Posts filed under 'How To'

How to Wear a Cape


Pictured: Hooded Duffle Cape | $160 at Topshop, Shirt with Tailored Front | 25.99 GBP (approx $40.50) at Zara, Black Ribbed Ankle Leggings | $36 at Topshop, Studded Ballet Flats | $138 at J Crew, and City Bag with Straps | 59.99 GBP (approx $93.60) at Zara. Note: For US customers, Zara items are available in store only.

Supersize your style this Fall with a cape worthy of a style superhero.  Deliciously dramatic, the cape delivers an exaggerated silhouette to play with - and keeps you warm all the while.  Do as Sofia Coppola does and have some fun with the dramatic cape with an equally exaggerated silhouette.  We love how she pairs her voluminous cape with something super skinny on the bottom, juxtaposing an elegant "uptown" cape with a "downtown" pair of leggings.  Here’s how to get the look:

1. Start with a tailored white button down shirt and a pair of skinny black leggings or trouser pants.  Bonus points for picking a pair that hits just above the ankle.
2. Layer on your voluminous cape, creating a gorgeous big-over-small silhouette.
3. Finish off the look with a structured bag and a pair of ballet flats, which pair perfectly with the cropped pants.

How would you wear the cape?  Share your style with us in the comments!

32 comments December 3rd, 2010

The Guys’ Guide to Layering


J Crew’s seasonal lookbooks are filled to the brim with fantastic (if not over the top) examples of layering.

Proper layering is absolutely foundational to a man’s style.  Whether you live in snowy Boston or sunny Miami, whether it’s the peak of summer or the valley of winter, the principles of layering will help you craft the right look for whatever your day brings you.  Presenting our five golden rules for layering:

Rule 1: Keep the First Layer Slim
Let’s face it: layering can be bulky.  But it doesn’t have to look that way.  How do you add layers without adding bulk?  Keep the first layer slim - in terms of both material and fit.  Your base layer should consist of thin fabrics that fit somewhat snugly; that way, other layers can fit on top without creating layers of bulk.

Rule 2: Mix Up the Length of Your Layers
When you’re layering, each piece on each layer has a purpose.  And for the most part, you want the layers to be visible, as this creates a more visually interesting look.  How do you make sure that each layer is visible?  Vary the length of each layer, so that each layer can be seen.  For example, if you have a tee shirt, a button-down shirt, and a sweater, let the tails of the button-down be seen from underneath the sweater.  And let the tee peek out from under the button-down.

Rule 3: Play with Textures
Women can play with silhouette when layering, but for men, the best bet is to play with texture.  Especially when creating monochromatic or duochromatic looks, a little texture goes a long way.  Pair a chunky knit with a smooth jersey - or a cozy thin knit sweater with a rough corduroy pant.  A little fabric juxtaposition can really make your look.

Rule 4: Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment with Color
Even if your wardrobe is dominated by blues, greys, and blacks, you don’t have to limit yourself to these colors.  And the easiest, least risky way to add color to your wardrobe is through layering.  You don’t have to gamble nearly as much on that blood orange sweater when it’s an ensemble player in your look instead of the star.  We love it when a bit of color peeks out from under a jacket lapel - or sweater - or even from between your pant leg and shoe with an arresting pair of socks.  

Rule 5: Add an Element of Surprise

No great look is complete without that je ne sais quoi - that element that makes it uniquely you.  Maybe it’s the hint of a purple sweater peeking out from underneath your navy blazer.  Maybe it’s a well-placed handkerchief in your jacket pocket.  Maybe it’s a motorcycle boot that you paired with your trouser pants.  Whatever it is, this element of surprise is what makes your look your own.  

Have a great layering tip?  Share your style with us in the comments!

7 comments December 1st, 2010

Mixing and Matching Patterns: How to Pair Shirts and Ties


Pictured: Point-collar Dress Shirt in Baltic Stripe | $55 at J Crew with Floral Tie | $11.84 at ASOS, Button Down Dress Shirt in Shadow Tattersall | $69.50 at J Crew with Hackett Madras Tie | $93 at ASOS.

The dress shirt and tie is one of the most foundation combinations for men, but it doesn’t have to be boring.  Sure, you can mix your solid colored ties with solid colored dress shirts - or even your striped tie with the colored dress shirt - but you needn’t limit yourself to a single print or pattern.  We love the look of mixing and matching patterns with shirts and ties, especially now that mixing and matching different prints in the same outfit is no longer reserved for the fashion forward.

But when you’re mixing and matching different prints, how do you make sure they work together?  The key is to tie the prints together with a motif - be it size, pattern, and/or color.  

Size: If you have two different prints, they’ll work together if the scale of the print is similar.  Two small prints will complement one another, as will two oversized prints.

Pattern: If you have two patterns of the same style, such as two plaids, you’ll do best by mixing up the scale of the print.  A small plaid with a large one, for example, will create visual interest.  Otherwise, the look can come out feeling too matchy-matchy.

Color: Sometimes all you need is a shared color to make two wildly different prints work together.  Color can work its magic to synchronize even multiple prints in an outfit; it’s the motif of choice to leverage when you’re combining three or more patterns in a single look.

How will you match your dress shirt and tie?  Share your style with us in the comments!

Add comment May 18th, 2010

How to Wear Leggings

How do you wear leggings?  Glad you asked.  We’ve created three outfits for your inspiration pleasure as a case study for how to wear leggings:

Outfit 1: Leggings + Casual Blouse + Miniskirt + Flats

How to Wear Leggings

Feeling the love for this outfit?  Here’s more information about it.

Why does this outfit work?  It’s a study in monochromatic dressing—perfect for those of you who are hesitant about trying leggings out.  The grey blouse pairs well with the grey miniskirt—and the grey leggings.  This kind of monochromatic dressing is great for petites, as it creates an unbroken vertical line, making you look taller.  Visual interest is added to the outfit with a pair of royal blue flats and a structured handbag to match. 

Outfit 2: Leggings + Tunic + Jacket + Boots

How to Wear Leggings

Feeling the love for this outfit?  Here’s more information about it.

One of the easiest ways to wear leggings is to pair them with a tunic.  We chose a tunic in bright blue to add a visual punch.  Paired with the bright blue tunic is a pair of leggings in a darker blue color, to create a unified look.  We added a short sleeved jacket to layer over the tunic—with a bonus shot of style in the form of a checkerboard plaid pattern.  We finished off the outfit with a pair of ankle boots for a sleek, sophisticated look.

Outfit 3: Leggings + Casual Dress + Pumps

How to Wear Leggings

Feeling the love for this outfit?  Here’s more information about it.

Wearing a dress over leggings is a popular way to layer.  We have two dress recommendations for pairing over leggings: (1) a close fitting dress (such as a knit dress), cinched with a wide belt, or (2) a billowy bohemian style casual dress.  Whether you go with the close fitting or the more loose fitting dress, choose one that falls at or above the knee for the most flattering silhouette and best effect.  P.S. Don’t you love that clutch handbag?  It instantly dresses up the knit dress.

We’ll leave you with five last thoughts on how to wear leggings:

(1) When you wear a shirt over leggings, your shirt shouldn’t fall past the middle of your thigh.  Any lower will throw off your proportions.

(2) When you wear a dress over leggings, the rule is that your dress should fall at or above your knee.  If your dress falls below your knee, you run the risk of visually cutting off your legs.  Not very flattering.

(3) The key to wearing leggings in style is to get the big-over-small silhouette.  So when you choose a shirt to pair with your leggings, look for a roomy shirt that’s anything but skintight.  Skintight top + skintight leggings = Minus points for style.

(4) When you look for shoes to pair with your leggings, look for three styles: flats, boots, and pumps.  Other types of shoes tend not to work as well as these three styles.  Our personal favorite is booties with leggings for a rocker chick inspired look.

(5) Our last tip will help you choose a color for your leggings.  When choosing a color for your leggings, we recommend echoing another color already existing in your outfit.  That is, if you already have grey in your outfit, a grey pair of leggings could be a great choice.  But if you don’t already have red in your outfit, don’t try to slip on a pair of red leggings.  Or do it knowing that it’s either going to be either fabulous or frightening…nothing in between.

Have a great tip about how to wear leggings? Share it with us in the comments!

18 comments June 15th, 2009

Q&A: How to Layer for Cold Weather Days

Q: I would love some advice on how to layer clothes.  I live in Boston so it is important to be able to dress for outside temperatures and be able to quickly adjust once inside.  I’m especially curious about layering with jackets and sweaters.

Feeling the love for this set?  Here’s more information about it.

by Traci Tsai

A: Boston living is particularly extreme.  Outside, the winter weather can be brutally frigid,  and inside, the buildings tend to be highly overheated – so we feel your pain!

How do you keep warm in super cold weather? The key is to keep your core (e.g. your torso) warm.  If your core, head and feet are warm, your body will keep your extremities (arms and legs) warm too.  So—to keep warm in cold weather, you need lots of layers over your core, but you don’t need as many layers over your arms and legs.  This insight helps you stay warm without looking like you

The key to layer your clothes without looking bulky is alternating the length of your sleeves through the layers. Wearing a long sleeved sweater over a long sleeved shirt, with another long sleeved jacket on top, for example, can really bulk you up.  Here’s how to put together a chic layered cold weather outfit:

1.  Start with a solid base: a turtleneck sweater and a pair of jeans.  To give your waist some extra definition, try a belt over the sweater.  This waist definition is key to not looking bulky– especially if you’re wearing underlayers for extra warmth.
2.  Next, add one of my favorite layering elements: a puffer vest (preferably stuffed with down feathers). Down keeps your core very warm, and it gives you more options for your overcoat.
3.  Over the down vest, bundle up in a long wool (or wool cashmere) coat.  The wool coat will give you a more urban look than a more outdoorsy looking down coat—and it traps the heat generated by the down layer. As for warmth, the wool coat without the down layer would generally be less warm than a down coat. But by layering the down vest under the wool coat, you get the best of both worlds: the warmth of down, but the sleeker, more stylish look of wool.
4.  Accessorize for the cold.  180s earmuffs are a part of any stylish woman’s cold weather wardrobe.  Note that the faux fur lined hood on the puffer vest will also act as a hat/wind-blocker, which gives you an additional layer for your ears and head.

Style tip? If it’s really cold—or if you’re particularly sensitive to cold, you can also add a sleeveless silk thermal as your base layer.  For maximum warmth, wear a long sleeve silk thermal on top and silk long underwear under your jean).  Silk liner layers are ideal because they don’t add as much bulk as other underclothing.  Plus, silk’s a natural fabric, so it also breathes better than other synthetic fabrics.

Have a great tip about how to layer for cold weather days? Share it with us in the comments!

12 comments January 13th, 2009

Mens Q&A: What to Wear with Light Brown Shoes

Q:  What color dress pants go well with light brown shoes?  Usually, I see men wearing light brown shoes with navy or beige dress pants.  What else may work?

Light Brown Shoes with a Navy Suit.  Courtesy of The Sartorialist.A: Just as dark colored clothes are more versatile than their light colored counterparts, shoes are also more versatile when they are dark.  Darker shades of brown, for example, work with many more colors than do lighter shades of brown.  Because of this versatility factor, I’d recommend that your shoe wardrobe include a few good pairs of black and darker brown dress shoes in a variety of styles (captoe, bucks, wingtip, etc.) before expanding to lighter colored shoes.  

Even though light brown shoes aren’t super versatile, you still have a few good options.  As you mentioned, light brown shoes complement navy blue nicely.  And they also work with light sandy colored pants.  Beyond that, you may also want to try dark olive green dress pants with your light brown shoes.  Other than these three options, however, it’s going to be tricky.  I’m not saying light brown shoes and other colors can’t work; I’m just saying I haven’t seen it done that well (at least, not yet).

Photo Credit: The Sartorialist.

Have a great tip about what pants to wear with light brown shoes?  Share it with us in the comments!

4 comments January 7th, 2009

Q&A: How to Match Shoes with Work Clothes

Q: Can Omiru provide some basic guidelines about pairing work shoes and pants/skirts?

How to Match Shoes with Work Clothes
Shoes with Work Clothes, courtesy of The Sartorialist

by Colleen Geary, fashion stylist and image consultant

A: To understand how to pair shoes with clothes, you first have to look at silhouette.  Shoes should complement the lines and proportions of an outfit, particularly the bottom that you’re wearing.  We’ll start with the basics—regular trouser pants and a knee length skirt—and then we’ll expand out into other options:

Regular Trouser Pants
For regular width trouser pants, the classic choice is a medium height (approximately 2” tall) shoe.  You can wear pumps, loafers, two-tone shoes…and you can also experiment with different toebox styles.  For a sophisticated look, try pointier toed shoes.  But for a more chic, casual look, you can try a round toe.  If you’re not a fan of heels, you can also try a more subdued kitten heel (usually around 1.5” tall).

Knee Length Skirts
The perfect shoe for a knee-length skirt is a heeled shoe.  Most women prefer to wear a medium height heel to visually elongate the leg, but a shorter kitten heel is also a common choice.  Women who are blessed with extra long legs can also get away with flats, but the rest of us should steer clear of them. 

Wide Trouser Pants
To balance out the width of a wide trouser pant, you’ll need to wear a high heel (3” or taller).  The high heel visually (and physically) elongates your leg line, and it gives your bottom half balance.  If you’re blessed with long legs, you can also try a medium height heel.  But for optimal figure flattery, no low heels or flats allowed!

Skinny Pants
Channel Audrey Hepburn when pairing shoes with skinny pants.  What did Audrey wear?  Ballet flats, of course!  When you’re wearing tight pants, you want a shoe that’s not overly sexy.  So steer clear of high heels and shoes with “toe cleavage.”  The ballet flat (or even really short kitten heels) will do the trick.

Short Skirts
Short skirts are best paired with a kitten heel or ballet flat at work.  If you’re wearing a revealing skirt, you don’t want to go overboard with an overly sexy shoe.  That said, the woman in the miniskirt pictured above made the sexy shoe and miniskirt look work.  How did she do it?  She wore tights to cover up her legs (and tone down the miniskirt), and she wore a heeled bootie.  Because they provide more coverage, booties are a less risqué shoe option than an equivalently high heel.

Long Skirts
Because long skirts and wide trouser pants share similar characteristics (length and width), long skirts require the same shoe options as do wide trouser pants.  So the same rules apply: high heels are best, and no flats are allowed.

I’ll leave you with two parting thoughts on shoes: 
(1) Shoes can be the sole point of interest in an outfit by providing a point of visual interest with design or color.  This is particularly true for work clothes, which are often restrictive style-wise.
(2) Shoes do not need to match the colors of your clothes or your handbag but they should enhance your overall look.

Have a great tip about how to match shoes with work clothes? Share it with us in the comments!

9 comments December 16th, 2008

Three Simple Ways to Wear a Little Black Dress

Why does every woman own a Little Black Dress?  Not only are they figure flattering (black is so slimming), but they’re also extremely versatile.  Depending on what you wear with it, a single dress can exhibit multiple personalities.  Here’s what you can do with a LBD and a few simple accessories:

Ladylike Glamour: Capelet + Clutch + Pumps

Feeling the love for this outfit?  Here’s more information about it.

Perfect for an evening out on the town.  The feathered capelet gives this outfit a touch of old-world glamour. 

Free Spirit: Fedora + Wide Belt + Layered Jewelry + Booties

Feeling the love for this outfit?  Here’s more information about it.

A great day-to-evening look - and perfect for a day of art gallery-hopping.

Modern Gamine: Half Sleeve Coat + Brooch + Long Gloves + Heels

Feeling the love for this outfit?  Here’s more information about it.

Channel a modern Audrey Hepburn with a strikingly simple silhouettes and gamine details.

Have a great tip about what to wear with a Little Black Dress? Share it with us in the comments!

4 comments December 5th, 2008

How to Wear a Summer Dress in Cold Weather

Feeling the love for this set?  Here’s more information about it.

Just because the weather is getting chillier doesn’t mean that you need to put away your summer dresses. Simply pair your warm weather dress with cool weather basics for a look that’s as chic as it is warm.

1. Start with your warm weather dress.  For an extra layer of warmth, you may want to consider a layer of undergarments. Silk traps in heat, and it’s slim enough to not be noticeable under the dress.
2. Bring on the cold weather gear: a puffer vest, a pair of long gloves, and a pair of cozy boots.  Try cashmere gloves for extra warmth.  For cold climates, you may want to switch out the sleeveless puffer vest for a long-sleeved puffer jacket.  Between the puffer jacket and the cashmere gloves, you’ll stay nice and toasty. 
3. Finish off the outfit with a flirty necklace (to echo the sentiment of the dress) and a fits-everything handbag.

How would you wear a warm weather dress in cold weather?  Share your style with us in the comments!

10 comments December 4th, 2008

Mens Q&A: How to Transition Your Style From Work to a Night Out

Q:  I’m 27 years old, and I’m working for the Dubai government. Would you please give me some tips for how to dress to transition from the office to after-office parties with friends?

Spurr: What To Wear to Work…and Beyond
Pictured: Spurr’s variations on formal workwear, courtesy of

A: If you’re reading blogs like this one, then you must be dressing much better than a typical government man in a sack suit, in which case, you’ve already won half the from-work-to-a-night-out battle.

First, if you’re going to more…intellectual…events such as museum exhibit openings or galas, feel free to keep wearing the suit.   Chances are most guys will be wearing one, too (well, at least I would hope they would be).

There are also a few quick things you can do to “casualize” your suit.  Go ahead and loosen your tie to add a nice bit of sprezzaturra to your look.  You could always just lose the tie (and belt, perhaps) altogether.

If a full suit is too formal for you, you could try the dark denim and suit jacket look, with or without the tie.  Make sure you tuck in your shirt though.  Warning: this look is rather cliché, but at least you’ll fit in, right?

If you wear a three-piece suit to work, you can lose the jacket altogether, so you’re just sporting a waistcoat over your shirt and tie. Or, replace the jacket with a sleek, leather bomber jacket, with or without your waistcoat.  Black leather jackets make for very sophisticated, urban nightlife wear, and when they’re done right, you look great.  Switching out your trouser pants for jeans (and keeping the waistcoat) will give you a refreshing take on the dark denim look (and one that I favor at the moment).  You may look like you stepped out of a Spurr catalog, but that’s really a good thing.  Keep the tie in all these outfits.

All these things mentioned are basically variations of a formal suit, but don’t be fooled: they will dramatically transform your look.  I actually like the idea of going from the office to a night out, because it forces men to keep their look polished.

Have a great tip about how to transition your style from work to a night out?  Share it with us in the comments!

1 comment December 3rd, 2008

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