All the greatest writers combined styles. Chaucer combined high and low styles in a way no one had attempted before. Shakespeare combined the gaudy with the romantic, and even more modern playwrights like Edward Albee took to combining expressionism, absurdism and naturalism to make their plays all the more powerful. ('Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?' might just be my favourite play of all time.)
But what's my point? I forget sometimes. I get on the subject of Albee and all I want to do is analyse the bejeebus out of him. I'm pretty sure my point was that the same applies to fashion - sometimes combining unexpected elements is the best way to get an awesome outfit.
I tend to have a very girlie, feminine style. My wardrobe is literally full of silk, lace, nude tones, jewel tones, cashmere, florals, cameos, pearls, dresses and skirts.
You get the idea. But I don't like to look sickly-sweet so I like to use little elements to subtly toughen up my looks.
These various stud-earrings with either faux or real leather coverings toughen up a potentially cutesy look, whilst the leather bra-let would look great under a see-through floaty, chiffon or lace top.
brogues, boots and shoe-boots
Masculine up your footwear! Swap ballet shoes for brogues or court shoes for heeled shoe-boots and your outfit will be much more suited to the mean city streets than to meadows and flowery fields.
Blazers are a great way to immediately add some city chic to an outfit (more on that here), or think about swapping your skirt (I'm a skirt-fanatic) for tailored shorts or trousers, very 'in' this season.
A fashion stalwart, animal print spices up any outfit. These dresses and accessories in particular have feminine silhouettes, toughened up by print. Wear with a big old dose of confidence.
add a belt
Along the same lines as tailoring, adding a belt (be it skinny or wide) will give definition to floaty, feminine outlines and automatically update the look. Especially great with last seasons full-skirted looks.
Injury has never looked so good. Not only is the bandage look extremely flattering, showing off all your curves whilst simultaneously keeping them where they belong, it toughens up evening wear no end.
colour accents and contrasts
Be a bit bolder and wear brights you might otherwise avoid, or stark monochrome contrasts. I'm in love with this pink Ringspun dress, even though it's not something I'd normally wear.
Big jewellery = Big impact. And not necessarily big bucks. Enough said.
(images from asos.com)
Just a few little tricks you could team with an ultra-feminine outfit to stop it looking sickly-sweet:
(Image from womenxone.com)
(Image from beaut.ie)
So when you're getting ready to go out and look fabulous, stick on your favourite rock anthems and be brave enough to toughen up your look.
Ciao for now,