Olivia Palermo may be one of the most effortlessly stylish fashion fixtures gracing the red carpet today. Of course, it helps that the former reality television star has collaborated with ultra-chic brand Tibi and seems to have befriended every top designer on the Upper East Side. However, the street style star's flair for fashion appears to boil down to a few key factors, chief among them her ability to mix and match patterns like nobody's business.
As anyone who has ever experimented with contrasting patterns knows, creating the perfect mismatched ensemble is incredibly challenging. If you throw on pants and a jacket with the same bold pattern, you run the risk of becoming lost in your ensemble. And prints which resemble each other too closely have the unfortunate side effect of making the wearer appear as if they tried to match their outfit exactly but didn't quite nail it.
Olivia Palermo's foolproof formula, demonstrated in her ensemble for an IWC Shauffhausen Timepiece event, is to choose two contrasting prints in which one is a neutral and the other a bolder choice, and top off the look with a sleek blazer, ladylike pumps, and a statement clutch. The look injects personality into your average monochrome, neutral suit with the added bonus of lightweight fabrics to keep you cool during hot summer months. So say goodbye to your tired office attire, and read on for your innovative Summer 2014 work uniform.
1. Mixing prints can be a tricky endeavor, but as long as the pattern of your shirt doesn't exactly match the pattern of your pants, the ensemble will work. Try choosing a lightweight top that's slightly lighter in shade than your pants to create visual differentiation between the two pieces. This Nili Lotan Cami Top feels fresh for summer, and could easily take you out to drinks after a long day at the office.
2. Palermo's pants have a petite checkered pattern to them, but for your own ensemble, try a print that's in proportion with your own height and shape. For those who are shorter, try a small print lest you be overwhelmed by a bold pattern; for taller women, larger patterns are fair game. These J.Crew Geo Print Drawstring Pants won't attract heat like a stiff wool pair would during the summer, and the cropped length looks incredibly modern.
3. To cap off Palermo's look in a more laid-back fashion, reach for a blazer that has a relaxed fit and unexpected details. Chelsea28's Satin Lapel Fitted Blazer can be unbuttoned for a more laid-back look, or buttoned for an important business meeting.
4. Palermo's ensemble wouldn't have quite the same impact without her standout feathered clutch. As feathers are not for everyone, try adding a standout bag of a different kind. Glint's Topper Brushstroke Clutch adds an extra pop of print to the ensemble without the flamboyance of feathers.
5. Neutral heels are essential to grounding a mixed-print ensemble, so try a rounded toe heel in beige, black, or white. A pair like the Stila Patent Leather Heel by Kate Middleton-favored brand L.K. Bennett to gives the look a refined, ladylike finish.
Images: Nili Lotan Cami Top, $198, shopbop.com; J.Crew Geo Print Drawstring Pants, $69.99, jcrew.com; Chelsea28 Satin Lapel Fitted Blazer, $98, shop.nordstrom.com; Glint Topper Brushstroke Clutch $78.00, shop.nordstrom.com; L.K. Bennett Stila Patent Leather Heel, $325, us.lkbennett.com.