As much as I love to follow along with what’s happening in fashion, I don’t really consider my personal style very trend-focused. Because trends are designed to come & go, I try to focus more on timeless styles so that my closet doesn’t become a revolving door. I’d much rather identify pieces that I love and wear them over & over again year after year. However, I do like to pick one trend per season to try out that fits well with my own style & with items I already own.
Since I’m always drawn to feminine styles, the statement sleeve felt like a natural fit for me. But, this trend can be a bit tricky because some of the options out there are a little over-the-top. It’s taken me a little while, but I’ve finally found some gorgeous tops that I love!
So, today I’m sharing with you two fall looks that embrace this trend in a way that still feels wearable and everything is marked down now as part of the Express Friends & Family Sale – if you’re not already an Insider, it’s free, quick & easy and will get you 50% off – sign up here!
I refer to these pairings as “modern romantic” style – mixing current trends with feminine pieces & curve-hugging silhouettes. These are those items that you’ll put on & instantly feel like a million bucks in – mood boost guaranteed!
I’m always a sucker for burgundy this time of year so I was instantly drawn to the color of this top – the subtle sheen & flattering shape (those ruffled cuffs!) were just the icing on the cake. I love blouses like this that accentuate the smallest part of your waist & conceal everything else, making it the ideal choice for an indulgent dinner out (would also be perfect for Thanksgiving!). I went down a size in this, but if you have a larger bust, I’d recommend your usual size – this also comes in ivory, soft rose & the prettiest burnt orange. Other pretty tops worth checking out: this lace puff-sleeve top, this ruffle-shoulder blouse, this sweetheart neckline top & this lace-trim peplum blouse (very similar to the style I’m wearing here).
Because of the peplum shape & voluminous sleeves, this statement top is best paired with simple, slim-cut bottoms. I opted for these dark wash skinny jeans (so soft & stretchy!) and these tall boots. I love the idea of knee-high boots, but the riding/equestrian style isn’t really my thing…but these are so chic! I love the pointed toe & I didn’t have any issue with them slouching down throughout the day (they also come in a gorgeous cognac hue).
If you’re not a fan of oversized statement sleeves, a ruched sleeve sweater like this one is a good in-between option. It provides nice detail & added interest without feeling too over-the-top. This slim fit of this ribbed sweater helps balance out the sleeves nicely. This comes in 8 different colors and runs true to size (size up if you prefer a looser fit). I also ordered this cable-knit sleeve sweater, this pointelle sweater (perfect for the upcoming holidays) & this dolman sleeve sweater (runs big, so be sure to size down).
This midi skirt might be my favorite one ever…and I have several, so that’s saying a lot! The neutral color is so classic and timeless + the satin has a matte finish to it that makes it even more versatile. There’s also an elastic band sewn on the inside at the waist, so it fits better than any bias cut skirt I’ve tried on. I still wore Spanx underneath to help smooth everything out (runs true to size). More midi skirts to love: this ribbed sweater skirt (more colors here), this knit pleated midi (another option here) and this satin drape-front skirt (love the rust hue!).
What I’m wearing:
c/o Express Ruched Sleeve Sweater (comes in 8 colors),
c/o Express Satin Midi Skirt (more colors here),
c/o Express Pearl Headband, c/o Express Croc Textured Bag,
c/o Express Thin Strap Heels, c/o Express Gold Hoops
If you’re wanting to play around a bit with trends, but not sure how to successfully incorporate them into your wardrobe, here are my top 5 tips:
1) Stick to what you love
Not every trend is going to work for everyone. Just because something seems popular at the moment doesn’t mean you have to wear it! If it doesn’t feel like “you”, doesn’t flatter your body type or doesn’t work for your lifestyle, skip it. Better to pass on something than to spend money on an item that’s only going to sit in your closet collecting dust.
2) Wait for a sale
One of the best ways to “test out” a trend is to start first with an affordable version of it. Obviously, my site is solely focused on budget-friendly buys, but you’ve also heard me talk about the value of investing in well-made closet staples. But, trends are not the place to splurge. Identify a style you’re drawn to & try to either find an affordable version of it or wait for a good sale to buy. This way, you can see if it feels like something you want to spend a little more on to own for a long time or if it’s just a “fun” temporary piece to have for one season.
3) Opt for a neutral hue
When it comes to pieces with a more exaggerated silhouette (puff sleeves, ruffles, strong shoulders) or eye-catching texture (fringe, sequins, velvet), it’s always going to look more timeless & chic if you choose something in a neutral color. You’ll be able to pair it pieces from your closet and it will still make a statement, but it will be more subtle.
4) Make sure the fit is flawless
This one should go without saying (and it applies to everything in your wardrobe), but if it doesn’t fit well, it’s going to look cheap. Sometimes this may mean ordering a size up or down from what you normally wear – don’t stress about it! Every brand is so different and no one else will know what that number on the tag says except for you. Buy what fits and what you feel & look your best in – nothing else matters.
5) Keep the styling minimal
My mom used to say: “when in doubt, leave it out” – and it perfectly applies here. Trends are often statement-making pieces on their own, so you want to style them in a simple, pared-down way. If you’re doing a strong shoulder look, you don’t also need statement earrings & a hat (way too much going on up top!). And if you’re wearing a voluminous skirt, make sure your top has a slim cut. It’s all about balancing proportions and letting that key piece shine.