Taking a style and running with it is one of the privileges of being an experienced shopper. When we asked MORE readers how they update their wardrobes, 79 percent reported that they browse trendy stores like H&M and Forever 21, often with their daughters, to find out what’s hip, then buy less extreme versions for themselves. Eighty-five percent mix their seasonal finds with clothes they already own. Perfect example: This season’s little black dress (yes, it’s back, in a zillion versions) can be worn simply, like the thoroughbred it is, or styled, mixed, and layered to a fare-thee-well.
Premise stretch cotton dress ($315). CH Carolina Herrera patent tote ($520). Jimmy Choo leather slingbacks ($455). David Yurman cuffs and ring. R.J. Graziano necklace.
"The modern outfit is the real me — I’d wear it to meet with younger, hipper clients."— Christie Nightingale / 43 / Founder, Premier Match Matchmaking Service
Milly stretch cotton dress ($320). Premise stretch cotton capris ($275). Burberry patent bag ($1,695). Anne Klein patent T-straps ($185). Oliver Peoples sunglasses ($400). Kara Ross jet bracelets. R.J. Graziano hoops.
Catherine Malandrino silk jersey blouson ($255). Lisa Hansen cotton tee ($42). Wolford poly/spandex leggings ($40). Hollywould wicker bag ($295). Agnes B. flats ($355). Erickson Beamon necklace and cuff.
Animal prints are fashion candy, whether we’re giving a classic sweater more bite with a python belt or going all out in leopard. So, yes, we’ll snap up this season’s stripes and spots. But we’ll wear them for fun, not sensuality: Seventy-nine percent of the readers in our poll said that wearing these prints with new jeans and great shoes is the way to be sexy without looking like you’re trying too hard.
Tory Burch cotton blouse ($215) and cardigan ($195). Moschino Cheap & Chic stretch cotton skirt ($350). Lauren Ralph Lauren pumps ($114). Kenneth Cole python-embossed leather bag ($378). A.P.C. embossed snakeskin belt ($106). Faraone Mennella necklace.
"The skinny jeans are me all over. I’d buy the whole outfit and walk straight out of the store wearing it — except for the flats, which I wish had at least a Sabrina heel. I don’t like looking like a carbon copy of anybody, and the phrase should wear is not in my vocabulary."— Shuli Finkel / 50 / Real Estate Agent
Moschino Cheap & Chic merino wool cardigan ($770). Palmer Jones silk blouse ($695). J. Brand stretch cotton jeans ($189). Claudia Ciuti slingbacks ($368). Yves Saint Laurent bag ($2,395). Gerard Yosca cuff. R.J. Graziano chain belt and necklace.
We know neutrals are versatile, but we can’t shake the lure of rich, bold color. Sixty-four percent of the women we polled say they experiment with color — and then take the edge off by mixing bright pieces with neutral classics.
Malo cotton-blend cardigan ($430). CH Carolina Herrera cotton blouse ($430). Isaac Mizrahi for Target cotton pique pencil skirt ($25). Chanel leather/patent flats ($465), leather satchel ($1,975), and butterfly necklace. R.J. Graziano gold hoops.
"The modern outfit feels the most comfortable of the three. But my everyday look is jeans and great accessories, so I’d wear the Chanel flats and necklace with jeans — and possibly the Malandrino top, which is a great wardrobe piece."— Gigi Lee Chang / 40 / CEO and Founder, Plum Organics Frozen Baby Foods
Graham & Spencer silk charmeuse blouse ($241). Anne Klein linen/silk blend skirt ($250) and patent pumps ($280). Betsey Johnson patent belt ($40). Tory Burch tote ($225). Dinosaur Designs necklace. R.J. Graziano lucite bangles.
Shimmery fabrics for day are the frosted eye shadow and gold lip gloss of the fashion world: not for everyone. While MORE readers are not averse to a little glitz, your idea of real professional polish is a suit, a good bag, great jewelry, and finished makeup. That edgy platinum jacket? You might wear it — but not the whole outfit — to the office.
"The classic look is who I truly am. Whenever I try to dress in a contemporary or cool way, I just don’t feel like me. I’ve decided tailored and elegant is the way to go — and I’m sticking to it."— Melba Oren / 54 / Beauty Consultant
Reem Acra beaded chiffon top ($1,715). CH Carolina Herrera silk skirt ($520). Jimmy Choo pumps ($455). Marc Jacobs bag ($995). Roxanne Assoulin for Lee Angel bracelet. Roberta Chiarella earrings.
Ralph Lauren jersey knit cardigan ($498) and v-neck ($298). CH Carolina Herrera cotton-blend skirt ($860). Kenneth Cole flats ($79). Nine West polyvinyl bag ($89). Kara Ross necklace. Cara Couture headband.