Next Level: Contrast-Heel Boots

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Are these some good-looking boots? Oh, heel yes. Four chances to add a little something extra along with that height. —erica

LEVEL I: Aaaand, suddenly the classic shape of these caramel guys from Loeffler Randall gets way more interesting.

LEVEL II: A clunky black heel keeps this Opening Ceremony style from looking too disco-era.

LEVEL III: Rupert Sanderson delivers a hit of metallic pink that would make any outfit.

LEVEL IV: Is the dusty mauve of this 3.1 Phillip Lim creation what dreams are made of? I think yes.

Get over here for more “Next Level.”

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Next Level: Pleated Minis

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Listen, no one’s suggesting you go full-blown Cher Horowitz (or early Britney). Here, four pleated skirts acceptable for grown-ass women. —erica

LEVEL I: MSGM makes herringbone neoprene shockingly classic.

LEVEL II: On this black Tibi sucker, the pleats are almost a secret.

LEVEL III: The fabric of this tweed number, c/o Alice & Olivia, feels all modern ‘n cool.

LEVEL IV: Yah, it’s plaid, this Sea guy. But it’s also wooly, not-too-flouncy, and killer with some black tights.

All the “Next Level” you want. Get in there.

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Next Level: Smiley

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Hey, y’all: The grin is in. (Not that that would surprise Bobby McFerrin for a second.) Here’s how to put a smile on your body and, I’m sure, your face. —erica

LEVEL I: Bing Bang keeps things super-subtle (and, obviously, adorable).

LEVEL II: Happiness is this Anya Hindmarch scarf, no?

LEVEL III: A single earring from Alison Lou with at least 2x the charm.

LEVEL IV: Markus Lupfer knows that some days require something more intense—this sweater's like wardrobe prozac.

If this made you happy, so will this.

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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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Next Level: Bees

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Beetles have had their moment. Spiders, too. Now there’s a new insect on the block. Four takes that mean bees-ness. —erica

LEVEL I: Simple and to-the-point—nailed it, Delfina Delettrez.

LEVEL II: Going a little crazy for the color scheme of this Lizzie Fortunato clutch.

LEVEL III: This peplum top from Mother of Pearl is sweet as honey, no?

LEVEL IV: With this Tom Binns creation on, your neck practically becomes a hive.

More mashups! Right here, right 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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Next Level: White Denim Jacket

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Know what’s easier to pull off than a pair of white jeans? One of these guys—they just feel so fresh, you know? —erica

LEVEL I: Basic in the best of ways, c/o Paige.

LEVEL II: Very “I’m cutting class at Laguna Beach High School,” this NSF number.

LEVEL III: Oof, sheeeek, Victoria Beckham. Do you think this jacket alone could prompt a Sabrina remake?

LEVEL IV: This Christian Wijnants take is somehow more relaxed AND more crisp than a classic blazer.

More pseudo-trends to try this way…

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Next Level: Slide Sandals

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The deeper we get into summer, the more the idea of straps and buckles and laces starts to grate. These four pairs of no-nonsense slide sandals will have you slipping out the door in a hot second. —erica

LEVEL I: These Palatines guys go with everything—cut-offs, silk maxis, etc.

LEVEL II: Minimalist! Silver! Criss-crossy! Looove, Jeffrey Campbell.

LEVEL III: Rachel Comey def knows how to make a black sandal stand out.

LEVEL IV: Jem would die for this Miista style—she really would.

More “Next Level!” Get it.

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Next Level: Hexagons

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Hexagons are having a moment and not just ‘cause the World Cup is this summer (you know, soccer balls!). Here, the shape of things to come. —erica

LEVEL I: The cutest (and shiniest) little wallet we ever did see, from IMAGO-A.

LEVEL II: Daaaang, Jerome Dreyfuss really knows how to do graphic.

LEVEL III: The print—and the skinny little straps—on this Tibi tank kill.

LEVEL IV: Because, let’s be honest, your ears are tired of circles, and Eddie Borgo knows it.

What’s next? More “Next Level!”

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Next Level: Lapis

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We’re seeing lapis a LOT right now, and you know what? We think that’s a good thing. It has this fly night-sky quality, ya know? Get into it. —erica

LEVEL I: This Grace Lee ring would absolutely distract from a smudged manicure.

LEVEL II: Put on this Kathryn Bentley necklace, and it really doesn’t make a difference what else you’re wearing.

LEVEL III: Who says your ears have to be twins? Definitely not Mociun.

LEVEL IV: Fun with negative space! Thanks to this slicker-than-slick A Peace Treaty pendant.

"Next Level" madness—it’s happening over here.

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