As a stylist who has spent the last 20 years shopping and dressing women from all walks of life, I’ve learned a lot about what to buy and where to put my clients’ money to build the most beautiful and functional wardrobes—sometimes against their will (Gina DeVee) ahem!
In the last decade, the climate of fashion has changed from “spend everything on luxury labels if you can afford it,” to “be a savvy shopper who knows how to mix high and low fashion without sacrificing your style.” In fact, it’s become more chic to not dress in head-to-toe labels, and instead share how you styled a “fast fashion” brand with your designer pieces. Today, there are certain bragging rights involved when you pull this off, and the most fashionable women in the world are thrilled to announce they’re wearing CHANEL with H&M.
Some women were born with great style and some were not, but the hard truth is, style doesn’t come from a label and it’s not something you can just buy. Though many have tried. Sometimes you have to work for it. And that means once you’ve hit the top and have a closet full of gorgeous designer clothing, the challenge begins all over again. It’s time to get creative, mix things up and have fun with fashion—both high and low—and also see what all the cool girls are buzzing about and shopping for on a budget.
Which brings me to a very special story about the day I brought Gina to Zara for the first time to explore the highs and lows of mid-range fashion. There may or may not have been some kicking and screaming involved, but after she let down her guard and preconceived notions about the product, she started to see the light…ish. We found some great pieces that played well with her designer favorites and filled in the blanks beautifully to create some of her most memorable looks. I’m not saying she’s a total convert, because she’s still slightly allergic to this concept, but we have made great strides in the name of fashion. To be continued…
Which brings us to this week’s outfit.
Admittedly, there is really only one “low” piece of clothing in this high-low look—depending on what you consider “low”—but it’s the piece that does all the talking for the outfit. No, Gina’s printed floral pant is not Gucci, but a “cheap-chic” version from Zara that cost around 70 bucks. Yes, we were fooled too! The print and colors were totally gorgeous and what’s more, they actually fit really well—which can be one of the biggest challenges with moderate designer labels. I’ll skip the story about how long it took to get Gina into the fitting room to actually try them on, but the end result was a real aha moment for her.
When it came to styling this sophisticated daytime look, we really built everything around the pant. I find that adding some well-tailored high-end pieces to the low, like this cream Dolce e Gabbana blazer, really helps to balance everything out and distract the eye. You don’t notice anything about the pant, except the beautiful colors and print execution, which no one can argue doesn’t look great. Simple becomes special with little-to-no effort. The black silk blouse from Tamara Mellon’s new collection anchored the look and kept a fabulous fabric close to Gina’s skin, so she still felt luxe in her clothes.
Next came the accessories. We wanted a bold pop of rich color that made the pant look more fall fashion ready, so this scarlet red Gucci handle bag just felt right. We added a nude shoe that helped elongate Gina’s leg-line, offering some extra height without stealing focus from the pant. The necklace from Chan Luu was less expensive, but not less beautiful and helped elevate the look.
Perhaps Coco Chanel had the right idea when she created her now infamous costume jewelry collection. Her reasoning was that if women could buy jewelry that was more affordable than real gemstones, they could properly accessorize their outfits rather than sticking to a few special pieces. Ahead of her time indeed.
Accessories are the easiest way to have some fun on a budget, however I would limit it to bags and jewelry. Shoes are actually a great place to invest some extra money. It’s like owning a good bed, your whole body rests on your shoes all day long so quality is key. Plus, cheap shoes can be pretty atrocious and as I like to say, “People will always look at your watch and your shoes.” So please don’t be that woman entrepreneur who’s slacking on her shoe game or I will come find you.
This concludes your lesson in high-low fashion. Please share your comments below and happy shopping!
Get The Look
Sidney Sullivan’s Dream-Print Trousers
Grinson Silk-Georgette Blazer