Do you love basic black after-hours? Gardner says it’s time for a rethink. "I love color!" She exclaims, and changes hues seasonally: citrus in the summer, jewel tones in the winter. She also loves red lips any time of year. "You need to try something new and see how you feel. You may find it speaks to you more than you thought it would."
J.Crew silk taffeta dress, $215; jcrew.com
"As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned how to play with proportions," Gardner says. One way to look modern: Wear smaller, fitted jackets (ones that fall just below the waist) with something longer underneath. It looks great, even if "tiny" isn’t your size.
J. Crew silk taffeta blazer, $188; jcrew.com for similar styles
J. Crew cotton and silk shell, $178; jcrew.com
J. Crew crystal, pearl and gold-plated brass necklace, $125; jcrew.com
J. Crew denim jeans, $98; jcrew.com
Layers, layers and more layers. Gardner loves to put things together in interesting ways and is always experimenting. For a modern look: Try a longer shell in a fabric that moves (such as chiffon) with a shorter cardigan on top.
J. Crew cashmere cardigan, $178; jcrew.com for similar styles
J. Crew camisole, $80; jcrew.com for similar styles
J. Crew wool and silk blend skirt, $138; jcrew.com for similar styles
Gardner can always be relied on to top everything with a neckload of necklaces. "It’s all about adding interest," she says. "Mix it up and see if it’s you."
J. Crew bead, crystal, taffeta ribbon and gold-plated brass chain necklace, $68; jcrew.com for similar styles
J. Crew crystal and gold-plated chain necklace, $98; jcrew.com for similar styles
Gardner calls her brand of dressing "sweet and sour" for its boy-meets-girl approach. Cases in point: pretty, feminine toppers for jeans or cargo pants. "Combining creates the unexpected," she says.
J. Crew cashmere caradign, $158; jcrew.com
J. Crew cotton T-shirt, $43; jcrew.com for similar styles
Aviators are a classic with whatever you wear.
Selima Otique for J. Crew metal sunglasses, $198; 212-343-9490
"LOVE TRACY’S STYLE? CHECK OUT MORE FROM JCREW":http://www.more.com/2013/11260-j—crew-picks