Call it the holiday season, but lately I’ve found myself captivated by shininess — but attracted as I am to all things glitzy this time of year, I’m not quite sure how to wear the iridescent trend. But fashion has bought in, to say the least: Shimmering, lustrous, and sometimes translucent looks showed up on the runways of Sies Marjan, Mansur Gavriel, and Maison Margiela. Right this very minute, Saks is selling a pair of Alexander McQueen iridescent dad sneakers ($890) that combine about five trends in one. It wasn’t until a recent stop at Hampden Clothing in Charleston, where I spotted a straight-from-the-runway Mansur Gavriel trench in all its glory, that I considered finally giving this trend a try for myself.
My sartorial comfort zone hardly extends beyond glossy patent leather and bold uses of color, so going all the way to iridescent feels downright extra. I challenged myself to five iridescent outfits, some bolder than others, that have me thinking the statement-making life is the life for me.
Easing myself into iridescent attire, I started with chunky, rainbow-like sneakers from Steve Madden and paired them with a metallic-flecked sweater by DEMYLEE. While I’m newly a fan of sneakers (you can read about my journey here), I felt completely at ease in this look. Perhaps my favorite pair of Citizens of Humanity jeans and vintage, oversized blazer (similar style here, at H&M) had something to do with it. I went with a brocade mini shopper bag by Hayward for a shimmering finish, which to me, felt like the perfect accent to the rest of my subtly shiny ensemble. This outfit barely garnered a head turn, which is not to say I didn’t enjoy it (or feel somewhat out of my comfort zone, because I did). To me, this look is the ultimate foray into iridescent life.
After a solid start with my sneaks, I went full-throttle with my next look, taking the Mansur Gavriel trench coat for a spin. Since it’s translucent, I styled a hot-pink sweater from COS to really up the ante, then went with ivory corduroy trousers from Helmut Lang and my favorite ASKA mules for a mellowing effect on bottom. Now, let me tell you, this coat is loud. And I mean that in the sartorial and literal sense (the fabric has a bit of a crunch to it). I received quizzical stares aplenty from onlookers and passersby, though one woman remarked, ‘I love your coat!’, which erased any and all anxiety I had posing for pictures in it on the street. Unquestionably flamboyant, I’d highly recommend this look if you’re about statement outerwear. While my pink knit dialed up the lustrous fabric, an ivory turtleneck would temper the effect. You could even throw this trench on over a T-shirt and jeans for an achingly cool statement.
Hitting my iridescent stride, here we have another bold ‘fit, starring a holographic shirt and mules by Sies Marjan. Since I doubled up on iridescence, I chose to ground the rest of my look with a thin cream sweater (also from COS) and dark-rinse trouser jeans by Goldsign (you can still find these in a few sizes here). For a bit of contrast, I added in a Bordeaux bag from Staud (a new shape from the cult-loved brand that I scooped up from Shopbop the minute it hit the site). I was very into my unexpected approach to layering which could easily be re-created with a less-flashy button-down shirt and just the heels for a shimmering touch. Or, if you’re feeling the juxtaposition of a high-shine fabric with neutral knitwear for daytime, go for a metallic top in pewter or gold — a brilliant holiday look.
I had an urge to tone things down, so I retreated to one of my go-to outfit formulas: a midi skirt and sweater (both by Claudia Li — and yes, I’m wearing the cardigan backwards because #fashun), mixing in an iridescent bag by Avec La Troupe for a smidgen of shine. I thought the collision of a holographic bag with western-style boots (another big trend; mine are from Dolce Vita) and a sweeping skirt would read too Westworld. In any case, I’m very much for a balance of high-shine and subdued fabrics — perhaps this little $15 crossbody would have been better?
I had to end my iridescent experiment on a high note, so I reached for a shimmering cocktail dress from Milly as my starting point. Determined to make this fringed number suitable for day, I layered a cobalt cashmere knit (this one is from 360 Sweater) over top, added in an oversized trench coat for a menswear lean (mine is from Artizia — a new-season style here), and finished with low-heeled mules by Vince and my favorite bucket bag by Kate Spade New York. This outfit felt very ‘me’ despite its head-turning effect en route to a coffee meeting; it would seamlessly transition to cocktail hour during the holiday season by swapping the mules for stilettos. If you’re feeling the layered knit, the iridescent paillette catches the light and oscillates between bright orange and Chartreuse, meaning a number of solid knits would look great, including hot pink or Kelly green. The options are almost endless, just like the iridescent trend itself.