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Simple floral prints are always in bloom – but this summer it’s time to up the ante. I’m talking bold graphics, romantic watercolors, and unexpected abstracts. Check out the tips below, then start piling them on.

  1. When donning head-to-toe prints, makeup and accessories should take a back seat. Look to a nude lip and neutral shoes.
  2. Don’t be afraid to mix and match. Go artful on top and graphic on the bottom. Once you have mixing down pat, just think of all the potential wardrobe combos that await in your closet.
  3. The easiest way to freshen up a bland outfit? A printed clutch. Whether you’re in all black or all white, a zigzag bag will quickly spruce things up.

 
Our Play with Prints: From Floral to Geometric Boutique opened Friday, May 31, at 11AM ET.

By Keriann Coffey, Associate Blog Editor

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May 31, 2013

When it comes to mixing patterns around the house, the options may seem overwhelming. But with a few tricks of the décor trade, you’ll be sprucing up for spring in no time. From a black-and-white motif to multi-scale stripes and florals, achieve a soothing balance (sans pattern panic).

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Go with Shades of Black and White
If black and white is your theme, use any and all shades in between. Just be sure to balance bold patterns with soft ones. Décor tip: Use small-scale patterns in smaller rooms to avoid overpowering a space.

Stick to One Color
With a single color scheme, not only is it easy to mix patterns – you can mix fabrics and décor styles, too. From the drapes down to the carpet (and with any combination of checks,  stripes, and florals), the room will appear unified.

Play with Pattern Size
When working with multiple hues, try to stick to one or two large-scale patterns. For instance, if the drapes or bedspread is a striking floral, add sheets and pillows with small-scale stripes.

Our Floral & Stripes: Play with Pattern at Home Boutique opens Thursday, February 21, at 11AM ET.

By Julia Ivins, Staff Writer

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February 21, 2013

 

Aside from permission to mow the comfort food (in the name of staying warm, of course), one of the greatest pros to a cooling clime is the glorious opportunity to layer up. Can’t decide between that Parisian striped top, a chambray tunic, your favorite cashmere cardi, and the perfect chartreuse puffer vest? Throw them all on together. When done right, the complexity that contrasting textures, colors, weights – really, anything – bring to life is sure to sartorially set you apart (and tell volumes about your mix-and-match know-how) all season long.

Retain your shape.
Have a penchant for wearing four layers on top (capped off by an oversized field coat)? Firstly – I applaud you. Secondly – be sure that, whatever you wear on the bottom, it’s a skinnily cut something. Same goes for vice versa (i.e., roomy trousers paired with a form-fitting top). Swaddling away any semblance of shape defeats the fundamental purpose of layering. A fashion coup, first and foremost, will always entail lines that intrigue.

There’s no such thing as clashing patterns.
Throwing a plaid flannel over a navy striped tee? Yes. Perfect. Do it. Challenging traditional fashion norms is the surest way to show that you’re so familiar with what is and isn’t “allowed,” you have absolutely no qualms with taking the path less followed.

Contrasting fabrics is key. 
Avoid looking like a one-dimensional cartoon character by mixing and matching different textures. Your look will achieve an intriguing depth that’ll have onlookers wanting to know the story behind every piece you’re wearing.

And don’t forget functionality!
Save the costumery for Halloween. The strongest statement any layered look can make is that its every participating piece plays a genuinely functional role. An example? The tied-around-the-neck sweater. If this is the look you choose, then make sure that, if a chill crops up, the sweater will still look totally in place when pulled on over the rest of your outfit.  

Our Layer Love: Women’s Cardigans, Tunics, and More Boutique is now open.

By Sarah Stanley, Staff Writer

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November 12, 2012

Being a style risk taker can feel (literally) like you’re toeing the edge of the DON’T pages in Glamour. Mixing prints, the hotly debated PJs at work (hey, I’ve worn a swimsuit to work before… with pants, mind you), and here’s another one to add to the sartorial controversy list: socks with heels.

Alexa Chung’s been rocking them for years. And no way, José, do I mean white knee socks with slip-on sports sandals. I’m talking about those cute little open-toe sandals, the pair you don’t pack away just in case there’s a freak heat wave in January.

Here in New England, we’re entering into an eight-month season of tights and boots. I’m not ready for that type of commitment. Instead, I’m thinking Dolce & Gabbana Fall 2012 and easing into the cooler months with a slew of shoe and sock combos.

This post from Stylelist, which references the same Dolce & Gabbana collection, gives a quick rundown on how to get it right. Though I’ll admit it certainly is a toughie, this trend’s not as intimidating as it sounds.

By Sam Dulac, Senior Staff Writer

Have a tip about wearing socks with heels? Love it, or not so much? Share it in the comments below or tweet us @ruelala

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September 11, 2012