How to Wear the Three Key Pieces

updated 08/04/2004 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/04/2004 01:00AM

The Fitted Jacket

THE NEW LOOK

Styles that update cuts and details from the '40s and '50s. Think fitted, cropped, menswear-inspired, vintage with a twist, belted. Another important element? The three-quarter-length sleeve.

HOW TO WEAR IT

Fit is key—no boxy styles, nothing too long or loose. And while the look maybe modified retro, it's natural—no Joan Crawford shoulder pads. Paired with jeans, tweed skirts and pants, these jackets work on the job or the weekend. Cropped-sleeve tip: No shirt cuffs below the jacket's cuffs; you can go long with sweater sleeves, though, like Demi Moore (below).

"It's tailored but sexy," says Bryant of this slim-cut jacket. "This makes me feel really ladylike and grown-up."

EXPRESS
Belted Shetland-wool jacket
$158 (express fashion.com)

H & M
Windowpane-check wool blazer with attached belt
$60 (hm.com)

RUTH
Rayon-blend pinstripe blazer with paillettes
$240 (South Moon Under, 410-337-7484)

POLO JEANS CO. RALPH LAUREN
Herringbone wool blazer
$129 (Lord & Taylor, 800-223-7440)

JOHN CARLISLE
Glen plaid wool blazer with flower pin
$306 (Great Stuff, 914-723-0504)

Brooches

LOOK FOR
Big, lavish pieces studded with gems, crystals, pearls, even fabric swatches-or raid your grandmother's jewelry chest.

HOW TO WEAR THEM

1 Alone or in clusters—three or more at once on a sweater or jacket.

2 In your hair—to hold sections off your face or atop a ponytail.

3. At your waist—but above your hipbone, not centered.

4. To close a wrap or cardigan—grab your boyfriend's or get your own oversize version, gather sides with a big, bold brooch, pair with jeans and you've got a new look.

5. Make a dramatic exit when you pin one to an open-back sweater—in back, of course! Two caveats: These splashy pieces aren't for the woman who doesn't want to be noticed; if you're not in your prime, they can make you look dowdy.

"This is the way my grandmother used to wear brooches," says Bryant. "I've seen pictures of her with them on when she was young—she looked sexy. This is such a pretty look. I love the way the velvet sets off the brooch. It's a nighttime outfit for me. I might wear it with simple drop earrings." The Bronx-born actress, who'll appear with Orlando Bloom in the upcoming crime drama Haven, credits her other career—modeling—with raising her style consciousness: "That's when I started to feel comfortable in my own skin and to develop my fashion sense."

RJ GRAZIANO
Vintage-inspired crystal leaf pin
$75 (RJ Graziano, 212-685-1248)

BANANA REPUBLIC
Green Wedding brooch
$58 (bananarepublic.com)

ICING BY CLAIRE'S
Vintage-inspired floral-burst brooch
$7.50 (Claire's Accessories, 800-252-4737)

LEE ANGEL
Multicolored fabric-and-jewel brooch
$275 (Bergdorf Goodman)

GERARD YOSCA
Swarovski crystal and freshwater-pearl brooch
$145 (212-302-4349)

ALEX & ANI
Vintage crystal silver brooch
$68 (alexandani.com; Henri Bendel, 212-247-1100)

KENNETH JAY LANE
Gold-plated crystal, turquoise and emerald pin
$200 (select Saks Fifth Avenue stores)

HOW TO WEAR IT

She's not single-handedly responsible for their explosion this fall, but Sarah Jessica Parker could have written the book on these Fred Leighton brooches. She works the look...

...at a New York city Ballet gala in Oscar de la Renta.
...at a sex and the city premiere, in Yves Saint Laurent.
...at a Paris fashion week party in Lanvin.
...at a party at a Manhattan hotel in Michael Kors.

Fur (Real & Faux)

THE NEW LOOK
Fur hit high-end runways last fall, but this year it's available in every price range, starting with Bébé's and Club Monaco's versions. Try on a '50s-inspired wrap or capelet, or a modern-looking poncho.

HOW TO WEAR IT
Fur, faux or real, adds texture to tweed and denim—a cropped-sleeve jacket over jeans is a terrific update for evenings out. A more traditional cut (like the Ann Taylor Loft version) makes a great everyday jacket. Accessorize fur with...brooches. Use a single piece to close a wrap; wear several below one shoulder.

"This is so me," says Bryant. "I love the way this piece covers your shoulders for warmth but still shows the sexy silhouette of the dress. It makes fur feel younger." To mix things up a bit, Bryant says she'd wear this shrug with a tight-fitting top, "jeans and some crazy stilettos. The color and shape of this fur make it perfect to dress up or down."

THE HELEN WELSH GROUP
Faux-fur stole with satin ribbon
$53 (Add Accessories, 212-539-1439)

ANN TAYLOR LOR
Faux-fur jacket
$129 (800-DIAL ANN)

MILLY
Faux-fur wrap
$495 (Ron Herman, 323-651-4129)

TAILOR NEW YORK
Leopard-print faux-fur Daryl chubbie with ribbon
$297 (Threads, 201-784-6769)

CLUB MONACO
Rabbit-fur Veronica shawl
$129 (clubmonaco.com)

BLACK RIVET
Faux-fur knit poncho
$75 (Marshall Field's, 800-MFIELDS)

BEBE
Rabbit-fur knit capelet
$89 (bebe.com)

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