Many designers dipped in to gold and silver for the Spring 2012 collections, adding rich texture to classic designs like pencil skirts, tailored trousers and A-line dresses. From eye-catching gold leather shorts at Cynthia Rowley to silver beaded slouchy pants at Rebecca Taylor, metallics in spring will give everyday outfits a decidedly futuristic feel. Gold and silver pieces create richness and playful elegance while putting a fresh spin on more timeless looks.

Make the most of metallics this spring with our tips for how to wear and embrace the trend without getting lost in a sea of gold, silver and sequins.

1. Keep accessories minimal

Since metallics pack a significant visual punch all on their own, there’s no need to go overboard with accessories. While Thakoon did showcase a few pieces with
metallic embellishments paired with necklaces and hats, his choice to use gold stripes to highlight his collections’ brighter colours, toned down each outfit and kept them casual. If you are going with a more prominent metallic piece, rather than a style that simply has metallic accents (an all-metallic dress or blazer) you’ll want to keep accessories basic or forfeit them completely.

2. Pair metallics with neutrals

Despite Diesel Black Gold’s pairing of seasonal it-colours (lavender, blue) with shiny silver pants, it can be much easier to incorporate metallics into your wardrobe this spring by wearing them with neutrals. Chado Ralph Rucci’s collection saw dazzling silver jackets paired with stark white trousers, while Giles paired short-sleeved white blouses with metallic pencil skirts to create looks that were eye-catching yet elegant. By using neutrals to balance out a metallic piece you can keep your look on-trend without going over the top. Pair a metallic pencil skirt with a cream or grey sweater or tone down a pair of sequined cropped pants with a fitted shirt in basic black or pearly white.

Learn how to wear the transparency fashion trend.

How much sparkle is too much? More tips on how to wear metallics, on the next page…
3. Choose form-fitting pieces

Most designers chose form-fitting metallics to create sleek looks balanced by looser blouses, jackets or pants. As evidenced by Balmain’s short and tight gold skirts, metallics tend to look more polished when worn closer to the body, creating an evening-appropriate look that’s both elegant and edgy. Add black ankle boots or gladiator sandals to toughen up the ensemble and add interest to your overall look. Herve Leger by Max Azria adopted the same approach, boasting silhouette-hugging dresses for a bold, futuristic feel and anchoring pieces with knee-high sandals for an edgier aesthetic. While loose metallic jackets did appear in collections by Frankie Morello and Alexander McQueen, they were belted or balanced by fitted pants and skirts, which kept ensembles looking clean and refined.

4. Wear one metallic piece at a time

At Ralph Lauren’s prohibition-era inspired collection, the key to wearing metallics and keeping your look polished was to choose one piece and accentuate it accordingly. The designer used sweeping white skirts and even feather boas to highlight silver blouses and gowns, while Chado Ralph Rucci used sheer white button-ups and
transparent overlays to accentuate the sheen of his Spring 2012 offerings. Cavalli adopted a similar tactic, pairing suede sandals and a soft pink jacket with metallic pants to keep the overall aesthetic toned down. Since metallics create such a bold statement, wearing too many at once can cheapen a look. Choose one key piece (slim pant, statement bag) and let it be the star of your outfit.

Metallics offer a fun way to freshen up your look for spring and update your wardrobe for a new season. Whether through pairing with neutrals or keeping accessories minimal, the key is to wear them in a way that anchors rather than overwhelms an outfit.

Read more:
Spring 2012 fashion accessories: Pop of colour

Metallic and sequin accents
How not to wear: Animal prints