Basics For A Bargain: Leather Has Never Looked Better, Inspired By Mandy Moore, Sandra Bullock, Heidi Klum, & More!


Leather really had never looked better! Each summer I’m surprised to see many looks worn by celebrities with leather, as well as dresses that have recently hit the runway. Of course, most of these runway looks are for the upcoming fall / resort seasons, but playing the game of fashion always means that you’re looking ahead with your wardrobe. For example, here we have leather dresses that offer texture, femininity, elegance, & modernism from Barbara Bui Pre-Fall 2013, Alice + Olivia Fall 2013 Ready-To-Wear, Tibi Pre-Fall 2013, & 10 Crosby by Derek Lam Pre-Fall 2013.

Alice + Olivia, Tibi, Barbara Bui, 10 Crosby by Derek Lam.This also makes me think of recent red carpet appearances by some of my favorite celebrities who’ve worn leather dresses, including Naomi Watts in a leather dress by Alexander McQueen with jewelry by Jennifer Meyer at the Los Angeles premiere of Ray Donovan. Also, my girl crush, Mandy Moore, attended a Helmut Newton event in a leather LBD with gold jewelry & sexy ankle-strap heels. Byzantium actress Gemma Arterton showed off her shape in a curve-hugging letaher dress with 3/4 sleeves, black pointy toe pumps, & a metallic clutch at the film’s screening in London. Scandal star Kerry Washington walks the red carpet at an ABC event in a red Marc by Marc Jacobs leather sheath dress with black & gold accessories, including House of Lavande studs.

Naomi Watts, Mandy Moore, Gemma Arterton, & Kerry Washington.Shopping for leather, or faux leather in this case, dresses is tricky sometimes b/c you always want to make sure that it fits you properly & doesn’t require an abundance of care or cleaning. I found these chic options that are both timeless & edgy to mix & match with accessories like pointy toe pumps, platform sandals, a metallic clutch, or drop earrings. First, I selected the BB Dakota Kira perforated dress ($68.00) from ShopBop, which definitely plays up the lasercut trend with playful peek-a-boo holes. Also, I found the Sanctuary Clothing faux leather shift dress ($55.65) from Dillard’s. It’s especailly flattering with strategic colorblocked panels.

leather dressesMy third pick is from Forever 21, the studded faux leather dress ($27.80) is the most affordable, & also offers plenty of styling possibilities with a boyfriend blazer, cropped bolero, metallic belt, or suede knee boots. For a change of color, the Anne Klein faux leather dress ($42.99) from 6PM brings a gritty edge to any office look, especially if paired with strappy sandals or printed pumps.

When it comes to leather, we’ve also seen a great deal of separates, especially in the form of skirts & leggings, which always cause a stir on the runway. The mixture of the tough material in sophisticated silhouettes makes for a memorable show, especially with skirts of varying lengths for a date night, the office, or an instant update to other basics. I found trendy leather separates in collections from SUNO Resort 2014, L.A.M.B. by Gwen Stefani Fall 2013 Ready-To-Wear, Altuzarra Fall 2013 Ready-To-Wear, & Michael Kors Pre-Fall 2013.

Suno, L.A.M.B. by Gwen Stefani, Altuzarra, & Michael Kors.Celebrities continue to once again mirror the runways when on the street or red carpet with leather pieces to accent this look. Sandra Bullock heated up the premiere of The Heat in an affordable leather pencil skirt from ASOS with a button-down blouse & strappy leather sandals. Rashida Jones was all smiles in a striped top with a cobalt blue leather mini skirt, which she accessorized with a statement pendant, colorful clutch, & towering platform sandals. Project Runway judge / supermodel Heidi Klum looks every bit the style icon in a head-to-toe midnight blue look, including a zippered pencil skirt, blouse, pumps, & snakeskin bag. Lastly, the always effortless Zoe Saldana attends a Chime for Change event in a Gucci floral blouse with leather leggings, jewlery by Repossi, & strappy sandals.

Sandra Bullock, Rashida Jones, Heidi Klum, & Zoe Saldana.As for wearing leather bottoms, you have a chic choice of skirts or leggings. Of course, there are shorts out there, as well as cropped trousers, but here I’m focusing on recreating skirts & leggings as seen by the celebrities above. This starts with the Rhyme Los Angeles perforated vegan leather skirt ($46.99) from Piperlime, which not only serves the environment, but also offers an upgrade to your professional office look. Also, for a pop of color, I love the Glamorous PU patent faux leather mini skirt ($42.43) in wine from ASOS, which adds a futuristic vibe to any button-down shirt, studded tank, or scoop neck pullover.

leather separatesFor a flirtier look, BonTon‘s Blu Pepper lasercut faux leather skirt ($47.20) will instantly make a silk blouse & fishnets look like you’ve just stepped off the runways of Paris. Lastly, these faux leather zip leggings ($13.80) from Forever 21 are perfect for pairing with a printed tunic top, knit oversized sweater, & sequin mini dress.

Would you wear leather this summer? Which is your favorite leather look? Do you experiment with leather in different colors? This isn’t the first time I’ve featured leather looks on Style Darling, so if you’d like to read more to catch all the trends, check out previous posts including inspiration from Jessica Chastain & Lucy Hale, red carpet looks from Julianne Hough & Zoe Kravitz, & leather pant looks on Gwyneth Paltrow & Fergie! For more posts from Basics for a Bargain, check out little white dresses as seen on Jennifer Lopez & Angelina Jolie, luxury leopard & metallic flip flops, floral favorites on Dianna Agron & Selena Gomez, striped maxi skirts from Vince Camuto & BCBG Max Azria, & peplum looks inspired by Amy Adams & Cate Blanchett! Happy Styling!

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Runway Rundown: Alexander McQueen’s Fall 2013 Ready-To-Wear Collection!


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The House of Alexander McQueen is known for its over-the-top decadence & high fashion luxury. Of course, we’ve all seen the brand’s gorgeous designs on the red carpet, including Amanda Seyfried, Salma Hayek, Nicole Kidman, Mila Kunis, Cate Blanchett, & countless others which have stunned critics & celebrated the vision of the late designer. It was announced that a pregnant Sarah Burton, creative director of Alexander McQueen, would not be showing a collection during fashion week; however, this limited 10-piece Fall 2013 Ready-To-Wear Collection is beyond any runway presentation seen at Paris Fashion Week. Check out the video below & click through the gallery above to see each feat of fashion in motion.

Clearly, no detail was overlooked & while these pieces aren’t necessarily street-ready or red carpet-friendly for the average movie premiere, the collection honors the brand’s legacy with ornate beading & studding, lush lace-over-lace, exaggerated peplums, jeweled masks, metallic crown-inspired corsets, & a no-sparkle-left-behind philosophy. In Style spoke with the label which shared that the “hyperworked embellishment” details take a cue “from communion gowns to cardinals’ robes, the high church, nuns, popes, angels.” What better timing than now for such an homage when the Christian community is buzzing about who will be the next pope!

Of course I don’t see very many occasions for these pieces in my everyday life, but as an informed Style Darling, I can definitely appreciate the artistry & craftsmanship, especially having had the privilege to view pieces from this historial brand at the Metropolitan Museum of Art back in 2011. For more an up close & personal look at these pieces, check out a detail-focused gallery on Elle & share with us what you think of this collection. Happy Styling!

Runway Rundown: Marchesa’s Fall 2013 Ready-To-Wear Collection!


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In the past, I’ve always celebrated the designs of Marchesa, & this season’s latest from the brand’s Fall 2013 Ready-To-Wear Collection during New York Fashion Week is no exception! Not that I’m looking to ignore today’s holiday on the calendar, but I wanted to show one of my true loves in fashion! Co-founding & design duo Georgina Chapman & Keren Craig feature a luxe, vintage feel on the runway with plenty of embroidery to go around. The combination of red & gold, black & gold, black & silver call to mind inspiration from past season collections including Alexander McQueen or Carolina Herrera. Marchesa’s designs are nothing short of breath-taking- sure to attract celebrities like Blake Lively, Eva Longoria, Jennifer Lopez, & Naomi Watts to don the ornate gowns as this year’s awards season is about to come to a close at the end of February.

What do you think about the collection? Do you like Marchesa’s decadent direction for fall? Who can you picture wearing these looks? For more from Runway Rundown, check out galleries including Victoria Beckham, Holmes & Yang, Chanel, Rachel Roy, & Lauren Conrad‘s latest for Paper Crown! Happy Styling!

Runway Rundown: Victoria’s Beckham’s Fall 2013 Ready-To-Wear Collection!


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I’ve been hearing so much about the big trends for the upcoming season, including the color emerald, black & white colorblocking, & more menswear inspiration, but from what I’ve seen so far, it looks like Victoria Beckham‘s Fall 2013 Ready-To-Wear Collection is hitting all the right notes for fall. This includes cobalt as a standout hue against neutrals like slate, charcoal, & jet, as well as plaid with blue highlights. This was also evident in the Holmes & Yang Fall 2013 Collection, which I recently featured in a Runway Rundown post! Which looks do you like the best? What trends are you following for 2013? Happy Styling!