Using statement pieces

We’ve all done it. You’re out in the mall somewhere, or thumbing through a magazine, or browsing a website, and think, Oooh, that’s pretty…but what in the world would I wear it with? Statement pieces are fun, but they can be tricky to build an outfit around. The thing is, when there’s one really bold piece you want to draw attention to, go simple with the rest of the outfit. (Also, if you’ve got a flashy statement piece, you can go inexpensively simple with the rest of the outfit–always a bonus, right?)

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This blouse came up as I was browsing Neiman Marcus today. Not my normal style at ALL, and very much a statement piece, but it spoke to me. The thing with flowy, loose-fitting blouses like this is that they need balance. That means, if you’re wearing a floaty top, you need a slim-fitting pant so that it looks intentional, rather than looking like your clothes just don’t fit. Normally, I’m not an advocate of skinny jeans, but that or a narrow-cut straight leg are what you need here. (Don’t go boot cut. That’s more fabric than you want with this look. Again, you want a narrow line.)  Now, the risk that skinny jeans pose is that they make the ankles look so very thin in comparison to the rest of the body that it looks like a person’s walking on pins. The best solution for that is to cover up the disproportionately narrow line at the ankle by putting a pair of mid-calf to knee length boots over them. With shapes like this, it’s all about balance.

Another example of a statement piece that needs to be the focal point of the outfit is this fantastic purse from kate spade new york. (No, that’s not supposed to be capitalized. If the bag you’re buying has it capitalized, it’s probably a fake–the brand is trademarked in all-lowercase letters.)

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With the bright pink and orange of this bag, if you put it with something similarly colorful, you’re going to get an outfit that’s eye-searingly bold. Rather than letting the pieces compete with each other, put it with a crisp white blouse and some khakis.

The key to wearing a statement piece is to pare down the rest of your outfit and let it make its statement. Coco Chanel once said that it’s always better to be slightly underdressed. Striking pieces can be a lot of fun, but wear them tastefully, and keep the rest of the outfit minimal.

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