We all have our favorite designers, and there are many established/timeless ones that achieved an iconic status. I mean, who haven't heard of YSL, Chanel, Dior, Versace, Armani... the list goes on. However, there are many others besides the really big names who are developing or have developed a unique esthetic, a recognizable sensibility -- things one can build one's style around. When it comes to building and developing style, I think it is important to identify specific designers/labels that appeal to you, as well as particular pieces that either embody this individual esthetic or at the very least punctuate it.
So here's my Top 12 list (in no particular order), pieces by established and emerging designers I happen to particularly like. I limited myself to pieces that are available for sale. This is where to find them: Mick Margo (Rachel Comey), Rewind (Steve J& Yoni P, Vivienne Westwood), Revolve (Charlotte Ronson), Shopbop (T by Alexander Wang, Derek Lam, Catherine Malandrino, rag&bone, See by Chloe, Diane von Furstenberg), Net-a-Porter (Sonia by Sonia Rykiel) and Neiman Marcus (3.1 Phillip Lim).
This fall I'm really drawn to charcoal grays, paired with black and white, an an occasional colorful piece. This Sonia by Sonia Rykiel dress is cozy, warm and classic. The fabric also looks quite drapey and nice, while maintaining a well-shaped silhouette.
The trademark heart, albeit cutesy, gives it a recognizable twist.
The next dress (T by Alexander Wang) is a basic -- a dress or a tunic, with a slouchy, slinky cut. It is made of rayon, which is thinner than cotton and drapes better, making it ideal for layering. It would look amazing with a long jacket and leggings or skinny jeans, and nice heels.
Speaking of heels:
Marcy clog by Rachel Comey looks so comfy, with its thick platform and chunky heel. Combines the appeal of the shoe with the comfort of a clog, and the wonderful twist on the familiar that is fresh and wearable that I associate with Rachel Comey.
Fall is my favorite time of year, partially because of jackets. I love jackets, and would wear them every day if it wasn't for the ridiculous New Jersey summers. This little bomber by Charlotte Ronson is adorable and basic, and goes with everything:
On the other hand, this jacket (Vivienne Westwood's Anglomania) is very idiosyncratic, with its distinctive sleeves and cut. This is something I would wear forever, because it is a) amazing and b) tweed. Yes, I love tweed, because I'm secretly a British schoolmarm at heart. A schoolmarm who would wear this:
Possibly with these granny boots by Diane von Furstenberg:
Another favorite piece of clothing is a pencil skirt. I'm crazy about them because they are comfortable, look amazing on just about everyone, and a good designer can easily turn one from a basic into an art piece. Consider this one by Derek Lam:
Not only it is classic and beautiful, it gets bonus points for being tweed. On a dressier side, here's one from rag&bone:
Now, blouses. I'm especially taken with this one (See by Chloe) because of an interesting ruffle placement:
And SteveJ&YoniP make me instantly like pink:
The pleating and draping on it is just amazing, and the smocked back offers this amazingly soft yet fitted silhouette. I mean, LOVE.
And finally, dressy dresses, something for evening/special occasion wear. Phillip Lim and Catherine Malandrino have both consistently provided great great collections, very traditionally feminine and yet always with an interesting twist. Yet, both are very distinctive, and these are probably the two designers I get most enthusiastic about. First, Malandrino:
Beautiful draping and very flattering neckline, a simple silhouette with great color.
Check out the gathering and the ruching, as well as the asymmetrical cut. Just amazing dress, in beautiful gray.