By Summer Stanley
These days it’s not that hard to become captivated with the latest fashion trends scattered throughout our social media feeds. The formula to produce the latest ensemble is easily accessible, but after a while, we all run the risk of looking a bit like our friends and colleagues. While dressing on trend can be a fun way to set yourself apart in the beginning, the looks quickly grow dated and unoriginal once everyone else is on the bandwagon. We’ve all been there.
This fall, let’s take a new approach. Let’s experiment with layers and accessories to satisfy those new style cravings in unexpected ways. Put a slight twist on your go-to closet staples. Campus dwellers, try adding modern charm to old school looks. Professionals, pay attention to the details that can work overtime.
Going Baroque: There’s never been a better time to indulge in the luxuries of a royally feminine wardrobe. With ornate options such as embroidered florals, ruffles and bows, tapestry, velvet and crystal embellishments, sometimes one of these elements is all you need to add richness and grandeur to an otherwise boring outfit.
The National Sporting Library & Museum’s 7th Annual Polo Classic on Sunday, September 10th is a great opportunity for stepping up your dress style while you can still bare shoulders and legs in late summer’s warmth. Pair with block or wedge heels, booties, slides or mules for a balance in practical, yet fashionable footwear.
Then for the 5th Middleburg Film Festival held October 19-22, cover those shoulders with a beautiful wrap or scarf for cocktail hour and a movie screening. The festival’s founder, Sheila C. Johnson, also founder and CEO of Salamander Hotels & Resorts, has her own collection of luxury scarves, some of which were inspired by the observational style of filmmaking and the peace and beauty she finds in photographing nature.
Where To Hunt: “Alice + Olivia Waylon Boatneck Blouson Dress in Icy Aqua,” an open shoulder and ruffled dress with silk floral appliques, $395 (Also available in a tunic style blouse, $295), “Rag & Bone Velvet Jeans in Black or Light Blue,” $225, Tully Rector, 13 East Washington St., Middleburg, 540-687-5858.
“Sheila Johnson Collection — Luxury Scarf Collection.” With names like Autumn Cascade, Golden Leaves, and Arden, which displays the image of a brilliant red-orange Sugar Maple tree, it’s impossible to choose. $295, www.sheilajohnsoncollection.com
“Mystic Crushed Velvet Wrap in Green.” $82, Lou Lou Boutiques, 9 East Washington St., Middleburg, VA, 540-687-8702.
SPEND v. SAVE: “Deep Creek Coat in Pebble,” with harvest-hued embroidery, $420, www.sundancecatalog.com
“Sam Edelman Corra Stacked Heel Bootie in Black Tapestry,” $160, www.samedelman.com
“Rebecca Minkoff Alexis Bow Velvet Mule,” $135, www.nordstrom.com
“BP. Leather Maddy Mule,” under $70, www.nordstrom.com
Studying The Classics: Whether you’re going back to school or just back to basics, nothing beats having that timeless tailored blazer to slip on over an oxford or knit shirt. Turn your denim or favorite dress into a class act by investing in this traditional silhouette. Gucci-inspired loafers with horse bit hardware are another no-fail way to polish your look. Check out the new Veronica Beard shoe line, including the Griffin loafer, at Tully Rector in Middleburg.
The International Gold Cup on Saturday, October 28th will likely bring just enough chill to require some layering. Hark back to Ali MacGraw’s 1970 collegiate style with a little plaid, or even this season’s gingham, to help with the transition to fall. It’s the subtle variations of pattern and color that will make you fall in love with the classics all over again.
Where To Hunt: “T.ba Classic Women’s Blazer in Navy.” The perfect cut for women with curves. You’ll be reaching for this piece time and again, as it goes with everything. $749, Highcliffe Clothiers, 112 West Washington Street, Middleburg, VA, 540-687-5633.
“Dubarry Blackthorn Coat in Mist.” A sleek tailored tweed three-quarter length with side splits in a beautiful blue green color. $699, Tri-County Feeds, Fashions, Finds, 7408 John Marshall Highway, Marshall, VA, 540-364-1891.
SPEND v. SAVE: “Polo Ralph Lauren Plaid Blazer,” $598, www.saksfifthavenue.com
“J.Crew Regent Blazer in Plaid with Velvet Tie,” $228, www.jcrew.com
“Miranda Dunn Gingham Tie-Cuff Coat,” $218, www.anthropologie.com
“Sundance Mountain Air Jacket,” $120, www.sundancecatalog.com
“Talbots Wesley Lightweight Gingham Blazer,” $36, www.talbots.com
Read The Fine Print: Sometimes we all need a little whimsy amidst the seriousness of our busy schedules. Years ago, my brother-in-law started participating in “fun sock Friday” to liven up his professional attire heading into the weekend. Others have since followed!
Similarly, you can incorporate pattern play into various pieces of your wardrobe based on your mood, or even the event. Are you looking for an interesting scarf to wear to The 63rd Running of the Virginia Fall Races on Saturday, October 14th? Pick up a fun bow tie for your date while you’re at it.
Where to hunt: “sigAshop Darla Midi Dress in Green Pastures Print,” $129, www.shopsigashop.com (You can also find local designer sigAshop in various prints and styles at Tri-County Feeds, Fashions, Finds in Marshall, VA.)
“Randy Hanauer Fox Print Bow Tie,” $65, Highcliffe Clothiers, 112 West Washington Street, Middleburg, VA, 540-687-5633. Highcliffe carries plenty of fox hunting and equestrian themed prints, even Grateful Dead dancing bears patterns on belts, flasks and other gifts.
“TWD Equestrian Silk Scarf,” $25 Lou Lou Boutiques, 9 East Washington St., Middleburg, VA, 540-687-8702. Use it as a headband or tie it on your neck or handbag!
SPEND v. SAVE: “Draper James Foxy Ruffle Trim Dress and Tie Neck Top in Blush,” $250 / $175, www.draperjames.com
“H&M Bird Patterned Dress in Black,” $50, www.hm.com
“Maurices Perfect Blouse in Off White with Bird Print,” $29, www.maurices.com
Functional Fashion: Wraps, hats and bags—oh my! Now it’s time to take your outfit to the finish line. When there’s fun to be had on the go, no one wants to be encumbered by the weight of a heavy purse or bulky winter coat that ends up being carried. Stay toasty with a stylish statement poncho or fresh take on the utility jacket. Keep hands free with a crossbody bag or cute leather backpack.
Where To Hunt: “Katherine Barclay Fringe Duster” in a native motif and “Katherine Barclay Asymmetric Poncho.” A “stay-in-place” one sleeve poncho with contrasting trim, both are early fall transition pieces with a cotton/micro poly blend, perfect for those with an allergy to wool. Each $165, Duchessa, 100 E. Washington St., Middleburg, VA, 540-687-8898.
“In2Green Poncho in Merlot,” a chunky cable knit in 75% recycled cotton and 25% polyester, $130, and “In2Green Poncho in Chocolate Milk,” a 75% recycled cotton and 25% polyester with horse bit trim, $90, Tri-County Feeds, Fashions, Finds, 7408 John Marshall Highway, Marshall, VA, 540-364-1891.
“The Green Hill Collection from the Engraver Devon Purse.” A leather crossbody with adjustable leather straps available as a medium size in Navy/Chestnut for $249, or a small size in Green/Chestnut for $179, Tri-County Feeds, Fashions, Finds, 7408 John Marshall Highway, Marshall, VA, 540-364-1891.
“Lou Lou Boutiques Vegan Leather Backpack,” $55, Lou Lou Too, 18 East Washington St., Middleburg, VA, 540-687-4204.
SPEND v. SAVE: “Rag & Bone Floppy Brim Felted Wool Fedora,” $195, www.nordstrom.com
“Floppy Belted Hat,” $38, www.loulouboutiques.com, and “Wide Brim Derby Hat” remains a best seller no matter the season, $30, Lou Lou Too, 18 East Washington St., Middleburg, VA, 540-687-4204.
“Sateen Utility Jacket,” $108, www.loft.com
“Cropped Military Blazer,” $39, www.maurices.com
Ultimately, choosing looks you love is the best expression of yourself. If you’re searching for individuality in your personal style, and whether you plan to spend a little or a lot, just remember it’s all in the details. Tally-ho, shoppers! ML