes an effortless look. To add an unexpected element, hang a shoulder-strapped bag just under the lapel of your jacket.
Runway inspiration: Lanvin
Sheers work wonders in the summer. The airy material is the perfect fabric to show off chic separates.
Runway inspiration (from left): Maiyet, No°21, Narciso Rodriguez
FILL IN A PLUNGING NECKLINE WITH A BRALETTE
To get more wear out of a piece with a deep-diving neckline, wear a bralette underneath. For added interest, look for a style with a print that contrasts the dress.
Runway inspiration: Roberto Cavalli
CLOSE YOUR TOP AT COLLAR-LEVEL
Here’s a new way to show off your midriff and retire your crop top. Seek out a button front top and only purpose the very top button. You’ll be covered up but show just the right amount of skin.
Tip: This screams a day-to-night transitional outfit. Wear the top buttoned up for day and unbutton a few loopholes (OK, maybe not as many as Alexander Wang did) when you’re ready for a night out.
Runway inspiration: Alexander Wang, Fendi
MATCH YOUR JEWELRY TO YOUR EMBELLISHMENTS
Sometimes too much of one thing is a good thing. If your dress (or shirt, or skirt) is embellished with a jewelry-like element, add to it. Have no fear of being too matchy-matchy. Just keep to like colors and your outfit will be complete.
Runway inspiration: Balmain
FOLD OVER YOUR CLUTCH
Pouches are undeniably having a moment. The roomy style is the most versatile accessory for summer; carry your essentials in it for day and remove them for night, freeing up space to fold it over for a refreshing interpretation of an evening bag.
Runway inspiration (from left): Burberry Prorsum, Philosophy
MIX GRAPHIC AND DELICATE PRINTS
Mix your prints. No matter how delicate or graphic they are, go for it. But, the key to nailing this look is to make sure that there is one common color found in the two. And as proven on the runway, three’s a charm. So add in a small dose of another print to really drive home the look.
Runway inspiration: Honor
WEAR MATCHING BRACELETS ON BOTH ARMS
Anchor your look with matching bracelets worn on both arms. The pair gives your look a crisp and cohesive edge. To keep the look going, leave your other accessories at home. This pairing speaks volumes on its own.
Runway inspiration (from left): Cédric Charlier, Chanel, Jil Sander
WEAR SOFT PASTELS WITH BRIGHT POPS OF COLOR-AND SNEAKERS
Play on hyper-pigmented pastels with bright colors. The key piece fit to complete this juxtaposition? Sneakers. Team them with delicate pastels for added contrast.
Runway inspiration: DKNY
WEAR A SHEER SLIP SKIRT UNDER A BLAZER
Look for an elongated blazer, perhaps even a blazer-style dress to take this look from the runway to the street, and button it all the way up-you don’t want to show too much skin as this look is already a bit racy. Lastly, slide into a sheer slip skirt. If your look feels somewhat unfinished, add a statement-making necklace.
Runway inspiration (from left): Balenciaga, Christian Dior
LAYER A STRAPLESS TOP OVER A TANK
Here’s the solution to wearing your favorite strapless top to places where shoulder-baring is just not appropriate. The trick to perfecting the look is to seek out a tank with wider straps-you don’t want it to look like your bra straps are showing.
Runway inspiration: 10 Crosby Derek Lam
TEAM A SPORTY SWEATSHIRT WITH A FEMININE SKIRT
Pair a simple cut, sporty sweatshirt with a breezy skirt of a longer length (steer clear of miniskirts for this expert pairing). The two together creates a balanced, wear-anywhere look.
Runway inspiration (from left): Christopher Kane, Preen by Thornton Bregazzi
TRY A SLEEVELESS TANK UNDER A SHIFT DRESS
To add an unexpected element, wear a top under a dress. You can go for a sleeveless option, as shown on the Peter Som runway, or a short sleeve of any length. Look for a well-crafted top; you don’t want to dress down your dress.
Tip: If one of your favorite dresses is a bit too revealing for work, try this trick to make it more office-appropriate.
Runway inspiration: Peter Som
WEAR YOUR WATCH OVER YOUR SLEEVE
Avoid hiding your timepiece by wearing it over your sleeve. To really make a statement, wear a watch in a contrasting color.
Runway inspiration (from left): Ralph Lauren, Nina Ricci
PAIR A SKIRT AND A SHIRT WITH EXAGGERATED SLEEVES
Shirting is a hot trend this season. If you’re looking to add a new style into rotation, go for a short sleeved style with exaggerated sleeves and pair it with a skirt of any kind. The sleeve shape mimics the trumpet-like form of a skirt, making a chic and consistent look.
Runway inspiration (from left): Peter Pilotto, Thakoon, Prabal Gurung
TEAM YOUR CROP TOP WITH A SLEEVELESS BLAZER
A sleeveless blazer adds a dose of sophistication to a crop top while maintaining that playful, laid-back look.
Runway inspiration: Tibi