I have never watched The Hills let alone its spin off, The City, but it cannot be denied that the show's antagonist, Olivia Palermo has a style all her own. I know nothing about her or what kind of person she is, but this isn't a post evaluating the qualities of a character on a reality know. This is a post breaking down Olivia's fashion sense. Photos of her keep popping up online from big fashion shows and red carpet events. I can't help but notice her polished, well put-together, yet daring style. This is my guide on How to dress like Olivia Palermo:
1. Olive and Black
A very common color combination that Olivia relies on is olive green and black together. Olive green is a subtle incorporation of the recent military trend and acts as a hue that compliments black but still adds depth. Where as black and red or black and blue are common color combinations, olive and black is a more understated trend. Olivia uses these colors to create a neutral yet polished look. To dress like Olivia, finding a good pair of olive green skinnies or a top to wear with the black pieces you already own would be a great start.
Olivia also has a thing about wearing uncommon colors such as mustard yellow, musky beige, or tangerine orange. She wears these shades as if they are neutrals even though they create a unexpected pop of color. Colors such as these seem unappealing or aged when on the hanger, but Olivia wears them in a way that is youthful and fresh. Olivia makes sure to wear these colors in sleek cuts and modern silhouettes. Picking up a frock in a quirky color like these would be a great way to incorporate a little of Olivia's style into your look.
3. Black Tie Event
When men dress up for a special occasion they can always rely on a classic black tuxedo to look sharp and pulled together. Olivia often takes a cue from them and dresses up in tux inspired outfits that look chic and timeless. She takes a feminine twist on the classic suit by wearing black leather skinnies, a girly lace or sequined top underneath, and throwing in some quirky accessories such as a leopard print clutch or heeled duck boots. If you want to immolate this look, be sure to get well tailored pieces that show off your feminine shape and don't overwhelm your frame. Also look for menswear inspired pieces with girly details such as a satin trimmed lapel or dainty buttons.
4. Vests with the Fur
I am not one to promote the abuse of animals, but fur seems to be a large component of Olivia's style. She has an assortment of fur vests that she throws on to elevate her outfit and add an element of luxury to her look. The fur also gives her looks texture and draw in visual interest. The vest becomes the focal point so she keeps the rest of the outfit simple. Finding a vintage fur vest would be a perfect step in Olivia's style direction. And there are plenty of faux fur alternatives to achieve the same level of chic without harming animals.
5. Katherine Hepburn
In a world dominated by in-your-face sexuality, its a breath of fresh air to see well covered, yet still chic looks like these. Olivia opts for the subtle sensuality of Katherine Hepburn's menswear inspired style. Like the fashion icon herself, Olivia wears wide legged trousers and loose blousy tops with understated polished ease. Its all about oversized pieces that are tailored to hang perfectly. To try this look for yourself, I would recommend finding a quality vintage woman's suit and getting it taken in to fit your body perfectly.
6. Little Black Dress
This classic standby cannot be ignored. Olivia knows the power of a versatile piece like the LBD. She knows she can rely on a simple black frock with a few special accessories to look ready for any occasion. Olivia tends to opt for black dresses with short hemlines to show off her thin legs and long sleeves to balance out and cover up on top. She also seeks out LBDs with a little something different such as a leather texture or sequin panels. To take a cue from Olivia find that black dress you've always relied on and think of a few new different ways you can style it.
7. Bold and Lavish Jewelry
Olivia tends to wear striking, luxurious jewelry. Her fingers always have huge gold rings in elaborate shapes and intricate textures. She frequently has a several detailed gold bangles on her wrists and sometimes wears a gilded gold watch that has a gold face in it. She never wears necklaces unless it is a large statement piece. To start a jewelry collection like Olivia's scour flea markets for quality one of a kind antique rings and bracelets. Invest in a gold watch that will bring an element of style to an everyday look. Skip the dainty chain and pendant necklaces and grab a few bold giant pieces from Forever 21.
8. Timeless Bags With a Twist
The fashion world can be very focused on status bags and Olivia knows this. She chooses to avoid the obvious trendy labels and instead leans towards classic shapes. The bags she carries always have a lot of structure. She tends to avoid large slouchy types. Because the shape of her bags are so simple, she adds in a little flair by carrying versions in interesting textures. To start dressing like Olivia, grab a simple bag or clutch in a leopard print or croc texture.
9. Natural Make-up and Healthy Hair
Because Olivia is a fashion risk taker, she keeps her make up as simple and understated. To keep her make up as neutral as possible, she sticks to thin sheer foundation, matte eyeshadows in browns and beiges, coral blush, and creamy natural pink lipstick. To imitate Olivia's look I would advise avoiding cakey concealers or foundations, colored metallic eyeshadows, and any lipstick more than 2 shades deeper than your natural lip color. When applying eye make up, use pencil eye liner to trace the top lash line only, be sure to curl your eyelashes with an eyelash curler and apply the best thickening volume mascara you can find.
As for Olivia's hair, she's moved past her long blonde typical california girl highlights and now works a much more mature and chic middle-parted brunette just-below-the-shoulder length cut. Her hair has a very multidimensional shade to it and lots of glossy shine. To get hair like her's keep your hair routine light on the products and less on the hot tools. Always rinse your hair with cold water at every wash to seal the strands and use a leave in hair gloss treatment every few weeks. This will help keep your hair's natural shine.
10. Break All the Rules
I know that this is rather contradictory to have a final rule like this, but fashion is all about pushing the limits. Olivia is always on the cutting edge of fashion and is fearless in the face of daring styles. Be a trend setter, not a trend follower. Most people would think that a purple leopard print dress with a large brown leopard print belt would look like a ridiculous leopard print over-kill. But Olivia makes it work by keeping the accessories simple, the cut of the dress minimal, and wearing it with full confidence. I know my style guides are all about imitating a specific fashionista's look, but to really take after Olivia, you have to branch out and wear whatever the hell you feel like wearing. Be fearless!
To help illustrate a few ways to put together an outfit inspired by Olivia Palermo, I've created a few looks here using the tips that I have mentioned.
I hope that this Style Guide has been helpful to you. For another awesome resource for tips on dressing like Olivia Palermo, check out this article on College Fashion.
All of the references of Olivia Palermo were found [here].