Wednesday, October 10, 2012

How to Get the Look: Club Monaco

On Sunday I went to SF's Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival with a friend of mine, and on our way back home we made a stop to shop a little bit. Sam and I had been gushing over the styling of the mannequins at Club Monaco, so when we got to the shopping area south of Golden Gate Park, she asked me to help her pick out some clothing so she could get the look without actually going over to Club and stripping the mannequins. I have a pretty sound understanding of  Club Monaco's styling methods, but it was hard to say without visualizing it. Sami ended up leaving with a gray sweater that hung on her body simply perfectly and a tailored skirt, but she probably needed more than that to get the look.

A brand that has recently revamped itself just like J. Crew (Gap, take note!), I feel like when I was in college about five years ago, Club Monaco style was very work-oriented - most pieces were very well-tailored and the entire store's color palette was very cool - largely gray and black. It was sophisticated but a little stiff.

The current Club Monaco style is decidedly more casual, but is still sophisticated. And this may just be my personal opinion (it is!) but it's 9 million times better.

The color palette is warmer. It still involves gray and black, but a lot of it seems to be shades of browns or  whites - nude, cream, off-white, beige, khaki, tan, etc. At least for the fall season, the only colors that are usually thrown in are rich traditionals such as burgundy (oxblood is the new term, apparently), navy, and a forest or military green. Sometimes they throw in patterns, but its never anything too complicated. Their patterns are largely traditional, such as plaid, polka dots, etc., and they are always subtle color schemes.

The pieces themselves alternate between being sleek and airy. For example, tops are often oversized and always feature soft fabric that falls well. Skirts, shorts, and pants are usually much more tailored, featuring clean lines, structures fabrics, pleats, and darting. A big trend right now is the skater skirt style, and next to the more fitted pencil skirt style, these two are popular at Club. Outerwear is more of a wild card - pieces can be slouchy or more tailored. Shoes seems to be one of two styles - either extremely strappy sandals that come in black or nude (and to my knowledge, are only sold at the flagship store), or desert boots. And regardless, 90 percent of the time, mannequins seem to be wearing gray socks - either thigh high or knee high, scrunched or unscrunched.

To exemplify the Club Monaco style, I made a few polyvore sets. Some pieces are Club Monaco, most aren't. Some are cheaper than Club Monaco, most aren't. Really, I'm just trying to give ideas. I didn't list any brands here, but I guess if anyone has a big problem with that, I can go back and do it.
Club Monaco Style
  Key pieces: Tailored cropped trousers + desert boots + slouchy sweater + dainty necklace + gray socks

Club Monaco Style
Key pieces: Tailored skater skirt + light and slouchy long sleeve + tailored trench coat + gray thigh high socks + desert boots
Club Monaco Style
 Key pieces: Shimmery nude colored dress (we'll see more like this as the holidays approach) + button-up to be worn under, + military jacket + strappy black heels + gray thigh high socks
Club Monaco Style
Key pieces: Tailored pencil skirt + chunky slouchy sweater + gray thigh high socks + military vest + cocoon coat + desert boots

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