Polka-dot prints generally evoke a playful quality that's both retro-inspired (think Sandra Dee as Gidget) and youthful. And while that's certainly still the case with Taylor Swift, we can't help but notice that the singer has put an undeniably sophisticated spin on the look. If you're thinking her classic strand of pearls is behind the enhanced grown-up appeal, you're right and on the right track. See, it's more than just her timeless jewelry statement that has us convinced. Taylor smartly styled the quirky black and white, cat-embroidered French Connection sweater with fitted burgundy-hued ankle-cut trousers, a pairing that proved more serious in tone and execution. To finish, she opted for a structured bow-tie ballet flat that, while girlie, actually rounded out her ensemble on a sleek, feminine note. As the record shows, polka dots are no longer a print meant purely for Summer rompers and cute bikinis, it's a print for all seasons with a lot of polished promise. We've picked our favorites to shop below, and each sweater — topped off with the proper outerwear — is fit to be worn now.
Happy Election Day! We can't stress enough how important it is to cast your vote today and if you're not sure where to go, here's an easy way to find out. Political leanings aside, this is a presidential race that lives and breathes by the saying, "every vote counts." Thus, to give our current electoral spirit a very stylish discourse, we've found 11 pieces that appeal to both the preppy Americana-inspired sensibility and the more toned-down patriotic style setter. Things we approve of: wearing your heart on your sleeve with a literal approach to t-shirt messaging, going the subtle red, white, and blue route (translation: this isn't a Fourth of July fashion redux), and opting for a star-spangled printed blouse that's polished and a Miranda Kerr favorite. In short, we wholeheartedly believe the most fashionable thing you can do today is vote, but while you're at it, why not go the distance with some added flair too? Click through to shop our editors' picks now.
Throwback fashion is a fickle thing. In the case of Clueless's '90s-inspired resurgence, we welcomed plaid minis, knee-high socks, and Alaïa references with open arms. While, with other nuanced trends (like jellies, Lisa Frank imagery, and Hammer pants), you've got to be a little more selective on real-life styling execution. So, when we started to notice a certain iconic Disney character popping up on street stylers in New York, Milan, and Paris during Fashion Month, we had to wonder — was Mickey Mouse the "new" must-have print or could this merely be chalked up to a nostalgic coincidence? In our opinion (and as these chic snaps prove), it's definitely the former.For us, those recognizable mouse ears have largely signified childhood trips to Disneyland and Saturday morning cartoon-watching sessions. But now, it's actually conceivable to think that Mickey might not just be for the younger set. Tucked into a soft red leather pencil skirt, and accented with a crystal-encrusted statement necklace, we'd say that souvenir t-shirt you got so many years ago looks pretty darn cool now. If you're not much of a formfitting skirt wearer, go the opposite route with slouchy boyfriend jeans, borrowed-from-the-boys loafers, and an even slouchier beanie. This undone, ultrarelaxed look will offset the built-in cheekiness of Mickey Mouse without taking away its youthful appeal. The bottom line: don't call it a comeback — this mouse has been around since 1928. Instead, we're touting this particular mouse-branded resurgence as a vintage-inspired one. Just dig a little deeper in your clothing archives, and we're sure you'll be able to evoke the same kind of retro cartoon chic with the right au courant complements.
The cardigan-and-blouse combo is a tried-and-true favorite, and this season, we're looking to inject a fresh twist to this styling trick with pretty color combinations, textural intrigue, and fun prints. First up? Try pairing an oversize cable-knit, grandpa-inspired cardigan with a silk plaid top for a look that can easily be worn to the cabin (with cords and fur-lined boots), or with leather leggings and metallic oxfords for an effortless downtown aesthetic. Cute, right? Keep clicking for four more cardi-and-blouse combos we promise you'll want to wear all season long.
Before we get into why we're all for Fall's current intarsia sweater obsession, let's talk about what intarsia is first. "Intarsia" refers to a knitting technique — not a fabric or a print — used to create multicolored patterns. And while it looks like the colors are interwoven, they are actually all separate pieces that just happen to fit together perfectly, like a jigsaw puzzle. It requires some skilled handcrafting, and as you can see, it manifests itself in bold colorways and quirky prints. Now, it should be obvious why the intarsia sweater craze is right up our alley. Sure, everyone — and we mean everyone — from Stella McCartney, Altuzarra, and Kenzo to Markus Lupfer, Marc Jacobs, and Mary Katrantzou is adding their own personal spin on the look, but the number one reason we're backing this trend? It's sweater season, and there's no better way to layer up than with a sweater that provides a much-needed burst of brightness and textural intrigue. Plus, these sweaters happen to make a pretty vibrant statement all on their own. Click through our editors' picks below and fall in love with your next (intarsia) purchase.Clockwise, from top left: Mary Katrantzou Fall 2012 runway, 3.1 Phillip Lim Kill the Night comic featuring the designer's intarsia sweaters, Kenzo Intarsia Angora-Blend Sweater ($640), and Paris Fashion Week street style.
Whether your style proves Ivy League-inspired all year round or you just happen to prefer classically charged Fall layering, we've got a preppy sweater lineup you won't be able to resist. Between these sweaters' enticing price point (nothing over $100 — beat that budget!) and a timeless aesthetic (cable-knit piping, slick elbow patches, turtleneck silhouettes, and the no-fail crewneck pullover), we're positive you'll get your prep-school fix and then some. Pair a navy nautical-striped iteration with dark-wash skinny jeans, brown riding boots, and a tailored trench coat if you're going for the all-American approach. Or style a more relaxed toggle-detailed rendition with slouchy boyfriend jeans and Tretorn sneakers for a laid-back rainy-day slant. We could keep going, but we'd rather you click on to see what's at your preppy-sweater disposal.
It's time to be honest with ourselves and with our closets — Fall is here. Time to put away those barely-there slipdresses and airy tanks, and make room for an arsenal of cozy wear-everyday sweaters. And, if you're like us, you've probably had most of these layering lifesavers stored away somewhere dark and out of sight. Translation? You're now having to deal with mothballs and pillings. In effect, we're making the seasonal switchover way easier for everyone involved, and here's how: know your fibers, invest in the power of Woolite, and stay far, far away from the dryer. For more tips and tricks on sweater-care etiquette (ones that will save you from the daily evils of wear and tear), just keep reading.Good Practices For Always
- Storage locale counts. Where you keep your sweaters is a huge factor in how they "age." The ideal storage spot for your cold-weather layers should be cool and dry. Direct sunlight (we know some of you rock those hanging racks) causes some fabrics to yellow, and as much as it makes sense to hang your sweaters, it's actually better to fold them. If you do decide to keep them hanging, splurge on cedar hangers, which help to repel moths.
- Keep the pilling at bay. You know those little balled-up pieces of fabric that gather when you've worn a sweater a few times? Well, they're easy to get rid of, and in no way, require a trip to the dry cleaners. We've got a quick video on how to dispel pillings, courtesy of FabSugar TV's Allison McNamara. Bottom line: invest in a sweater comb or shaver (and in desperate times, use a piece of fine-grit sandpaper).
- Know your fiber ABCs. Here's the deal: caring for your sweaters properly lands squarely on knowing what they're made from. Wool is an umbrella term for a textile fiber borne from sheep, goats, rabbits, and some members of the camel family. Still with us? OK, on that note, let's refresh our memories on the official wool breakdown. Angora refers to rabbit hair, mohair refers to hair from an Angora goat, cashmere stems from the hair of a Cashmere goat, merino is a type of sheep hair, and llama wool, well you know where that hair comes from.
It's as easy to slip on a silky blouse with your jeans as it is your go-to t-shirt — that's part of what makes Fall's chic silk tops so appealing. Of course, the other big part of why we love them is just how gorgeous and universally wearable they are. Their soft finish makes them one of the most comfortable options in our closet, but there are also endless iterations to make them one of the most popular. This season, we're looking to silky plaid button-downs — a fresh redux on a Fall classic, rich jewel toned silks, and pretty versions that marry our favorite trends, like lace or florals on a great silk button-down or party top. Not only are these 14 toppers incredibly lovely, they're also incredibly practical — you'll be wearing them from now through holiday-party season and well beyond. Click on to shop your favorites and shake up your t-shirt routine.
We've covered our lace, studded detailing, and brocade bases; now, it's time to take on the embroidered silhouette. No, we're not referring to the kind that comes with monogrammed initials. Instead, we're culling shopping inspiration from the Fall 2012 runways. Jason Wu crafted an Eastern-inspired collection marked by its ornate gold appliqué embroidery, which was added to everything from compact clutches to sexy cocktail dresses. Stella McCartney put a floral-embroidery spin on her sportier, cobalt-blue trumpet-hem skirts and crisp, white blouses; Rag & Bone embellished its jeans with quirky embroidered side piping; and Miu Miu put a classic embroidery crest on its luxe, jewel-heeled loafers. To say this trend spanned a wide spectrum of designer sensibilities is an understatement. Get Fall's new approach to embroidered wares with our editors' need-now picks — right here.
Source: Free People
Sometimes it's not so much about reinventing the styling wheel as it is about reinvigorating it. That said, we're looking to punch up the ladylike layers we already own — a classic blouse-and-sweater set, in this case — with this season's prettiest Fall color combos. Trust us: it's a sweet and polished pairing that complements everything from a cozy tweed miniskirt to a slicked-up brocade trouser. And, to help you put your color-wheel cravings and cold-weather layering to work, we've styled up 10 of our favorite combos as a jumping-off point. First up: saffron yellow and emerald green. We wouldn't mind wearing this jeweled-toned combo with a black wool miniskirt and lace-up booties — what about you? Click on to see (and shop) the color combos worth experimenting with this Fall.