In a rut? Or just feel like getting dressed each morning is feeling a little "same old, same old?" Adding an unexpected detail to your look can be just the thing to give you a style recharge. Sometimes it's something you already have in your closet, used in a new way, sometimes it's a trendy piece that's easy to work into a few existing outfits. Either way, having something new to make that repeat outfit a little exciting can make all the difference without taking a lot of time or money. Here's how some of our favorite celebs are taking advantage of small detail for a big impact.
Peekaboo Slits and Cut-Outs
Especially for a night out, flashing a little more skin than you normally would can be sexy and liberating. One way to ease out of your comfort zone is by doing this with a detail that's not constantly visible. The slit in the silk Prabal Gurung dress Gwyneth Paltrow wore to the Goop Summer Launch party at Mark's Club in London, for example, isn't even visible in most pictures when she's standing still. But when she was striding into the party, it gave an exciting little flash that set the dress apart from your average flirty skirt. Much more wearable than the thigh-high slit gowns we saw at Cannes. Or, you could wear a dress with side or back cut-outs with a blazer or cardigan that covers them up until you choose to reveal a little more. That tactic also makes the dress more versatile, allowing you to wear it for more occasions than a piece with front and center cut-outs you can't hide.
Feminine Print As Accent
When a print is as bold as Zosia Mamet's at the Joe's Pub These Girls presentation, it is a statement. But at the same time, her abstract pattern isn't the focal point of the look, it is juxtaposed with tough leather on top and bottom that is the more overwhelming stylistic statement. She really used it as an accent, as one would a piece of statement jewelry. Using prints like this is the simplest thing when you are willing to think outside the box when putting together an outfit, and can usually be one with items in your wardrobe. Think about a print you wear as a stand-alone piece, not to be layered or combined with other strong elements, and then get creative about how you can use it more subtly.
Subtle Sexy Open-Back Tops
Cate Blanchett wore this Armani Prive dress to a photo call a couple years ago, but the trend for subtle open-back tops has trickled down from couture to the mainstream this summer. Different from your usual open-back silhouette seen most often on evening gowns, designers are using draping and panels in new ways. Two sophisticated favorites are the cutaway sleeve that turns almost into a cape in back, as seen on Blanchett but often rendered in a more fluid silk or cotton, and the inverted V-back. For this style, panels that join in a point at the top of the shirt are used, creating an alluring upside-down V of exposed skin. If you want to be extra flirty, you can wear a visible bra, just make it a fashion bra and not your average support style. It's perhaps more classic to forgo a bra if you have that body type, or use molded cups or support that is designed for backless styles. Either way, it's a very trend-forward look that can be a cool detail on a daytime top or provide a little stylish oomph for evening.
Double Up On Contrast Trim
Contrasting trim is always a fun decorative element on a piece of clothing. But have you thought about doubling up on the detail? At a recent event, Ginnifer Goodwin paired a white top with a blue print and blue contrast trim with a blue suit with white contrast trim. This played into the monochrome trend, without appearing too flat, especially for photos. Her allover blue might be a bit much, but the same idea would be much more subtle with black and white. Or, for more contrast, try a black and white top or dress with a black and red jacket or cardigan. There's something geometric about the emphasis on the lines of a garment that adds something special.
The twinset, the cardigan, the blazer, opaque tights in the oeuvre of Gossip Girl — layers often come from a very preppy place. Get a little subversive and wear some unexpected layers. One trendy take that's easy to pull off with items you already have is tights with shorts. In order to keep this from looking too young or too trashy, use expensive-looking pieces to go for a model-off-duty look inspired by Kate Moss. Staying tone on tone, black on black is safest, and wearing flat, more masculine-inspired shoes can keep the look sophisticated. If you opt for black on black, concentrate on adding dimension by layering with texture as well. Since you don't have the contrast of different colors to fall back on, rely on the optical juxtaposition of leather or suede with tights with a sheen and cotton or knits on top.