Let’s be clear: dressing like a lady never goes out of style. But after watching Todd Hayne’s masterpiece Carol, starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara (both style stars in their own right IRL), we started to look at a nipped-in waist and a sweater set in a new, refreshing light. The movie is nominated for six Oscars, including the award for Best Costume Design led by Sandy Powell. From the rich furs and sumptuous silks worn by Blanchett’s Carol, to the sweater sets and pencil skirts worn by Mara’s Therese, the film strikes the balance of demure yet sultry perfectly. With designers also favoring the feminine in their collections recently, we found four rules to live by that will add the modern take on ladylike dressing to any wardrobe.
1. It’s all about the hourglass. Focus on creating that defined waist with a shirtdress, pleated skirt or a pair of high-waisted wide leg pants.
2. A pair of demure heels goes a long way. A classic round-toe pump with a low heel will even take a pair of boyfriend jeans and a t-shirt straight into ladylike territory.
3. Keep it covered. Leave it all to the imagination with a ribbed turtleneck or buttoned-up jacket.
4. When it comes to accessories, always go retro. A hat, for example, can be a throwback to when it was always proper to top off an outfit. So wear one all the time. Then try a top handle bag or clasp clutch for that final piece of polish.