The other evening I found myself watching a football game while absorbed in a Vogue. It wasn't the multi-tasking that surprised me, but the sudden manifestation of my split personality - I love the invigorating adrenaline rush that sports provide as much as my Charles David zebra pumps and pink pashmina. And it's in my wardrobe, I realized, where these two sides exist in harmony. Feminine tops hang next to structured, bold pieces in my closet and I love to combine the two for an edgy look.
If you're looking to add a little force field to your style, consider embracing a masculine-feminine dynamic. Now I'm not talking about neck ties on women (although there were plenty of those on the runway), but unanticipated ensembles that evoke the image of a ballerina...who rides a Harley.
Who better to look toward for inspiration than the king of contradiction himself, Nicolas Ghesquière for Balenciaga? First things first: Balenciaga is more than just handbags. He's a genius at making women feel female and powerful at the same time. Of his fall collection, he said "It's a bit sixties, but tough, too." And for spring, Balenciaga combined pleated schoolgirl skirts with rock t-shirts and sent multiple "baroque rock star" pantsuits down the runway.
To channel this designer look at a more affordable price, shop for items such as Grey Ant's cotton dress that combines the old-fashioned corset with bad-girl studs. Currently on sale for $159.00 at www.letrainbleu.com. Gwen Stefani's L.A.M.B. cashmere turtleneck emotes elegant toughness with its sexy keyhole detail and gothic print ($157.50 on www.shopbop.com). Go tough girl chic with Iisli's cashmere dragon sweater for $218 on www.vivre.com or try Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent's take on brocade with her chocolate and metallic pumps for $318.00 at www.fashionbliss.com.
If you want to be a bit more subtle, accessorizing with bold jewelry, belts and handbags is a simple way to add some edge to your outfit. I like Sandy Duftler's black leather double buckle belt on www.bluefly.com for $79.00. Or try a purse like Goldenbleu's Skarlette clutch for $400 at www.goldenbleu.com. And don't forget your aviators!