InStyle Laura Brown High Low Style Guide
InStyle Laura Brown High Low Style Guide

Instyle’s Laura Brown Shares Her Guide to High/low Style

Words by Jody Hume | 11.10.17
A wardrobe full of only investment pieces? For most of us that’s more of a dream than a reality. But when you think about it, there’s beauty in that. Like when your pair of Vans is just the thing to dress down an otherwise too-pretty dress. Or when the Platonic ideal of white T-shirts is the only other thing you wear as often as your investment bag. As the Editor-in-Chief of InStyle, Laura Brown often has access to the latest looks straight off the runway, but even so, she knows the power of pairing high with low. Which is exactly why we tapped her to create an exclusive edit to kick off the opening of our first ever brick-and-mortar store in NYC! Read on for her tips for mastering high/low style, then shop her picks online or at the in-store pop-up at our newly opened location at 80 Wooster St. in SoHo!
What’s your number one tip for pulling off a high/low look?
Attitude! You can look as cool in a T-shirt from Uniqlo as you can in a full look from Saint Laurent. Listen to your inner eight year old — what makes you smile, what makes you feel great? Then wear it whether it’s “in” or not.

Anya Hindmarch Bag | InStyle Laura Brown High Low Style GuideAnya Hindmarch Bathurst Pixels Satchel

Who are your favorite high/low designers to mix?
My whole life is high/low! I love Valentino and Isabel Marant but I rarely put on a full “designer look” unless I have a red carpet event (to which they are often kind enough to loan me). Day to day, my look is more of a high/low balance, with some cool contemporary labels (current favorites include Ganni, Clare Vivier, and Frame) mixed in.
Which pieces are best to buy high-end, and which are ok to buy low?
Shoes! You can get away with anything if you have a good pair of shoes, including murder. Just kidding! On the lower end, I’ll often buy T-shirts, jumpsuits and jeans.

Gucci Sneakers | InStyle Laura Brown High Low Style GuideGucci 2017 Ace Sneakers

You hang out with celebrities on red carpets a lot. Would you ever wear something that isn’t runway or high-end on the red carpet?
Absolutely, if it was cool! I’m not precious about where my clothes come from. I’m lucky enough that I can sometimes borrow designer pieces, but if I found something drop-dead amazing from H&M, I’d be all for it.
Where’s the craziest story you have about wearing something high-end?
At the Golden Globes last year, I borrowed 3 Valentino dresses — but, me being me, I waited until the last minute to try any of them on (like, an hour before the event) and found out the dress I’d had my heart set on made me look just like Nancy Reagan. So instead, I swapped it out for a gorgeous draped Roman number. I learned then that you really need to get your s*** together a little bit more than an hour in advance of going to awards shows.
What’s your favorite high-end pick?
Saint Laurent Babies Glitter Ankle Boots.

Saint Laurent Babies Glitter Boots | InStyle Laura Brown High Low Style GuideSaint Laurent Glitter Babies Ankle Boots

What’s your favorite low-end pick?
Vanessa Seward Chambray Jumpsuit.
What piece in your closet has been the biggest splurge?
A Rick Owens coat that I’ve had for years. At the time, it was a huge splurge for me. It’s a dark olive color, cinched up around the neck, a very broody thing. It was my first “same day delivery” purchase. I still wear it.

Do you consign? How does that play into the high/low factor in your closet?
Yes, I do! I wear everything I buy, but many things I’ll end up consigning because I live in a New York apartment and — breaking news — sometimes you just can’t fit all of your shoes and bags. I consign my higher-end pieces with The RealReal because that’s what they’re so good at.

Shop Laura’s edit online here. Or, shop in person at our SoHo store.

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