Next Level: Beet

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Cranberry sounds so…early aughts. And maroon has a certain team spirit vibe. But beet? Now that feels right for fall—maybe paired with outwear in a nice goat cheese or sherry vinegar. (I know–ha, ha.) —erica

LEVEL I: One of those perfect sweaters, c/o Isabel Marant, that can do apple-picking or office.

LEVEL II: A so-sleek Alexander Wang purse that would give even your grungiest jeans some polish.

LEVEL III: A dress from Carven that would look almost impossibly put-together with sheer black tights.

LEVEL IV: Opening Ceremony shoes that put a little stomp in your step.

More of this “Next Level” madness!

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Weather Vain: Aspen, Colorado - 79 and Clear

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If you’ve ever been to Colorado in the summer, you know that people who see this only as ski-bum country are totally missing out. And Aspen in August? Less fur, more fresh mountain air. —erica

Clockwise from top left:

+ A silk top from Alexander Wang that would look totally right hanging in a suite at The Little Nell.

Blanca Monrós Gómez earrings that deliver a little “Aspenglow” (« John Denver shout-out!).

+ Slipping into these K.Jacques wedges and heading off to Peach’s for bfast = the ideal way to start the day.

+ This Suno skirt feels Frenchie enough for trout almondine at Brexi, right?

+ An Eayrslee wallet you can slip into a backpack when hiking Lost Man Loop.

+ A Tarin Thomas ring that would look pretty sweet flipping pages at Explore Booksellers—a local institution for sure.

Get away with us. All kinds of “Weather Vain” here and now.

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Next Level: Sleeveless Sweater Dresses

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Sweater dresses aren’t just for black-tight season, y’all. These four can do warmer months and will look dope with blazers ‘n’ pumps when things cool off. Let’s get to it. —erica

LEVEL I: Stripe-y! Easy! Coming atcha from Halston.

LEVEL II: Alexander Wang does vaguely sporty so dang well.

LEVEL III: The notches on this Ann Yee number—can’t stop staring at the notches.

LEVEL IV: Leave it to 3.1 Phillip Lim to deliver on the texture front: Check out that fringe detailing.

There’s more where this came from. Get it. 

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In Character: Sloane Peterson

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Epitome of cool girlfriend, this one. And you know what else? She was working a man repeller look long before we even had a name for that—like, a whole 25 years before. Here’s a Sloane get-up appropriate for a day skippin’ school with Ferris and Cameron. —erica 

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Classic-as-they-come Alexander Wang x Linda Farrow sunglasses that look best in a 1961 Ferrari convertible.

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A white leather jacket by Acne that looks just right exploring the Art Institute.

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Long, loose 3.1 Phillip Lim shorts that would fly with Mr. Rooney’s dress-code policy, no prob.

Get more of this action right over here.

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In Character: Puss in Boots

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Personalities deserving of their spinoffs: Lauren Conrad, Wolverine, Flavor Flav, and Puss in Boots. I mean, that cool cat obviously knows how to accessorize. —erica

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A Janessa Leone hat that can be clutched to sell that whole I’m-just-a-sweet-kitty act.

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An Isabel Marant belt, ready to hold a sword that’s almost as big as he is.

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Over-the-knee boots from Alexander Wang that Donkey’s likely jealous of.

More of this! Here!

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Couple Up: Claire Danes and Ben Lee

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Did you listen to Ben Lee’s music for the first time because he was Claire Danes’s BF? Didya? We get it. They were just so…so…late-nineties, minimalist, living-in-Soho cool. —erica

Claire Danes: Open-back Alexander Wang sandals, a sleeveless turtleneck sweater from Yigal Azrouel, and perfect stovepipe khaki pants by Jason Wu.

Ben Lee: Black Acne pants, a loud, floral Vito Rhody shirt, and beaten-up Golden Goose sneakers

More nostalgic pairings to be had!

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Next Level: Ankle Ties

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These shoes? Fit to be tied. Har, har—I know. But don’t you dare let my bad puns distract from just how good-looking these four pairs are. —erica

LEVEL I: Alexander Wang does black and sleek and Helen of Troy-worthy.

LEVEL II: How quickly would these House of Harlow sandals jazz up any of your summer dresses?

LEVEL III: Sophia Webster knows how to make any old LBD fit for a  black-tie situation.

LEVEL IV: These Charlotte Olympia suckers = SO HIGH. But with a cropped jean and a chambray shirt, they’d feel substantially more manageable.

All the “Next Level.” Right here.

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Where They Were Then: Alexander Wang

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This guy’s a textbook wunderkind. The dude who defined the model-off-duty look has been on the scene for less than a decade, and he’s made quite the name for himself. —bea koch

1984 - Born in San Fran to Taiwanese-American parents, Alexander is the youngest of three.

1986 - Two-year-old Alexander scribbles dresses and shoes on any scraps of paper he can find, and his mom rewards him with a sewing machine.

1993 - When his parents move to China, Alexander decides to stay in easy-breezy Cali and enrolls in boarding school.

1999 - At 15, he wants to get more serious about this whole design thing and takes summer classes at the venerable Central Saint Martins in London. That same year, he stages his first fashion show…at his brother’s wedding. Talk about a supportive fam!

2002 - Alexander moves from his beloved CA to NYC to attend Parsons. He snags internships at Marc Jacobs and Teen Vogue while he’s at it and sells shoes at Barneys to make some cash.

2005 - Betting on himself, Alexander drops out of Parsons to launch his own line. And his family’s behind him: His sister-in-law Aimie joins him, helping develop a collection of six knit pieces. After Diane von Furstenberg spots an employee rocking an Alexander Wang original, she offers the newbie a job—but he turns her down. No hard feelings: DVF’s still a total fangirl.

2006 - Alexander doesn’t have to search far for someone to style his debut collection: He taps high-school pal Vanessa Traina and credits her—and her mom, romance queen Danielle Steel—as a huge inspiration for his Cali-cool looks.

2008 - Welp, that was fast: Alexander wins the two biggest prizes for any up-and-comer, the Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation award and the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund one. Oh, and his line for Uniqlo, available at the company’s Tokyo store, sells out in 30 minutes flat!

2009 - Alexander diffuses big time—with footwear, eyewear, menswear, and most importantly, T by Alexander Wang, his more basic (slash affordable) line. Plus: He’s named the Swarovski Womenswear Designer of the Year.

2010 - After a few years of what seems like universal support, famed New York Times critic Cathy Horyn takes aim at Alexander with a pointed review that decries the “weightlessness” of his designs.

2011 - Named GQ’s Menswear Designer of the Year, Alexander takes that momentum and opens a store in Soho. It has a fox fur hammock.

2012 - Up-and-comer, what? Guess who’s the new creative director at the very-big-deal house of Balenciaga? But the good news is tempered by the bad: Several former employees file a $450 million lawsuit against Wang, alleging unsafe working conditions in his Chinatown factory. A settlement is reached, and the suit’s dismissed—but not before tarnishing Alexander’s once-flawless rep a little.

2013 - Alexander’s debut for Balenciaga pays tribute to the storied history of the brand—but also delivers that signature A. Wang cool. The line is a hit with starlets like Carey Mulligan, who shows up in architectural pieces from the collection at the Met Ball and Cannes. Oh, Mr. Wang’s namesake line gets a shout-out in Justin Timberlake’s “Suit & Tie.”

2014 - Courting controversy, Alexander invites the fashionable world to view his fall 2014 collection in *gasp* Brooklyn. Not shocking: It’s totally worth the black-car ride across the East River. And word is an H&M collab is coming in Nov…

Read on—stories of more of your faves right this way.

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Next Level: Pleated Leather

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There’s nothing wrong with a classic motorcycle jacket, but I’m way into the idea of leather standing in for cotton, wool, or satin—fabrics with some real movement. Throw some pleats into the mix? Oof, I’m done. —erica

LEVEL I: On this Alexander Wang dress, the leather’s an accent—a very, very killer accent.

LEVEL II: I’d like to think I’d still wear this BLK DNM skirt when I turn 60.

LEVEL III: From Derek Lam, this sucker's very Clueless in an Amber-goes-to-gym-class way.

LEVEL IV: It might not freshen your breath, but, DANG is this Alice + Olivia skirt minty.

More “Next Level!” Go here!

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Of a Kind

Q: Are football tees the new baseball tees? Alexander Wang thinks so. —erica

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