5 Genius Fall Styling Tips Straight From Madewell's Head Honcho

Coming from J.Crew and Jenna Lyons' tutelage, Somsack Sikhounmuong is poised to make Madewell more woman-friendly, with made-to-last work-to-play staples that'll more than justify their sticker price. The designer, taking away some of the super-trendy pieces women older than 16 might struggle to wear, plans to streamline, clean up, and elevate Madewell's products, which will debut in the forthcoming spring '14 lookbook. So, while we wait for that to be unveiled, we reached out to Sikhounmuong to pick his brain. Ahead, five of our common styling woes and the five Madewell-approved solutions that provide a fix. Because we all need a little help sometimes.
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Photo: Courtesy of Madewell.
How can I pile on the layers without looking like the Michelin Man?
"It's about proportion. If you're wearing a couple of layers on top, go with a skinny jean."
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Photo: Courtesy of Madewell.
Colorblocking, pattern mixing — bring it on! Give us your favorite, yet wacky, style combination for fall. And what's the best way to wear it?
"I think a neutral on neutral feels a little newer now. Great black skinny jeans with a navy sweatshirt; a white boy jean with an ivory cable sweater, white slip-on sneakers; heather-gray cardigan with a heather-gray graphic T-shirt or a dark-gray jean and charcoal-gray coat. These looks are more subtle [than pattern mixing], yet less expected."
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Photo: Courtesy of Madewell.
I tend to wear the same pair of skinny jeans over and over and over again. How can I break out of my rut, and what other styles should I be trying?
"Try our boyfriend jean. They are a little slouchy, a little more relaxed, and look great with a pair of men's loafers and — even better — with a pair of heels for the perfect sexy-tomboy look."
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Photo: Courtesy of Madewell.
I hate looking too fancy for parties, but I still want to make an effort. What's a go-to outfit I can wear to get me through the holiday party season?
"I've always loved mixing the fancy with the casual. I would say wear a denim or leather jacket over your dress. That way you stay warm while still looking cool, effortless, so of course."
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Photo: Courtesy of Madewell.
I LOVE a chunky, oversized sweater but fear I could be bordering on grandpa's-wardrobe territory. How can I upgrade my favorite cozy look?
"French girls do it right. In Paris, I saw the girls wearing skinny jeans and heels with a great chunky sweater: simple chic and the furthest thing from a grandpa…at least my grandpa."

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