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Achieving balance is one of the simplest ways to enhance an ensemble.  Let one element dominate a look while the others play supporting roles or, conversely, let the elements play in harmony.  I have compiled a list of my favorite elements to balance: Volume, Light and Dark, Brights, Shine, Pattern, Texture, the Statement Piece and Skin.  And since the Fall 2012 Couture season is upon us, I thought, what better way to demonstrate the principle of balance than haute couture?

A symmetrical display of Shine, Armani Prive Fall 2012.

An asymmetric use of Volume and Bright color, Christian Dior Couture Fall 2012.

Before we begin, I will cover the two types of balance: symmetrical and asymmetrical.  When piecing together an outfit, I think of it as this: using an equal amount of each kind of piece (symmetrical) or utilizing the majority of one piece and only a pop of the other (asymmetrical.)  If you are lost already, do not worry, I will give plenty of examples for each and you will be a balancing master in no time.

This oversized coat is balanced by keeping the legs nearly bare, Chanel Couture Fall 2012.

This otherwise slim silhouette is given a hint of volume with an embellished skirt at the waist, Christian Dior Couture Fall 2012.

Volume: The easiest way to balance, as it is often the most visually obvious.  Pair something slim or fitted with something flowy, poofy or bulky.  Symmetrical: Think ‘70s references with wide leg trousers and slim tops.  For a modern, casual take, try skinny jeans and a flowy, dolman sleeve tee.  Asymmetrical: A peplum extending from a fitted jacket, paired with a fitted pencil skirt adds interest to your office attire.

The Light and Dark are distributed equally in this ensemble, Bouchra Jarrar Couture Fall 2012.

The black is clearly dominant here, although the white bow is successful in making its own statement and therefore balancing the outfit in Light and Dark, Chanel Couture Fall 2012.

Light and Dark: Another fairly simple one, you may be doing it already without even knowing it.  Keep in mind, there is a greater chance of coordinating pieces if there is contrast; Light and Dark for instance.  So stop worrying about matching colors and start thinking about balancing Lights and Darks.  Symmetrical: When in doubt, go with dark jeans and a white tee, a classic.  A moody maroon chiffon blouse and cropped khakis will be on trend for fall.  Asymmetrical: Pairing your all-white, breezy summer ensemble with a black belt adds instant polish.

This look is well balanced between the black and Bright blue, Armani Prive Fall 2012.

Although the Bright orange does not dominate this coat’s surface area, its widespread, random placement makes it look as if it does, achieving visual balance, Maison Martin Margiela Couture Fall 2012.

Brights: Akin to Lights and Darks in coordinating, Brights can be balanced with a neutral, or simply a more muted color.  Symmetrical: A color blocked shift dress, the bodice in lipstick red and the skirt in black, can work the office with a cardigan or go out at night with stilettos.  Asymmetrical: Adding bright cobalt pumps to your little black dress takes it to another level.

This dress restricts the embellishments to the bodice, an easy way to balance the Shine, Elie Saab Couture Fall 2012.

The long, all-black dress carries visual weight, but adding a little Shine at the neckline detracts from it, balancing the look and drawing the eye up, Armani Prive Fall 2012.

Shine: It is always fun to add Shine to your outfit but it is pertinent to also balance that sparkle.  Symmetrical: A sequin tank with tailored shorts is great for a night out.  Asymmetrical:  For allover Shine, go with an iridescent dress and pair it with nude shoes.  For the less adventurous, opt for a metallic accessory; silver flats, a rose gold clutch, a rhinestone headband, and of course you can always add sparkle with jewelry.

A patterned pant, balanced by a solid blouse, Chanel Couture Fall 2012.

Although the plaid is the dominate pattern, the stripes are a nice compliment since they share a color scheme and are of a varying scale, Chanel Couture Fall 2012

Pattern: Patterns can be balanced with solid colors, metallics, or even other patterns; there are so many options.  The key to balancing one pattern with another is to pair together patterns of differing scale—big patterns with little patterns.  It also helps to put patterns together that share one color or a color scheme.  And as a general rule, I try not to mix my animals.  Symmetrical: An ikat patterned skirt with a solid tee and metallic sandals creates a fresh summer ensemble.  A large-scale striped tee paired with a small-scale polka-dot print cropped skinny pant makes for spot-on pattern mixing.  Asymmetrical: Pairing a plaid scarf with a navy pea coat.  A leopard print wrap dress with some solid peep toes.

The Texture created by the center column of paillettes is offset by the flat surfaces on either side, Chanel Couture Fall 2012.

The plush corseted jumpsuit, chiffon blouse, and leather vest all meet to form a variety of textures in this outfit, and being one color, they harmonize beautifully, Jean Paul Gaultier Couture Fall 2012.

Texture: Texture does not always have to mean rough.  Soft and silky pieces have great texture, as well.  And when paired with rougher pieces, they are enhanced by the contrast.  Symmetrical: A chiffon blouse with tweed trousers creates perfect textural balance.  Asymmetrical: A straw tote adds dimension to your summer ensemble.

Any one of these pieces would make a beautiful Statement on their own: the Bright red jacket, the gold belt or gold pumps. But since the styling is kept to a minimum, this girl can rock all three at once. Christian Dior Couture Fall 2012.

So maybe we don’t all have a crystal headpiece to pull out on special occasions, but I am sure we all have a Statement necklace hidden away somewhere–but why wait for a special occasion? Throw it on over a tee and jeans, Maison Martin Margiela Couture Fall 2012.

Statement Piece: This one is so versatile, you will be able to take what you learned from balancing all the elements above and apply it to your Statement Piece—or pieces.  Symmetrical: Here is where it gets a little tricky.  Typically a Statement Piece is just that—one piece.  However, there are ways around it.  Keep your outfit neutral and space out your pieces, and you can probably get away with a couple pieces.  Try sporting a LBD with embellished shoes and some ridiculous earrings.  Asymmetrical: This is the easy part, pick one piece and rock it.  A chunky ring, a hunk of bangles, or some killer patent thigh highs—what will your Statement Piece be?

This girl knows how to work the deep V with some class. thanks to a little balance, Elie Saab Couture Fall 2012.

She may look all covered-up, but those asymmetrical cut-outs reveal a little more, Valentino Couture Fall 2012.

Skin: This one can be treated much like the Statement Piece.  It is perfectly acceptable to show/accentuate a little Skin, but please, one body part per outfit—shoulders, back, legs, breast, butt and midriff.  The chic factor of your ensemble will instantly skyrocket if you keep your Skin balance in check.  Basically, the balancing here is all in the visual tricks.  Symmetrical: Showing off shoulders in a strapless, to-the-knee A-line dress is a timeless choice for any formal occasion.  Baring legs in tailored shorts and pumps, while keeping covered up top in a crewneck tee and blazer is classic with an edge.  Asymmetrical: A one-shouldered maxi gives you asymmetrical exposure.  A long-sleeved, fitted gown with irregular cut-outs in the midriff adds interest and subtle sex appeal.

Instead of juggling your wardrobe, hopefully you are now balancing it with confidence.

Much love and good shoes,

e

*All images courtesy of Style.com

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Just as it seems the sun is finally out to stay for summer, the Resort 2013 styles have also arrived on the runways.  As usual, the new season brings new trends to consider in reassessing our wardrobes for the coming seasons.  To help better navigate these trends, I have compiled a few that I am certain will catch on—and may even get you through a couple Resort seasons to come.

Little White Dress, Herve Leger by Max Azria Resort 2013

Little White Dress, Donna Karan Resort 2013

LWD: It is safe to say that the old adage about not wearing white after Labor Day has officially been stricken from the designer’s rule book as of this season.  Forget the Little Black Dress, the Little White Dress made an appearance on almost every designer’s runway this season.  These stark beauties came in all lengths, styles and silhouettes.  So take full advantage of the LWD and show your individuality through the one you pick.  Already have one in your closet?  Even better—save some money and put your accessorizing skills to good use.  Breathe new life into your pale frock through embellishment.

Separates splashed with tangerine, Monique Lhuillier Resort 2013

An allover, cropped tangerine look, Yigal Azrouel Resort 2013

Tangerine: If you prefer a little color in your resort wear, pick up some tangerine pieces.  The color made a splash in many designers’ collections this season, in allover solid looks, color blocking, as well as bold stripes and abstract patterns.  Pair it with coral if you are feeling sunny, or your LWD to tone it down.

Bold, graphic stripes, Marc by Marc Jacobs Resort 2013

Pattern mixing with stripes, Rachel Roy Resort 2013

Stripes: This typically tame motif revealed itself many ways this season.  At times, the stripe was singled out, where it became a statement, other times stripes were set off-kilter to one another, then they created the illusion of a new pattern, some stripes were hidden among other patterns, where they became part of a patchwork.

Serious volume, Chanel Resort 2013

A feminine approach to shorts, Jil Stuart Resort 2013

Shorts: As designers re-imagined the suit in recent seasons, shorts began to play a more important role in dressing.  This season shorts took many turns in lively prints, sharp tailoring, even in more voluminous shapes.  If you indulged in the printed short trend this summer, or were daring enough to sport some tailored shorts with your blazer at the office, you will definitely need those shorts for the resort season, as well.

Subtly printed, slim pants, Belstaff Resort 2013

Bold floral printed pants, Sachin + Babi Resort 2013

Cropped pants: The most popular way to cut this trendy pant this season was slim, solid and tailored but that did not stop a few designers from thinking outside the box.  The cropped pant manifested itself in a cuffed genie style at Rachel Zoe and Lanvin and even a denim palazzo style at Chanel.  Many designers chose to render their crops in bright abstract and floral prints, like the ones at Sachin + Babi and Kelly Wearstler.

Embracing stripes and shorts, Marc Jacobs Resort 2013

LWD-Tangerine combo, Erin Fetherston Resort 2013

Resort is all about bright colors, fun patterns, and relaxed silhouettes, which were certainly represented this season, so relax, slip into something colorful and enjoy exploring these trends!

Much love and good shoes,

e

*All images courtesy of Style.com

Olympia Le-Tan “Junkie” book clutch, Image courtesy of Flavorwire.com

Summer is the perfect time to take up a good book.  Getting lost in an enthralling story or even thumbing through a glossy fashion magazine is certainly one of my favorite ways to pass the time when I am reclining in the sun.  Some fashionistas are taking their passion for reading on the go—and even to the red carpet.

Natalie Portman toting an Olympia Le-Tan book clutch at the Black Swan premiere, Image courtesy of Style.mtv.com

Leading the novel procession, Natalie Portman stepped out in Dior at the Black Swan premiere over a year ago, clutching an Olympia Le-Tan, arguably the master of book clutches.  Portman is not Le-Tan’s only celebrity follower; Michelle Williams, Chloe Sevigny and Berenice Bejo were all spotted sporting the literary-inspired clutches.  Book clutches were also featured on Chanel’s Spring 2011 ready-to-wear runway, yet the more classic, quilted, leather-bound look has not caught on as well as Le-Tan’s graphic pieces.  The First Lady of Bling, Judith Leiber, has even dabbled in book clutches, opting for a stacked and strapped look, instead of the more popular simple, single book.

Chanel RTW Spring 2011 book clutch, Image courtesy of Style.com

Judith Leiber “Black Books Minaudiere Evening Bag Clutch”, Image courtesy of Malleries.com

Although Le-Tan’s handmade French beauties may be a little too pricey for most of us, there are lower-priced versions popping up on the market, as well.  Kate Spade’s book clutches have the fun cover art similar to Le-Tan’s, but the underlying canvas has a clear cover for protection.  For a more classic look, check out ASOS’s book clutch, complete with a funky tassel.

Kate Spade “A Tale of Two Cities” book clutch, Image courtesy of Deluxe-lv.com

ASOS book clutch, Image courtesy of Asos.com

Thinking of hollowing out some of your favorite classics?  I know, I am, too.

Much love and good shoes,

e

As a member of the jury at the 65th Annual Cannes Film Festival, you are most likely allotted certain fashionable favors when it comes time to walk the red carpet.  Whether Diane Kruger’s fashion victories at the Festival were aided or not, as a result of her stylish display at Cannes, she has earned a spot on my ones-to-watch list.

Kruger in Giambattista Valli at the screening of “Moonrise Kingdom”, Image courtesy of Tomandlorenzo.com

Kruger explored many trends on the Cannes carpet.  It certainly did not hurt having her husband, Joshua Jackson, on her arm serving as a hint of eye candy, either.  His looks complimented hers, and never overpowered them.  Many stars were opting for long and dramatic trains at the premieres.  At the “Moonrise Kingdom” premiere, Kruger approached the train with a softer, feminine touch, her Giambattista Valli gown, flowed spectacularly from her shoulder in fluid waves.

Kruger in Vivienne Westwood at the “Amour” premiere, Image courtesy of Ellaandlouise.com

Since Karolina Kurkova showed up at the Met Gala this year in a—literally—head-to-toe golden ensemble by Rachel Zoe, gilded beauties have been popping up everywhere.  Donning a rose gold Vivienne Westwood number, with asymmetrical draping at the “Amour” premiere, Kruger gave this trend the perfect balance of edge and sophistication.

Kruger in Nina Ricci at the “Killing Them Softly” premiere, Image courtesy of Zimbio.com

Kruger’s pick for the premiere of “Killing Them Softly” was, by far, my favorite.  Partly because she probably would have been crucified for wearing this at a red carpet in the States—but this is Cannes!  The sheer, white, floor-length, cap-sleeved gown was fitted to the mid-thigh with alternating strips of detailing.  With a gathered skirt, divided from the bodice by a line of feathers, the white dress was accented by a hint of purple in the flowers occupying the left shoulder.

Kruger in Chanel’s Resort collection for 2013 with Joshua Jackson at the amfAR Gala, Image courtesy of Rte.ie

Kruger in Calvin Klein Collection at the Calvin Klein & euphoria Calvin Klein Celebrate Women in Film event, Image courtesy of Ellaandlouise.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the looks she sported from Chanel, Calvin Klein Collection and Balmain, we saw Kruger prove her style chops in a variety of styles and lengths.  Kruger rocked this oh-so-sweet above-the-knee A-line dress, fresh off the runways from Chanel’s Resort collection for 2013, punched up with sparkly pumps and a metallic clutch.  The tea length dress Kruger wore from Calvin Klein Collection is right on trend.  The simple white shoes are the perfect compliment to the clean styling and the bright color of the dress.  I thought the cleavage was a little unnecessary but, eh.  The Balmain look gave us a glimpse of Kruger’s edgier style.  While she was buttoned up on top, the studded belt, flared black mini skirt and cutout peep-toe booties showed her bolder side.

Kruger in Balmain on the set of the TV show, “Le Grand Journal”, Image courtesy of Gomoneyways.com

Kruger in Versus Versace at the Festival’s opening photo call, Image courtesy of Gomoneyways.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the Cannes Festival’s opening photo call, Kruger channeled her brazen side once again, in a maroon lace-up Versus by Versace dress with a pleated skirt.  The dress was reminiscent of Roman armor; perhaps it was to shield her from fashion victimization in the coming days.  Oh, the power of a good dress.

Much love and good shoes,

e

Jessica Simpson “Oversized Ombre Hat”, Image courtesy of shop.nordstrom.com

With Memorial Day just around the corner, we should all be gearing up for warmer weather and a little time off to soak up some rays.  Of course you may already have some summer essentials in your closet, a breezy sundress, embellished sandals, and a classic denim jacket, but let me share my current obsession for summer 2012 that will not even break the bank:

The pink version of my pick, Image courtesy of Gap.com

Wide-brimmed sun hats are creeping up in retailer’s summer collections all over the place.  Whatever your style, there is a straw sun hat just for you.  They come in stripes, bright colors, dark neutrals, and of course, their natural state, straw.  There are even brands, such as Coolibar, that boast UV protection so you can be stylish and protect your skin.  I picked one up for myself at the Gap in a natural straw and black stripe pattern—trés chic!

Wide-brimmed ombre sun hat featured in Chanel’s 2013 Resort lineup, Image courtesy of Style.com

Wide-brimmed, embellished ombre sun hat featured in Chanel’s 2013 Resort lineup, Image courtesy of Style.com

The sun hat trend seems to be a lasting one; sun hats were spotted on Chanel’s 2013 Resort runway with ombré treated brims and others with feminine embellishments.  So snag a few in bright colors and patterns or splurge on a classic neutral that you can wear poolside year after year—sun hats are here to stay.

Much love and good shoes,

e

Winter is fading away and spring is now upon us.  My dog can feel it in his old rickety bones.  It is time, yet again, to sift through the new spring lines and decide what is essential to add to our new spring wardrobes:

Louis Vuitton pumps, Image courtesy of Style.com

Pointed-toe ladylike pumps: Pack up last year’s stacked stilettos and say hello to a more gravity-friendly pump. They were all over the spring runways in the more classic form, as seen at Louis Vuitton and Prada. The lower heel also manifested itself as a bootie, as seen at Oscar de la Renta and Chanel.  It also took flight as a delicate sandal at Givenchy and Stella McCartney.  Pair these ladylike pumps with flirty feminine dresses and skirts or some cuffed denim to really show them off.

Cropped coat: If you do not have one of these in your closet already, for shame!  They look adorable layered over a tee and jeans or a spring dress.  Go for a bright color, such as red or green, to instantly add a pop of color to a neutral outfit.

1969 Gap Always Skinny Jeans, Image courtesy of Gap.com

Milkshake denim: Once again, it is a free-for all when it comes to denim this season.  Every silhouette and wash will be at your fingertips, however, picking pastels that conjure up thoughts of sipping milkshakes or smoothies is the way to go to stay on-trend for spring.  This brings me to my next pick . . .

Pastels!: Think soft and ladylike this spring.  Take your hue cues from Easter eggs—yep, I went there—just not the hideous ones you dye at home.  But remember, it is all about balance.  Head-to-toe baby blue is not a good choice for anyone—except a baby.  Pair a pastel bottom with a bright or neutral top.

Diane von Furstenberg, photo courtesy of Style.com

Experiment with white: Designers such as Diane von Furstenberg, Stella McCartney and Karl Lagerfeld (Chanel) played with white in all kinds of textures, opacities and structures for spring.  So get inspired!  White will look amazing with your pastels and ultra crisp with a cropped pair of skinny jeans and pumps.

Hopefully your closet is now more adequately stocked for spring.  Now go forth, and strut your stuff.

Much love and good shoes,

e

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