Rachel Zoe Shares Her Must-Follow Fashion Rules

by Tyler Atwood

Anna Wintour may be the reigning empress of fashion editorial, but in terms of styling and design creative tour de force Rachel Zoe holds the title. A household name thanks to her Bravo television show The Rachel Zoe Project, Zoe's true accomplishment is a career spanning two decades in the notoriously difficult fashion industry, from an editorial stint at the now-defunct YM Magazine to her current gig as a designer/stylist/talk show host. The latter is Fashionably Late With Rachel Zoe , a Lifetime original series in which Zoe interacts with fellow fashion industry veteran Derek Blasberg to discuss all things sartorial and aesthetically pleasing. After finishing a whirlwind season designing her decidedly dreamy Spring 2016 runway, Zoe is veritably sitting on top of the fashion world.

Zoe, who is also in the midst of a partnership with Downy, sat down with me to discuss her favorite fall trends, street style dos and don'ts, and advice for keeping couture clean. According to the master of fashion, treating your favorite jeans like Chanel is just as important as scoring the season's top trends for your wardrobe, and looking as chic as Zoe herself quite literally comes down to a sartorial formula.

1. Treat All Of Your Clothing Like Couture

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"Don't over-wash your clothes!" Zoe insists. "Not everything has to be dry cleaned, and because of Downy Fabric Conditioner, you can actually machine wash so many things you didn't think were possible while keeping the quality of the clothing intact. Go to the care label first and foremost because there is a reason they put those on. you have to use the right products, and Downy is amazing. " Even if you snagged them at Forever21 or H&M, treat your garments as if they cost as much as the new Chloe Drew bag bloggers are raving about. Your closet will thank you.

2. The Jetsetter Bohemian Trend Is A Must-Try

Zoe's Spring 2016 collection is replete with intricate pastel patterns, ethereal draped chiffon, and delicately tailored skit toppers; in simpler terms, the stuff sartorial dreams are made of. "I was feeling a very romantic, very feminine girl for my spring collection," Zoe tells me. "I called it the Gypset girl, someone who's always running around, traveling. She's going to fabulous places and wearing amazing clothes. So for me this season that was color, lace, lots of romantic elements, lots of '70s elements of course — fringe, suede, tassels, amazing stitching and detailing, lots of silk, and ruffles." To channel the Spring 2015 runway now, toss a fringed jacket over a silk maxi dress, or add a suede skirt to your trendy shoulder-baring top.

3. Don't Use Your Floor As A Second Closet

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Perhaps the most important part of tending to one's wardrobe, as far as the celebrity stylist is concerned, involves not considering your floor an adequate alternative to your closet. "You have to really care for your clothes and hang them properly" Zoe stresses. "They will last so long if you care about them. I have friends that don't care about their clothes, they're in piles on the floor. It's like, why not just drive over them with your car?"

4. Try One Trend At A Time Per Ensemble — Or Two At Most

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"You never want to do too many trends at once," Zoe advises her fashion followers. "Interpret trends for yourself and baby step them a little bit." To take Zoe's words of wisdom to the street, shelf your flared denim and platform heels if you're going to rock feathered hair and a fringed suede vest, and as Zoe stresses, head-to-toe metallics are always a fashion Don't.

5. Have A Handful Of Easy Outfit Formulas On Hand For Busy Days

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"For me, a pair of dark denim jeans, a good pair of heels I can be in all day, some kind of tailored jacket, and a great underpinning like a long-sleeved shirt or a tee-shirt [is it}. It depends on the time of year, but a pantsuit, black slouchy trousers, things like that," Zoe offered when asked about her own sartorial equation. Whether your office is ultra-corporate or artsy, a staple ensemble can cut your getting ready time significantly and become a signature style.

6. Keep Your Go-To Accessories At The Ready For Styling Simplicity

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Zoe confesses that she rarely leaves home without a midsize bag and a large tote for her sartorial must-haves and her children's accessories. "I have a clutch inside there because I'm typically going from day to night. There's [also] a lot of beauty essentials — moisturizer, lips, eyes, face, mascara." Maintain your own collection of sartorial necessities by compartmentalizing your favorite jewelry, cosmetics, and accent pieces in your favorite tote so you can grab and go on your way out the door.

Image: rachelzoe/Instagram