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Think Grace Kelly in Rear Window, Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday and Doris Day in Pillow Talk. In fashion, the return to ladylike chic means a return to A-line skirts, button-down blouses, peplums, and three-inch pointy toe heels. It calls back to the ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s—fashion eras that embraced modesty, femininity and old Hollywood glamour. Thanks in large part to the popularity of AMC’s Mad Men—and the show’s talented costume designer Janie Bryant— ladylike dressing is one of the biggest trends for summer 2012.
Designers including Christian Dior, Marc Jacobs, Jil Sander and Jason Wu all sent ladylike ensembles down the runway in their Spring/Summer 2012 collections. Celebs like Diane Kruger, Alexa Chung and Kirsten Dunst have all worn the ladylike trend on the red carpet. To help you look fashionably refined this summer, we asked stylist Rita Fiorucci for her top eight fashion tips on how to wear the ladylike trend.
Fashion tips #1: Be confident, but don’t overdo it.
“Basically instead of taking this trend and wearing it head to toe, make it effortless,” says Fiorucci. “Combine a beautiful motif floral shirt with a great leather pencil skirt. [Pair] a lightweight accordion pleated skirt in a brilliant pale colour with a simple t-shirt. Combine a kitsch sense of style with a modern flair.” Avoid looking like your wearing a costume by adding your own personal style touches. In other words: “make it your own!” says Fiorucci.
Fashion tips #2: Try vintage style.
A smart way to wear this trend is shop second-hand and vintage. You might even be lucky enough to find something from the era you’re trying to emulate. Again, try to avoid looking like you time travelled from the 50s by purchasing good quality second hand clothing and combining them with modern clothing, as Fiorucci advises.
Fashion tips #3: Make sure your hair and makeup are complementary.
Your makeup should be simple and sophisticated. Fiorucci suggests, “a classic with a modern polished twist […] for hair and minimal makeup with defined brows.” Wear a bold red lip colour with red nail polish to match.
Check out four more fashion tips on how to wear the ladylike trend on the next page...
Above (left to right): Johnathan Saunders Spring/Summer 2012, Christian Dior Spring/Summer 2012 and Louis Vuitton Spring/Summer 2012.
Fashion tips #4: Embrace colour
“Don’t be afraid [to] experiment with the colour,” suggests Fiorucci. Take a cue from Louis Vuitton’s Spring/Summer collection and wear “pretty pales like lilac combined with teal, almond brown with a soft sea foam.”
Fashion tips #5: Get the key pieces and incorporate them into your wardrobe.
When shopping keep an eye out for items like: A-line skirts; pencil skirts; button down blouses; fitted trousers, lace dresses; skirt suits; cat-eye sunglasses; peplums, and modest heels. If you’re stuck, take inspiration from the runway. For example look at Prada’s must-have heels from their Spring/Summer collection. “I feel that Miuccia Prada’s collection was influenced by films like Grease [and those] from the 50’s. This ladylike quality combined with the custom car culture and flame detailing adds a new and fresh meaning to sultry. It’s sexy, [but not] vulgar.”
Fashion tips #6: Dress for your body type.
Since this trend is meant to accentuate a woman’s figure, every body type can wear the ladylike look. Like anything in fashion, the key is to find pieces that are tailored to bring out your best assets. If you’re pear-shaped, for example, opt for a slim-fitting blouse tucked into a high-waisted A-line skirt. Remember: feeling comfortable with what you’re wearing is key. As Fiorucci explains, “The confident woman is always the best-dressed in the room.”
Fashion tips #7: Dress for the occasion.
For the day: Make it playful and demure with a 50s inspired dress silhouette and two inch peep toe heels.
For the office: Keep in minimal with a high waisted pencil skirt and a crisp buttoned down blouse.
For an evening date: Keep it sophisticated but cool, with a slim pair of high-waisted capris, a sleeveless collared shirt and a pair of Mary Janes.
Fashion tips #8: Bring out your own sense of style.
“Style is a form expression,” says Fiorucci. “The more individual you are, the more you will turn heads—and possibly perspectives.”
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