From Erdem’s intricately embroidered capes to Valentino’s sumptuous velvet dresses to Alexander McQueen’s brooch-studded jackets, there was no shortage of period-piece-inspired style on the fall 2016 runways. But how do you incorporate these luxe details into your wardrobe without looking like you’re way too early for holiday dressing—or headed to a Renaissance fair? We broke it down into five key elements and asked top stylists for their expert take on pulling off the decadent mood for every day.
Velvet & Brocade
Since spring, velvet has become a wardrobe mainstay, and similarly rich fabrications like brocade and embroidery are following suit for fall. To balance the opulence of these materials and make them modern, try an unexpected palette and clean lines. “Opting for lighter colors will make a fabric like velvet feel a little fresher and more wearable year-round,” says stylist Anita Patrickson. “Also, choosing a silhouette with cutouts or cropped pants and tops will help reduce the heaviness of a fabric.” Looking to make less of a statement? Stylist Annabelle Harron suggests smaller accents here and there to add a little texture without going overboard. “If it feels daunting to wear a head-to-toe look for day, inject some elements with key pieces—booties, a bomber jacket, or velvet ribbon details on blouses and dresses.”
Worn in offbeat, eye-catching clusters, vintage-inspired brooches and pins are the new statement jewelry this season. “They are a great and approachable way to pick up on the Victorian trend,” says Harron. Make like Julie de Libran of Sonia Rykiel and liberally embellish the pocket or lapel of a classic wool coat to give it new life, or follow Christopher Kane and scatter pins haphazardly all over eveningwear for a dose of inventive sparkle. “I think it’s just about thinking of brooches as you would any jewelry,” says Patrickson. “You could even wear one as a collar pin in place of a necklace.”
Delicate and unabashedly feminine, lace adds intricate texture to any look. Plus it’s lightweight and incredibly comfortable—a major bonus for layer-friendly autumn weather. Avoid looking too precious by opting for lace in dark, moody hues like eggplant or black à la Marc Jacobs, or juxtaposing it with a little edge (think: leather jackets, jeans, and even sneakers or motorcycle boots.) “In my mind it’s all about the pairing,” Patrickson says. “Something can feel vintage-y but will need to be paired with a fabric like denim to update it.” It can also be as simple as letting it peek out of an otherwise NSFW top, as stylist Maeve Reilly suggests. “Sometimes all you need to do is add a lacy bralette under a low-cut top to add a small taste of this age to an old trend,” she says.
Swingy and oversized, bell sleeves are an effortless way to add a touch of drama to daywear. Make sure the rest of the pieces in your outfit are slim and streamlined to keep the look fresh and the proportions in check. “It’s such an easy trend to execute,” says Patrickson. “Pair with fitted trousers or a fitted skirt.” Exaggerated sleeves can also be strategically layered: “You can wear under a blazer and allow just a portion of the cuff to peek out.”
Corsets have come a long way from their sixteenth-century, waist-constricting roots. When styled just right, they can transform an ensemble in a surprisingly modern way. “This is definitely the season for wearing corsets over clothing of all types,” says Patrickson. “Wear over a button-up for a fresher take or pair with a floaty floral dress to accentuate your waist. We even saw Prada pairing corsets with overcoats.” The easiest way to bring this fall runway favorite into our real-life closets? Take a page out of Kim Kardashian’s book and layer with the simplest item that everyone owns: a white tee. And to avoid looking like you got dressed in the dark, Reilly recommends sticking to some guidelines. “I think it’s important to make sure this look doesn’t get too out of control. The corset should be small and not straight from a lingerie store.”