darby stanchfield

Photo: Diego Uchitel

Strokes of Genius
Art-inspired pieces—like this brushstroke-patterned skirt and abstract print top—are the new florals. "I just want to swish around in this skirt," says Stanchfield, a native of Alaska. "Fashion to me is all about having fun, and I love the unexpectedness of this outfit."

Adam's Tips

• The same pattern-mixing rules apply to florals and abstract prints: The color intensity of both patterns should be equal—brights with brights, pastels with pastels.

• Try printed pieces with a white or neutral background to ground the look and keep it from getting too busy.

Shirt, $50; AYR.com. Skirt, $930, CH Carolina Herrera; 310-276-8900. Bracelet, $345; Shop.LizzieFortunato.com.

Photo: Diego Uchitel

Fold Me Now
"I love the color of this skirt. It's like an extension of my hair." — Stanchfield

Pleats get unexpectedly slinky in this copper-colored skirt. Paired with a classic shell and metallic heels, it feels more loft party than garden party. "The bright shoes add instant attitude," says Stanchfield. Another surprisingly flattering shade? Coral pink, as in the lipstick she wore for the shoot (try Dior Addict Extreme 536 Lucky for a similar look). It works on every skin tone.

Adam's Tips

• Look for knife pleats—in a lighter fabric that falls close to the body—instead of box pleats or inverted pleats, which have more volume. A hemline that hits right at the knee is usually most flattering; if you're 5'7" or taller, choose one that hits a few inches below.

• Pair the skirt with a simple fitted top and the highest heels you can get away with. (To avoid a schoolmarmish vibe, choose sleeker styles, as opposed to stacked heels or Mary Janes.) If you're tall, wear it with flats or menswear-style oxfords.

Top, $144; NicandZoe.com. Skirt, $345; EtienneAigner.com. Necklace, Alexis Bittar. Ring, Robert Lee Morris. Shoes, Alejandro Ingelmo.
darby stanchfield

Photo: Diego Uchitel

Active Duty
The latest take on the athletic-inspired trend combines sporty and structured pieces: Here, a formfitting pencil skirt is paired with a mesh top and a softly shaped sweater; serious accessories up the sophistication factor.

Adam's Tips

• Don't be afraid to mix textures and colors—knits and mesh or metallics and neutrals, for instance. It's about the juxtaposition of plain and fancy.

• This look is athletic but also dressed up, so choose shoes and jewelry accordingly: heels or a wedge sneaker, elegant bracelets instead of a sporty watch.

Sweater, $255; Rag-Bone.com. Tank, Robert Rodriguez, $195; NeimanMarcus.com. Skirt, $278; Lafayette148NY.com. Bracelets, R.J. Graziano. Shoes, Sigerson Morrison.
darby gown

Photo: Diego Uchitel

Strike It Rich
"I am obsessed with this dress. It's so supple and drapes beautifully. The fabric looks like someone poured gold on my skin." — Stanchfield

The spring runways were drenched with liquid gold, and for good reason: The shade flatters all complexions and haircolors and adds radiance and elegance to any outfit. The best part? The color is also showing up in separates, making it easy to pair with more casual pieces for day.

Adam's Tips

• Don't mix your metals: Gold accessories are the best looks this season. Try bold cuffs or earrings that will give the outfit a Grecian feel.

• This toned-down, antiqued version of gold functions as a neutral, so wear it with earthier colors. Tan, camel and rust look fantastic, as do black and white.

Dress, Josie Natori; Natori.com for similar styles. Earrings, $375; KellyWearstler.com. Bracelet, StephanieKantis.com.
darby smiling

Photo: Diego Uchitel

Shirt and Sweet
The white button-down gets a feminine makeover with this cotton shirtdress, which manages to look both effortless and pulled together. (It also works as a tunic thrown over slim pants.) The key details? A waist-cinching belt and unexpected side and front seaming give the illusion of an hourglass shape.

Adam's Tips

• Expand your definition of a shirtdress: Choose less structured designs with feminine details, like a wrap front or subtle draping.

• A belt adds instant definition, but you can also skip it for a more relaxed look. (Bonus: This can camouflage larger hips and thighs.)

Dress, Sara Roka, $500, Croisette 55; 561-355-4244. Belt, $52; VinceCamuto.com.

darby suit

Photo: Diego Uchitel

Eye Candy
"I'm starting to have more fun with color. Lyn Paolo, Scandal's costume designer, has been putting me in some fabulous shades, and it's bleeding into my regular life." — Stanchfield

Soft pastels feel unexpected in a sophisticated combo of blazer, blouse and wide-leg trousers, but the look strikes just the right balance between work appropriate and fashion forward. "When I put these trousers on, I feel like Abby," Stanchfield says. "They're very Katharine Hepburn."

Adam's Tips

• Choose menswear-inspired silhouettes like trousers and blazers (instead of dresses) to keep pastels from looking too sweet. You want the soft colors to play against the structure of the pieces.

• Muted pastels are more modern than Easter brights. Pair two shades for a color-blocked effect; add a third for a more daring look.

Blazer, Lauren Ralph Lauren, $275; Bloomingdales.com. Pink sweater, $79; 525america.com. Top, Marc by Marc Jacobs, $198; Saks.com. Pants, Rachel Zoe, $295; RevolveClothing.com. Clutch, MCM; 212-832-2626.
darby pink

Photo: Diego Uchitel

Transparent Motive
Layering an airy jacket over a sheer paneled dress is the most modern way to wear this trend—it creates a see-through illusion without actually revealing too much. "I like the subtle way the panels are placed—it doesn't hit you over the head with its sheerness," says Stanchfield.

Adam's Tips

• Sheer clothes don't tend to have much hanger appeal, so don't nix them until you've tried them on. Consider pieces with strategically placed panels to keep things modest—while maintaining an air of mystery.

• Select soft fabrics and cuts on the looser side to temper the sexiness of the style. Look for organza and chiffon. Pieces should flow and move with the body.

Dress, $520; HelmutLang.com. Coat, $895; TribuneStandard.com. Bracelet, Wouters & Hendrix; IShopIona.com