Pretty Tough: How to Wear It

There is something so cool about the juxtaposition of a delicate garment against a tougher element. Lace dresses and boots. Biker jackets with wispy confections underneath. Beautiful and intricate fabrics in unexpected darker colours.
pretty tough - how to wear it

A more substantial piece against something pretty lends an edge and can take it out of saccharine sweet territory. A touch of dainty paired with a something tough can add whimsy to the severe. It’s also a great way to add autumnal elements to a summery wardrobe. And with the weather in Brisbane at the moment, slight nods to autumn fashion is all the sunshine will allow.

Here are some ways you can wear the pretty/tough trend …

  1. Chunky leather boots with more delicate garments
    A perennial favorite going into Winter and in vogue this year with the 90s being a major influence. For a boho look, pair a maxi with brown leather ankle boots. Or rock out with a pair of chunky black boots and a floral dress. If you’re not so girly, you can always try a dark top, jeans and boots and then add the delicate with a pretty kimono.

    Boots and dress

    Boots can instantly take a summer frock into tougher / more wintery territory

  2. Add a jacket or vest
    A moto jacket will immediately amp up the cool factor. Vests also add a winter element and a tougher dimension (while remaining trans-seasonal).

    Aspen vest

    I have been waiting to share with you this gorgeous vest from Philosophy – worn with a long delicate dress it adds a hint of pretty/tough.  [Vest was generously gifted – click image for Philosophy website and stockist information]

  3. Add an edgy bag to a pretty outfit
    Not really into anything too tough? The addition of a leather bag with a few rock-chic references can add just a touch of rebel.
  4. Ripped jeans with pretty tops
    Everyone is doing ripped jeans this season and I think they look awesome. My kids always ask what happened to me and I generally make up a story about tigers. (Note: this story may have become scarier with the recent release of Zootopia). To tone down the rock chic element, I like to pair mine with pretty things on top.

    Ripped jeans and pretty on top

    Ripped jeans with a gauzy top

  5. Use structure against a softer element
    This whole look is about using structure against softer elements. For instance, black leggings (wet look or leather if you are brave) paired with a long floaty top. Or a black turtleneck with a softly styled skirt. You can tie the structural element back in with your jewellery.

    Top and skirt

    This is actually a lace dress with a tutu underneath (the kind from the Big W party section) with a black turtleneck over the top.

  6. Delicate fabrics in darker colours
    Lace doesn’t need to be white. In black it immediately takes on an edgier role. Darker jewelled tones work just as nicely.

    Dark lace

    Black lace paired back with a graphic element in the culottes. Definitely an edgier way to wear lace.

  7. Contrast your makeup and/or hair with your clothes
    Of course you don’t have to just rely on your clothes to create a pretty/tough juxtaposition. Consider very soft makeup with a harder look. A strong lip in a dark colour with a pretty dress can also bring a summery look into winter territory.

You can check out some more ideas on my Pinterest board: Pretty But Tough

style saturday

Do you love the tough/pretty trend?
How do you wear it?

28 thoughts on “Pretty Tough: How to Wear It

    • Robyna says:

      I was out the other day and saw a teenage girl in a floral skater skirt, a black singlet, a choker necklace and cherry-red docs. Had to a double take – really felt like I was back in the 90s.

    • Robyna says:

      Thanks so much for having me as part of the Philosophy bloggy family. This vest is going to be on high rotation once it gets a little bit cooler.

    • Robyna says:

      I think that’s what so nice about pretty/tough – if you feel you are too old for either side it brings some balance. Although my fashion rule is that no-one is too old for any trend.

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