How to Do Magpie Dressing

Magpie dressing—code for shiny and eclectic layering—is high on summer's style agenda. But how do you actually put it off during these hot, hot months? Check out our quick and easy primer, below.

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Magpie dressing is in the air right now—and for the foreseeable future. A fun and flamboyant trend, it's perhaps not the easiest one to adopt in summer, based as it is on the layering of lots and lots of flotsam and jetsam and trinkets—all kinds of shiny stuff (the clue is in the name, after all) which combine to make brilliant bird's nests of outfits.

Yes, it's a trend that'll be easier to wear in fall: switch accessories for shiny and heavily worked pieces. But we are advocating getting some practice in now. Here's some inspiration from Gucci, again, this time fall/winter 2017. Photograph courtesy of
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It's about being eclectic, and, yes, a little bit eccentric, just as Gucci and Christopher Kane demonstrated with their spring/summer 2016 and fall/winter 2016 collections. We saw it at Prada for spring/summer and Erdem for fall/winter. Come fall, it'll be easier to wear because it is about layering all these things together and nobody really wants to be laden down with all those bells and whistles as it starts to heat up. But it's not fall. It is, in fact, high summer. So: how to do it now?

Stitch and shine. Christopher Kane, spring/summer 2016. Photograph courtesy of Victor Virgile/Getty Images
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Accessorize. Accessories enable you to keep your cool and your fashion kudos at the same time. A summer dress or T-shirt-and-skirt combination can easily get an upgrade with these styling tweaks.

Here we pick out the pieces that will best help you on your way. 

Bee Gold Tone Hair Tie by Jennifer Behr, $130, net-a-porter.com.

A small but simple change: get yourself a trinkety hair tie. It gives an instant sense of having raided the dressing-up box, which is just what you're after. 

Tian Silk Headband, $375, gucci.com.
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This is great to keep your hair off your face and neck and keep you cool while also looking suitably bohemian, which is crucial to the magpie way of dressing. Plus, it's good to get a bit of Gucci in there, seeing as it's the label that kick-started the trend in the first place! 

Jacquard Slip-on Sandals by Chloé, $720, mytheresa.com.

Wear these with a pair of sparkly glitter socks—remember socks and sandals rule for summer!

Sequin Flower Ear Cuff Earring, $22, topshop.com.
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Magpie dressing by its very nature means there has to be something shiny going on. These are perfect. Wear with your hair up.

Embossed Metallic Leather Tote, $120, zara.com.
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There are no rules about how much shiny stuff you can wear, and this is a great entry-level piece.

Tiered Frilled Cape, $41, asos.com.

Although costume-like in feel, this is an ideal summer piece because it's light and breezy. Wear it with a vest top and jeans combination to give your look some direction. 

Stars and Stripe Hair Clip Set, $3, forever21.com.
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It's all about those fun accents and accessories (and they don't have to always be shiny). Add as many as you want, where you want.

Half Moon Embroidered Clutch by Muzungo Sisters, $216, matchesfashion.com.

Pompoms, embroidery, a bit of mosaic work, too: this bag does all the work for you. Team with a vintage sundress or a plain white T-shirt and pleated skirt and Converse, depending on how eclectic you're feeling.

Elephant Brooch, $12, us.accessorize.com.

Clip this little guy on and suddenly a plain shirt becomes all the more interesting.

Lace applique top, $46, mango.com.

While magpie dressing largely lies in styling tweaks, when it comes to clothes a lace-trimmed cami is the way to do it—it has vintage appeal and is light and easy to wear. When it does get chilly, layer it over a T-shirt—one with a bright print will continue the clashing sentiment that we, for one, are after this season.

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