Style Stories

Styling tips from Milan’s most recent fashion week, for basics you might have

Starring Prada, Bottega, and Bally
by Leandra Medine Cohen
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Often the new ideas that excite us from fashion week aren’t chasm-shifting so much as they are inspiring to the extent that they reveal an interesting way to wear a basic you might have, which may not have occurred to you priorly. This is a mangled way to say “Sometimes the best part of fashion week is the styling ideas that come out of it.”

Milan excels at nailing this point, which is not a surprise when you think about the fashion culture of Milan and how rooted in and respectful of personal style it is. This season, the winners were for me were Prada and Bally, though there were some good bits from Bottega Veneta too, like this henley styled under a button-down shirt, tucked into a full mid-length skirt.

Bally is newly under the stewardship of Simone Bellotti (formerly of Alessandro Michele’s Gucci team), which explains why it was a breakthrough season/collection for the brand.

And I think part of what made Bellotti’s Bally so captivating is that he really gets the shape of both how so many women want to dress and also how they want to feel; it’s such a delicate combination of comfortable and put together, preppy and a little bit messy. Miu Miu nailed this balance in her special way too.

Below you’ll find different style tips gleaned from the above-mentioned runways, to imagine within the contents of whatever your wardrobes look like. Let’s start with Prada.

Tip 1: Sheer skirt over tailored mini shorts

Runway look #14

The style notes: sheer skirt styled over structured, but tiny shorts, barn jacket hanging over combination of button-down and elaborate crewneck.

In practice:

Skall Studios jacket (it’s this but in short; this is the other good option, or this), Maria McManus button-down shirt (also like the color and shape of these ones), Soeur sweater vest, Khaite sheer skirt; this is a lower stakes option; this works too, Dice Kayek satin tailored shots under (these and these, both from Jacquemus are great alternatives — and for the same purpose, I like this shape a lot too), Manolo Blahnik white pumps

Field jacket with a knit sweater-vest under, styled over a button-down shirt. Sweatervest is gathered towards the back of the shorts to make tucking look more natural from the front. The sheer black skirt is not completely zipped up, but the combination of the jacket and the belt conceal that.

The belt is Saks Potts; this one is nice too.

This outfit is among the several reasons I prefer to size up in stuff: less pressure if you want to try something weird. Onto Bally -

Tip 2: Make your own shorts-suit

Runway look #5

The style notes: Single breast jacket paired with short shorts, loafer style shoes, somewhat casual (boat style) but not too casual (glossy leather), refined front flap purse with shoulder strap, crew neck t-shirt styled under button down.

In practice:

Bouguessa blazer (this one is comparable; I also really like this one and for some reason, I feel like this could work too), Soeur x Cafe Leandra button-down shirt, here is the best plain white crew neck from Uniqlo, and these are the same tailored shorts as the ones above. A couple more options can be found here and here. The shoes are from The Row. If you’re a 38, here!

I don’t have a shorts-suit, but the best I could do was a single-breast blazer, fitted but not shrunken (or darted) and classically shaped tiny satin shorts (navy), styled with a buttery yellow button down (to stay in theme with the rest of the collection), over a classic crew neck.

The shoes work because they get their casual flair from the material (suede) but still serve the purpose of looking put together. I added the earrings (Kate Young x Monica Vinader) on my own for dramatic, Italian effect.

Have been taking to single-strap flap bags lately. This one is Ralph Lauren; these two are good at different price points

The bag helps too. Now here’s one more I tried to get — it’s more of a work in progress, runway look #28:

Tip 3: Wear a flannel shirt tied into a messy mini-skirt

The style notes: flannel skirt that could be a shirt creatively tied into a mini, snug coat with slightly cropped sleeves that hit just below the length of the skirt, classic black leather boots, and flappy shoulder bag offsetting casual baseball cap, plus a t-shirt.

In practice:

Gucci coat, Khaite t-shirt (also solid), Polo flannel button down styled as skirt, The Row boots (these from Dear Frances might be better for this look)

It’s not exactly right — some kind of car coat would have been better, but I maintain that it’s an ok try. Just have to figure out a better way to scrunch the top-as-skirt up a bit more, and perhaps replace the boots with a pair like this.

The next one is more like a runway portmanteau — a cross between Bally (look #24) and Bottega Veneta (look #54):

Tip 4: Trench coat, jeans, tie

The style notes: Mostly the combination here of denim and rich trench-beige coat, but also the precise place where it falls on the models’ legs (a few inches below the knee, but still far from the ankle), paired with simple black leather shoes and a tie.

In practice:

Delarge sunglasses, Skall Studios trench coat (this one is kind of similar), Soeur button-down shirt, Khaite jeans, I don’t know who makes the tie — I took it from Abie’s closet, and here are two good pairs ($$, $$$) black ankle boots.

Final look is from Paris, but the brainchild of an Italian, with Prada’s Miu Miu masterpiece:

Tip 5: Fancy belongings stuffed into fancier bag

The style notes: A sleeveless button-down dress worn as an open vest, polo under a v-neck sweater under the vest, a Speedo-style bathing suit as pants (unrealistic, absolutely, but remember? “Pretend it’s an editorial”), boat shoes and beach-bright ankle bracelet.

In practice:

Celine trench vest (2017) — you can do this with a sleeveless dress that buttons down the front, Venstore v-neck sweater (a similar deep-V here, thicker knit here), Kule polo, Cayumas bag, Sebago shoes

A full-piece bathing suit instead of a Speedo, a sleeveless trench coat, my own add of a floral lapel pin and opal necklace (for spirit), and of course, the bag:

The “tk” by Cuyana

Stuffed with shoes (that catch the orange on the floral pin and compliment the yellow bathing suit) and otherwise accessories, like a turquoise necklace and leather bracelet

Arielle Ratner necklace, Vanessa Sposi bathing suit and my friend Christine gave me that floral pin, I think she bought it from a thrift store

Plus, of course, the boat shoes.

A dose of familiar practicality made edgy by the absence of long-line walking shorts.

That concludes this edition of The Cereal Aisle.

Take care of yourself this week,