Metallic: The New Neutral

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We all have wardrobe staples that work with everything–a go-to brown bag, a pair of black shoes, an ebony evening bag– and that make getting dressed simple, but are ultimately a bland addition to whatever you’re wearing. If you want to infuse your look with a little more personality, metallics work just as well as neutrals. And during bleak winter weather, shiny accessories are a smart way to give any outfit a serotonin spike. The key to keeping this look chic is to look for muted or burnished metallics, such as bronze, pewter, or an oxidized gold tone. (Blinding metallics, like bright golds, can end up looking cheap.)

To offer some wardrobe inspiration, I’ve scoured the web to find the coolest metallic accessories that are sure to become your 2011 wardrobe basics. I recommend stocking your closet with at least one pair of metallic ballet flats, a light-reflecting evening bag, and a slick daytime bag.

Lanvin makes the best ballet flats around. With a tiny hidden wedge, they offer superior comfort and back support. (Many women find that wearing completely flat shoes is uncomfortable after a few hours.) These bronze flats are understated and take the place of tan or camel kicks.

FLATS:

Lanvin metallic flats, $495

Vera Wang’s snakeprint flats are a pretty, shimmery blush tone and work well with creams.

Vera Wang "Lillian" snake ballet flats, $195

The cracked foil effect of these menswear-inspired oxfords has just the right amount of whimsy.


All Saints glitter "Frankie" oxford, $150

These flats have both gold and silver tones, so they can work with warm or cool color palettes.

Elizabeth and James pewter ballet flats, $120

EVENING CLUTCHES:

I just can’t get enough of Alexander McQueen’s skull clutches. This one is encrusted with Swarovski crystals, for a light-catching effect.

Alexander McQueen Swarovski crystal encrusted clutch, $2210

I collect Nancy Gonzalez clutches, and was drawn to the pearlescent sheen of this exotic leather. It’s so much prettier than matte, cream-colored bag.


Nancy Gonzalez gold mini clutch, $925

This Halston Heritage clutch is a good go-with-everything option. You can wear it with a black dress, a brown leather jacket, or a bold color.

Halston Heritage pleated leather clutch, $245

Lauren Merkin’s classic Eve clutch looks modern in this cracked metallic leather.

Lauren Merkin cracked metallic lambskin clutch, $180

DAYTIME BAGS:

This slouchy Natalia Brilli has a blackened gold effect that’s very downtown.


Natalia Brilli shiny gold and black tote, $1350

Olivia Harris by Joy Gryson Metallic Round Sack Hobo
This bucket bag is big enough to haul everything you need, and can replace a boring black bag.

Olivia Harris round sack hobo, $595

Smaller, cross-body bags are so hip right now, and I love the burnished gold color and brass zippers on this Rebecca Minkoff messenger.

Rebecca Minkoff rocker crossbody bag, $195

The metallic snakeskin print on this Foley + Corinna tote calls to mind the glamorous days of Studio 54.

Foley + Corinna disco city tote, $137.20

(Main pic: Eileen Fisher Sequin-Embellished Fine Merino Tank, $178)

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